Why do you create art?

Why do you create art?​


Artist, Karilee Park
Springville, Utah

Ann Rea: (00:00)
Just one second. Alright, everyone. This is Ann Rea coming to live from San Francisco, California. And this is one of my students, Karilee. And where are you coming from on the planet?

Karilee Park: (00:10)
Right now I am in Springville, Utah.

Ann Rea: (00:15)
Springville, Utah, everybody. Okay. So I invited Karilee to come and have a chat. An artist inspiring artists, because she sent me an email. Do you mind if I read it?

Karilee Park: (00:27)
I don’t mind. Go ahead.

Ann Rea: (00:28)
Okay. We’re going to read it. Alright. Full, full transparency here. We like that. So Karilee wrote me an email and said, “I just need to say how your program has changed me for so long. I have been creating art without knowing why and being unable to articulate my need to create. It was just a part of who I was, but nothing I ever dove into or try to understand, but now I have a purpose. I know why I create, and I have a mission. In fact, now all the pieces I make tie back to that. It feels amazing.” And she also learned that she’s grown. She said, “I’m my own worst enemy. I didn’t make my tuition back in sales yet.” Yet. You will. “But I feel confident that as I continue to apply what I’ve learned from you and stop getting in my own way, I’ll make that tuition a hundred times over. Thank you.” You’re very welcome. So first of all, I want to unpack what you said. So what I would love to know is what’s your mission?

Karilee Park: (01:41)
Okay. So my purpose, I completely 100% understand, but I know the mission is a little bit.

Ann Rea: (01:49)
Start with your purpose. I’ll coach you through this. I know like this. So, you know, this is an iterative process for anyone out there who think like, “Yes, you just check these boxes and then you’re done.” That’s so silly. That’s like saying, “I’m going to check these boxes. And then I’m done learning how to make art or making my art any better.” Right? It just doesn’t work that way. It’s a process and it’s ongoing, but– I mean, let’s just back up even further. Like you do know your mission. So maybe you’re feeling like, okay, I’m not used to speaking it out loud on camera, so I’m not even going to put you through it. But what I want to ask you is like when you came into the program, you obviously felt some way. Like some sort of way. Right?

Karilee Park: (02:35)

Ann Rea: (02:36)
So let’s go back to that. Let’s back up. So tell me what were like your top two challenges before you joined the Making Art Making Money program? What were you grappling with?

Karilee Park: (02:46)
Only two?

Ann Rea: (02:48)
Only two. The two worst ones. Let’s start with that.

Karilee Park: (02:52)
The two worst ones. Well, so I made sales and art, but they’re sporadic and just by chance and I couldn’t figure out how to make them consistent. So that was one big challenge. I could not figure out how to make that consistent or how I fell into the luck of being able to sell.

Ann Rea: (03:15)
Yeah. So it was like art sales by happenstance versus art sales by a deliberate consistent strategy. I mean, you’ve never like completely control. I mean, God, I wish we could, but you can. You do have control. You don’t have control over who buys, but you do have control over employing a consistent strategy and focusing on a target market. You do have control over that.

Karilee Park: (03:39)

Ann Rea: (03:39)
Okay. So that was one big challenge.

Karilee Park: (03:42)
That was one big challenge. And then my other challenge was still getting in my own way.

Ann Rea: (03:50)
So what does that mean? What does getting in Karilee’s own way look like?

Karilee Park: (03:56)
Other things became more like top priority over art. So life rather than yeah, life. I mean instead of making art, I was doing dishes and cooking meals and taking care of my children and doing a full time job and yeah, like all these other things that seem to be getting in my way, keeping me from making the amount of art that I wanted to make.

Ann Rea: (04:22)
Right. Yes. So I would say my little bit of coaching to you on this is don’t be too hard on yourself. You are a mom, you do work full time. And so like I always say this to my students. If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. So if you can just schedule a little bit of time, maybe not the ideal amount that you want, but just a little bit, boy, if you do it consistently, you can make a ton of progress. So I don’t know what that might look like for you. Maybe, you know, you have a time when your kids are in school, although everything’s crazy now. Whatever it is. Homeschool

Karilee Park: (05:00)

Ann Rea: (05:01)
So like, you know, just, don’t be too hard on yourself. And then when the opportunity is available to you, then schedule it because if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. And you will. I mean, I, Karilee can relate to this because when before I quit my full-time job, I was doing a four hour commute and work in 10 hours.

Karilee Park: (05:25)
So that’s literally all day and some of your sleep time.

Ann Rea: (05:28)
So I was just kind of dead during the week. Just really pretty much dead. I needed one day to recover. And then I carved out part of the day on Saturday. And I would like get my painting clothing on. And I would say, “I’m just going to do that. I’m just going to commit to that.” And then if I still don’t feel like it, because I’m too tired or I’m just not focused, I’m not going to do it. But nine times out of 10, I was like, “Yup, let’s do this.” So that’s just a little tip for everybody. But anyway, back to you, Karilee. Alright. So you know your purpose and this is huge because every successful artist knows who they are, what they stand for, and what they stand against.

Karilee Park: (06:14)

Ann Rea: (06:14)
Every single, because that’s what art is. Your job as an artist is to connect people with their humanity. So tell us, like, give us a few words of describing what it feels like to know your purpose as an artist?

Karilee Park: (06:34)
Oh my gosh. So it took me from unstructured and almost pointless art to suddenly having meaning behind everything I did instead of just like one or two paintings having meaning. It was all the sketch work that I did all like the prep. Everything that I create now has a deep meaning behind it. And it makes it valuable to me making it valuable to those who are buying because now suddenly it has worth instead of just a slap of wood with paint on it or, you know, whatever it is, it is more than now just the art. It is what you’ve said so often, Ann; the emotion.

Ann Rea: (07:39)

Karilee Park: (07:40)
And suddenly now it has value. Like it’s funny how much more worth my art is to me now that I have that purpose behind it.

Ann Rea: (07:51)
This is music to my ears. This is what is such a foundational lesson that you got this. You are ahead of 99.9% of artists out there. Even like, and I’m not talking about hobby artists, I’m talking about artists who are selling their art. So just so everyone’s clear this, the Making Art Making Money program and page and channels, it’s not for people who are into art for a hobby, if you’re into art for a hobby, that’s cool. Have at it. God bless you. I think it’s great. But this is about making art and making money. These are for professional artists. So now when you know, now that you know, like the value, the real emotional value and meaning behind your art, how likely are you to be to-discount-it or give-it-away-for-free?

Karilee Park: (08:47)
No, not. Not going to because that’s worth more. And like, I was reading about this because before, like, because art was something that I like just flowed out of my fingertips. Right? It was something easy to grow something together to give for a gift and things like that. And I’m like, but now there’s purpose and meaning behind it and value it’s like, no, no.

Ann Rea: (09:15)
And it’s your business.

Karilee Park: (09:16)
I can give something else for a gift.

Ann Rea: (09:19)
Yes, thank you.

Karilee Park: (09:22)
So this, because this is worth all my purpose behind it and you know, my livelihood versus just, you know, a gift and a hobby and something that I just do for fun.

Ann Rea: (09:34)
Yes. So I’m just going to make that distinction because we have a lot of people who will comment on the Making Art MakingMoney page. Believe it or not, “you shouldn’t worry about making money.” So just so you know, if you say that on my page, we ban you. We will ban your ass. So just be aware of that. You’re like– did you read the name of the page? We just don’t have time for that level of idiocy. We just don’t have the time. So my question for you is like besides your knowing your purpose now and obviously having that connect to knowing the value of your art, what were other like maybe two other key lessons that you’ve learned in the Making Art Making Money program?

Karilee Park: (10:22)
I loved going through what my niche is, discovering who they are and really knowing. I mean, I haven’t found them out in real life yet, but now I know the people that I’m looking for instead of just wandering blindly, like “Please like and buy my art.”

Ann Rea: (10:49)
Yes. Once you come out of like homeschooling and all that, like yes. But you, at least, you have direction now, right? Like as you move.

Karilee Park: (10:57)

Ann Rea: (10:58)

Karilee Park: (10:58)
And I even have some names of people that I want to get a hold of and show them my art and talk to them about my purpose and my mission and invite them to share in that instead of it being like “Well buy this.” It’s not that. We’re inviting people to participate with us in our mission.

Ann Rea: (11:23)

Karilee Park: (11:23)
Which this was so much cooler than just being like “Buy a product,” and never [unintelligible].

Ann Rea: (11:28)
Buy it. Well, you know, that’s what makes artists feel so awkward about selling their art. And so they have a representative. The problem, everybody, let me just do the math for you. Okay? Here’s the problem with having a representative. First of all, they’re going to take at least 50% sales commission and they’ll often offer the collector customarily a 10% discount on top of that. So you’re now left with 40% of your retail price. Okay? But that’s actually not the worst of it. That’s not the worst of it at all. The problem is when you don’t have a relationship with your customers, you can’t get referrals to other customers, people who they know and who can introduce you to. That means a huge, huge loss because referral sales on average for all small businesses and micro businesses generate on average 79% more sales, where you could have kept a 100% of the money.

Ann Rea: (12:30)
So if you look at that year after year. Every year you are working with a representative, you are just kissing goodbye to 80% more sales where you could have kept a 100% of the money. So it’s really a simple math equation. It’s not complicated. It’s the reason why you have to have a relationship with your collectors. So let me ask you, Karilee. Do you feel like now that you know your purpose now that you know your mission, you have something to really talk about that’s inspiring? Do you think you’re going to be able to connect on a more meaningful, authentic level with your collectors now?

Karilee Park: (13:08)
100%. Yes. Yes. Well, and I feel like now for the first time I can approach the people that I want to approach to buy my art because I have something that is worth participating in.

Ann Rea: (13:23)

Karilee Park: (13:23)
Both being a part of. Yes.

Ann Rea: (13:25)
Were you kind of shy about approaching them before you entered the program and found out what your purpose was?

Karilee Park: (13:32)
Shy doesn’t– like that’s an understatement. Maybe more shame and embarrassment to approach somebody about it because it’s like, you know, some people say, “It’s good and I like it.” Maybe you would too, but not completely. Completely different.

Ann Rea: (13:59)
Yes. So this is so common. And again, even people who are selling their art and they’re just like a lot of artists are introverts. Let’s let’s face it. Not all of us. Some of us are very extroverted. Some of us are in between. But even when an artist is extroverted, when they start talking about like their art, they don’t know what to say and they get all tongue-tied.

Karilee Park: (14:25)
Well, and because we get caught up in this “Art is subjective” thing, right? “Beauty is in eye of the beholder.” So person A may love what they’re looking at. And person B may hate what they’re looking at. But once you know your niche and your clientele person, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, you know, they all love it because they’re your niche.

Ann Rea: (14:52)
Well, yes. I’ll use this quote, I didn’t make this quote up so whoever’s copyright is this, I don’t know who you are, but I’ll say this. I would tell my students all the time. When it comes to people who are prospective buyers of your art, you have to like, keep this mantra in mind. “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next!” And when you know who you’re going to serve and who you can’t serve, you’re just really not bothered as much. So I guess one question I have for you is what if someone was kind of like, “Oh, I don’t know about this Making Art Making Money program. Not sure about it.” And they were just sitting on the fence. They weren’t sure. They’re going back and forth in their head. What would you honestly say to them?

Karilee Park: (15:38)
Honestly, that it’s worth it. I had actually been looking at your program for three years.

Karilee Park: (15:48)
Isn’t that funny? Like, I mean, I was watching the videos that you posted online. I was figuring out how to save the money, like how to create the time. Like, I mean, this was something I knew I wanted to do, but it was something I hadn’t done before. So I wasn’t positive what the result would be or what I would learn from it. Now I’ve gone through the program and I can honestly say for any artist out there that Ann’s program helps you identify who you are as an artist. It helps you find your niche and it helps you know how to make a difference and bring value to your art. Something that is not taught in schools. I’m sorry. Like I took a business for artists class in college and I’m pretty sure I came away knowing I had to have a good portfolio period. That was it. That was all I got from the class. And it just made me more nervous like, well, because everybody says like, “Do this for your portfolio.” “No, no, don’t do that. Do this for your portfolio.” This class doesn’t say any of that.

Ann Rea: (17:07)

Karilee Park: (17:07)
We don’t talk about what type of art you’re doing. What’s in your portfolio or any of that.

Ann Rea: (17:13)
I don’t care.

Karilee Park: (17:14)
It is all about your purpose, your value and your clientele. And it awesome. So I would say, make it work to make your money and, and that it’s definitely worth it to not wait to take it.

Ann Rea: (17:37)
Yes. Would you like, if you could travel back in your time machine and go back to the person three years ago who was still thinking about this? Would you give her a little nudge? Like giddy up Karilee?

Karilee Park: (17:48)
Yes, like a kick in the pants. Really.

Karilee Park: (17:52)
I mean she needed a kick in the pants. Although because I waited, it made this so much more valuable to me because I was like, “Oh my gosh! I waited forever for this.”

Ann Rea: (18:07)
That’s true. But I will warn all of you sitting on the fence, this program is not going to be going on forever. I will be eventually shutting it down. So this is not like– this isn’t available forever. You have to like, if you want, like, that’s one thing that I’ve learned, I think maybe you heard my story about my friend, Angela. And the reason why I decided to commit to being an artist was because we don’t know how long we have on this planet. And if there’s something that you really want to do. You better do it now.

Karilee Park: (18:41)

Ann Rea: (18:41)
You really better do it now. And if fear is what’s in your way, guess what? It’s going to stay there. Make it your friend. And as my friend, Jonathan Fields says in a subtitle to his one of his books. I love this subtitle, which is this “Turn your fear into fuel.” Fear is just energy. And when you really harness it, it becomes fuel and you harness it by just being courageous. And the way to become courageous, I think always is ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to me? What is the absolute worst thing that can happen to me?” And then look at, “Well, what’s the worst thing that can happen to me if I do nothing?” And that’s usually the bigger risk. If you sit and if you’re not happy with your situation and you’re sitting there and you’re not doing anything about it, that is– that should be more scary to you because you are not going to get out of here alive. None of us are, right? So that’s what I would encourage you to, just everyone who’s listening to this, to kind of think of it from that perspective. But I love it. I’m so proud of you. You know, I remember the tone of your voice when I talked to you for the first time. And this is a different Karilee.

Karilee Park: (19:57)
Thank you.

Ann Rea: (19:58)
You’ve got a lot more confidence in your voice and poise. And I can just tell that you do know your purpose.

Karilee Park: (20:07)
What’s really–and I appreciate that. I feel like I have more confidence, but it’s funny because my art itself hasn’t changed.

Ann Rea: (20:17)
No, it doesn’t.

Karilee Park: (20:17)
My art is the same way that I did before, but my confidence in it is tenfold. And it’s in my art. Like, and I can honestly say my art is worth it because it has purpose behind it. It has value, right? And I’ve never been able to say that before, Ann. It is so cool. I love being able to say that and believe it and know it.

Ann Rea: (20:47)
This is what I like. Let me just tell everyone. I bust my ass to build this program and to work with artists from 20 countries and counting. It’s a lot of work. It’s more work than I ever imagined it would be. But when I hear Karilee say something like that, I’m like, “Okay, that’s why I’m working so hard.” Because you’ve transformed and what you’re going to do Karilee, because you understand the purpose behind your art. Everyone who buys your art is also going to be touched by that, are also going to feel that and really be inspired by it. Because as I said before, as artists, our job is really simple. Our job is to connect people with their humanity. That’s our job. What does that mean? It means that we’re not selling goods. We’re not selling services. Our product is emotion, and you can feel the difference in like, if you had, you know, you can just feel the difference in your level of confidence. So thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day. I know you got kids to feed and homeschool and all that stuff. And so thank you for taking the time to share your journey in the Making Art Making Money program.

Karilee Park: (21:57)
Well, thank you so much for taking this time for all of us, Ann, in this program. Really appreciate it and really have loved every step of the way.

Ann Rea: (22:07)
Yay. Alright, Karilee. 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®. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.