Artists: Anne, Tom, Lisa, Michelle and Sherry
Ann Rea: Alright so my name is Ann Rea and I’m the founder of Artists Who THRIVE and I’m coming to you from San Francisco, California and I’ve asked some of my students in The MAKING Art Making MONEY program to have a really impromptu hangout. Because I just posted a question in our private Facebook group about what they’ve learned and what insights they gained and man, was it a huge list. It was a really long impressive list. And so I wanted to hear more and I wanted to give my students an opportunity to just share directly. It’s one thing for me to say this is what I’ve learned as an artist but it’s another thing to hear also from students who are currently learning. By the way this is my puppy Rebel, if you’re wondering who this furry ball is in my lap, she is joining us. So I’ll start with Anne.
QUESTION: Anne Noland, can you tell us, first of all you’re an artist in California, what was the biggest challenge before you enrolled in the Making Art, Making Money program. Your biggest challenge around marketing art and selling art, what was your biggest conundrum?
Anne: Well it was pretty simple, I had no idea what to do.
Ann Rea: I had no clue. (laughs)
Anne: But it was particularly frustrating for me because I’ve owned a business for many years, I did the marketing for the business, not an art business, and I’m also a CFO for a non-profit so I know how to run a business and I couldn’t figure out how my art fit into that, I had no clue how to even start.
Ann Rea: So that’s not uncommon, I’ve got a number of MBAs enrolled in Making Art, Making Money program who I’ve also consulted with and it’s because you know, we have a different product right?
Ann Rea: Okay so you just didn’t know where to start it sounds like.
Anne: That’s right.
Ann Rea: Even though you’re an experienced entrepreneur, a successful one by the way. She knows what she’s doing.
QUESTION: Lisa, what was your number one challenge? I just want to see if we have a unique problem.
Lisa: Well it’s my number one challenge, it’s still my number one challenge because I’m still getting through the second group of lessons but I’m just really really scattered, I like to write and I like to illustrate and draw, I’ve done children’s books, so I’m just all over the map, I can’t settle. I can’t sort of like focus on one thing.
Ann Rea: Got it. Yep okay, so that’s a really common challenge too, not knowing how or where to focus, very very common.
Lisa: Okay that’s good to know.
Ann Rea: Yeah, yeah, I’m still waiting for something unique.
QUESTION: Alright, is it Tom, I can’t see your name.
Tom: Yes, Tom.
Ann Rea: Tom what was your number one challenge?
Tom: Well I did art festivals, I was really attracted to your class because of selling directly yourself versus other galleries et cetera and my biggest challenge was really being professional and having like not a used car salesman type approach to selling. And then also just really having a mission and like what am I doing besides just surviving. Like being happy, probably the biggest challenge is being happy doing what I’m doing.
Ann Rea: Right. Yeah, so a lot of artists when they go to sell their art have a really icky feeling, they feel like there’s something a little slimy about it. And they don’t want to feel that way. They want to proud of what they’re doing. They don’t want to feel slimy or salesy. So again, you don’t have a unique problem either.
Tom: That’s probably good.
Ann Rea: And I think Anne can speak to this, once you know your mission, and you know how you’re going to be of service.
QUESTION: Do you feel sleazy or salesy at all Ann, now that you know that? (Ann’s farther along in the program).
Anne: No, actually it’s just the opposite now. I feel very comfortable talking with people and presenting what I do, it’s totally different, it really is.
Ann Rea: Yeah okay, and we have someone who just joined us but I can’t see your name.
Ann Rea: Yeah, Michelle, hey Michelle. So Michelle,
QUESTION: I’m just asking what your number one challenge is before you enrolled in Making Art, Making Money semester, I’m just curious.
Michelle: My number one challenge was actually just trying to find a focus and going through the first part of everything to find my purpose and whys has really helped me with that.
Ann Rea: So Lisa, you can hear Michelle also has the focus, so again not an original problem. None of you are creative with your problems. Very very consistent. So I know some of you are just starting out and Anne is farther along in the process. We’ve actually had our one on one. So but when I ask people to share what they’ve learned I was like I mentioned earlier, I got this whole long list. And I’m going to read some of those.
QUESTION: Anne what’s been your biggest takeaway? Your biggest insight or lesson learned in the Making Art, Making Money program?
Anne: Well I’ve learned that marketing is actually fun and before I thought it made me totally nervous. But I think the biggest takeaway is now I know what to do and when I start implementing everything which is coming up, I know that if I do the work, follow what I planned that I’m going to be successful.
Ann Rea: Awesome.
Anne: That’s the first time I’ve felt that way about my art.
Ann Rea: So that sounds like a big increase in self confidence.
Anne: Oh yeah, much bigger.
Ann Rea: Okay so I know you three are just kind of starting out,
QUESTION: Lisa, what’s been your biggest takeaway so far?
Lisa: I’ve had a few insights.
Ann Rea: What’s the biggest one?
Lisa: I don’t know if it’s the biggest one but definitely you know how people are always saying that you have to love yourself and just accept yourself and I think what I finally realized is that I don’t have a problem with that, I’ve been my best friend for many many years because I spent a lot of time alone as a child and you know, so–
Ann Rea: So your biggest takeaway was what?
Lisa: Well I don’t need to learn to love myself, I’ve done that but I need to learn to be kinder to myself.
Ann Rea: Okay which is a form of love, being kind to yourself.
Lisa: Yeah, but for me there is a distinction there and I don’t know, I that’s the biggest thing I can think of right now. But there’s–
Ann Rea: Well that’s pretty significant.
QUESTION: Okay alright. Michelle what’s been your biggest takeaway or lesson learned or insight gained?
Michelle: I guess what is affected me the most this program is everything with the daily Code to Joy. How, when I’m stuck with something, when I do my daily Code to Joy usually something will come to me to help me get through that.
Ann Rea: Good.
Michelle: So that’s been the biggest thing for me.
Ann Rea: So for those of you who don’t know what Michelle’s referring to, I happen to friends with a very famous performance psychologist named Dr. George Pratt and he’s a guest lecturer in the Making Art Making Money program and he gives a four minute daily exercise to my students, it’s the same exercise he’s given to athletes who’ve gone on to win Olympic medals and artists who have gone on to win Grammys and so it works, it’s the same thing, it works.
QUESTION: Alright so last but not least, so tell us Tom, what’s been your biggest takeaway so far?
Tom: The self development part has been really good for me. It’s kind of I guess like Goya, like get off your ass kind of thing. Like to get me into gear and the Code to Joy is great but the best thing so far for my bank account has been just not discounting what I’m selling and pricing things correctly. Like it’s so easy to discount because people ask you. And I used to play games and now I don’t play games so it’s part of building not just myself up but my brand and my business and treating it more like a business which is, it’s a trip because it’s just a little thought process change that has seriously earned 10 to 20 percent more in sales per sale.
Ann Rea: Yeah so that’s huge. Just by not discounting and being consistent with that Tom you will earn your tuition back many times over.
Tom: My very first show I did after I signed up for this and actually did first section like dealing with fear and all that to like really, because I didn’t sell art for like 17 years and I was part owner of a grocery store, I just sold and just jumped back in and it was kind of scary and all the weird emotional parts but not discounting that extra money, I mean I’m talking like I made seven grand in the first weekend, which is good for pottery.
Ann Rea: Okay.
Tom: So to not discount, it’s a significant chunk of change.
Ann Rea: Yeah.
Tom: 10, 20 percent and then probably even a little bit more because there is a respectability.
Ann Rea: A lot more. It’s a lot more actually. So the thing about discounting is asking is free. So you can’t fault, people have been trained to ask artists for a discount or ask for donations because artists freaking give it to them. And so you know, it’s your responsibility to protect the value of what your art and to protect your own brand and also it has a ripple effect. Just by you standing your ground and understanding you are in a luxury business where you don’t discount, that has a positive effect on all the other artists out there so it’s really important thing to do. It’s business 101 for luxury marketing but also it just has so many effects to not discounting. So I’m really glad to hear that, I’m glad you mentioned that,
QUESTION: I’m just gonna pull out a few other comments of other people’s lessons just to see if you guys identify with any of these lessons.
These are actually insights gained, there’s so many of them, I’m just gonna have to pick. One student says so far my confidence and outlook on life has heightened, I can for the first time in my life talk about the most painful moments without totally falling apart, that’s just one part. That’s pretty freaking huge. One student says, questioning my underlying motives for creating my art. Some people just don’t even, artists don’t even like really sit to think about or really understand, they don’t really understand and they don’t know how to understand what is motivating them to create their art. So they come up with these really awkward, almost embarrassing or outright embarrassing artist statements that are just so self involved.
QUESTION: And Tom, I think you’re chuckling over there. Did you write one of those?
Tom: So I used to teach at a community college, like I was a full on art teacher and that’s the big thing, so I just had an argument with someone this weekend, I don’t even have anything that says anything in my booth about me and I’m just selling the heck out of stuff. Like so, you don’t even have an artist statement, I go no, and she still teaches part time and she just couldn’t believe it. And so that’s kind of that self development part of that course that gives me so much more confidence to go man, I know this lady online that sits there with a dog and tells me stuff that it’s like a trip, it’s really super cool. I’m happier since I started doing this class which is really good.
Ann Rea: Aww, that’s great.
QUESTION: Good, have you connected with some study partners Tom?
Tom: I did a little bit like Sam, the guy from Australia.
Ann Rea: Isn’t he great?
Tom: Yeah we don’t even really study, we just message. Because I live in the mountains and he’s really into the mountains but it’s also nice to, yeah it’s just cool to have somebody to like, we’re instant messaging occasionally.
Ann Rea: Yeah.
Tom: It’s someone I would never ever come in contact with, there’s a couple other people too. But I’m just, I work so hard all the time, like I was up at 3:30 this morning and I’m so tired and it’s hard to act normal you know.
Ann Rea: Yeah, that’s the thing, so the reason I designed it this way is because artists and artist’s life can be a very solitary path and being alone all the time is not good for you. It’s not good for your art either. And we don’t succeed by ourselves. We have to have support. So it’s why studying, I mean how magical is that, you get to meet an artist, this dude from Australia, how the hell would you ever meet him otherwise, so that’s pretty beautiful.
Tom: Send him a message, sorry to interrupt, but send him a message that you talked to me because I hooked him up with some professional snowboarders and people that are friends of mine. So the kind of stuff you get out of meeting people, it’s amazing, you don’t know where it’s gonna go.
Ann Rea: Right, right. So yeah. Sherry, could just make sure you’re not making too much noise right now, ’cause the camera’s flipping around so, thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate your sharing, I could go on and on, the lists of insights and that were learned by students that were posted. But I think you guys represented some of the top concerns and some of the things that you can gain. So, thank you for your time and I would continue to encourage you to reach out to other study partners like Tom did because Tom like, who knew you were going to be able to help him and professionally, so you help each other through the program and then you hooked him up with a business introduction. So you never know. The thing is to look for ways to help not look for ways to get. And you’ll get more.
Ann Rea: Alright thank you so much, I really appreciate your time, and I’m really proud of all that you’ve learned and I’ll share this with the group later on.
Tom: Thank you for putting this together.
Ann Rea: You’re welcome. Alright bye.
MAking Art Making Money