Artist: Irina Cumberland; Burlingame, California
Ann Rea: We are live here with Irina Cumberland from Palo Alto?
Irina: Berlingame right now, but it’s very temporary.
Ann Rea: Berlingame right now, very temporary. So Irina was as a student in my most recent semester and she worked really hard and that’s why she’s got a lot of really interesting, unique value propositions and she doesn’t have to sell art anymore.
Irina: That didn’t work anyway.
Ann Rea: Yeah it wasn’t working anyway, she didn’t like it. So just to give a little bit of background Irina paints oceans beautifully, like masterfully. I can’t even do that and I live across from the damn ocean. It doesn’t matter. But she has this masterful skill of painting the ocean and she just painting the ocean over and over and over again without any real distinction of why her ocean paintings were unique from anybody else’s ocean paintings. And when you go through the Making Art Making Money program and you determine your Why, your purpose, you dig really deep and you actually pull out the truth of your soul. And one thing that’s really interesting about Irenas, we didn’t find this out until we actually got on our one on one call, was that she has a medical degree. So she’s a trained scientist and comes from a family of scientists. So for those who are in the know what the ocean is, is a giant fractal repeating fractals. And there’s science to support that when we humans expose ourselves to fractals, which are trees in the forest or the ocean waves, we relax quite significantly and quite measurably. So when I pointed this out that there was this whole body of science behind the benefits of Irina’s fractal paintings, she got really excited and started to instead of just seeing herself as “just an artist”, she saw herself for all of who she was, which is an artist and a scientist and blended it together into a very interesting and unique value proposition.
QUESTION: Does that about sum it up? Am I missing anything?
Irina: No, that’s pretty much right.
Ann Rea: Okay. So you can see her ocean background. So again, when Irina started, she was trying to sell ocean paintings so it wasn’t going so well because she was trying to sell art. When we identified the value above and beyond the art, then things opened up, the doors opened up. And so Irina’s is just getting started. She’s just getting started, but she’s got a great promising value proposition that I think she could do very well with. So I’m just going to ask you this off the top of your head, just off the top of your head, what’s the first thing that comes to mind for you…
QUESTION: Which was the first big lesson that you learned during this program?
Irina: I think the main thing that I learned is even the possibility that it never came up to my mind to connect the rest of my life to my art. You know what I mean? I thought, okay, art is one thing. This is my art and this is my life. And in this program going through the lessons I realized, okay, it can be working together. I don’t have to separate it.
Ann Rea: It has to actually for it to work.
Irina: Right, exactly. And it never even came to me that I can possibly connect medicine and art. I mean that was something that there was no way I could probably come up with on my own.
Ann Rea: Well that’s why you had your one on one with me so…
QUESTION: And you studied medicine for nine years, right? Something like 9 or 13?
Irina: That’s about right. Well the last couple of years it was actually working at the hospital.
Ann Rea: So what I want to point out is this; when you get to the point where you know your Why, you know your mission, then you have to figure out, okay, well how am I going to add value above and beyond my art to solve this one problem that’s really worth solving? When you do that, you can’t just look at your painting skills or your ability to hammer bronze, you’ve got to look at all of your resources. So it was interesting, almost startling to me that Irina was ignoring that part of herself or that resource. My resource simply when I started was, I was close to the wine country. It was just that simple. So this is a great lesson here. Not only can you combine, you must combine because as artists we sell a very personal product and that’s where our business parts ways with conventional goods and services, it’s very, very personal and it contains you. All right, great.
QUESTION: What was the second, (I’m going to pick up this puppy while you tell me) what the second big lesson you learned.
Irina: The second lesson. Oh my God, there were so many.
Ann Rea: Just whatever pops into your head. (Here’s rebel. Everybody. She’s my new puppy.)
Irina: Oh my God, I don’t know.
Ann Rea: There’s no right answer. Just what pops into your head.
Irina: Well, another one, I’m not sure if it’s a lesson or not, but I was very happy to connect with my study partners with other people in class, that was amazing. We still communicate until this time and I seen one girl in person.
Ann Rea: Oh Cool!
Irina: A person in the Bay area and it was pretty amazing and there’s just so much support. Especially I do have artist friends, other artist friends, but they’re thinking a little different than me, but with people already in this course that you already know that they kind of think in the same line with you and it’s just a lot easier to explain everything, to communicate and get support, and they understand exactly what I’m going through and somehow always know what to say for me. So I mean it has been amazing. I don’t know if it’s a lesson or not, I guess it is.
Ann Rea: I think it is a lesson because most artists are in competition with one another when one gets successful, a lot of times, the other artists get pissed off. (Okay, look at this. This is, I’m not in control of this puppy). Unity is definitely a very important element in not just this program, but in building any kind of enterprise, any kind of challenge. Having a community of like-minded people is an important and very essential ingredient. So I’m glad. It is a lesson. I think you did learn a lesson; that community is available to you here and you took advantage of it.
QUESTION: I mean, you reached out, right? You didn’t just sit on your hands.
Irina: Yeah, it’s been amazing and as you said, there was no competition, no nothing, because they’re doing a very different thing from me. And we’re not like “all doing an art”, no, we are working in a completely different area,
Ann Rea: Right, because you are not selling art. Right. It’s so funny. What I’m teaching you guys is actually called ‘the Blue Ocean strategy’, no pun intended. It’s actually called the ‘Blue Ocean strategy’, which is one of the books. The Blue Ocean strategy existed before these authors ever wrote the book because I created Blue Ocean strategies before the book was written, but that’s essentially what I’m teaching you. Art is an oversaturated market and so you can’t compete. You have to eliminate the competition by not competing. So you’re not going to compete with these people you’re with. So it’s wonderful. You don’t have to worry about that.
Irina: Right. And it’s so much easier not to worry about it.
Ann Rea: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You have to worry about being sensitive you know your are on the same path.
QUESTION: Okay. So what would be number three, what would the number three lesson that pops into your head?
Irina: Probably focus like to focus on one thing and organize my mind. I would say it’s like focus on one particular thing at the time, which I’m still not doing a great job at, but at least I’m aware of my problem now and I’m trying to fight it, but before I had so many of my ideas, like artistic ideas or any other, and I just wanted to do all of them all at the same time.
Ann Rea: And how did that work out? Let’s say you were painting a painting, playing the flute and making a cake, all at the same time (laughs)
Irina: That was about right. It was just crazy and I didn’t know what to do. And of course it’s not even that time gets spread too much, it’s even thoughts. Even when I’m painting one thing and I’m thinking about a totally different thing and when I do that thing I’m thinking about something else. And then just even the mental concentration on one thing is very important.
QUESTION: Did you gain some focus from the exercises that Dr. Pratt teaches us?
Irina: That was the main way to focus I would say.
Ann Rea: It takes four minutes, not even, a day. And it changes your life. It’s the same exact protocol that he’s taught to people who’ve gone on to win Grammys and Olympic medals.He’s the real deal and you can look them up, these are the people he helps.
Irina: I’m reading his book right now. It’s really good. There’s just so much more to it than what he was able to fit in the lecture and it’s just amazing.
Ann Rea: Well he’s written many books so that’ll just give you a good– that’s his latest book. So I’m glad. Focus is the number one challenge that artists report to me. The number two challenge that they report to me is confidence. But the two are linked together, when you gain focus and you take focused action, you gain confidence.
QUESTION: Would you say that’s been true for you?
Irina: Yeah, definitely. Like before when people asked me what I do, I totally panicked. I was saying anything except for ‘I do art’. I would say like, ’cause I have another business and I do some other things, like day job, but the fact that I’m an artist came up at the very end. Like I was so uncomfortable to even say that paint.
Ann Rea: It has quite a stigma. People don’t know what to do, feel sorry for you or admire you. If they think that you’re financially successful they really admire you, but if they have any sense that you’re struggling or that you’re a kept woman or man, then they will pity you. So it’s really interesting, we’re the most admired and were most scoffed at when we say the word artist.
Irina: Yeah. It’s just very confusing. I would say it’s a confusing word. When you say you are an artist, people don’t know, as you said. You don’t know if it’s good, if it’s bad, what are they going to say next? And it’s like okay, that’s the end of the conversation.
Ann Rea: Yeah, it is. It’s a conversation killer, that’s for sure. Just like artist statements, huge conversation killer. So number one you learned community is essential. You learned focus was essential and that you could incorporate and you must incorporate all your resources and all your experience. Not all of it. Actually I take that back. It’s not everything. It’s just combining who you are as a person because art is personal. And what’s interesting is I’ll bet your paintings have so much more meaning to you personally as a result of making this connection.
Irina: Right. And it has more meaning, like it had a lot of meaning even before I started thinking about, I just didn’t realize it like the fact that now I’m aware of now that I know the science, that I actually dig into it. I know why it made me feel so good (these paintings and the ocean by itself) but even like I have a painting of this particular amazing day of the Florida Ocean, I have it in my room and every time I look at it, I feel so good, like I’m back to that ocean. And I just never thought of it. I never thought of why it was happening.
Ann Rea: It’s almost like you didn’t understand your own inspiration in a way.
Ann Rea: All right, so there’s one statistic that you cited about the number of seconds it takes when you get yourself into an environment of fractals, your heart rate changes at what percent? You told me once before.
Irina: It’s like a general, they took the heart rate and they took an encephalogram..
Ann Rea: Okay, so total biofeedback.
Irina: They looked at everything together and they said that the stress level drops down 60% in the first second.
Ann Rea: That’s amazing! Like what does that? There’s nothing you can drink. There’s nothing you can, no pill you can pop, like to get you to that. So this is a powerful, powerful piece of knowledge and highly freaking marketable, if you do this right Irina and you’re going to, I know you will. So let’s say there are people who are listening who may be thinking about the program, may never enrolled this program, are already in, who knows who’s listening.
QUESTION: If you had to give another artist or maybe even yourself before you even started, one piece of parting advice, what would you tell her one thing, what one thing would you tell her?
Irina: So I guess one general thing– I just I can’t choose one thing. Oh my God. The first thing that came to mind is really just focus on one thing, just focus on one and stick with it long enough, but I think the program helps you to actually find that one thing that you should stick with. And I would say it was people who enrolled in this program, like in the first weeks, it probably should be the program because otherwise you probably should just really, really concentrate because that’s a lot of work. You have to put in the work, and then once you find that thing, just really, really stick to it and not spread yourself all over the place, which that’s also advice to myself because I’m still not doing a perfect job on that, but yeah, eventually I will.
Ann Rea: Okay. Yeah, so that’s a reoccurring thing. That’s why you go at your own pace too. I think that’s also important. Don’t compare yourself to other people and how fast they’re going or how slow they’re going. All that matters is that you choose. Everyone has to run their own race and you go at your pace and you’ll get there. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll get there. Right?
Irina: Yeah. It’s not even that. That’s not what I was going to say, to just concentrate on one thing, but just to know at least what is the main thing and stick with it long enough no matter if all you do or if it’s something on the side that you just have like an hour a week to dedicate to, but just really, really focus at it. Even mentally even if you can’t put so much time at it.
Ann Rea: Right.
Irina: Because eventually it will pay off it. It pays off. usually.
Ann Rea: You’re more confident than you were when we started. ‘Cause I talked to you on the phone initially and you’re more confident.
Irina: I feel more confident.
Ann Rea: I can see it. And you sound more confident and that sounds, that’s music to my ears. I’m very proud of you. You did a lot of hard work and the fact that you got in there and made connections with other students, it helped you, but I’m sure it helped them too. What goes around comes around. So you help elevate the whole community when you get in there and you reach out and you ask for help and you give help. That’s the best, the very best.
Irina: It feels good, it feels really good.
Ann Rea: I’m looking forward to seeing how you progress. It’s going to take some time. It’s like you just planted the tree. You just planted the little sapling. So now we’ve got to water it and give it food. And see what happens. And it’s going to be more– and you’re a scientist, so take this experimental approach to the hypothesis, which is your unique value proposition and target market.
Irina: Yeah, I will.
Ann Rea: All right. Well, thank you (Rebel I think is sleeping, so this is good). Thank you very much. I appreciate your time. And I’m going to share this and in this program and on social media, I did not get your permission when we started, is that cool with you? I can show everyone?
Irina: Oh yeah it’s okay. (laughs)
Ann Rea: By the way everyone you should ask before you do that, but anyway, we’re good. And I will see you in the Facebook group because you’re going to give me updates.
Ann Rea: All right. Take good care. Have a good night.
Irina: You too. Thank you so much.
Ann Rea: You’re welcome.
Making Art Making Money