The Artist Academy Podcast hosted by Andrea Ehrhardt. The purpose of this series is to show aspiring painters that it's completely possible to make a great career in the arts. We focus on the business side of art to help you reach more customers, increase profits, and ultimately live a life of creativity and financial freedom.
281. Quit Your Day Job with Michelle Ricalde
Michelle is a muralist based in New Jersey and has recently had her world turned upside down - in a good way.
I know we all have these excuses as to why we are not making the moves we know we need to make with our careers, but let me tell you, Michelle’s story was not one that was easily made. But she took a leap of faith, worked hard, and now has a painting career she enjoys along with an encouraging support system to back her.
Let me know what you think of this week’s episode with Michelle Ricalde.
280. How Good is Good Enough?
I am a painter with a goal to make money. I’m not as much of what I would consider a “true artist” who is in love with the craft and history of it all. For a long time, I was slightly ashamed to admit that.
I thought wanting to make money made me sound greedy or less than other artists. But after a while, I just said, “heck with it” and leaned into my business-minded artistic side. I’m really good at making money with a paintbrush, and I make a lot of it in not very many hours. I teach it because that’s what I’m passionate about, so if you’re at all interested in making money with a paintbrush and not just doing it for fun, then I have a big tip for you.
See, I don’t mind painting something random if someone pays me enough and I don’t mind stopping a project and walking away when it’s at the good enough stage. If a customer doesn’t have an amazing budget, then I don’t make an amazingly realistic best-of-my-ability painting. I’m okay with doing a good job, but not an amazing one if the situation calls for it. And I take that theory into the rest of my work life…
If I spent just a couple more months on my book it would be that much better. I could’ve added more humor, less rambling, and more whimsical words to help paint a picture of every story I told within the pages. But I didn’t. I called it done and moved on.
Every single time I record a solo podcast episode, I seriously consider lighting it on fire and starting over. I’m tempted to spend another hour going back over the subject I just talked about, but this time make it so much smoother.
Almost every mural design I create, at one point or another, I look at it and think why didn’t I stretch my creativity a little further to make it look just a bit better?
In the middle of painting, I’ll often want to add a small detail or change a small part, but I make myself move on and come back to it in the end. “If it still bothers me when everything is complete then I’ll add/change that part.”
But 90% of the time nothing gets changed, because the overall look of the mural isn’t reliant on a small detail.
My art business won’t crumble if a small detail is incorrect or out of place. I’ll get to it eventually, or not.
Currently, everything runs comfortably. Not perfect, but comfortable.
So, when can you call it good enough?
If the customer is happy, then it’s good enough.
If I can say that I gave at least an 80% effort, then that’s good enough for me. Because I know adding that extra 20% often takes waaaaay longer than necessary.
Let’s chat about the idea of leaving perfectionism behind and putting things out there that are good enough on this week's episode of the Artist Academy Podcast.
279. Creating Haunted Dioramas with Cody Meacham of Radley Relics
This week’s episode features Florida-based visual artist Cody Meacham of Radley Relics. Cody crafts nostalgic miniatures inspired by beloved theme park attractions and horror films. Each piece is meticulously designed, reflecting his passion for capturing the essence of iconic haunted experiences.
Cody has worked on projects for Universal Studios and has lately nestled into his own business of collaborating with collectors to create custom pieces. He leans into the fact that his work is extremely niche and has a very unique, nailed down audience. Cody interacts with his collectors to gain insight from them as to what they might be looking for in his work.
Having that one-on-one communication with people who have already bought into his work helps him customize each piece to the liking of his fan base. Instead of starting completely from scratch every time and not knowing how it will be perceived, by getting upfront feedback from collectors he already knows each creation will be a hit. It’s genius!
There’s a fine line between doing what you love and taking outside advice to dictate what you do, and Cody is walking that line brilliantly. Let me know what you think of this week’s episode with Cody Meacham of Radley Relics.
278. How to Create a Can’t-Say-No-to-This Offer
What creates a good offer? I believe, if you make a product that appeals to your audience enough to make them want to buy, then that is a good offer in itself. You don’t need to add any gimmicks if the product sells.
However, if the products aren’t selling, then maybe adding some kind of element, like giving the buyer a reason to buy right now, is the push it needs to complete the sale. Or maybe doubling up on the product and giving more of it is the added persuasion tactic that’s needed.
The idea for this episode came about with me watching my own spending habits take place lately. I’ll give a couple of examples…
I am currently in love with this food delivery service I’ve been using: Factor75. It’s not sponsored but what made me buy the product in the first place is what makes it relevant. My friend highly recommended it, but that wasn’t enough to talk me into it since I had already tried meal delivery services in the past and wasn’t amazed. Then she gave me her free box discount code to try it for free and I was sold. The product was amazing and I’ve been using it since!
Maybe you could give out a free digital item like a downloadable Christmas card set that people could print out for free, in order to get people on your email list. There’s no cost except a couple of hours of time designing the cards with your art on them and “Happy Holidays,” or whatever, written on the inside. Customers will opt in, and you’ll have an email system in place ready to upsell them with products you’re offering for the holidays.
Maybe it’s WOWing a customer with a custom mockup to get them to say yes to the full mural.
Another item I bought lately was a bamboo sleeper for my 9-month-old baby boy. Actually, 5 sleepers because at first, I said, “absolutely not” to the price of 1 for $36. I know they are high quality and the prints were adorable, but I couldn’t get myself to spend that on something he won’t fit in next year.
Then I received a buy 2 get 1 free email… Nope, not good enough. The next day I received a 24-hour flash sale of buy 3 get 2 offer… Sold!
I realize that art is not the same as other products. It’s typically more expensive and has a different allure than buying something you can eat or wear. But I think it’s useful to look at the reason we buy other products and somewhat integrate that thinking into our art products.
After I bought those pajamas, I received an email telling me when my order was going to be shipped, thanking me for my purchase, and inviting me to their Facebook group where they post their biggest discounts. It was also written in a very cute and non-salesy way. (I’ll read it word for word on the podcast because it was THAT good)
We should all be doing this!
What’s your can’t-say-no-to-this offer?
I’ll share mine in this week’s episode of the Artist Academy Podcast. Listen to hear more about this subject and how I’m integrating these sales approaches into my art business.
Have a great week! :)
277. Creating Custom Sneakers for NFL Players with Dillon DeJesus
This week’s episode features Chicago-based shoe artist Dillon DeJesus. I really enjoyed chatting with Dillon about a painting subject that I knew nothing about. It became very apparent how little I knew about his industry the more he talked about it and I’m excited to share this insight with you too.
This interview emphasizes the benefits of really diving deep into research and techniques within one niche. I often feel like a jack of all trades, which has its benefits, but this chat shines a light on the pros of becoming a master in one area. Dillon has leaned into, or rather dove headfirst into, the shoe/sports/painting industry and it is serving him well. With a customer roster of several NFL players, the dude knows his stuff when it comes to designing custom sneakers!
Let me know what you think of this week’s episode with Dillon DeJesus.
276. Building a Decorative Painting Business via Google with Gary Gomez
This week’s episode features Denver muralist Gary Gomez. Gary has been in the decorative painting business for 20 years and his #1 tip for attracting new customers is to focus on your Google Maps page.
If you think about it, when we are looking for something new in our area, what do we do to find it? Ask Jeeves. Just kidding. 🤪 Only the early internet adopters will remember that. No, we ask Google, of course.
It would make sense to position ourselves as the go-to artist in our location by being on the first page of Google when anyone searches an art term like “muralist Missouri.”
Which, by the way, I put in my Instagram bio and it does come up on the first page of Google. 🥳
Listen to today’s episode to hear Gary’s backstory of how he got to where he is today (a booked out muralist doing all kinds of different decorative painting things) and how he lands himself on the front page of Google.
Gary's IG: https://www.instagram.com/denvermuralartist/
A must listen!
I’m not a mural artist, but instead a furniture artist, and have still gained SO much information from this podcast! Andrea is so personable and easy to listen to. She just gives this feeling of “talking to a friend” vibe in her episodes. I find it so endearing! On top of that she gives a lot great advice and insight that’s totally relatable. It’s a must listen, if you’re looking to be inspired!
One of my favorite art podcast
Even though I’m not a mural artist , I still learn some practical tips for my art business while listening to this podcast. Andrea is so upbeat and positive. I always enjoy her interviews as well. This podcast is always a favorite when driving to work in the mornings or taking my afternoon walks. I highly recommend it !
Best art podcast I’ve heard
A lot of good info. The first few episodes are rough with annoying nervous laughter but andrea gets better at hosting with confidence over time.