Artist: Rebecca Rath; Pokolbin, New South Wales

QUESTION: What was your top challenge?

Rebecca Rath: It was sales, but also I think underneath it all was finding a purpose. It was like: “Why do I paint? Why do I do this?” I actually asked an artist friend who had just completed a PhD “why do you paint?” and he just said, “Well, because I like it”, and I was like “But you’ve done a PhD! There has to be a bigger reason, you’re a teacher at university; this is where I’m potentially going to go in life!”

QUESTION: What was your other challenge?

Rebecca Rath: Wanting those nuggets of information from you on sales. How do I sell more because it’s not working. I think underneath it all I wanted to find my purpose.

QUESTION: What was your mindset?

Rebecca Rath: Well, I had come out of University and it’s the one mindset. ‘I’m an academic, I’m not a sell out’. In my mind the one business model (if there is a business model) is to find that gallery and just be like “yeah I found a gallery. Life’s going to change. They’re just going to take everything and make me a success and I’m going to be great, and it’s going to be awesome.” But yeah, no. It’s not like that.

QUESTION: What if artists find representation?

Ann Rea: I cannot tell you how many artists I’ve heard from who were at the top of their game making a ton of money and then *snaps* bam! it all disappeared and they had none of their collectors’ contact information so they were screwed.

Rebecca Rath: Well, that’s what happened to me 20 years ago.

QUESTION: What happened to you?

Rebecca Rath: I did honors roll at University and was very academic. I thought: that’s where I want to go. That’s where I want to be. I was working for a gallery. I made a great contact with another gallery. They offered me an exhibition, and it was a sell-out. At the time I just went “Oh, this is what happens”. I didn’t really think that this is kind of special. I was just like; “Oh, I’m just following the bouncing ball and this is what happens and it’s amazing”. At the time everyone’s going, why are you putting those big figures on your work? I just went: well that’s what I think it’s worth and no one believed in me. They never said “You’re not going to get those prices” but I did, and I had a waiting list and life was amazing and it just all happened really fast. Then I had a baby and we moved to the bush. My life just changed. My art change. I changed everything. I lost the gallery, they had some of my work but didn’t quite believe in me. Then they closed the gallery and I didn’t have any of my contacts. I’ve been trying to find that x factor and find that gallery and what I had there and replicate it again. And that’s been 15 years ago.

QUESTION: What happened next?

Rebecca Rath: I was at a crossroads. Go do the PhD, be more academic and take this seriously, but I struggled with it. I struggled with doing that because my friend who is a very respected artists (and I think he’s amazing), said “I don’t know why I paint”. I was thinking that’s not the answer I wanted and then your course came up again. Now I’d seen it and we had a conversation like four or five years ago on the phone and so when your course came up again, I said to myself; you know what, I need to do this. This is not random this has come up for a reason, so have a go.

QUESTION: What have you learned?

Speaker 1: I didn’t realize what I’d learned about myself. I didn’t realize I went in with the idea of getting more sales and learning from you, but I didn’t realize that I would make such heartfelt connection and find my purpose. I get teary thinking about it because it’s so powerful. I’m so connected with my why, and my purpose that when I see opportunities now and they resonate with my why, I just go, “Yeah, I’m going to do this. This is awesome.”

QUESTION: How has this changed things?

Rebecca Rath: Regional galleries are supported by local government and they’re fantastic people and very professional. They invited five gallery representatives to come to a regional gallery, in my area, which is Muswellbrook. We get seven minutes with each of these gallery representatives to discuss our work and make contacts, and network with other artists. Now because I am a bit of a hermit in my little space and on land here it’s a great evening to network with other artists, meet gallery professionals, get a bit of feed-back and just make connections. I did do it about five years ago and I felt such a difference this time. Last time it was very; “you need me, you so need me” It was very needy. I was like “please, please take My work”. I Was a bit desperate, but this time I knew my why and I knew my purpose. The connections are amazing the outcome was incredible. I made amazing heartfelt connections with these gallery representatives. Some galleries took some work. I’ve organized exhibitions. I made some lovely friends with other artists and I left feeling really buoyant and in control.

QUESTION: What’s different with you?

Rebecca Rath: The confidence I’ve received from your course has like sky-rocketed! When I first did that emotional test that we do in the beginning, I went really well. I kind of surprised myself, but there were two things that were lacking and one was being assertive. Because being assertive is not cool for a woman and I didn’t grow up in that environment, I had to work on that. Because when being assertive, you don’t have to be, rude or mean. To voice your opinion and set boundaries is powerful.

QUESTION: What are your two biggest take-aways?

Rebecca Rath: Knowing my boundaries and being assertive without being rude, but speaking my truth, and the other one was finding my purpose, my why. That speaks volumes. I can’t begin to explain how happy I am. So thank you.

QUESTION: How is this program different?

Rebecca Rath: It’s really powerful what you’ve written in this course. I’ve done a lot of self development work on myself and I thought I’d knew but obviously I didn’t. It’s really amazing to know your boundaries and be okay with that. It is really great. To have purpose and know who you are. It’s life changing.

QUESTION: How has this changed things?

Rebecca Rath: I was asked to do drawings for somebody and they didn’t pay me and dragged and dragged and dragged on for two years. During your course and because of your course, I stood up for myself. I researched how much I was worth. I researched copyright, I researched all that information and they paid me. It was incredible. I can’t begin to explain how amazing that felt. To be paid for work I did and to be valued for it, and you know what? I think they appreciated me being businesslike and upfront and saying, this is what I’m worth. These are my boundaries. These are my conditions. This is my copyright. This is how much you owe me, and they are very successful business people and I think they responded to me being this is it

QUESTION: What advice do you have for other artists?

Rebecca Rath: Trust yourself. Trust yourself. Listen to yourself. Listen to in here (your heart), just get that out of the way and just you know everything up there just confuses you (your head)

QUESTION: Should other artists apply to enroll?

Rebecca Rath: Trust yourself. Go for it. Do it because you will learn so much about yourself and learning about yourself has a ripple effect. If you know yourself, your purpose, your why, and you know your boundaries, you can safely say yes or no to anything that comes along.

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