– It was easier to talk about their art than it was mine. You know, like I shared, I went, I tried an art festival several years ago after joining an artists’ guild, and to get all the supplies, the tent, and entry fees and all that, I shared the tent with another artist. And it was actually pretty bad. I just felt like, yeah, I can sell her, I can talk about her work, but I couldn’t talk about mine.
– And be confident about it. Yeah.
– Has that changed?
– Oh, yeah.
– Why has it changed? What’s the difference?
– Well, because you destroyed the whole perspective of the art establishment, the same old way, and it’s just like, oh my gosh! And the funniest thing, one of the funnier things was to sign up for the class, one of attractive things was that I didn’t need an artist’s statement.
– Oh god, no. Don’t even throw that at me.
– Yeah, but you’re the only one in the universe that said that, and I was like looking for a writer to write my artist’s statement, because I couldn’t even … I was gonna pay a writer to do that.
– Oh, god. No, no one can write them, because they’re horrible. And if you think you have a good one, I double dog dare you to send it to me.
– It’s not gonna come from me.
– Well now, when you can talk about your mission with confidence, right?
– Right, but see, that’s just an example of everything that you, you know, just destroyed in one swoop. It’s like … So-
– That’s a compliment. You know, a friend of mine who owns a branding firm here in San Francisco who examined my whole brand and what I’m trying to do for artists, and he said, you know what you are? You know what this is? And I said, what? And he said you’re the destroyer of destructiveness. Because it is so destructive to tell people that they have to compete with other artists. It’s so destructive to tell people, oh, I represent you, but you can’t get representation anywhere else unless you have my permission. And it’s so destructive to say, you can’t have access to any of the people who purchased your art and get referrals from them. They all have to come through me. Or you … It’s just, there’s too … Screw that!
– Right. It destroys all the myths, and that’s what we’ve been … I’ve spent a lifetime.
– And now listen to this part. I fought back the temptation to give the buyer a discount. They weren’t even asking for the discount!
– No. I know. Exactly. But you know what? You know why I was tempted to say that? And even though in my head it’s going off, you know, all my alarms are going off, it’s like, no, you’re not supposed to do it, but it was going off because it was my most expensive painting.
– The point is this. By not going through a representative, by circumventing the middleman, you now have access and a relationship to your collectors so that you can gain more sales from that sale. That’s the point. And so that’s really great. And she goes on to write, I want to let you know that I raised my prices a few weeks ago after looking at my profit and loss document in the knowledge check. It was pitiful. My expenditures were too high, and eating up my profits. Thanks, Ann Rea, for being tough on me and holding me to a higher standard. My pleasure.
– I thought the whole goal was to be established in better galleries and to get my name out there. And all the while, I’m given 50%. When I do sell something to give away 50% is just a killer.
– Well, let me just pause you there, and let’s examine that sentence “get your name out there.” so that’s about you, right? And what does it even mean to get your name out there? Who gives a crap about getting your name out there? What we care about is that we make art that they feel good about, and that people sell it and they feel good about it, and we get to watch that exchange. I mean, isn’t that what we’re really after?
– Right. Right, but it’s … You know, it’s part of that art school, and you got your degree, isn’t that … What’s the dream? And so you feel like your name has to get out there to sell the work, and that’s not the real truth of it.
– Big fat lie!
– Yeah, well see, that’s the thing. There’s a lot of lies, and it’s lifelong, because let me tell you, I mean, I’m 61. That’s a long time to be going after things that aren’t true.
– That’s why this work is so important to me, because literally decades are lost by following lies, by giving your power away, by selling yourself and your work short, and that’s why I’m so committed to this. Because it gives me a great amount of joy to see someone like you and my other students taking their power back.
– [Ann Rea] I love it.
– It’s a long time coming.
– I was a member of three different artistss guilds, and you know, it does serve its purpose where you get to meet other artists, and you network, but that’s pretty brief. You could just finish after a month or two to make those contacts, because like you said, then it gets down into competitive, and a little ruthless, some jealousy, and then it starts to negate anything.
– Let me ask you this. I’m sure you met some lovely people in the artists’ guilds, but how does the relationships that you formed in the artists’ guilds compare to the relationships that you formed with your study partners in the Making Art, Making Money program? What’s the difference?
– It’s a huge difference, because you’re very supported. The competitiveness is not there. You’re very supportive of one another, and you’re basically in the trenches together. So my … I had three study partners, but mainly one consistent one that we met at least once a week for a long time. And she was always inspiring to me, because she worked so darn hard, and she had a full time, 40 hour job at a non-profit. And it’s like, oh my gosh, she’s getting all that done for the semester class, and it was kind of like I better, you know, get some homework done. And so she was very supportive. She held me accountable, and especially a couple of times, you know, I was kind of stuck. It’s like, oh, this is too much, but she’s like, no, you gotta keep moving. And you said that, too. There’s a couple times on the Facebook group, you said, just don’t stop. You gotta say something. You gotta do something. And I think I wouldn’t have … I wouldn’t have gotten this far. I wouldn’t have finished the courses if I had done my natural inclination.
– Right. Yeah. So you gotta have someone who’s not gonna whine and complain, selling art is hard, you know? Ditch all those people throughout your life, and be with people who are gonna encourage you, and you in turn encourage them. That’s who you gotta be around. That’s so much more fun, and so much more positive, and constructive. Maggie, if someone was kind of sitting on the fence and they weren’t sure about the program, should I enroll, should I not apply, maybe I’ll apply later, what would you say to them?
– Then you’re just setting up the roadmap for your lack of success and moving forward. If you don’t commit to the class and be all in, committed, then you just get more of the same, where you’re just spinning your wheels. So this very … The best part about the class is very directive. You got some specific directions that you need to do to get your career going.
– Your business.
– Yes, your … I’m sorry. Ooh, that was the worst. Your business. Career is not allowed, that word.
– You earned back your tuition three or four times already. I mean, that’s fantastic.
– [Maggie] Yeah.
– That’s a pretty good return on your investment, right?
– Right. That just speaks for itself. Yeah.