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William Schneider — Don't "Try" to Find Your Voice, Let it Emerge

The BoldBrush Show: Episode #79

Show Notes:

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On today's episode, we sat down with William Schneider, a realist painter and renaissance man at heart with a passion for painting, music, and experimentation to find out how things work. Bill tells us all about his beginnings as a touring musician, how he started a financial business, and then later became a full-time artist. He reminds us of the importance of working a day-job you actually enjoy while you build up your art career, proper gallery etiquette so you always have a good relationship with your gallery, and why you shouldn't try to find your voice and instead let it come on its own as you create more paintings. He also recounts the importance of being curious about other things outside of painting and art because it may just tie in perfectly into your work. Finally, Bill tells us about his upcoming demos at the International Association of Pastel Societies and at the Plein Air Convention.

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The Schneider Ross Band:



William Schneider: 0:00

Don't try to find your own voice. And I'd say that because that is one of the pieces of advice that was passed on to me by Bill parks. And he was 100%. Right? I think that if you just study, become curious about the world curious about everything. You will gravitate towards certain themes, certain ideas, certain ways of expressing things, style or voice, I think is nothing more than people's habitual mistakes. And also, if you just try to be a great artist who try to be the best that you can be at the things that interest you. Eventually, your style will will find you.

Laura Arango Baier: 0:50

Welcome to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold brush. My name is Laura Arango Baier, and I'm your host. But 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. On today's episode, we sat down with William Schneider, a realist painter and Renaissance man at heart with a passion for painting music and experimentation to find out how things work. Bill tells us all about his beginnings as a touring musician, how he started a financial business, and then later became a full time artist. Here mine says that the importance of working a day job you actually enjoy it while you build up your art career. Proper gallery etiquette. So you always have a good relationship with your gallery, and why you shouldn't try to find your voice, and instead let it come on its own as you create more paintings. He also recounts the importance of being curious about other things outside of painting and art, because it may just tie in perfectly into your work. Finally, Bill tells us all about his upcoming demos at the International Association of pastel societies and at the plein air convention. Welcome ill to the BoldBrush show. How are you today?

William Schneider: 2:14

I'm doing well. It's a good day down here in Florida. I was just out biking. It's 82 degrees.

Laura Arango Baier: 2:23

Very warm. And humid, of course.

William Schneider: 2:28

Like is Norway super cold right now?

Laura Arango Baier: 2:31

It is yes. Yeah. I mean, we're right now we're getting a bit of a warmer, I say warmer, but it's maybe like low 40s High 30s. But we're gonna get some more snow this week. Also, because I'm in the Arctic. So yes, we it is very cold up here.

William Schneider: 2:52

It's the land of my forbearers. Mostly Norwegian, although they wouldn't know that from my name.

Laura Arango Baier: 3:00

I would think you're, you're like German. Yes. Well,

William Schneider: 3:04

my great grandfather, great, great, great. grandfather immigrated from Norway, and he settled in Chicago in German town. And so he changed his name. Because he was surrounded by Schmid, some trainers, and you know, those kinds of names and it didn't want to sound like it came from the old country. So it changed it from Christianson. My name should be Christiansen.

Laura Arango Baier: 3:29

Cool. Yeah. That's a very, very Norwegian last name. Yeah. Wow, that is so awesome. Well, you know, I highly recommend coming over here, especially if you do plein air, because this is a beautiful country. Absolutely beautiful. But before we get sidetracked, do you mind telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

William Schneider: 3:52

Okay, um, I'm a full time artist. And so I do that I also have been a musician all my life. When I started out, as I mentioned before, when I first went to art school in the 60s at the University of Illinois, I was also playing in a rock band, and my band, the one eyed Jack's got a record deal. And then all of a sudden, we were playing six nights a week, five nights a week. And I could no longer get up for the, you know, life drawing classes, the drafting classes and such. And so I switched out of that, and I got a degree in psychology with a business minor, but continued to play in bands. That's how I made my living till I was 35. And then, my wife, who was the lead singer, in the band at that time, became pregnant. And so we were going to take a year off and then put the band back together. But after the year, we decided we liked having money for a change. In the music business, like in the art business, you either make a little lot of money, or you don't make anything at all. There's no There's middle range doesn't occur. And so, you know, we were not making a lot, we're getting record deals. Each of the bands that I was in ended up on a different label, you know, what Ajax was on let the next band was a band called fat water. And we were at MGM, which, interestingly enough, you can buy that album today, and iTunes. Even though I've never sold, it probably sold more, since, you know, the 2000s that ever sold in the 60s and 70s. But I digress. The third band was the one that my wife was in. And that was called freeze. And we were a small local label titanium records. And we are our album sales were far from going titanium, or platinum, or gold, or copper, or brass or 10, or whatever, whenever the scale goes down to. But in any case, so I lost my train of thought, What was the question? Oh, tell me about me. So that's, that's what I did till I was 35. And then I got a straight job. And I was working as a salesperson, actually, for our producers father's company. And I was getting frustrated with that and answered an ad for a company called Kidder Peabody, which is a big brokerage house, and ended up going to work for them. And they trained me in finance. And I worked at kiter until 1995. And at that time, I was running the Midwest pension consulting effort in Chicago, with a partner, Bob to mail. And we set up a firm DiMeo Schneider and Associates, which is still in existence as five offices now in 150 people and is managing about$300 billion. But I left that in well, let me back up, I started to go back to art school at the American Academy in the 90s. Because I actually saw a show at the Art Institute in Chicago, it was Monet in the 90s. I said, Oh, this is cool. And I could do that. And so So I went back to art school at that point. And first I went to the School of the Art Institute, which was totally steeped in abstract expressionism. So they didn't, they couldn't teach me how to draw because the drawing teachers didn't know how to draw. And so I was frustrated with that. And then I talked to somebody. Dan Gerhart, actually, was an all Yoda go to the American Academy and study with Bill parks. And so I did that. And Bill Parks was amazing. I studied life drawing with him, I was in your Saturday program. So I went every Saturday for eight years, and did life drawing in the morning, and then I did painting in the afternoon. And then I took a bunch of workshops. So I wish that I had the academic grind training that you have, but I wouldn't want the rigidity. So, so I guess things worked out the way they're supposed to. And actually, I think that's true of life. Things work out the way they're supposed to, maybe not the way you want them to, but the way they're supposed to.

Laura Arango Baier: 8:40

Definitely I completely agree with that. You know, it's so funny how, when you're looking forward at your life, you know, you never you can't see that, right, you can only really notice that in hindsight, how your past, you know, veered in a certain way for gosh, a certain reason. Like maybe you had to experience something a certain way before something else happens so that you would have the right perspective, right for whatever it may be. So it's very fascinating to that, you know, you you start a painting but then, but then the band's happened, but then you went back to painting, you know? What did you you know, was it just a Monet show? Or did you always kind of hold a little bit of hope that you could go back to painting?

William Schneider: 9:27

Um, no, I continued to paint even during the bad days, but if you call it that, I was I would do like three paintings a year. I had one that started out as it was, I don't know about a 30 by 40. That was my started out with my ex wife. Modeling. And then the shoulder for mine. The head was was my wife's Karen And so it was sort of this composite, but that's how long it took. You know, I went through all and setbacks in my life, even complete this one super painting, which wasn't any good because it was before I went back to art school anyway, so I think it threw it away.

Laura Arango Baier: 10:16

Oh, I would have loved

William Schneider: 10:17

retrospect, I wish I wish I'd kept it, because it had some history to it. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 10:23

yeah. But, you know, it was one of those experiences. And it's, it's nice to, you know, to also think like, you may have, like, maybe some of our listeners, for example, maybe they've had to, you know, set their painting aside for well, for who knows whatever life reason, and then, you know, they can still always pick it up, anytime, you know, go back into it and make a living, which is, of course, what the podcast is about. But before we get into that, do you find that in your work, you explore very specific themes? Or do you have like, specific messages, um,

William Schneider: 11:00

I guess, my key themes would be the mystery and the beauty of the world, first of all, and then secondly, the human condition was both the upside and the downside, you know, I do some paintings that are kind of dark. And I do, you know, not just visually dark, but emotionally dark. And I did one. Let me back up. In Chicago, there is a place called the palette and chisel, which is 130 year old art club. And they have models seven days a week, and usually six hours a day, and you pay a membership fee, and you have access to these models all the time. So anyway, I would go there many days a week. And one time we had a model. And for whatever reason, in one point in the session, you know, different emotions go on the models, phases. And they sort of revert back to various things. And people usually just paints sort of the resting phase, which is the most uninteresting, but at one point, she had this look of extreme angst, I said, I'm gonna capture that. And I had studied a book by what's his name, Francis, something anyway, was about expressions, and the different muscles that cause the different expressions. And so I gave her the brow of distress with the inner corners moving up, and, and then that started getting a narrative going, in my mind. You know, this was I was just reading about the persecution of Christians in North Africa and the Middle East. And so, so that's kind of a dark painting, persecuted, and it was a pastel, it's just a head study. But I in the background, I put a couple of red splotches on on the background wall and sprayed them with acetone. So they trip down and look like bullet holes, bloody bullet holes in the wall of this distressed woman. She's an African American woman. You know, it's called persecuted. So we can find that image someplace. And but anyway, so the circle back that's kind of the human condition. Sometimes they're, you know, happy, joyful pictures. Sometimes they're dark, unhappy pictures. Yeah, but, you know, I'm interested in people, I find find people more interesting than just landscapes are still alive for whatever. So that's mostly what I do. Yeah, that makes sense. I work in oil and pastel, primarily, oil, pastel and charcoal, I guess. And so that's who I am. And what I do is I read three careers, music and art sandwiched the two nine money making careers sandwiching the one if you want to make money, don't go into art people go into finance. It's easiest to make money if you're closest to the heart of money. Go to New York, work for a hedge fund.

Laura Arango Baier: 14:21

Oh, my God. Yeah, I mean, that is that is the brutal truth of, you know, money making, but at the same time, you know, I feel like many people who get into creative careers, they do it because they love it. And if you paint out of love, then do it. And eventually, hopefully, you can make money from it. But if you love money, then you might as well just dive into that instead.

William Schneider: 14:45

You're going to get rich. Now some people do some people get rich, but yes, that's that. That's not the norm. It's like some of the rock musicians get rich. Is that 99% Do not you're good. Going from gig to gig and I, you know, one time we were playing, and we were on our way to think Lincoln, Nebraska. And it was the middle of the night, because we've played one place, then the road crew had packed up, we had stayed at the hotel for a while, and then we got in the car and are driving through the middle of the night and fire in the distance, we see this flame on the horizon. And we're driving closer and closer to it. And there's a truck that's on fire. And it's, that's our truck with our equipment. So this is, and the equipment was okay, it was the front of the truck that was inflamed. But, you know, this is this is a band road experience. Yeah, you know, yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 15:44

I mean, it's already expensive enough to drive out there, I can only imagine, you know, losing the truck to, you know,

William Schneider: 15:50

or we got a gig in Toronto on time, it was that, oh, this is great. This is a well paying gig. So we drove up to the veranda. And the first thing we discovered was that we had to post a band when we were bringing our equipment into Canada, because they wanted to make sure that we weren't bringing in US band equipment held together by gaffer tape, gaffer tape and tape and bobby pins. But we were going to sell it in in Canada. So we had to post a bond which cost us a couple 100 bucks. Then when we got paid, we it suddenly dawned upon us that our contract was in dollars Canadian that dollars US. And so what we thought was a well paying gig turned out not to be so well paying. And the club was a nightclub at night. But by day, it was a strip club. Normally, you know, you'd rehearse during the afternoon and workout new songs and stuff. And they were they're trying to rehearse and, you know, strippers trying to do their thing. And it was it was a funky good. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 16:58

that's a wow, that's a wildlife

William Schneider: 17:05

it sounds better in the telling that it didn't necessarily in the living.

Laura Arango Baier: 17:10

I mean, yeah, it going through it is definitely much different than hearing about it, because you can definitely laugh about it now. But yeah, you know, I find it makes sense that you would have an interest in you know, the human condition and, and people considering you studied psychology, alongside you know, your other careers. Because, of course, you know, sort of psychology is in itself a study of people in their minds, all the work. So it's very fitting, it's very fitting, that you would prefer the portrait and the human figure as you know, your way of expressing your themes and your ideas and your messages. So yeah, you know, and I liked that you mentioned, the accepting both the good and the bad, right, the light and the dark, because you can't live your whole life ignoring one side of the image, right. And you can't have a complete image without the lights, shadows. So it's, it's very fitting as well. But, you know, I'm guessing that you must have taken time to also find your own voice, right? It was very much, it seems like it was very much like an aha moment or slowly over time from painting. Right? Do you have any advice for someone who's trying to find their own voice?

William Schneider: 18:31

Um, yes. Don't try to find your own voice. And I'd say that because that is one of the pieces of advice that was passed on to me by Bill parks. And he was 100% Right? I think that if you just study become curious about the world curious about everything, you will gravitate towards certain themes, certain ideas, certain ways of expressing things, style or voice, I think is nothing more than people's habitual mistakes. In other words, if somebody Okay, well, Giuliani making these elongate or El Greco making these elongated figures, maybe he had an issue with proportion, but it became a style. You know, and because in art, we you cannot paint what we see. What we see is like light rays hitting the object, bouncing off the object going into our retina, being projected upside down on nerve endings and our eyeballs in the back of them and going into the brain and being interpreted as, as whatever. But in that process, every step of it you losing information. And so the information is filtered through our own verbal constructs and prejudices, I mean, human beings, including artists talk to themselves incessantly without, we never shut up, you know. And so the internal dialogue, we can either try to harness it and use it, or we can fall victim to it. And what I mean by that is, you know, a lot of my students, you know, will express their internal dialogue, though, they'll make an external and it's kind of, oh, I started too late. I'll never be any good. I just don't get this temperature business. I don't understand this. Maybe I should take up golf. I was better at golf, but not really that good. I was like, 19 handicap, but, and that's done saying all of these things. A useful dialog would be okay, I don't like this. What don't I like? Is it too late? Is it too dark? Is it too warm? Is it too cool? Is it too sharp? Is it too soft? Is it too green? Or is it too gray? You know, if you asked yourself sort of these paired questions, then you can come up with useful answers. And to circle back to style. Bill parks told me, do not try to find your own style. And then in my own research, I ran across a little excerpt from a letter or somebody recording advice you received from Sergeant John Singer Sargent, about, you know, I want to become a great portrait artist and Sargent called him, no, don't try to become a great portrait artist try to become a great artist. And then you can do portraits. And that's what Sergeant did, you know, obvious by his body of work throughout time. And, you know, so if you just try to be a great artist who try to be the best that you can be at the things that interest you, eventually, your style will, will find you. Yeah, I don't think I have a style, particularly but then I've had people say, oh, you know, I recognize your painting right off the bat. You know, but it's, I'm just trying to be honest to the scene that's in front of me, as filtered through my own internal movie. You know, generally, like the anecdote, I thought about the persecuted woman. If my best paintings paintings where it's not modeled Sitting in Chair, it's Romeo sitting at her mirror painting from her last look, it's, it's like a movie. And so then I started, start illustrating that movie, it's an internal dialogue. And that's what I circle back to the people, you're gonna talk to yourself, anyway, might as well say something that's useful.

Laura Arango Baier: 23:06

Yeah, yeah. And definitely, you know, having having that narrative side, right, which I feel like, illustration, has been so great, you know, maintaining that narrative side of painting, you know, whether it's narrative through the color through the scene through the emotion of the sitter, or you know, the subject. I feel like, you know, that's so important, especially for someone who wants to be a realist painter who creates narrative painting, to try to, I guess, when when they're faced with a sitter, kind of like how you were catching a specific moment, and then making up some story about it helps really guide the painting into a much more specific direction than just, you know, some really pretty painting of a person. Right? There's this, there's more, and it creates a much more interesting image. For sure. Even

William Schneider: 24:00

if the viewer doesn't know what you were thinking about. They know that there's something going on. There's an element and they may they may impose a completely different narrative than the the one that the artist had. But it doesn't matter. There's something happening that's more than modeled Sitting in Chair. There's a great book that we talked about this a little bit before creative illustration, and Andrew Loomis was not trying to teach, quote unquote, artists he was trying to teach the poor lowly illustrators how to be good illustrators, and talked about you know, what is carrying the story forward? Is it the clothing, is it the lighting? Is it the brush treatment? Is it is it a combination? Probably a combination? Where are you placing the figures? What what is your vantage point are you above at the high level or below the eye level? They create different kinds of images, if you're looking up at something that creates automatically a feeling of, I don't know, Majesty or importance or whatever, you're looking down on them, that's a different thing. So you can use, you have all these tools at your disposal as an artist, and you choose which tool based on what is of interest to you, if here's what doesn't work, trying to paint, like something you think somebody will like. And I know that because I've tried to do that. I've entered competitions, I suppose that you're, oh, they like these things. And then those are not my successful paintings. And I quit doing that long ago. You know, I tell my students that, you know, don't try to paint what you think will sell. If you paint what you love. There are 8 billion people on Earth, half of them are just trying to live till tomorrow. So that's 4 billion, take those out, because they're not worried about art. But of the 4 billion that are left, that's 4 billion people that have some interest in art. And if it's only 10%, what is that 400 million, that's, that's a lot of people, there's going to be somebody that will like the same things you like, and they will find what you do in ordinate ly interesting. And they will be your fans. And all you have to do is keep painting and, and put your work out there. And hopefully, people will discover you while you're still alive. You know, as opposed to being Van Gogh, which should be pronounced Van Gough, you know, where he didn't find his audience till after he was dead. But there was still an audience for his work. And apparently, it's a big audience. So, yeah. Don't, don't try to paint what you think others will like, or what will get you into a specific gallery. Because that never works. No.

Laura Arango Baier: 27:12

And also, if you do get into that gallery with with this disingenuous work, you're gonna end up hating it. You're gonna hate every minute of it. But also, you know, I was really curious to know, since you've had quite a few shifts in your direction, what was it like for you to go, you know, and finally become a full time artist? When did you finally you know, say, okay, quit my day job. I'm doing this full time.

William Schneider: 27:45

I quit my day job. Well, let me put it this way. With my finance business, I got to a point where it was okay. I have enough money that will satisfy all our needs. We don't we're not extravagant buyers of stuff. The thing that I spend the most money on is other artists. You know, so I buy artwork I collect? I don't have I'm driving a 19 or 2016 Honda Pilot. You know, I had a Mercedes five, six DSL and that was that satisfied my midlife crisis car. And then the next step up would be to buy a Bentley and I'm not going to spend $300,000 To buy a Bentley. So So cars don't do it. You know, golf memberships. Don't do it. big fancy houses don't do it. Art doesn't. And so, anyway, at that point, it's like, okay, so why do I want to not do what I want to do? So that I can pile up lots of money, give it to my kids, then they will retire and do what they want to do. I'm skipping the middleman. I'm going to retire do what I want to do. I talked with my old partner. At one point, he said, Wow, you seem like you've been pretty successful at this art thing. Do you mind if I asked you what you make? And I threw out a number. Who said that per week? No, that's per year. Is now he's worked by still being in that business. You know,

Laura Arango Baier: 29:25

but anyway, yeah. See? So I had like a nest egg,

William Schneider: 29:29

which is good. Yeah. So I, when did I start doing it full time. Probably 20 2006 was when I cut the cord and everything else. And maybe it was a little bit later than that. I'd have to go back and retrace my steps. All my life is I remember my My life by different events. Who was which of my kids was born when when was the first grandkid porn when was, you know? And oh, by the way, those are the important things. Yes. And so I have to remember business things in relation to those other things, right. But anyway, I've been doing this full time for a while, and I've enjoyed it. You know, I love I love to talk about art. So I love to teach, although my wife has Parkinson's, so I can't be on the on the art school circuit anymore. And so I teach two workshops a year one near my house in Florida and one in Illinois. Because I've been I don't have to leave her alone. We have caregivers to come in, but you know. So, but I like I love art, I love to talk about art, I love I view myself as a perpetual student. And so I keep exploring different, different elements. And then as I explore them, then I want to pass them on to other people. It's like, oh, I just found out this cool thing. Here. Here's what it is. It's

Laura Arango Baier: 31:20

It's exciting. It's like you know, like a mad scientist. 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 BOLDBRUSH 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 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 ecommerce 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 our 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, you know, I feel like painting is so much like, there's so much to it, that's very similar to that the scientific method, right, because you have something set before you and you have a hypothesis of how to go about, you know, recreating it in a in a, in a way that either does justice to it or, you know, maybe enhances parts of it. Because it's usually what we're doing, we're not really copying reality, because that's impossible, as you've already mentioned. So we might as well do something more interesting with it more dreamlike, you know, more, something more. So yeah. And then I love that you mentioned, you know, the side of painting, and being an artist that is actually quite pleasant, which is you get time to be with the people you love. When you get time to, you know, set aside time, okay, I have my painting time, but you know, I can still remain home and I can still be with my kids, my grandkids, my wife, my husband, whomever. So I feel like that's one of the really nice liberating sides of painting. Because I don't know if I'm gonna, if I'm going to have a daily grind of eight hours a day, I'd rather be able to do it surrounded by the people I love. And not, you know, that dedicate, you know, most of my data to, I don't know, a business I don't even care about right. That's the the interesting side about painting and being an artist, you know, it's really it's a little bit selfish, but I think it's a much, much more pleasant life than Oh, nine to five.

William Schneider: 34:35

I agree. Although I will say this. If people are working a job they don't like quit the damn job and find a job you do like it. I never worked at anything I didn't like, either as a musician or in finance. You know that I was solving problems and doing things that were interesting and I just got paid better for it. But it was still interesting stuff in One of the things that made my finance firm so successful was we figured out a solution to a problem of, okay, how do you allocate assets? You know, stocks, bonds, cash, private equity, all of this stuff? How do you figure out optimal mixes of that stuff? Well, in 1952, a guy named Harry Markowitz developed an understanding of using the first computing power, that, hey, these markets are our log normal distributions. And so I can apply these mathematical tools to figure out at each risk level and optimal portfolio. And everybody started using that, with one flaw, the three inputs for that model are expected return correlation coefficients between the assets, and volatility, or standard deviation. And the only problem with that model is you have to do these estimates going forward. And the one thing you know, is you're going to be wrong on all three. And so we said, Well, wait a minute, what if we didn't do it once and praying to God that we had the rain estimates? What if we just ran it 500 times, and squashed all of those different outputs together. And so we ended up creating a model that was much more efficient. And then fortunately, we lived in a time when there were a couple of major market dislocations. And so in 2007, and 2008, the markets just got decimated, and people were worried that the entire capitalist system was going to crater and everything else. And people didn't be using our model didn't get hurt, because or didn't get hurt as badly because the they were much more evenly distributed. Rather than saying, Well, we think that small cap stocks and large cap stocks are going to outperform, so you're going to be 72%. And those Well, except for that time. And so that worked to our benefit. And then we also had developed a rebalancing strategy. And so in 2008, and 2009, especially particularly 2009, we were having people rebalance back into equities, and they're saying, we don't want to do it, it's going to I saw on TV, it's going to go down another 60% from here is that you've been doing this for 10 years with us the model is the model you got to follow. And they did. And then of course, the markets turned around and went up and they all made enormous amounts of money. And so as a result, we got many, many clients, you know, university endowments, and and hospitals and pension funds, the pension funds and all that. So that worked out. But anyway, I've gone too long on that stuff. But it was all interesting stuff. And so if you're doing a job that you hate, and trying to do your art on the side, step one, give up the job you hate, and find a job you'd like. So at least you you know, you're never suffering to get through the thing you like. That's my advice. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 38:29

and also helps with, with get getting that energy and motivation to even do it because you know, if you're working a job that's unfulfilling, oftentimes it can be really demotivating. And it can be really, honestly, depressing. Because you know, you just end up I don't know, you end up just feeling like you wake up every morning wondering what the hell am I doing? But, you know, you mentioned something that I find interesting, which is, you know, obviously, in that job that you had before you were dealing a lot with clients, do you find that the way that you handled those clients is very similar to the way that you handle clients who buy art, and are your collectors? Not

William Schneider: 39:12

so much? Because with the galleries, a lot of times they don't want, they sort of hoard the collectors. They don't want to tell you who's buying your paintings because they don't want people to go around them. The gallery model, you would think that galleries would make a fortune because they don't, they don't pay for their inventory. It's all on consignment. They're collecting, you know, 40 50% of the value of that consignment. So all they pay for is their staff, their electricity and their rent. How can they not make money hand over fist but apparently they don't because a lot of them go belly up. So anyway, but they, they tend to want to hoard Are there collectors because they don't want people to go around them? I pray. I have galleries that I've worked with for a number of years. And they know that if somebody comes is one of their clients and comes to me through them, you know, I'm not going to try to poach them. And to the point that even if the client, you know, sees my work on the internet, or through social media, I will talk to him and say, Well, how did you hear about, oh, I've got two of your paintings. I bought them from Reynard fine art in Charleston. Oh, well, that's great. You know what you should talk to Jason and rein it in. And he'll he'll, I don't handle the negotiations. But if you're a return collector, that's a good thing. And maybe he'll give you a discount once you call him, or I'll have him call you. And so I don't try to do and runs around my galleries. But I the, in the pension business, I was going out and meeting with potential clients all the time. And I would speak at conferences and, you know, use my performance background to win hearts and minds, hopefully. But you know, so I was there was a level of engagement with the ultimate purchasers. And, you know, you just can't do that in the art business, because there's no going back to the 8 billion people. I can't physically call him 4 billion of them to find the 400 million that might like my work. Not, not if I'm going to spend my time producing that's the interesting part for me, anyway, so added that to the galleries for the most part. Yeah. And I don't, I know, some artists try to make a business out of selling off of their website. I don't really do that too much. That's just, that's, you know, if I'm gonna be the gallery business, screw that I'll be in the finance business. I don't want to be in that business. I don't want to be in any business, but the business I'm in which is producing artwork, right. And producing music. I still do them. So

Laura Arango Baier: 42:19

that's awesome. Yeah, yeah, you can go on

William Schneider: 42:22

YouTube and go to the Schneider Ross fan. Pyro SS. Now there's we've got probably 25 videos up.

Laura Arango Baier: 42:30

Oh, well, I'll include it in the in the links in the show notes so people can go check it out. Yeah.

William Schneider: 42:37

I'll tell you there's we record under the Schneider Ross band under the Jamie. Jamie Roche Schneider music that's my daughter, she sings lead on a number of things. And under Michelangelo, radio, or music feature of Michelangelo, Albania because he does his own thing, too. He's, he's currently touring, thinking maybe in Norway, for all I know, he's in Europe someplace right now. With a with a band that he plays with now. But you know, so my efforts, I'm a studio musician, as opposed to a touring musician. Now.

Laura Arango Baier: 43:16

It's much more comfortable, especially as a painter. It's also much more comfortable. But the reason I asked you about the collectors is also because I understand that, you know, there, there are, there's gallery etiquette, right? You should never ever sell, you know, to a collector that's been through a gallery behind the galleries back, because then breach it's a breach of trust. Also, because I have heard maybe a collector could go up to the artist and be like, hey, if I just buy directly from you that I won't be paying like full price at the gallery. I'll just give you your chunk. Which is again, that's really fishy. And you should never do that. Because once the gallery finds out, it's over. Yeah, you don't

William Schneider: 44:00

want to compete on price anyway. And artists, I know how they think they think, oh, you know, the gallery sells my work for three grand, but I only get 1500 because they charge 50%. Commission. If I sell it correctly, I could sell it for 2000. I'm still making more wrong. You have now. If somebody could pay 2000 for a painting that's being sold for three, why would they buy the 3000. So you've just destroyed your own pricing. It's like, as if Coca Cola would undercut the grocery stores. If you buy directly from us, you know, a six pack of coke is 82 cents. Well, then the grocery stores are going to quit carrying them. You know, and then and then they've just lowered their pricing. You know, why would you do that? Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 44:47

that's another cardinal sin and so you never lower your prices if they've gone to certain levels and artists because it's just doesn't work that way. Maybe the only time you do that is in the beginning. Beginning when you don't know what to price your work and maybe went a little too high too soon, I think that's when you should maybe, you know, calm down. But yeah, I completely agree, you know, maintaining that gallery etiquette, especially if you're gonna work with a with a gallery because, of course, our listeners, you know some of them are maybe interested in working with galleries and maybe they're just interested in selling online and you know, both ways work obviously one one takes more work than the other in the sense that if you're doing it on your own, you have to do the shipping the marketing, the finding the collectors yourself, which can oftentimes be a little bit more complicated, because it's very hard to, you know, like you said, you can't just get these 8 billion people and 4 billion and try to find like the collectors inside of that, that's an insane amount of people. So that's usually what the gallery pays you in, right, which is they have a list of collectors, they discuss, discuss, you know, sales with, but like you said, you know, they do go belly up. And oftentimes I find that it's because the galleries don't sell well, or they're just they don't, they just don't try to sell which again, they

William Schneider: 46:07

don't treat it like a business either. Exactly. I would say, you know, even if an artist is trying to sell themselves, or if you're working with a gallery, the things that I do do to contact my clientele. You know, I publish a blog, and try to do it monthly, but it's, I do a newsletter, and I have a blog in my newsletter, and that I do have monthly, and then I have another more advanced blog that's just on my website. But, you know, I, I try to use that as a way to reach followers to sort of broadcast my, you know, my work to the, to the masses. And, you know, so BoldBrush is integral to that. And my part, you know, Bozzo helps helps me keep my nose to the grindstone in terms of staying in front of people in publishing work, that gets seen. And then collectors, even if even collectors that are normally going to galleries will see the work. And then they'll come excuse me, contact me, and then I'll turn them around to the gallery. But the work still gets sold. You know, I've had a couple pieces in the past three weeks, where that has been the case where somebody contacted me because Oh, I saw this piece of work, you know, on an Instagram feed. And is it still available? Yes, it is. Right? How did you hear about me? Well, I bought some of the pieces that the render counter. Oh, great. Dr. Jason, you know, the story that I told before, that was a real story. And the guy ended up buying that piece. They hadn't even gone to the gallery, it was still sitting in my studio, and I shipped it straight to the client. And, you know, the gallery ended up getting a commission on that, because it was their clientele. And I guess the the advantage I have that maybe a lot of artists don't have is I don't do this for the money. Like I said, I if I was doing it for the money, I would do something that made lots of money, not small amounts of money. And I do by artists standards. I'm doing pretty well by other standards. Now. It's like, get on somebody said, oh, you know, if I could be a millionaire, I'd be rich. No, you wouldn't. You'd be upper middle class, I'm sorry, millionaires and net rich, you'll notice that the politicians have quit ranting about the millionaires and they've upscaled to the billionaires. Now they're targeting the billionaires as the evil 1% that don't pay their fair share. But it's because so many of the politicians have now become millionaires on their own by hook or by crook, mostly by crook. But anyway, yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 49:09

it does make it a lot easier to get things done when you actually enjoy doing it. Right. Like when you're doing it for the joy of the creation of these things. And, you know, putting your work out there, like you just said, you know, putting it on social media, someone sees it, and they say, Oh, my gosh, I want this. I think that's like one of the best parts of you know, the internet today. You know, you get so many opportunities in so many places to get eyes on your work. Whereas you know it before. It would be very, very hard to do that without a gallery, which is again, I think why there's like this big, I guess almost symbiosis between galleries and social media these days. But I did want to ask you what has been for you the most lucrative approach you've taken to sell your work either online or offline

William Schneider: 50:06

the word lucrative doesn't come to mind when I think of selling work. You know, I, I have chosen and I've, it's been very successful for me to work with the galleries. You know, I, when I was teaching on the workshop circuit, I would sell head studies to my students you know, and so that was, that was one way that I could get the stuff out of my studio and into somebody else's hands to wonder about. But for the for the major, more major works and he and I just let the galleries deal with it now and I give away paintings, and I donate paintings, you know? And I burned paintings.

Laura Arango Baier: 50:58

You gotta, you gotta do. Yeah,

William Schneider: 51:01

well, yeah. You know, I I love experimentation, and I love learning about things. And so I do to this day, I copy a masterwork at least once a month. And maybe it's just part of it, you know, to learn, okay, how to Nikolai fashion, treat this I, you know, how, how did he fragment it so and still haven't read as an I? What, how much can you get away with. And so I'd copy some of these things, or, you know, out of Carolyne Anderson have these pathways between different parts of the painting, so that it stays open rather than closed? You know, we were talking about academic art, part of what makes academic art at its worst. So an interesting is that it's all closed. You know, you can study the, the, you know, the treatment of the deltoid, and admire that. And then you can look down and see how they dealt with the elbow. And you can look at all these different parts. But each part is just, it's not an open system, that you can just travel through and discover things. And I also find that the more spelled out, this is for me, the more spelled out the representation is, the less interesting it is. Part of what I tried to do is figure out how far can I go with this, and still haven't read, I'm a representational artist, I'm not a pure abstract artist. Which by the way, the the pure abstract artists are the least abstract of all, because their painting looks exactly like what it is, which is paint on canvas, doesn't look like anything else doesn't create the illusion of anything else. It looks like paint on canvas, and it is painted on canvas. Right, very concrete. The most abstract artists are the ones that create the illusion of three dimensionality and emotion and narrative on a two dimensional surface armed with sticks with hairs on the ends, and powdered pigment mixed with oil. You know, that's pretty abstract.

Laura Arango Baier: 53:30

It is.

William Schneider: 53:31

Yeah. And so anyway, yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 53:34

that makes a lot of sense, you know, that there is, especially faction is so good at this, you know, the the sense that things aren't really what we think they are, right? There's so much when we look at an object in front of us, we have so many, like you said earlier preconceived notions about that object, right? You see, like a red ball, you say, Okay, it's a red ball, right? But there's, there's a lot more nuance to that there's like, if you just accept it, right? It you know, based on your preconceived notions, you try to paint that red ball. It, it won't look that great. But if you try to see it, by discarding this preconceived notions, and you look at it, and you really examine it, also within its surrounding and how it interacts, and because color is so complex, you know, it's very dependent on what surrounding it, that maybe that red ball could look even more alive, as you were saying, you know, by including some more of that environment, that passage of here and there, which, if you're just perfectly copying reality, I would say that that's like, akin to reading a book. That is a very boring scientific book on a topic, right? It's a very detailed, like scientific sort of exploration of something. Whereas you know, when you try to paint something and beyond those preconceived notions, it's much more like a poem, or much more like a great literary novel instead of just telling you how things are.

William Schneider: 55:11

You want a poem instead of a police report?

Laura Arango Baier: 55:16

Great. Yeah, exactly. I'd

William Schneider: 55:19

like to lay claim to inventing that, but I didn't I heard that from somebody, maybe Carolyn or someone? Yes,

Laura Arango Baier: 55:25

probably Carolyn, I love her. She's wonderful. She's, she's wonderful. Um, but that's hilarious. That's, and it's very true. And, of course, you know, as painters we are, you know, it's, we're in the same categories, writers and poets, we're in the same, you know, in the same sort of span of also like even actors who are portraying something beyond what it is, right? We it's like the archetype that has been romanticized and to a different level than just, you know, oh, Larry, our neighbor who's over there, mowing his lawn, right, they think there's a way to romanticize it in a much more interesting way, which is why we go to the movies.

William Schneider: 56:11

Well, you know, we're in the business of showing people, what is interesting that they never pay attention to. And, you know, part of that is the human condition. When, you know, I always tell my students, you must become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. And what I mean by that is, you know, if you think of the way an infant sees the world, it doesn't see, it ceases moving mosaic of shapes and values with colors. And then it learns over time, that there's this recurring pattern of shapes, values and colors, that when it's distressed, this pattern comes in, you know, changes its diaper, it gives it food or burps it or whatever just holds it. And after a while, it learns a name for that, and it calls it mom. And then it starts to learn names for other things. You know, where's your nose, touch your nose, touch mommy's nose, where's your ear. And so at about the age of one and a half, we start to string them together, and make sentences. No, no nap, little short sentences, more food, you know, whatever. And the problem for artists is that once the once the verbalization machine starts at a year and a half, it never shuts up. And then we just talk to ourselves all the time. And so we can't, you know, people always say can't what you see. But what people see what people do is they look at something and what am I seeing, I'm seeing a red ball, it's a red ball, I know it's red. And so it must all be red. And some parts of it are dark, because I learned about failure to make shadow shape. So I'm going to make it a darker red. Well, is it a red ball under a warm, lighter, a cool night? You have two legs versus whatever. What What if it weren't red? What if it were viable? If it's under a blue light, maybe it's fat, but you still perceive it as red because you're under that cool light to what if you know, so our perception is filtered through all his verbal gobbledygook that's going on, that we can't shut off. And so art and music are basically language systems to show people something that their language system has shut out. Because the problem is, once we start with all of these sentences, we no longer pay attention to the real world. They don't pay attention to what's in our heads, which is very efficient for processing information. You know, you can manipulate these verbal symbols much more quickly than you can actually walk across the belt to see if that's a lion in the bush or not, you know, which probably wasn't a successful exercise anyway. But that's great for manipulating abstractions of large amounts of data, but it's terrible for showing somebody else the beauty of a sunset. You know, I guess you could do modern art, and you could have a blank canvas and with a white letter that said sunset and call it sunset, and then have an explanation of why it was violating the, the paternalistic hierarchy of previous whatever, you know, you'd have to come up with a bunch of extensive verbalization to explain that to other people who couldn't tell what from what you're painting, but in any case,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:00:00

reminds me of, uh, this is not a pipe, you know? And it's like, exactly. Um, but yeah, it's very true. You know, there's, there's a big difference. I mean, from the one hand, you know, if we did take in every single part of information, without those preconceived notions, like you were just saying, we would go crazy, we would go crazy, because we'd be overstimulated by having to take in all of this information at once. But being

William Schneider: 1:00:27

an acid all the time, yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:00:29

exactly. Um, but then it's impossible. But then when you're an artist, or a painter, or a creator of images, especially interesting images, where you're trying to reflect something that's beyond, you know, these preconceived notions, then you definitely have to shut off that side of you. That is telling you what, what is in front of, you really have to investigate things. And, and, you know, like, at its foundation, of course, it's you, you have to relearn how to see something and see it for what it is, rather than what you think it is.

William Schneider: 1:01:08

Which you have to see like an instant, exactly. Like you just,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:01:12

um, but yeah, do you have any advice for someone who's looking to become a full time artist?

William Schneider: 1:01:23

Don't do it, there's too many out there already. Know. Say, you know, you have to figure out how to make money from it, or how to have money, that so you don't need to make it. So that is sort of trial and error. The traditional way, for a fine artist, was to get into a gallery and have the gallery do the work of connecting with buyers. If you're not at that state, a lot of people go into other art related fields, which I never perceived the difference. You know, somebody who is a an illustrator, or doing storyboards or whatever, didn't think of themselves as artists, I have several friends who do that. And I said, but you're doing art all the time. Yeah, but it's, I'm doing somebody else's stuff. Well, that's true. But you're still you know, you have your hand and you're brushing your hand or now a stylus or whatever. So, you know, but you have to find some way to make that work financially. I would say this. If you work on your craft, relentlessly, meaning become so good, that the world can't ignore you. And then the question is, what is good and good is, and expressing what interests you, and what looks good to you. And, and the corollary to that is Don't settle for, well looks kind of crappy, but that's as good as I can do. So I'm happy with it. No, that's not that didn't look good to you, you got to you got to develop the drawing skills, the the rendering, the ability, there, there's basically five buckets that all art falls into, for information, and you know, their shape, which is the drawing, which is mostly proportion. So if you're going to be a representational artist, do not settle for proportions that are off because it won't work. That's the that's the one thing that nine artists can judge and are confident they can judge. You know, if the heads too small relative to the torso, no amount of verbal, whatever is going to make it look right, and they won't buy. So, but anyway, you've got the five buckets are shape, value, color, temperature, relationships, edge, and composition. And I include in composition, narrative and storytelling and all of that. But that's those are the five buckets there. If somebody can ever tell me a six bucket I will explore that one but I haven't had anybody be able to break it down. So those are the five areas and just attack an area and get so good at it that people can't find fault with it. And you know, that doesn't mean avoiding it. Go purchase to tell a story about a student that didn't like hands hands or complex Tech, I had a video out about heads and hands. It's published by streamline or paint tube TV. But in any case, you know, the head basically as tube Bones. There's more than that. But you know, they're all fused. So you've got the the upper part and the mandible. That's it. 27 bones in the hand. And the tendons, you know, are very visible. The musculature there's, there's a lot to it. So anyway, this guy avoided doing hands, they figured out, he'd always put himself in a position where he didn't have to draw hands. And you know, you get this guy's and he has been parks tells the story, he got a gig with an advertising agency. And the first thing he had to do was illustrate some gloves.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:05:37

Oh, no, yeah. And

William Schneider: 1:05:40

so, anyway, my point being attacked those five buckets, my friend, Dan gear, hertz has a great slogan, which I borrow and repeat incessantly. And that is attack your weakness. Don't avoid your weakness, attacking whatever it is, you know, if you're having trouble seeing color, temperature, relationships, work on temperature, there's things you can do to to do that, if you're having difficulty in seeing edges. You know, make yourself squint and do it to the point when you can't control it anymore, when you're out with your spouse and your spouse's staff squinting at the waitress is I wasn't squinting. Yes, you were you always do that. You know, then you'll know that you're squinting enough, simplify the edges and see the hierarchy. You know, what, what is the sharpest edge, the second sharpest, the firm edge, the soft edge, the completely lost edge? And then you can put those in your paintings. So, so anyway, that that would be my advice.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:06:49

Right, great advice. And I like that you, you really dove right into, you know, the craft of it, because so much of the success, right is very much the art itself, right? You can market it 100 ways, but if the work isn't up to par, then it's gonna be very hard to market it. Whereas when the work is good, it's something you're proud of. And something you know that as you're saying, you know, I'm going to aim for the highest level that I can reach, then, you know, that's a whole different playing field. And I'm definitely makes marketing a lot easier. Yes.

William Schneider: 1:07:27

And I would say I would add to that, if if you end up painting, only things with intent, on hope, said something once, which I have also stolen and repeat incessantly. If you make a decision in a painting, it's always right. To make a decision, it's always right. And why is that? It's because you decided I'm going to make the shadow leaned more towards the violin, for some reason. Now, what doesn't work is if you weren't paying attention, and it just sort of happened, and you left it there. It doesn't look like it has intent. But I have observed that paintings that were all parts of it looked like, that's exactly what the artist meant to put in there. And that's exactly why he made that stroke and why this stroke has a soft edge. And this stroke has a hard edge and look at how it all assembled itself. Those are interesting paintings, because it's like a Zen exercise. You're, you're watching somebody, apply paid in a Zen manner. And it's highly interesting. And if it's interesting, somebody will be interested enough to plunk down their hard earned cash work. So, anything with intent?

Laura Arango Baier: 1:08:59

You know, that is so I think that really hits the vein of the creative act also, you know, because life and you know, the human condition is so much, you know, there's so much outside of our control, but the things that we can control that's, you know, how we can guide ourselves in life and it's so similar with painting, you know, where you have to be intentional. And you are you putting together this image that is in the end something more, you know, I don't know, it feels it feels like it took me somewhere else when he said that I was like, Whoa. That's brilliant. Yeah, that's excellent advice. Do you mind telling us if you have any upcoming shows or exhibitions workshops?

William Schneider: 1:09:47

Um, yeah, like I mentioned, I've got kind of off the workshop circuit. However, I am demoing at the i ops Convention, which is June 11 through 16th High UPS is the International Association of pastel societies. And every two years they have a convention in Albuquerque. And you know, it's several days of demos and workshops and whatnot. So that's June 11, through the 16th. And the plein air Convention and Expo is May 20. Through the 24th. And the the website, I'm reading my notes here. If you go to www dot plein air There's still spaces for that. And if you go to www that I have pastel that org. I think there's still spaces for that one. So only two big things. Okay, good.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:10:49

Yes, of course. And then you also have some really awesome videos on pink tube, right? Yes.

William Schneider: 1:10:58

I hope they're awesome. Yes, well, that's nice. It's me talking. You can see I have no problem talking. And I, I think about things. I'm curious, I this would be another piece of advice to artists. Don't just focus on Earth, be interested in everything. Because there's all kinds of interesting stuff that will somehow magically tie in to the art. You know, you and I were talking about the Ravichandran book, which is written by a medical neuroscientist, but oh, by the way, it has great application to art and artists. Yes, you know, and he also ties it to the evolutionary way that our brains came into being and how some of the systems in the brains were repurposed towards making art, you know? And he also deals with what is the meaning of intelligence? And what does it mean to be human? Interesting stuff. So, you know, don't limit yourself to, you know, four ways to paint a tulip. You know, there's, there's more to the world than that. But yes, I do to circle back to the videos, I think I have eight videos out on paid to TV. And if you want to put a link in there, that would be nice.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:12:25

Awesome. Yeah. And then for our listeners who are curious about the Ramachandran book that is The TellTale Brain. excellent book, excellent book. And I love that you you say also, you know, to be curious about other other things, because it's so truly do circle back to painting in the most unexpected ways. I mean, I have found the most fascinating tions to painting, just from reading something completely different, whether it's philosophy, history, you know, I mean, recently, it was reading Aristotle, and I was like, Wow, this, this ties into painting. But, um, but yeah, so it's a great, that's great advice. Yeah.

William Schneider: 1:13:07

Yes. And by the way, here's one that ties very directly into it. Look at movies, not as the movie but as, okay. In fact, it works best if you do it on a DVD or something and keep stopping it. You know, if you look at the trilogy of the Rings, or actually any Peter Jackson's movies, each frame of that is a painting you know, particularly you got, you know, the the Fellowship of the Ring or running through the scenery in the mountainside, you can stop at any place, you could paint that, and it would be an interesting painting. So, good cinematography, there is a book by guiding I think it's Gleadless. And how to do storyboards for movies. Oh, and that was very interesting. I had to get past the fact that the storyboards are very cartoony at first, but then his explanations of how these things work, I'll get you the name of that you can put it in a link. But those are interesting, interesting things. I found them interesting at least fascinating and, and they do tie into our every, all of your experience will ultimately tie in to who you are, and who you are, will ultimately tie into what interests you and therefore your arc.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:14:31

Yes, definitely. It is a holistic thing. It's not separate. For sure. Yeah. Well, thank you so much. Where can people find more of your work?

William Schneider: 1:14:43

Um, I'm in a number of galleries. The Reiner gallery of fine art in Charleston, McBride gallery in Annapolis. Allume gallery West in Phillipsburg, Montana. New Master He's gallery in Carmel. Basically those four,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:15:05

and your website

William Schneider: 1:15:07

is www dot Schneiter And you can sign up for my newsletter where I talk about these very subjects once a month. And I have a blog on that. That website, so,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:15:20

yes, awesome. Well, I'll of course include all of the links in the show notes. And yeah, thank you so much, Bill for joining us on the podcast. Well,

William Schneider: 1:15:31

thank you. It was fun. Yeah.

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