– Thank you for doing this. I think I’m eager to hear about your, you’re not even through the semester and you’re already talking commission so that’s fantastic, so what I’m gonna do, is I’m just gonna ask you a few questions and then we’ll talk a little bit about your most recent win.
So first of all, everyone, my name is Ann Rea, I’m here from San Francisco, California, I’m the creator of The MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester and I have one of my students, Leslie Cole, who hasn’t even finishedThe MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester but is seeing the benefits already, if I may say so, and I asked her to just come and share what’s going on and I’d like to ask you a few questions just to give people who are listening some context.
So you hadn’t sold a whole lot of art before you enrolled but you made a smart move and you enrolled so that you could learn how to sell art.
– And before you did enroll, Leslie, what was your biggest challenge when it came to marketing or selling art?
– Lack of confidence. I mean, I felt like people were doing me a favor if they bought something and so I always wanted to just, oh I’ll give it to you real cheap or if I was there trying to sell it to them, I couldn’t promote it. If I stuck it in some art show and wasn’t even there.
– So that’s a common one, a lack of confidence and then another common one that you just mentioned is that artists feel like someone’s doing them a favor by buying their art.
– And that’s because you don’t understand the value that they’re offering.
– Okay, so let me ask you this, we’re gonna talk about your most recent little victory, a significant victory, actually, but what’s been the biggest takeaway so far and I know it was eight courses and I think you’re at course number two, is that right?
– Mhmm, yes, I’m in course two and I think the first thing that really struck me was that my whole life was part of this, I used to think, “Oh I don’t want anyone to know “I’m in medicine, or I can’t sell art if I am also “in medicine, I’m embarrassed” and so to realize, “Oh, all of this is resource, all of this can be “part of what is making me want to sell art “and also what makes what I am making valuable.”
– So that would be the takeaway first.
– And just to give some background, you’re a physician and you specialize in the field of addiction, is that correct?
– Addiction medicine and internal medicine.
– And internal medicine. So it’s been interesting ’cause I think that, Leslie, people would say, “She’s a doctor, “so of course she has a lot of self-confidence. “What are you talking about?”
– Mhmm, but it is compartmentalized. Like, I learned how to be confident in medicine but it has not translated to art at all. And so as I have been in this course thinking about all of myself integrated, I’m seeing, gosh, it’s just changing my whole life, how this is integrating me.
– Yeah, and so glad you said that because you as the artist and you as the physician are not two different people.
– You draw from all that you have, no matter who you are, no matter what your level of experience is, you draw from who you are, you don’t wanna be anything other than who you are.
– That’s where your strength lies, that’s where the power lies, that’s where the truth lies, and that’s where all the emotional impact lies and is available and if you deny any part of yourself, you’re really denying opportunities to truly be an artist. So, okay, so right now, you’re in course two, and you’re cracking your four-part code and why I wanted to talk to you is because you’re only on course two and you haven’t even solidified but you’ve made a lot of progress and what happened, so you’re in your office, you’re having a conversation, and just tell me what happened.
– So I had been thinking through my why and my what in the four-part code and at some point, after talking to some study partners and after talking to you, it hit me, oh, what I’m needing is what I feel down in my gut that from my experiences, it’s gotta come from way down in here, like my aorta.
– Your soul.
– Yeah, and I went, “What would I just feel empowered “in my life to do?” and I went, “You know what, I think I can say it, “I don’t have to write it down, “I probably could say the same thing every time.” And so I end up telling, I go into my clinic job with the office manager and I had told her I was doing this art business course and I said, “You know, I think “I have figured out my mission with this art business. “And what I really think is, really bad stuff happens “to people, really terrible stuff has happened to me “and really dark events that want to define me “and make me think I’m incapable of love. “But the truth is, all this good and all this love “and all this hopeful connection and belonging “is so much stronger and I want that to define me. “And I feel like that’s what I want my art to be about.” And immediately she goes, “Oh, can I ask you for a commission?” I’m going, what? I don’t even, I go, “Yes, you may. “What do you want?” She goes, “I’ve got this, okay what I really want, “I have decided, I only want meaningful art in my house.”
– Yeah exactly.
– And she goes, “I see this church and I want “this big field and I want these words that say “Amazing Grace,” and I’m going, “Oh my, I don’t even, I’ve never been asked “for a commission, that’s not even,” I’m thinking this in my head.
– This is way down the road for me, I don’t even know if that’s gonna be my how.
– Right, you don’t know that yet, and you know what, it doesn’t matter, what mattered is, you found the truth of who you are, what you stand for, and what you stand against, and you just, by mentioning it, somebody wanted to buy art from you.
– Did you feel like, at any point, I tell artists, you really don’t have to sell, you can stop selling. All you gotta do is share your mission. You don’t need to sell anymore, you do need to guide conversation to see if it’s a good fit, but really you don’t need to sell. Did you feel at any point you were selling your office manager on your art?
– No, no, no. I mean, the immediate thing that happened to me, honestly, was I put my hands together, like, “Thank you god, what a gift.” Like, yes, I would be happy to give you a painting. Who knows, I’ve never painted a church, I’ve never painted words on a painting.
– And you may or may not do that, ’cause you’re only in the first part of the course too, you haven’t gotten your how, you’ve got your who, it doesn’t matter, like it really just doesn’t even matter, what matters is you had this victory and what I love is everybody, like you hear this complete victory dance on our Facebook group and everyone cheered her on and everyone was happy for you and that is part of what it’s like in our community, a lot of artists communities have a lot of jealousy and they have a lot of competition amongst the artists and it’s very toxic and we don’t have any of that.
– Mhmm, mhmm.
– And that I think is just so, so everyone was really really genuinely happy for Leslie, that she had this breakthrough. Another thing I wanna point out is, Leslie had an additional phone consult with me to work through her four-part code and I think her mission is so incredibly beautiful and it’s true, it’s based in her truth, she’s not writing copy for Hallmark, this is real stuff, this is really from her life and what I thought was, “Well no wonder you’re a physician who specializes “in addiction,” because who gets addicted, it’s people who don’t feel any love, whether it’s self-love, maybe they didn’t get any love from their family, those are the people who wind up addicted, right?
– Yes, yes, and you know what, it’s been interesting because I have no retrospected back into so many things that have drawn me and have been a drive for me for so long of let’s not let the dark tell us we can’t have light and love and hope, nobody, let’s just, no one go there. And that is interesting ’cause now I see, yeah, this is what always gives me a sense of purpose and meaning. So.
– Yeah, that’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?
– Mhmm, mhmm.
– Yeah it’s really powerful and it makes me really light up to see that you get it, you get it, and you’re also starting to connect the dots in other aspects of your life so you’re connecting the dots with your art and it’s gonna help you sell your art but it just gives you, it’s just so affirming and what you started off talking about was self-confidence and on a scale of one to 10, what would you, before you entered the semester, when it came to selling your art, one a scale of one to 10, one being the lowest level of confidence, where were you at?
– I mean, I hate to say one, I mean, maybe one or two.
– Maybe two.
– Okay, and now you haven’t even completed the Making Art, Making Money semester, you’re in course number two of eight courses. What is your level of self-confidence now on a scale of one to 10?
– About being able to sell my art?
– About being able to sell your art.
– Well if it can be like what I did today, I mean, last week, with just, hey this is my mission and people wanting it, I think it’s got to be closer to like a six, a seven.
– Great, it’s progress.
– Once I get more into it, it’s gonna be higher.
– Exactly. So what I wanna say is, there’s this saying called progress not perfection, which is a great, ’cause when we make progress, that’s what makes us happy. As long as you’re making progress, you feel happy, no matter what you’re doing, no matter where you’re at, making progress, you’re happy with it. You know what, progress is perfection. That’s all that matters, are you making progress. And you’re making progress, and that’s all that matters and that will, remember what I say, this is an iterative process, means every time you do this, every time you approach a collector, every time you do a painting, every time you have a conversation with someone that might buy your art, you get better, you get better, but it’s like a clock, you keep going round and round, each time, you’ll improve, just remember that. And if you think you have to be perfect out the gate, that’s like, who the hell makes perfect art when they first start, it’s a nasty mess when we first start.
– Mhmm, mhmm.
– Because it’s better over time, as long as you are dedicated to the mission of improving your art and now you are dedicated to a higher mission and purpose which is bigger than you, so much bigger than you.
– So let me ask you this one other question. Do you believe your mission is something that you’d be willing to dedicate the rest of your life to?
– Yeah, I do. I think, right now I think the difficult points in my life that helped me figure out my mission are still, ugh, they’re still painful, the joyful events, I don’t know, I just really feel like, yeah, I don’t see why, I think it will just get realer, that’s what I think, it will get realer.
– Yeah. And it just takes time and consistent effort. So let me ask you one last question. If someone was listening to this and they were sort of sitting on the fence and they weren’t sort of sure about this whole Making Art, Making Money semester thing and this lady named Ann Rea, not sure about whether they should apply to enroll, what would you say to them?
– Just be honest, you don’t have to sell it, just be honest, what would you say to them?
– What I would say to someone like me who didn’t go to professional art school but totally wants to do this, I would say do it, take it, do this course. It is gonna help you see that all of your life, you are a creator, all of your life is together on this and you are gonna be finding something really good about. So I would say, yeah, that’s what I would say.
– Okay. So no hesitation.
– No hesitation, no hesitation.
– So I love that you had that big win and don’t worry about your how and your who yet, doesn’t matter, just take it one step at a time, one step at a time is all that matters. The fact that you know your why and you know your what, those are the two biggest, baddest things to tackle, and you got it, so, you’re so far ahead of the game, just really being solid on that and really feeling it. Because what our production is, is emotion, and you feel it.
– Mhmm, yeah, exactly.
– Right. Thank you, Leslie, thank you for sharing your triumph.