"What is an artist?" is where you need to start with "What is a professional artist?"
Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions, where we're talking about hot topics for the season, that'll make a difference to your art. I'm your host, Marijanel, joined by my co-host, Charla Maarschalk. Let's get to it. Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. I'm here today with my co-host, Charla Maarschalk, and we're talking about what it takes to go pro as an artist. This is a very deep conversation that has many layers. Doesn't it, Charla?
Yeah. Even just getting ready for the podcast. We had so many layers. We couldn't even decide what to start with.
Yeah. So, going pro can be a controversial topic for, for artists because we all see it a little bit different. Um, as a Bold School community, we've been reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and he defines going pro quite in depth as, uh, like what is the difference between amateur and pro in the book? And it's opened up, I don't know if I wanna call it a can of worms but it's opened up just, you know, some controversy and some, some thoughts on, you know, there are some artists who feel it's, it's a mindset to go pro and others that feel like it, it equates to your paycheck and what you're actually making in income as a professional artist. And so how do you define it, Charla?
Um, defining going pro. I didn't even think it was all that controversial until I really thought about it, because I think it's exactly what the industry, um, what we think of the art industry is exactly this, this topic. Because we, we don't know what artists are. We, nobody knows what an artist is. People think I'm not an artist 'cuz I can't draw ,and then I can draw. So, I'm an artist, and now I'm a professional artist. Like, it's almost like what, what is an artist is where you need to start with what is a professional artist? Because you can't just splash paint on a canvas and call yourself an artist. You have to have skill and a message. You have to practice, and study, and you have to hone your, your skills. But there is no, um, levels of distinction in the art world.
And maybe like in the music world, there may not be levels of distinction either, but there's a more of a societal distinction into what makes a professional musician and what doesn't. And if you get on stage and sing and you you're really good, then people can automatically put you in that category, but you can't just get on stage and sing and not be able to carry a tune, or not understand the keys or how to keep up the instruments, you know? You have to have specific skills. But in the art world, you pick up a pencil, and you splash something on the canvas and you, they call you an artist. Well, I think fine. You wanna be called an artist? I think we're all creative. And one of the mandates and what I preach is that we're all creatives and we need to, to work into that. But what makes you simply what, what's the difference in a child with a crayon and a piece of paper and a professional artist? I think we need to create that distinction so that we can, um, this is probably a controversial statement, but so that we can gain respect in the world as artists. I think respect comes with recognizing the work it takes to get somewhere and getting paid for that.
So, there seems to be one of the distinctions to be whether or not you make money as an artist. Um, and you know, whether it's your sole income and that, and that seems to draw the line between what's an amateur or hobbyist, and what's a professional. And you and I have talked about these different dimensions to becoming a professional. And the dimensions being like our mindset, number one, our skill level and our business experience. And it seems to be that really, to succeed as a professional artist or to be like pro, you've gotta have those three elements, mindset, skill, and business. And so, uh, do you wanna talk a little bit about the mindset? I know in the Bold School community? Um, we, we really talk about and, and try to mentor, and foster the mindset of artists. Um, no matter what level, whether it's just someone who's beginning to be interested in art, wondering if they have talent, or someone who's dabbled in it as a hobbyist, as an amateur for a long time, and they're contemplating what it would take to go pro. So, all of those different levels, we wanna foster the mindset. But tell me, talk to me about what is the mindset we need to be ready to go pro?
Oh, I don't know if that's a simple answer either. It's... None of these are simple answers.
Yeah. So I think, you know, it's, it's I look at as the three dimensions of going pro, and I think in, in the process of manifesting anything in the physical world, we have to first, um, bring it into our imagination. You know, like it's, it has to, in a sense manifest in our imagination, in our mind, or, or be a part of the, the spiritual part of us. It has to be believed to be real, and then, then you manifest it into the physical world. There's nothing that you create in your world. You don't even make a sandwich for your lunch without first thinking about it.
So, our mindset has to always come first. And if you don't believe you're an artist, you can't go pro. If you don't believe that you can create something beautiful and something with excellence, you're never gonna go pro. You're never even gonna become an artist.
Um, so you have to manifest these beliefs in your mind, in your emotions, in your spirit before you'll ever be able to bring it into the world, but then in order to level up, you have to manifest that new level of thinking. And I think that's something we often don't think about. I remember I was listening to this guy on YouTube, um, talk about business and, and just how to be good at business, how to get better at business. And it was like how everyone's reading books and listening to podcasters on how to go from zero to a million. And then you get to a million dollars and you're like, I did it, I did it. I reached my goal. I reached my dream. I'm here. Like I'm at the top of the mountain, but there's a, it is just as much of a gap to go from a million to 10 million or a million to 50 million to get now over that next heap in business, or just in your, maybe to have that money in your personal account is another massive learning curve.
And a lot of people actually can go from zero to a million, but the stats show that way less go from a million to 10 million because that learning is, is even bigger. And you don't really think that that's the case. You think once you get to a million, you can go anywhere, but you have what it means is that you have to get your mindset now to a new place just because you succeeded in one phase of the journey does not mean you're gonna succeed in the next phase of the journey. You have to work just as hard in the next phase. So, you, you create the mindset to get you where you wanna go, but then you have to go back and start in the mindset again. It's like the first step is to create the mindset. Then you, you go into the skills that you need to develop that and to get to the place you're going to reach your goal. And then the third step is actually reaching your goal. So, you don't just go pro. You don't just become an artist, you know.
Yeah. So, one of the things that, that we've said in like pre-show conversation that we were, we were just chatting about is how I have seen a big gap between artists who have skills, and let's say the mindset and the skills, and then artists who have business sense and how sometimes I have seen that someone who's amateur in their skills can have incredible business sense and be selling and, you know, prospering in their art without such strong skills. And then the other way around where I've seen incredibly gifted, talented artists who are pro in their skills, not have the business sense to compensate and, and aren't making money in the same way. And then there's this, you know, sort of beautiful, uh, joining of the two, this, this magical moment where an artist comes together with both the pro mindset, pro skill, and pro business sense, and they just skyrocket in a whole other level. And, and I think that's a conversation worth having that. It's like, we have to put some equal weight on developing ourselves in all of those areas. Yeah. The mindset, the skills and, and the business sense. And, um, and so, you know, do you see it like that? Do you see that gap in, in sort of that division as well?
Yeah, I think, you know, when it comes to like just regular people, regular life, which is what we all are, we're always talking about balance. Like, how do you balance work life versus family life? And I don't know if, if balance is, there's lots of like buzzwords out there and trying to replace the word balance because there's, it's not just, you work a few hours, you work nine to five and then you spend the equal amount of time with your family. You're creating, um, you, you're trying, you're trying to find balance, but in unique and different ways to make it work for you and what you wanna accomplish. I think all of those things that we're talking about, the skills, the business, the, the people skills, the art skills, and the mindset, it's all a balance because it's, if you think about all, you have to learn, it becomes overwhelming.
And I think for many people, myself included, it's really easy to become very overwhelmed and, and think you can't do it because you don't have the time in the day. You don't have the energy and you need you're, you're lacking in, or you're neglecting something quite often. I feel like I'm neglecting my kids so that I can learn to be better at business. I can learn to be better at my art so that, you know, I'm just trying to do a million things, but people do it. They actually, what I go back to is that people actually do it. They can, if somebody out there can accomplish it then so can I, because we're all, we all have different skills, but we can all do the same things. You know, just in different ways. So, there's a balance. And I think that's what that comes to is a balance.
And I think in order to live a full life, we need to be balanced in all these areas. You can't, I don't know what the point of just honing your art skill is if you're just gonna sit in your studio and no one's ever gonna see it, and you're never gonna be able to take it to the world. And like, what's the... Sure, it's fulfilling to you. But if you want to be a full-time artist, like, you have to make money. Like, you have to, to create a way for that to make money. So, to put effort and time into learning the business, into learning what people skills it requires, 'cuz we can all do it no matter how scared or anxious or introverted we are. We all have the ability to find our space out there outside of our studio. So, you, you put in that time, you put in that effort to figure it out, and it all, it all becomes beautiful. It's like making, making food. If you just eat bread every single day, you're gonna get sick of it. But if you learn how to make a sandwich, like first put a piece of cheese on, well that's good cheese and bread, but then some meat, and then a little bit of pesto, and some red onion, like it just gets better and better.
Your analogies are the best, Charla.
It's the only way to explain things.
And I'm gonna be hungry, I'm gonna be hungry by the end of this show. I'll be like, we're stopping. I need to make a sandwich.
Yeah. But I think it's, it's like the idea of the wholehearted artist. You, you really are not gonna be fulfilled. I don't care who you are, if you're just sitting in the studio, you're really just giving into some of your fears. And we need to find the balance. We need to put time into all of it. And we all have time and everything takes time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. So, we can do it. Like you feel overwhelmed, but you can do it.
Yeah. One of the things that you said to me, like as we, as we chatted was you, you said, to go pro you gotta work your butt off.
Yeah. And that is the time and putting in the time. And I think that that might be one of the keys that sets apart the pro from the amateur is just that, um, that amount of commitment and time learning and growing and let's circle back. We have a few minutes, um, for the, till the, till the end of this Summer Session, we're gonna continue this talk in the next episode. And we're gonna talk at that time about three steps on your way to becoming pro, three steps that you can take to get your art and your name out there. Um, but let's just circle around for a moment about the mindset, 'cuz we've talked today about how we need the mindset, the skills and the business sense to go pro. It's like a balance of these, but the mindset's a biggie, 'cuz I'm not sure if you can go pro without the mindset.
And you've, you've talked lot about confidence. And I also know that in the community, it gets brought up a lot about something called imposter syndrome, which I think needs a podcast of its own. But that sense of feeling like a fraud, like, do I really belong here? Am I an amateur pretending to be pro? Am I qualified? Has someone, um, given me a stamp of approval that I belong in this industry and in this art world? And, and those are all deep insecurities that amateurs turning pro face and amateur and a reason why we stay amateur, why we stay hobbyist because we, we just don't believe in ourselves to go pro. Is there a way that we can touch on that, just for a minute, I know it deserves its own podcast, but what would you say to the mindset of the one who's holding back from pro because they're lacking confidence.
I think you said one thing, you said, um, the stamp of what... People you're waiting for the stamp of approval. I think that is the key. We, I had this discussion with my husband a couple of days ago and I was like, you know what I think it takes... Because some people might look at me like I'm successful. I have this school, and this community, and I have this portfolio of art, and I'm successful, and I've made it to somewhere. And I know that's great. I hope that I can be an inspiration for somebody who's not here and this is their goal, but I have more goals and I, I have to change my mindset to get to the, my next goal. And like, I'm looking for someone to tell me how to do it. I'm always looking for someone to tell me how to do it.
I'm like on YouTube, somebody tell me what I need to know.
And tell me the skill I need to learn, and tell me how to be a better leader. Like somebody tell me. And then somebody tell me I'm doing it right. Somebody tell me I'm doing it good. And I always want this stamp of approval. And I was talking to my husband about this, and I was also talking with Marijanel about this before the podcast started, we watched this movie a few nights ago called king Richard. And it's about two tennis players, uh, Serena and Venus, and about their father and my husband's a tennis player. So, this movie was kind of like a big deal, and we watched it and it, it meant a lot. It was actually a really good movie. And so, King Richard just plows forward in what he wants for his, the life of his girls.
And I guess his family's life in general, and nothing stops him. And he does it in a new way that nobody's ever done it before, like Venus and Serena went pro in a way that had never, ever happened. And here he was, you know, a black man, and a black family in, in living in poverty, pushing through all of these boundaries. It's, it's just so beautiful, and so inspiring. And it's like I said, I said to Ryan, like, how do you do it? How do you push forward without a stamp of approval? 'Cuz Richard didn't have a stamp of approval from anybody. He just did it. And I'm like, how do I do that in business? And how do I do that in my art? And, and Ryan looks at me, he's like ing Richard. And I'm like, I had that exact thought. I'm like King Richard.
He didn't have a stamp of approval.
He just believed that what he, the plan he had in his mind for his girls was going to work and he didn't let anybody stop him. He just went, people tried to, but he kept going over and over and over them until it worked, we all know it worked. And I think it's, it's, it's not looking to somebody else for approval. And I think that's what we all want. And I think most of us had the story that some point in our life, someone told us we're not an artist. And we're like, oh, well I'm not an artist. So, I'm just gonna quit. And now we're back at another point in our life saying, well, I wanna do this 'cuz it's always been in my heart, and I'm gonna do it now. Maybe somebody gave you the approval, or maybe you just gave it to yourself. But I think, I think approval from other people is good. It validates us, but we really need to learn to trust ourselves and to, to, to learn from other people, and to go out and seek advice and mentoring, I believe is so important.
But we have to trust ourself. And that's how you can change your own mindset is believing that you can find the right way, not believing that whatever you do is great, ;cuz that's probably not true, but believing that you can find the right way.
So, I hear that.
Get rid of that stamp of approal. and watch King Richard.
Yeah. And I hear that right there. Watch King Richard. I hear that right there being the number one key, like you just un, unlocked the number one key to the mindset is learning to trust yourself.
And so, Charla and I just wanna thank you for joining us here today on the Summer Sessions, and we don't want you to miss out on our newsletters. So, make sure to get on the [email protected] and you can find us on Instagram @boldschoolinc. And uh, there is lots more. So, stay tuned to the Summer Sessions here on the Bold School YouTube channel. Until next time, keep creating.