THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Miriam Schulman: You have to love your voice and your style and your art as it’s developing, as you’re uncovering it, as it is growing. Even when it has braces and pimples. You have to love your baby now and take it out in the world and let people interact with it and get to know it and see it.
Speaker 2: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Shulman. 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: Well, hey there, Artpreneur. It’s Miriam Schulman. Your curator of inspiration, author of the book, Artpreneur, and host of The Inspiration Place podcast. This is episode number 247 of the podcast, or you might be watching this on YouTube. And today we’re talking about why your voice matters. So this is something that I do talk about inside my book, Artpreneur. I talk about actually in the very first chapter as well as in the part, ‘Embrace Your Inner Weirdo’. So I’ve been criticized a lot for my voice. I have. I’ve been criticized for being too loud, for being too ethnic, for being too aggressive, for being too New York. This particular episode is inspired by a troll on my social media, so I’m going to just share with you what transpired there.
Okay, so I have an ad on social media and maybe you’ve seen it because it’s been shown to, I think, almost a million people. In fact, we finally shut it down because I really want to improve my ad and make a different ad to show to different people. But in this video, I get a lot of feedback and some of it is negative and not so nice. So I have that typical stuff that sometimes pops up and sometimes I respond to the troll remarks and sometimes I don’t. One pushback that I get, which I talked about already on a prior episode, which is that, well, doesn’t talent matter? And unfortunately, this is not Rapunzel-style marketing.
You can’t just be a princess waiting for someone to rescue you. Your mindset and your marketing do matter and marketing and mindset trump talent every time. So we’ve already talked about that in another podcast episode. That’s one pushback I get. Another pushback I get, which is kind of silly, I’ve seen this actually in other people’s ads, not just artists. I saw this actually, Elise Darma, who teaches Instagram, had gotten this. Oh, if you’re so good, why do you need to teach selling? It’s like, bizarre. So I get that as well. If you’re so good at selling your art, why are you teaching people how to sell their art? And I get different forms of this and it’s just the most ridiculous comment.
Rauschenberg, who was one of the great abstract expressionists of the 20th century, taught at Hunter College, nobody ever said to him, ‘If you’re such a good painter, why are you teaching?’ Or Leonardo da Vinci, for that matter, had students. So we all know there was the studio of Leonardo da Vinci. No one ever said to him, ‘If you’re so good, why are you teaching?’ I mean, I’ve been selling my art for over 20 years, and I do understand people’s skepticism and being suspicious when there’s somebody they’ve never heard of who is suddenly advertising their course because maybe they never heard of me. And there are some artists who maybe have been in business just one year or two years who decide they’re going to teach other artists how to market and how to sell their art.
But I’m not one of them. I’ve been selling my own art for over 20 years, so when people say that to me, I’m like, ‘okay’. And sometimes I answer them. There was one woman who did it recently who said. ‘If you’re so good, how come you’re selling how you’re selling this coaching package?’ And I said to her, ‘Oh, I’ve been doing it for 20 years.’ And she says, ‘Well, you still didn’t answer my question’. I was like, ‘Well, I did answer your question. Which part do not understand?’ I didn’t say that to her. But she says, ‘Well, why? Why are you selling this?’ I was like, ‘Because I want to’. Now, some artists teach their techniques, and I did for many years teach my painting technique. So I have left that legacy to the world.
And now I decided I want to teach everything I know about marketing. And that’s why I decided to put it into two forms I have everything I know is either in my artist incubator coaching program or it’s in this book. Some things I can’t fit into this book, and that is in my coaching program. Some things I talk about on the podcast and in fact, 99% of what I do, I give away for free. So I have the podcast, the YouTube channel, and that’s all for the people who can’t invest in coaching services with me or I have the book, which for the cost of a paperback book or the audiobook, you can get much of the same information.
You just don’t have a coach holding your hand or giving you scripts or email templates or checking in with you or pushing you or checking in with your mindset the way you do inside the coaching program. So that’s the difference. Now, what we’re talking about today is the criticism I got about my voice, specifically the actually not what I’m saying, not my message, but the way I talk. And I know that when you show up in a big way, you’ll always, always attract haters. We talked about this in the episode about haters and trolls. Why? Why do people do that? Why do people do that now? Oftentimes it’s the very thing that the person is criticizing me for. When I go look at their social media, I see that is actually their very problem. So, for example, the one girl who just wouldn’t let it go that why am I teaching if I’m so good? She’s still in university, so she’s surrounded by teachers. So she has this cynicism that only the people who are actually doing it know what they’re talking about. But I don’t know who she expects to learn from anyway. This particular one, which inspired this episode is she actually said, ‘You have an ugly voice, so I’m going to show you that screen.’
You have an ugly voice. And I realize I’ve been showing you the screen this whole time. Well, you have an ugly voice. Wow. And it’s a New York accent, so. You know, maybe back in the day I might have been hurt by that. I know that. I would say about ten or 15 years ago when I first started teaching online classes, I was showing up online with my voice. I was very self-conscious about my New York accent when I was looking around and seeing the other artists who were selling online classes. A lot of them were from the Midwest. They weren’t Jewish like me. They weren’t from New York like me. And I was worried that Middle America would respond to me. I was. And over time, I’ve learned to love my voice. I feel that is what makes me special, good, different and different in a good way. And that’s what I want you to do with your art. I don’t want you to be afraid of showing up. This is especially true of women. That’s why I want to share with you. This is a post that Janet Federico shared. So she shared a quote from my book. “Like many women, I’d been told that I’m too loud. But part of being an artist is owning your artistic voice with no apologies.” And she said that this hit her hard. She’s been told that she’s too loud, too smart, too intimidating, too aggressive.
When all it really meant was that she was unwilling to passively accept whatever was on offer. How many of you have been told that you’re too loud, too aggressive, too angry? Yeah. I want to hear if that’s something that that you’ve heard, that your voice has been criticized, but really your voice. Your voice is what matters, and that’s what makes you an artist, is your voice, your opinion, and the way you say it.
The way you say it and what you have to say. That is what the art is. What you have to say and the way you say it, not whitewashing it, not white breading it, not making yourself sound like you’re from the Midwest, unless of course, you are from the Midwest. That might be your special thing. And people from the Midwest shouldn’t talk like me or talk like they’re from France. You need to be your authentic and special you. So now I want to share with you directly from my book.
“Developing a signature style and brand requires vulnerability. Because your values, quirks and imperfections inform your distinctive voice. That’s what branding is, your voice. As you make your voice more apparent. These differences will likely attract both fans and haters and avoid the temptation to play down your uniqueness to appease the haters. Playing a more audacious game always attracts haters because they resent you showing up in the world in a way they’re still afraid to, or they’re envious of the success you have.”
I know I get triggered. I get triggered. There’s people I went to college with who have a million followers. I’m not going to say who it is because I don’t want to hate on that person publicly right now. But it’s not really hating. It’s really just envy, envy and jealousy. And I know when I see her, what I’m really thinking is I wish I had that. I wish I had that. And likely when people are hating on you, that’s what they’re thinking too. I wish I could do that. I wish I could be brave like her. Now some people will find fault with you no matter what you do but if they hate you for your uniqueness, at least they are hating you for the right reasons.
Now I want to share with you what my former business coach, Jason Van Orden, had to say. ‘Your voice is that thing that only you can bring to the world. But t takes some time to like, find and unlayer it and kind of identify it. Then I’d say it takes even longer to learn how to really own it and embody it yourself to a level that now, the world sees it and you unabashedly share it. So that people have no choice but to take notice. This is the point of view that only I can bring because of who I am and where I come from, what my background is, what my values are, what I wanna say. This is why I love this topic so much because I do believe everyone has a point of view.
Alright, so I want you to go out and start expressing your voice. Even as you’re discovering and uncovering your unique signature style, don’t keep it under wraps until you have it all figured out. Too many artists do that. In the book, I call that ‘Sleeping Beauty complex’. I wanted to call it Sleeping Beauty syndrome, but Sleeping Beauty Syndrome apparently is actually a real disease. So Sleeping Beauty complex, I remember in the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, if you’ve seen it, if you have little kids or you watched it when you were a child, the fairies take the baby or Aurora. How did they say it? Anywa, they take they take the baby. They bring her to the woods and they don’t bring her out of the woods until she’s a fully grown woman. That’s why I call it ‘Sleeping Beauty Complex’. But really, you have to love your baby now.
You have to love your voice and your style and your art as it’s developing, as you’re uncovering it, as it is growing. Even when it has braces and pimples. You have to love your baby now and take it out in the world and let people interact with it and get to know it and see it. That is what’s important. Share one more thing. I want to remind you that your voice matters. It’s important. And valuable. And it deserves to be heard. It doesn’t matter if you get criticized because everyone who’s ever made a difference has faced some form of criticism. It’s how you handle it that makes all the difference. Are you going to let those haters and credit critics stop you from doing what you want to do in this world? How sad would it be if I listened to, let’s say the woman, your voice is ugly and I stopped speaking and I didn’t have a podcast. Or if I listen to the other person, ‘Oh, if you’re so great, how come you have to get paid to teach?’. How sad would it be if I wasn’t helping all of you through this podcast or through my book or through my coaching program, all the people who I’ve helped along the way.
I want you to believe in yourself and your voice. It’s unique. It has the power to make a difference in the world. Don’t let doubt hold you back. Don’t let doubt hold you back from speaking up and sharing your special story. Whatever form your art takes, whether that is poetry, music, dance, visual art, whatever that is. Your voice matters because it’s different. Because it’s special. Because it’s quirky. Because it’s unique. Please don’t stay small. Don’t strive for mediocrity. Remember, one small voice can change the whole world. So speak up. Share your thoughts. Share your ideas.
All right, my friend. That’s all I have for you today. If you’re watching this on YouTube, share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions, if you have ideas for future podcasts or YouTube videos, I’d love to know that too. Until the next time, stay inspired.
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