THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Patrick Guindon (00:03):
My whole brand is sort of built on one print that I made a few years ago, that’s constantly my best seller, that says, “It’s okay to rest.” And it’s a reminder to me, because I never remember. And I use the excuse of, “Well, I love to paint and I need to paint, and that’s restful for me.” But I also need to just lay down sometimes and rest or read a book and rest.
It’s The Inspiration Place Podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to The Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world insider podcast, for artists, by an artist, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host Miriam Schulman.
Miriam Schulman (00:44):
Well, hello passion maker, this is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration. And you’re listening to episode number 174 of The Inspiration Place Podcast. I am so grateful that you’re here. We have a very special episode for you today. Very inspiring to start you off in this new year of 2022, Happy New Year, by the way. We’re talking to one of my Artist Incubator clients. I know you’re going to love his story.
He is an expressive floral artist. He focuses on good vibes, the art of living a vibrant, intuitive life, and feelings of gratitude, happiness, and joy. He came to art to help him cope with his mental illness. And in 2021, he left his job as an elementary school teacher to spend more time with his art and his family.
So in our discussion, you’ll discover how he balances primary care taking responsibilities with art making. Why creating an ideal week and time blocking leads to more productivity and balance. How building massive confidence led him to doubling his prices while still building sales. Please welcome to The Inspiration Place Patrick Guindon. Well, hey there, Patrick. Welcome to the show.
Patrick Guindon (02:21):
Hi. Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here.
Miriam Schulman (02:23):
All right, well, Patrick is one of my star Artist Incubator clients, and I really wanted to bring him on, because he has such a great story. Some of it I know, and some of it I don’t know. So we’re going to learn a lot about you today, Patrick. First of all, why don’t you tell everybody where you are right now? And have you always lived in… You haven’t always lived where you are now, right?
Patrick Guindon (02:46):
So we live in Prince Edward Island, which is a teeny tiny little island in Canada on the East Coast. So we moved here in secret a year ago. It was a year ago. A year ago, we were in isolation, because we moved during COVID times. It really was the reason we could move. I was working remotely, because I have Type 1 diabetes, and I was a teacher and I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. And we knew we wanted to live out here on the East Coast, and specifically in Prince Edward Island. My wife was on mat leave, and so we loaded our four kids up into the car, right after we sold the house for an inflated amount of money, thanks to the COVID market, and we headed out here to the East Coast. We had no family. We knew one couple who we had met on a beach during a trip.
But there is a vibrant art scene and art is deeply valued here. And so I knew this was the place to be. It always called to us. We visited on our honeymoon. We really wanted to be here. So after eight years of dreaming, we figured we need to stop dreaming, we don’t need to wait until we retire to go and do the things that we want to do. So we just did it. I continued to work remotely for the rest of the school year. And then we both resigned from our positions with that school board. And here we are, I’m now a working artist and work from home dad.
Miriam Schulman (04:05):
I’m glad you brought up that you’re a work from home dad, because a lot of women listening, assume your wife might be the one doing it. I always used to say, “I wish I had a wife.” I always said that, even when I was working full-time, it was like, I would see these husbands, like, “Where’s my wife? I want a wife.”
Patrick Guindon (04:27):
My wife works full-time as a teacher. She actually works at our kids’ school, just down the road, fully 100% supportive of me doing the things that I want to do, because she knows that it makes me very happy. And it also facilitates my mental health. Few years back, I had a bit of a mental health, I don’t know if I would call it a break, but I had pretty close to a nervous breakdown, and was just spinning.
And after a couple years of therapy, and this is where the floral art really started to emerge, because before that I was just painting whatever. I didn’t really understand why people needed a niche and sort of stumbled into my niche of these vibrant florals. And all of that came about after a really difficult period with my mental health. My wife is an incredibly supportive partner and has always pushed me to keep doing it. I remember, probably, 10 years ago, I felt like I was really sucking at art, like what I was actually producing was just kind of garbage. And looking back, it probably was.
Miriam Schulman (05:29):
So you left a job as a teacher. What were you teaching? Were you teaching art? Were you teaching something else?
Patrick Guindon (05:34):
Sometimes I was teaching art. I was teaching elementary school and in the system that we worked in, I worked in a French immersion school, and there it was set it up so that it was half the day was in French, and there were certain subjects that were taught in French, and art was one of those. So there would be the odd year where I taught a core class where they only learned English. And so I got to teach them art, or where there would be a principal who would look the other way and let the French teacher, who was my partner, and I kind of flip a couple of subjects, so I would get to teach art. And so those years were, for me, a lot better, because I was able to implement the things that I loved to do. And of course you can work art into teaching just about anything.
Miriam Schulman (06:12):
Right, like these are fractions, but really-
Patrick Guindon (06:14):
Yes. Now let’s separate them.
Miriam Schulman (06:17):
Right There are five petals on this flower, and each one is a fifth.
Patrick Guindon (06:21):
Exactly. Exactly. And there is a place for that, but as an artist, I felt like my skills were really being wasted. So I was teaching art outside of school, privately here and there for small groups. But I was not professionally teaching art as a often as I wanted to. One of the factors that really was pushing me away from wanting to be in the classroom. There were a million other factors, a lot of it, mostly just systematic flaws and issues, and the fact that I just didn’t really jive with it anymore. It was an idea that I had in my early 20s that I wanted to be a teacher, and I love teaching. And I love so many components of teaching, but I was feeling like they weren’t aligning with who I had become, and who I was, and where I wanted to go in my life.
And I knew that when I came home at the end of the day, I was a grumpy dad and a grumpy partner, no matter how often I would try to get into my little studio in the basement. For me at that point, I was so drained from the day that I struggled to get there, and then the downward spiral of my mental health.
Miriam Schulman (07:27):
I mean, we have so many different directions we go, but we’re going to back up even more. Are you trained as an artist?
Patrick Guindon (07:32):
I studied radio and television arts at Ryerson University in Toronto. I am Canadian. So I studied radio and television arts, I focused on production, which for me, it wasn’t painting, it wasn’t drawing, but what I really understood coming out of that training was composition. Because that was what we were working on, how to set things up on a screen so that you could go from shot, shot, shot. I was sketching out, basically, they were like picture book dummies, but your thumbnails, so that you could direct the different shots and the different segments. So looking back on it now I realize, I had a ton of training, but I didn’t attend art school.
Miriam Schulman (08:08):
Did you want to attend art school? Or had you not discovered your inner artist at that point?
Patrick Guindon (08:14):
I only started calling myself an artist, partly into university, when I picked up painting again. I had done in high school, but everyone was in art class and you had to do it, and I loved it. I enjoyed doing it. But the idea of art school wasn’t even in front of me. I grew up in a small town. Both of my parents worked. My mom worked at Walmart. My dad worked at a factory. We didn’t really talk about those things. We did art, we made, but it wasn’t like a job. I didn’t really realize it was a job. And then as I moved to a bigger city and I started painting, I thought, oh, maybe I am an artist. I’m really loving this. I felt like I was finding myself. I felt like I was finding a voice.
I had done art, but I never considered myself an artist. And I think the moment I realized that I could call myself an artist was when I set up my first classroom. It was a grade five class, and I had these paintings that I had made and I needed to decorate this really ugly, portable classroom. It was all beige and just terrible. And so I put the paintings up and people came in and started asking, “Oh, do you do art classes for kids? I have a daughter who’s 10, and she would really love some art classes, and we can’t find anyone. Could you do that?”
So the next thing I knew I was teaching art classes, because I was trained as a teacher. I feel like I kind of stumbled into it. I kind of fell into figuring out that this was what I wanted to be, how I wanted to identify myself, and who I really was. And there were ups and downs throughout the years where I would think, I’m not an artist. This art is terrible. Even when I look back at sketchbooks from a couple of years ago or a painting from a year ago, I think, oh, what was they thinking? But they’re all little steps. They’re all little movements. It’s flexing your muscle.
And thank goodness I carried on. My wife, she was my girlfriend at the time, and I were out for a walk one day and I was really down on myself. And I said, “I think I’m going to just be a writer. I’m not going to be an artist. My artist terrible. And I just can’t do it. And it sucks.” And she stopped us in the road and she said, “No, that’s ridiculous. Stop. Just have your fit and move on, because you’re an artist. You’re not going to stop painting. You’re not going to stop drawing, just keep doing it.” And she was right.
Miriam Schulman (10:27):
And then you said, “Will you marry me?”
Patrick Guindon (10:29):
And then… Well, yeah.
Miriam Schulman (10:30):
Or you thought it in your head, if you weren’t ready to say it yet. Okay. Who taught you you how to paint? You’re not a self-taught painter, right?
Patrick Guindon (10:38):
Yeah. I am.
Miriam Schulman (10:39):
Oh, you are completely, you haven’t taken any classes from anyone?
Patrick Guindon (10:42):
Yeah. I’ve never taken any classes. I started using acrylic paint when I was about 12 years old, because we were watching a lot of Bob Ross, because he was on PBS at lunchtime.
Miriam Schulman (10:55):
Then Bob Ross taught you how to paint.
Patrick Guindon (10:55):
Well, I guess Bob Ross kind of taught me how to paint. I just carried on from there, high school art classes. And then what really shifted things for me, in the last seven years, since we had our first son, when we had our first kid, I had also enrolled in an illustration class, like how to illustrate picture books, and I was paired up with some critique partners. And so, one of the critique partner and I really hit it off, we continued our relationship after the class. She’s trained in art. So I would get tons and tons of very specific focused feedback that she would send me, and I would provide her with feedback, but it was nowhere near the level that she was giving me.
I really benefit from this relationship, and it’s ongoing. We still, on a very regular or basis, daily, most of the time, send each other work and provide feedback. Getting that kind of, in the moment, feedback, where I can tweak something and, and flip it or just think about it and process it, I see it impact my illustrations for picture books, but I also see it massively impacting my floral work, which she never really gives much feedback on the painting. It’s usually the illustration work, but they really do blend. So when you put them side by side, they don’t look alike, but as I’m creating them, I’m using the same skills.
I’m using the same shading techniques and the texture and just the move movement in the composition. I really believe that a lot of that comes from just the consistent, regular practice that I’ve done, because I’ve been very disciplined. I’ve become very disciplined. The more children we’ve had, we have four, the more children we’ve had, the more disciplined I’ve become, because I became terrified after our second was born, that I would lose that part of me.
I was sitting in a staff meeting one day and I showed a teacher in illustration, and she said, “How do you have time for all this?” And I looked at her and I said, “Oh, I just make time. I get up at 5:00 AM.” And she went, “Oh, I could never do that.” And then carried on with her day. And I realized, oh my goodness, there are people out there who let go of their passions. I’m a very naive person. So I hadn’t really realized it until we had that conversation. And so I didn’t want to become that. I didn’t want to become a jaded version of myself. I didn’t want to exist solely in the universe of my children.
My children mean more to me than anything, and they are number one priority. But in order for them to get the best out of me, I have to be putting time into me. And for me to do that, it means I get up at 5:00 AM or I stay up a little bit later. Or I say, “Okay, you guys are having pizza tonight and watching a movie. I’m going to go down to the studio for half an hour, 45 minutes.” That’s a trade off that my wife and I do regularly.
Miriam Schulman (13:34):
This is a hugely important piece that we’re talking about right now. Could you walk through kind of what an ideal week or an ideal day schedule for you would look like? I mean, not the week where all of a sudden one of the kids has the flu and everything goes to shit, not that week. But like a regular week, how you would manage your time as the dad who’s taking the primary care taking responsibilities and also monetizing your art? So it’s the art making, the admin, and the daddy time, so how do you do that?
Patrick Guindon (14:09):
Yeah, so I actually just today, right before our call, I was just working on a new schedule, so I color coded what my schedules-
Miriam Schulman (14:17):
I love it.
Patrick Guindon (14:17):
… look like.
Miriam Schulman (14:17):
I love that.
Patrick Guindon (14:18):
I felt like for the last couple of weeks I was missing pieces. I do have a part-time side job that gives me a regular income that is flexible and remote. So it means that I also have to be disciplined and make time for that on top of everything else. I’m very fortunate with that position, because my employer deeply understands the art side of things and said to me, at one point, “You are going to make sure you have time to do the art, right?” I know from previous jobs that that’s not every boss. So I have an incredible support system around me that allows for all of this to happen.
So an ideal day for me, because our Monday to Fridays are quite similar, is that I get up at 5:00 AM, and I get up at 5:00 AM to work, and our kids stay in bed until about 6:45. The older ones, they wake up, they have lamps in their room and they can read, and they just kind of do their thing when they wake up. But they know they need to [crosstalk 00:15:16]-
Miriam Schulman (14:18):
Because they’re perfect children.
Patrick Guindon (15:18):
Miriam Schulman (15:18):
Like my kids-
Patrick Guindon (15:19):
… just amazing. They are amazing. And there are times where they run out, and, “I had a nightmare.” But we are very, very, and we always have been very consistent with that. Both of us being teachers, I think we kind of saw that before we really got started. And we went, “Okay, we know that these kids who are successful in this way, have parents who do these things and we’re going to borrow those now.” The sleep habits were huge for us. So I get up at 5:00, and I’ve already set my coffee, so it turned on at 4:45. I can smell it when I wake up. It’s the only way I get out of bed, because I was never, ever, ever a morning person.
I’m still not a morning person, but I know that I work better on creative things in the morning, because nothing else from the day has impacted me. I have pure focus on what I want to make. It’s pure joy going in. It’s pure focus. It’s meditative for me. I can think about whatever. I can listen to a podcast. I can just zone out and listen to some music while I create some art. And there are days where I’ll do writing in that time as well. But I try to stick to that time to be passion project time, things that I’m really excited about.
If I have a commission to work on, I’m probably not as excited about the commission, because there are specific requirements that need to go into them. So those I save for my work blocks. I’ll work for an hour and a half, approximately, and then I’ll go upstairs and get ready. Get the kids ready for school. My wife is around supporting there too. She goes off to work. I get the kids on the business, and then it’s me and the three year old and the one year old.
And, basically, the mornings are just time for us to hang out, play, and go on, I call them, field trips. We go to the library, we go and run errands. And that’s kind of where I sneak some time in as well. If I know I’ve got an order of print coming in, they nap in the afternoon, I’m not driving an hour to town.
Prince Edward Island is small and there’s one city, so you’ve got to drive to get there. I’m not going to do that during their nap time. So we’ll make a morning of it. We’ll go and we’ll go to the coffee shop. We’ll get a treat. We’ll do a little bit of shopping. We’ll go and buy some new art supplies. My kids are all artists, obviously. So-
Miriam Schulman (15:19):
Patrick Guindon (17:25):
… they always want new watercolors and paper and notebooks. And I am more than happy to buy that and books for them. We make our mornings count. I steal time in that way, but it’s always with the kids and they’re involved. They’re part of it. We do a lot of painting. We do a lot of messy play. What I’m hoping is that as they get a little bit older, then I will be able to reclaim some of that time, where they’re working on their stuff and their art. Because the three-year-old is very focused on his art, and he’ll work for 45 minutes on a piece of art or on several pieces of art, as three year olds do. So once the one-year-old is a little bit older, then I think I’ll be able to reclaim some time to work and to do some of that painting.
And I think it’s incredibly important that they see me doing that. They learn from it. They learn control. They learn skill. They learn follow-through. My seven-year-old would be so frustrated when he was younger about drawing, and that it wouldn’t work right away. And I would show him, as I’m going through, “Oh, look, this didn’t work. I’m going to paint over it. I’m going to draw over it.” So just involving them in that for me has been extremely important. I want them to see me doing the things that I love. I don’t intend to hide it from them.
Miriam Schulman (18:36):
Right. So at three o’clock the other two come home, but your-
Patrick Guindon (18:40):
Miriam Schulman (18:40):
… wife does too.
Patrick Guindon (18:41):
Yeah. So during nap time, they both nap at the same time, so that’s my work time. That’s when I sit and write my emails, that’s when I go through orders and pack things. That’s when I do, if I have a commission I need to work on, or I have a piece that’s just, I need more time on it, that’s when I’m working on it. And I have certain days throughout the week blocked off where I’m working on my other job at that time. And then certain days where I’m working on my art business at that time.
Miriam Schulman (19:07):
And time blocking is something we talk about inside the incubator.
Patrick Guindon (19:11):
Absolutely. And now I’ve also time blocked rest, which is new for me-
Miriam Schulman (19:11):
Patrick Guindon (19:15):
… because I promote rest. My whole brand is sort of built on one print that I made a few years ago, that’s constantly my best seller, that says, “It’s okay to rest.” And it’s a reminder to me, because I never remember. And I use the excuse of, “Well, I love to paint and I need to paint and that’s restful for me, and it is, but I also need to just lay down sometimes and rest or read a book and rest.” I’ve blocked in, now, time to rest. I’ll report back on how that goes.
When the kids get home, I mean, it’s family time. They’re running around. I’m folding the laundry. I’m getting supper ready, or my wife’s getting separated. We’re doing lunches. We kind of trade off on jobs depending on the energy level of each other, and how our days went. Because a day at home with a three-year-old and a one-year-old can be really lovely and fun. And it can also be the reason that I’m bald. Similarly, my wife is teaching in a grade four classroom this year, those days can be fun and exciting, and also the reason she’s pulling her hair out. So we do trade off for each other.
Miriam Schulman (20:17):
And by the way, I’m completely gray, you don’t know, because I spend a lot of time coloring my hair. But I have a 21 and a 24-year-old, honestly, when my now 21-year-old hit 15, I was wishing for those toilet training days to come back, because 15-year-old boys are, just you wait.
Patrick Guindon (20:40):
Oh, I have four of them, so-
Miriam Schulman (20:43):
It’s like, 15 may not be the magic number, but it’s like, when they hit puberty, it’s like, “Okay, what happened? Where did that-
Patrick Guindon (20:43):
Oh, my goodness.
Miriam Schulman (20:52):
… cute little boy go. This rebellious man-child, who’s discovered pot all of a sudden, what do I do-
Patrick Guindon (20:59):
Oh, [crosstalk 00:20:59]-
Miriam Schulman (20:58):
… with him?”
Patrick Guindon (20:59):
… man-child [crosstalk 00:21:00].
Miriam Schulman (21:03):
By the way, if you want the same success, I want to make sure you knew about my free masterclass, How to Sell More Art. You don’t have to become instafamous. During this free masterclass you’ll learn why your success is not measured by your social media following, and what is really going to move the needle when it comes to sales, and ditch that unnecessary platforms to get more studio time back, dig deep to go beyond the starving artist’s mindset to uncover what’s really sabotaging your success, and the best way to grow and nurture an audience full of collectors not just drive-by commenters. We’ll talk about why most artists get stuck when they try to sell their art, I should say the unsuccessful ones get stuck. And my top tip for getting your first sales coming in, or your breakthrough to the next income level.
We’ll go over the five Ps from profiting and what you don’t need to do. So you’ll hear even more inspiring stories of artists who have built a sustainable income, selling their art. You’ll want to see how they did it. And many more bullet points, too many to rattle off right now. So to choose your showtime, go to schulmanart.com/sellmoreart, and out back to the show.
You have the 90-minute block in the morning of art making, family time, the school day, the morning part, is incorporate the kids into the errands, nap time is admin time, then you-
Patrick Guindon (21:03):
Miriam Schulman (22:44):
… have family time with dinner, and do you do work after dinner too? Or are you able to rest then?
Patrick Guindon (22:50):
So I work some nights. It depends on what I’m needing to do or what I’m forecasting I’ll need to do. So I’ve been planning out by quarter, and then right now I’m planning out my big goals for 2022. On Prince Edward Island, it’s a tourist area, and so there are parts of the spring and summer, and then right before the Christmas season starts, where all of the makers and all of the artisans and artists are busy putting things together, running to print shops, delivering things out to shops, trying to make sure everybody gets everything on time, so that the stores can have things ready to go.
And so I really would prefer to do anything other than run a delivery out to a shop that is open for some kind of odd hours, but they want to carry some of my prints, so I’m going to bring it out to them, because that’s what I do. That’s what you do, you promote yourself and you follow-through and you have integrity. That’s how I believe a business runs. So that’s important to me that, even though I don’t feel like doing it, I’m still going to do it. There are weeks where I’m kind of running around, making sure things are done on time, and that’s taking into evenings. There are other seasons where my paying job requires more for me.
Miriam Schulman (24:04):
When you discovered me, you were part of that Great Resignation, economists are calling it now The Great Resignation of 2021. I sound like my husband now, “I was predicting this.” No, but I was, because I quit my job in the wake of 9/11, and I knew that this was a similar time. And there’s nothing like a crisis to lift a veil on like, “Okay, what do I really want from my life?” Four million people voluntarily left their jobs this year. I think it might be more, it might be four million in the US. I don’t know, the Department of Labor comes up with these numbers, and I don’t have the research in front of me.
But you’re calling it The Great Resignation for a reason, and you were part of that. So tell us what you were doing be before you found me. Obviously, you don’t sign up for a program if everything’s going great and wonderfully. So take us back to before you joined the incubator, what your art business was like.
Patrick Guindon (24:57):
Well, it wasn’t really, it was fledgling. It was, basically, me throwing arrows in the dark. It was me saying, “I have an idea for this. I have an idea for that.” I had a lot of ideas. I have notebook, upon notebook, upon notebook of ideas, and I didn’t know how to implement them. And I was growing more and more frustrated. When I purchased The Artist Incubator-
Miriam Schulman (25:17):
You invested in it.
Patrick Guindon (25:19):
When I invested in The Artist Incubator-
Miriam Schulman (25:22):
When invested in yourself, right?
Patrick Guindon (25:24):
That’s right. When I invested in myself via The Artist Incubator, I was lost. I just needed some kind of guidance. I needed something to give me either a structure or an idea of how to approach things, how to follow-through with things, how to price things. I had no idea how to price things. I was pulling numbers out of thin air. I didn’t know what to do, basically. I was selling art. I mean, I’ve sold little pieces of art here and there, and some commissions. And for a while, they were random.
And then nervous breakdown, suddenly I’m making beautiful, joyful flowers, and people are resonating with them. And at that point, sales did start to increase, but it was unpredictable. I mean, nothing is ever entirely predictable when it’s sales, but it was going up and down, up and down. And I had no idea-
Miriam Schulman (26:18):
There’s no pattern or rhythm to it yet.
Patrick Guindon (26:20):
Absolutely. So I just didn’t know what to do. I knew I wanted to branch off into wholesale, because we had moved to this island with all these shops that would take in cards and prints and arts and display the original art. And as soon as we arrived, people started reaching out to me asking, “Oh, can we carry your stuff? Can we get your paintings in here?” And I wanted to say, yes, so badly, and I had no idea how to do any of it. I needed some systems. I needed some structure.
And what The Artist Incubator did, there was so much value to it, more than anything else that I needed was weaved throughout The Artist Incubator program is the whole notion of your confidence as an artist, and your ability to sell yourself. And I don’t mean that in a smarmy way whatsoever, but now when I talk to people, I say, “Oh, I’m Patrick, I’m an artist.” I don’t say, “And I have this other side job that pays for my consistent bills.” Or-
Miriam Schulman (27:22):
It’s not the other way around. And I don’t know what your side job is, but it’s not like, “I’m an accountant who paints on the side.: You’re now like, “I’m a painter who accountants on the side,” or whatever that side.
Patrick Guindon (27:33):
Exactly. I’m definitely not an accountant. And what’s really nice actually, is that that job is, so I’m a coach and content producer for writers who are learning to pitch their books, and what that allows me to do is really just continue to talk about the things that I already am passionate about and knowledgeable about. It’s not that big of a trade off when I’m going into that mode for work time.
But when I started really digging into The Artist Incubator, what changed for as how I talked about myself, how I priced my art, and the strangest part of that is, when I would look at the pricing of my art before, and it was too low, and it wasn’t moving, and then I increased the price, for some reason, this whole psychological thing, the art looked so much better to me. And I was so much more proud of it. I was so much more proud to say, “Yes, this piece of art is this much money. How would you like to pay for it?”
Miriam Schulman (28:32):
Patrick Guindon (28:33):
Rather than like, “We can split payments,” or, “Oh, I have something smaller, let me downsell you on this.” I don’t downsell anymore. This is my art. This is what I make, take it or leave it. If you, you love what I offer, then that’s fantastic. And I’m super happy to work with you. And if not, then that’s fantastic too, and that’s it. You’re not for everyone, so you need to understand that.
Miriam Schulman (28:56):
Because nothing is for everyone.
Patrick Guindon (28:59):
Absolutely. And I wanted to be for everyone, because I have always been a people pleaser. Leaving my job, that was very safe, and I made a lot of money every year, and I had excellent benefits and an incredible retirement savings program. And I don’t have that stuff now, but I’m very much on a clear path where I’m going to be… Well, I am just fine, I’m perfectly comfortable and much happier. And I really do believe that all of that comes from the learning that I’ve taken out of this program, as well as the community that stems from it. The group, and then outside of there, the connections that have been made with those people in that group.
Miriam Schulman (29:40):
Yeah. There’s a lot of friendships that continue on even beyond the program. They write to me, they’re still getting together, and I’m like, “Without me?” It’s like, “You do that.” No, I’m very happy about that. So one of the things that I wanted to make sure that you share, because I’ve seen this tremendous growth in the way you show up on your emails and in social media. And I know part of this is, basically, the way I’m going to put it, is that you have the confidence now to be vulnerable.
So I don’t know what you were like before, but I don’t know if you would’ve had the confidence to come talk to, by the way, thousands of people about your mental health on a podcast. But all these things that you talk of about, your feminine side as being the caretaker, as the dad, your mental health, all these things that you talk about now, as part of being an artist, I’ve seen tremendous growth in you. Would you like to say more about that Patrick?
Patrick Guindon (30:35):
Having to find my words, the confidence that’s grown from this and in just simply being able to say, “Hey, this is who I am. This is my art.” Which I was doing on a small scale, but I was not diving as deeply into it. And when I started to, because I was emailing more, because of the incubator program, I started emailing more regularly, as in weekly.
Miriam Schulman (30:58):
Which was bothering people, you were bothering people.
Patrick Guindon (31:01):
Really got over that idea that I was bothering everyone, and sure, people unsubscribe, and at first I was a little sad. That’s my ego, and I’ve moved forward. But people are unsubscribing, if they’re not the right people for me. And that’s excellent, because I don’t really want those people on my list. The people who respond to me and tell me, “Thank you for showing up for us,” word for word, I’ve received that email. “This is so inspiring. You’ve really hit on something that I’ve been struggling with.” Or the most vulnerable, deepest, most specific emails to my own experience, and posts to my own experience, have been the ones that have resonated the most with people. Which has absolutely shocked me, because I just assumed that everybody wants to hear about themselves and not about me, which is true, but I’ve learned how to write that in a way that I think they can see themselves in those positions, or they’re seeing something that they want to see in themselves.
And I can recognize that now, looking back, I had no idea that’s what I was doing when I was doing it. But when I show up to my social media or my email, and I’m practicing those longer bouts of words that are talking about my experience as a man who doesn’t fit being a man, though, I identify as a man. And going into an extremely popular and very busy downtown cafe and bistro, and putting up an exhibit of the paintings, essentially, they’re me. If I stand next to them, they’re me, with a flower beard and with a flower crown, and talking to people about what that means. I don’t think I could have done that before, but I really don’t, it’s going to sound rude and like, I’m a teenager, but I don’t care. I don’t really care what people think of that, because I know so much more deeply, who I am, and what matters to me.
And I can speak to it. I have words for it. And I have words for it, because I’ve written all those emails. I’ve written all those posts. I’m a writer, so that’s how I find my words. But I don’t start with those words, I started with the paintings. It all kind of circles and swims together and comes back into one. But, essentially, having the confidence to first call myself an artist professionally, has changed absolutely everything. Having the confidence to start emailing people, even when some of those people unsubscribe, has changed how I interact with my audience. It’s changed how I interact with my art. It’s changed how I talk about my art. It’s taught me different ways to position art through words, and how I sell them in the emails. It doesn’t feel like selling, because I’m only selling to someone if they’re interested.
Otherwise, I want them to be able to get a good story out of it, or to get some pleasure from just looking at a photo of it in my email. I think that it all kind of circles back to that confidence in a very deep way. I’ve always talked about confidence. I’ve read all the Brene Brown books. I’ve done all the soul searching. I’ve done tons and tons of soul and hard work through the years. And so when I jumped and left my safe career into this unknown territory, which has been terrifying at times, and exciting at times, and like, “What did I do?” at times.
It all just sort of opened things up, so that I could take that confidence… And I don’t think I would have, I think I’d still be kind of shooting arrows in the dark if I hadn’t enrolled in the incubator program, because I needed something firm to dig into.
Miriam Schulman (34:32):
Now, I know this, but our listeners haven’t heard you say this yet, all this confidence has translated into lots of sales for you at these higher prices. Am I right?
Patrick Guindon (34:43):
Yeah. So I’ve raised my prices, I’ve emailed people more often, and I have increased how often I’m painting, because the actual production and practice is so important, and that has all translated into money. And that money means that I can buy more supplies, I can buy better are levels in my email software, I can invest in myself, I can pay myself.
Miriam Schulman (35:09):
Yeah. We wanted to hear that too. Right, this is not about an expensive hobby.
Patrick Guindon (35:13):
No, it’s not about an expensive hobby. It’s been life changing, because I look back at my earnings from last year and from year before, and they doubled from last year. And I mean, I’m not ready to leave my side job. My little thing that helps me out sometimes, but I am very confident that in a couple years of growth and learning, I will absolutely be 100% earning my income through my art. Now, I’ve been in the program since May, it’s December, I don’t know how many months that is, I haven’t taught math in a long time, but-
Miriam Schulman (35:51):
I can do math at seven months or six months.
Patrick Guindon (35:55):
The shift in that little amount of time has been, it doesn’t even really make sense for me. I can’t really quite grasp it. And now I break my income into a spreadsheet, and I track my expenses and everything. Everything is hyper-organized because I’m very distracted, very easily, so I need really good systems in place. And when I look at that, the majority of my earnings come from originals and commissions. The smallest amount that I make is from the sales through my website. The middle guy is through wholesale. Those wholesale are happening only because of relationships that I have fostered with real life humans, by going into stores and talking to them. I never would have done that before. I am extremely introverted. I know I talk a lot. I seem outgoing to people, when they get to know me.
Miriam Schulman (36:44):
I’m introverted too, and people don’t understand, when they hear someone like you, Patrick, or me, and we’re all animated, what you have to understand, is we’re inside our houses right now. I’m in my house and Patrick-
Patrick Guindon (36:44):
Miriam Schulman (36:55):
… is inside his house. So we’re very comfort. He doesn’t see all you guys out there. He just sees me. So we can be-
Patrick Guindon (37:04):
Miriam Schulman (37:04):
… famous without leaving our house. It’s awesome.
Patrick Guindon (37:06):
I don’t even like calling for pizza, so I’m that extreme.
Miriam Schulman (37:11):
The phone phobia.
Patrick Guindon (37:12):
There’s anxiety there and whatever, but I have found the confidence to say, “I’m going to go in and I’m going to bring some of my printing cards, and a couple of originals, some smalls, and I’m going to show them. And I’m going to say, Hi, I’m Patrick, and this is what I make. Is there a great way to reach you with my catalog? Or can I give you this link? Or are you interested in this? Do you feel this fits the aesthetic of your store?” Because you don’t fit in every shop.
Miriam Schulman (37:41):
Patrick Guindon (37:41):
One of my favorite shops, I don’t fit there, and that’s okay.
Miriam Schulman (37:45):
And sometimes you do have to take a chance if you feel you’re a little bit outside, because sometimes they are looking for something a little different than what they already have. So it’s okay to take that risk, sometimes. If they already had a floral painter, Patrick does a lot of like pinks and jewel tones, they may say, “Oh, you’re great. You fit in. But Susan already does that.” And they don’t want to compete against themselves.
Patrick Guindon (38:09):
Yeah. To jump from that point, when I started going into shops this spring, I would bring some examples. And I was terrified, because everything was very white and minimalist, things that I love, and we have up in our home, but I just don’t paint that way. And I can’t find a way to paint that way. And I decided a while ago that I’m just not going to, because that’s not my voice. That’s not who I am as an artist. The response typically was, “Oh, it’s so colorful and joyful and we need this.” And so they would put it up on the wall.
Miriam Schulman (38:40):
Patrick Guindon (38:40):
And you’re absolutely right. The one I was referring to, they just don’t want to carry me. And that’s fine too. I mean, you’re going to-
Miriam Schulman (38:45):
That’s also fine, right.
Patrick Guindon (38:47):
… get nos, and that’s fine. You’re going to get nos from customers, from shops. I’ll show my wife things and she’ll say, “Oh, I don’t know about that. I think you need to work on it a little bit more.” So you can get nos from everyone. And it takes a long time to build that thick skin. But it does come, if you focus on where you’re going, and you follow that path and you stick to the outcome that you want.
Miriam Schulman (39:08):
I love this. Okay. You’ve been so inspiring today, Patrick. And if you’ve been inspired by what he had to say, go say hello to Patrick on Instagram. So his handle is @PatrickGuindon, did I say that right? Oh, my gosh.
Patrick Guindon (39:23):
You’re pretty close, Guindon.
Miriam Schulman (39:23):
No, I think I did the accent wrong. Is it Guindon or Guindon?
Patrick Guindon (39:23):
That’s number two.
Miriam Schulman (39:23):
Patrick Guindon (39:23):
Miriam Schulman (39:32):
… Guindon, I’m terrible pronouncing things, and it’s Patrick Guindon Art.
Patrick Guindon (39:38):
Miriam Schulman (39:39):
All right. And we got to spell it, because it’s spelled the way it’s pronounced. So Patrick, you spell it, please, I’m afraid I’ll screw up.
Patrick Guindon (39:46):
I will spell it. P-A-T-R-I-C-K.
Miriam Schulman (39:49):
No, they know how to spell Patrick.
Patrick Guindon (39:50):
Some people don’t, you’d be surprised.
Miriam Schulman (39:52):
Patrick Guindon (39:52):
Is that with a K? Is what I get a lot. Yeah. Although, maybe it’s just French communities around here. Guindon is a French last name. I don’t really speak French, but my wife does. So Guindon is spelled G-U-I-N-D-O-N, and then don’t forget to add the art at the end.
Miriam Schulman (40:11):
We’ve included links to all the places in the show notes at schulmanart.com/174. And don’t forget if you like this episode, you’ll have to check out my free masterclass. If you want to have the same success as Patrick, and double your prices, and sell more art and build massive confidence along the way, go to schulmanart.com/sellmoreart. All right, Patrick, do you have any last words for our listeners before we call this podcast complete?
Patrick Guindon (40:45):
Yeah. I would love to encourage everybody who says they’re not a morning person to try a week or two weeks, where you set the coffee before you go to bed, you set an alarm, you either put your clothes out before you go to bed, so you’re ready to go. And then you jump out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes and just get your butt to the studio or to the table or to wherever it is that you need to go to do the thing that you want to do. So you can do it with an uninterrupted mind, because it’s going to change your life. It changed mine.
Miriam Schulman (41:16):
I love that. How do you take your coffee, by the way?
Patrick Guindon (41:19):
Two creams and two sweeteners, because I [crosstalk 00:41:22]-
Miriam Schulman (41:22):
I love that. Sweet tooth. All right, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Stay inspired.
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