Ann Rea, Artist & Mentor and Loretta Faveri, Artist, Toronto, Canada
– Toronto, okay, by Bob Proctor. Bob Proctor lives in Toronto. I painted his garden for his 70th birthday.
– Oh, lovely!
Have you discounted your art?
So I introduced these new pieces that I had started working on last summer, and I wasn’t quite sure how they were going to be received by the public, so my prices were quite low, and I sold quite a number of pieces, but I was told, even by the public, you know, your prices are very low. And so I increased them, quite a lot. And I felt comfortable with that price, but then I had a friend who wanted a piece, and she had seen the old price and now I had this new price that was quite a lot more, and she ordered this piece to give as a gift to her mother, and so I felt compelled to give her a discount somewhere in between those two, the really low price and my new price.
– Okay, so then how did you feel about that? Be honest.
– It would’ve been nice to have gotten full price.
Do you think that discounting your art will have a negative impact?
It will definitely impact ’cause I already feel like, well, maybe my prices are too high.
How does discounting make you feel?
– Well, it’s gonna make me not feel great because then it’s cutting into my profit, and they may think, “Well, maybe it’s not “quite as valuable as I thought it was “if she’s willing to discount it this much.”
– Right, here’s the other thing. They’re gonna tell their friends.
– Oh, well, there’s that, yeah!
– So, well, that’s a huge one because that can have a compounding effect. When you’re an independent artist, and you sell your art, you can gain about 85% more sales by way of referrals. But if your referrals are saying, “And by the way, ask for a discount. “She’ll give it to you.”
– Then, see how that adds up over time?
– Yeah. So are you gonna discount anymore?
What should artists know about discounting their art?
Believe that if people really want your piece, and it’s an emotional attachment to your piece, they’re gonna pay whatever you ask for it. And whether you discount it $50 or not, like $50 is kind of irrelevant when it’s a piece that they really want. They’re gonna buy it.
Have you tried making money with your art?
I have been trying for, since I finished art school to make money through my art. Not necessarily fine art, but movement and music and technology, and I went through a business program, partially through my art school, and it didn’t resonate with me. I failed miserably, and I tried really hard to make money, but it just didn’t happen, so I packed it in. And then when I saw your Instagram video, I was like, “Okay, I’m gonna do it.” And then, as I’ve been going through the process, I realize that I wish I had taken this course when I finished art school ’cause I think I would’ve had much more success.
Why do you think those business courses didn’t work for you?
Never really figured out my why.
– So I didn’t really know why I was doing what I was doing.
– I do hear from people who take traditional business courses and marketing courses, artists, and it doesn’t resonate with them. And they don’t know how to apply it to selling art. We have people with degrees, masters, MBAs, Masters of Business Administration. We even have a Harvard MBA in our program, and her focus was marketing at Harvard. So if they’re not figuring it out, right, don’t feel bad! I’m not saying that it’s not useful information, but the reason why it is so wonky when you take a traditional business course and marketing course and then you try to like, “How the hell is that gonna apply to what I do,” is because those programs and their tools are designed to sell traditional goods and services. And as I said earlier, our product, it’s not goods, it’s not services, it’s actually emotion. So if you say the word business or marketing to the average fine artist, they’ll kind of cringe. As a matter of fact, when I was on CreativeLive, my producer said, “Oh, you’re not gonna “use the word business, are you?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m gonna use the word business.” He’s like, “Ooh, that’s not gonna go well with the audience.” I said, “I know, but I’m gonna put it in cont… “I understand that.” Then if you say to, like an average business or marketing consultant, you know, you start talking about your feelings and your inspiration, you can watch them cringe.
What do you think about artist statements?
– Hate them. Yeah, and the funny thing is, the thing I really have a problem with those is that we had to write them in art school, and our classmates got to read them when we critiqued each other, but when you actually go in a gallery and look at art, you don’t see the artists’ statements. So, what’s the point? I’ve never understood that.
What advice would you give other artists?
– To not necessarily listen to the art school that.. This is gonna sound terrible. Really, I would tell her, you know, just follow your own path. Don’t listen to what the higher-ups at art school are telling you that you need to do. Just do what you went there to do.
What has changed for you?
The funny thing is that I had put it all away about a year ago, saying, “That’s it, I’ve been “spinning my wheels for five years. “That’s it, that’s the end. “I’m gonna go down a different art path.” But after I started this course, and you know, doing the Code to Joy exercises, I did mentally think, “Oh, I wish I’d done this course when I was working on my other project.” But I thought, “Eh, anyway, I’m on to this now.” But then I got a call from an arts organization where I volunteer, and they knew about my device, and were all kinds of questions about it. You know, “Can this device work with “this kind of software?” And you know, all kinds of technical questions, and I said, “Yes, it’s all possible.” And they said, “Well, we really want “to resurrect this, and we know that “you’ve kind of put it away for now, “but we’d like you to participate, “on your terms, and maybe look at “licensing agreements or having you “as a consultant, or we could apply “for grants for the further development “of the technology,” and all this stuff! And it’s like, “Wow! Finally, somebody “who gets what I’m doing,” or what I did and wants to sort of partner with me and run with it. But I’d actually get paid! Which is really cool!
– And, do you think the timing was an accident?
– No, no I don’t, I really don’t! I think, yeah, I think you just have to be aware. Like I think what these exercises do is they open up your brain and notice what’s going on and that there’s an awareness in that you attract things that are meant to happen.
Should artists get an MFA or and MBA?
I don’t think the amount of education that you have is relevant at all. I don’t see how it, maybe… I don’t even necessarily think it makes you grow as an artist. Yeah, no, I don’t. I think it just, it’s part of that whole, “Oh, I have to get a masters degree “in Fine Art so that I can show my work “in this gallery” kind of thing. It doesn’t mean anything, really. ‘Cause I’ve even toyed with that myself. Oh, should I get an MFA, but really, it’s not gonna, it’s just gonna, they’re gonna suck more money out of me. And what’s it gonna get me in the end?
Should other artists apply to enroll in this program?
I don’t think the money is that important, based on the value that you get out of it. I feel like I’ve got my money’s worth already.
– And you’re in what, Course Two of eight?
– Two, yeah, I almost finished two. Well, I’m gonna go back and do my why and my wet…
– That’s okay.
– Um, yeah, I feel like just all the way, even up to the point I’m at right now has been so valuable.
– So you’d say money’s really not an issue, you’re gonna get more value out of–
– Yes, I think so.
– what you’re paying.
– And then also, what drives me, too, is knowing that I would’ve graduated and had to make that money back.
– At a minimum.
– At a minimum, yes.
– I wanna emphasize that.