Peter Cimpoe earned an art degree but he was not selling any of his art.
By spending over $5000 entering art contests that he never won, he was undermining his self-confidence and focus.
Instead of seeking art sales; he was seeking false approval.
What did Artist, Peter Cimpoe, learn in less than a month?
– Now, you had the first time you ever tried to sell your art in person. So, may I ask, how much money did you make? Your first time, this is his first time.
– So I’ll say though, the first day when I was selling art, I only made $100.
– The next two days, it was a three day event, selling art I made $2,100.
– Whoa! What a great creation investment, and you’re only in one thing. Dang, Peter, go!
That’s awesome, and, and, and, and, here’s the good news, because you sold directly, to your customers, you can get what from them?
– I got referrals.
– Well, you know what, just today I got an email from someone who wants a commission.
– I rest my case, I rest my case. Go ahead, do it the old way, or give this a try, right?
Peter did not know why people bought art.
– What was your number one challenge?
– There’s so many to list, but off the top of my head, I didn’t know why people bought art.
– You didn’t know what?
– Why people bought art.
– Oh, you didn’t know why people bought art. OK.
– What makes one art good and one bad, like the way you explained the way to market works, even with art history, makes perfect sense to me now.
What is art?
Art is something people spend money on that they don’t need.
– That’s right.
– And I didn’t understand, well how do I make them buy my thing then.
– Right, if they don’t need it, now what am I gonna do?
– It’s like an electronic device, everyone needs a phone, so you can make the best phone in the world and you can prove it. But how do you make the best art?
– But even that is up for debate, like a good friend of mine really loves the Pixel, and then I just won’t give up the iPhone. So, then that points to the target market, right? You can have an argument about the Pixel and the iPhone, but it’s really a waste of time, don’t you think?
– Yeah, isn’t it just a personal preference and emotions?
– It’s so simple now, but I didn’t know Anne, I really didn’t know.
– But people spend an extraordinary amount of time arguing about it, arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong, and art critics have full blown careers saying who’s right and who’s wrong and it’s nonsense Who cares?
Should you enter art contests?
– I used to go after the approval of art contests and I’ve been entering art contests my entire adult life. I’ve never even been shortlisted.
– How much money do you think you’ve spent on art contests?
– At least four digits. Maybe 5,000, that’s being conservative.
– And any return on that investment?
– Not even shortlist, not even an honorable mention.
– So it’s a really negative return on investment you spend about $5,000 that you’ll never see, you spend all that time on that art, you spend all those money on materials and shipping and entry fees, but here’s the bigger cost for artists who enter these stupid frickin’ art contests, is that it hurts your soul every time you get rejected. And you’re gonna get rejected, but you’re gonna get far less rejection if you provide that value and serve a target market.
What did Peter say about learning how to sell his art?
I’ve been meaning to make this gratitude post for awhile, and since it’s Thanksgiving in the United States, why not. I also have some progress I’d like to share. Firstly, I’d like to thank all my study partners, because Peter you get it, you can’t do this by yourself, it’s too hard, it’s too lonely, and it’s no damn fun. So, he starts off by thanking his fellow artists, who he is not competing with, who, based on their response, are not jealous of you, they’re really happy for you.
– No, they’re super supportive.
– Right, so it says that’s who you’ve gotta be around, other artists who are jealous or competing with you, or backstabbing or snobby, you’ve gotta get the hell away from them. So anyway, he goes on to write, this is such a valuable resource, and I’m truly grateful for all your insights. I’ve learned, now again, he’s only been here for a month, I’ve learned more from all of you than any art teacher I’ve ever had, and I love how many supportive friends I’ve made. For anyone who’s new and lurking and hasn’t gone after a study partner, please do so! They gave me the confidence for what I’m going to write next. I tried selling my art in person last weekend for the first time in my life, it was a great success, the first time, especially considering I was certain I’d sell nothing.
So he had no confidence, I wanna pause because a lot of people don’t have confidence when they come to this program, guess what, you don’t have to. If you do the process you will build it up. Peter is already doing it. So, he says he was certain he would sell nothing, I had a study session with Maureen right before the weekend and she was so enthusiastic and excited for me I was forced to follow through.
So you’ve got accountability, you don’t have to do this on your own. Even though I secretly wanted to cancel the event, I’m glad he mentioned that, the first day of the event I wasn’t doing so well because I was selling art, selling art sucks, everyone, don’t do it. Then, I remembered what Anne said about selling art, so I switched to selling emotion the next day. I also started talking to people who seemed like my target market, my tribe.
And then the sales were a constant stream. I was so mad I wasted a day selling art because the next two days were very profitable. I don’t have to worry about how to pay off my tuition anymore. That’s the tuition to The MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester, that went faster and easier than I thought because I trusted the counterintuitive advice of this program.
This event made me clear about my four part code and how I add value and to who. So long, insecurities, I won’t miss you.
This event lead me to reevaluate my business plan, you know, anyway, Peter goes on and he says finally thank you Anne, you gave me the tools and the roadmap to not only succeed but be able to analyze the data of what worked and how I can replicate this.
Thank you so much, just my personal opinion, but art school is a crock of shit. This program is what every artist should experience, I am so thankful I found it early in my life. But even if you’re older, better late than never.
Would you rather win an art contest or sell your art?
– What do you think would be more rewarding, getting a damn blue ribbon or whatever the hell the art contests give you, or what you experienced recently? Which would you rather have?
– Hands down, what I experienced. Because every person who bought, the change of their expression meant to much to me. They got what I was doing, as opposed to someone saying you’re good enough, I approve of you. I don’t agree with that. These people say I feel the same as you, and I want to support what you’re doing, and this makes me feel good.
– Yeah, doesn’t it feel good, don’t you feel like you get paid twice when you sell directly to someone who wants to support you, who wants to understand your inspiration, who wants to feel the emotions, and learn about your mission? I mean, doesn’t that feel like you’re getting paid twice? They’re paying you for the art but they’re almost paying you again because of their response. You can’t sell an iPhone and have that kind of response, right?
– Nope, and I worked sales for a long time.
– The thing you’ve gotta remember everybody is 85% of a small business’s sales comes by way of referral, if you had sold something in a gallery you would never get 85% of your overall future sales are lost, gone.
What do you mean by the scarcity and permission based art establishment?
I refer to the art establishment as the scarcity and permission based art establishment. Because it is infected with scarcity, and you need another person’s permission. Let me ask you this, did you need anybody’s permission to make any of the sales that you made?
– No, I had no one’s approval whether it was good or not.
– And will you need anyone’s approval if you decide to take this commission that you got?
– No, it’s my own approval, that’s it.
– Do you think someone else, you should pay them 50%? Let’s say a gallery was representing you, so this is a practice of a lot of galleries? So let’s say you’re represented by the gallery, but then you go off and under your own energy and your own efforts you sell directly to people outside of the gallery, the gallery still wants 50%. Would you pay them 50% now?
– What company does that? What other industry?
– Exactly. Nothing, no, it’s completely unacceptable, completely onerous business terms.
– I’ve worked in sales companies, even then you get like 10% commission. Nobody takes 50%, and then you don’t even have to do a good job or not, right?
– And you’re never gonna see that person, you’re never gonna see the 85% of sales that could come from the referral, never. They’re gonna cut you off.
– Or their expression when they actually get what you’re doing.
– Exactly, you don’t get that emotional reward and connection.
What did your art teacher tell you?
– My high school art teacher told me please don’t go into art, you can’t do this, and she wasn’t like mean, I liked her, but she sat down with me on the last day of class and she was like Peter, you’re just not skilled enough, you don’t have the talent. And if I can do it, trust me I’m not really talented or skilled and I was never the brightest, anyone can do it.
– You know, is it Jonathan Adler who is a very famous ceramicist and designer, just so that you know, he was also told that he had no talent and he was never gonna make it, and I don’t know how many stores he has in how many cities throughout the United States.
– I love him, I’m familiar with him.
– Yeah, I think he’s great.
– He names the names of the teachers who told him that.
– I know!
– I won’t do that but he’ll name the names.
– Yeah, I would love to interview him one day, because I love that he calls them out like that and I heard him interviewed and, I don’t remember the teacher’s name, but he named her and said yeah she told me that I was just like a hack, and I was like
– He’s famous for repeating her name all the time, I’m like wow he’s still salty.
What would you tell artists who are thinking about applying?
– You have to invest in yourself, do it, you don’t know what you’re doing which is OK, because no one taught you how, and these are hard resources, someone else did it, you need a roadmap. Do this, you won’t look back on your investment. I didn’t pay anything for the program, I made it back already.
– By the way you made more than to pay for the program already.
– I did more than that, so just do it.
– And, and, and also let me remind you that you’re not wasting a ton of money on these stupid art contests anymore, so we stopped the financial bleeding over here.
– This turns business speak into art speak and art speak into business speak. I’m glad that you cracked the code for us, because I feel bad that you had to do it alone, because I got a cheat sheet, so I’m sorry.
– And let me tell you, I worked my butt off and it was hard as heck.
– I believe it, I don’t know, I’ll be honest, I try to believe in myself, I don’t know if I could’ve done that. I’m not that smart, I’m sorry.
Did you have to discount your art?
– No I just talked about why, the emotions were there they connected, and it was a guided conversation, and they bought it, I didn’t have to convince them and say like oh would you want this? I’ll give you 10% off, no. They were just like I want this. It’s art it’s not a car, and even then.
– Right, exactly, and you know I’ll tell you what, if you’re discounting your art, someone who might have bought from you, but then you went and offered a discount, probably not gonna buy from you. And if they do buy it with your discount, they’re probably not gonna buy from you again.
– I used to send free work out all the time thinking that people would, yeah I know, you’re gonna cringe. I used to send to like companies and magazines, and people who I thought were the right part, thinking that oh they’ll in good favor come back to me. All it’ll do is cheapen the work and make it look like it’s valued less.
What is our community like?
I love the community it’s awesome, a super awesome experience.
– I say that alone, even if you didn’t learn a damn thing, but you got access to this community, which are artists, 17 different types of artists from 18 countries and counting. That is worth more than the price of admission itself, in my view, but what do you think?
– I’d pay just for that.
– I’d sign up just for that because the experience is priceless, truly priceless.