We're on, we're on the air.
We're on the air, Charla.
I know, but my hair is doing really funny.
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.
We're in the summer sessions where we're talking about hot topics for artists, and she's still playing with her hair, and I'm not editing it out.
It looks terrible. Everyone's gonna stare at it now. Okay. You don't have to edit it.
We're on the air. We're rolling.
That's a lot better.
Welcome. Welcome to the show. And we've been in a series talking about what it means to go pro as an artist. We've covered, we've covered the, the different, um, dimensions of going pro, and three different steps to like your first steps to going pro. And now we thought it would be very beneficial if we attempted to define what it means to go pro. Now, if you missed it a few podcasts ago, I mentioned that inside of our Bold School community, we're, um, in the middle of book club where we're reading The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, who he does have some very clear definitions of the differences between amateur versus pro. And it's opened up quite some interesting conversations between the artists on how they see the differences between amateur and pro and, um, Charla replied to some of the discussion online in our community. And she wrote some definitions of what it takes to be professional. And in a minute, I just wanna read those just so that we have a, a place to begin talking from that definition. But for openers, Charla, do you have any thoughts on why this is so hard for us to define?
Well, I think it's hard to define because nobody has defined it. There's no distinction as to what even an artist is, let alone a professional artist. And I said this like two podcasts ago, that a lot of times, if you just put art on a canvas, you're considered an artist. So if, if that's all you have to do to be an artist, then, then what does it take to become a professional artist? I think that even to be a considered an artist -- no, I think that there's a difference between being a creative and being an artist. I think we're all creative, and we need to believe that and use our creative skills, and or hone our creative skills and use our creative skills in our lives, all aspects of our lives. And I think the world would completely change if we just believe that we are creative. We're all creative.
But then what does it mean to be an artist? Like I'm a visual artist, and then there's many types of visual artists. There's many types of artists. Um, I don't that you're qualified as an artist because you put paint on a canvas, but I, I believe there should be qualifiers in places that we know what that is. Um, and then professional is another level. I use music as an example, because it's a similar world where, what, what makes you a professional musician? Um, I don't know that we really it's probably just as debatable or controversial as what makes you a professional visual artist. But I think that we can understand more about what a real musician or real singer is when somebody, when you watch American idol and somebody gets up on that stage, and they can't sing. And yet they're like, my family brought me here 'cuz they thought I could be the number one.
And you're like, who is your family? Like, who are these people? Yeah. Um, you know that not everybody can sing. And even when they have really great singers, come on, they say, well, you are not practiced and you have never had, and they say, have you ever had lessons? And they're like, no, I've never had training. And they're like, yeah, I can tell. You're very talented, but you need training if you're gonna be a professional. Um, so I think as, as music, when we think of the music world, we know that not everybody can get on a stage and sing. Yet, for some odd reason, we believe that anyone can, can paint a picture. Anyone can sculpt, anyone can be an artist. Um, there's just this weird thing. And I think, I believe we need distinctions. I don't believe they're in place. I believe that they could be in place. There's probably a process where we could put them in place, but I think it's very helpful for us just individually and as a community, if we discuss these distinctions and,
and we're able then to set goals for ourselves, and know what we're working towards, and not be afraid, and change our mindsets, and know what we need to learn, what we need to practice. I think it would just give us a goal. Give us a goal post.
Yeah. So, on the community you wrote this, " think amateur and pro can have different meetings depending on the context. I believe you have to go pro in your head ) before going pro in the physical world." We talked about mindset a couple of episodes ago. So definitely tune into that one if you haven't already. "But I also believe it's kind of black and white when it comes to these terms being used as a label. The definition of professional is, 'relating to or belonging to a profession.' And the second definition is, 'engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation, rather than as a past-time.' Um, also a definition of profession is, 'a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.'" And so that leads me back to where we've talked in the previous episode about, um, this balance between mindset, getting pro mindset pro skills and pro business, uh, business skills as well.
That needing to be the balance of going pro. But, um, this definition is so hard for us, Charla, I think because there's, there is in general, the fake it till you make it, um, qualification. Where someone decides, Okay, I need to go pro, or I want to go pro, and I'm gonna fake it till I make it. And so they enter into the business realm still as an amateur, their skills are underqualified, but they're doing business. And sometimes they actually really succeed because they have great business sense and really good way with people. And then other times we see the flip flop scenario where there's these amazing, talented individuals and artists who, um, they can't do business or they don't have what that takes. And so we're seeing this massive gap. And then we can't define what does it mean to be professional? And it can become a very touchy, sensitive subject because many artists desire to be professional. We want to go pro, but we don't know what it takes to get there, which we've covered a lot of in the past episodes. Um, but also this definition of does it mean I have to be making money in order to be considered a professional. And your definitions that you wrote there in the Bold School community book club seem that it does need to be, um, a source of income in order to be called your, your profession.
I believe that it does. I think that it does. I think that's just, um, you know, our society, our, our society in a sense needs these definitions. We need to know what is, what. Like, we, this could go into a lot of areas in society, but we kind of just need to understand what is what. And, um, if we had these distinctions, we wouldn't, I don't think we would feel as vulnerable, or feel so, um, protective or, or what you used the word there a few minutes ago. Um,
Sensitive. It's a very sensitive subject. Yes.
Yeah. We wanna be professional because we know there's a respect in being a professional. You, you can only be a professional doctor. You can't be, nobody's gonna go see an amateur doctor. You know, like? But there are doctors in training, you know, there are there's doctors, there's people in university who are going to become a doctor who know more than, than maybe I know. And then they go into training, they become a resident, you know, they're still not at the same level. As, as other doctors, then you go into specializations. It's so easy to know. You're gonna go see a doctor as like, what training do you have before I let you look at that? You know, I'm not gonna let you tell me what to do until I know what if you're a professional or not and there's so there's a respect.
And I, I love that about some professions. We know exactly where, where they lie, what they've done to get there. But artists don't have that. So, but it still does exist. If somebody a collector's coming along and they're gonna buy your art and you've got your art price at $10,000, they're gonna say, Hey, hang on a second. I've never heard of you. I've never seen you before. I love your art, but what makes this piece of art valuable? And they're gonna wanna see, how long have you been painting? Are you represented in any galleries? How many pieces have you painted this year? How many pieces have you sold this year? Where is your art? Do you have more? I can look at, you know, they're gonna ask a whole ton of questions. Because they're trying to justify paying this for a piece.
They really like, but if you are not trained, if you are not, um, if, if somewhere in their head you're not qualified, they're not gonna pay that. And it's good. It's the same as if they come across a piece of art they love, and it's $50. They're like, hang on a second. This is beautiful. But it's $50. Is that really all it's worth? If that's all it's worth, I don't want it. You know, so we need distinctions. And I think this is where all these vulnerabilities arise, because nobody really knows we're making it all up in our heads. And I also think you don't have to be afraid of being an amateur. An amateur artist is a good place to be. It just means you're not quite into the professional status. So, even understanding what amateur means is really important, because you can have confidence in being an amateur artist.
It's still a good thing.
Yeah. It's not bad to be amateur. It's not bad to be emerging. Now, one of the things you just mentioned, um, it reminds me of, I, I come from a, a hairdressing background, a hair stylist background. I've been a stylist since I was early twenties. So, going on 20 something years. And one of the things that I see is just 'cuz you come outta school with a certificate that says I'm a hairstylist that passed the exam does not mean you can really cut hair and, and I have seen many of bad hair haircuts from inexperience. And then, so for me, a big distinction, when I look at anything, whether it's a painter or a hair stylist is experienced
Experience, that's a good word. Yes.
And, security in what you see. And when I look at art, I don't know the distinction of recognizing experience, but I can see experience. And I can see inexperience. And that is, I think something we might never be able to explain. Now, when you're wearing that art on your head, in the form of a haircut, you know, a bad haircut, 'cuz you, you think, whoa, like my hair is not behaving. It's you know, it was a really choppy cut. They did not know what they were doing. But if you can, if you can now translate that into paint on a canvas, uh, an artist who's really come into themselves through experience, and being comfortable in their skin as an artist, and really knowing themselves, knowing their brush strokes, knowing their colors. And that's what you talk about a couple episodes ago about honing your skills.
That honing of your skills becomes experience. And the experience also defines you as a pro. You know, um, I'm remembering an event that I went to in Kelowna. Um, and it, it would've been one you might have been at, Charla. This was many years ago. And um, it was like this, this event that gave different artists or, or speakers or people five minutes on the stage. And they were like, there was like 20 of them. Do you remember this kind of of event?
Was it like the 10, 10, 10?
Yeah. Okay. It was 10 minutes on the stage. And one of the color painters, 10, yeah, 10 R is 10 minutes that they got on the stage and something else was really entertaining. And one of the Kelowna painters got on the stage, and I remember watching his experience, he painted live, but something happened, um, right when he first set up.
So they like took up his easel, they set it up, they put his canvas and it, the whole thing tipped over, oh my God. And it wasn't even embarrassing to him. He kind of laughed, and he picked it all up again, and he put it all back together, and everybody kind of laughed and applauded like, you know, good job, good start. And then he just at ease, began to paint. And in 10 minutes he completely mesmerized us with this painting. It was foliage, and it had a crane, and it was like the flying kind of bird. That kind of crane.
I was picturing a crane.
Yeah, no, it was a flying kind of bird crane. And we were all just, wowed. And the thing that came to me over and over again is his experience that he had completely become so in tune with his skills, that first of all, the canvas and easel falling over, didn't even phase him. Being in front of the people didn't face him anymore. Painting with such ease and letting it come out of him in 10 minutes.
It was just like fluid, and so easy. And of course professionals make things look easy. And we, we need to remember that too, that when you're pro, you make it look easy, and everyone else around you thinks they can do it. And that even goes for you, Charla. Everyone thinks they can paint portraits when they're around you. When I go into your studio and first of all, on the podcast here, you're not even seeing on YouTube here. You're not even seeing all of the beautiful, colorful faces that are behind Charla, but there's, you know, a good 30 or 40 of, of them on that wall. And you go into Charla's studio and you think I can paint a face because look at all these beautiful faces, it must be easy.. Because she's pro. I go to paint a face, and I need to go through Bold School and take all the classes. And, and uh, yeah, like it's just, you make it look easy.
Yeah. And here's a secret to Bold School, is all you have to do is take all the classes from beginner to advance, and you'll be able to do it, too.
And you will be able to paint your faces. Um, but in, in that same breath, like there are steps in these stepping stones to honing your skills. But remember that the pro is experienced. And they make things look easy. And I think that that's a distinction, as well. I always look for experience, and I can see experience in your work. And when I look, when I'm kind of like looking to evaluate what I consider to be pro, I see the ease. I see the experience, and I see the, the com the comfortable brushstrokes, and the way that it flows. And I just think.
it's like the muscle memory.
...they're pro. Yeah. They know what they're doing. They know what they want on that canvas.
Well, have you ever been to a doctor's office where there's a doctor in training in the office?
I, yeah. And I have had
Had that experience. Then you know what experience means.
I had one pull out a giant textbook one time just to double check that what he was saying to me, and that made me nervous, 'cuz I thought, I could Google that. I guess, if you're looking in a textbook. But you have to start somewhere. You, you have to start a, a, you know, a doctor in training has to start with those first few patients that they pull out the textbook for and double check.
Somebody who is willing to allow them to.
New Speaker (16:19):
And the painter and the painter needs to start somewhere too.
New Speaker (16:25):
In order to cross over that, that barrier between amateur and pro, we have to.
You have no choice. You have to, it's just, there's really no choice.
I think knowing the distinction, the distinction that we're discussing today
is important. And also, even though Charla and I have defined pro -- a big component of pro as being, um, where you make your money and your profession -- that doesn't mean that it has to come from only selling paintings. There are in, within the art realm there's, or the art world, there's so many categories for how to make a profession in art. Um, that you could almost. Like for me personally, I mix and match a lot where I teach, I, I sell, I commission. I talk about art. And you know, all of these, these things
What are the easiest ones?
it is, especially when you are on the show with me, Charla.
But we're talk, you know, but like we're talking about it, but we're talking about our experience. We're not making stuff up. We're not talking about what other people have experienced. We're talking from our experience. So I say it's easy becuase...
Painting in front of people, no matter how, like I don't have enough experience painting in front of people to make that easy yet. Even though I paint in front of people for a living. It's, it's still, I find it's hard to do.
But once you gain, once you gain that experience though, you'll make that look easy too. And that's the thing is experience. And experience only comes through, through doing it, and the repetition, which is the dedication. Which I think is all what Steven Presfield is talking about in The War of Art. So even though The War of Art in our online book club has gotten a lot of, you know, these kind of almost controversial, uh, conversations going on and what's the difference between amateur and pro. Um, even though it's kind of opened that can of worms. What he is saying is that the pro works really hard is fully dedicated, is all in no matter the cost. And that's the only way he became the writer that he is. That's the only way you've become the painter that you are. It's the only way I've become the artist. You know, I do multi forms, but I have given my whole life to it. And, and that's, I think where amateurs, like, there's this sort of jumping off precipice where you're just kind of like, okay, I'm all in. And that's the first real big marker of going pro cause you, you begin that repetition of experience and, and get to the point where you're making things look easy.
Yeah. And I think when you get there... A lot of people have a hard time making money off of their art, whether it's selling or teaching or some other form. Those are just the two most commonly talked about forms of making money from your art. And a lot of people say it's hard to do. And it is most of the time because you don't yet have the experience, your experience isn't showing in your art, uh, maybe within your finished pieces, or maybe your experience isn't showing in your people skills, or your ability to communicate your art to the world. And all of that. Even just, just showing your art and sharing your art requires experience. And then when suddenly all of that comes together, it's kind of like the flow that you want to experience when you're in front of your easel, you wanna experience flow, and flow only comes when your level of difficulty I think is at like a 4% level.
So, when you really know what you're doing, you enter into flow. And when you really know what you're doing with selling your art, sharing your art, teaching your art, then you enter into that flow experience. The, the difficulty level becomes really low. And then people see it and they, it, it looks easy. It feels easy. It inspires, and then they want more. And then you can start making money from your art. It kind of, it just happens when the timing is right. So, to get there, you have to put a lot of work. And you can put a lot of work and it happened in six months, and you can put in a lot of work and it only happened in six years. It really depends on your, your process, you know, your journey, but it definitely requires the work, which gives you the experience, and that's what people see and wanna pay money for.
And that makes pro, makes you an expert, makes you professional.
Yeah. So, thank you for joining us today on the Bold Aartist Podcast, Summer Sessions, and for talking with us, and contemplating the difference between amateur and pro. Definitely check out our other episodes if you haven't already, and hop on our email list, which you can get on @boldschool.com, You wanna make sure you're on that newsletter and getting all of the exciting updates with Bold School. You can find us on Instagram, @boldschoolinc. And right here on YouTube on the Bold School channel. We have a fresh episode for you every week. Thank you for joining us. And until next time, keep creating.