Angela Wright, Fine Artist, Ipswich, England
What’s been your top challenge as an artist?
– The main thing that you always, always come up with is the competitiveness of other people. How the snobbery is there. So there’s a lot of snobbery about in Suffolk. And there’s certain areas that don’t supply that positivity and that share of like exhibiting work in galleries. So you have to know certain people to be in a gallery. If you are, if something’s said about you, and people are put off you don’t get in a gallery. There’s certain things and there’s some–
– It’s really touchy, isn’t it? If you look at someone the wrong way, you’re on the list, right?
– And um, there’s an artist, and I probably can’t mention her name, but it is a woman. She has this collective around her that, if anybody steps on somebody’s toes they’re cast out. But ultimately, like, unless you’re down in London, unless you are well connected and um, all sorts of like factors then you aren’t really gonna get much sold. But what I found personally was that selling person to person is better.
Was it hard to sell your art?
I spoke to this guy, who was asking me about my work. And he said “I like it. “I’ll buy it.” Because I had had this authentic conversation, and he understood about my… why I did it. And the actual visual effects that where there and how I made it. I was asked how I made it. And he bought that piece. And then a little bit later on he said “I’d quite like to buy the other one”.
– Wait, let me ask you this. When you were speaking with him, did you feel awkward?
– No. I felt like I was talking to a friend.
– Did you feel like you were selling out? That you were being inauthentic in any way?
– I felt happy that he was interested.
– Great. Did you feel like this was something you weren’t capable of doing? That someone else should handle the sales of your art?
– No. Definitely not. I felt that he was asking me about how I made the work. Somebody else could say, this and this and this. But, actually the way that I made the work. Nobody could tell somebody, well this means this and this means this. Only I could do that.
– Did he ask to read your artist statement?
– Did he ask to see your resume? Your CV?
– Nope, nope.
– Did he ask you how many art contests you’ve won?
– Did he ask you what your exhibit history was?
What’s been another challenge as an artist?
– No. The actual fact that a lot of people expect art for free.
– Oh, yeah. That’s a problem. Now, that problem is caused by artists giving it away for free. Number one, giving it away for free. To friends or family. Donating it. A lot of artists donate it. Another problem is they enter art contests. Sometimes the art contest organizers, if you win, they own it. Right? So, it’s our fault. Which is why I’m on this campaign to stop this nonsense. Because you cannot give something away for free, then turn around and expect to be paid for it.
What have you learned about the art establishment?
– I mean the amount of money that’s swooshing around in all the arts council funding. And there’s so many thousands and thousands, possibly even millions going through the banks. Every day in the art galleries. Because there’s just so much tax avoiders. Because that’s what they um, the people who donate art works to the museum. They get tax benefits.
– You got it. You understand the game I’ve been trying to explain about the art establishment. It’s all games. The art museums are a prop for the art establishment. And it’s a currency to avoid taxes. Absolutely. And it is held by a very small power circle of brokers and dealers and collectors. And you know, that is not, you’re not gonna win that game, so why play it?
How did it feel when you stopped working for free?
– No. I felt practical about it. I just thought, you know, I’ve got the right. It’s like you said in the establishment, you don’t have to justify yourself to somebody. You shouldn’t have to make art just so they can get people into invest in their gallery. Basically, if I want to do something, I will do it. But I will do it on my own terms.
– And because I’m an artist, as you often say, “As an artist, it’s not a job, it’s not a career. It’s a business”.
What is Ann Rea’s favorite part of her program?
– My very favorite part of this program is watching my students take their power back.
– Yeah, it’s great.
What is Angela learning?
– I’m reading this amazing book.
– Oh, no, let’s talk about Outwitting the Devil. So, Outwitting the Devil is about a book that is required reading in the Making Art, Making Money semester. It’s by Napoleon Hill. Very few people have even heard of Outwitting the Devil. They’ve heard of Think and Grow Rich. But they haven’t heard of it. And my friend, my dear friend and my master mind partner, Ron Douglass, actually helped edit that book. It was so funny, one day I was… we were having our masermind meeting And I said “Ron, you have got to read this book, it is so good and not many people know about it”. And he said “oh, what book is that?” and I said “it’s Outwitting the Devil, by Napoleon Hill”. And he started laughing and he said “oh I’ve read it”. ” A matter of fact I helped edit it”.
What has changed for Angela?
– As an artist and personally, I’ve had begun to see the world differently, very very differently. Not only do I see people differently, I see society differently. And secondly, as an artist, I also feel that as you’ve said about the Code to Joy, that um…
– And all the required reading.
– It’s about um, the moment. Making your life worthwhile, making other peoples’ life worthwhile. We’re in this world to create joy.
– And I like art, celebrating and a lot of my work is celebrating. So I do cake fights.
Should other artists apply?
– Apply to enroll. Honestly. Um, I would say this is, I mean I’ve just started, and the impact it’s had on my life is astronomical. Um, I remember reading Jen Sincero’s book And that’s a starting point. You Are a Badass. But this course, it costs money. But it’s not that much money. It’s worth signing up. I mean even as a taster to go to the webinars, that’s a brilliant brilliant start. But you get an idea of how genuine it is and how it’s applied. But I would say, it’s worth the money and if you can find the money, find it, and if you can’t find the money, find a way. And invest in yourself. Invest in you because as you often say “you don’t get out here alive” and also “you only live once” and this life is too short to question things that you know, should I, shouldn’t I do it. It’s like your friend Angela, you know she was so afraid, but actually, you know what? Like, it’s okay. I was talking to Christine, and she was saying there’s was somebody who was showing an interest in her glass-work. And she just kind of like, canceled herself out a bit. And I was like, but just follow-up, just say “hey, I’m just following up” you know “would you like me to look at your home and we can have some ideas thrown about?” just a nice friendly genuine, as you were saying, genuine talk.
– Genuine conversation, “what would you like me to do”. And that is the main thing is being assertive and assertiveness is not demanding something of somebody.
– You’re bringing somebody an option. And investing in yourself, it’s so important. And this course, if you’re an artist and you’re struggling. I mean I’m a writer as well and I do research. so ultimately, like as an artist, this is great for me but also as a writer and as a researcher, and just don’t give up. And just don’t give up, you can’t give up, just keep going and if there’s something that you wanna do for yourself, take it on.
– Tone of your voice is um, reflects your increased confidence. You have a different voice than when I first spoke to you.
– Thank you.
– And your voice now is much more confident, it’s much more relaxed and trusting. And, it sounds like you’ve made some friends in the program already, and um, I mean people are coming in all the time so you’ll get to make more, get to make as many as you like.
– It’s great. Thank you Ann. Because this is a gift that you’ve given to us, yes it does cost money, but it’s worth it. But it’s more than that, it’s worth more than the money, it’s worth so much more.