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Where Do I Start? — Making the Jump to Full-Time Artist

The BoldBrush Show: Episode #67

Show Notes:

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Today we are sharing a collection of stories from our past guests telling us how they made the transition from student, day job, or hobbyist to full time artist. Everyone's journey is different, but it's precisely for that reason that it's useful to hear other people's experiences. Some of these stories might inspire you and others might resonate with your own situation. All of the artists mentioned in the episode are linked in the show notes as well as their respective episodes so you may go listen to them if you'd like. We hope that hearing their stories will inspire you all in this new year!

Ryan S. Brown:
Episode 19 -

Derek Harrison:
episode 35 -

Debra Keirce:
Episode 39 -

Susan Lyon:
episode 40 -

Tina Garrett:
episode 42 -

Hillary Scott:
episode 46 -

Eric Armusik:
episode 47 -

Mathieu Nozieres:
episode 48 -

David Cheifetz:
episode 51 -

Aaron Schuerr:
episode 62 -


Eric Armusik: 0:00

All that sacrifice and all those staying up those hours, and all that, you know, trying to be clandestine, I had work and do business. Yeah, to get out. That equaled this.

Debra Keirce: 0:11

I think you have to be a little bit, like nutty and so like, taken by this whole, you know, passion for the arts and putting beauty in the world and being one of the creators.

Aaron Schuerr: 0:22

I think the hard thing about going from that transition from part time to full time is it is a leap. And it's scary, and it never stops being a little bit scary, but just having the faith that you can keep plugging away at it. Welcome

Laura Arango Baier: 0:40

to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold brush. My name is Laura Arango Baier, and I'm your host. For those of you who are new to the podcast. We are a podcast that covers art marketing techniques, and all sorts of business tips specifically to help artists learn to better sell their work. We interview artists at all stages of their careers, as well as others who are in careers tied to the art world in order to hear their advice and insights. Today, we are sharing a collection of stories from our past guests telling us how they made the transition from student day job or hobbyist to full time artist. Everyone's journey is different. But it's precisely for that reason that it's useful to hear other people's experiences. Some of these stories might inspire you and others might resonate with your own situation. All of the artists mentioned in the episode are linked in the show notes as well as their respective episodes. So you may go listen to them if you'd like. We hope that hearing their stories will inspire you all in this new year. We're starting off with Ryan S. Brown, who tells us about how from the get go, he worked as hard as he could to jump directly from student to full time artist. Oh,

Ryan S. Brown: 1:44

I grew up in Utah. When I went to BYU, I was brought up Mormon. So I went 19 went on a two year mission, then went back to BYU graduated in illustration, kind of felt like I wasn't really that good. I definitely wasn't, I didn't know how bad I was. But then I I found the Florence Academy through a friend and and I was pretty early on. So the internet wasn't great resources. I mean, nobody else had really heard of academic study around here. So 2003, I went to the Florence Academy, I guess, applied in 2002, when January 2003, ran out of money, six months later came home, had to decide, am I going to get a job and try to paint on the side? Or am I am I going to just go for this and decided that I couldn't do it part time I just it wasn't something that I guess it maybe it was a little bit of a discipline thing. I knew I couldn't go work eight hours a day and then come home and paint. I had two little kids at the time. And I think more more though, it was just the selfishness it was it was like I'm gonna, I'm gonna do the thing that I really want to do no matter what, if not, I will figure this out. I will have to I mean, that was the biggest problem to solve is how do I how do I go about this? I didn't have really any. Anybody showing me like how to be a professional or how to approach a gallery or how to promote yourself social media didn't exist. So how, you know what, what do you paint, I didn't have that many ideas. I had, I remember early on like, I stumbled on one landscape that I did in Florence, that worked pretty well. And I was really struggling with what to paint, I was so raw as like, you know, I didn't grow up with any art. I didn't know anything about art history. I knew something about illustration history, because I studied that. But I was so raw as an artist, I just was I don't know, I had no ideas. So I took that one painting that was successful, and, you know, got some attention. And I think I probably made 13 or 14 different variations of it, and sold them all, which helped, you know, helped me just kind of keep going. But it also kind of helped me figure out what is it? What is it that people were responding to us that was like fumbling around on other projects. At the same time. I was starting to figure out the aesthetics of art, and what that meant to me. So I don't know, it was a weird thing. And it was it was hard for a lot of years. But I don't think I could have done it any other way. I think I had to just go all in for my personality and just find a way to make it work. And that you know, then, you know three and a half years later to January 2007. I went back to Florence because I knew I was missing something my processes really slow. I knew I couldn't make a living being as clumsy as I was. And so I went back and graduated in 2008 And then then, you know, at that point, while I was in school, I, I was also selling a gallery. So I was painting by, you know, outside of class all the time. At that point, I had three kids, I had like an hour bike ride to and from school. And I still I think in the first six months of school, you know, you're going like 1012 hours a day, add the commute to that and add the kids. And, you know, I still made, I think it was, like 72 paintings outside of class, just on my own in the first six months. Just because that was my motivation. I knew the what the academy was for, I knew it was going to help me get the skills, it was going to help me progress and get more efficient and understand myself better in a, you know, much more economical way than I could have ever figured it out on my own. And it did that. But at the same time, I wasn't motivated by being a good student. I always wanted my art to improve. So I made it a priority to work on my own paintings all the time, even when we're hiring models on the weekend. I had an idea I wanted to pursue, I wasn't like, Okay, I need more practice on a portrait. I mean, certainly there was that, but I wanted to paint an idea. You know, I would take models out around Florence and photograph them in different settings and different costumes. You know, so the first paintings I did when I got back were a 40 by 70 have a girl in front of Casa de Dante with pigeons around and I did a portrait of my friend Jordan Sokol out weaved painting outside of Pisa with him and girl Costanza and Tim McGuire and and so I did some studies of him out when we're painting and then I did a big six foot by seven foot painting of him and his easel behind him and the his his sketch up on the Eastville. And then the scene he's sketching. And then I did like a five foot by 10 foot landscape of the Catskill clove which I went to the Hudson River School 2007 2008. So collected all the studies. And so when I graduated, I was like, coming out, I had, I had these big ideas, and maybe the timing sucked, because it was 2008. And, you know, everything crashed and, and then I came home, and I had given up my most of my clientele, because I was just doing mostly landscapes. And then I came back from Florence, and now is doing figures in the landscape. And, and, you know, had a lot of figure ideas. So I was working, at the same time as the big crash, I decided to do paintings that were had far less than audience that were really big, so had much bigger prices on them. And it's just like, the timing of that was like the worst. But it but it were, you know, I mean, again, it was kind of a slog to get back going and restart the career because I'd taken that hiatus as a student, even though I was still selling in galleries, it's it did definitely did kind of knock me down as with my momentum, professionally. And then, gosh, I think I was selling and maybe eight or nine galleries, and I realized I wasn't doing as good work because I thought I should be. And so then then, and then I pulled out of galleries all together for like three or four years, which again, just killed all my momentum. And now for the last two, two or three years, I've been selling galleries again. And yeah, I keep shooting myself in the foot. But it is what it is, I guess,

Laura Arango Baier: 8:43

Derek Harrison gives us his cautionary tale of the difficulties of becoming a full time artist, and that powering through with faith will help you go far. Hmm,

Derek Harrison: 8:52

that that's the hard part. When I teach classes now I always try to caution students against that, like it's going to be a bit of a rocky road. I remember when I saw I was I was doing these classes with with Jeremy King once a week. And then I went to the to take classes at the LA Academy of figurative art, just like I was saying I needed stronger fundamentals. And there those teachers were like, Okay, you're, you're in for a ride, like it's going to be 10 years where it's going to be really hard. And then if you do sort of succeed, you're not it's going to be really hard to actually be like, rich, you'll never be rich. You know, it's not about the money. But I was always okay with that. Like I was just like as long as as long as I can make ends meet and just keep paying and just keep doing what I'm doing keep getting better than it was all okay. So it kind of always had my focus pointed in that direction, not really caring about much else. And I think that that was helpful. Again, I heard Daniel spricht say this one time that it is like being naive and arrogant, you know, at a young age because, you know, like I'm a little bit older now. I'm not sure if if I would make those same decisions You know, just knowing the realities of the world, like, it seems so risky to do that, and you can get yourself into a real bind. So anyhow, I feel kind of grateful that I wasn't taking all that into consideration. But mostly the transition, what I think at the heart of all of it, it's the work how good the work is, or how personal it is, people connect with it, if that's working, that things tend to take care of themselves, I think, to a large degree, I mean, there's still like a networking aspect to it. And I found some, some galleries that I really respected and tried to build relationships with them. And I did, it took a while before they took me on for, you know, representation, and all of that. Because I'm a pretty big fan of the gallery system. I know, not everybody is, but it's worked pretty well for me. And so you know, just sort of being like a professional, you know, you establish good relationships with people in their business in the industry, and they will want to help you, and then you work together. And before you know it, you have a happy career. So, you know, getting out there and doing that sort of thing, which I know for a lot of students, a lot of artists, you know, there's a lot of introverts out there, I could totally understand that spend a lot of time in the studio alone, getting out there and going to dinners and events and openings and meeting people and talking with people, it's not the most natural, but boy does it help, I gotta say like the the results that I have gotten from doing that stuff, it's, I wouldn't, you know, wouldn't be able to do all this without it. So very helpful, very good to do that.

Laura Arango Baier: 11:37

Deborah kirs tells us about how she became a chemical engineer. And after establishing a comfortable life, she began to pursue her true passion painting where she has already found success.

Debra Keirce: 11:48

I talk with some of these artists, and I feel like, I don't know, I guess it's I have no apologies. But it sounds egocentric. When I'm like, you know, I did make sacrifices in the beginning. And we my husband and I worked for 40 years. But for me now, it's not all about the money. But then I talked to someone who's younger and just trying to make ends meet. And they have to make all the sacrifices and they say me see me doing this stuff, just for fun, like going to the portrait conference, and then going here and then going there. And it's like, well, I can afford it because I worked for four decades to get to this point. So no apologies. But on the other hand, I can see where if I if my life had gone in the other direction, and I'd gone into art instead of engineering and done it, you know, that way I would have had to have, I would have faced a lot of poverty, you know, kinds of situations to begin with. And so I can't speak from what they're experiencing. So I don't know, it's like, there's all these different. Isn't it weird that way, in the art world where you're dealing with people that are coming at it, where they have an awful lot of money, a lot of wealth, right? And they're collecting or doing this just for fun, or whatever. And then you're dealing with the people who you know, haven't figured out how to make this work for them yet, or whatever. So it's great that we have all these opportunities. fasil included, that way we can, you know, explore and figure out what works for us, right. And whether it's teaching or videos or, and the realism resources, let's be honest, I mean, when I graduated from high school in 1979, there was that I actually had a scholarship to the Cranbrook Art Institute, and I had been the illustrator for the city of Sterling Heights. And I had like I was all poised to jump into the art world. And I get out there. And I'm looking at these curriculums, you know, that they had at the universities and they're literally talking about Rothko, and Jackson Pollock. And I'm like, where's the Rembrandt? Where's the discussion would didn't exist. So at least now, people are like this shift more toward realism. People have that option for me. I'm like, I knew I didn't want to paint like Rothko, because I didn't I still don't understand them. No offense to anybody out there was a fan. But the the thing was, I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do. But like you said, there were no resources available to do otherwise, you know, and I lived in the Detroit area. And you know, I wasn't into cars, so I couldn't do like auto art. Like, what do I do? And I hated chemistry, and I love a problem. So like, how much the chemical engineers make, okay, let's do this. Let's make a whole bunch of money real fast and engineering and then do our thing. So that was my tact or whatever. And it's, I think it worked. You know, I think this business weeds out the people who just while maybe doesn't weed everybody out. If you're just interested in marketing, and you're really good at it. I think you can do really well, right, but, but people that have a passion for art. Understand that. If you don't, it's not going to get you through those tough times. Like I was at Archer conference this weekend. And I was listening to Kevin McPherson. He had a talk and he was talking about how he was down in Mexico painting and there's these guys that you know, in this area that he was in that looked like they wanted to kill them but then they come over and they look over his shoulder and go that's pretty good. We won't kill you today. You know, like Good. You're You're literally weighing yourself or or, you know, James Gurney was talking about how him and Thomas Kincaid right after they graduated from college way back when they were hobos, they jumped freight trains and lived in boxcars for years, you know, painting plein air, painting people and everything like you put yourself into those risky situations. Why? Because you're so consumed, and you're so all about the art. Right? And I mean, I don't think he normal. Not that we're all I think we're all insane there, we're just on that continuum with insanity, right to the level that, that it interferes with other people in your functioning in society, you know, is whether you get the white coat or not, but I think you have to be a little bit like muddy and so like, taken by this whole, you know, passion for the arts and putting beauty in the world and being one of the creators, Susan

Laura Arango Baier: 15:49

Lyon reminds that the importance of living below your means for as long as possible while your career is taking off? And

Susan Lyon: 15:56

great question. And I'd have to say that it was probably easier for me, and especially back then, because this was the 90s. They're just okay. So one thing that just wasn't as many artists, I mean, there literally just was not as many artists out there. Secondly, I was living at home when I went to art school, so I didn't have to work. I didn't have to make money. And then I started dating an artist who was already making a living. But it's not easy. It's not like it was just a Cinderella story. So when Scott I moved in with each other, so right after school, we just lived in an incredibly cheap apartment, we just, you know, and every month was just making enough money to make that month's rent. And Scott would do some Commission's like portrait commissions, but he'd also do fantasy magazine covers. And we just lived so cheaply. And that's, you know, it's just just living below your means just not like getting a puppy. So you have to worry about money. So Scott was making a living, even though it was just barely. And I was able to, you know, I mean, I have to say, I probably didn't make a profit in my art. I never really looked at the the numbers, but I made so little money. So I would sell things that obviously this isn't an IDS, but I would sell things for just hundreds of dollars, you know, I would sell thing, our price things to sell. I mean, I've literally maybe no frame. But I had an end because there were a couple of galleries that Scott was in and Scott got to be in galleries because he was being mentored by Richard Schmid. So there was a little bit of a hand holding, like, you know, following a mentor is probably one of the easiest ways to get in this, this career because they can kind of lead the way a little bit. So Scott followed Richard, and then when I got with Scott, even though my prices were literally just like 150, or $300. i My money was maybe just for buying groceries. When did I finally actually make a profit? So, I mean, I'm gonna say to like to where like, I paid enough for my art supplies and living. I mean, maybe eight to 10 years. So I was subsidized. I was subsidized by Scott to be able to, like sell paintings, but you but not have to worry about like, I mean, I was selling things so cheap. So that's, that is the answer was I was helped out because I was with an artist who was already doing it.

Laura Arango Baier: 18:48

I mean, if everyone has such a different path, obviously, it's like, if you can, oh my god, like, that's awesome. You know if you can have that help. Yeah, hell yeah. That's really

Susan Lyon: 19:01

no, that's it. Like it was also back then when there just wasn't as many artists, I think nowadays, as you probably know, it's like the art world has like, quadrupled. I mean, I don't even know a bigger word than triple, you know, like, it's like, 1000 times bigger. And so it's harder to sell full time now. I think. I just I don't know. I mean, back then to like, we were not in control of our own promotion. Like you were just hoping and praying to get a magazine article. There wasn't websites when we first started. The other wasn't Instagram or Facebook. So the idea was, hopefully somehow you could get into a magazine article. But now the fact that people have control over their own ability to get their paintings out, it's like an equalizer. So somebody who's starting out but as good can Unlike I know lots of people who have just put their work out and people do see it, like galleries do see it so they their careers can like skyrocket if the right gallery sees their work. But they also have to be proactive about like putting their workout and like working hard and going and painting with people who are better with them better than them. So that would be the biggest thing is like, seek out people who are better than you to paint with, like, don't be the big fish in a little pond. You know, always try and find people who challenge you, you know, make you give you that little bit of like edge where you like, Oh, I see what they're doing. And I want to do that too, because it sparks something. It just sparks something within you that like you make your work better.

Laura Arango Baier: 20:45

Tina Garrett recounts how her experience has been surprising in terms of how quickly she began to gain success. But she reminds us that so much of what success is dependent on having good teachers and also being at the right place at the right time with the right preparation.

Tina Garrett: 21:00

My acceleration from beginner student to professional was relatively quick in the realm of what other artists are telling me their experience has been some artists are working 1020 3040 years, and never ever reaching the point where they're getting international recognition for their work or having their work collected by a large collection, or viewed in museums or whatnot. So people feel very surprised to hear that that started happening for me about my third year of painting, and has really never stopped to paces just kept going. And it's I owe that specifically to the sort of the vein of philosophy that I learned through the teachers that I learned from. So my very first teacher was Rommel dilatory on scholarship at the Scottsdale artist school. And he is an exceptional teacher, an incredible painter in his own right. And I took seven he came to teach here seven times. So and then, of course, it took my class with him, it's the school and then I went to Chicago to do a day of private lessons with him. And once I knew who he was, and who Richard Schmid was, I basically stayed within that vein and kept taking classes from artists who were either heavily influenced by or directly taught by Richard. And I think that that is what I owe the pace in which my work was getting better and being recognized, I owe that to the teachers that I had. Richard's philosophy was that you don't own this information, and that you have an obligation to share it. And so all the people who really took lessons from him and were heavily influenced by him also feel that's true. And therefore, they're very sharing and generous with what they teach. And then they're not hiding anything in the vest and not worried about you surpassing them in their skill they want you to, because they love great art and good artists, and they want the work to get out there. They want the knowledge to get out there. And so that's why and I never stepped off that track. I didn't go take a sculpture class, or watercolor class or a basket weaving class, I just went from one great teacher to the next, some of them I took multiple times. And you can see the full list. My website has the connection to my complete CV. And the list of all the teachers that I've ever taken is right there. And I would highly recommend every single one of them. And in my mind, they become mentors to me. So I think that's what it was not anything necessarily exceptional about myself, but just the ability to recognize and stay on task with the right teachers.

Laura Arango Baier: 23:38

At BoldBrush. We inspire artists to inspire the world because creating art creates magic, and the world is currently in desperate need of magic. BoldBrush provides artists with free art marketing, creativity and business ideas and information. This show is an example. We also offer written resources, articles and a free monthly art contest open to all visual artists. We believe that fortune favors the bold brush. And if you believe that to sign up completely free at BoldBrush That's The BoldBrush Show is sponsored by FASO. Now more than ever, it's crucial to have a website when you're an artist, especially if you want to be a professional in your career. Thankfully, with our special link forward slash podcast, you can make that come true and also get over 50% off your first year on your artists website. Yes, that's basically the price of 12 lattes in one year, which I think is a really great deal considering that you get sleek and beautiful website templates that are also mobile friendly e commerce print on demand in certain countries, as well as access to our marketing center that has our brand new art marketing calendar. And the art marketing calendar is something that you won't get with our competitor. The art marketing calendar gives you day by day step by step guides on what you should be doing today. Right now in order to get your artwork out there and seen by the right eyes so that you can make more sales this year. So if you want to change your life and actually meet your sales goal this year, then start now by going to our special link forward slash podcast. That's Forward slash podcast. Hilary Scott tells us about how she made the jump from her soul crushing part time day job to full time artists by teaching and doing small Commission's so she could get her career started.

Hillary Scott: 25:28

So it was a slow transition, because I think this was probably my low point where I was like, this is it's now or never, I was a physical therapist assistant. So I did a complete 180 from like, you know, I was teaching art. And I was doing some illustration stuff, like I was getting some assignments, and then I was like, we're gonna go back to school. And the idea was, that I could do this job part time and just do art on the side. And, you know, and I did that for a little while, but I would show up at that job. And it was just like, soul crushing. It was just, for me. I mean, I just couldn't stand it. I'm like, this is just not like, I just don't want to be massaging people's body parts, you know, all day, and like, touching everyone's like feet. And I mean, I do respect it as a career. Don't get me wrong, but for me, that is just not why I get up in the morning. And I just, I had a hard time with that. So, you know, I went in, I got laid off. Because full disclosure, every one of my jobs, I kind of just did the bare minimum, like I just could never go above and beyond beyond like what, like a star employee might do. Or it's like, you're gonna stay late, you're gonna pick up extra shifts, you're gonna do this, and I just couldn't do it. I'm like, I just didn't, I didn't care enough. You know, that's just me. I'm like, I'm not an ass kisser. I'm not naturally that type of person. And I just never pretended to be anything other than what I am. And I think the authentic authenticity factor is always just been one that I'm proud of. But it didn't really serve me well in the business world when it when I was working at these different jobs. So yeah, I did get laid off, wasn't willing to pick up extra shifts, because my extra time was devoted to creating art, of course, and I was protecting that time. So they did lay me off. So then I was like, Oh, shit, now what am I going to do? So it was a slow transition, it was I started, my kids were young at the time. So I actually put out a little ad on Facebook, I was like, oh, and I teach children's art classes, oh, I can make some extra money in my house after school, and use the money and just have that income. Well, I worked on some art and tried to get the work out there and to be successful as an artist. So that's what I did. I also did pick up some more illustration assignments, through self publishing, Arthur, author's on like a, it was one of those websites where you bid on the jobs. So I picked up some embarrassingly low money, but I'll tell you what I was so excited to just be able to say that my job was to create art, even if it was making less money than you could make like flipping burgers, and I'm not even kidding you. It was for me, it was just that important that like my identity was so closely tied to my ability to make art for money that I didn't even care, I was like, I'm gonna bid on these jobs. I'm just I'm gonna make peanuts for for cash. But But again, I'm building my portfolio because at this time, I was still kind of like in an illustration phase, I'm like, I didn't care if I was like, I want to be a professional illustrator, even if that's all I could be. And I could never make it to, you know, breaking into the fine art world, I was okay with that. Because anything was better than working as a physical therapist, Assistant, anything in the world. And so, you know, I set the bar low. And I was like, I'll teach art class for a little while, you know, and then I was doing the illustration, and then I hit a wall with that. And that's when I, that's when all the classes start. Like, I was like, the workshops that that was the point in which I sought out some instruction from some well known fine artists around here that were teaching workshops. And I think that was the turning point for me, where I started to gain the skills that were eventually going to pay the bills. And, you know, and it did take a while it wasn't an overnight success by any means. You should see my first few landscapes, they're, they're laughable, but still, they're an attempt. And, but you know, I look at those. And I realize on a bad day, sometimes I'm like, God, I've come so far, when I'm feeling like, I can't get anything to work. And it's just like, This is so hard. And I'm like, I look and I'm like, I can't believe I went from this point to this point. And there and it's, that's encouraging to me. And sometimes I will post those up to encourage other people that are starting on the same journey, just because it's, you know, if you really look at the big picture, there's just been so much learned in the last nine years. And there's still so much to learn. But yeah, so that was the transition. And over time, the more I practice, the more I just kind of got better at what I was doing. That's when the sales started to increase. And it wasn't before I got to that basic level of competency where I could paint something that, you know, looked pretty much like it was, you know, what I was trying to convey, like my, what my vision was with matching for it at a basic level on like what came out on the canvas, that's when I started to sell and the prices were super cheap at this time, I was like, you know, I just want to sell these paintings. So I saw it, you know, put the prices down low, just trying to get trying to gain a following, just try to get the work to move a little bit. And it's just kind of been a progression since then. Slowly, but just very, you know, incrementally raising the prices, getting out there getting more of a following. And it's, it's been awesome, very encouraging, you know, just to see my work payoff, to see how I worked so hard, you know, like, I've never worked harder for any other employer that I work for myself. You know, even when I don't sell paintings, even when I'm in, you know, it's a slow season, I'm like, I don't, I just want to do this, this is so you know, important to me that I just, I will work day and night to just get something right. And to just be able to, you know, getting my work out there the way I want it to be seen.

Laura Arango Baier: 31:16

Eric, our music tells us about how he made painting his number one goal no matter what, and even work on his paintings during breaks at his day job.

Eric Armusik: 31:25

Right out of school, like, as I said, I had a little bit of a kind of a maverick spirit, I wanted to, I wanted to succeed where everybody said I couldn't. But obviously, you know, we're all confronted with the daily needs of having to provide for ourselves, and and eventually, in my case, you know, a family of five. So I kind of had to go into the things that I knew that I could make money with at the time to support me, I tried doing something of an artistic situation, I thought would have worked out something would have provided some income, and it didn't. So I had to kind of go into the crutch of my previous profession as a kid working for my father and construction. So I worked with my dad from the time I was nine years old. All weekends, all my holidays, and everything else, I spent a lot of time doing that. And that's a whole nother story of why I had to do it. Kind of as a kid getting in trouble, did something bad. And basically, I had to work for my father for about two years for free. But I learned a profession and it was very helpful for me and and I kind of stress this with a lot of people that I do care consultations with and career advice and stuff is that, you know, take every experience that you have in your life doesn't matter if you think it's related. And see how that can give you an unforeseen advantages in your career. So for me, I was a carpenter, I trimmed out houses built, did concreted roofs, dug ditches, I mean, everything that they needed me to do, I did. But I learned a lot of things about, you know, working with framing wood and doing finish work. And later on in life, I was able to use that for building custom frames doing large tabernacle frames, like I'm actually in the process of doing right now for a church, I have two of them I'm doing. But I relied on that for a little while. And then I was able to kind of get into a profession doing graphic design work for a company and I had a little bit of experience with it in college. So it was kind of on the job training. So I was able to learn Photoshop and a bunch of other things. And while I was doing my day job working for this craft company at first and then a technology company I was working for. I said, I don't want to do this forever. I want I'm doing this for money now some experience. So I built my business on the outside while I was working. So while I would work all day, I would come home eat dinner, and then I would get in my studio and I would work like five, six hours or so at night until like two in the morning. And I realized that that sacrifice of sleep was necessary because even if it was an extra hour or two, each day, it was getting me that much farther out. So I got you know, kind of a parallel career running. You know, I had my thing I had to do for money and my career was running at the same time. So in a number of years after it. I think it was probably about six, seven years after I really committed myself doing it. I was in a position where I wasn't very good job paying being paid very well. And I left that job to become a full time artist. And by that time I had both careers running. I it was like, you know, stepping off an escalator right into another one. And I was right. It didn't. It didn't there was no hiccups or anything. And I actually that first year I made more money in the art career that I moved into than where I was working. So that was another you know, everybody is telling me you're crazy. What are you gonna do, you're gonna ruin your life and you're gonna lose all that you lose all the benefits of working for corporations guy couldn't wait to leave. You're right. And but I think the biggest thing the biggest advice and I think I wrote a blog years ago for BoldBrush for this is, is I think it was like 1010 reasons are things you should do to leave your job or whatever it was, but it was really committing myself in the end and going if you're going to leave and you're going to your passion is to be in your career. Don't be a model employee do what you have to to get the employee thing done and to satisfy your boss and be everything else but be kind of like a wallflower. You know, be somebody who not going to bring a lot of attention to you because I spent all my time I would I would take my lunch break sometimes and just go in the car and do marketing I would be sneaking out to make calls to people to do Commission's I was even painting Commission's on the steering wheel of my car in the parking lot, you know, all my friends are like all the work buddies are like, Hey, come out to, you know, to go out to eat with all of us, it'd be social and like, No, I don't want to be social. I like you guys, but I want I have this dream and I have to achieve it. And I at the time I had, you know, two children. And I was watching my daughter every day, look at me in the door, the window there and seeing her dad hate this, I don't want to miss their lives, I want to I want them to grow up in front of me, I want to be a good dad, I want to be home my wife, I love being at home, I'm still to every day, I enjoy a nice hour to Coffee with my wife in the morning. Because it's the greatest part of my life, you know, that all that sacrifice and all those staying up those hours, and all that, you know, trying to be cleansed. And I had work and do business. Yeah, to get out that that equaled this. And I will never ever regret any of it. I love it for everything I ever dreamed about. I'm doing right now. And I want to grow bigger and bigger. And I want to help more people do the same. Because I believe it's achievable. But you have to believe it. You can't just go. People can't achieve that dream anymore. It's just not possible. And I'm like, it's more possible than ever. Right now in the world where we're all connected. It's not like it was when I got out of college. It's it's so much better. And this is this is worth doing. You know, Matthew

Laura Arango Baier: 37:28

knows, yeah, reminds us that believing in yourself is the key to having the strength to push through and pursue your dreams.

Unknown: 37:35

If you believe in yourself, go for it. Like the best example is Nagi. Son, I told you that my wife, she was into engineering school. And she felt like she wants to be an artist. She was always drawing, you know, but she had no support from her family. Some people were telling her like, you shouldn't do that. But she tried. She she worked in a convention first convention selling her art, it worked really well. And she felt like okay, there is a possibility that it works. So she dropped everything. And started started her artistic career. And it actually worked very, very well. So sometimes we walk you know, after work, and we're discussing, like, imagine if you wouldn't have made this decision back then. You know. So if you feel really convinced that you can do it, there's no reason to fail, such as go for it. If you feel a little unsure. There's no hurry, you can still wait and jump when you're sure. So I wouldn't pressure too much on this. On this question. Just do things when you're sharing jump, because it can there's no reason to fail. And if you feel like waiting, just wait a little bit because you know, so many people pressure themselves. So like, I have to jump now or I will never be able to do it and they put this very, they put so much pressure onto themselves that in the end they they're stuck. They just don't move. Right. So yeah, take it easy. And when you feel ready, just go for it and it will work. That's the Yeah, that's what I can advise and it works in any fields right. So I felt ready. I went to talk to this lady. It worked. Notice and felt ready. She jumped at work. Everyone who's a professional artist, it's most of the time the same at some point they feel like okay, let's go and they just go and it works. So and once again, if you're unsure take your time there's no rush for being a professional artist, was listening to this guy, Francois Sheng, a Chinese man who arrived in France when he was a kid, and who actually I learned French so well that he became a writer and one of the most acclaimed French writer from nowadays. And he's, he said that he published his first book at 50 years old. And he became so respected that he entered the French Academy. So he said, There's no hurry, just do things when you when you're ready, and that's it. So, best advice would be no pressure, we should remember also that your brain doesn't function well under stress. When you're stressed, your brain is just, you know, you're not going to make the right decision and the right thinking and everything. So you need to make decisions when you're relaxed when you're feeling comfortable feeling good. So yeah, that's, that's the best way to go. I think. David

Laura Arango Baier: 40:59

Chafetz tells us about how working at his day job and attending art school at the same time, helped him start to sell his work while having income on the side. Um,

David Cheifetz: 41:09

it was pretty seamless, actually. Because during school, we had started, you know, with a student shows, selling paintings during student shows. And then one of my teachers, Carol Lee Thompson, she's an excellent painter, and teacher, and she connected me with a couple of galleries in DC and Maryland. And so I got started, you know, selling in galleries. So, I mean, I was just so focused on finding a new career, that, like, I kind of felt like, if I didn't make it an oil painting that was my last chance at being happy. I was very, you know, very dramatic. Because I, I was so frustrated with architecture. So I was gonna make it work. And so it was, it was exciting. I was so happy when I switched completely to painting. And at the time, our expenses were pretty low. Because we were young, and renting small, tiny places, and so didn't have kids yet. And so it was actually a pretty smooth transition. But you know, when you sent me the questions earlier, I was thinking about this for a while, like, like, what were the challenges and, and I think the biggest challenge was, was what it is now is, is the work itself, the painting itself, has always been the biggest challenge. And it hasn't gotten any easier. Maybe maybe different. But like pendings really hard, you know, like, that's why I love it, I guess. Because there's always the need to get better. And the need to, for my artwork to evolve. Because if it doesn't evolve, I start to lose interest. Really, like the growing part is the most exciting part for me. So yeah, I think it has always been the biggest challenge has always been making the paintings, and it still is the biggest challenge. Everything else is just the technical stuff. Yeah. So

Laura Arango Baier: 43:53

finally, Aeron chair tells us about how he accidentally went full time and the importance not only of monetary support, but also emotional support.

Aaron Schuerr: 44:04

Well, I, I went full time by mistake. I always had this. I don't know if this is a common kind of way of thinking about it. But I had this idea that there would be this this moment, like going from part time to full time artists that and I always had this idea that we would have, I don't know, books with numbers in front of us, you know, where we'd be sitting there, my wife and I would be sitting there and, and, you know, we we'd really discuss it and make a plan and say, All right, you know, it's time to really go for it. Now. They got the pieces together. And it didn't happen like that at all. No, none of nothing in my life has happened in that deliberate way it feels like so when I finished art school, I had sold enough paintings. To move out to Montana. I moved up to Montana because I had met a girl from Montana, and we had gotten engaged. And so my friends in Chicago thought I was absolutely insane. So you're gonna go out to Montana, which none of us can even find on a map. And you're gonna go and be an artist? And I said, something like that. Yes. They thought I was absolutely bonkers. Because you know, the idea is that if you're going to be an artist, you go to Chicago or New York or LA, or, you know, some big city and I'm going out to Montana weathers less than a million people in the whole state. And I got out to, initially to Bozeman, Montana, and there were more artists. I now live in Livingston. There are more painters, writers, musicians, filmmakers that I have met anywhere, Livingston, this little town I live in per capita has more professional writers than New York, or Chicago. It's, it's crazy. And it's what I loved about being out here is instead of people asking me, well, what are you going to do with that? When I told them I was going to be an artist? Or had an art major? What what are you going to do with that? How are you going to make a living? When it came out? West? People said, Well, what kind of work do you do? Oh, no one really cares how successful I am. I just want to know what you're creating. So that was refreshing. So anyway, I waited tables, I taught little kids to cross country ski, I was a youth director point, I did home health care. Sometimes I did more than you know, I might have up to three jobs at one time. But I always worked as little as possible on those jobs, to try to focus on my artwork. So that I did that for about 10 years after, after art school where I worked part time. My last job was as a youth director, and I could see that the program was growing. And I was going to have to ask for more hours. But I also realized that when I was working with the kids, I was thinking about the painting I wanted to finish. When I was painting, I was thinking I really should get this next event planned. So I thought this is a way to get in trouble. You know, not being prepped, prepared. So I put in my notice, I assumed I would get a another job. And there was a number of handful of times that I went to restaurants stood outside, because I knew they're hiring, I knew I could get away during the job I I'm not for 10 years. And it stand there. And I'd say I'm gonna do it tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow. And I kept doing that. And then one day, I realized, wait a second, I think it might be a full time artist. Because I had kept putting off getting a job for a month. And so that was 2005. So do the math at it for a while. So it kind of took me by surprise. I think the hard thing about going from that transition from part time to full time is it is a leap. And it's scary and it never stops being a little bit scary. Being an artist, you know, you just don't know when the next opportunity the next paycheck is coming. And most of us are not, you know, raking it in every month. It's it's still feast and famine. But just having the faith that you can keep plugging away at it. In my case, my wife has been absolutely key to me being where I'm at. She has always encouraged and supported me. And there's there's points in the journey where if she had said, I can't handle the strain and stress of this, you need to go get a job. I said, Okay, I'll do it. But she never there's times when I was ready to give up and she's like, No, no, keep at it. Just don't let all the clutter and stress and strain get to you just keep painting it and that's not the world to me.

Laura Arango Baier: 49:35

We here at BoldBrush wish everyone a Happy New Year and want to thank all of our fantastic guests for the wonderful advice that they have shared with us. We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, it would help us a lot if you could leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And also remember to follow our Instagram at BoldBrush and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have begun posting the video episodes of the podcast. If you want to see the video episodes before everyone else and also get the best marketing advice out there simply go to BoldBrush and of course you can find all of the links in the show notes

The BoldBrush Show. Interviews with today's finest artists and creatives. Watch here or listen on all major podcast services.