#218 Taylor White: Figurative Painter and Mural Artist

Artist Taylor White paints in a figurative style, which just means her paintings contain people. Of course, that’s just part of her art. She’ll paint the human form, in many different positions, add geometric shapes and colors, and create such depth and movement. After attending the Savannah College of Art & Design, she traveled overseas, doing illustration and later painting. She developed her skills in mural painting, focusing on young subjects. After returning to Raleigh, North Carolina, she created many murals on outside walls as well as in restaurants and office buildings.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Artist Taylor White

Taylor White

Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White art
Taylor White mural
Taylor White mural

Taylor’s website is taylorwhite.art

She is also on Instagram @taylurk

Her solo show in Raleigh will be up until August 28, 2021. For more information, click here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When you’re first starting out, it’s OK to do things for free. But don’t forget to stop doing things for free. You’ll start at a low amount and work your way up to higher prices.
  2. Don’t connect with a gallery just for the sake of being in a gallery. Do your research and see what they will be giving you in return for 50% of your sales. Will they be doing PR for the show? Will they display your work in a meaningful way? If everything they do is something you can do yourself, then you may want to skip that gallery relationship.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to other artists. Just because you’re not the Top 5 artist of something, it doesn’t mean you’re not successful. It just means you made different choices that work for you.
  4. When negotiating projects, like a mural, ask for a deposit to create the design. You don’t want to submit a fully rendered sketch without any compensation for it.
  5. Honor the clients who have paid you a deposit and have come first before you start working on a new client. They will understand that you have other projects lined up first, just communicate to them an accurate time table for when you can start their project.
  6. Taylor created a pop-up gallery to show her art. She rented out a space, created the art, hung the art, and staffed the space. You can do this too. Reach out to other artists who have done something similar and approach empty storefronts. Commercial properties like to see their empty spaces filled, even if it’s just temporary, so this may be a viable option to show your art.
  7. If you’re doing a pop-up show, invite other artists to perform there so that they can invite their list to your show. Examples would be musicians, poets, or singers.
Taylor White mural

#217 Tanya Ortega: Artist Residencies at the National Parks

Tanya Ortega is the Founder of the National Parks Arts Foundation, which offers residencies to artists at a variety of our National Parks. She started as a photography artist with a long-time love of the outdoors. Discovering that the Parks did not have residency programs, she created her own. After providing residencies for herself and her artist friends, she decided it was time to open up the residencies to any artist in the world, so she formed her Foundation. Their residencies are now open to artists of many disciplines, including visual artists, virtual artists, dancers, musicians and composers, and writers.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Tanya Ortega NPAF

Tanya Ortega

Night Rock on Playa
Death Valley National Park
Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
National Parks Arts Foundation
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Chaco Culture National Historic Park
Chaco Culture National Historic Park

The website where you can find the NPAF Artist Residencies is nationalparksartsfoundation.org

They are on Instagram @nationalparksarts

If you are curious about the artist Thomas Moran, whose paintings were instrumental in the creation of the National Parks, you can look here.

If you would like to read Melissa Block’s NPR story about a Dry Tortugas National Park residency, go here.

To hear my podcast interviews with Carl Stoveland and Shannon Torrence, the 2020 resident artists at the Dry Tortugas, click here for Episode #176 (before they left) and here for Episode #186 (after they got back).

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. For many artist residencies you must propose a project that you will do. Tanya said that about 80% of the time, the original goal changes based on what you see and experience at the park, and that’s O.K.
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply to an artist residency. You need to give it some time to think about your proposal and prepare the adequate background information so that they can get to know you and your art. It’s not something you can just put together in an hour.
  3. When determining if a residency is right for you, think of all the costs involved with getting there. That will include application fees, transportation to the location plus transportation while you are there, housing you’ll need beyond any housing provided by the residency, your food and drinks while there, and your art supplies. Some residencies provide a stipend to cover some of this, but some do not.
  4. Some artist residencies are awarded to multiple artists at once, and they may require or just encourage collaboration. Be clear on the details of a residency program to be sure that it is the right one for you.
  5. Most residencies allow you to apply again if you weren’t awarded the residency. Evaluate your application to determine how you can make it better next time. Places also allow you to apply again even if you’ve already done the residency. Some may be specific and say something like, you can’t re-apply less than two years after a residency.
  6. The definition of a residency can vary widely, so even if you see one that doesn’t make sense for you, keep looking because you may find one that does. They range in length of time, type of accommodations, type of artists, and requirements for your time there.

#216 David Ruggeri: Painting in a Graffiti Style

David Ruggeri is in St. Louis where he paints in a brightly colored graffiti style. His passion for the outdoors is apparent in his work, with many paintings featuring endangered animals. He travels to outdoor festivals to sell his art, and he’s glad that they’re returning and he can get them back on his schedule. Dave shares many great business tips with us, so I think you’ll really enjoy this episode.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

artist David Ruggeri

David Ruggeri

Shark painting
David Ruggeri art
American Bison
Rhino painting
Thumbprint painting
Thumbprint painting
Painting of Jordans
Monarch butterfly painting
Leopard painting
Cassette tape painting
Mix Tape

David’s website is davidruggeri.com

He is also on Instagram @dave_ruggeri

If you are in Kechum, Idaho the weekend of August 13 – 15, 2021, Dave will be at the Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When doing commissions, provide sketches to your client to approve. You want to start with an agreement as to what they want so you are sure they will be satisfied with the end product.
  2. Here are a few things that Dave learned with experience: He’s wise enough to know what he doesn’t know, and it’s OK to ask somebody for help. This is so true. You don’t want to spend excess time trying to figure something out if you can just quickly ask somebody to help you instead.
  3. Local art stores are a great place to find people to talk to and ask questions.
  4. David believes that with every failure, he can take something good from it. He’s got a lot of early paintings that aren’t the best, but he paints and paints to learn from his mistakes, develop his style, and get better at it.
  5. You should have a plan as to what you want to do with your art, but recognize that the plan will change as your goals change and as the selling environment changes.
  6. Recognize that when you’re first starting out, you will need to spend a lot of money, especially if you want to put your art into art shows. Not only will you need to buy a lot of canvases, paint, and brushes to create a large inventory, but you’ll also need to buy a tent for outdoor shows, display racks, tables and chair, and possibly a trailer to transport everything.
  7. You also want to buy quality equipment so that you’re not replacing things too often. It’s an investment in your business and will be cheaper in the long run to buy the better quality up front.
  8. When doing art festivals or gallery shows, talk to the other artists to find out how they do things. You may learn some great tips, like the best way to transport your art or ship your art; how to label your art; and how to find or make the best prints of your art.
  9. You need to be organized enough that you can respond to an opportunity right when you hear about it. That means you should always have great photos of your art; an updated artist resume or CV; an artist statement that can be modified to fit the event; and of course, all your art should be labeled, signed, wired, titled, priced, and neat. I’ll elaborate on what I mean by neat. For paintings, the edges should be painted, and there shouldn’t be a lot of paint on the back of the canvas. For sculptures, there shouldn’t be any sharp edges, or loose items.
  10. Don’t think you need to put your whole life story on your website. You can have a good about page with some key information, and you can let them get to know you more from your Instagram posts and stories, your newsletter, and other social media.
  11. Of course, you can utilize Instagram and other sites for your art business, and not have a website. However, I highly recommend that you do have a website as a landing spot where you can put everything people need to see from you: your artwork, your picture, your email address, and more.
  12. As you start to make some income, think about what parts of your business you can outsource. When you first start out, you’re doing everything, the art making as well as all the business tasks. But later, your time will be better spent making art than doing your taxes, for example, and that’s something you can hire an expert to do for you.
Guitar painting

#215 Catherine Rains: Creating Sacred Art through Collage

North Carolina collage artist Catherine Rains has spent years developing and evolving her collage style, taking classes and trying new materials. Her torn papers and paint are layered into an abstract style. She creates her art in collections and then announces their availability through Instagram and her newsletter, and is quite successful selling out.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Catherine Rains artist

Catherine Rains

Collage art by Catherine Rains
Profound Joy
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Love You
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Joy of Being
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Collage art by Catherine Rains
Collage art by Catherine Rains

Catherine’s website is catherinerains.com

She is also on Instagram @catrains.artist

The online site she uses for large prints is gicleetoday.com

Catherine mentioned two artists where she took online classes. They are:

Laly Mille

Lydia Rink

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Catherine did a great exercise to figure out what she wanted to do. She made a list of all the things that she did as a child without anyone asking her to do them. Collage appeared on that list, and that’s why she tried making a collage as an adult. Think about the things you do that allow you to relax and immerse into the task. Those are the things you should be doing.
  2. Remember that if you travel a lot, you can still carve out time to make art. Catherine traveled for work and took an extra suitcase just of art supplies. She would make art in the evening after she was done with work. You can still make it happen with just a small amount of supplies. You may find that working art into your life makes you happier for everything else that’s in your life.
  3. If you are trying to develop your skills with something new, challenge yourself to do one new art piece a day. It shouldn’t be too big so that you can easily complete it, but you’ll find that the more that you do, the better you will get.
  4. Catherine has found that if she is creating from a place of joy, then her artwork sells easier. People can tell if you have made art just to sell vs. made art that’s come from you.
  5. If you have a lot of collage bits and papers, you might want to try Catherine’s method of storage, which is to store the papers by color. I can see how that will make it easier to find the next piece you want to add to a collage. She also finds it’s fun to just work with a limited palette on many pieces of art until she’s bored with those colors.
  6. Artists often create in a collection, meaning they make multiple pieces of a same color palette or theme. Catherine also releases her art for sale as a collection. You can show each piece as you finish it on Instagram, and announce the date that they will become available for purchase. That will build up interest in your art.
  7. Realize that Instagram and your followers are not really “yours.” What I mean by that is, you can have 10,000 followers, but it is Instagram that determines which followers get to see your posts, not you. The one thing that you can control is your newsletter list. Catherine has a way of getting her Instagram followers to opt in to her newsletter list. When she gets a new follower, she messages them and invites them to join her newsletter list. She gives them a free gift too as a thank you. You can use your newsletter list to announce a new sale of your art, or a new class, or a new art event.
  8. Try to be consistent and regular with your online activity. People will follow you more if they know that they will see new content from you every day.
  9. Catherine uses the app Planoly to visually plan, manage, and schedule her Instagram posts.
  10. If you feel like you are blocked and are unable to be creative, try setting a timer and just make art for ten minutes. That may work to get you moving on something new.
artist Catherine Rains

#214 Jason Matias: Photography and the Art of Selling Art

Seattle photographer Jason Matias sold his art at art festivals, which ended last year. He adjusted his business and added an online teaching component to help other artists sell their art. With two business degrees, he has figured out how to find the buyers of his art and how to get them in to see his art. He starts our conversation with how he started taking photographs – at the North Pole!

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Jason Matias

Jason Matias

Photo by Jason Matias
The Crescendo and Gale
Photo by Jason Matias
Multnomah Falls
Hammock over the water
Room for One and Their Dreams. This art piece represents the concept of following our dreams and being alone while you do it.
Photo by Jason Matias
Photo by Jason Matias
Photo by Jason Matias
Kelekona Keha
Photo by Jason Matias
Concordia VII
Photo by Jason Matias
Skimming through Time
Jason Matias photography
Photo by Jason Matias
Island of Sky
Photo by Jason Matias
Edge of Solace
Photo of an ice cave by Jason Matias
Ice Cave with a View

Jason’s website is jasonmatias.com

He is also on Instagram and Twitter. 

Here is his blog post about why he creates art and you can find out what he means by Comfortable Isolation here.

He has written a book called Naked Thoughts. It is not a photography book, but a series of stories, or vignettes. It can be found on Amazon here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. One of the things Jason realized early is that price is marketing. If you treat your art like fine art, you can increase the price and market it to the people who can pay that price.
  2. Jason told us about the concept of anchor pricing. You are establishing a price point that gives you an indication of the value of your work. For example, a large piece that is priced high tells your customers that your artwork has a high value. You can still offer smaller items or prints at lower prices to provide other options.
  3. After you’ve determined the price point that you’d like, you need to make sure you are showing your work in an area where the people that can afford that and who like to buy art are there. That might mean targeting higher end art shows or making contacts with galleries outside of your city.
  4. It may not be enough to just share your work to potential buyers. You may have to educate them as to why it is important to buy art. This can be done through the concept of social proof: People want to adopt the habits or beliefs of people they want to be with or be like. You can think of it as a testimonial. You let new buyers know how your other buyers like and use your work.
  5. Jason mentioned the 7 Principles of Marketing. You can look up the details by doing a quick search, but I will list them here. They are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning, and people.
  6. When talking to potential buyers about your art, find out who they are and where they came from. Then tailor your stories to suit them and make your art more attractive to them.
  7. You also need to actually get the buyers to your art show. That involves targeting marketing. If you look at it in reverse, see if you can get to where the buyers are. He lives in a tech area and is thinking he may put his art in a tech show.
  8. Jason looks at art as creativity + context. Think about photography, for example. You can take a photo of anything and call it art. But for him, only the photos that fit into the aesthetic of his art will become a part of his portfolio. You can think in terms of that whether it’s photography, painting, ceramics, or any kind of art.
  9. When Jason considers showing his art in a gallery, he considers three criteria: The gallery must have a great location; a great sales team; and a black book full or contacts that they will notify about the show. You must remember that the galleries are going to take upwards of 50% from the sale of your artwork. Be certain that they are going to work to get people in to see your art and buy your art.
  10. Often artists are told that they must have an artist statement. Jason believes that is not necessarily true if you’re not trying to do gallery shows. He says it is more important to have your “Why” statement, meaning, why are you making your art, so that you can communicate that to your buyers.
  11. It’s important to be present when your art is selling at a gallery or show so that you can talk about your art and meet your customers. You’re the best person there is to represent your art.