My Trip to Oz (Debra Keirce)

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My Trip to Oz

I recently took a workshop for advanced oil painters. It was with an instructor I admire greatly, and the other students were all extremely accomplished. So you can imagine how excited and also nervous I was about the experience.

I told a friend how anxious I was, feeling I would not be able to keep up with all the talent in the room. She reminded me of my accomplishments and advised me not to go in with that attitude. But, being someone who needs to be advised multiple times, I ignored her. A few days into the workshop, an amazing artist in the seat next to me called me aside for a chat. He pointed out that my self deprecating comments were not serving me well. In fact, he asked me to consider how much they were holding me back. When both a dear friend AND a complete stranger offer me the same advice - then I take notice.

I got to thinking about this Fine Art Views article. Confidence sells. Self doubt or self deprecating talk and thoughts prevent sales and marketing opportunities.

Think about it. We all start our journeys with a low level of confidence. At some point we all fake it till we make it, and we all live through imposter syndrome. But we can't disrespect ourselves if we want others to respect us. When we appear confident, people buy from us and sign up for our classes and recommend us for more opportunities.

Really, the key to what we seek, the courage, the brain, the heart - it starts with what we have had inside us all along. It's the knowledge that we are doing our best, we have learned much we can share, and we have the passion to continue trying in the face of rejection. I propose that a confident attitude best serves us when we approach our marketing and sales challenges, even if that's not how we are feeling...yet. In fact, I've come to believe that it's more important to be confident than skilled when it comes to art. The best gallery owners I've worked with could confidently sell art by new artists as well as established ones.

We all know we need to be genuine in our marketing. But there is a balance. Finding that place between humble and lacking confidence can be tricky. To me, in this moment, it means post the posts you would stop to engage with. Publish newsletters you would read. Create art you would stop to admire and consider buying. But now I want to add another action to this list. Center yourself. Lose the self deprecating talk and actions before engaging in art business.

Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and critique ourselves to an unhelpful degree. Sometimes we are too easy on ourselves and give our excuses too much leverage. Which way are you leaning right now? How can you pull yourself back to center?

Even if it makes you uncomfortable, are you willing to give up your self defeating ways in order to be better at the business side of your art journey? I'm trying.


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Debra Keirce

Regular Contributing Author, FineArtViews

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