Real Relationships Equal Revenue

Real Relationships Equal Revenue


Artist Tasha Aulls
Longueuil, Quebec

Ann Rea: (00:01)
Well, hello everyone. This is Ann Rea coming to live from San Francisco, California. I am a fine artist and I’m a mentor to other fine artists in 23 countries and counting. That’s some light on my head. So, we were actually going to spotlight an artist today and I think something may have happened. So I decide what I’m going to do is instead– unless she comes on, I want to review the five most common mistakes that artists are making and how they’re going to keep you in the land of being a hobby artist versus being a successful fine artist. Actually, here she is. Okay, Tasha. Here she is. I’m going to add her to the stream. Hi there.

Tasha Aulls: (00:50)
Hi Ann. How are you?

Ann Rea: (00:51)

Tasha Aulls: (00:52)
Thank you.

Ann Rea: (00:53)
So tell us your name and where you’re sitting on the planet. Introduce yourself.

Tasha Aulls: (00:59)
My name is Tasha Aulls and I live in Longueuil, Quebec, which is just south of the river of Montreal.

Ann Rea: (01:08)
Nice. Okay. Alright then. So what I’d like to do is just ask you a few questions and one thing I’m super curious about, and I think that other artists can probably relate to your answer to this question, which was simply before you joined the Making Art Making Money program. What were your top two challenges? What springs to mind as what the– like the things that you were struggling with the most?

Tasha Aulls: (01:35)
Oh boy.

Ann Rea: (01:41)
Can you think of some things?

Tasha Aulls: (01:43)
Yes. You know, a lot of them– I was at a period of really starting to get my life back after a prolonged anxiety. So with that comes a lot of loss of resources, financial resources, self-esteem, all kinds of things like this, and I was getting into a better place. And I also wanted some help to– I wanted to explore it just different ways of being able to be an artist as well. And different ways to be able to make that happen for myself.

Ann Rea: (02:26)
So you were struggling with some debilitating anxiety and all the challenges and losses that come with that.

Tasha Aulls: (02:34)

Ann Rea: (02:34)
And you were looking for a different way to show up and be an artist.

Tasha Aulls: (02:39)

Ann Rea: (02:40)
Yeah. Because the way that the prescription that is written for us, whether it’s for anxiety or whether it’s for how to be a successful artist are both screwed in the head as far as I can ascertain. So yes. Warner says, “How can I join and what do I need to do?” So Warner, you can– actually my assistant, Joie, if she’s listening will put a link into the chat for an application. So the program is available by application. But let’s talk to a current student because you’re going to learn a lot about the program in the process. She actually graduated. So let me ask you this. So I understand what your challenges were, and kind of a sense of what you wanted to achieve, but let’s just say if nothing had changed, you just kept approaching your art the same way. What are two or three ways if you had not changed your approach? What are two or three ways that would’ve impacted you personally?

Tasha Aulls: (03:42)
I think that I would’ve continued to be in that. I really had to look at the validation that external validation, not feeling safe to vocalize what my mission was, what it was about, all of those things. Because the minute you do that, it’s starting, it even started. I mean, it did start impacting the way I approached making art. So you lose your freedom of authenticity.

Ann Rea: (04:14)

Tasha Aulls: (04:14)
And that’s everything,

Ann Rea: (04:15)
It’s everything. There’s no sound expression unless you’re coming from the core of who you are and from your heart and from your soul. It’s just like, what’s the point? It’s a, just a silly exercise.

Tasha Aulls: (04:29)
Exactly. Exactly. And I had been like through the Master’s degree and I have a spiritual aspect in the works. And at that time, 10 years ago, it was a big, you know, “Oh, you have to be careful about how you talk about that.” The fear, there was a lack of respect and all these kinds of things, it’s different now, but all of that hung in really kind of hung onto me and very much slowed everything down and you know.

Ann Rea: (04:56)
So it sounds like your creativity would’ve just been dampered.

Tasha Aulls: (05:00)
Absolutely. It was.

Ann Rea: (05:01)
It sounds like you would not have felt authentic or aligned with your true self.

Tasha Aulls: (05:07)

Ann Rea: (05:07)
And it sounds like– and then this is not uncommon. You would’ve felt a bit censored by the art establishments’ messages like, “Don’t say it. Don’t say that. Be careful how you do this. Be careful how you do that.”

Tasha Aulls: (05:20)
Yes, absolutely.

Ann Rea: (05:23)
There’s no creative freedom in that.

Tasha Aulls: (05:25)
No, there’s none. You just— it’s very disempowering.

Ann Rea: (05:32)

Tasha Aulls: (05:32)
But I did that. I think that’s the thing. I had to realize that they didn’t do that to me. It influenced and it’s normal. If you’re in an environment that’s constantly bringing you down, it is hard to come out of that, but then you have to realize that “No, it’s up to each and every one of us to be true.” And then what happened, and I’m probably like one of your worst students.

Ann Rea: (05:55)
No, you’re not. I won’t be talking to you.

Tasha Aulls: (05:59)
But in terms of the amount of people that I reached out to, and nothing means like zero things made sense to me, but especially in the context of where I was coming from with all of that anxiety and fear of speaking. And then just like how amazing it was to, you know, to do some of the exercises to reach out to like some, I mean, one of my so-called biggest friend, she’s just one of my best friends, a huge collector, but with some of just the exercises, the calls and that conversation we had was one of the best conversations we’ve had ever. For somebody that I’ve known for 30 years, that’s a lot.

Ann Rea: (06:40)
Isn’t it interesting?

Tasha Aulls: (06:41)
It taught me a lot and started giving me confidence of a different way of approaching, talking to people and getting so much more connection out of that and noticing different things and valuing different things and not feeling like I had to be in this like thing about explaining my art in situations. And that was really freeing. And it got me to enjoy, most of the time enjoy. I still fall into anxiety. I still fall into, you know.

Ann Rea: (07:11)
That’s okay.

Tasha Aulls: (07:12)
But I don’t mind anymore. I don’t mind anymore

Ann Rea: (07:14)
Yes. You can get past it. You’ve proven to yourself you can get past it. So the other option is to write one of those cringeworthy artist statements that no one likes to write.

Tasha Aulls: (07:23)
I still do it. But it’s better. And it’s more authentic as well. I’m in both worlds. I’m still, you know, I’m still writing grants. I’m still doing those things. I didn’t stop doing those things. But, we have a lot of, you know, in Canada we have a lot of that available.

Ann Rea: (07:40)
You have more public resources for artists in Canada than we do in the United States. And so hey, if you can get it, go get it. I mean, I’m all about, “Take the fastest path to cash.” But if you want to, you know, you’re not going to sell anything no matter what it is if you don’t connect with the customer. And so most artists throw up barriers to connecting to the people who want to pay them for their art and really selling art is about learning how to talk to strangers in a way that’s authentic.

Tasha Aulls: (08:13)

Ann Rea: (08:14)
So that’s what you experience and it’s huge. It’s just freeing, I think

Tasha Aulls: (08:20)
It’s very freeing. And last, last week, I was part of the big art event and I was speaking to a collector and she wanted to know what the art was. I said very quickly, “Mind if I introduce you to the other people in the group?” And then I asked her, “What do you want?” And her things were just like, she was frustrated with galleries because she couldn’t connect to the artist. She wanted to talk to the artist and she wanted to connect to work because it helped her identify like her own feelings. And she was really, it sounded like she was really exploring like herself in the world. She comes from a world of finance and she needed that to open up. And I was, I would’ve never had that conversation.

Ann Rea: (09:02)
You would’ve never. You would’ve missed that conversation with a gallery and with a representative blocking you. And what I can’t– look, listen all of you artists. What you really want to understand is you have such a distinct advantage by selling your art directly to collectors because the people who buy art, the people who care about art care about the artist. They don’t care about the middle man. And that’s what your galleries don’t want you to know. That’s what your art representative doesn’t want you to know. And so I’m telling you, and you’ve got somebody else here telling you, they want to connect. They really want to connect. In luxury marketing terms, it’s called backstage access, which is only something you can grant as the artist. So this is wonderful. Yay! So let me ask you another question. So, what are two or three parts of the program that made the biggest difference for you and how did it help you?

Tasha Aulls: (10:10)
Talking to other artists in the program.

Ann Rea: (10:15)
How did that help you?

Tasha Aulls: (10:17)
I think it helped me to talk to people. But it helped me to feel that because sometimes you got the local circle of arts and that’s really important too. But in terms of not everybody wants to go about selling their own work or discussing that part of it, which is super important part of it. So it’s just really helpful to have art people who are also in the same boat and they have. I wish I’d done more of it sooner. because everybody kind of has the same similar anxieties and struggles and we all really, really want to help each other.

Ann Rea: (10:59)

Tasha Aulls: (11:00)
And that’s the one really beautiful part. And then the other thing was just how much I realized, whatever stuff that I had been that I thought was important in terms of having, making your rent group business or what sales were is like is totally not what I thought it was. It’s really, really not. 

Ann Rea: (11:24)
What did you think it was and what did you find out it was? {unintelligible}

Tasha Aulls: (11:32)
Aside from like, you know, you have this like small portion, or the picture they paint is there’s like a small portion of collectors who buy art actually for art because they love it, because it speaks to them and they’re buying from their heart. But most of them are either buying for an investment or they’re buying for like, you know, like a fancy car or something like this. So it’s all designed to, you have to sort of impress or, and then when you start getting into that.

Ann Rea: (12:01)
That’s not true.

Tasha Aulls: (12:01)
That’s game over.

Ann Rea: (12:03)
That’s not true. Most of the affluent are, they grew up either working class or middle class. Okay? So Paris Hilton is not buying your art, everybody. It’s people who have more than likely similar values and they wanna connect. Right? You have to understand that, you know, you’re not selling goods or services. What you just described is selling goods or services. Art is emotion. And if it’s emotion, then you have to be honest and you have to be truthful and then you have to connect. So sounds like that’s a huge, huge misconception that you broke down. That’s great.

Tasha Aulls: (12:44)
Yes. And it’s much frame too, because it’s like you don’t have to, you have all these concepts of how you think it needs to your artwork or needs to be. And it’s just, none of that matters. It’s really, you get to just whatever comes naturally of how you want to talk about, or you don’t have to necessarily talk about it either. You can let people see it and if they want to buy it, they buy it. You don’t have to sell it. You don’t have to, you know, people come in and they don’t mind.

Ann Rea: (13:19)
Yeah, you have to guide the conversation.

Tasha Aulls: (13:24)
I learned the relationship. It’s really focused on that. Don’t think about the sale. Think about the relationships. Sales come after. That was really, really, really, really important. Cause I was like a relationship is I can think about. That’s not stressful. 

Ann Rea: (13:37)

Tasha Aulls: (13:38)
That was really a key. That was really, really helpful.

Ann Rea: (13:41)
They’re just collectors or people. So real relationships equal revenue, not transactional relationships. Real ones. Authentic ones. Heart-to-heart ones.

Tasha Aulls: (13:53)
So that’s not complicated. And that does not require a middle man. Actually, the middle man gets in the way of that. So what’s one, what’s one of the biggest things you achieved as a result of the program.

Tasha Aulls: (14:09)
I think what I achieved also, it was a year of– the first thing really struggling to figure out what the value– what my value was, what the value work was.

Ann Rea: (14:26)
And where are you at with that now?

Tasha Aulls: (14:30)
I’m pretty convinced

Ann Rea: (14:33)
You see your own value and the value of your work.

Tasha Aulls: (14:37)
Yes. Yes. I also see you need to uphold it though. It’s not, you know, you need to invest in that value. You need to stand by it. You need to set up for it. You need to keep growing it too. It’s not something that you just like sit on your laurels with.

Ann Rea: (14:56)
Yes, absolutely. So, and that’s amazing and that’s wonderful and that’s music to my ears. So how do you think understanding your own value and understanding the value of your art has impacted your business as a fine artist?

Tasha Aulls: (15:12)
It’s, I think, what it’s doing now is just steering me in a direction I’m still growing. I mean, I still need a lot of work to do the grow the foundations of the business itself. But, I just wrote another, the grant and all going through, which is kind of like writing a business plan. So in that sense, I feel clear and I’m very convinced in what I want to do, what I need to do. I’ve also found a way to do it to try one of my main problems in my business was my lack of relationships or people. And one of the things that I value know is inner transformation. So, in the project and especially in grants and getting, and I wanted to get other people involved in some of that process as of that inner under understanding and kind of set up a side project around that could feed would be part of my artistic research. And also give me a chance to meet more people.

Ann Rea: (16:39)
So it sounds like it’s created an opportunity for you to transform yourself, transform your other people, and in the process of selling your art. 

Tasha Aulls: (16:50)
And create partnerships too.

Ann Rea: (16:52)
And partnerships. Yes, I mean, that’s how you serve your mission. So we teach we, so just in case you’ve heard the Making Art Making Money, I teach artists how to stop selling themselves and how to start serving a mission that’s greater than themselves. And the way that you ultimately serve that mission is by selling your art. You can’t sell your art if you don’t know anyone, you don’t talk to anyone and you’re sitting in your studio all by yourself, typically feeling sorry for yourself. You can’t. You just can’t. It’s a contact sport, you know, and being authentic is the way that you form these relationships. Let me just ask you this one question. You can fill in the blank. I almost didn’t join Making Art Making Money because dot dot dot, fill in the blank.

Tasha Aulls: (17:50)
Because I was another too many other programs.

Ann Rea: (17:53)
You were in too many other programs?

Ann Rea: (17:57)
I hear that a lot. Yes. And so you did anyway. and so has it been– was it worthwhile?

Tasha Aulls: (18:10)
Yes. I do say it was worthwhile.

Ann Rea: (18:14)
And why was it worthwhile for you?

Tasha Aulls: (18:20)
It was really worthwhile to– most of these things were incredibly challenging for me in the assignment, all of the stuff, getting on to people and it was worthwhile because they kept giving me opportunities to bump up against those challenges and then try and figure out what they were really sit hard with like value. I really needed to think about that long and hard. That the problem is not– it’s never your work. That’s the problem. It’s how you see yourself.

Ann Rea: (18:57)
It can be your work, but typically it’s not. Typically, it’s not. If you’ve already sold your art then it stands to reason that if you’ve got a proven process, you have an expert mentor to guide you and you have a support network, you’re probably gonna sell more. But if you are making some of the biggest mistakes the most, and frankly, the mistakes that most artists make, then you’re not going to make it. And most artists are not going to make it. That’s the truth. That’s the hard truth. What’s sad to me is that they’re bumping up against challenges that they can overcome. It’s not like they’re– I mean, I think it’s harder to make art than the business and marketing part of it actually.

Tasha Aulls: (19:47)
I think the other thing with a long period of time you start realizing too there is a commitment of time and scale and learning, and practice and consistency that needs to build up for anything to be that there is an aspect you do have to take on professionally and approach it as a business completely.

Ann Rea: (20:17)
Right. Cause no, one’s going to hand it to you. No one’s coming to save you. You are never going to be discovered. You alone are responsible for your success, right?

Tasha Aulls: (21:05)
Yes. But you kind of, I think the year the course started teaching me, like what are the main things that needs to entail and kind of give a bit of a blueprint to understand what that actually means. Because everybody says it. But what does that actually mean?

Ann Rea: (20:43)
I think it means, yes, it means the roadmap, right? It means all the eight aspects of having a fine art business. It means knowing how to accomplish things, which is course number one. It means knowing your value which is course number two, or visioning. Knowing your purpose is visioning which is course number two. It means knowing what value you can offer, which is course number three. It means knowing, having a written plan, uh, to sell a specific amount of art. That’s course number four, Dealing. It means knowing how to target your ideal prospect which is Targeting, course number five. It means knowing how to sell without being salesy or pushy or icky or gross, which is Selling, course number six. It means knowing that you and you alone own your intellectual property, which is Copywriting course number seven. It means you must know how to do the math.

Ann Rea: (21:247)
You understand how to make a profit because if you don’t have a profit, you have a hobby. And if you have a hobby, you don’t have a business and you don’t stand a chance. That’s course number eight. And then you have to learn how to practice. Just like you learn how to practice making art and that’s course number nine, Prototyping. This is the roadmap and it’s proven. And it’s really important to understand that almost everything does have a framework, right? It does have a process, even if it’s a painting, right. You don’t pick out the frame first or you don’t start painting on the canvas before you’ve prepared it and stretched it. Right? Everything has a process. So I think that’s important to understand that you can look at success, and you can break it down. I guess the last question I have for you is what was your favorite part of working with us in the Making Art Making Money program? I actually have another question after that. I lied. Okay.

Tasha Aulls: (22:43)
My favorite– I think my favorite part in the group or my favorite part?

Ann Rea: (22:47)
Your whole experience of Making Art Making Money, what was your favorite part?

Tasha Aulls: (22:53)
I think my favorite part was the moment of some collectors that it took a very long time. They were people who approached me, took a very long to finally come and that whole visit. And then the feedback, which I think actually, and weirdly more than the sale that came was that their son had just got diagnosed with autism and he and I hit it off like wildfire we had like huge conversations of painting. And I even, I actually gave him a work, we’re doing the trade. He’s giving them to me. And these collectors they’re they’re friends of my brother and sister-in-law they told me that Chris, the mom was in tears, because she’d never seen her son like so open. And I think he’s like, he’s really perceptive on stuff at the same time. But I think that was my favorite part.

Ann Rea: (24:03)
It’s also a perfect illustration of how real relationships equal revenue.

Tasha Aulls: (24:09)

Ann Rea: (24:09)
You got a real connection. You got a real relationship and you made sales. And that is how it works you guys. Now, if someone was sitting on the fence and they weren’t sure about applying to enroll in this program, “I don’t know. I’m scared. I can’t do it. I can’t afford it.” That’s all the things, those are the things they typically say. What would you honestly say to them?

Tasha Aulls: (24:30)
Honestly, do it. Honestly do it. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, you might not have the money. Yes. All of that, but do it because if you’re just going to grow so much from it and that growth you’ll make that money back.

Ann Rea: (24:51)
Yes. Time and time, year after year. And if you keep doing it, the way you’re doing it, you ask yourself, you do your own math, right? How’s it going to work out? Where will you be one year from today if you don’t make a change? So I want to make sure everyone understands that the Making Art Making Money program is available by application only. And we’d love for you to apply. Please don’t be shy or scared. We would love everyone to apply because even if you’re not accepted into the program, we’ll still try to give you resources so that you can, or that you can take your next best step. So it’s not like we just say, “You’re out.” You know, actually, we do have some other options for you. Anyway. Thank you so much for your valuable time. I’m very proud of you. I’ve seen you really, really stretch and evolve. And this isn’t, you know, this isn’t a competition with a bunch of other racers. You’re running your own race in this program and you ran your own race. And I saw you come from pretty stuck.

Ann Rea: (26:04)
She’s not stuck anymore. She’s fine. Yeah.

Tasha Aulls: (26:45)
I wanted to say thank you so much too, Ann.

Ann Rea: (26:12)
You’re welcome. You’re welcome.

Tasha Aulls: (26:15)
It’s been quite a year and Making Art Making Money has been a big part of that. So thank you so much.

Ann Rea: (26:20)
Ah, you’re welcome. All right. Just stay in touch. So let’s let us know how you’re doing and thank you again for your time. Bye. 

Tasha Aulls: (26:27)
Thank you. 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®. 

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