Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

Category: Podcast (page 1 of 10)

Nick Gray on Turning Your Hobby Into a Business, Standing Out in a Crowded Market, and Being a Leader – Cracking Creativity Episode 92

Nick Gray is the founder of Museum Hack, a twist on the traditional museum experience. The funny thing about Nick is, he used to hate museums. That is until he went on a date that forever changed his life.

During a snowy day in NYC, a girl brought him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and showed him artifacts, furniture, and other interesting things in the museum. This changed Nick’s perception of what a museum tour could be. That’s when he started frequenting the MET, and learned to love museums.

The first time Nick charged for a museum tour, he even tried to give money back to the people who took it. He had so much fun with the tour that he thought he shouldn’t charge people for it.

“The first tour that I actually charged money for, it was a Sunday morning tour at 11 in the morning, and I was like ‘Alright I’ll just see if I can charge money. I’ll charge them $20. See if they come.’ And everyone gave me their cash, and I gave them the tour. And I had so much fun Kevin, I had so much fun, that at the end of the tour, I think I freaked everybody out because I gave them all of their money back. And they were like ‘Why are you giving us… is this Candid Camera or something?’ and I was like “No, I had so much fun. It feels dirty for me to take your money, to do something that I love, something that I’m having so much fun with.’ So for me that was the first time I experimented, but it didn’t really go so well.”

Before Nick started Musuem Hack he was a salesman of flat screen monitors. But the success of his initial tours, and the experience he gained as a salesman, allowed him to turn his passion project into a business.

“What I think is special about what I’ve done with Museum Hack that your listeners might find fascinating, is that I took something that was a passion project, something that I just did for a hobby, for fun, and I was able to convert it and make it into a business. And my time selling these screens really taught me the importance of marketing and sales and dollar value of creating premium experiences. So for me that was really helpful.”

The thing that makes Museum Hack different from other museum tours is what Nick likes to dub the 3 G’s. While most other tours are zigging, Museum Hack is zagging.

“The three Gs. These are the three things that makes Museum Hack completely different from most museum tours. Three Gs. Number one, guides. Number two, games. and number three gossip. So it’s the tour guides that are so engaging, that are actors and educators, and science teachers, and musicians who write their own tours who are so special. That’s the guides. The games means that the tours are so fast paced. They’re ultra fast paced. They’re two to three times as fast as most museum tours. And we also do selfie challenges. We takes shots of espresso or drink some wine. And then the gossip, that’s the juicy back story. The cool stuff about the art that we like to talk about.”

Instead of trying to find people who are knowledgeable in history and museums, Nick hires guides who are good with people. Anyone can learn about art, but not everyone is good at connecting with people.

“The number one thing we look for is someone’s ability to be a good host. How is their body language? How comfortable to they make people? Do they make us laugh? That’s the most important thing. It’s not about their knowledge. It’s not about how much they know about the art history. It’s about how do they make the guests feel. Because that’s what we’re trying to do, right? We’re trying to make people comfortable and we’re trying to get them to warm up inside the space. So that’s really what we hire for first and foremost. And then we can teach them about the art. We can teach them about the museum… We hire folks that are really good with people.”

He also gives his guides the freedom to create their own tours. When you are building something yourself, you become passionate about it. So, Nick gives them the freedom to come up with their own tours and write their own scripts.

“We think that having our tour guides write their own tours is so powerful because the guests and the visitors can hear that excitement and that passion, and you can hear me talk right now, right? I’m excited. I’m pumped up. I’m jazzed to talk about my business with you, and that’s because I’m not going off a script. No one is telling me what to do. Our tour guides have to be the same way, so we let them explore the whole museum, come up with their own tours, stuff that they’re excited about and they write their own scripts.”

One would think that competing with instant gratification culture would be a detriment to Museum Hack, but it isn’t. Nick tells his guides to embrace people’s attention spans and work it into their tours.

“We’re dealing with an increasingly ADD generation. These are people that are like me that are on their phones every two or three minutes. I mean, it’s not just millenials. It’s people of all ages that have a short attention span, and we try to teach our museum friends ways to engage with that type of audience. Make it personal. Keep it fast. Don’t be afraid of smart phones. Encourage people to take selfies and pictures. Things like that.”

In a world where museums can seem stale and uninteresting, Nick has captured people’s imaginations. That sort of innovation requires curiosity, risks, and failures, and that’s exactly what he has done with Museum Hack.

“Figuring out like you did, people who have that curiosity, and people who are willing to troubleshoot and make failures, and I’m guessing the podcast hasn’t been perfect since day one, would that be a correct assumption?… That willingness to make mistakes and resourcefulness to figure things out. Those are two key things we look for.”

Continue reading

Erik Young on Creativity vs. Natural Inspiration, Stealing in Art, Taking Chances, and Learning from Your Mistakes – Cracking Creativity Episode 91

Erik Young is one of my friends from high school. In this episode we broke from the normal format of the show and talked about our thoughts on creativity, inspiration, the education system, and learning from your mistakes. We also talked about some of the projects he’s worked on including his children’s book and work as owner of 7Mangos.

Continue reading

Chalky White on Asking What If, Being Persistent, and Never Giving Up – Cracking Creativity Podcast Episode 90

Chalky White  grew up in an abusive household, so much so that he gave up trying in school as an act of rebellion. When he 17 he joined the police cadets where he worked with alcoholics and drug addicts. It was at this point that Chalky realized he wanted to be in service of others.

One day his friend asked Chalky if he wanted to go skiing. By saying yes to his friend’s request, Chalky unknowingly changed his life. Even though he wasn’t very good at skiing on that first trip, he was hooked.

A year after that first ski trip Chalky went to Andorra and decided to become a ski instructor. When he ran out of money, he went back to Britain to become an encyclopedia salesman just so he could go back to Andorra.

After a series of tests in Andorra, and failed attempts to become a licensed instructor, Chalky went to New Zealand to get certified. Chalky was constantly told he was never going to be good enough to be an instructor, but through persistence and his system of What If? questions, Chalky was finally able to gain his certification.

Chalky not only became a certified instructor. He also wrote his own book on skiing and became a motivational speaker through it all.

In this episode, Chalky talks about asking yourself what if, being persistent, and why continuing to try leads to success.

Continue reading

Victor Yocco on Tailoring Your Message, Finding Support, and Having an Effective Website – Cracking Creativity Episode 89

Victor Yocco went to school and studied psychology and communication. After school he became a researcher for zoos and science centers, but after a while he decided he needed a change. So he asked a friend who worked at Intuitive, a design and research company, if they had any open jobs.

Even though he didn’t have any experience in design or user research, Victor found that he was a good fit for the job. His background in psychology and research allowed him to make the transition from researching zoos to researching user experience design.

The biggest obstacle Victor faced didn’t have anything to do with his new job. While everything in his professional life was going well, his battle with alcohol was not. Victor’s problem with drinking was interfering with his relationship and productivity. So he sought counseling and made a vow of sobriety. Since his pledge of sobriety, Victor has accomplished many things from articles to writing a book.

In this episode, Victor talks about why your message should change based on your platform, the importance of a support system, and the power of creating an effective website, among many other things.

Continue reading

Shawn Coss on Being a Popular Artist, Defining Your Success, and Business Being Hard Work – Cracking Creativity Podcast Episode 88

Shawn Coss grew up loving cartoons, but never dreamed it could become his full-time job. He grew up in a time and place where art wasn’t considered a viable career.

His dad told him he should get a “real job” instead of pursuing his dreams. The thought was, you could only be a professional artist if you went to an art institute, or learned at Disney. Like most people who grow up in difficult financial situations, Shawn’s dad didn’t want Shawn to grow up with the same hardships he had to go through.

Shawn hit his first break when he met Kris Wilson of Cyanhide and Happiness through MySpace. Kris liked Shawn’s work so much, that he invited him to work on the C&H team.

Cyanide and Happiness provided Shawn enough financial stability to start his own clothing company, Any Means Necessary. One of the clothing company’s campaigns, Inktober, brought an influx of fans and attention.

This brings Shawn to a an exciting but difficult crossroads. Should he go all-in on his company or keep it as a side hustle.

In this episode, Shawn talks about why there’s no formula for becoming a popular artist, defining success on your own terms, and why running an art business is such hard work, among many other things.

Continue reading

Derek Miller on Creative Action, Having Positive Mindsets, and Not Getting Down on Yourself – Cracking Creativity Podcast Episode 87

Derek Miller has always had a creative side to his life. As a kid he wanted to be a cartoonist, and little did he know, he would become deeply entrenched in that world as an adult through the web comic Cyanide and Happiness.

While he was in college, and a few years afterward, Derek was part of a small metal band and also ran a small music blog. He was also a part of a non-profit to help artists turn their passion into full-time jobs.

All that experience in the art world helped Derek run three successful Kickstarter campaigns at Cyanide and Happiness. Instead of treating Kickstarter like another crowdfunding tool, he treated each campaign like its own event.

After three successful Kicstarter campaigns and constantly being approached by creatives about crowdfunding, Derek decided to write a book on the topic. This led to the creation of his book Six Figure Crowdfunding.

In this episode, Derek talks about why you need to keep your creative momentum, the power of a positive mindset, and not getting down on yourself, among many other things.

Continue reading

Katie Hornor on Sharing Your Gifts, Respecting People, and Defining Success – Cracking Creativity Episode 86

Katie Hornor knew from a young age that wanted to serve God. She also realized that she had a teacher’s heart, so she majored in education.

After finishing school with a degree in education and a minor in Spanish, Katie and her husband moved to Mexico as missionaries. While in Mexico she worked at a Bible college and local mission college.

But one of the most pivotal decisions in her life was deciding to home school her children. This was the moment she realized that other parents in Mexico had no resources for home schooling their children.

So, to supplement her income and help out parents who wanted to home school their children, Katie and her husband started a home school blog. Katie realized their was a massive whole in the market for home schooling in Spanish, so she filled that gap.

Her home schooling blog became so successful that bloggers started approaching her asking how she grew her business. Katie now helps teach bloggers from all over the world how to grow their blogs and businesses.

In this episode Katie talks about sharing your gifts with the world, respecting everyone even if they don’t deserve it, and defining what  success means to you.

Continue reading

Ron Dawson on the Power of Stories, Putting in the Work, Learning on the Fly – Cracking Creativity Episode 85

Ron Dawson‘s earliest experience with film came through a time traveling caper film he created when he was a kid. Unfortunately, like many creatives, “real life” aspirations took over.

Instead of following his passion for film, he followed his interest in business.  Ron’s first endeavor in business was attempting to buy and sell businesses with his cousin. Although this idea did not work out, it gave him a taste of the  business world.

After failing to launch his business buying venture, and graduating with a business degree from UC Berkley, Ron got a job at Screen Play Systems.  After some time there, he later moved up to become a business manager at Intuit.

While working for these different businesses,  Ron was also working as a wedding videographer on the side. This was a pivotal crossroads for him. He could either continue with his six-figure salary, or he could venture out on his own. Instead of continuing to work at a high paying job he didn’t love, he chose to do a job he did love, making films.

In this episode Ron talks about the power of storytelling, putting in the work, and learning on the fly among many other things.

Continue reading

Brett Michael Innes on Adapting to Your Situation, the Power of Mentorship, and Not Giving it to Fear – Cracking Creativity Episode 84

Brett Michael Innes didn’t know if he would ever fulfill his dream of becoming a film maker. As a teenager, he knew he wanted to make movies but there were a few things that stood in the way of him accomplishing his dream.

During that time, his family went into debt, so he couldn’t afford to go to film school. He also had to work at a call center just to support himself.

After some introspective thinking, Brett decided he wanted to pursue his dream of film making. So he worked a year at the call center so he could afford to go to film school. With the help of his parents and a scholarship, he was able to finish with a degree in film production.

Although Brett wanted to major in directing, he was forced to get his degree in film production. This ended up being a stroke of luck because this experience with production helped him land a contract with M-Net, the HBO of South Africa.

With the help of M-Net, Brett was able to work on his novel, Rachel Weeping, and his movie Sink, at the same time. Both the novel and movie were met with critical acclaim, which has allowed him to continue work doing the thing he loves, making films

In this episode Brett talks about adapting to your situation, why mentorship is powerful, and not letting fear get the best of you.

Continue reading

Cebo Campbell on Putting Everything Into Your Work, Taking Your Time, and Striving to be the Best – Cracking Creativity Episode 83

Cebo Campbell grew up with a father and a community only interested in one of his talents: football. When he was a kid, his father was the coach of his football team where he stressed one thing, be the best you can be. Cebo took that advice to heart and became a dynamic football player, but due to his height, only got a football scholarship from one school. So he took it.

This is when Cebo started to shift his focus from athletics to academics. He was always creative, but it wasn’t until his teacher encouraged him to major in writing that he truly started to focus on it. When you’re a football player, your teammates shun you for being smart, so Cebo always tried to hide that part of his life. But after winning a writing competition as a freshman, he realized there was something there, so he ran with it.

After graduating and spending a short stint on the west coast, Cebo moved back to Florida and worked at a hotel. While working at the hotel, he convinced the owner to let him work on the hotel’s website. This would be the second big shift in his life.

Cebo became interested in everything he could accomplish with website design and writing. So much so that he went to a conference centered around it. That’s where he met AJ Leon. Cebo and AJ hit it off immediately. This fateful meeting ended up being the beginning of a great friendship, and eventually a job as the creative director of Misfit Inc.

In this episode, Cebo talks about why you should put your all into your work, why you should take your time, and why you should always strive to be the best.

Continue reading

« Older posts