Transcription of Artist and Mentor Ann Rea’s interview of Nan Thibert, Artist, Vancouver Island, Canada.
What were your biggest challenges as an artist?
– Confidence. Being willing to hang it out there, just the way I am.
– Yeah, yeah. Because it makes you feel vulnerable, right?
– Yes. Because I’m too woo-woo.
– Oh, okay. What does that mean?
– Well, another way to say it is that I’m just too airy fairy.
– Okay, for who?
– Because I commune with all sorts of beings, little beings, and beings that you don’t usually run across in our dense 3-D world.
– You do in this program.
– Yes, we found that out through lots of people like me in the program, which has improved my confidence level quite a bit. I worried a lot before about what people would think about me.
– Because I’ve encountered a lot of, “Oh, she’s different,” in my lifetime, and I don’t have a very thick skin, so it affected me. My ability to just let go of the attachment to that, in other words, my courage is increasing as well. And I’m just going, “You know what? “I just want to be me, now. “Some people are going to like it. “Some people are not going to like it, “and it doesn’t matter.”
– I know a lot of artists are concerned about being completely who they are sometimes. But if you look at the artists that you most admire, they’re the ones who are completely themselves.
What was it like writing a business plan before?
– It was very stressful, pretty horrible really. I had commented to you on the Facebook page that I felt as though I was squishing myself into a particular form–
– –a shape that just didn’t fit who I was.
– And of course, that does not work. The stress had to do with I felt I needed to have a business plan. That’s what smart people who wanted to succeed needed to do.
– Um-hm, which is true.
– And I was ill by the end of it, I think, because it just wasn’t working.
– I did not know why I couldn’t express to anyone why it wasn’t working. And I ended up making myself sick because I thought that there was something wrong with me, that I just didn’t have what it took to be able to change myself enough to use the business plan as it was designed.
– But didn’t it feel like the tail wagging the dog when you were trying to use that damn tool?
– Yeah. Yeah, right from the get go, it felt off.
– Yeah, we have MBAs in the program. We even have a Harvard MBA in the program. Now if they couldn’t figure out how to use a damn traditional business plan, marketing plan, to sell their art, then that should give us a clue, right?
– It’s not the right tool for the job. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need a tool. It just means that you gotta get the right tool for the job, and the right process around that tool.
– I am just more open now to being myself, and who I really am.
– And your program has allowed me to be that, and is of course assisting me in every way imaginable to be who I really am.
– That’s where your strength lies.
– And within that, I have the freedom, based on the structure that you’ve provided, I have the freedom to create my art business in a way that works for me.
Should artists change who they are?
– Your strength and your power lies in your authentic expression, not doing something that you should be doing. Now, make no mistake. If you want to get paid for your art, you’re going to need to create value, specifically value above and beyond the art itself, and in a way that serves a target market. And figuring all that out is a process. Filling out a form called a business plan ain’t gonna cut it. And it feels like hell. I tried it, I know.
What is an artist’s “product”?
Remember your product is emotion, and emotion can’t be conveyed unless it’s true, unless it’s authentic. So if you hamper that to try and pose and position yourself as something other than you are, then you’re not going to make an emotional connection, and you’re not going to make art, and you’re not going to inspire other people, so you’ve gotta be yourself, and that does take courage. But here’s the thing about this. No one gives a shit about you. They’re all in their head about what you think of them.
– And if they do have an opinion about you, it is so fleeting, because as soon as they get a text or an email or the teakettle boils, they’ve stopped thinking about you.
– We are not that important.
Should other artists apply to enroll?
Just like sitting on the fence, and they were not sure about applying to enroll, and they’re thinking, “Oh, it’s going to take “too much time, it’s going to talk too much money, “I don’t want to talk to strangers and study partners, “agh, agh, agh,” what would you honestly say to them?
– If you value yourself at all, and if you really want to have an incredible relationship with yourself, let alone your art or anything else, I recommend that you take this program because you will alter your relationship with yourself in such a way that everything else in your life will change for the better.
The MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester
Someday is Today.