THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place podcast, an art world inside a 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.
Well hey there, my friend, it’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration. And I’m bringing you a roundup from the Artpreneur Flash Briefings for the week. This week, we’re chatting about the late artist, Harvey Dinnerstein and Arnold Skolnick, whether it’s worth it to invest in your art and what you can learn from high end luxury lingerie brands, and finally, how to skip the messy mistake-making process.
Harvey Dinnerstein, uncle of the famed concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein, passed away in July of this year at the age of 94. And here’s what I want you to know about him. When he heard about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he and his friend, Burt Silverman… And I happen to have a few of Burt Silverman’s pastel books. Those of you who are pastels enthusiasts might be familiar with his work. They were both two socially conscious realist painters, motivated by the lack of photographic evidence of the protests. They took the train from Penn Station, New York, to Alabama. Not a short train ride. This was in 1956, to document this chapter in the civil rights movement through their art. Yes, Dinnerstein sketch Rosa Parks, but he also sketched ordinary citizens of the Black community who welcomed the two Jewish artists into their home. He’s best known for his art of this era, and remained proudly immersed in figurative realism, as well as resisted the abstract expressionism that was popular during his emergent years as an artist. And by the way, the same is true of Burt Silverman. So I’m familiar with his work, because of when I was really into portrait art, I collected a few of his Pastel portrait books. Now, Dinnerstein shared in a 2021 interview, “It never occurred to me to be anything other than an artist.” Well, perhaps a short stop for the Brooklyn Dodgers circa 1939. Just a little side note.
My grandfather who was from Brooklyn, he never forgave the Dodgers for moving to California. He was also a diehard Dodgers fan until they moved. Now of course the pandemic forced him to stop his decades long teaching career at the Art Students League. But about restoring his artist heart he shared in an interview, quote, “after a period of uncertainty, I found great solace when I picked up a drawing tool or brush, and somehow the creative spark returned an affirmation of life beyond the shadows of the deadly virus.” Now, if you found your creativity stuck because of the COVID pandemic, I did a full podcast episode about it. You’ll want to check it out. Episode 123, Restore Your Artist Heart. You’ll find that wherever you listen to podcasts, or by going to www.schulmanart.com/123.
Many lingerie brands use descriptive words that connote romance, seduction, and sex to describe their products. However, with its feminist founder story, the Natori brand went in a completely different direction, appealing to modern women who want to feel sophisticated and their marketing copy is crafted accordingly. Here’s what I want you artists to know. Successful brands use feeling words to describe their products. But this company understands that their product, which could be a commodity as something all women need to wear, are playing to our emotions, which is how they’re able to command high prices for the Natori brand. They’re backing up the marketing with the highest quality fabrics and materials, but when describing the products, they help us see that this luxury panty will make us feel different. People do pay more for a product that makes them feel good and gives them pleasure.
This is just one of the many lessons I share in the chapter How to Think Like an Abundant Artist. You can learn all of these lessons inside my book, Artpreneur, which is now finally ready for pre-order. It doesn’t come out till January 2023, but I have some really juicy bonuses, which you can get your hands on right away. Go to schulmanart.com/book to learn more about the book as well as the exclusive bonus package I’ve created for those who order from that page.
While we recently moved into a small two bedroom apartment in New York city, for those of you who listen to my podcast and may be a little confused, we had a house in the suburbs, we sold that, and we now have a small apartment in the city and a farmhouse in the country. But as much as I love these two places, and as much as I love life in New York city, I dream of having more window light. Have you ever had that dream where there’s an extra room in your home? I’ve had that dream plenty of times, there’s either an extra room, a whole extra wing, maybe the attic leads to a whole secret second home. I was wondering if this was a dream that only adult homeowners had since I couldn’t remember the dreams of my childhood, but I asked my 24 year old daughter and she said she used to dream that our house had a pool.
I also asked my mother if she had this dream and she shared with me that she also dreams that her home has extra rooms, but to her, these are anxiety dreams because she gets stressed out about having to clean and take care of more spaces. Psychologists who study dream theory believe the extra room dream indicates that there’s a part of you that you haven’t explored yet. While we were painting our apartment in the city, we discovered there actually was an extra window. Not a dream, but for real. And it’s hidden behind a wall. For reasons I still don’t fully understand a previous owner decided that their decorating would be improved if they covered up the window with sheet rock and put their bed in front of it. So the question is, will it be worth uncovering this window?
With labor and material shortages in New York city right now, anything you do to improve your apartment costs a small fortune.
So besides ripping down the recently painted wall that we did pay money to paint this wall, we’re going to have to reframe the old window and possibly replace the old one since we have no idea what condition that old window is in, like is there a reason they covered it up besides maybe decorating? Now my neighbor here in New York, who happens to be by the way, a decorator… Oh, and she doesn’t share my lack of window light because her bright apartment faces the front of the building while mine is in the back. She doesn’t think it would be worth it. But this whole scenario started to remind me of my clients and the many artists I speak to in my creative Inspiration Place community. I hear things like, “I want to show in New York, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth it.” “I want to build a website, is it really worth it?” “I want to start my art career, but I wonder if it’s worth it.” “I’m painting, but I haven’t been selling much lately. I wonder if it’s worth it.”
How many times have you felt demotivated or resisted change because you weren’t sure if it was worth it? Is there a window hidden behind the wall in your life? I believe that letting more light into your life is always worth it. Take a chance and see where you’ll go. Now, if you’re looking help with that journey, I’ve got you covered. My artist biz coaching program the Artist Incubator was made for artists just like you. To learn more about it, head on over to schulmanart.com/biz, that’s B as in boy, I in ice cream, Z as in zebra, to learn more.
As we near the anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival… By the way, we say music festival, but it was originally the Art and Music Festival, from August of 1969. You can’t miss out on the story about the artist who designed the iconic poster. If you’re not familiar, it is a graphic white dove with a red beak perched on the neck of a guitar on a bright red background. The shapes and colors look like they’ve been cut from construction paper, and there’s a reason for that. The creator Arnold Skolnick was inspired by the Matisse cut-outs. Matisse created his cut-outs during the last decade of his life in the 1950s and Skolnick had recently seen the paper cut-out works by Matisse at a Manhattan museum exhibit, right before he received the assignment.
The poster had already been designed. The first design was by David Byrd, Byrd as in B-Y-R-D. And his poster was a pseudo-psychedelic tableau. Think lots of hearts and flowers with a neoclassical centerpiece, specifically a nude woman posing with an urn. But the conservative local townspeople of the 1960s didn’t want a nude woman hanging in their storefronts. And besides, the elaborate poster did not leave room for the names of all these iconic bands. So enter Skolnick who designed the poster in a weekend as a rush job for which he was paid $12,000. I think he might have split that with somebody else who did the typography. But even so, that was quite a big chunk of change for 1969.
About his life as an artist, he said, “You don’t become an artist. You either are, or you’re not.” Hmm. I was wondering what you thought about that. Do you think artists are born or made? To join in the conversation, I posted this quote on my Instagram, so I’d love to hear from you, whether you agree or disagree. Head on over to schulmanart, that’s S-C-H-U-L-M-A-N-A-R-T, schulmanart on Instagram, and let me know what you think.
When I was getting ready to sell my suburban home of 25 years, I had a rude awakening. Apparently, brown furniture is out of style. Well, not all brown furniture, but the kind that I bought 25 years ago as a newlywed had gone out of style and nobody wants it. So a stager came in and asked us to remove the most unsightly pieces and when it came time to decide what was going to New York, I decided I didn’t want to take all that out-of-date furniture with me. But not having a big budget to replace it all, I decided I would start painting my brown furniture white. Since then I’ve painted all my studio furniture, my bedroom nightstands, the bookcases, my bed, and even some of the furniture over in my country farmhouse. So a friend of ours recently asked me, “How the heck Miriam did you figure out how to do this?” He said he wouldn’t know where to start. And I said, “Well, I just learned by trying things and seeing what worked and what didn’t.”
Now, when I first started out, I went to the hardware store. I said, “What do I need?” They told me. I got a big drop cloth. But then I discovered that the paint seeped through the canvas. Didn’t know that, which kind of ruined my wood floors. Shh. Don’t tell the buyers of the house, but I did get most of it off. We passed the walkthrough, so no problem. After the fail with the canvas drop cloth, I used a plastic garbage bag, which are impermeable. However, they do bunch up and they stick to the bottom of furniture leaving marks, so that’s no bueno either. Finally I learned that flattening a cardboard box and putting my furniture on top of that made the best surface so the thick pieces don’t bleed through and I can kneel on them and they’re easier on my knees.
So what’s the lesson in this for you? Well, when I’m coaching artists, I’m helping them by sharing with them my trial and the error of over 20 years of my messy mistake-making. But you can skip this messy mistake-making process when you learn from someone who’s been there and done it, and also watch other artists trying out all the different ways of selling their art. So you can skip this mistake-making process. Of course you can do it on your own. It will take you a lot longer. You will get paint on your floor. But sometimes you just need to ask someone who has gone there before you, and it will definitely help. So a lot of times I just ask cousin YouTube, you can do that too, but it is a lot shorter when you go to an expert.
Now I want you to know that just like I didn’t realize my furniture had gone out of style, you always need to be checking out your social media techniques and make sure you’re not following an outdated strategy. So if you might be following an outdated Instagram strategy, because what you worked a few years ago may no longer be working like my brown furniture circa the 1990s, not looking so good anymore in 2022, if you want to try making sure you’re up to date on Instagram, I recorded a whole podcast episode about that. head on over to schulmanart.com/183 or on your favorite podcast app. You can search for “What’s Wrong with Your Instagram”.
All right. Well, that’s it until next time. If you want a daily dose of inspiration, I’m now coming to Alexa Monday through Friday with Artpreneur flash briefings. To subscribe, be sure you either get an Alexa device or if you don’t have that, no worries. Download the Alexa app to your smartphone, search for Artpreneur, or ask Alexa to subscribe to Artist Entrepreneur. She doesn’t know what Artpreneur is yet. All right, that’s it until next time, until then, stay inspired.
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