How an Australian artist increased the price of her fine art by 200%

How an Australian artist increased the price of her fine art by 200%


Artist Cheryl Hovey
Geelong, Australia

Ann Rea: (00:01)
Okay, there we go. Hey, Cheryl. Welcome! Tell us where you’re sitting on the planet.

Cheryl Hovey: (00:08)
I’m in Victoria, in Australia. Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Ann Rea: (00:15)
Nice. And where is that like for those who don’t know, where’s Sydney? Where’s–

Cheryl Hovey: (00:19)

Ann Rea: (00:20)
Melbourne. Okay. Closer to there.

Cheryl Hovey: (00:22)
About an hour from Melbourne. Yes.

Ann Rea: (00:24)
I love that I get to talk to artists from all over the world who come to this community. It’s so much fun. And I just wanted to have you on and just have a little chat. I’m not over Winfrey, so it’s just you and I chatting, So– 

Cheryl Hovey: (00:38)

Ann Rea: (00:38)
I’d love to know, like what were your top two challenges before you even joined Making Art Making Money™.

Cheryl Hovey: (00:46)
Probably feeling a lack of confidence, and not really knowing how to or wanting to know how to sell my art better. 

Ann Rea: (00:59)
So like, just lacking confidence and then not having like a strategy to sell your art? Is that what you mean?

Cheryl Hovey: (01:05)
Yes, a strategy. Yes. That’s a strategy. What Dirty word. No, not really.

Ann Rea: (01:11)

Cheryl Hovey: (01:12)

Ann Rea: (01:14)
Heaven forbid we use an ethical strategy, right? And ethical and effective strategy. Alright, so let me just ask you this. You tell me, I know you’ve done, you’ve come so far ’cause I see your updates in the Facebook group, which we celebrate for you and you’re love in celebrating other people’s milestones. But if I just could ask like, what do you think, what do you consider the top three accomplishments you’ve had so far in Making Art Making Money™? What comes to mind?

Cheryl Hovey: (01:51)
Well, firstly, and I can feel myself getting emotional straight away, is the knowledge that how my art has made people feel that, you know, because in the past, the little, you know, the self-doubt goes, “Yes!” They’re faking. They’re just saying that to be nice.”

Ann Rea: (02:12)
They’re all actors.

Cheryl Hovey: (02:14)
Yes. But it’s like now having within during the course and ask people, “How does my art make you feel?” And I asked that question, and  the response was crying when people were telling me, I’ve got, I’ve put a little video somewhere you know, on my art–

Ann Rea: (02:27)
And tell us some of the things that they said and how it affected you.

Cheryl Hovey: (02:41)
Oh, okay. The first one was, she’s is a doctor and my painting brings her back to back to heart space. When she’s feeling a bit off, she’s placed it in her consulting room so that her patients will get the love from the painting as well. This is one I did about four years ago. 

Ann Rea: (03:07)
That’s really powerful, Cheryl. Are you really like– 

Cheryl Hovey: (03:08)
“Oh my God, yes!”

Ann Rea: (03:11)
Like, you know, that’s really powerful.

Cheryl Hovey: (03:12)
And another lady was saying, she says she’s got a few of mine and they’re placed–she’s a music teacher, has a little music school or maybe it’s big. And she’s got my paintings placed around her piano and her desk. So she said, “They’re my muse. They’re my muse.”

Ann Rea: (03:35)

Cheryl Hovey: (03:35)
I know. It is like, “Oh my God!” And I’m so– those two,  and I’ve had a quite a few more conversations because it just it blows me away that, you know, that’s how I want people to feel about my art, Because that’s how I feel about it. And I, wouldn’t have known for sure without prompting from the course. So because of you.

Ann Rea: (04:06)
So I’m making you have a bunch of uncomfortable things, but aren’t they worth it?

Cheryl Hovey: (04:12)
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely worth it. So, and really was uncomfortable to ask to start with, but now it’s like–

Ann Rea: (04:19)
It’s easy now, right?

Cheryl Hovey: (04:21)
Because people like telling you that you make them feel good.

Ann Rea: (04:26)
Yes. So what I want to touch on right here is this is a great lesson for those of you who are listening. There’s a lot of confusion that happens for fine artists because they’re under the false impression that they’re selling goods or services, but you’re not. 

Cheryl Hovey: (04:42)

Ann Rea: (04:43)
Your product is emotion. And it is exactly what you just said, Cheryl.

Ann Rea: (04:48)
And if you don’t understand your product, you’re going to struggle. But Cheryl now understands her product.

Cheryl Hovey: (04:55)

Ann Rea: (04:56)

Cheryl Hovey: (04:56)
It was like, you know, like a couple of other people have said that, “Oh my God, I’ve been doing it the whole time.” 

Ann Rea: (05:04)

Cheryl Hovey: (05:05)
My mission, my thing, and mine is love in everything. It’s like, for anybody who knows me, that’s like the peace and love like, “Oh, you’re a hippie girl.” No, that’s just–

Ann Rea: (05:19)
Yes, that’s your authentic self. And that’s who you have to be because that’s where your power lies as an artist. It’s being your absolute authentic self. Otherwise, what’s your option? You copy someone else? That’s never going to work. It’s going to be diluted. So, yes. Alright, so one big big accomplishment and that’s huge Cheryl is that you understand–

Cheryl Hovey: (05:41)

Ann Rea: (05:42)
the massive emotional impact that you have on your collectors. I mean, can they buy anything to match that? I doubt it.

Cheryl Hovey: (05:52)
Well, yes and no. I’ve got, well one lady has– she’s had a lot of stuff go on in the past few weeks. So I was hoping to be able to come on here and go, “Yes, she’s bought three more paintings!” But she’s, you know, she’s got some stuff going on. So we’re on a bit of a hold on that.

Ann Rea: (06:14)
Oh, that’s fine. There’s always–

Cheryl Hovey: (06:16)
But I’m okay with it.

Ann Rea: (06:17)
That’s fine. You always have people who are in, you know, kind of three categories, right? You have your existing collectors who’ve already purchased from you and who could be sources of referrals. Then there’s a second tier called your prospects who you’re just still warming up. You’re still patiently interacting with them and developing a relationship and a rapport with them. And then there’s this third group of people you haven’t met yet and you don’t know who your prospects or your collectors will introduce you to when you use an effective referral strategy. So it’s fine. You’re just understanding now. There’s like, it doesn’t mean it’s over, just mean you’ve got a seed and it’s sprouting.

Ann Rea: (06:58)
You’ll see if it grows and that’s all that matters. So. Alright. So one big takeaway was you understand your product and you’ve experienced it directly. What’s another big lesson you’ve learned in Making Art Making Money™.  Or win.

Cheryl Hovey: (07:13)
Sorry. I missed that.

Ann Rea: (07:14)
What’s another big lesson you’ve learned or a bigger or or an accomplishment you’ve had as a result of being in Making Art Making Money so far?

Cheryl Hovey: (07:22)
For me personally, it’s the validation. It’s the word that’s coming. Validation of my self worth. 

Ann Rea: (07:33)

Cheryl Hovey: (07:34)
And as I look back at old works and the price that I have on them or that I sold them for, it’s a–I can feel myself going to cry now. It’s like, “Yes, really didn’t value yourself very much there, did you?” And my work’s beautiful. I love my work. I keep looking at it and go, “Well, if it doesn’t sell to that person, it doesn’t matter ’cause it’s really good work and someone will buy it. But as I say, I look back and I go, “Oh wow!”

Ann Rea: (08:02)
Okay, so you– 

Cheryl Hovey: (08:04)
Sold, but it was worth so much more.

Ann Rea: (08:06)
Alright. So it sounds like there are two things in this, right? You feel validated not just as an artist, but as a person.

Cheryl Hovey: (08:14)
As a human being. Yes.

Ann Rea: (08:14)
Human being, that’s huge. And then also you understand that before coming to Making Art Making Money™ , your prices were too low and you– I hope you said you’ve raised them. I hope you’ve raised your prices since you joined the program. 

Cheryl Hovey: (08:31)
Yes. I have.

Ann Rea: (08:32)
How much do you, like, would you know about what percentage you’ve raised your prices?

Cheryl Hovey: (08:36)
Well, probably double now.

Ann Rea: (08:41)
Wow! Okay. So very few businesses can say that they’ve doubled their prices and they’re selling. That’s really– and what any kind of business, if you were in construction or if you were in law it’s very hard to say, “I’ve doubled my prices and I’m selling.” But you can say that, Cheryl. So I’m very proud of you. Let me ask you a question. 

Cheryl Hovey: (09:03)
Well, I thought they were pretty low.

Ann Rea: (09:05)
Well, still low. It’s still progress, right? And of course, you got to make a profit. And if you’re not making a profit from the sale, don’t make the sale. It’s, you know.

Cheryl Hovey: (09:17)
Well, exactly. Like, there’s so many things I’ve learned, you know, going through the course. And there’s like it’s a lot of information to take in. But I’ve, you know, I’ve made the big investment in myself and just the confidence thing and knowing how and knowing that my art does make people feel the way I wanted, those are for me, they’re priceless. 

Ann Rea: (09:47)
Yes. It’s life-changing

Cheryl Hovey: (09:49)
It’s priceless. 

Ann Rea: (09:51)
Okay, so let me ask you this. I’m going to have you fill in the blank.  I almost didn’t join Making Art Making Money because. Fill in the blank.

Cheryl Hovey: (10:01)
Because it’s fun. You learn a lot about yourself.

Ann Rea: (10:05)
Oh no. I was going to say was there– did you almost not join the program? And if so, why was it?

Cheryl Hovey: (10:13)
Oh if I did not join?

Ann Rea: (10:14)
Yes. Did you think about not joining at some point, or did you just go straight away and join?

Cheryl Hovey: (10:19)
For about five seconds.

Ann Rea: (10:21)
Okay. Well, we don’t have to {inaudible}.

Cheryl Hovey: (10:23)
And I thought, “You know what, I’m doing this.” Because I did the five-day free.

Ann Rea: (10:29)
Okay, good. You did the five-day workshop. Good.

Cheryl Hovey: (10:31)
Yes. The workshop. Yup. And I thought, “Oh my, I really, I got a lot out of that.” And I thought, “Well, I need to find out more because I want to work with this lady.” And I really liked what you had to say and how it made me feel as well. Like the no b******t and the– just the directness. I’m timing it down because– 

Ann Rea: (10:53)
I’m known for that. So if you can’t, if you can’t handle direct communication, you know, I’m not your {inauduble}. But I am very direct and it’s because we, as a whole, artists have been fed a tremendous amount of b******t and we don’t have any more. time for it. That’s why I’m really direct. And then that’s my personality too. So, yes. Alright. So you didn’t really hesitate because you went to the five-day complimentary workshop. That’s great. 

Cheryl Hovey: (11:19)
Yup. And then I just had to figure out how I was going to, you know, sign up and pay for it and level up. Well, you know what, I’m doing it for myself and who cares? I don’t care what anybody else thinks. 

Ann Rea: (11:30)
And you doubled your prices and you’re selling. So there you go. Like, you’re going to– you’re fine. So the program is designed so that it can be essentially free. So, everyone who’s listening, this is how Making Art Making Money™ works. You can’t find this anywhere else. Right? And this is also why it’s by application. When you join Making Art Making Money™. You are required to earn back your tuition investment through the sale of your art at an absolute minimum. And if for some reason you can’t accomplish that within the course of a year, we will work with you for free until you do. Now, that’s as long as you do the work. I’m not going to work for you for free if you’re not working. 

Cheryl Hovey: (12:06)

Ann Rea: (12:06)
But what does that mean? It means that this investment has a guaranteed minimum, a 100% return. And so I want the program to be essentially free. And if you’re raising your prices, if you’re doubling your prices and you’re selling. I’m not worried that that’s going to happen at all. You’re doing the work. So yes. Last one question I have for you, Cheryl. Cause there are a lot of skeptics out there, and I completely understand. Cause there are 50 ways to sell that artists get screwed over. We actually have a whole lesson, 50 ineffective ways to sell your art. But if someone was like, listening to you and I, and they were sitting on the fence and they weren’t sure about applying to enroll, what would you honestly say to them?

Cheryl Hovey: (12:50)
Well, if you can, if you want to grow as a person and an artist, just find a way. Don’t starve your children or, you know, move out of your house. But you know, if you can find a way to do it, do it. Because I have, on a personal growth level. It’s just been phenomenal for me. I mean, like I’ve tagged some friends in this video and they’ll be watching and going, “Oh my God!” 

Ann Rea: (13:24)
Well good, but we’ll make sure to get you the links so that you can do that. And I will say, this is my opinion. Like, first of all, if someone tells me that can’t afford it, for the most part, you’re lying. I’ll tell you right now, for the most part not everybody, but for the most part, you’re lying. 

Cheryl Hovey: (13:42)

Ann Rea: (13:43)
Cause if you could afford art supplies, which are very expensive, and internet connection, and you’re planning, unless you’re planning on giving up on yourself as an artist. You can’t afford not to learn how to sell your art. And let me tell all of you right now, if you’re not generating a profit from the sale of your art, you have yourself a very expensive hobby. 

Cheryl Hovey: (14:06)

Ann Rea: (14:59)
And if your taxing authority deems it a hobby, check with your tax advisor. I’m not a tax advisor, but if your tax advisor deems your artistic endeavor a hobby, all of your income tax deductions will be absolutely disallowed, at least here in the United States. And then your toast.  You’ll never make a living part-time, full-time, as a fine artist. So it’s essential that you generate a profit. And that’s why it’s called Making Art Making Money™. So you need, to join heaven, which is Making Art with Earth, which is Making Money™. And that’s how we are able to, that’s how Cheryl, you’re able to touch the people that you’ve touched because you exchange the value what you created for money. 

Cheryl Hovey: (14:59)

Ann Rea: (15:11)
They then value that work of art, and it has an effect on their emotional state. And they’ve told you what it is. And that’s almost, I mean I don’t know. what better product there is to sell, honestly. 

Cheryl Hovey: (15:05)
Well, same. It’s like I love creating. I just love it. And I said before, I feel it just makes me feel wonderful, I just cry sometimes when I finish a piece and I sit back and look at it. I’m like, “Oh my God. Like, where did that come from?” And I want everybody to feel like this. And lo and behold, thank you.  I know people do feel like that. So

Ann Rea: (15:34)
Now you do.

Cheryl Hovey: (15:35)
It’s just now I’m just like, “Come on.”

Ann Rea: (15:39)
Right. And aren’t you– don’t you feel so much more motivated and confident in selling your art now that you understand your mission and you understand the actual effect your work is having on your collectors?

Cheryl Hovey: (15:53)
Yes. And I’m growing more all the time. So–

Ann Rea: (15:56)
Yes. And it will take time. It just builds over time. The more you sell, the more you share your mission. The more you sell, the more you realize who your niche is and who it isn’t. And you don’t take it personally. You just understand, “This is my niche. This isn’t.” The more, it just continues to build momentum. The whole program is an iterative process. So I have no doubt that you’re just going to continue to go up those levels. those sales levels over time. And with that, your confidence is going to go up. And let me just ask you this, I’m curious, cause I’ve seen this. When my students sell more art, the quality of their art increases. Have you noticed that?

Cheryl Hovey: (16:38)
Yes. Yes. It’s because you’re putting more heart into it. I think that the word it’s like, “Well, I’m getting to spread my love or my joy even further.” So you’re more mentally motivated to, I don’t know, just more good stuff goes in.

Ann Rea: (17:03)
Right? Yes. You’re more confident, you’re more focused. And you know, this is, I think that the heartache I hear a lot of artists share is they don’t know the purpose of their art. And it’s really hard to sell something if you don’t know the purpose of it. But you know your purpose now, right, Cheryl?

Cheryl Hovey: (17:24)

Ann Rea: (17:24)
Yes. It’s different. Alright. So I guess I one, what do you think was the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Cheryl Hovey: (17:36)
That I’m bloody well worth it.

Ann Rea: (17:38)
Yes! That’s right. 

Ann Rea: (17:43)
So you’re all bloody well worth it. So you should apply. And whether or not we can help you, we’ll try to. We’ll try to help you. We’ll do our best. It’s by application only. But even if you don’t– even if we don’t accept your application, we have other resources to help. So yes, you’re all bloody well worth it. And don’t put up with any s**t from the art establishment. They can stick it.

Ann Rea: (18:08)
And thank you so much, Cheryl, for I think it’s really early in Australia right now, isn’t it? Did you get up early? 

Cheryl Hovey: (18:14)

Ann Rea: (18:22)
You did? Oh my gosh, thank you so much. 

Cheryl Hovey: (18:31)
That is my absolute pleasure. Thank you. I’ve grown so much and I’m just looking forward to even more and just, I look back through my notes and I go, “Oh crap, I forgot that bit. Oh, okay. Get that in Study partners. Absolute bonus. 

Ann Rea: (18:35)
Yes. Aren’t they great? So let me just, before I sign off,  I want to talk about that because some artists will say, “Ooh, I don’t want any study partners.” 

Cheryl Hovey: (18:43)
First of all, you can have as many as you like. It’s me at the start. I’m like, “Oh no! No! I’m not doing that bit.” 

Ann Rea: (18:49)
I’m not doing that bit. I have freaking snobby jealous artists. I don’t want to do that. But that’s not what we have here. Right? I mean, it’s a really empowering global community, don’t you think? What do you think?

Cheryl Hovey: (19:01)
Yes. You’ve got it. You can’t do it by yourself.

Ann Rea: (19:05)

Cheryl Hovey: (19:07)
And it’s a whole different conversation with like, I have very supportive friends, but there’s, you know, but they’re not artists, right? So they might like they get me who I am and they love me unconditionally. Yes. But I can’t talk about how making art for me makes me feel. Right. Because they’re not making art, they’re doing their own thing, whatever.

Ann Rea: (19:36)

Cheryl Hovey: (19:27)
You know, that makes them feel good. But I couldn’t talk about art till the cows come home. It’s just–

Ann Rea: (19:42)
Which you get to do here in Making Art Making Money™. You get to do it all day long. And you get to do it with artists from all over the world. And you get to do it with artists from all over the world anytime you please and they’re happy to talk to you so you will not succeed alone. No matter if you’re doing anything ambitious in life, you have to have a support network. You absolutely must. I have one. Cheryl has one now. I’m sure she’s going to continue to build it and it’s going to get stronger and  stronger and stronger. I’m so proud of you, Cheryl. Thank you for coming on.

Cheryl Hovey: (20:12)
No, thank you, Ann.

Ann Rea: (20:13)
–here so early and sharing your story with us. I really appreciate it.

Cheryl Hovey: (20:17)
Thank you. That’s my pleasure.

Ann Rea: (20:19)
Alright, take care. Bye.

Cheryl Hovey: (20:22)
Alright. Have a great day!

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. 

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