81 episodes

The THRIVING ARTIST PODCAST is a feature of the Clark Hulings Fund for visual artists, which exists to provide training, professional introductions, and funding for working artists, to turn working artists into THRIVING artists. Tune in for insights from other artists, art industry experts, art collectors, and business specialists. Don't be a starving artist, be a thriving artist!

The Thriving Artist The Clark Hulings Fund

    • Visual Arts

The THRIVING ARTIST PODCAST is a feature of the Clark Hulings Fund for visual artists, which exists to provide training, professional introductions, and funding for working artists, to turn working artists into THRIVING artists. Tune in for insights from other artists, art industry experts, art collectors, and business specialists. Don't be a starving artist, be a thriving artist!

    These Artists Graduated Training But are Entrepreneurs for Life

    These Artists Graduated Training But are Entrepreneurs for Life

    Find out how working artists become thriving artists. This is the biggest podcast we’ve ever recorded, featuring 18 voices: the graduating class of our most recent Art-Business Accelerator cohort, their Advisors, and CHF team members Daniel DiGriz and Elizabeth Hulings. 1:25-3:00 is a “walk across the graduation stage” celebration moment for each Fellow. The episode is packed with the artists’ insightful observations about the triumphs, challenges, community, and skill-building involved in developing a successful creative career, and the role CHF has played in the process. Elizabeth Hulings says: “We’re seeing some major projects here that have legs and are going to be important. I really do believe that these artists are going to continue to build on the momentum that they have, and achieve some of these big goals. And that’s really exciting.”

    The Value of Artist-Peers & Teams

    * “The team has been a huge support to me. There was an opportunity that came my way that I was thrilled about, but terrified. I didn’t see how it could benefit me financially, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to participate in it. And just talking it through with my team, they all were encouraging me and helping me to see my blind spot, really. Discussion with my peers helped me so much—these are people I respect, and that encouragement meant so much to me, that it ultimately wound up being my pivotal project. I’m very thankful, I wouldn’t have had that without that particular conversation on the phone with my team.” – Steven

    * “The fellowship program offers some really comprehensive, very successful strategies. But working in teams, what resonated for me is that in getting to know each other we could really identify the sensitive aspects that each of us had. And we were able to walk through maybe some embarrassing moments or some real difficulties that some of us had to figure out how to personalize the strategies and protocols. So to me, that was very meaningful. That human direct connection that takes into account who you are and what your motivations and intentions are.” – Robin

    * “There’s so much in this business about personal recommendations, personal introductions. And I have found that to be one of the most valuable parts of this. Not only meeting the other artists, but any way that they can help to introduce buyers or galleries. And I hope I’ve been able to do that to a couple of my compatriots here, but I find in this business that personal recommendation is the most important for me and the one thing that I’ve gotten most out of this.” – Tim

    What Does A CHF Accelerator Fellow Artist Do After Graduation?

    * “I am going to pursue my pivotal project, which was to build an addition on my studio so I can create larger sculptures. And I’m grateful to this program for helping to solidify my thought process about that—and also spurring me into action and holding me accountable.” – April

    * “I’m definitely going after my pivotal project. This was an idea that I cooked up about 12 years ago and I kind of let it fall by the wayside. And being with CHF and getting the encouragement in the direction that I did, I am definitely doing this in the coming year. […] The thing that was so helpful to me was the creation of an action plan through the career blueprinting. Because it gave me the ideas to get organized and give me step-by-step of what I’m going to do throughout the year.” – Sharon

    * “It was a total mind-shift this year, where the brand-story was so critical. The things I wanted to paint, versus what I was selling…I was seeing what I wanted to paint as sort of a negative. And now I see it as a way to differentiate myself. And that, that is something that I should be putting all of my energies into. There is a market for what I want to do.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Data Science in the Arts: Report on the Working Artist—Lily Dulberg

    Data Science in the Arts: Report on the Working Artist—Lily Dulberg

    Two years in the making, CHF’s Report on the Working Artist (ROWA) is a truly groundbreaking piece of research: the first of its kind demonstrating artists’ pivotal role in our changing economy. In this engaging conversation, CHF’s data analysis team Daniel DiGriz and Lily Dulberg sit down to discuss the methodology and significance of the Report, the documented demand for entrepreneurial training for artists, the gaps in existing research and traditional art education—and how we now have solid and replicable data that supports artists’ ability to make measurable contributions to our economy and the culture at large.


    * “We’ve got a lot of information out there from many different sources, many reputable organizations, nonprofits, and our business education programs. But there’s so little information on what artists need to drive success, and what actually changes the landscape of their art business.”

    * “Most of the data out there does not measure bottom-line outcomes, which it’s kind of funny, right? Because you need to know those things in order to develop new programs and create best practices and to support artists.”

    * “Many organizations had information on their websites about the different types of programs they ran, and testimonials and quotes from artists on what they need. But there was no real evidence of what these programs were able to do for the artists. There were no business results, no income results.”

    * “With all the data that we’ve collated, and more specifically, with the data that we have done in-house at the Clark Hulings Fund through our Business Accelerator Program and our events, we really came up with a pattern that we can follow for any type of research in the future. And that is, that attitudes change behavior. Behavior produces business results. And business results lead to increased income or revenue.”

    * “One of the main things that I think that we should take away from this, that business education moves the needle for artists. It helps them make more income, it helps them develop a more robust network which allows them to increase their sales.”


    * “The ecosystem of gallerists, artists, and peer networks contribute so heavily to business results—and the success that artists see in their lives and in their businesses. There really aren’t enough art business events out there and there really aren’t enough groups for artists that foster communication around what it’s like to be in an art business.”

    * “There’s a gap, and in that gap is business education. And it’s so mind-boggling to think that only 5% of an average sampling of fine arts curriculum involves any sort of entrepreneurial or business education.”

    * “We had to establish that there was a gap, that it exists indeed, in order to say, ‘Okay, this is how we can fill the gap, this is how we can create change and this is how artists are already creating change.’ ”

    * “…it was really amazing to be able to shed light on how that’s already happening and the research that shows that it’s replicable. Other organizations can do it, and the secret sauce is business training.”


    * “So at the Clark Hulings Fund, we’ve been collecting data from our fellows, from [Art-Business Conference] participants, from artists who are involved with our work in many different ways. We have a whole process behind how we do that: we make sure that everything is categorized so that we can actually analyze the themes, and there are codes for the different themes that come up in what the artists are talking abo...

    • 37 min
    Infiltrate the Business World in the Name of Art—Noah Scalin

    Infiltrate the Business World in the Name of Art—Noah Scalin

    Noah Scalin is an artist based in Richmond, Virginia, whose sculpture, installation, and photography use everyday items reassembled in new contexts. Noah did a major installation in Times Square in the winter of 2019, and is working with The Krause Gallery in New York City. He is also a corporate consultant at Another Limited Rebellion with his sister Mica Scalin. The firm specializes in using art and creativity in leadership development, and clients include Coke, General Electric, and Intuit. Noah was the first artist-in-residence at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, where he is now an adjunct professor.

    Discover A Market Through Creative Practice

    * “I ended up doing this project called Skull-A-Day where I got myself out of my creative rut and inspired again. And one of the really strange outcomes of that was that I started getting asked to talk to businesses about my creative practice. And so that turned into me doing a side-job initially of me going and doing these keynote talks and consulting, and all of a sudden I found myself, you know, really enjoying that work.”

    * “I like to say that not only was I the first artist in residence at the VCU School of Business, but possibly the first artist in residence at any school of business anywhere. […] A few years ago the school realized that creativity was one of the principles that they needed to be teaching their students to be successful in business—and that’s a pretty radical idea, but it’s also backed up by a lot of data.”

    * “I was like, ‘I didn’t go to business school, I don’t know anything about this.’ But I do know about how the artist’s skills set is valuable in business.”

    * “And especially the process we use, which is: do something, and then reflect on it, and share that with other people as the next step; that that process especially—making more things and putting more things in the world—gives you more opportunities. Just sheer numbers. You know, if you do want something you measure, that’s what it is. The more you put out, the more opportunities you get for something to come back.”

    Top Companies Want To Learn About Creativity

    * “Anybody in any industry right now is seeing some form of automation coming into play. And certainly, with advances in AI it’s going to be an entirely different world we live in very soon, science fiction is becoming fact very quickly.”

    * “Certainly the jobs that are going to go last are going to be the ones that require people to creative problem-solve and come up with unique new ideas.”

    * “It usually starts with a person of vision within the company, somebody who has recognized that creativity is one of the top skills that leadership needs to survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

    * “One of the talks I do is actually called The ROI of Creativity. And what I talk to people about is that business wants to do this measurement and wants to have these numbers and wants to be like what’s the benefit of this. And it’s really a narrow view of what we’re talking about.”

    * “What I talk to them about is sustainable innovation and the people that need that and know what that is, they’re on board.”

    Creativity in Business Begins With Education

    * “Most jobs don’t give you a chance to really develop your creativity, you’re expected to bring that to the table and have it there. And even now in the business world when they’re asking executives to be creative they’re not training them, they’re just going, ‘Start doing this, be creative, creative problem-solve!’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know how to do that’.”

    * “Because we’re presenting such an unusual story, people pay attention and we usually can get inside their heads and plant some seeds that they’ve needed to hear for a while; maybe the opportunit...

    • 56 min
    Artists Are Solving Atomic-Level Problems—Cyndi Conn

    Artists Are Solving Atomic-Level Problems—Cyndi Conn

    Cyndi Conn is the Executive Director of Creative Santa Fe, a non-profit arts and community development organization that emphasizes innovative collaboration between diverse groups of people with varying skills, knowledge, experiences and opinions. She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Black Mountain Institute, the National Parks Arts Foundation and the N-Square Innovators Network. In 2018 she co-chaired Mayor Alan Webber’s task force on job creation in Santa Fe. Cyndi has been a curator, gallery founder, and creator of art advisory firm LAUNCHPROJECTS. She has lived in Paris, Mexico City, Austin, and New Orleans.

    About Creative Santa Fe

    * “Creative Santa Fe has the luxury of being a connective tissue type of organization.”

    * “There were so many organizations working in such important fields and even within that their own fields, they were not working together.”

    * “When we first said we were going to partner artists with issues, everyone was like, ‘What, you’re going to like…paint paintings of nuclear bombs?’ ”

    * “The Nuclear Weapons Summit was our first effort at looking at this idea of the [Disruptive Futures] dialogue, bringing people together who don’t typically agree, don’t typically communicate, and using the arts to leverage—to create these bridges and anchors.”

    Problem-Solving with the Arts

    * “The arts can bring people together that normally would not want to sit in a room together and talk about problem-solving.”

    * “And then you bring in artists and young people and new types of thinkers, you really get […] people [who] don’t know what’s not possible, and so you start to create a whole new possible.”

    * “We realized if we could get people within their own sectors actually talking and working together and then bringing in new voices—[bringing] new people to the table that either don’t typically have a voice to or aren’t typically included—like artists, we really could change the way that people talk.”

    Economic Impact of Artists

    * “Creative Santa Fe was started in 2005 as a result of an economic study that the City of Santa Fe and McCune Foundation commissioned, looking at the arts economy. It came back that it was a 1.1 billion dollar a year economy but there was no single organization to spearhead and ensure the long-term sustainability of that economy.”

    * “We need to better educate—especially our voting population and our leadership—that the arts are not just an amenity, they’re a critical function of society and a part of the fabric of social, cultural, and also economic life and livelihood for our country.”

    Art: Influencing Outcomes

    * “We brought the arts in [to discussions at the nuclear weapons summit] and that’s such a leveling factor, it creates empathy, it creates a whole new paradigm for how people communicate, how they listen.”

    * “And that’s what we’re really seeing works, and it’s worked to a really surprising extent.”

    * “It’s not just a think tank; it’s not just talk. We are working towards an outcome that our partners need to have and feel like they can only get that outcome through this methodology that we provide.

    * “We’ve have had over 200 partners looking at issues—everything from affordable housing, rebirth of local news, the future of art, Native resilience and rights, sustainable technologies. And for each one of these, we have partners that have very tangible outcomes that they’d like to see as a result of these dialogues.”

    Re-Embedding Art Into Everyday Life

    * “In most indigenous cultures throughout the world, there was never a word for art. Because art was embedded in everyday life. At some point we started separating the arts from everything else in life. And I think that’s been to our detriment all these years.

    • 59 min
    Classical Skills for Modern Art Careers: The Case for Training and Tradition—Mandy Theis

    Classical Skills for Modern Art Careers: The Case for Training and Tradition—Mandy Theis

    Mandy Theis is a figurative painter and art educator, and graduate of the Aristides Atelier. She is the president and co-founder of The Da Vinci Initiative—a foundation that supports skill-based learning in K-12 art-classrooms. Da Vinci provides atelier training and resources to art teachers through online classes, workshops and conferences, and keynote speaker services. Mandy is an advocate for visual literacy and figurative work in the contemporary art market.

    Atelier Training & Visual Literacy

    * “Atelier training is pretty much the way artists were trained up until about a hundred years ago. The idea being that there’s inherited artistic information that has been handed down through generation after generation from one artist to another artist.”

    * “A lot of people don’t realize it, but there are actually scientific discoveries in art just like there are in every other field.”

    * “We can’t really move art forward if we don’t understand what’s already known about visual literacy.”

    * “[I’m working on a book that should be released over the next year] about how visual literacy matters to every profession, so each chapter is an atelier concept and how it matters to a certain profession.”

    A Missing Piece in Art Education

    * “With the advent of Modernism, there was this idea that training would ruin your creativity, and it was the artists themselves that purposely chose not to train the next generation.”

    * “Nobody loves learning more than art teachers love to learn, and yet there’s been a separation between access to this skillset and how we train art educators in today’s time.”

    The DaVinci Initiative

    * “What we’re really trying to do is take this gap and close it and provide access to these skills to art educators so that they can incorporate it into their classrooms.”

    * “Because the training fell out of favor, it’s very, very difficult for most art educators to access it.”

    * “We’re increasing the ability to teach very important skills about how the eye actually sees information, interprets information. This isn’t just important for artists.”

    * “It’s about helping your eyes seeing in a more nuanced way.”

    * “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, because we’re offering something teachers love: learning.”

    Skills-Based Art as Counterculture

    * “It’s ironic that realism has become a counterculture movement in art, so to speak, or that skill-based art is the counterculture movement in art. But it excites me to think that skills matter again.”

    * “Historically we probably know less about what it is that we’re seeing than humanity did a hundred years ago, with the access to the internet and more information in every other subject than we’ve ever had before.”

    * “My incentive is that I want children to be able to create whatever artwork is in their heads and their hearts without compromise. I just want to provide additional options of what they can do in the classroom.”

    * “Understanding color or shape or value or line in a really nuanced way, not just saying here’s a line…it changes how you see the world.”

    Figurative Art in A (Post) Post-Modern Climate

    * “I see these two huge, big names who we like to think of as the poster children of non-realist art, are embedded very heavily in realism, turning to realism, and learning as much as they can about it.”

    * “If you look at gaming systems, often all the edges are really hard, which kills the illusion of depth […] even in these games where they’re trying to get you to believe you’re in these other worlds, there are little pieces of the inherited artistic knowledge base that are still missing—even though they’re trying more than anybody to be realistic. Technology can only do what we give it.”

    • 32 min
    Fearlessly Take On The Big Daddy Ugly Goal—Willy Bo Richardson

    Fearlessly Take On The Big Daddy Ugly Goal—Willy Bo Richardson

    Willy Bo Richardson is a painter based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and an alumnus of CHF’s Art-Business Accelerator program. Visually, his work is abstract and colorful, with a repeating motif of stripes. Willy subtracts the trappings that condition our response to art—the frame, the pedestal— and weaves art into the setting itself. The Albuquerque Museum recently acquired one of his pieces for their permanent collection, and he’s currently working with Richard Levy Gallery— while pursuing corporate projects that include wall-art licensing, and mid-size installations in European health care and gerontology settings. Willy’s long-term goal is to create totally-immersive corporate environments.

    CHF’s Program Results

    * “What I really got out of CHF was on two main levels. The first level is the nuts and bolts: how to be professional. So on one level, I can run my business the way any entrepreneur or individual business owner could do it. And then there’s another level, and that is working with the other fellows and learning side-by-side.”

    * “One of the biggest lessons I got working with you and Elizabeth and the Fellows at Clark Hulings Fund was this similar path of fearlessness of being an entrepreneur and an artist. It’s the same fearlessness. And of course fearlessness actually starts with fear. It’s a project that seems scary and I’m going to do it anyway. And then it’s a little less scary. And then the next project, it’s a bigger project with same amount of fear but now I know I can get through it.”

    * “The challenge was to make [the goal] so scary and big that you can never accomplish it, and I’m making small steps towards that.”

    * “One of the things that I was so attracted to Clark Hulings for was that there’s all these disruptors happening. Even the idea of what an artist is, is shifting. And I think that creates opportunities for artists not only to start making a living, but also to inject themselves into the world.”

    Art in Corporate Environments

    * “Well, it started out a little bit as an idealist thing where I wanted to have my art to be available for the middle class.”

    * “It’s an ambition of mine to put my work in front of people—not just those who have the opportunity with income and education to appreciate fine art.”

    * “What my ‘big-dad ugly’ goal is, is to completely integrate [my work] into the environment, so that one does not think they are looking at art, but that they are sitting on a couch and the textiles, the pillows, the wall coverings, different architectural elements—we call it materials for the built-environment, and my paintings are integrated into that.”

    Ecological Responsibility

    * “I made a commitment to myself and others that I would only work with those that are working towards the safest practice as possible, which is sometimes more expensive, but that does not go against my primary goal, which is high quality. Safe for the environment and high-quality often can be hand-in-hand.”

    * “I think that our culture is actually really receptive to the idea of putting something out into the world that is doing the least amount of harm on the environment as possible.”

    Licensing in the Corporate Market

    * “In the fine art world, it’s definitely kind of a no-no to license your work and to do reproductions, and that stems from a history where the technology was different.”

    * “When I first started getting into reproductions while living in New York City, people were saying it was going to ruin my career. So every step of the way has been all the experts and those in the know telling me not to do things. That doesn’t mean when somebody says to not do something that it’s smart, it just means that you’ve got to figure out which things people are afraid of.”

    * “Often times the art consultants are

    • 45 min

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