Transcription, Shiam Wilcox, Artist, Rowington, England and Ann Rea, Artist Mentor, San Francisco, CA
What were your challenges as an artist?
– I think that I can talk myself out of everything. I’m 30, I have I have lots of fears. I think that my top two challenges were one, fear of of putting myself out there.
– What does that mean to put yourself out there? A lot of people use that phrase but I’d like to know what you mean by that.
– Well I think I think I sort of totally always question how good I am as an artist for start and so I use Instagram and I’ve put my work out there but, and I get pretty good feedback most of the time but it does worry me that it’s never going to be good enough and I’m not good enough and I don’t stand out enough as an artist. So that’s one big thing fear. And another thing is I think I’ve got a nice secure job why would I want to upset the apple cart?
– And by the way you don’t have to.
– No I know. But those are the two fears I think I’ve had.
Do you have to be a full-time artist?
– A lot of people feel conflicted that they have to give up their their stable day job or stable business to become an artist and that’s just not true, there’s plenty of people in our program who chose to make art and sell art part time and that’s okay.
Do you feel that your art “good enough?”
It’s very true that a lot of artists feel like their arts not good enough but in the second breath or in the first breath is I’m not good enough. Like the two are linked together.
– Yeah definitely. And their linked aren’t they. Cause when you put your art out into the world it’s like your putting your heart, you’re putting everything about you into the world, cause they’re so connected.
– So I think you, like, make yourself I feel like I make myself vulnerable by doing that and so you know, that is a big fear I think. I think it’s sort of what has held me back before.
– But there’s power in vulnerability.
What has changed for you?
– Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve, like been doing this, I think this lesson a couple of weeks now and already I can feel myself starting to open up and just you know like, it was brilliant meeting sort of my study partners because I’m quite a shy person and just reaching out to them and getting so much amazing sort of feedback back that’s really helped, so already that’s me being really brave and then sort of, you know, already I feel that I’m opening that like communication out.
What else has changed for you?
I’m starting to listen to myself as well. You know, I know that I will know when the time is right I’m starting to have more faith in what I’m telling myself, maybe subconsciously.
– A really useful exercise I’ve found was when you’d said about asking people who had bought your work before what they thought of it. Or why they bought it. And that was so useful. I couldn’t believe how useful that was because they came out of things that I just hadn’t even thought about. So that has helped me with my focus. Because they were absolutely right. The things that they said I thought “Oh my goodness, I didn’t even notice that myself.” So that was brilliant.
– That was so useful.
– And that was even before I joined the course. That was on your taster.
– Ah yeah.
– That was one of the things that I just thought, I’ve got to do this course, because you made me think about things that I hadn’t, I just hadn’t thought about in terms of being an artist. So things that were quite disconnected, they just suddenly they came straight together.
Was it hard to connect with Study Partners?
– You wrote, “Just wanted to say how inspired I feel today, I had some great study partner sessions over the last few days. Thank you Linda Malison Jones and Leslie Ann Coddle, and this evening I watched Ann Elizabeth Gray and Angela Wright’s web chat.” Angela’s also from England. “So inspiring. Thank you for making me feel that there’s someone else for me out there. Starting to feel the fluttering of excitement and joy that I haven’t felt for years.” That’s awesome!
– Yeah it’s great. It’s amazing. It was great. I think I’ve put on, on our Facebook page, “Hi, I’m new.” and I thought, I’ll just put myself out there straight away. And I got so much response. It was amazing. And people were just so welcoming. And I know you have got sort of, zero tolerance, which is brilliant because I didn’t feel at any point that there was anybody gonna be, sort of, mean or anything everybody was so lovely. And straight away I had people saying “Oh do you want to be my study partner?” So that was great. I sort of asked people in my sort of time zone, if they would be willing and everybody came back really positive. So my first one was with Leslie and she was great and we’re in the same time zone so that was great. And I thought it would be really awkward but it wasn’t at all it was great. And we just talked about where we were in the program and we’d goed over things. So yeah, it was great. It was lovely. It was much easier than I ever thought it would be.
– Yeah. And you’re shy.
– Yeah and I’m really shy.
success = 80% psychology + 20% strategy
– Now you’re in course one so course one is called accomplishing. So it’s about accomplishing. And the reason we start with accomplishing is because our success is 80% psychology and 20% our strategy. But I can present you with all sorts of useful strategies to sell your art, but if your psychology is not receptive it will block your success and that’s why we have you start with that. And we do exercises on fears and so can you describe to me a little bit about what you felt you’ve experienced a bit of a shift in already? And I know you’re only in the first course but what’s shifted already?
– Straight away I could feel that I’m opening up. So I had to first, first thing was examining fears and what my success and failures were. And some of those things I hadn’t thought about for years. You know, you sort of tend to put them back, and I sort of, I just blurted everything out. You know, it’s like sick on the paper.
– [Woman In Yellow] I got it all out. And then I realized that, I worked through it really methodically as well, so I’d put something down and then I would literally sleep on it. And then I was percolating away. And then the next day I’d come back and I realized that a lot of my fears I could totally you know, reason away. It wasn’t all, you know, there weren’t really fears they were just me being self limiting. So I think straight away my psychology is starting to shift. I feel like I am sort of opening up. I am mananging, instead of worrying about things and just going over and over them, and them not making any sense to me anymore, I’m starting to be able to reason them. And that’s been such a breath of fresh air. And I really have started to feel like there’s inclings of excitement and joy that I literally haven’t had for a long time.
– And feel that it’s really possible.
What were you told about becoming an artist?
Thing that we’re told all the time throughout childhood by everybody, you’re told get a proper job, get a proper job, be sensible. But if that proper job isn’t making you fulfilled then it’s not really worth anything.
– Right. And then the other thing is it’s very dangerous is black and white thinking. And big generalization. Right? So if you say “I’m scared of money.” Well what specifically are you scared about? Right? What specifically is it? And you break that down. And then generalizations like, you know, or black and white thinking, like I have to be an artist full time in order to be successful. Well that’s not true. I mean, you know, it’s just not true. Plenty of people who decide to do it like I did I decided to do part time and then I moved to full time. And now I’m back to part time, because I’m part time artist, part time instructor for my students, right? No big deal to me. I enjoy doing both. And you get to do whatever you want to do, but I think what you hit on is really key, is fulfillment. Right? Really being fulfilled. So you definitely have got to have enough money to take care of your needs and be comfortable enough, but if you have a pile of money and you’re not fulfilled then that won’t do you any good. It’s a constant balance.
Should other artists apply to enroll?
– Do it. Definitely do it. Within like, what it’s been about eight days I think for me that I’ve been in it and already I can just feel something happening, it’s like there’s a power in it I can’t really describe yet. And maybe it’s too early for me to describe. I can feel, weirdly, like almost like a spiritual thing. Since I started so many nice things have happened to me. And I think it’s from me, one, gaining confidence, because I feel like I’m on track. And it’s the process, I’m quite, I think I rush into things as well and the actual process of this is making me be really slowed down and reason things rather than me just going “I’ve got to get out of my job.” So this is sort of slowing me down and making me really think about stuff. And because of that I’m opening up and already I can feel things happening. Just, my confidence level is already going up.