Artist: Charlotte Noruzi

QUESTION: What was your biggest challenge?

Charlotte Noruzi: To make money from my art basically. I had made some in the past, but it was not anything consistent or very lucrative.

QUESTION: Did you work with galleries?

Charlotte Noruzi: I felt like with galleries, that was something I had striven for in the past. It was very important to me to be shown in a gallery, and I was. I’ve shown here and there and in galleries, but, without any monetary success, and I started to kind of feel disenchanted with that whole direction.

QUESTION: What motivated you to want to sell your art?

Charlotte Noruzi: I came to a point in my life where I felt like I deserved it.

QUESTION: What happened next?

Charlotte Noruzi: Frustration around “Okay, how do I do this? I’ve decided now I want to do this, but how?”

QUESTION: How did you feel?

Charlotte Noruzi: I was tired. I was just tired of not having my work out there because I think in the past, my focus wasn’t on money, it was on recognition and accolades or getting my work out there to be seen and so forth. But, somewhere there was this shift and it was interesting because when I made that shift in my mind, your program like just came up.

QUESTION: Showing versus selling your art

Ann Rea: I talk about this distinction a lot. If your intention is to show your art well then you’ll show your art.

Charlotte Noruzi: Yeah. Yeah.

Ann Rea: But if your intention is to sell your art, that’s a whole different set of behaviors and strategies and actions. So what happens is artists get to a point where they’re sick of showing their art. What they really want is they want to sell their art.

Charlotte Noruzi: That’s exactly it. That’s where I was. That’s the point I had come to.

QUESTION: Should you give your art away?

Ann Rea: Let’s say you gift someone the art, you’re not going to get a referral from that. They’re going to brag and say how you gave it to them for their birthday, for example. Right?

Charlotte Noruzi: Right!

Ann Rea: You’re not going to get a referral and 85 percent of your sales on average are going to come by way of referrals, so you just lost a huge opportunity and the person you give it to is in your close network who are the most empowered to give you referrals, so please don’t give it away.

Charlotte Noruzi: I will not. That’s a huge lesson. Thank you, huge, yeah.

Ann Rea: You’re welcome. It’s a bonus for ya’ and I’m not gonna make you pay twice, even though I probably freaking saved you a gazillion dollars.

Charlotte Noruzi: You did you just saved me a gazillion dollars! Now I feel like I should gift you my art (laughter)

Ann Rea: NO!!

QUESTION: Are you going to give your art away?

Charlotte Noruzi: I am not going to gift art away. Nope. I promise. I promise I will not give my art away.

QUESTION: What advice would you give to artists?

Charlotte Noruzi: Work from your heart. You know, do it from your heart

Ann Rea: You have to work from your heart because your product is what?

Charlotte Noruzi: Emotion!

Ann Rea: So you got to work from your heart. It’s the only way it works.

QUESTION: Why don’t you hold on to your art?

Charlotte Noruzi: It became more important for someone else to have it than for me to have it and that my art was doing me no good and no favors sitting at home with me.

Ann Rea: Right! Exactly!

QUESTION: What is an artist’s “product”?

Ann Rea: An artist doesn’t sell goods or services. An artists’ product is emotion and that’s why traditional business plans and marketing plans don’t work for us and we get all frustrated and confused. “Why isn’t this working? This thing doesn’t make any damn sense! I can’t relate. I can’t connect.” Well, it’s not because you’re not capable. It’s because it doesn’t account for our product, which is emotion. So we have a number of MBAs in our program including Harvard MBAs (by the way).

QUESTION: Did you sell “emotion”?

Charlotte Noruzi: This happened during my open studios, which happened last weekend. I started to attune myself to people’s response as they were walking around, their facial expressions, what they were saying. So after reading what you had said about that, I was like, “wow, this is happening”. Like this is exactly what Ann is talking about. And it was beautiful. It was actually a very beautiful (I don’t know what you want to call it), moment or connection, I could tell that they were connecting with it. I never felt that before. I had open studios before, I think I was coming also from a more, I don’t want to say like a desperate place, but I was really like “why aren’t you buying my art?” Why aren’t you looking at it? You know, you should be getting it

Ann Rea: You’re almost mad at them, right?

Charlotte Noruzi: Yeah. I was like mad and I was not mad this time. I was not mad.

QUESTION: What was the difference?

Charlotte Noruzi: First of all, I was very much in the moment and I loved, I enjoyed them looking at my work, I enjoyed them asking questions about my work and what is this about? And then as I would delve into the painting, I felt like their connection grew even more towards it. So when this colleague, bought a piece of mine and she came to pick it up, her enthusiasm for it like her excitement about it was very new for me.

QUESTION: What was it like to sell your art?

Charlotte Noruzi: It was beautiful. It felt like somebody going out in the night and looking up at the stars.

QUESTION: Can that sale lead to another?

Charlotte Noruzi: Well very nonchalantly I said “yeah, I’m having another open studio in November.” and she goes “Oh really?!” I said, yeah. She goes “Well I’ll be there and I’m going to bring people with me.”

QUESTION: Is it possible to sell your art?

Charlotte Noruzi: That possibility, nobody has ever said that to me before.

Ann Rea: I would say this all the time. I am not telling anyone that selling art is easy. It’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would fricking do it. Right, but is it possible to sell art to sell art? Hell yes it is very possible to sell art! There are a lot of people buying art and the good news is that galleries are closing down because of the Internet and because the way the luxury market consumes goods and services, they want to know the artists. They want to know the story. They want to have that moment that that collector had with you. They want to come to your next open studio. They want to support you, they want to introduce you to their friends, which is what she offered to do. So that’s good news! And when you understand that, it’s like, oh, okay. It’s not as bad as everyone made it out to be.

QUESTION: Should other artists apply?

Charlotte Noruzi: Why not do it? I mean, it hasn’t been working for you thus far, so why not give it a shot? It’s really, to me, this is an investment in myself. So that’s the way I see it. So I feel like why not invest in yourself in this way and give this a try because other things haven’t worked.


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2 Responses

  1. The one thing, all my life, I wanted to do is what I love, painting and make money doing! I don’t know if my work is good enough. I have tried craft fares, art shows, are shows and others. Everyone comments and act like they love my work and me, but they rarely will pull out the $100-$300 to buy a painting!

    1. If we could only deposit compliments in our checking account.

      You are trying to sell your art. This is near impossible.

      You need to serve a mission greater than yourself by creating value above and beyond your art.

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