• If artists keep doing the “same” things now that they’ve been doing, they won’t do well.
  • If artists keep doing the “some” things, they won’t do well.
  • If artists start doing the “right” things now, they will have many more opportunities to sell their art.

That’s because the luxury market makes money during market ups and downs. The affluent have enough “stuff.”

Now they’re looking for meaning and connection that can only come from art. And they’re looking to support artists directly, not the middle man, more than ever. Sadly, talented artists who don’t do the “right” things now will be left behind.

Ann Rea

Artist & Mentor

Artists Choosing Fear or Faith



Uncertainty Equals Opportunity For Some and Failure for Others

Ann Rea (00:09):
It’s Ann Rea from San Francisco, California. I am an artist and I am the creator of the Making Art Making Money program. And I did a really down and dirty illustration because I want to convey an important lesson that is really relevant to the times we’re in. And I want to illustrate to you how this is actually an opportunity now really simply. Now, if you’re already enrolled in the Making Art Making Money program, you’re going to recognize some of the principles that I’m teaching. If you’re not enrolled in the program or you’re thinking about it, um, you’re going to maybe learn something new. So let’s talk about this illustration is fugly as it is right now, there is a black horizontal line right here, right? That represents time. Time is, here’s today, time is going to continue, right? It’s going to continue. And during this time, what we can bank on is change.

Ann Rea (01:15):
It’s going to change. Right now this feels very uncertain, but eventually we’re going to come. We don’t know when, but at some point, this dotted line is this, this vertical dotted line, things are going to settle down. I, what I want to do is I want to talk about the three types of artists and the three opportunities and the three outcomes based upon your actions, based upon what you decide to invest your time, money, and attention to right now. So number one, they’re going to be a group of artists who are going to do a lot of wrong things, right? They’re going to stop really trying, maybe stop investing in themselves, stop. Um, reaching out to collectors, stop doing, um, any kind of marketing effort or sales effort. And what’s going to happen is when this uncertain time resolves itself, these artists are going to be down here.

Ann Rea (02:16):
And this is the part that a lot of people are very fearful of. There’s also going to be another group of artists who are going to do some things and often some of the same things, but times have changed or will change. So you have to respond to it and you can respond to it in a way that’s fearful or you can see the opportunity that’s available. I’m telling you this on good authority. I’ve been a student of the luxury market for many years. And when I was an artist, I weathered the 2007 2008 financial crisis. And it came out a hit and it’s because I wasn’t one of the artists who gave up and I wasn’t one of the artists who did the same things. I was one of the artists who did the right things. And we’re going to talk about what the right things are.

Ann Rea (03:07):
So you can do the, you can do the wrong things or what I like to say, no things, right? Just give up. You can do some things which are a guests. You know, if you are just guessing about how to market and sell your art, your guesses are going to be off a good percentage of the time. You need to have a proven roadmap to follow because guessing is quite expensive, time consuming, frustrating. And uh, you know, it’s just not the way to go. Now, the other category of artists, and frankly this is a smaller category, a much smaller category, they’re going to do the right things. So let’s talk about what the right things are. First of all, this is an opportunity for you to reflect and to think deeply about your creative purpose and your mission, which I referred to as your why being your creative purpose and your what, which is your mission.

Ann Rea (04:15):
So in case you’re not familiar with my four part code, the first part of the four part code is your why. That’s your creative purpose. It’s got everything to do with you. It’s got nothing to do with your art, your what? Your mission is a direct result of your why. That’s got nothing to do with your art. That’s got nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with how you may be of service. And that’s really the keys to the kingdom. How can you be of service? So many artists think it’s all about them. Well, it’s not about you, it’s not about you at all. Do you think about it? Would you want, if you walked into a store and all the proprietors did was talk about herself or himself and didn’t ask about you, you’d walk out of the store. Well, that’s what a lot of artists do with their artists’ statements, which are incredibly self-involved and cringe-worthy.

Ann Rea (05:10):
So we flipped the script, a script on that, and we talk about the why and the what. Understanding what this is and devoting yourself to, this is the one right thing you can be doing. The second right thing you can be doing is your house. So in the four part code, the how is step three, and that’s how you can create clear value above and beyond the art itself, your house. So you’re how, let me give you an example of a very, very famous artists who’s still alive today. He’s a Chinese revolutionary artists. The same as I way, way now. You think this is bad. Uh, he grew up in China, in exile with his family. Is that a studio leveled by the Chinese government? He’s been in prison and yet he’s still making art and he’s still making money with his art. Now what is his mission?

Ann Rea (06:08):
It’s really clear his mission, despite all the odds, is to expose the oppression of the Chinese government. And he does a great job of it using creativity. His how, how does he add clear value above and beyond the art itself? Well, your house should be a natural extension of a skill or a resource that you already possess. It’s not something you have to reach for. Oftentimes your house is so close to you, it’s like on the tip of your nose so you can’t see it. But in I way ways case his how was his is it is his use of social media. He took to Twitter as a resource to expose the oppression of the Chinese government and that has acted as a marketing tool for his art installations. So that’s a tiny example, but it’s one example myself. The resource that I had readily available to me.

Ann Rea (07:08):
I live here in San Francisco. I live about half an hour, hour away from wine country. What happens in wine country? There’s a lot of tourists. What are those tourists? Do they drink wine when people drink wine and were on vacation, what do they do? They buy art. So I deliberately leveraged that resource. That’s another example I could go on for days about how, as a matter of fact, this part right here, cracking this part of the four part code is probably one of my favorite things to do for my students because it can often be really obvious for me how they can create clear value above and beyond their art and charge more and maybe not so clear to them. So this, this part’s fun to me. The third right thing you can do is focus on your who, who has purchased your art, who has shown you support, right?

Ann Rea (07:59):
So in the Making Art Making Money program, I suggest that my students have appreciation parties. Well, maybe you might not be able to get together in person right now, but what you can do is you can write a handwritten thank you note and you can genuinely briefly tell them why you appreciate them. Now you might think that means nothing, but let’s face it. How often do you get a genuine, heartfelt, thoughtful thank you. Not often. And when you do offer that, people remember it. So by appreciating your who you’re planting seeds. So as this timeline inevitably continues to progress to the point where things are settled down, those sprouts of appreciation, right? They’re going to blossom. They’re absolutely going to blossom. Let me give you a quick example. Uh, two days ago, all the brake light went out in my car and I called the garage thinking, Oh, what’s this going to cost?

Ann Rea (09:00):
Right? I called the garage and the garage owner said jokingly, Oh, it’s going to cost you like $30,000 and $30,000. I knew he was joking. He said, no, just come by. I’ll just charge you for the bulb. I thought, wow, a garage is going to just charge me for the bowl, so I swing by. Normally you have to have an appointment. It’s a very busy garage. You’re in San Francisco. I drive up. He immediately fixes my brake light. I asked him, what do I owe you? And he said, nothing. I don’t even know now. You know what I mean? Anything. Just put it on your, just remind me and I’ll put it on your tab. The next time you come in. Well, I’m not suggesting that you give things away for free by the way, but here’s the thing, I’m going to remember that it was a small thing.

Ann Rea (09:51):
It was a small gesture, but it meant a lot and looks. Look what’s happening right now. I am broadcasting this kind gesture from Richardson auto on Lombard street in San Francisco. If you’re listening, that’s who did this kind gesture. I will never leave that garage. He has now cemented my loyalty and he’s bought a bunch of free advertising. Yeah, please do not give away your art and is not what I’m suggesting. That’s the worst thing you can do. You can write a thank you note. You can do that. You can, um, put it on a postcard that maybe has your art. You can make a, you can send a text, you can do all sorts of things. This is a time for you to get creative. But here’s the thing, there’s the wrong things, which would be don’t invest in, you’re not investing in yourself, not investing in your art, your art enterprise. That would be the wrong thing to do. And what’s going to happen is when this things settle down, you’re going to experience a decline and it’s not. It’s not going to feel good. It’s not going to be pretty okay. Your other option is to do some things which might be within your comfort zone, but if you operate only within your comfort zone, you’re only going to do some things and you’re still going to experience a decline.

Ann Rea (11:12):
Or you can reach outside of your comfort zone, which we’re all being forced to do, and you can do the right things. You can double down on your efforts too. Understand and serve a mission that’s greater than yourself, and you will differentiate yourself from all the other artists. You can double down and understanding and thinking about ways that you can create clear value above and beyond your art, making your art more marketable and more valuable. And you can celebrate the people and truly, genuinely appreciate the people who have purchased art from you. And it doesn’t take much to show genuine appreciation. You don’t have to send a big old love letter and embarrass yourself. Just [inaudible] thoughtful. That’s all the truth really is the best marketing strategy. It really is, and for artists in particular, because our product where is emotion, we’re not selling goods or services because our product is emotion.

Ann Rea (12:12):
We have to be genuine. We have to be authentic because if we’re not, it doesn’t come across as emotion, right? It comes across as a little awkward and false. So the truth really is the best marketing strategy. So if you’re already in my program and the Making Art Making Money program, you already know about these elements and I’m willing to encourage you to dig deeper if you’re not enrolled in the program. I mean it encourage you to apply to enroll and I’m going to encourage you to invest in yourself so that when this time comes and things settle down to be in such a better position. One last lesson I want to share as a student of the luxury market and as an active member of luxury marketing council, I got to see a lot of research and a lot of marketing trends being presented at each meeting.

Ann Rea (13:04):
And what I learned, it was a huge lesson. So what I learned was the luxury brands, and by the way, you are in the luxury business. If you sell art, it is a luxury, right? And here’s the good news, everybody, the effluent, they haven’t lost all their money, haven’t gone up in flames. None of no money has gone up in flames. It’s still there. And the affluence are always looking for meaning. They have a bunch of stuff. So if you can provide meaning, then you have your customer. Those people are going to have a wedding anniversary, they’re going to have a big birthday, and they’re going to be looking for a big gift, right? And that’s where you can come in. They’re going to buy a new house, they’re going to do a remodel. They’re not in the same position as most people. You are not your customer.

Ann Rea (13:54):
But back to my point is that during the, during the recession in 2007 and by the way, I’m not implying that that’s what’s going to happen. May or may not happen. We don’t know. We have uncertainty right now. That’s where we are today. We don’t know what’s going to happen, okay? But those luxury brands refuse to discount and who focused on their mission and who focused on the customers who had already purchased from them and focused on creating clear value above and beyond there product. They not only thrived, they grab a larger share of the market and all the luxury businesses that we’re fearful and that constricted and did some things or the same things, they went out of business or they lost their market share. So I want to urge you to do the right things and I want to help you do it. So focus on, really think carefully about what you have control over and what you don’t have control over. And if you can do that and you can act upon what you do have control over, you’ll come out of this so much stronger.

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