THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Speaker 1: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast rewind 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: Well, hey there, my friend. It’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration. And you’re listening to episode number 288. So I hope you had an absolutely beautiful holiday season. I’m recording this—time travel—a month before you’re listening. And I just finished Thanksgiving, which is always super dysfunctional in terms of the eating because we’re vegetarian. My husband, myself, and my daughter—my son is, as many of you have heard, in Israel, and my sister and her family are very strict kosher. My mom doesn’t eat anything, but that’s a whole other story. So, you know, we all have to get together and have various different ways of eating. But it was fine. It was actually one of the loveliest Thanksgivings I’ve had in a long time, I think, because there was just so much love and acceptance around the table.
So I hope that you are having a similar experience as well. I’m very sensitive to everything that’s going on in the world right now. To me, it’s not political. To me, this is very, very personal, and people in my community have said, “Miriam, how come you haven’t stepped up to say anything? How come we’re not talking about it inside the Artist Incubator?” And the truth is just I am not in the position yet to lead on this. That’s really all I can say about that right now, in this moment. I’m about to go on a retreat next week to Costa Rica, so I don’t know if I’ll be recording any more podcasts between now and then.
Super excited for that. Um, of course, I’m going with a lot of trepidation. My husband has warned me not to surf. I didn’t know that was going to be part of this. I looked at the itinerary, and I saw yoga, mud baths, meditation, and writing. And somehow, I didn’t read the word surfing. And I found out that there will be surfing. I do not think I will be participating in the surfing. My husband is like, “You are not going to be surfing; you are going to be doing yoga and writing, and that’s it.” And that is because he knows that I fall off my yoga mat even trying to hold tree pose. So surfing is definitely not in my future, but I am. I’m definitely looking forward to doing some healing and, you know, I was telling my friend the other day that I actually signed up for this for myself. I didn’t sign up for it to make friends, so I kind of feel a little bit like that person on every reality show that they cut to the interview, and she’s saying, “Well, I didn’t come here to make friends” and fights with everyone. I don’t anticipate fighting with people. If I feel that I’m in a situation where I’m with somebody who doesn’t understand where I’m coming from, I will remove myself from that situation.
And in the group, if I don’t feel that I’m safe, I will simply go under a tree and do my writing there and not participate in the group events. It’ll be my own silent retreat, but hopefully that will not be the story. So in a few weeks or so, I’ll be able to come back here and tell you all about it. And I’m hoping to report back that it was an absolutely magical time. All right. So that is a lot more than I was planning on saying. That is what happens when I just hit the record button and just fly with it. But it’s kind of, this is this is my truth. I’m speaking to you as a friend, honestly and truthfully. Okay, so now for today’s episode. Now, today’s episode is super fun. What I did was I sat down with my team and we went through 2023 and we said, okay, let’s pick out. The best episodes of this year, and that was the only part that I collaborated with them. I said, okay, these are the ones that I feel were probably the best ones of 2023, but I gave my team permission to just from that instruction to go forward and pick whatever they wanted, whatever snippets they wanted, that they felt were their favorites from each episode. So I hope you’re going to really enjoy this inspiration place. Rewind of 2023. And by the way, I would love to hear from you.
So although I will be off the grid when I’m in Costa Rica, that is in your past. By the time this goes live, when you’re listening to this, I’ll be hunkering down at my farmhouse, and I have a lot of time on my hands then, so I would love to hear from you. If you want to reach out to me, share what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, I would love to hear from you. You can either email me at email@example.com. You can send me a DM over on Instagram at @SchulmanArt. That’s S-C-H-U-L-M-A-N-A-R-T. I’d love to hear from you there os we can connect.
Alright, my friend. So I hope you have a beautiful holiday. This is a very special time. The time between Christmas and New Years is the time between the years, and I always find this is the best time to reflect and set your intentions for 2024. So without further ado, here are my final thoughts from the best of 2023 to send you off into the New Year.
Miriam Schulman: That’s what I did, and that’s what I want you to do. I want you to choose to believe in your future. I want you to choose to believe that you are an artist, or that you are an author, or you are a poet, or a dancer. Or if you’re none of those things, perhaps you’re a successful life coach. Perhaps you are a psychic medium. You need to choose to believe in that future that you most want to see, and you commit to that in writing. When you write something down, something really special happens. You activate both sides of your brain—both your logical side and your emotional side—and they will both go to work in the background, helping you create that better reality from the place of belief, from the place where you don’t have fear.
You know that expression, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” When you choose to believe, you are acting from that place of choosing to believe that you can’t fail. Now, that doesn’t mean you won’t fail along the way, but you believe that ultimately you will have success. Somebody asked me recently, “Well, what if I choose to believe, and then what happens doesn’t come true?”. You can change the deadline. Maybe it wasn’t going to happen this year. Maybe it’s happening next year. But you believe it so hard. You believe it in every fiber of your body that you know it’s going to happen.
Miriam Schulman: Here’s the thing. If you want to achieve fame, marginal claim, or just make a sustainable living or a hobby with your painting or dance, your music or sports, you’ve got to do the one thing—you’ve got to work at it and then don’t give up, even when it isn’t easy. And if you want to sell your art and make a living from your art, same thing.
You work on marketing it and don’t give up, even when it becomes uncomfortable and difficult. I hear that all the time from people who say they’d like to create art, but they don’t have any talent. Now, for those of you who want to make a thriving living from your art, who already have confidence in your art, you need to develop confidence in your marketing and know that it matters. Know that this matters and that being awesome is not good enough. It’s not good enough just to be awesome. And by awesome, I mean, good at your craft. You have to market it. It is important to put in the marketing and develop the right mindset to be a thriving artist.
Jerry Saltz: No matter what you’re reading, looking at, or watching, whether you like this work or not, somewhere in it, there is courage. There is courage that the person mustered to make the work. And there had to also be at least some love of having made it. I don’t mean the finished product because nothing’s ever perfect, but I mean love during moments of that process of the flow, when you get in it and you’re like, “Wow, where did that come from?” And every word you hear on your Spotify song list makes sense in whatever you’re doing, whether you’re painting or writing. When all of that is happening, and I want to tell your listeners something else about what Miriam said. She said, “You know, you’re going to write a shitty first draft and a shitty first book.” In other words, finish the damn thing, you big babies. It will never be perfect. Finish the fucker. I’m sorry. Every artist and writer I know is running out the door as the painting is in the truck, going to the gallery with the paintbrush, trying to make it better. Well, it’s not going to be perfect. The best is always yet to come.
And I always wonder, artists say, “I can’t work, I’m going to be bad. I’m going to be mediocre.” And I always say to my students, how difficult can it be to make mediocre work in your studio? I do it every day in my office, and unfortunately, without knowing it, I sometimes publish that. Of course, I think what I’m writing is bulletproof. You, when you turn in your novel or your book, rather, Miriam secretly thinks, “This motherfucker is so great.”
Miriam Schulman: Look at your low-priced art and wonder what’s wrong with it. When painters price their art too low, people often ask, “Is that a print?” Pricing anything too low will lead prospective customers to question both its value and its authenticity. If people aren’t buying from you, you might think it’s because your prices are too high. But the problem could be that your prices are too low.
We’re going to unpack the psychological factors that drive people to pay a premium for goods and services, and you’ll discover why it’s a mistake to focus on low-cost products and why you might be holding yourself back from asking for higher prices because you believe that cheaper is easier to sell. Spoiler alert: it isn’t. The Coronavirus pandemic, the rise of Amazon, and social activism all created dramatic shifts in the way people shop. In 2021, Amazon, with its free shipping and easy from click to front door service, unseated Wal-Mart as the retail giant. Supply chain issues and inflation further undermined brand loyalty. However, not all buyers are looking for what’s cheapest or even what’s most popular. A conscious consumer may care more about a company’s alignment with their values. Moreover, buyers hit hard by the doldrums of living through the pandemic are less price-sensitive and tend to choose items that provide fantasy and escape. That’s great news for people who are offering either art or art classes or something like one of you fabulous people out there.
Jen Lehner: The best way to really understand it is to just get in there and start messing around with it. But it’s set up conversation-style so you can type in any question, it will answer, and you keep going. So you don’t have to build out a complete sentence after you’ve been going in this conversation. You could just say, “Now what?” “Well, what do you mean by that?” “What about point number two?” “Could you explain point number four again?” or “That doesn’t really make sense. Could you rephrase it?” And it happens instantly and is really, truly mind-blowing. And when you start to see the use case scenarios of this, that’s when it’s really like, “Oh, my goodness.”
Miriam Schulman: People are really craving more tactile-type experiences with their art. But I think digital artists maybe should be nervous about that. What do you think?
Jen Lehner: I mean, yeah. Look, the printing press came out, everyone totally freaked out. But I mean, in terms of art, it was like that was going to destroy storytelling and creativity and all that. If like everybody, you could just mass-produce something like people really, like, there was a revolt, you know, torches in the street and everything. So I just think this stuff always shakes things up. And in the end, it never is as scary as we thought it was going to be. I do think that GPT is as significant as the Internet itself. I do think it’s that big of a thing, and it’s just the surface of what we’re going to be able to do in the future. And I think it can be used for good or for evil, obviously.
Mike Kim: When I was writing my book. I was doing some research. I met this guy named Rick Barker. It turned out he was Taylor Swift’s, like, first manager. He’s big in the national scene and he was with her when she was just up and coming, like before she became who she was. And I’m going to I’m going to mess up these numbers or whatever. But he basically said. She said, Mr. Barker, I’d like to sell a million records. And he said, Well, then you’re going to have to meet a million people face to face. Are you willing to do that? And she was. She would play a show and stay for hours outside and just meet every single person and talk to them.
Like, you can only go so far on your own. I mean, there’s a million proverbs and pithy sayings that say something along those lines, right? You want to go far. You want to go fast, go alone and want to go far. Go together, write stuff like that for me, relationships. What’s helped me kind of navigate all that. Is to kind of look at it spatially. I talk about this a little bit, and it’s, of course, the last chapter in the book. So it’s the chapter that the least amount of people read. But it’s like, partner up, collaborate across and mentor around. And that — I’m a visual person, so that kind of helps me find my self. If I’m looking for a partner up, it’s somebody that can really amplify me. Probably I’ve got more to gain than they do. So I’ve got to bring something unique to the table. I probably can’t bring more of what they have. For example, if they have an audience or publicity or or connections, I might not be able to bring something of the equivalent to them. So I’ve got to get creative with what I can bring, right? The collaborative cross is awesome because you just kind of grow with people.
And the fun thing is when when you’re friends with growing people, there’s only an upside. Everyone’s only getting bigger and more accomplished and and can be more supportive.
Judith Gaton: There’s multiple factors. There’s actually mathematical models that they use to talk about perceived value. And let me just clarify for those of you who don’t know what I mean by perceived value. It’s the perception that a consumer has in their mind about the quality of a product, the value of the product as it relates to its usefulness to them. There’s a whole utility metrics, and as compared to other things in the market.
Now, one of the really interesting things, if you really deep dive—I will try to keep this as understandable as possible—one of the things that affects perceived value is pricing. Yep. So it’s fascinating how we play with pricing to override. And this is what I was talking about with my clients yesterday. There’s a difference between our perception of something and our evaluation of it. And we have to be really careful as consumers, and I think particularly for those who are socialized as women consumers, how the evaluative process gets hijacked because of the way we price a product, the way that we get certain images to represent or not represent us with regard to a product, or the overemphasis on that, you need it to achieve some sort of social status. Et cetera, et cetera.
So what’s so interesting is when we slow it down, we get to ask ourselves, as consumers, did the evaluation process get hijacked because they priced it in such a way that suddenly it had this appeal?
Jeff Goins: One of Picasso’s first pieces was a menu that he painted [00:25:00:00] for this cafe in Barcelona that he basically did for free, which is, you know, it’s always kind of an interesting, challenging thing for artists. He did it on purpose for free. He volunteered to paint the menu.
You know, in a lot of places in Europe, they don’t have paper menus; they’re on the wall. And he paints this menu. And what he’s doing very intentionally and very strategically, because he was a master marketer, is he’s putting his work on display in front of the public where all of the intellectuals are gathering, and they’re going to start talking about him. He did the same thing with Gertrude Stein when he moved to Paris. And you see, artists market themselves in ways that are kind of subversive and interesting. And what’s so funny to me about creative individuals is they go, “I don’t want to market, I don’t want to sell. I just want to create.” And they’re incredibly creative with their work and incredibly boring with what they define as marketing. You know, I think marketing for an artist is putting your work in strategic places where more people can find it, talk about it, and therefore you can get more commissions, clients, customers, whatever you want to call them.
Miriam Schulman: The shopkeeper saw I was open to being helped. Actually, I put a hat on and asked her about it. I said, “I just don’t think this is quite right for the occasion.” And she told me, based on what I was wearing and the hat I had on, that I looked like an American in Israel rather than an Israeli. Then, of course, she immediately apologized for saying that. Israelis, in general, their culture is very forthright, which I appreciate because I’m the type of person, as you might know by now, I’m also very forthright. I don’t like to second-guess what people are thinking. I’m not always great at reading what people are thinking, feeling, and mean. So I like it when they just say what they mean. But she, of course, is used to Americans who maybe don’t feel that way, maybe who aren’t from New York. But I really appreciated that. I said, “Okay, I want to look like an Israeli, help me pick out a hat.” So she showed me a few hats and, better yet, she taught me how to wear them, and I ended up buying not just one but two hats. Now I have to tell you that I really got used to covering my hair, so I didn’t cover all my hair. I just covered kind of the front, the part where all my roots were showing.
And I can imagine myself now adding hats to my collection next time I’m traveling. So it might actually take the place of something I collect rather than painting. And, by the way, hats are art, don’t you think? All right. And here’s the other thing I want you to know. I also wanted to capture that experience through the artwork of being in Israel during Passover. That’s what really made me want to have that art. So let me just finish the story. So here’s what I also want you to know—the lessons that you can learn.
This salesperson made the sale because she helped me. She wasn’t being pushy. She was being helpful by talking to me and showing me how to wear a hat. All the prices were clearly labeled on every hat, but she had me focused more on the hat, on how the hat looked on me, less on the price. In other words, she focused on the experience. She never said, “Oh, this is cheaper.” She never said that. I wasn’t focused on the prices at all during the time. I was only focused on how the hat looked on me. So she helped me focus on the experience, not the transaction. She made shopping and ultimately purchasing, buying easy for me.
Miriam Schulman: I stepped Adriana through the whole process, and we talked about production and starting with production, I could already see why she was having so much trouble. I asked her how long it was taking her to create her art, and she said months. I said, “Well, is that because of time constraints? Why is that?” And she was just working and working and working. So I knew that was a problem, that she was spending too much time on her art. But then the problem became even more acute when I asked her how much she was selling her paintings for. Now, she really had only just begun to even think about selling her art, so she didn’t actually have sales history. So I said, “Well, how much do you think you’re going to sell it for?” She said a lot of people loved her pieces, but she said that she was going to price it for $25,000. And normally, I’m always advising artists to raise their prices. This is one of the few times where I had to say to Adriana, “Listen, that’s not an appropriate price for this art. You have to be way further in your career to be asking that.”
What became very obvious to me, but less so to her, was she had attached such a high price around her art because she had a scarcity mindset around her ability to produce it since she had so few pieces. The real fear that held her back was she had so much preciousness; she loved the pieces she created, and she was holding on to them tightly. The way to get over that is she needed to paint more often, create more, not overwork her paintings, and create an abundance mindset around the creation of her art, an abundance mindset around the production of her art. And it was really the problems in her thinking about the production that were sabotaging her sales. So with a more regular and consistent painting practice, she would not only get faster with creating her art, but she would learn to create her art with the idea of letting it go.
Miriam Schulman: So one of the things that I talk about in the book Artpreneur is that our thoughts about the world create emotions. And our emotional experience is what’s going to drive our actions or inhibit our actions, which will, in turn, create our results or sabotage our results. Okay, so you have your thoughts that drive your emotions, that drive your actions, that create your results.
So what happens is that if we have a limiting belief, something that is interfering with us getting the result that we want, that’s why it’s limiting us. We won’t get the result we want. So the idea is how do we change our beliefs? And a lot of that has to do with the power of affirmations. Achieving goals is a spiritual and non-conscious exercise. What do I mean by that? So when you set a goal, you’re using the conscious part of your brain, which is about 2 to 3% of your brain is your conscious brain.
The rest of your brain is the non-conscious part. So you set goals with the conscious part, but you achieve them with the non-conscious part.
Miriam Schulman: Who do you think is going to be more successful in their art business? The artist who spends ten hours creating those videos or the artist who spends ten hours talking to other humans? The person who spends ten hours talking to humans. It’s that important? Yes, even if you’re shy. Yes, even if you’re an introvert. Yes, even if doing it makes you feel socially awkward. And let me be clear, too, this thought, this idea that you can create content on social media to make you money. You only make money online when your content is so good, it’s as if you were there, as if you were there in person. That’s the only time that you start making money off your content. In the beginning, you don’t really understand how to do that yet, so how could you possibly simulate an online what happens in person? You don’t know how that works yet. You don’t know who your ideal art collector is.
You don’t know what’s resonating with them. It’s like hitting your head against the wall. Listen, I’m all about having amazing art and heck, even good content too, but it still isn’t what makes you money. Selling is what makes you money. It’s how you create collectors. And creating collectors is where the money comes from, literally.
Here’s what it feels like if you know you’re doing it right. It will feel like putting yourself out there naked. It’s the real deal. There’s no hiding. You expose yourself to rejection when you make offers to sell your art. But that’s the way to make money. You just have to get out there and do it. And the more you do it, the easier it will get. But the longer you avoid it, the scarier and more confusing it will be. This is the law of GOYA. The law of Get Off Your Ass. And it truly makes the difference. It’s the difference between the artists who don’t get off the ground and who take forever to make money and the artists who are the ones who are willing to not spend all their time making content, but they spend their time getting out there, being visible, meeting people, selling, telling people who they are and what they do, and building relationships. That’s the way to make money as an artist as fast as possible. Do whatever you have to do to be able to get yourself out there and just start telling the world, like shouting to the world who you are and what you do. Yes, your art matters, but nobody knows about it if you don’t tell them.
Emily Ghosh: I love the practicality. And so one of the ways that we can do this is just really have an awareness practice. And journaling can be such a profound tool for this. Meaning in our business, we have blocks or we have limiting beliefs that can arise, right? And I know your show. I love your show; you provide so many helpful tools to help people overcome these blocks. And they’re common, right? Like, so if you’re listening, you probably know what they are. Maybe it’s a fear of being seen. Maybe it’s a fear of rejection. Maybe there is a belief around receiving abundance and perhaps being more in scarcity consciousness. Right? So these are some of the common blocks that we go through. And so when we see that arise, like perhaps we have a situation with a client or selling our artwork in the world, and it’s not being received quite in the way that we would like it to. We have something that’s triggering for us, like we’re not getting the sale that we want. We’re not able to really show up and be seen in a way that we really feel like we want to be doing. We can go into that limiting belief, and this is a practical practice to help us unpack some of the areas of resistance and perhaps do a little bit of reparenting and work of finding safety in the nervous system, finding safety and support.
And this really goes to our chakra system, right? Our energetic pillar of light because the root chakra is the first of all chakras. It’s that primal base of the spine chakra that helps us to feel deeply safe and supported in the world. And when we don’t feel safe and supported, it’s really hard to do this thing. We can feel like we’re in a state of fight or flight or like there’s a tiger chasing us. So the first thing that we want to do really is create the safety so that we’re able to move forward with greater grace and ease whatever it is that we’re finding the resistance around. And so that could be with feeling worthy of receiving. That could be feeling safety around being visible and being seen. So that’s one of the practical tools that I would really recommend is to go into that area, to do a little excavation, do a little journal writing, and also to do a little bit of reparenting around those areas so that we can feel greater safety.
Miriam Schulman: The next way failure could happen is you bring your heart and soul to attempt 100%. But you only do it once. This is similar to artists who say, “Well, I tried that.” You know, you tried to apply to a gallery, and I ask, “How many did you apply to?” And maybe it’s one or maybe it’s two. “Oh, that didn’t work for me.” If you quit at this point, you miss the whole point of it because you’re only going to get stronger after trying over and over again.
Let’s talk about the last way, the worthy way to fail and what I’m suggesting you do. Put your heart and soul into your attempts every single time, and be okay with it not working out. One of the ways I tell my clients to do this is to aim for 100 no’s. By that, I don’t mean you ask 100 people and all 100 people say no. What I’m saying is 100 times you put yourself in the position where somebody is going to say yes or no to you. Asking and not following up doesn’t count. No answer is not a no. No answer is just no answer. You have to keep following up until they say yes or until they say no. And you need to be willing to do that at least a hundred times. Each time you’re learning; you’re learning every single time. It’s not that you try once with all your heart and soul, and then the next time you sort of try. No, every single time you go all in. Because if you don’t, if you go only half-heartedly or you only try it once and then you say, “This isn’t working. This isn’t for me. I knew this was too good to be true. I’m not good enough,” or some version of “I’m not good enough,” you have to believe 100% and keep going for it. And as a result, you will learn; you will get stronger.
Miriam Schulman: It’s worth noting that hoarding is a complex disorder, it’s intertwined with deep-seated emotional issues. These rationalizations aren’t just excuses; they are deeply held beliefs, limiting beliefs that make it challenging for people to change their behaviors. I thought it would be interesting to show you this extreme of these limiting beliefs just to help you work on your own beliefs and thoughts that you might be finding challenging to change.
Just as hoarder’s homes become cluttered and unlivable, our creative spaces—both our physical ones and our mental ones—can become crowded with the weight of what we refuse to let go. This scarcity mindset is the very root of the starving artist’s mindset. We believe there’s not enough—not enough opportunity, not enough audience, or not enough success. So, we hoard. We hoard ideas, we hoard supplies, we hoard time. And what’s more, by not using ideas, supplies, and time in a meaningful way, we’re squandering them.
We hoard past artworks, fearing we can’t replicate their success. Now, here’s the kicker: Just as a home filled with clutter does not equate to abundance, a mind cluttered with hoarded thoughts doesn’t lead to a life of fulfillment. If you see parallels between hoarding behaviors and your own creative journey, it’s time for introspection. Reflect on what you’re clinging to and ask yourself why. Are old sketches gathering dust because you’re attached to a version of yourself that no longer exists? Is the fear of scarcity holding you back from realizing your full potential?
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