Discovering Your Vision & Values
What I want to dio is I want to prove something to you I want to prove that every major artist in history had a mission and they had a unique value proposition born of that mission and that's that their work served a target market and they alleviated some pain or they solved some problems this is something that the common business principle in order to actually run a profitable business you have to solve a problem or alleviate the pain but I just make beauty at a problem if I just sing like a bird I make pretty necklaces um I just create beauty right that's usually what we say it was something you know beauty is not the only aesthetic but essentially that's what we say right and we haven't been taught to think past what we do beyond the medium or beyond describing our creative process which is why we wind up with his very tedious self involved artist statement that no one really reads anyway except for the artist and maybe they're friends sorry I mean if that offends you I want you to ...
know it's not to offend you it's for you to understand that an artist's statement is not marketing copy it does not effectively communicate your value proposition it talks about your creative process so it's like no mcdonald's talking all about how they flipped the hamburger right in this perfect square of cheese that they used in their creative process that's what they sell great the problem is, is that people are in hurry and they want something cheap and so they solve the problem of providing fast food at a price point that more people can reach it's a pain they saw for the problem that they alleviate. They don't talk about how the french fry is always the same size right out. So let's, start with a famous artist named michelangelo. So, does anyone know anything about michelangelo? The person just anything about him? Particular? No. Okay, well, I'll help you out because, yes, statue of david is being misused by some rifle association about being misused by rifle association. And they have a picture of their rifle photoshopped into michelangelo is divvied holding it. And the italian government is up in arms. And apparently not just that piece of art. Apparently the whole campaign, they've also showed a shopped it into mona lisa and into into some other miss most of all, it's very strange today, michelangelo actually, in the news, good authority died centuries. How handy is that so? Well, I mean, that's the power of art, right? People recognize those pieces, and obviously those artists are long gone, so their copyright has inspired expired pretty, pretty, pretty much so. Well, what I'm gonna talk about is not who you know when you think of michelangelo you think of the sistine chapel you think of his amazing paintings you think of his sculptures like divvied but that's not who he was as a person remember I said you have to know who you are and what you stand for and who he was as a person with he's a very passionate and devout christian very passionate wrote a lot of poetry loaded me really really was passionately devoted to god passionately devoted to christ that's who he was as a person and so his mission was to celebrate his love and devotion to god and to christ and the thing is so were a lot of other artists right? Does anyone have a sense of what was unique about michelangelo's works his paintings and sculptures the way does anyone does anyone understand how he was different from other artists in that time more realistic portrayal kind of so here's what it was he was very different because he was able to convey emotion so if you look at um the piazza have you look at mary's face right and she's holding jesus it's just imbued with emotion you can feel it it's not just an accurate depiction of two big human figures he really, really excelled at emotion look at the sistine chapel I mean figures are turning and twisting and emoting and god's got his finger out like that right and it's expressive in many steps away from what other very time talented artists were doing at the time but he's actually excel ng he's unique in that way so if that's if if that's his mission and that's how he is unique as an artist who benefited from that church his target market was the church exactly but how did they benefit or what pain was alleviated? What problem was solved for the church by commissioning him conveying this without words conveying that always without words delivering a powerful way right? So they so by his commissioning him to paint into skull to tell the story of god and of christ least you didn't have to be illiterate to get it right you were moved you were moved by the story of christ so obviously an organization looking to increase their fault the following would benefit from that and there is a pain involved because not everyone was literate it's not that other people weren't depicting the stations of the cross and other aspects of jesus's life but he was doing in a way that was a lot more compelling emotionally and that's what self is emotion right and that's how such as what sells it's what connects us as humans it's what actually how we resonate with one another you feel this I feel this were now connected and we are inspired so that's what he did we've got his target market right it's also the medici family, right? They also was they were test target market because they wanted to kiss up to the church, right? They wanted to they wanted their their station to be elevated in a way to be associated with this amazing talent. Does that give you a little sense of what a mission unique value proposition and target market is? And you see how he specifically solve the problem for a target market it wasn't a yes, it is beautiful. Yes, it was amazing he was talented but you see how it went further than that. Okay, so that's important um to recognise john singer sargent now raise your hand if you know who john singer sargent is okay so he's an amazing portrait painter that was famous in the turn of the century he was an american and he went to europe really? His family was very much interested in culture and they were very interested in increasing their station amongst the aristocracy, particularly in england. So he is a person john singer sargent was is kind of in a way socially climbing right that was his family's orientation. You didn't come from the money that his patrons had and he was american so his that's who he was as a person now what was his unique value proposition? Is anyone venture a guess what was unique about him obviously meant to give it to you, our history majors and the audience have gone silent. So what john singer sargent did was he had his talent excelled in that he really did capture the essence of someone's being in his paintings even is charcoal sketches. You really can feel this person it's like they're breathing on you. He was an amazing talent, and he also would paint them on a large scale in a very regal and bold way. Now, that's nice, but what problem did that solve? The problem is solved is that if you were one of twelve people to have your commission, you know your request for a commission accepted by john singer sargent? Then it helped elevate your station within the aristocracy and that's what they're concerned about, they don't have money troubles, right? So what are they concerned about? They're concerned about their reputation and he very deliberately employed a tactic that's used by the luxury market and he employed scarcity. He's only twelve year only twelve. You want to get picked now? Right now, you want it even more really smart. And he was talking about making art making money. John singer sargent was a millionaire in the eighteen hundreds, so I wonder what that would translate teo in today's terms, he charged big butt for his portrait paintings so we've covered john singer sargent very famous artist in history his mission is really about let's just face it it's social climbing and social station that's how he was oriented as the child a little known secret about john singer sargent is he actually wanted to be a landscape painter and hey was but this is where this is where this was was a world and this was his orientation and this is how we brought up his unique value proposition is very clear he helped express the distinct personality of individuals in a way that really elevated them right even if you didn't look good, he made you look good right? And the pain he solves he helped them increase their station or the reputation and target market was just the aristocracy he didn't go to the church hey he didn't go for gallery to represent him you need that so that was drying singer sargent question yes, so would you would you think that he deliberately did all of that? So was he like I would like tio um make people feel like I'm increasing their reputation that he went it's a really good question I think what happens is sometimes in history it's very accidental and I think sometimes it's very deliberate and I don't think either I think each way is fine as long as it's grounded in your values tara and I did a phone consultation it's very deliberate but it's inspiring as all get out right? What she's about to dio so it could go either way but that's an excellent question I'm not interested in waiting for accidents when I moved to san francisco and didn't know anyone and had to pay my rent I could wait for an accident of fame to happen to me I needed to get moving so is very deliberate about it it wasn't just simply poetic thinking and I left it there I thought it through yeah how did so then what did you do to increase your profile when you came to me to get to that when we talk about the more famous artists first, but we're going to get to what my unique my mission is my value proposition as a painter, I've talked a little bit about what my mission is here today it creative live and through my artists who thrive and making art making money course but we're going to get to who I am as a painter soon um andy warhol loved him loved him loved him loved him because he wouldn't know anything about andy warhol who he was as a person yes, who was he was he was a graphic artist and he took it was either purr so it's a person he was a new yorker eventually he didn't start out there though I was thinking about the I forgot what it's called but the group that he happening happening yeah sort of sort of like a salon but not a salon exactly all right, so let me let me tell you who andy warhol was a person he went to carnegie mellon if you studied illustration in design that's true but as a person he was a first generation american he was socially awkward he had a disease that made him pale and sick a lot and his parents and speak english and he didn't you know he felt awkward and what he would do is when he was lying in bed sick and that was often when he was a child is he would look through look at pictures of celebrities andy warhol's prized possession was a signed autographed picture of shirley temple he was smitten with fame and my guess is I don't think he's really would ask this question from this perspective because art historians are not marketing strategists but my guess is that by looking at pictures of people who were in no way awkward were very famous and very adored it helped him escape and he didn't do it. I do remember reading something about these celebrity magazines being an escape for him so that's who he was as a person so yes, he was a graphic designer illustrator but we're talking about who you are as a person first and foremost a lot of artists put the cart before the horse they talk about their technique in the creative process, we're gonna back up right? We're going to the first part of the first realm know thy self so we're going to use these examples so you can connect with who they were. What was unique value proposition of andy warhol's work? Does anyone know? No, that was part of it was a big part of it. So really what he elevated was consumption, right? So it started off with america the culture of consumption in the united states. He mirrored that back to us. You know, it kind of really gave us a mirror of who we are and what we value in a way it was kind of like a little bit disturbing, a little bit entertaining, but he provided mirror to us by showing us this campbell soup can the pad and then that evolved that he started actually celebrating celebrity great. So when he did these happenings in new york city where it was really important and really cool to be seen seat to see and be seen and when he did these portrait of celebrities who benefited right and how did they benefit? They were just bigger, they were bigger than life exactly. Is that the paint? Is that the problem they wanted solved to be even bigger than life? Totally right they became icons from there he made people into icons he literally made them into icons whether it was elizabeth taylor or elvis presley or mick jagger right and he reflected our culture back at us so we were just fascinated by it just like we're fascinated by people magazine and the kardashians we still have this going on in our culture this consumption of fame and celebrity so who is this target market yeah exactly how this works you see how he was true to himself miss making art that he wanted to make he was celebrating the values he wanted to celebrate so maybe it wasn't as um let's just say how we say this um it wasn't like taurus right? Just different see there's room for everybody just what you want to just be who you are that's the important thing to take away from this this what I hope you're getting from this all right. Thomas kincaid, the painter of light who's familiar with thomas kinkade painter of light. Okay, you gotta give it to this man though he was an amazing entrepreneur, I was so fascinated by thomas kinkade's entrepreneurial success I used to go salsa dancing with a gentleman who worked for the accounting firm that represented thomas kinkade incorporated so he actually put me on a conference call with one of the partners so that I could ask more questions about how thomas kinkade built his empire now whether you like his work or don't like his work that's not what's relevant to this conversation this is an art agnostic environment, okay? I'm not an art critic I'm not going to say you and min effects artist will ask me occasionally will you critiqued my work and do you know what I say now? I'm not gonna do that I mean I couldn't say hey burn in this is how you think all right, I think you need to change it up here. I mean, we were ridiculous he'd be much better served by talking to someone who's vocalist that he admires so on that note let's go to mr kincaid's mission and that of course again is born from you know that that's defined by who he was as a person that is a painter or even entrepreneur who was he has a person? Does anyone want adventure guests? Cheryl christian what kind of christian born again christian I believe conservative born again christian is a lot of flavors of christian as we know conservative born again christians in the united states with certain political inclinations just put it that way that's who he was a lot of it, a lot of what he painted or was framed around the ideal of family values. Okay sanctity of marriage all right was something he celebrated by painting hearts in a lot of his paintings he refers to the light air did refer to the light because mr kincaid is past tense is the light of jesus, right? That is truly who he was as a person hey didn't become that to sell licensing teo lazy boy chairs this is who he was as a person is what he believed. Okay, so what was his unique value proposition? Does anyone wanna venture a guess? Come on, why are you going to give it to you? All right, art on the hole and this is then something pay keen attention, tio, I'm talking about visual art, primarily not so much music. Um, it's really hard for people to connect with. We've made it really hard for people to understand and appreciate what we dio and thomas kincaid knew that, so he painted in an illustrative way that made it clear as a bell, right? The ideals that he was celebrating, the emotions that he was celebrating, you might call them saccharin or sweet, but he knew who was talking to, and he knew how you wanted to frame it. So his unique value proposition was that he connected people who were generally left brain and quite literal, not necessarily traipsing off to the de young on the weekend, but people who really we're literal great these are not our art connoisseurs who by thomas kinkade's work but they're satisfied, and they feel like they become an art collector. So his unique value proposition was he celebrated their values in a way that they could get immediately and that they could afford right, so you could buy a calendar walmart or you could go to one of the thomas kinkade galleries and buy a hand embellished print that's where his genius wass those galleries were actually all franchise ownership, so he didn't have to invest any capital so that we could see how smart he wass the pain he solved. Well, these are people who want to celebrate family values, they want it, they, you know, they've been our our culture doesn't typically celebrate the conservative christian point of view just doesn't on the hole, so he did. Art does not celebrate that he filled that hole, so now they could have some art that aligned with their values and their interest. So that was the pain he solved and we talked about who is market wass that makes sense. Is that relatable? You certainly are the penny starting to drop in your head about how no one none of these artists were anything but true to themselves that they created value above and be on there are that's, it served a target market. So what does that mean to you? What does that mean to you at home? What does that mean to you in the studio audience? It means you it's not about you it's about them and when you make it about them that it will be all about you if you do it right? Okay, so um and really if you look at this each one of those artists had a blue ocean strategy now they may not have consciously examined the competitive factors and made a decision about how teo engage their target market, but here I'm giving you the formula this is the formula it's just that it hasn't been articulated until recently, but this is how you can actually different you ate yourself in a very crowded market called the art world and I mean art world in a broad sense of the word you know, our visual art photography film making jewelry making talking about all of you khun benefit from this threat understanding and employing the strategy and the great news is that you don't have to sell out it's grounded in who you are as a person, what you stand for and what your values are so there's a compromise here, I never feel like I'm selling out what I painted, what I do is grounded in who I am and what I value and we'll talk about that, okay blue ocean straight wouldn't talk about me next. Actually. Well, you saw that painting so that's not what I'm known for. Get this a question. I mean there's, not there's. Not been a definition of what? What? Selling out is's like that beginning your what you do? And you're talking about the your value proposition. If it's rooted in something that you believe in and that you love and that gives you joy, then if you sell it to someone else and it makes a lot of money, is that selling? Is that selling out way? What with three? It seems like it's aligned with what you do. If that happens that do do that, then. So be it. Isn't it beautiful? Yeah. Yeah. So I always struggle with when I hear people saying all you just sold out, you sell out, you sell out and like, well, what does that mean, exactly? What does that mean and that's? Why I wrote this book because no one knows what it damn well means we just use it. We use this term and we slam each other like you become successful. Start painting, selling paintings and I just call you a sellout I discount all your success or you have that weird definition. Stuck in the back of your head, and it actually is the first thing you've got to get over. You have to define what the heck that really means in the first place and be really honest about it and that's, why I'm so glad you asked that question, yes, but also the other thing is everybody has a choice where they buy or not exactly you got in their hair? Yeah, selling out is maybe a term used by artists with each other because they're so competitive between getting that's a very good point. So it's not necessarily slam with everybody it's, a slam between all of us who should be getting together and being on the same team, but we're a lot of time. Exactly, and I wouldn't just remind everyone the point of this two day classes, hopefully for you to connect with people online and you, khun, through facebook or email or twitter, I want you to find some mastermind partners because remember I said, in the beginning, you're not going to do this on your own, and you don't want to puke people in that in that circle who are going to call you a sellout, right? Say when to choose wisely, people who are going to hold you accountable, but also be supportive, colleen, who will be hearing from later has a mastermind partner she's an ico artist but she hasn't here's one mastermind partner and they support each other and they've accomplished so much more partnering with one another and they just gently hold each other accountable and support one another they're not competing for market share or for collectors so it works beautifully I have a mastermind partners a harvard wharton mba right he's on my advisory board not artists at all but he's just got so much entrepreneurial insight it's been a great benefit for me to know who he is and for for for him to give me some perspective because I'm relatively new entrepreneur and I didn't go to business school remember my brother didn't help me yes, I just say I watched tons of the business courses on creative live and this is the common theme no matter what what the business courses this is the same principles that I have been noticed going through all of them so there's some structure that's very obvious between running a business and obviously being a successful artist all right? Yeah, I mean and creative live is a great resource because of that. So there you could dive deeper into other realms the part that I see not just artists getting stuck on but also traditional business people like my brother, for example very accomplished author and professor but he didn't have any clue how to actually define unique value uh for for an artist he just doesn't have that perspective and so what the blue ocean strategy does that helps you get there you just repeat this is not a get rich quick scheme this is a process it takes time I think vernon you're still trying teo like cutaway and announce myself or answer the question and feel comfortable but you're so much farther ahead than you were before right? So it takes some time to actually evolve how you're going to articulate your value proposition and in a way that doesn't sound like an elevator pitcher doesn't sound inauthentic but really just describes the answer to the question what is it that you d'oh okay all right so now we're gonna go to andrey khushi I actually have evolved my value but I had a unique value proposition to start I'm going to talk about that one the one where I generated over one hundred thousand dollars in the first year in business because they probably interested in that one right? Yes and have since evolved yes made anybody home? I think so. Okay, so here's what I did well let's go back to my mission we'll start with that. So remember I told you I used to suffer from anxiety and from depression and insomnia and I took ah lot of drugs that were prescribed to try to get myself through the day to get myself through the commute to get myself through talking to that team leader again go team meeting was anything but a team meeting I mean just you know, I just didn't fit and I struggled so hard trying to make myself it and I don't have any creative outlet at all I wasn't doing anything, so this anxiety was just crippling and I was had panic attacks the whole nine yards and after I came back from visiting my friend and I met that author I did start to paint again and I thought to myself, well, maybe I could actually alleviate my own anxiety by painting and I have any intention, you know, kind of like art therapy that's art therapy rogers who art therapy on myself I didn't have any intention of showing my work certainly no intention of selling my work, but I thought if I could do this and I could just take a meditative focus and focus on light now what is color color is light right that's all it is it's light so it's light I'm interested in and so I thought, this is fantastic this is working, actually. So when I paint, I'm really in the moment and I thought that's my mission because when you are sort of stuck in the past or telling stories of the past or bemoaning past you're depressed and when you're fixating on the future you're anxious when you're in the moment your all powerful and your present and your peaceful and serene and what happened wass people did start to peek at my paintings and I started to show them and they all said something very consistently when I look at your paintings, I feel happy and calm and so it was just over and over again I feel happy and calm I feel happy and calm and fantastic and so there's no better source of light than natural light, so I'm not following that I'm not adhering to the impressionist school entirely haven't influence of wayne tebow and the impressionists, but I'm inspired by light, that's, natural and that's available in amazing california landscapes. The other thing about me is I'm from ohio originally, so when I came to california and I saw these vineyards and I saw these mountains, I was blown away by the diverse landscape that's here and it was really inspiring, so I chose that as my subject, so I think that gives you a sense of my mission. The tagline and the tagline is savor the colors of the moment that's my tagline go to my website and rei dot com you'll see savour the colors the moment so that's where it comes from it's very personal now I had a program whereby I would actually approach the wineries and it created strategic partnerships with them and I offered to paint their vineyards and sell them the reproductions at wholesale prices which they could then give gifts to their best customers or cell in there tasting rooms but the catch was they need to invite me to the wine tastings where I would sell the originals. Now, why was that? Key people buy art into environments. One environment people buy a lot of art in is when they're on vacation, it serves as a memento. So I'm only half hour from here. So from cinema, our from napa great, that serves a problem because I looked at some of the art, uh, that was being offered up in napa and sonoma, and I thought I could do better. The other key part of my strategy is that when people drink, they buy stuff, so I thought, well, how to get started. I actually had a friend who owned an organic grape vineyard in davis, california, which is where I used to live and she had a great she had a she had a vineyard and had a creek. It had an alfalfa field, so it had many points of inspiration for me and frilly my subjects light in color, so I don't really care, but I did notice that the vineyard paintings were selling and I kind of liked the vineyard paintings because they had this architectural element in them right these rose so I dunno if you know this if you remember I said I was an industrial design major and so one of the ways I put myself through art school was I did architectural renderings because architects don't draw very well so I would do these conceptual drawings and make money in art school I've always loved three point perspective and with a vineyard I get to do that a little bit more I get to show perspective so a lot of my paintings have this feeling of going away right to take you on a little journey and that's where that comes from now the pain I saw I solved pain for two target markets so the wine enthusiast who were on vacation they wanted something teo actually remember there vicky a shin bi that they liked and the winery's what they got is basically a permanent ad and someone's heart in someone's home right? Because after the after you drink the bottle wine it's gone you have no reminder of that winery right? But if you've got an raise reproduction or painting on a wall now you have a reminder a permanent reminder of that wine so it's solved a problem for two separate markets do so see how this is going did I paint any differently than it did before no paint the same stuff? Did you realize that this was a market that you were stumbling into I stumbled into it and then when I needed to pay the rent I got I came out of stumbling and I got very deliberate and very strategic very very strategic strategy is created is creativity so that's I love creative problem solving I absolutely love career problem solving you can ask so so were you noticing that let's say for instance, people who are drinking tend to buy or want to buy, which is why they have alcohol it marches in auctions on and also yeah yeah um and hyung shows did you notice that connection or what did that kind of come after ono I noticed that right away I buy stuff when I drink I mean, I know that it's it's a social lubricant also so um anyway, that was my old model I have since evolved it on I actually don't work the winery's anymore I discontinued it and the reason is because I came back to my values alright had a look at my values I really care that much about wine and I don't like alcohol that much alcohols ruined my family really? Um so I discontinued I'm happy to paint a vineyard for a private collector if they've got a memory associated with it and it's important to them that's a different thing, but I really don't want to help companies sell wine I could care less so I had to evolve and create yet another blue ocean strategy but is actually the good news is is that that value proposition is actually served to be more profitable then my initial one I'm telling you this because remember I said this is an iterative process you're going to follow the yellow brick road and you're doing it so you're gonna have to do it again I want to get to the emerald city alright, so and there's no shame in that you always want to be evolving you always want to be examining your values so that you don't become a sellout, right? So, um that's my background on and that's how I was able to target a market and generate over one hundred thousand dollars in sales in my first year and actually made more money in my first year painting full time than I ever did working for a corporation and it was so much more satisfying I'm not promising anybody that's what you could d'oh it's all up to you we're all at different stages in the o r evolution. So you know, the important thing is that you just start where you are and you recognize and you're gentle with yourself about where you are today and just know that there is a path that you can follow, there is a process and you will get to the emerald city as long as you keep walking if there's nothing you take away from any of this this is what I want you to know you actually just need to keep going and one of the things we're gonna be talking about with the artists were gonna come on through google hangouts is that they're all succeeded which is why they're which was why I have invited the mind but they've also failed to and they've learned a lot from those that have stop then they learned from those failure so I always went when I interview an artist I have a thriving artist profile siri's on making art making money and I always use the same format what were your three top successes where your three fattest failures and what were the three lessons that you learned so just no you know it's like when you learn to paint or when you learn howto with photography you know first the first image is not always the best image right? You have to keep it moving, you have it's a process it's very much a creative process of it hope you can appreciate that building businesses is very creative had a really a wonderful conversation with credit ceo of creative live and we're talking about how creative businesses and he said that he had this idea that what he liked to dio is just create a business once a week and then just put it out there and for anyone to take because he understands that, you know, it's. Just an idea, right? Do you think of another wine? You get another one and another one? Another one, just like a painting, just like a photograph, just like film.