Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

Kym Dolcimascolo on Creating a Plan, Knowing Your Audience, and How Artists Can Change the World – Cracking Creativity Episode 68

Kym Dolcimascolo got a degree in photography and film making but didn’t follow that path once she graduated from school. Instead she became a computer engineer and worked her way up the career ladder.

After working for a while in the corporate world, she decided she had had enough. So, she set herself up to leave her corporate job and started a web design company.

This career move allowed her to work with people who embraced creativity, and eventually led her into coaching for artists and creatives.

In this episode Kym talks about creating plans, why you should know your audience, and how artists can change the world.

Here are three things you can learn from Kym:

You Need a Plan

As artists, we tend to do things on a whim. We want to live a free-spirited life. We want the freedom to choose our own destinies. But this line of thinking often hurts us instead of helping us.

We should be planning our way to success instead. Kym didn’t walk away from her job immediately. She decided what steps needed to be taken and she took them. “It wasn’t instant. It wasn’t, you know, I walked out that day and that’s the end of the story. I created a plan for myself. And the plan was, I’m going to start working on my business and I’m going to actually have my business be able to generate enough money that I can afford my cost of living. And then I literally went out and did that.”

Many artists believe in the starving artist mentality so they give up on their dreams. But what they really need is a plan of action. Kym believes a plan of action can help us overcome our negative mentality. “I think that part of it is that a lot of people… don’t see that if they actually plan things out, and if they actually take actions that they need to take, that the starving artist thing is just whatever it is. It’s something we’ve bought into. It’s something that everybody’s told us. It’s something we’ve bought into. It’s just kind of another BS that we fall for.”

Know Your Audience

One of the mistakes that artists make when trying to selling their work is not knowing who they are selling to. Instead of figuring out who wants to buy their art, they try to sell it to everyone.

Unfortunately, that strategy does not work. Kym believes it is vital for us, especially in the beginning, to focus on finding people who want our work. “There is a market that’s dying for your particular work and if you don’t focus on that market, at least in the beginning, then the frustration is really high, if nothing else. Obviously the frustration becomes very high and your bank account stays pretty low.”

That’s why Kym believes we have two choices. We either need to find the people who want the art we are already creating or we need to create art for the audience we have. “If you really want to create that kind of art, then there is a particular person that wants that. Go find those people… It’s one thing or the other. Either if you really want that kind of audience, then produce the art that that audience wants or if you really want to produce this kind of art and sell it, then go find that audience.”

If you are an artist that wants to create for your own self expression, that is awesome, but if you want to sell your art, you need to learn the game. “There are tons of artists… [that] create for their own self-expression. They have no interest in selling their art at all… and that’s fabulous, but for those artists who really do want to make a living off of it, then there is a game afoot.”

Artists Can Change the World

One of the things that artists fail to realize is how much of an impact they can have on the world. While many artists start creating to satisfy their own creative needs, most don’t realize how big of an impact they can make.

Kym believes artists can make a difference once they are ready to move to the next level. “If you really had it inside of you to alter some of the things on this planet, that we could totally do it through art, and I think a lot of artists are up to that… They move beyond the ‘I just create for me,’ and they… actually admit ‘No, I actually want to make a difference with my art.’ Right? It’s not just for me…. I think that that’s kind of the next level.”

It all begins with thinking and knowing you can make a difference. “It’s beyond I just create because I have to create. Now it’s move to I can take what I create and make a statement, make a difference on the planet with it. But even those artists sometimes resist the conversation about making money off of it.”

In order to get to that level, you have to change your mindset. You have to be able to produce work when you want to, not when the Muse hits you. You have to call on the Muse yourself. “I think that’s one of those things too, by the way, that I see that the artists that do actually build success and continue to build success for themselves is that they really know, that they can actually sit down, and they can create, and they can produce what they need to produce, whenever that is… and it’s not waiting for the moon to be in a certain phase, and them to be in a certain space, and their environment to look in a certain way. It’s like, okay, I can harness this and I can pull it forward, and I can put it to work right this second because I have everything it takes to do that.”

Shownotes

  • about Kym
    • first company she owned was a web design company
      • merged tech/artist background
      • spent a lot of time coaching people on businesses
    • has coaching company for full service coaching
      • entrepreneurial, spiritual, health, etc.
    • wanted to start working with artists
  • her upbringing
    • did something different every 3 weeks from painting to playing guitar
    • father joined her in her pursuits
    • when she was four she drew all over her walls
  • degree in fine arts
    • focus on photography/film making
    • film making was a different art form than it is now
    • physically spliced it by film
    • everyone around her was interested in the arts
  • choosing film/about her films
    • loved photography, but found something magical in film
    • computers/programming were new at the time
    • learned to program on punch cards
    • created electronic music for her films
    • got to merge visual/music/movement
    • moved to NY because she wanted to go to NYU film school
    • couldn’t afford to do a Masters degree full time
    • bailed out of art at that moment and went into corporate work
    • her films were colorful and full of emotion and abstract ideas
    • films were an expression of her thoughts/feelings
    • one of her films involved a woman floating through a tube/cocoon
    • her films being ruined by leak in storage unit
    • differences between what you remember and the actual end result
    • “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” ― Steve Jobs
  • being creative
    • some of the most creative people she knows are not artistic
    • it has to do with how we label ourselves

18:16 “I think that, bottom line, the blessing of being an artist is that we get to express our creativity and it’s accepted. Within the art communities, it’s very accepted that we’re using our creativity to express something. And for the most part we put that something, whatever it is, out there for other people to then be able to utilize that to tap into some of their own expression.”

  • usefulness of labels
  • work as an engineer
    • lasted for year and a half
    • game was to move up the ladder
    • moved from programming to management to work more with people
    • creativity in management/working with people
    • that morning she felt unfulfilled, she started her web design company
    • wanted to surround herself more with people who embraced creativity

24:28 “There really was this one morning where I woke up and it was like ‘Wow, this so doesn’t resonate with me anymore.’ … unfortunately that was… or fortunately depending on how you look at it, that was twenty years later.”

24:46 “I think there’s probably a lot of artists that go through this, like in some way shape or form, I had fallen for the myth that to be an artist I would have to starve and if I just played this game, if I played the corporate game for long enough, I could stock away some money, and then I can stop doing that, and then I can actually pursue my art.”

  • making the leap from the corporate world to creative world
    • set herself up to leave
    • created a six month plan
    • told the vice president what she was going to do
    • company wasn’t as much as she was making, but it was enough for the cost of living

27:30 “It wasn’t instant. It wasn’t, you know, I walked out that day and that’s the end of the story. I created a plan for myself. And the plan was, I’m going to start working on my business and I’m going to actually have my business be able to generate enough money that I can afford my cost of living. And then I literally went out and did that.”

28:11 “I think that part of it is that a lot of people… don’t see that if they actually plan things out, and if they actually take actions that they need to take, that the starving artist thing is just whatever it is. It’s something we’ve bought into. It’s something that everybody’s told us. It’s something we’ve bought into. It’s just kind of another BS that we fall for.”

  • plan for leaving the company
    • calculated how much she needed to live on
    • figured out how many customers she needed and how much they would pay
    • made a plan and executed it

28:38 “When I think about planning… I think so many of us as artists, we have a kind of free spirit, like I have to do what the mood hits me to do at this particular point in time but the planning process , it doesn’t have to be minute by minute, hour by hour. But the planning process itself, if we can create a plan, we can fulfill on it. So that’s what I did. I backed it down in time.”

  • type of clients
    • 1997 – there wasn’t anything like WordPress, it was hard to DIY
    • her push was for low end entrepreneurs
    • was looking for startup entrepreneurs
      • they didn’t have time or idea of how to do it, so she could be the answer
    • went for quantity of people
    • everything was new, so her risk wasn’t as high
    • had company for eight years, and had larger customers and expanded
  • importance of knowing who you are talking to
    • knew her audience was entrepreneurs and new startups
    • her game was to play with people she understood
    • the whole world is not your market
    • seeing through the yes of people who want your work and not necessarily being your own audience
    • find the people who want what you’re creating

35:24 “There is a market that’s dying for your particular work and if you don’t focus on that market, at least in the beginning, then the frustration is really high, if nothing else. Obviously the frustration becomes very high and your bank account stays pretty low.”

38:04 “If you really want to create that kind of art, then there is a particular person that wants that. Go find those people… It’s one thing or the other. Either if you really want that kind of audience, then produce the art that that audience wants or if you really want to produce this kind of art and sell it, then go find that audience.”

39:17 “There are tons of artists… [that] create for their own self-expression. They have no interest in selling their art at all… and that’s fabulous, but for those artists who really do want to make a living off of it, then there is a game afoot.”

  • reluctance to learn marketing
    • artists come to believe it’s a necessary evil
    • comes down to the mindsets we have and what we’ve been told
    • creating for ourselves vs. creating for other people
    • believes artists can transform the planet
    • her work revolves around mindsets
    • artists and people who are spiritual see money as bad/evil
      • she helps them break old patterns
    • Andy Warhol and business
    • consistency principle – when you hold a certain mindset, you tend to think in a way that is consistent with that mindset
      • Influence by Robert Cialdini
      • looking at the world through blinders
      • opening up our views
    • everyone has the same number of hours in the day
    • breaking unhelpful patterns
    • the magic of practice and building new brain patterns
    • create your own environments, don’t wait for them to come to you

41:06 “Most artists, if we actually ask them… all they really want to do is create art. They don’t really want to get into the business of it. but if they want to make a living off of it, then it becomes the necessary evil that they have to deal with.”

42:42 “If you really had it inside of you to alter some of the things on this planet, that we could totally do it through art, and I think a lot of artists are up to that… They move beyond the ‘I just create for me,’ and they… actually admit ‘No, I actually want to make a difference with my art.’ Right? It’s not just for me…. I think that that’s kind of the next level.”

43:18 “It’s beyond I just create because I have to create. Now it’s move to I can take what  I create and make a statement, make a difference on the planet with it. But even those artists sometimes resist the conversation about making money off of it.”

45:07 “There’s a particular mindset. Money is bad. Money is evil. I’m not worthy of money. People that do what I do don’t make money. There’s a ton of conversations wrapped up around that that become beliefs. And once they become beliefs for people, then they’re pretty kinda solid there.”

46:15 “We’re at least in a day and age where business is more accessible for artists which has them looking at it more than it did in the past. You know they can actually see that there are people going online and there are people selling their art, and I don’t have to… be in a gallery. I may not have to have an agent and you know those kinds of things that twenty years ago, if they didn’t have that, then they couldn’t get into the business of selling their art. Now they can.”

51:54 “Another thing I knew I had to break down… and it’s one thing that I see with artists that I have to break down a lot. There’s this thing that I used to have like I’m a free spirit. I do things when the mood hits me… When I actually got for myself, no, no really. I can be creative at any moment in time. I can do whatever it is that needs to be done, at any moment in time, and I can actually own the twenty four in my day. Then it became magical.”

54:23 “I think that’s one of those things too, by the way, that I see that the artists that do actually build success and continue to build success for themselves is that they really know, that they can actually sit down, and they can create, and they can produce what they need to produce, whenever that is… and it’s not waiting for the moon to be in a certain phase, and them to be in a certain space, and their environment to look in a certain way. It’s like, okay, I can harness this and I can pull it forward, and I can put it to work right this second because I have everything it takes to do that.”

  • working with people to change their limiting beliefs
    • help people see patterns that are stopping them
    • “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
    • brains being a series of patterns
    • doing things consistently over and over again until they become new patterns
    • waking up earlier in the morning to do tasks you want to accomplish
    • creating patterns and thinking differently to
    • our mornings being our time of day or finding pockets of time throughout the day
    • friend creating space for herself

56:35 “Now the dilemma is, when you’re living in a pattern, you can’t necessarily see the pattern. So the  first step is helping actually them see the patterns that may be stopping, or slowing them down, or sabotaging them, and then actually helping them actually determine what is the pattern they want instead, and then working with them to create that new pattern that will fulfill  on what they really want.”

59:10 “You do have to not only think differently about things, but sometimes, you know, you obviously have to take, we all have to take, new actions, right? Sometimes the new actions can give you a new way to think about it, and sometimes the thoughts can give you new actions, but it all works together.”

  • the future of Kym’s work
    • right now she’s working one on one with clients
    • ran non-profit – live coaching women on how to promote their art
      • had events with poetry, music, and art on the wall
      • worked with hundreds of people at a time
    • wants to continue one on one work but is also plotting webinars and creating an organization that can be replicated
    • internet allows you to build communities but there’s also something about being together in the same place
  • ways she currently creates
    • actively  paints, writes poetry, and does photography
    • creation being important for business

1:08:37 “It’s kind of back to the conversation about… you know when we were talking about target market and being able to be… over there in the world of  the people that are your target market… Since life to me has seemed like a very creative process, I could to some degree let myself off the hook by saying ‘All of life is a creation so I don’t need to be creating.’ but there’s something so about me being in the process myself that allows me to tap into what they’re experiencing and what they’re going through. And frankly I don’t think I could separate myself from it even if I wanted to.”

  • favorite quote
    • “The most visible creators are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible ~ without brush, hammer, clay, or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt. Their medium is simply being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see, but don’t have to draw…
      Because they are the artists of being alive.” ― Donna J. Stone
    • being creators and being creative
    • anyone has the potential to be a creator or be creative
  • morning routine
    • turned herself from nocturnal artist to morning person
    • starts day in gratitude
    • then juices, meditates, showers, then writes
      • writes for 30 minutes then jumps on her first phone call
    • first 1.5 hours of her day is about her and her mindset
    • helping yourself before you help others
  • recommendations

1:16:06 “I think that us learning to love ourselves and  us learning to be open to it and experiencing love… I think that that’s something that for us human beings is incredibly potent. When we talk about mindset or we talk about expressing ourselves, or creating, or any of those things, like us really being able to be open to love and expressing love, and in particular loving ourselves is really kinda where a lot of this starts.”

  • creative people
    • business partner – Carolina Aramburo
      • didn’t think of herself as creative
      • synthesizes and puts info together
    • Annie Lennox – inspired by her creativity and boldness
  • definition of creativity
    • includes passion and commitment
    • teaching ourselves to be aware of things
    • seeing things in new ways and tapping into that place

1:19:40 “First of all I think creativity is created. I think we all have the tools for creativity, but we need to utilize those. So it’s not like we’re born with creativity. It really is created. We create our creativity.”

  • being more creative
    • being curious and playful are big keys
    • allowing ourselves to use all the tools we have
  • challenge
    • allow yourself to spend time looking for what’s right and what’s possible
      • instead of what’s lacking and what’s not possible
    • look at things from “What if..”

Creative Visions Rising

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