Artist: Judith Alsop Miles; Diggle, Tameside, United Kingdom
QUESTION: What was your biggest challenge?
Judith Miles: Feeling confident enough to talk to people and to present myself as an artist and talk to people about my work with a view to selling it.
QUESTION: Why was that?
Judith Miles: I’ve always had a bit of a blocked throat Chakra from my childhood and it’s always been about being able to express myself verbally and clearly. I get very nervous and shy about talking.
QUESTION: Did you want to be an artist?
Judith Miles: I’m a linguist. That’s what I chose to do for my work but what I always wanted to be an artist.
QUESTION: What was you other challenge?
Judith Miles: To get focused because I was feeling very all over the place. Like I know I want to paint and be an artist, but I wouldn’t know what to what to paint and I wouldn’t know why I’m doing it, really.
QUESTION: What changes are you noticing?
Judith Miles: On the window sill I had put a pencil portrait drawing of my mother, but not with a view to selling it. I don’t present myself as a portrait artist and I do mostly landscapes and buildings, but a woman saw this and she went away and then she came back later and said “Oh, I want you to talk to you about a commission to do a portrait of my grandparents. I’ve seen this drawing and you know felt drawn to it” and I know that before the course I would have said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t do portraits” because I certainly haven’t done them for other people, although I’ve done quite a few of my family members. But I didn’t. We had quite a nice emotional connection and it was very tangible.
QUESTION: How did she respond?
Judith Miles: I told her I found it quite poignant that she should notice this just around the anniversary of my mom’s passing and she said “Oh, well, I really think you were meant to do this because of this connection.”
QUESTION: What is an artist’s product?
Judith Miles: Emotion. I’m really starting to see that.
QUESTION: Did you feel like you were selling?
Judith Miles: No, we were just having a conversation.
Ann Rea: Exactly this is what I tell artists all the time. They’ll say to me “I can’t sell myself” and I’m like, “Please God, don’t sell yourself- no one is buying you anyway.”
QUESTION: What else have you noticed?
Judith Miles: Somebody else who came in to the studio and saw a painting of a building in the local town. It’s watercolor and she stood in front of it and I could actually see that she was getting emotional about this building and she spoke to me and she said, “I used to stand behind that bus stop with my grandma” and she says, “Oh, it’s taken me right back” and I was able to share that experience with her because I remember standing at that bus stop too like 20 years ago. We shared this memory and she was really overcome with these memories of her grandmother.
QUESTION: What advice would you give to other artists?
Judith Miles: It would be: Just go for it and following your heart. I can remember very clearly making that decision at 18. Was I going to try? I did art up to age 18 and I did the exam and I could have tried for art school, but I thought, ‘no, I’m going to go more academic route’. Nobody pushed me, my parents would have been happy either way. I wasn’t being pushed, but I felt that I needed to go a more academic route and I remember saying to myself, “Oh, I can always do art in my spare time.” It was terrible. I have done art to some extent, but sporadically. I mean I went 20 years without hardly doing anything.
QUESTION: What is different about this study?
Judith Miles: I’ve done a lot of inner work over the years but I’ve never done it in relation to my art.
QUESTION: What have you realized?
Judith Miles: I can see what’s been holding me back and it’s not the things I thought. It was a real surprise to me to find, through doing the Code to Joy and also talking with my study partner, that this communication thing that I’ve always had; this thing about my voice and it being difficult to express myself, it hadn’t occurred to me that was holding me back in my art
QUESTION: What did you think was holding you back?
Judith Miles: That I wasn’t a good enough artist.
QUESTION: What else was holding you back?
Judith Miles: Since I started drawing and painting again, which was really only like 10 years ago, I had been trying to be accepted by the artistic community. I can see that because I want and I need that validation, I mean, I know I don’t now. I know I don’t.
QUESTION: Do you care what other artist’s think?
Judith Miles: I am in a group of studios and I get along very well with everyone and some of them are artists who’ve been to art school, some are not, and I don’t care now. I feel like it doesn’t matter. I feel on a similar level with them now.
QUESTION: What’s the biggest thing you have learned?
New Speaker: You’re selling emotion, you’re selling the feeling, the connection you have with the buyer and what you’re expressing of your own being. It’s what makes me who I am and it shows through what I paint and people connect with that.
QUESTION: Can an art gallery sell this?
Judith Miles: They can sell nothing because the artist isn’t there. You can’t talk to the artist in the gallery, so the personal connection which is so important is missing.
QUESTION: How are you learning about yourself?
Judith Miles: What’s really interesting is the fact that I’ve done inner work in the past, but I didn’t relate it to my work, it was really all to do with relating to people and with relationships and that kind of thing. To actually address these things in a business course is totally new and fantastic.
QUESTION: Are you more focused?
Judith Miles: I said one of the things I was lacking was focus and now I’m doing daily walks and doing meditations and breathing and so I got a lot more structure to my life.
QUESTION: What else has changed?
Judith Miles: It’s affecting every aspect, and every level of my life.
QUESTION: Should other artists apply?
Judith Miles: I would say do it. Don’t hesitate. I hesitated. I’ve been following you for quite a long time, over a year, probably more. I thought “Can I spend that much money?” and I was so lacking in focus. I thought I really needed help. I felt I couldn’t go to the next level with this and just do it right on my own. I don’t regret it at all. It’s the best thing I’ve done.
MAKING Art Making MONEY
Where do you want to be a year from now?