Nadine Prada; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
QUESTION: What was your biggest challenge?
Nadine Prada: I was basically throwing a lot of stuff at the wall trying to see what would work because I didn’t really know what to do. I was looking at other artist friends who were, at least from the outside, they seemed successful and they were doing lots of art fairs and all kinds of shows and they had a lot of fingers in a lot of pies because I actually think deep down they didn’t really know any better either and we were just all doing what we saw other people do. I was scattering my energy all over the place, showing up at all these fairs, spending a lot of energy and not knowing what I was doing wrong, trying to learn from it and trying to, iterate and show up, but I wasn’t really sure and I had this vague sense of like: ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing wrong. I want to do better, but I don’t know how.’
QUESTION: How did that make you feel?
Nadine Prada: It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting and soul destroying because you think there’s something wrong with you that you’re just not getting it.
QUESTION: Did other artists know how you felt?
Nadine Prada: That sort of leaves you feeling a little discouraged. So it was a confidence thing. I didn’t want to admit it because I liked showing up as a positive person
Ann Rea: Oh yes, I see people do that all the time,
Nadine Prada: It’s like you say you’re okay and put on your big smile but …
Ann Rea: You’re like secretly frigging miserable and have been failing and not making any money, but better not violate the law of attraction and be negative.
Nadine Prada: Right. (laughs)
QUESTION: What did you notice about other artists?
Nadine Prada: There are artists that are at a lot of those fairs where they’re having a hard time of it, they don’t know what they’re doing wrong and they’re discouraged as heck and they’ve got this sad little smile on their face, but you can smell it a thousand miles away that they don’t feel seen. They don’t really know what they’re doing and it’s just depressing.
QUESTION: How were you feeling?
Nadine Prada: I didn’t even want to really look too closely at what I was feeling because, there was this underlying sadness that I wasn’t reaching a) my potential and b) the people that I intended to reach with my work. In previous careers I would apply this energy and I would learn and I would get somewhere, right? I wasn’t used to that. It felt like failure and I didn’t even know why. It was very frustrating.
QUESTION: What didn’t you know?
Nadine Prada: I did not know how to talk about my mission. I thought I was supposed to try to talk about my art and it felt icky.
QUESTION: What else didn’t you know?
Nadine Prada: I did not know to add value above and beyond my art and sell that; I was trying to sell the art. When you’re trying to sell art, even if you’re trying to make conversation and not be icky about it, it is still icky. Nobody wants to be sold to. They love that thing. People love to buy but they don’t want to be sold to, and when you’re standing on day three of the art fair and you haven’t sold anything or a pittance, you start wanting to make your booth fee back and all of these things and you’re in this weird position where you’re trying to sell, you’re starting to try to sell and you feel very uncomfortable because it’s not a natural thing and it doesn’t feel right. So you’ve got this tug of war inside. I didn’t know to talk about my mission and I didn’t know how to talk about my mission. I didn’t know how to articulate it at all. And I also didn’t know to create value above and beyond my art and sell that too. So both those things; life changers.
QUESTION: What’s Changed?
Nadine Prada: So now knowing my mission, I talk about that instead. I definitely don’t talk about things like brush strokes. Sometimes people ask me the inspiration behind my work but I definitely talk about my mission and I talk about this problem in the world that I’m trying to solve through my work. I also basically sold my grid walls, gave back my tent, and declared to the universe: “I’m not doing art fairs anymore and I’m not afraid.” I’m not afraid to do things differently because the way I’m called to do them is different and I’m totally cool with that. What people get from me is very different and they love it, and I get to be me, all aspects of me. I can bring my best and because I’m being me, and there is no other me, so I’m really confident being me. I can do it my way. People want that from me. It’s different, it’s exciting for them. They feel very special, very much like they’re getting something. Even if they come in and they’re not ready to buy art yet or they don’t consider themselves an art collector yet they get so much out of my events. They leave feeling so refreshed, restored. They learn some skills that they can use in the rest of their life. it’s led to pretty incredible things landing in my lap. I got to be the founding member of a business and actually we put the offer in on the space today, so talk about that being life changing.
Ann Rea: That was just from you sharing your mission?
Nadine Prada: Yes.
QUESTION: How did you get this opportunity?
Nadine Prada: I was talking about my mission and what I do above and beyond the art and she just looked at me, and she was like ‘wow.’ Then she shared that she was doing a course in mindfulness, at university level, and we just really hit it off because we realized we have very similar missions in life. Little did I know what was coming; okay so she was a client of mine in my last freelance project, and the project wrapped up. We got to know each other over a couple of months and when the project wrapped up about a week later she emailed and said, “can we please meet to discuss how we can work together next year because I have a proposal for you”.
Ann Rea: So this is it. I want everyone to just pause for a minute because all you did was share your mission.
Nadine Prada: That’s all I did.
Ann Rea: You weren’t selling.
Nadine Prada: Not at all. I’m just connecting with a human being. That’s it.
Ann Rea: Your first step of all sales and selling is building rapport. So you were just building rapport, building rapport, building rapport, being yourself, being yourself, being yourself. And she came to you. I just want to draw attention to that real quick. That’s all.
Nadine Prada: Yeah.
QUESTION: What happened next?
Nadine Prada: Within about half an hour or 45 minutes, we had this plan and she said: “I would like for you to be a founding member of this mindfulness center that I’m opening.” She even asked, and this was important for her because she knows the kind of work that I do with art, so she asked that I come with her whenever she found a space that she liked. I don’t have to put any money up for this venture, she wants my advice and my expertise and she wants me to show up and help build this enterprise
QUESTION: What do you get from this deal?
Nadine Prada: I get to hang my art there at no cost to me. I get to facilitate these events where my artist is there and the art is a part of the work that I do. My art’s going to be there, I get to sell the art, I get to show the art and I get to do my work, which is really important to me and to her, I get to be part of this really cool business that there isn’t the likes of this kind of business in the city yet, little bits of this have have existed in other cities and in the states, but nothing like it is in the city of Toronto yet, and I get to be a part of building this great new thing.
Ann Rea: You didn’t put any money in?
Nadine Prada: No. She just loves my mission
QUESTION: Where is this located?
Nadine Prada: It’s in the most amazing part of town. It’s a gorgeous open space. I get to do my work. I get to do it regularly and not have to pay anything towards the rent or anything. I just get to grow this business. It’s like a dream come true.
QUESTION: What is your mission?
Nadine Prada: My mission is to help people become present in their body through their five senses so that they can access their inner GPS.
QUESTION: What is an inner GPS?
Nadine Prada: Inside of my physical body is an inner GPS system that guides me to the right relationship, it can tell me of and warn me of danger, it can open me up to miracles. But I have to be fully present in my body to hear and to receive that guidance. We are the greatest truth detectors. It’s right inside. What’s fascinating is your body literally cannot lie to you. It can’t. You know, your brain can lie to you all the time, your ego can lie to you all the time and try to convince you of things all the time, but your body can’t lie to.
QUESTION: What do you think of your study partners?
Nadine Prada: One of my study partners works at Harvard. I mean he’s amazing, but he works at Harvard.
Ann Rea: Yeah, I have students on the faculty at Harvard and I’m going to brag right now. (laughs) I feel smarter somehow because of that.
Nadine Prada: So yeah, you feel like you’ve been handed the keys to the kingdom. It’s amazing.
QUESTION: What do you tell other artists?
Nadine Prada: I tell all my artist friends this all the time, I say there’s this woman named Ann Rea. Every single time I do what she says it works and I make more money and I make progress. Every single time, without fail. So there you go.
QUESTION: Would you go back to what you were doing?
Nadine Prada: Of course I still have a lot to learn, but in the two years since I joined up, it’s like night and day and let me tell you, there’s no way in hell I would go back to that way of doing things from two years ago. No way!
Ann Rea: Are you sure? Can I give you an application to an art contest Nadine?
Nadine Prada: Or another art fair that costs $3,000? It is exhausting. You know what kept me coming back is I would get these little bits of success very intermittently. You couldn’t predict anything and it was very intermittent. Some fairs would be okay and then some would be really soul destroying. Then what really clinched it for me was last year; at this big expensive fair, I sold a very expensive painting on opening night. But it was because I had shared my mission with another colleague a year ago, and she literally looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “I think I need to buy some of your art” and she came to the fair on opening night to buy this piece from me specifically. Then she said, “Oh, I had no idea it was going to be like this. This is kind of crazy and overwhelming.” She showed up at this fair to buy it from me just because it was an easy place to see the piece, but I could have saved myself $3,000 and added that to the profit side of things instead of spending that because that was my connection.
QUESTION: Why does sharing your mission work?
Nadine Prada: It cuts all the small talk out and you go to that thing that resonates. I’m very confident talking about it because I know I’m doing something that’s bigger than me when I talk about that. I know that it’s really important. I really feel like it’s the reason that I’m alive. The reason I am alive is to do this work. First of all, I love talking about it. I could talk about it for 24 hours a day and not get tired of it, but I really feel because it’s bigger than me. I’m stepping out in ways that I never would have in the past.
QUESTION: Are you still shy?
Nadine Prada: I’m actually happily saying yes to these speaking opportunities now because of this mission and because I believe in it so much and none of the other shy stuff or none of that stuff matters because it’s bigger than me. It’s not about me.
QUESTION: Do you have an artist statement
Nadine Prada: (laughs) Oh, I have one and I need to like publicly burn it because you know, it was written for various shows or to get in to these fairs or whatnot
QUESTION: What should other artists now about this program?
Nadine Prada: What have you got to lose? I would maybe say look back at your previous year or two of growth, of trying to make progress with your art sales and look back at your level of confidence, your level of focus and ask yourself: do you want to still be there in a year, two years, five years? Do you want to still be throwing things at the wall and not knowing what sticks or if it does, why? Guessing at what works and what doesn’t work? Do you want to still be wandering in the dark or would you like to have a roadmap? Would you like to suddenly go from a shy person to a confident speaker? Would you like to know what that value is above and beyond your art and own all of your skills, all of your life? Would you like to be that person instead? Because that’s how you get there is by taking this program.
QUESTION: What happened when you decided to apply?
Nadine Prada: The minute I decided that I was going to sign up for this program and do it. I, I knew it was going to be life changing. I knew it and now look.
QUESTION: What stops artists from joining us?
Nadine Prada: Probably they were looking at the investment, right? So if they’re looking at the money, they’re thinking, Ooh, that’s a lot and maybe they’ve been burned by other programs before, like I was, or maybe it’ll work for those other people, but not for me. There’s this limiting belief.
QUESTION: What other programs did you try?
Nadine Prada: So there’s this thing called B-School that is a few thousand dollars and it’s for people to create an online business to sell. It’s basically for heart-minded entrepreneurs to sell online. That didn’t teach me how to sell art. I mean there’s an artist group but they didn’t really contribute much and basically it taught me some things, and it introduced me to other people, but it didn’t teach me how to sell art. So that was a couple thousand dollars. Through that I had met the sort of life/business coaches and I cringe to think how much money I spent working with someone like that, and they didn’t help me in terms of selling art at all. I spent thousands of dollars on that.
QUESTION: What attracted you to this program?
Nadine Prada: I could tell that it was something different and that you put your money where your mouth is and that you lived it. I mean, you were the person that had figured out how to sell over $100,000 of your own art back in 2005 and I’m like, well, I want to know how to do that, and this woman’s an artist. She’s not a gallerist or anybody else, she knows how to make art and sell her own work. So I want to learn from her.
QUESTION: Why is this program different?
Nadine Prada: There isn’t another program like this, I looked. I spent lots of money on previous things that were very expensive and I didn’t get the returns because they didn’t know how to teach you how to sell art. They weren’t artists who had done what you’ve done. I needed to find the person that did what I wanted to do and that’s you and I needed to find this community of support, because man, the study partners and the other artists in this community are so amazing. They’re so smart, and they get you through when things seem a little bit hard or when you get frustrated or feel stuck. There’s just nothing like this out there. It’s the only thing that I could have done to get me here.
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- Ann Rea, Artist Mentor