Do Arts Councils Help Fine Artists?

Do Arts Councils Help Fine Artists?


Artist Christopher Goodsell
Roswell, Georgia

Ann Rea: (00:01)
Hey everyone, this is Ann Rea coming to live from San Francisco, California. I’m a fine artist. I’m also the creator of the Making Art Making Money Program. And I have one of my students here today to talk about all the different ways that artists get screwed, and what you can do about it. And so the reason I’m doing this whole interview series is because I want to hand the microphone over to fine artists like you so that you can start sharing your experience and we can start really recognizing how artists are being taken advantage of, how their confidence is getting crushed, and how their soul is getting sucked out of them. And what we can do about it, because there is something we can do about it. There are people who are buying more fine art today than before because they’re investing in real estate and they’re remodeling. So there is a golden window of opportunity. You want to jump on it quickly, but let me introduce, Christopher. Hey, Christopher!

Christopher Goodsell: (01:05)
Hi Ann! How are you?

Ann Rea: (01:05)
Hey. So Christopher is one of my students from– tell me where in Georgia again?

Christopher Goodsell: (01:10)
Roswell, just north of Atlanta.

Ann Rea: (01:12)
Roswell. Not to be mistaken with where the aliens were found.

Christopher Goodsell: (01:15)

Ann Rea: (01:16)
Okay. Alright. So, Joie if you’re listening, pop the link into the comments about all the different ways that artists try to sell their art that are completely ineffective, cost them so much money, so much time, and so much aggravation. What’s interesting about this list, Christopher, is it keeps growing like I introduced Andrea from Australia to our audience this past week, and she reminded me of exclusivity agreements that artists are forced to sign even though the gallery hasn’t sold any art. So, one thing you want to know is that for contracts to be not only legal, but ethical, there has to be mutual consideration. And if a gallery is trying to force you to sign an exclusivity agreement, because it sounds fancy and it sounds really impressive and prestigious, it’s not! It’s a trap! Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Put your pen down. Don’t do it. But anyway, that’s enough of my rant. Christopher, when you look at all of the things on that list, and maybe there’s one that’s not listed, what’s one that cost you the most money and maybe the most heartache? Because I think that’s important to address too. It’s not just the money lost, it’s also the confidence and in dignity that gets lost.

Christopher Goodsell: (02:49)
So the one that cost me the most– there is, I live in a historic suburb, right? So once a month, there’s a live event on– event on a Thursday nigh, and it is packed. And Roswell has a lot of art galleries. So everyone’s like, “Oh, you must be there. You should be there.” And I called them, they’re like, “You should be here. Absolutely.” So I pay for the top spot, right? For six {unintelligible}.

Ann Rea: (03:19)
How much can you just be willing to share how much you paid?

Christopher Goodsell: (03:22)

Ann Rea: (03:25)
So, okay. So hold on a second. So $5,000 for one appearance,

Christopher Goodsell: (03:34)
One Thursday night, once per month for six months.

Ann Rea: (03:37)
For six months. Okay. So six appearances somewhere.

Christopher Goodsell: (03:43)
That’s what we expected up front.

Ann Rea: (03:47)
Okay. And that’s amongst a sea of other confusion and other distractions. So this is one– you guys, do not want to be in an overcrowded marketplace. You want to be the bell of the damn ball. That’s how you do it. You zig where everyone else is zagging. If there’s a bunch of artists piled up, you run in the other direction. Would you agree, Christopher?

Christopher Goodsell: (04:10)
Completely. And one of the– I mean, this is so obvious that Helen Keller would’ve known it, right? When everyone’s saying, “Oh, I have this opportunity,” it’s such an opportunity.

Ann Rea: (04:25)
Oh yes. So an opportunity for exposure ,

Christopher Goodsell: (04:29)
Right. So I paid this for these six appearances because I’m that guy and it was when I was first kind of being a full-time artist and I’m like, “I’ve got to knock it out of the park. I’ve got to be the best.” Right?

Ann Rea: (04:42)
Don’t risk it all.

Christopher Goodsell: (04:43)

Ann Rea: (04:43)
Don’t risk it all, everybody. Don’t do that.

Christopher Goodsell: (04:46)
So I bought like the premium 10×10 art booth with the sides and the frame and–

Ann Rea: (04:54)
How much?

Christopher Goodsell: (04:55)
Five grand.

Ann Rea: (04:57)
So you’re in now10 grand. Man. Making Art Making money is chum change compared to {unintelligible}.

Christopher Goodsell: (05:04)
. Yes.

Christopher Goodsell: (05:05)
Yes. And by the time you and I talked, I’m like I don’t have anymore budget this year. If this doesn’t work, I am screwed,

Ann Rea: (05:14)
Right. Thank God it did. Okay, so the reason we’re sharing this with you guys, everyone, Christopher, is being really very, very generous telling you what he’s been through so that you can sidestep this stuff. You know, so that you don’t have to pay the price that Christopher did. Listen up, everybody. Listen up. Okay? So you’re in for 10 grand?Alright. What happens?

Christopher Goodsell: (05:42)
So you get an hour to set up in the Georgia heat, right?

Ann Rea: (05:50)

Christopher Goodsell: (05:51)
Between four and five. And everyone is trying to set up. So you actually get about five minutes to get everything off your truck. So there was that. Then you have to go park the truck and come back, build the booth, all of that.

Ann Rea: (06:05)
Who’s making this stupid rule of like giving, not giving you enough time to get into place you’ve paid for?

Christopher Goodsell: (06:11)
Are you ready? Because this is the things on the list, the arts council.

Ann Rea: (06:17)
Oh, damn! I still haven’t met an arts council who is worth a damn waiting to meet you guys. Would love to meet you guys because my taxpayer dollars and Christopher’s taxpayer dollars are supporting you, Arts councils. But I haven’t met one yet.

Christopher Goodsell: (06:37)

Ann Rea: (06:38)
That has helped fine artists.

Christopher Goodsell: (06:40)

Ann Rea: (06:40)
I know you primarily are engineered to help arts’ organizations, but I’m sorry those arts organizations aren’t helping find artists much either.

Christopher Goodsell: (06:51)
So the suburb we live in is–

Ann Rea: (06:54)
What? Oh my God! That pisses me off so much. So I mean, that’s their job. If anyone’s given anyone 10,000 grand, they should be giving it to you.

Christopher Goodsell: (07:05)
So here’s the thing that really got to me cuzbecause we haven’t got to that part yet, right?

Ann Rea: (07:10)
Oh God. Alright.

Christopher Goodsell: (07:11)
So we live in an affluent suburb and the people here have money. So that was like the whole selling point surrounded by art galleries. So as it turns out, the art galleries in Roswell have gotten smart. They realized that the people who show up for this event don’t buy art. So they all closed.

Ann Rea: (07:32)
They don’t, you guys. This is so– thank you so much for touching on this. The people who are milling around these art fairs are not buying art for the most part. They’re going out and about to have something to do. They don’t– their objective is to have something to do, something to look at, some people to talk to. Their primary objective is not to acquire fine art and really genuinely connect with fine artists. So glad you mentioned this. And in the process of hurling stuff out of your truck onto this display, what often happens is art gets damaged. Wow. Okay. So art galleries are smart enough that they closed.

Christopher Goodsell: (08:21)
And I specifically got the booth out the front of the best art gallery.Bcause I’m like, “The people coming out of there will be my market.” Yet they closed. Anyway, so there were a lot of drunk people.

Ann Rea: (08:34)
Yes. There always is.

Ann Rea: (08:36)
Art and wine festivals. You can expect a lot of drunk people, which–

Christopher Goodsell: (08:42)
We got put next to a dj.

Ann Rea: (08:46)
Oh my God, that must have been deafening.

Christopher Goodsell: (08:48)
We couldn’t hear ourselves, I think. I produced, on top of the 10 grand and we’ve talked about this, I produced close to a thousand dollars worth of prints and had flip bins and everything. Like it was the Mac generator lights. I sold one print for $160.

Ann Rea: (09:09)

Christopher Goodsell: (09:11)
And I didn’t go back to the next five events. It was a waste of time.

Ann Rea: (09:16)
I got to say, Christopher, my hat’s off to you because you have gone through the fricking grinder and so have so many artist., But you really have gone through the grinder and yet, and he was this close to quitting and you’ll confess, right? You even thought, “Okay, this Making Art Making Money is probably a scam too.”

Christopher Goodsell: (09:37)
Yes, completely.

Ann Rea: (09:39)
But now we’re– and before you joined, you hadn’t sold anything in the previous 12 months.

Christopher Goodsell: (09:44)

Ann Rea: (09:44)
Now, what have you sold since you joined Making Art Making Money? Where you at now?

Christopher Goodsell: (09:48)
So, I sold 15 grand in the first two months.

Ann Rea: (09:53)

Christopher Goodsell: (09:54)
Right? Cause because I did the thing with the party and the piece of artwork in the back of the truck. That was great. Then dad passed and I took about six months off.

Ann Rea: (10:03)
Yes. I think this is important to to note. So Making Art Making Money program is a year long program. But Christopher had to deal with some personal issues so he couldn’t participate for an entire six months. So, you know, a lot of you be like, “Oh my God, that’s, you know, how’s that going to work?” Well, it did. It worked anyway. So then you came back?

Christopher Goodsell: (10:26)
I came back, I recommitted and one of the first things I did was I told you and said, “Look, I realized I’m not going to get this complete by the end of my 12 months, but I’m getting enough value. So would you accept me for a second year?”

Ann Rea: (10:43)
Which we did. Gladly.

Christopher Goodsell: (10:45)
Yes. Which we did. And Oh, I’m getting all choked up now. Sorry.

Ann Rea: (10:49)
That’s alright.

Christopher Goodsell: (10:50)
And then it wasn’t until like, just after that and everything changed. You know, I started putting myself out there in new ways. I started talking to people in new ways, which is uncomfortable for me, but I had to do it. And I had tools, right? Having had a thousand study partner sessions that was talking to a lot of new people. So that was, that was envaluable.

Ann Rea: (11:17)
That’s deliberate. So that’s why I have you guys do that. So, because selling art is about talking to strangers. So you might as well talk to the strangers in our community first and share your mission. And do it in a safe space. And then you feel, “Okay, I can do this.”

Christopher Goodsell: (11:34)
And then as you settle all along, Right? The conversation isn’t about selling.

Ann Rea: (11:40)

Christopher Goodsell: (11:41)
It’s, you know, my mission has gotten to a point where it’s, it’s all about joy. Everyone experiences that. It’s a deeply human common thing. Everyone wants to talk about it. Everyone is touched and excited when you start talking to them about what makes them joyful. Like, I’m not selling anything. I am just talking about what excites them and what they love. And you know, then it’s just a back and forth and that it’s a dance. It’s not a conversation. And it’s beautiful.

Ann Rea: (12:09)
Right. Thank you. Yes. So when you’re not selling yourself, you’re not selling your art, you’re connecting with people in an authentic way. And you’re igniting emotion because you’re being honest. Because honesty is the best marketing strategy for the love of God. Put your artist statements through the shredder or burn them because they’re useless and all they do is kill conversations. And Christopher uh, doesn’t do that. So Christopher, what’s your grand total to date in terms of art sales since you joined us?

Christopher Goodsell: (12:47)

Ann Rea: (12:52)

Christopher Goodsell: (12:54)
But–so you know, I sold two pieces to a hotel.

Ann Rea: (12:57)

Christopher Goodsell: (12:58)
They called this morning.

Ann Rea: (13:00)

Christopher Goodsell: (13:01)
They’re coming over this afternoon. They’re like, “We have a whole event. We want to commission you.”

Ann Rea: (13:07)
Oh my God. I don’t think, Oh, this is amazing! This is so wonderful. And you guys, he’s doing this. And I just want to emphasize to you guys how skeptical Christopher was. .

Christopher Goodsell: (13:27)
I don’t trust anyone.

Ann Rea: (13:29)
I don’t blame you. You look at thatdamn list of things that artists are doing to try to sell their art that are never going to freaking work and never have and never will. Yes, of course you’re going to be skeptical. You’re not even going to believe me.

Christopher Goodsell: (13:42)

Ann Rea: (13:42)
That said, if you become cynical, everybody, if you become cynical. You’re going to enter into the realm of self sabotage and then I can’t help you and no one can. Right?

Christopher Goodsell: (13:55)
Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I was so backed into a corner and I had promised myself that I would take that year. Like I put some money by, I promised myself I would take that year to to be an artist. Right? And I backed myself into a corner and I was just like, “Crap, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what happens at the end of this year.” Like I just don’t know. And losing the six months from my dad, and then I had the three months and I’m like, “Right. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Keep going. Because there were–” and talking to, you know, one of my study partners, Manassas, who I become great friends with. He was there all the time. He was there when I was in England and such massive support. And he was like, “Look, you’re amazing. Keep going. Keep going.” And so the support from him and Barbara and Eva and Oliver and Joe, and all the others. And I was like, “Okay, now this is actually a community.”

Ann Rea: (14:57)

Christopher Goodsell: (14:58)
And one of the things on your list was art shows and art competitions. Never, ever,

Ann Rea: (15:07)

Christopher Goodsell: (15:09)
So the friendships I’ve made with the artists in the program, we actually want each other to win.

Ann Rea: (15:15)
Yeah, exactly. Because, you know, it’s just so simple. If you win, it’s evidence that they win. If they win, it’s evidence that you win. It’s super simple. Now, if you’re participating in these bull$hit art contests and art juried shows, that’s the opposite. That’s competition.

Christopher Goodsell: (15:34)

Ann Rea: (15:35)
That’s jealousy, That’s snobbery. That is negative. That is destructive. There’s only, you know, most of you are going to lose and you’re going to pay for it. Losing literally pay for losing by paying an entry fee to get rejected or to lose. F that! Yu’re running a business. Do not waste your time with these silly games. If you want validation, if you want it success, you got to sell your art. You’re running a business. You’re running a business. You don’t have time for this BS. All that matters, all that matters is your target market or your niches’ time and attention and their opinion.

Ann Rea: (16:16)
And your opinion and the hotel who’s coming to visit you. Right? Like that’s who matters. Now who gives a self-judged thinks when you’ve got a customer of that caliber coming in to see you. Why, you know, like– now you get it. Right? You get it now.

Christopher Goodsell: (16:35)

Ann Rea: (16:36)
But I, you know, I’ve just decided, you know, I’m so sick of being the only one screaming this. So I’m handing the microphone over to my students now. And this series called, “Has this Happened to you?” And then just so you know, Christopher, you’ll probably be in my book that I’m writing because I’m going to be including my students experiences so that I can give, you know, a more broad perspective on this. It’s not just my experience as a fine artist. This is a global experience that artists are having to endure and don’t have to endure.

Christopher Goodsell: (17:10)
And I know we’re till on time, but one of the things that I’ve, you know, we talked, I was worried when I first joined that I wasn’t a good enough artist to be in the program.

Ann Rea: (17:22)
Yes, I know,

Christopher Goodsell: (17:22)
Right? And I know that other study partners have had that same concern.

Ann Rea: (17:28)

Christopher Goodsell: (17:29)
And I like the arts scene, so I’ll go out and look at shows and da da d. And there was an art show that I went to 10 days ago.

Ann Rea: (17:38)

Christopher Goodsell: (17:39)
And this artist, he’s good. Very well known locally, sells a lot locally.

Ann Rea: (17:45)

Christopher Goodsell: (17:46)
Oh my God! There isn’t any one of my study partners who isn’t a significantly better artist.

Ann Rea: (17:53)

Christopher Goodsell: (17:54)
And I say that because as you’ve said in the course, right? It’s a conversation with one the other day. They were like, “Oh, I think I’m going to change.” No! No! You are already good enough. Find your people.

Ann Rea: (18:09)
Here’s the thing, I get applicants who’ll say, “Well you look at my work.” I’m like, “No, I don’t want to see it. I don’t care.” And they’re like, “What? What?” And and I’m like, look, this is simple. If you’ve already sold your art a certain amount, usually we look for like 2,500, then I know. I freaking know that with a proven process, with my expert mentorship and with a community of warm, welcoming, intelligent artists like Christopher, your chances are pretty damn high. You’re going to sell more. So no, I don’t need to look at it. I don’t want to look at it. You’re not even allowed to show it in our Facebook group because this is a business program. You handle the making art yourself. We’re going to, we’re dealing with making money from the art. That’s what we’re focused on. And I’m not an expert in every genre and medium and style.

Ann Rea: (19:01)
So who gives a damn. It doesn’t matter what I think. I’m not your target market. I’m not your niche. What matters is if you’ve already sold some and you’re committed to selling more, then we’ll see if we can help you. That’s just, that simple. So even though you hadn’t sold any of your art in the previous 12 months, you know, it was the pandemic. You had sold some before.

Christopher Goodsell: (19:23)

Ann Rea: (19:23)
And you demonstrated a great commitment to sell. So I thought, “Yeah, you’re fine. He’s fine. Let him in.” So , that was, that’s really, that’s what I’m looking at. And I look for– I also look for attitude. We have a very, very, we call it the “No $hitty people policy.” And we have a filter. We look and see what your profiles look like, your social profiles. And we look for people who we know we’re going to pleasant to work with and who are professional. And because I’ve gotta guard the safety of my community. I want people in the community who are going to be helpful and nice and be happy when other people win. So that’s what I’m looking for. It’s just really simple, but good God, turn turnaround city, Christopher .

Christopher Goodsell: (20:14)
Yes. And when I messaged you the other day, and that’s, it’s rubbed off all over the place.

Ann Rea: (20:21)
It does. I know. I hear this all the time. Even you, it’s really funny. Like sometimes students will say, “I’ve lost 20 pounds” “My marriage is no longer on the skids.” .

Christopher Goodsell: (20:34)
Right. And not in an egotistical way but the sense “self-worth.”

Ann Rea: (20:42)

Christopher Goodsell: (20:43)
That I have my time, my experience. Those are all things of value. And I’m happy to share them to a point and contribute for free. But then there’s also a line where it moves into consulting and no, that’s paid.

Ann Rea: (20:59)
Yes, so that is very, that outcome you just described of having clear and healthy boundaries and self-respect is a very deliberate educational objective. I have very deliberate. That’s why I’m doing this series. That’s why I’ve listed all these BS ways that artists are manipulated because this is very, very much an objective. So if I’m just– I’ll leave you with one last question. I ask everybody this at the end. If someone was sitting on the fence and they weren’t sure about applying to enroll, what would you honestly say to them?

Christopher Goodsell: (21:33)
Every single artist I know I have proactively reached out to and said, “You should talk to Ann. You should sign up. It will change your life.”

Ann Rea: (21:40)
Wow. Thank you for that. That’s awesome. Thank you.

Christopher Goodsell: (21:45)
Because, you know, it can suck being out here on the skinny branches and this has changed my life. And I am just massively grateful.

Ann Rea: (21:56)
Well, I’m very proud of you. Thank you so much for doing all the work that I ask my students to do and for being so supportive of other students so they can do the work too. And they can have the confidence and that this is possible. It’s not something that is only available to a select few that the art establishment chooses. You don’t need anyone to choose you. You choose you. That’s it. Right?

Christopher Goodsell: (22:22)

Ann Rea: (22:23)
All right then. Thank you. How much fun is this?

Christopher Goodsell: (22:27)

Ann Rea: (22:28)

Christopher Goodsell: (22:29)
Bye love.

Bye bye.

Ann Rea

Ann Rea, Fine Artist & Mentor

Ann Rea is a San Francisco-based fine artist. She created Making Art Making Money, the leading and most reputable business program for fine artists since 2005. Rea’s art and business savvy have been featured on ABC, HGTV, Creative Live, The Good Life Project, in the book Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields, the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Business News, Fortune, and Inc. Magazines. Rea’s artistic talent was commended by her mentor, art icon Wayne Thiebaud. 

Learn The 5 Perspectives of Prosperity, Making Art Making Money

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.