In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast, you’ll learn how to sell your art, how to market your paintings, and everything else you need to know in order to have a successful art career.
In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, addresses the practice of comparing yourself to other artists and overcoming the fear of being judged; and his thoughts on making the leap to becoming a professional artist.
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FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Art Marketing Minute:
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Art Marketing Minute. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
This is the Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Make More Money Selling Your Art.” In the marketing minute, we answer your questions to help your art career brought to you by artmarketing.com, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, art magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.
If you want to make a great living as an artist, you need to listen to this. You know, I don’t have all the answers. But I have spent my life learning marketing and like most of us didn’t know anything about it until I learned it. And I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of very expensive mistakes. And so my goal is to share some of that with you, and to help you with your career. So if you have questions, email them to me, [email protected]. Or you can do video upload if you want to as well. We’d love to see that. Amandine, my producer is going to read the first question.
The first question is from Jenna Boyz from North Carolina. It is not exactly a marketing question. But it is a question that you do receive a lot. How do I overcome the fear of being judged? Comparing myself to others?
Well, Jenna, get a therapist. Next question. No, no, wait, just here’s my take on this. Because your head has everything to do with your art marketing. Oh, I’ll take this on. But you know, if you have deeper issues, go see a professional. I am not a professional. I went through this and mostly overcame it. I have some of those issues. Still. I’ll explain in a minute. One day artists, Michael Ringer was visiting me at the Adirondacks and a really great painter, really great guy, very, very high level at the time and higher now. And we were kind of walking through the house and I had a lot of paintings out and I you know, he’d stop and look at a painting and we’d move on but I was, you know, I would make excuses for things once in a while. So when he was leaving, he said, Eric, do you mind if I just give you a little bit of feedback? I said, Sure. What is it? And he said, every painting we walked by that you created, you apologized for it? He said stop it. Just stop it. He said you’re doing good work. You’re where you should be. You’re gonna get better and except where you are, except the fact that you are gonna grow and stop making apology for your work, you just have to understand that this is where you are at the moment. And if you’re comparing yourself to me, Hey, I went through this too. So that was one of the sweetest most considerate things anybody’s ever done for me to actually take the time to say something to me about that. So I caught myself. Four years after that, I would start to make an excuse, you know, somebody be walking by a painting, I’d say, oh, I need to redo that. Or oh, I don’t like the clouds over. Oh, you know, you know, I wish I were better and, and I just would bite my tongue and stop it. And it felt better when I bit my tongue. And I got to the point where he stopped making excuses. Most of the time, once in a while, I will still do it. But I have to catch myself and stop doing it. I look. We all started out. We all did paintings we didn’t love we we have to look at each painting as progress. We’re learning something from each painting, you know, not every painting is going to be perfect. By the way not every painting, every artist who’s well known is perfect. You know, you’ve just got to get the practice, you know, Kevin McPherson talks about, you know, go out and paint 100 plein air painting small ones in 30 minutes or less just to get practice. So you just got to stop the negative self talk, you got to stop apologizing. And I looked this up just curious. I went to Psychology Today. And they said this measuring yourself against others is modus operandi of the human mind. And in some ways, it can be helpful. The inspiration you feel about someone else’s achievements can either rev you up to improve your own life. Or the recognition that your abilities are a notch above someone else can actually give you a boost your self esteem. But comparisons can be harmful when they leave you feeling chronically inferior or depressed. People aren’t uniformly at risk of negative social comparison. Surprisingly, those with low self esteem are more likely to feel that they don’t stack up. When we’re relying on others for our sense of self only feeling good if we get positive feedback or markers of status. We’re at risk for depression. So let that be a lesson go get a therapist, if that’s the case. But look, the worst that can happen is that you are judged. I mean, if you enter an art show what happens, you’re judged, and you’re judged fairly or unfairly or badly or good. But you’re judged. If you compare yourself to other artists, you know, who are you comparing yourself, you’re comparing yourself to Rembrandt or to Edgar Payne or to somebody at that level? How do we ever get there in our lifetimes? Some people do, some people don’t. But, you know, are you comparing yourself to Monet? You’re comparing yourself to another painter and your friend group. Who are you painting comparing yourself to? I sat up and painted two different times next to Richard Schmidt, the great artist, one time was in the garden, and I sat up next to him, so I could watch him paint, but I he wouldn’t let me watch. You wouldn’t want me just watch him paid. He said, You got to paint. And I want to see what you’re doing. Well, there’s nothing like pressure like that. And sometimes that pressure is good, because I felt like I really did for myself at the time a pretty decent painting. I look back now and maybe it wasn’t good. And then another time I painted a portrait standing right behind beside him, are behind him. And I was kind of monitoring what he did. And I do what he did and, and then he came up to me afterwards. He said, I know you’re such a good artist. And that was a nice compliment. And and while I said Well, it’s because I copied every brushstroke. He said nonsense, you were able to pull this off. It’s really nice. So you know, I was a little reluctant to let him see it to let him do it. But I did it and you got to put yourself out there and what I find I get a wonderful opportunity to paint with a lot of artists and I find that it can be intimidating, but what I do is I do not go look at their work while I’m painting. They may come over and look at mine I don’t go look at theirs because here’s what happens I’ll go oh, I liked the way they did that lead in and then I’ll come back and change my painting and that’s the kiss of death you don’t want to do that. So I just you know I will look at their work afterwards once I’m done but I don’t do it in the meantime. And I think that you know sometimes comparison is a real good thing it drives you you know when you know there’s a good painter next you I had some buddies of painting this past summer I wanted to really pull up my best because I wanted to look good right i That’s not unusual, but nobody was critical and and you know once in a while somebody come up say hey, I’ve got some ideas for you or some Sometimes I go up to them and I say, I’ve got some ideas for you, you know, we can all see things in other people’s work that we can’t see in ourselves. So help strive to be better, you know, try to set yourself to a new standard to get to a higher level. But don’t worry about it. Don’t compare yourself to others in a negative way, embrace it. As an artist, you are unique. You’re a unique individual, embrace yourself, embrace your struggle, embrace the hard work to get better. And know that people that are better than you went through this, they struggled, they did paintings, they weren’t happy with their painting stuff. And they probably compare themselves to others at the time, too. It’s a real natural thing. It’s okay, unless it’s hurting you in some way. You know, for instance, if you decided to stop painting, because you felt so bad about what you were doing, that’s just stupid. Alright, so I was in the studio the other day, and I messed up a painting I’ve been working on for two years, a big painting. And, you know, I had, I got a little too bold, and I was tired, and I started making some big mistakes. And I really screwed up this painting. So I wiped all the paint that I had just done down. Well, thankfully, of course, the dry painting underneath it was still there. And what ended up happening is that paint smeared, created this incredible atmosphere. And then what I did is I was just able to wipe out parts of it with my paper towel and retain some of the parts that I wanted. And then I painted on top of that, and I ended up doing one of the best paintings I’ve ever done. So you know, it’s gonna happen, you’re gonna, you’re gonna have mistakes, and sometimes mistakes lead to better things. Don’t beat yourself up, manage yourself, talk, treat yourself with respect, you would not tell someone else that they’re painting was awful. Don’t tell yourself that your paintings awful. Just tell yourself, look, I can do better. That’s fine, I will get better. This is their learning experience. I know that every artist, even the best ones, have messed things up from time to time. That’s part of the deal. Just deal with it. All right, next question.
The next question is from Richard Mark Stone. Sorry about that from Colorado. For people with successful non artistic jobs, careers, who would love to make art for a living, but are fearful? What would you say to them?
Okay, so what would I say to somebody who is not an artist but thinks that they’re already successful? They think that they would like to become a successful artist, I’d say go for it, go for it. This is kind of like head trash day, right? That we’re dealing with the heads. Why be fearful rich? Let me ask you this. If you decided to switch careers, I don’t know what you do for a living. Let’s say that you’re a woodworker. And that you decide you want to become a fireman? Would you fear becoming a fireman? Or you might a little bit What do you fear? Really, you fear the unknown you fear? Because you don’t know what you don’t know. But mostly, you would simply tell yourself, look, I don’t know this, but I can get trained on it. And once I’m trained on it, I can practice it once I practice it, I’m gonna get good at and you’re gonna apply for a job and you’re gonna get a job as a fireman, right? Well, what’s the difference really, as an artist, it’s no different. Except you’re not applying for a job because you’re self employed all the sudden. So what you might fear is quitting your existing job to become an artist when you’re unproven. Not knowing if you have the ability to paint or sculpt what you do, it’s just a matter of time, and not knowing if you can sell your work. So in my art marketing videos, and what I have often taught at the convention, plein air convention is, I often talk about being practical, practical about these things. In other words, you know, if you decide you want to quit your job and become an artist, you know, you’re it’s gonna take you some time to learn to be an artist and to get good. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take you everybody’s different. But let’s say it takes you five years, you don’t want to quit your job. And let’s say you have a job and a good job and you’re learning to be an artist and you have to take the time to do that while you have your job. And then you don’t want to just say okay, now I’m good at it are good at being an artist. I think now I’ll go start selling my paintings. Don’t quit your job. The goal is get used to painting, get used to selling paintings, get some proof that your stuff is going to sell consistently. And then get to a level of income that you’re comfortable even though you’re working hard because you’re really working two jobs now. Get to a level where you’re comfortable and that you know you can reproduce that level of sales month after month after month after month. And once you’ve proven it for six months or a year, if that’s when you want to quit your job. Maybe don’t do it. Maybe go to part time say okay you know I’m going to a friend of mine did this friend of mine was a physicist is Brilliant painter, and he had a good job. But he said, Okay, I’m gonna go to, I’m gonna start taking a quarter of my time off from work and then putting that towards painting. And then after a while it was half of my time. And then after a while, it was three quarters of my time. And eventually he stopped the one job by the time he got the other one go. And he was making plenty of money doing 3040 workshops a year, making, you know, making bank and so he was stable. And that’s what you want to go for is you want to be stable. So anyway, if you have the passion to become an artist, don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the talent or the skills that’s crazy. Everybody can do this, you just have to learn it, you have to get taught I have trained for my company has trained hundreds of 1000s of people through our our video library called paint tube.tv. We have trained millions of people, or at least a million people on the art school live daily on YouTube, we have taught a lot of people to paint who didn’t think they could, who figured it out because they got the proper training. You know, doing it on your own is okay, a lot of people are self taught, but you can burn a lot of time. That way you can speed it up and you get somebody good to teach you if you can get a good local instructor. That’s the best way. You get good national instruction, good workshops, good videos, things like that, that’s going to make a difference. And then get good at learning to sell and learning to market yourself. Those are critical parts of the process. Well, this has kind of been head trash day, so I guess I should be getting $100 an hour for each of these. Next patient. Okay, look, you’re your head is your worst enemy. And it’s also your best friend. Your brain wants to default to the negative, it’s natural. But you have to stop it. You have to constantly tell yourself that’s not like me. I am not a negative thinker. I am not going to think negatively. I’ve got some great books to recommend they’re classics, they’re really still true. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill, psycho cybernetics maxwell maltz. Unleash the Power Within Tony Robbins go to a Tony Robbins event. It’s not what you think it is. It’s not all positive thinking. There’s a lot of science behind it. I’ve been to a couple of them, they’ve been very helpful to me. Look, we’ll put links to those in the show notes. But take time to learn how to become a positive thinker. You know, your body reacts to your thoughts. And your body or your mind finds what your thoughts are saying. If you say it looks like it’s gonna rain, you’re gonna find rain. If you say it looks like it’s gonna be a beautiful day you’re gonna find a beautiful day. Now I you know, you’re not going to change the weather. But the if you get the point here is you’ve got to look for the positive spin on everything. You can’t be telling yourself you can’t do this. You can do this, you know, you just don’t know how. All right, anyway. Your mindset controls your success. These are things that will control the course of your future and your action and help you become what you want to be. Little prayer never hurts either, too. Okay. That’s today’s psychology minute. I mean, art marketing.
How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Submit it at artmarketing.com/questions to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.