Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

Cracking Creativity Episode 28: Mike Roy on the Common Myths Artist Believe, How to Overcome Those Beliefs, and Finding the Perfect Niche for Your Creative Business

Mike Roy is the creator of Artist Myth, a site dedicated to helping artists overcome the things that hold them back. In this episode, Mike talks about the common myths artists believe, what people can do to overcome those myths, and how to find work you love.

Here are three things you can learn from Mike:

Overcoming common artist myths

Artists who want to make a career out of their art must first overcome the ideas that hold them back. According to Mike, the best way to do this is to ask questions.

Far too often we let others influence our beliefs. If you truly want to become an empowered and inspired artist, you must discover it for yourself. Don’t believe everything you hear.

How do you do this? First you must ask why, then you must follow up and find out why. This allows you to make your own informed and educated opinions.

How to find your creative niche

Many people want to live a creative and fulfilling life, but don’t know where to start. If you are in this boat, you can follow Mike’s three spotlight method for finding the work you love.

First comes your passion. If you want to live an inspired life, you must find out what gets you excited.

Second is your talents. What are you good at? How can you use these things to fulfill your creative purpose?

Last, you must find your market. Discover those who want what you have to offer. They are your tribe.

When you are able to combine these three things, you can begin to build a business around them.

What to do with your passion, talent, and market

It’s very hard to combine your passion, talent, and market. If you already know them, you are ahead of most people, and now it’s time for you to take action.

This is where many people fall off the wagon. They can pin point everything they need, but they find it hard to do the work. But that is the most important, and most difficult part.

You do this by putting your work out their and getting validation from it. If you want to know if people will buy your work, you must put it out there.

Doing this will give you valuable feedback on what people like and don’t like about your work. You can use this to grow your business and become a better artist.


  • creator of Artist Myth –  things that hold artists back
    • site is for anybody that creates from imagination
    • many hangups that keep us from creating
    • myths are powerful – they affect how we react to the world
    • heard  the same things that hold people back
    • mindsets that hold us back
  • how he got into doing the artist myth
    • gradual process over the years
    • has been a professional artist over 20 years
    • painter, photographer, web designer
    • painted plates right out of college – only lasted an hour
      • sweat shop type atmosphere, failed to please the woman in charge
    • graduated with liberal arts education
    • knew he wanted to do something in art, but didn’t know exactly what
    • has worked for creative studio Reel Fx for 16 years
    • even when given creative freedom at a job, the heart yearns to express itself
    • golden handcuffs – having a job that’s good enough but not something you’re inspired by

“Even if you’re enjoying what you’re doing as a job and you’re doing something creative, if you’re not doing it for yourself… you’re sorta gonna feel stale.”

  • Elizabeth Hyde Stevens’ Make Art Make Money
    • Jim Henson and working for money
    • started with commercials for meat/coffee companies
    • using money from commercials to make dream projects
    • having a passion and vision
    • had a vision for what he wanted to do with TV
    • built a rig to watch himself perform
  • common myths he hears from artists
    • biggest is starving artist myth
    • “Anywhere you look, an artist has touched that”
    • you don’t need to go through gatekeepers to be an artist
    • super star artists vs. many artists who can make a living from their art

 “It’s an amazing Renaissance of creative people being able to not just have a platform to do what they love, but people are actually making enough money to live on their own.”

  • Cinderella Artist
    • glorifying Cinderella story
    • Cinderella didn’t really do anything to make herself successful

“You gotta make something happen. I think we glorify these stories where people are found.”

“I would tell people, take matters into your own hands. Don’t wait around… Make something happen. And I found that it’s a lot more entertaining. It’s a lot more fun to have a creative business when you’re more involved, rather than when you just create in anonymity and just wait around for people to notice.”

  • why people believe in myths
    • we live in an age of sound bites
    • the low hanging fruit of belief

“It’s easy to believe the sound bites and it’s easy to just believe what we read or see in movies or media. That’s what’s easy to do. It’s harder to actually dig through and find, okay is this true, because there’s so much information coming at us.”

  • what people can do to overcome these two myths
    • first thing you can do is ask questions
    • we come out of the womb asking questions, but at some point we stop asking questions
    •  people are quick to make judgments, they lock on to beliefs
    • 1. ask why 2. follow up and find out why
    • seek what the truth is
    • examples and stories, esp. success stories that show people the way
    • own your beliefs instead of letting people dictate them to you
    • get away from a consumer mindset and get to more of a producer mindset
    • why he removed Netflix from his phone
    • the beauty of Stanley Kubrick films
    • what comes in also goes out
    • getting more sleep

“As artists and creatives, we have to primarily be producers.”

“It’s so easy to lapse back into that passive consumer mindset… When we ourselves are consumers, we have to pick and choose what it is we consume.”

Get back to that point where you didn't know anything and ask questions. Click To Tweet
  •  “The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.” – Michael Jackson
  • prevalent myths that artists believe
  • feedback from posts about myths
    • most popular is starving artist
    • doesn’t consider himself the best marketer
    • likes to write evergreen content – content that works for a long time
    • people also like the messy artist myth
    • Jon Acuff spoke at WDS about writing what you want to write about vs. what others want you to write about
    • balancing hobbies
    • getting out there as an introvert and connecting

“If you want a sustainable creative business… you’re going to have put something out there that people want to see or hear or touch.”

  • Find The Perfect Niche for your Creative Business course
    • 3 spotlight method for finding work you love
      • 1. passion – what you’re excited about
      • 2. talents- what are you good at
      • 3. market – people who want what you have to offer
    • must have all three for a creative business
  •  finding your passion or talent
    • a lot of people downplay talent/passion
    • you have to get out and talk to people
    • listen for things that people say about you
    • test things out (Pinterest boards)
      • you are a tastemaker
    • find out why people are responding, and see if it is something you can do as a business
  • Mike’s three spotlights
    • passion is helping people
      • does it through teaching/mentoring
      • gets more out of life by helping people

“Beliefs are amazing because you can take one little belief, you can change it up a little bit, and that might just be that tiny little pebble that was holding back that avalanche of creativity.”

  • advice for someone that has found their 3 spotlights and focus it into a business
    • very hard to do, not many people are able to do it
    • once you find your spotlights, it’s time to take action
    • make your art, get validation
    • put stuff out there and get feedback
    • going from inaction to action takes the most effort

“The day you have an idea, you can put it out there and get instant feedback… and that’s so huge.”

  • people who take action vs. those who don’t
    • “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau

    • dying emptied out and leaving a legacy
    • What do we want to leave behind?
    • Todd Henry’s Die Empty
  • advice to people who are creating for other people but not for themselves
    • time management and making time to create
    • seize moments aggressively & plan ahead for time to create
    • find your voice & find what you’re passionate about

“There’s far more stupid stuff than sharing your thoughts and beliefs about something.”

  • future of Artist Myth and determining what to work on
    • discovered that gets excited about projects, gets close to the finish line, then stops
    • has a lot of unfinished things
    • wants to create a platform/membership site for artists
    • having an avatar via John Lee Dumas
    • the journey vs. the outcome
    • enjoy the process, have goals and hit them

“I’ve found that, that discipline to take it that last 10%… to cross that finish line, that’s the hardest thing.”

  • morning routine
    • Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
    • meditate, short exercise, reading, journaling
    • helps get his day going
    • finds it helpful to do mind dumps
A messy mind doesn't really do you any favors. Click To Tweet
  • books, tools, resources
  • creative people
  • 1:13:34 definition of creativity
    • creating value creates circle of inspiration that can feed back into the artist
    • sometimes creators hold back because they fear feedback
    • you have to be open
      • choose what to take in & what not to take in

“Producing things from your imagination, from your emotional labor.”

“We as artists, we as creators, have a special thing we do that nobody else does. We can create value from thin air.”

“I think creativity should be a sustainable process. Not only should it go out from the creator, but it should come back to the creator.” | Udemy Course – $10 off using code CRACKING10

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