Share the screen?
All right, ready. Three, two, one. Hey, everyone, Harry here. Today, I have Lauren S. with me, and today, we're gonna be talking about how Lauren made 15,700 in sales in the last three months, a little less than three months. And so, Lauren, why don't you just introduce yourself, share a little bit about your art practice and what you do.
My name's Lauren S. I live in Northern Ontario in Canada. It's the largest freshwater lake in the world on Lake Huron, so it's very remote, in some level. But I moved here from Toronto, Ontario, which is pretty much the biggest city in Canada. I grew up there, but I needed to take a huge break and really focus on my practice. And a lot of it has to do with abstraction in landscape and marginalized places. So I did that in the city, but I brought it here.
Amazing, that's awesome. And so how long have you been living near Lake Huron?
It will be, it's about four and 1/2 years. This February was four years.
And what sort of stuff do you typically paint? You said landscapes and abstractions. Can you talk a little bit more about your art? I guess that's some of your art behind you, right?
Yeah, this is like a fairly large piece that's a full abstraction. It's what they call non-objective abstractive art, so it means there's no object in it that you can necessarily recognize. Whereas like other work I do is near abtraction, so you can tell it's like a landscape, there's something in there that's recognizable. So I kind of float between those two worlds because I find that the emotional content in the place or space that I'm working with is really important. And to not make it like picture perfect is really actually a goal of mine.
Yeah, no, I actually really like, I haven't seen any of these pieces you're showing right now, but the one behind you, the big one, to me, it looks almost like a creek with a lot of down trees or something like that in it?
That's what it is, actually.
Yeah, so almost like on a rainy day, and it's like the abstraction makes it feel like it's, everything's wet and kind of rainy, if that makes sense.
Yeah, well, that was kind of, it was a weird February warm day in Toronto. It was unusual, it was about 12 degrees. So I went down to this swampy area on Lake Ontario and started to work, paint up in the woods there. And then I went down on a swamp walk.
And this was like my imagination after I came back.
Very cool. Do you guys have, do people, I guess, so I'm from the South here in the U.S., and hunting is a thing down South. But do they hunt much? Are there like duck ponds and things in Canada much? 'Cause it looks like a duck pond to me, too.
Well, from where I grew up, no, hunting was nothing in Toronto. But here on the Island of, I mean, they close the shops down. It's deer hunting, moose hunting. And I think there's like birds and then people fish a lot, too.
It's really wild.
That's so cool, I love it. Yeah, I could see that being a fun place to walk by and figure out. So say a little bit more about like, what do you think makes your landscape and your abstract landscapes like really unique? What do you think's unique about your style?
Oh, it's a hard question. But I do think that there, what I've been, I mean, I can tell you what other people have said about it, but I would suggest that it's very, it's kind of like a direct response to place. So instead of trying to make it look like a place, like I can make perfect lakes and trees, and do all that, and I am doing that a bit more, but it's really more of like, how am I responding to that place? And through different pallets, like this kind of color scheme, like you look behind me. I mean, you pulled out a swamp, but I mean it's red, right, so.
Other people might get other things.
They do, like there's in the top, I don't know if you can really see it, but like there's, you can see at the top here, it's a storm trooper. You can see this big knife.
I actually see it now, but I didn't see it before.
You don't see that any more now. I'm just like, it's a storm trooper in the swamp. Yeah, I mean, these things happen.
It's like, yeah, I'm sure there's some Star Wars planet you could say it's a storm trooper on some swamp planet.
Some swamp planet, for sure. Yeah, I mean, it's just like that. Like what is there in front of me? What can I respond to with color and action? You know, it's an action thing as well. So like the ones I come across being, people can consider it sloppy on some level, but once you start to really have a good handle on paint, at least I don't wanna, I don't like to toot my horn very much 'cause I'm sure I'll have trouble after I get off here and get on my canvas. I'll be like, oh, my God. You know, I use a lot of pallet knives, so they're big swashes and you just work through that action and hope that you're conveying sort of the energy of what's happening out in that world.
Yeah, that resonates with me. I just feel like there's a lot of movement and energy, like you said, in your work. And it just feels really intriguing. It kind of sucks you in, you know?
Yeah, the one over here, you can see that there's like a farmhouse thing beside the, there's like a ukulele kind of hanging in there, but you can see like a little farmhouse. If you really look at it, it's like all drippy and stuff, and you can't really tell it's there. So I'm trying to get these ideas like housing or buildings are part of the landscape as well. So there's this interaction between human activity and sort of the natural world, how that works.
That's very cool, yeah, that's cool. So tell me a bit about this. Like what sort of people typically resonate with your work and end up buying it? What sort of collectors do you typically work with?
That's a good question. I feel like they've been kind of all over the place since I've started. So you get people that are just really intrigued. I have people say that they're reminded, like people have a nostalgia thing with me, too. They go, oh, that reminds me of this place that I know. People, I get that all the time. And it's never anything like the place that I was painting.
Do they ever use your name?
No, and I love that. So there's this sort of like, oh, like you said, it reminds you of the duck ponds in Georgia, right?
Is that where you are?
Yeah, yeah, like South Georgia, uh huh.
Yeah, and I'm like, I've never been to Georgia. I'd like to go. I've been to other parts of the states, but not there. And you know, so it's just people like that. And then there's other people that are really interested in sort of the ideas that I have around marginalized economies. So like houses that are in nature that may not be like the most beautiful place on earth, but there's something really intriguing about the life that the other people live, including myself somewhat. You know, I have done a lot of sort of back country living in many ways, and I wanna bring that to the mainstream, you see? 'Cause we don't, Canada Is such a huge place and there's so many sort of ridiculously funny kind of backwoods things. Like I did some work where this guy used electrical tape or duct tape to put a sign on the side of his building to book his cabins. So that was paintings I did for bookings. And it's just obviously duct tape. Like it's just jokes, right? But it looks fun and interesting. So and it's nothing to like put down or people can call it kitschy or whatever, but it's not meant to be. It's meant to be like a sort of taste of a certain kind of reality, right?
Yeah, it's like a showcase or a celebration of these kind of backwoods Canadian lifestyles.
Yes, you should write that.
You can write that down after the interview, you can use that.
Simple ways of putting things, it's amazing.
Well, let's do this. Let's go back to the beginning. Talk to me about like the month or two before we were working together, what was going on in your art practice? What were you doing? What were you trying to tackle before we got started together?
That's such a great question, 'cause I noticed this with you and your other interviews, like how we kind of dial it back a few months and think, okay, well, what were we thinking? So like in February, I'm just looking at this little chart I made, in February, I decided for the first time to do an online gallery show. Because there's a platform, many platforms now that call themselves galleries, and they do one week shows and you pay, I think I paid 100 bucks. And that was it. I'm not paying any more for that because these things can end up being very costly and you don't wanna lose any money on 'em. I've been very careful about money in the past. So I did it and I think I put, I did about seven or eight new pieces in the winter. And then we got it all together and put it up, and I sold one piece. And I think it was $1,200. And I realized after that, there's something up here, like they seem like they have these deep relationships with their people, their buyers and all that stuff. And no offense to these guys, 'cause maybe someday they'll see this, but I wasn't convinced, you know. I thought that it would be, it wasn't enough for me. I should have been out, like when I have my gallery shows there, at least five or six pieces, but that's like one chunk in one.
You made like one sale of the eight. And it was like, okay, that's great. It's a win, you made a return, but it was like, nah, this isn't, it's not sustainable. It's not something you can keep doing predictably or something like that.
Exactly, exactly. So and then I think there was something else that happened where I think I sold two other pieces on my own case. Okay, so that was only during this period of time. Like I do do it, but they were fairly close back-to-back in February and March. And I was like, all right, there's definitely something about me and the way I connect to other people. And I was trying to decide, am I gonna change my website to a store and all this stuff. And as I was doing all this Internet stuff, I came across your YouTube ad.
And I was like, it was so good. 'Cause I'm not convinced very easily. You know, you were interviewing someone yesterday I was watching Bryce Tubbs, and he was saying he was so nervous.
And I was the same. Like when I decided to do, like to sort of connect with you.
Well, hey, let's talk about that some. But before we get into that and like the how we got connected, weren't you also like putting on some events? Or like there's something you did, right where people came and visited you. Am I-
At my house?
Not at your house. It was like you had to drive somewhere. There was some sort of like event that you put on with people and they were coming to some lesson where you were teaching them stuff. Is that?
Oh, oh, well, I don't know. I mean, I do these kind of workshops, like here.
Yeah, we call them-
Weren't you doing some workshops also at that time?
Well, I've been planning them. So they're supposed to be, there's one in August and one in September, but they have to get planned very early on and that was another aspect of the things that I was doing. And I still am. One of them had to get canceled because we can't get the people out right now.
People are still worried, yeah.
I see, so yeah, we've been talking about that. And so the workshops haven't happened yet, but that's just something you've been working on, on the side as a part of another project you're doing. So you've got the workshops, and that's, the workshops, you could share a little bit about them. And it's kind of like it's not, the main thing isn't for you to sell art. It's just another thing that you do, right, to help people?
Yes, they're usually three days long and they're in a specific place. So people can have all kinds of levels of art backgrounds. So they sign up and they know who I am, and they come for three days, and it's a very focused learning curve about how, I just basically tell them what I do. And we go on-
You teach, yeah.
Yeah, I teach. But I've only just started doing that in the last couple of years because I realize that I just teach naturally. I don't have like an agenda. I can kind of read what people want. Like they'd be like, I wanna paint like a horse perfectly. I'm like, I can't do it myself, but I can help them.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Although I do have that skill. It's not something I wanna do all the time, though.
Yeah, it's kind of a, it's something to, but when you think about doing this, again, your main agenda isn't like, oh, this is my way to make sales for my art practice. But you're maybe hoping that maybe somebody might be interested, maybe, maybe not?
Well, through this course that I'm doing, I'm, with you, I'm learning that I can make those segues. I'm gonna be less fearful.
Because I noticed in the last couple of years doing my workshops that people need to be very competitive, right, you know? They're like, look at mine. Isn't this like, you know, like, do you wanna buy it? And I'm like, no. They don't want critical or I want to encourage everyone.
Yeah, no, I love it, I love it. And so the other thing that also you spend some time doing is like, don't you do like, you help out other people in your local community with farm work and stuff like that? Do you mind speaking a little bit about that, if you don't mind?
No, that's like sort of a, probably where I came to learning how to paint the landscapes. 'Cause I was a tree planter as a young person in Northern Ontario and British Columbia. So and then I started working in organic farms. So that was, I studied environmental science in university, but I kinda ditched it because I kinda knew I was a creative person and I didn't wanna work in large corporations and all that kinda stuff. So I started working on organic farms. And up here, once I got here, I reconnected with people, and they just hire me when they need like a switch hitter, whatever they call it.
Extra set of hands, right? I guess if there's like a busy crop that they have to pull up or weeding or something like that?
Like totally. So you can only go for four days and there's probably gonna be a bunch of weeding and stuff like that, so I said, yeah.
Do you get ideas for artwork from those projects and things?
Totally, that's how I started. 'Cause like when I was tree planting, see, I wasn't, we were in the woods for like three months, right?
Shooting and in the wilderness. And I never painted when I was in my late teens, early twenties. I mean, I had a lot of other stuff going on. I played music and all that, but you know, there's no time for that anyway. It's back-breaking work. So but it wasn't till later, like I was a little bit of a late bloomer in terms of the way I decided to go into art. I had an uncle that was a problem in the family so I was like, I'm never doing this, you know? But I just couldn't help myself 'cause I just kept wanting to just-
Come back to it?
Yeah, so, yeah. So I do all those little things just to, I've had to supplement my income, let's put it that way.
That's the thing.
So in the past, like before we were working together, you've been doing these other things also as a way to supplement your income and just kind of put it all together, make ends meet, if that makes sense.
Absolutely, that's how it worked. Like work between workshops, between sales of my, but I knew that if I focused on one, like on the thing that I wanted to do, which was my painting and learn the right skills, then I could make a living at it. I knew I could, 'cause I had at certain times, excuse me. It's like a boom and bust kind of economy in my life. You know?
It kind of came in waves. It was never quite as steady but you knew, because you had these boom periods, you're like, I know I can do this. I just need to figure out how to get more of these booms.
And like repeatable and you kept them. And so just doing gallery shows, which is the way it was in the city. Like you get one solo show in a year, that was the big deal, with a gallery.
Yeah, you used to do gallery shows when you're in Toronto. Were you doing gallery shows before COVID in Northern Ontario as well? Or like, was that something you had kind of stepped away from?
No, I did gallery shows. I did a solo show here on the Island when I first came up. She only does like three a year, 'cause she's got about 50 artists in the gallery. And so I was one of the chosen people to do it, which was good, and I did it.
She'll do three shows a year across, and she picks three artists out of 50 to do shows and that's it?
Yeah, that's it.
And that was the other part of this puzzle with you is that she wanted to just solely represent me. Okay, this is what happens. And she calls herself my agent, which is lovely and it was a lovely thing, but I shied away. Because I knew that if it was just, she'd have to be selling my work all year round. And she goes on holiday in the winter, you know. I had to take the bull by the horns. There were the other two other people that do it, but they have a different kind of life than me.
So let's just recap.
So like you were trying to figure out this online stuff. You were playing with the online galleries. You are doing these workshops for other artists that teach them how to paint. You were doing farm work and things like that, and you were doing galleries. And so like what were sort of your frustrations doing all this stuff? What was it feeling like emotionally at that time?
It's really, it's rough. I was telling a friend today that I still have to learn how to switch gears all the time. Or actually was maybe someone, well, you know, I was having conversations about it, just kinda switch gears. Like I gotta go on the farm. Now I gotta go home and paint. Now I've gotta do, like, I have to do the school. Like I did a huge show here on the Island. It was almost like a, it wasn't like a retrospective, but it was a really comprehensive show that I wanted to have done in a museum. 'Cause I think that I was getting to that level where it would be acceptable. But COVID hit and everybody shut down. And also the nature of my work was just a little bit too controversial for a very middle-of-the-road conservative museum stuff. So I just kinda backed off and decided, look, time to make some money for me; enough already, focus. I'll do two farm gigs in the summer now. That's it.
I love it.
So go ahead, I'm sorry.
No, I love these guys so much, but it's just even within a week when I'm trying to focus and get everything done, if I don't keep myself in a pretty strict schedule, I get thrown off really easily. So and I don't wanna be like that any more. 'Cause it really does open creative space.
Absolutely. No, that resonates with me, too. So let's talk about this some. So you mentioned you found us on YouTube and kind of what piqued your interest? You said you liked the ad?
I didn't even know what I was looking for. I mean, I don't know. I think I might've been looking for music or something. I don't know exactly. 'Cause it was very unusual. I've seen a lotta YouTube ads in the last, you know, I'd say, year, 'cause I've been watching a lot more YouTube than I have because of the isolation factor and everything. So but like just, yeah, I came across it and you started to talk the way you do, you know, just naturally.
What piqued your interest? Yeah.
Oh, I think what piqued my interest was just the way that you, it was the tone of your voice, I think really, to be honest with you, because it sounded really genuine. And I was like, oh, this is so genuine, oh! And 'cause like that's what we want. Like you want someone to help you if you're asking for it. You don't want to be led astray. And this is a really tricky business, you know, I think personally, because you're trying to read people, but you don't wanna push them far. You know, there's all these communication skills that I definitely don't have and I noticed that you do. Yeah.
Well, I appreciate that. That's very kind. Yeah, that's awesome. So I know like, oh, so you've made about 15,000, 16,000 in sales, which is like pretty incredible. I know there's probably a ton of stuff we've been working on, but why don't you just think about like, what are two or three highlights of things that you've learned or little anecdotes you can share about some of these wins that you've been having so far?
Um hum, I think that one of the biggest things for me is a sense of calmness and sort of that mental chatter around a little bit of pricing and also just a little bit around just having a conversation. That was, I think, the biggest thing, is that once I realized that I didn't have to kick the wheels of my paintings and put a little sale, you know, kinda here's-
For sale sticker on them.
Ah, like that's not who I am. That's not my game. I don't do that, but I know people want to connect with me and sometimes I block them. Like I don't wanna even let them. So I'm like learning how to let them in and enjoy the things that they, because it is an investment. It's a huge investment. And I really respect that when someone makes an investment like that in their life for their own life and how they can, they live with that forever, you know? And maybe pass it down to their children or whatever, pass it aside or whatever they so choose. And that, to me, is, it's a beautiful connection when that happens, so yeah.
Yeah, it's about investment, like what you're talking about. I think I knew it in this very small bits, but the way your course is designed, it's very intuitive as well as very, what's the word, like practical.
And intuitive. The intuitive part is what I know about people, but then when it's the practical side is that you're actually corroborating what we often think as artists like, oh, that guy probably really likes this and really wants to purchase this, but now what do I do? That's kind of where I've been at. And now I'm learning. Those are the skills I'm learning, those, the nuances of conversation. And just, yeah.
Can you talk a little about, you've made some of these sales, like you've made some sales for $2,700 through Messenger. Can you talk a little bit about some of that and how you've done that?
Well, I have to say I am going into all of those, the Facebook sort of groups. This is a big, that was a big leap for me. I think that when you're talking about how people are, it's like being in a room with people, but it's just on the Internet and you're having the same kind of conversations, that is really important. But I was finding that in a room, as much as I can talk and I seem really open, I can be extraordinarily shy and not talk to people at all. So that was really helpful. So once I started to connect into those Facebook groups and sort of commenting, and learning how to comment, that I think that that translated into even my own Facebook page and the way that it's posting, that's where it happened. Like the one that was on the Messenger, he was-
Somebody you already knew, right?
Well, I knew him-
In high school.
It's been awhile.
Well, like we knew, 'cause everybody knew each other on some level, right?
You knew of each other, that's how they say it, right? You knew of each other, but you weren't like friends.
If I saw him on the street, I wouldn't know who he was, to be honest. Because I had to look him up. I had to look at pictures of him like, oh, okay. You know, I know we change, and so-
So he somehow engaged with you on your profile, and then you just used some of the communication techniques to chat with him in Messenger and make the sale?
Yeah, I was very careful about just the way that I engaged with him in a sense that I talked to him a little bit about where he is, what's he up to, how's it going, like this kind of small talk, really nice. 'Cause we're both interested, but he was interested in me as well, right? And then he said something about the painting, and he said, I can't remember. I mean, I could eventually share my screen with-
You don't need to get into the specifics at all, but yeah, basically, it sounds like not only have, correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the sales you've made have been from people that kind of know you from your local area or offline, but some of them have been coming in through these online techniques too, right?
Yeah, like right now, it's about half and half. 'Cause a couple of the sales were through my gallery on the weekend. This one was through the gallery, and the other one was through me on the weekend. It was a triptych. So that was actually in the sale that I did on the winter. Remember I was telling you the platform that, the triptych that was there. So this woman actually contacted me because there were some mutual friends that were up around here, and she said, she's been looking at those pieces since the winter and had her eyes off them. And so I-
What else, what other sort of wins or like takeaways have you had so far?
The other ones are, let's just say like the ones that in my own doing, just like the first one, just when I contacted you. And I think probably, or like when you came up on YouTube, I sold a piece of work through, again, it was like a friend of a friend had recommended me as a painter. That was really a huge step. I haven't heard that before, where I would like more of that, a referral as they say. And I didn't know how she knew me 'cause it came out of the blue, and sometimes I think, oh, it was an email. And I was like, oh, I don't know who this is. So I had to have that back and forth. And then she kind of told me who she was, and then told me this piece. And it's a really unusual piece. It's kind of like this, it's just kind of abstract, it's odd, it's of the Island. And she's like, I love that, and I was like, okay. And then I was like wrote her back and I told her what the price was, and she was like, fine. And then I had to look her up on the Internet because I was like, I wanna know what she does, you know? And then we had a phone call-
That's another takeaway there, too. It's like, so now you're more interested in the collectors and the clients you're working with, and their background and who they are, it sounds like.
Totally. She develops public spaces in urban centers where people can interact better with their environments, if that makes sense.
So she somehow resonated with my stuff and it was great.
You wanna share about the thing with the cloud painting some? Yeah, you gotta share that.
So one of my closest friend's mom was living in Europe for many years. And so she came back to Canada so she could see her granddaughter. And she said, I've joined this, The Society of Cloud Appreciation.
Society of Cloud Appreciation, I'm like what? And she's been looking at a lot of my paintings in the last couple of years. I've been doing a lot of sky work and clouds. And so she said, if I send them your painting, would you agree to put them online if they agree? And I said, for sure. So I sent her a bunch of JPEGs. And so they just wrote me back recently with these official letters of releasing this piece. And so I agreed to it. And then they said, okay, well, we have to crop out a square of it, and I said, that's fine. 'Cause you're just asking me what's okay. And then it was all good. And then afterwards, we were saying like, well, we should have a Facebook link to this, right? So I did write her back and she said, no. So I don't know. But I mean, they're gonna know who I am, right?
We can talk about that more offline and talk about that. But I just thought that was kind of a little cute story. It's not a core win; it's not like making a sale, but it's kinda cute. It's a cute little story.
But they have 50,000 followers or something. So if there's a connection, see that's my thing. It is cute. If someone called, emails me and say, oh, I just love that little thing, that's enough now. Before, I would be like, oh, I wonder if that's a sale. But now just someone being interested in it makes me interested in them. And that's the biggest change.
That's awesome. So what do you think, like what areas of your life and the business side of your art practice, what areas of those have improved, in your eyes?
It's 90% of my communication skills. Structuring my life is a little bit more difficult just because I'm still doing little workshops, still doing those things. So it's my day-to-day can be like really crazy-
We'll work on that.
Which is a drag. I mean, I love it, but it's not good for my, I'm not grounded, and that doesn't help my focus, yeah.
We'll keep workin' on that, don't worry. What else, though?
What else am I taking-
Yeah, what areas of your life have improved?
Well, I mean, financially, it just means that I have this, I can make decisions I don't have to think twice about. Like my car, I'm really dependent on a vehicle here. We have to drive, I have to drive 40, 50 minutes on a 80 kilometer-an-hour highway in the middle of the bush basically to get to see my friends. So, I mean, everywhere you go, it's like an hour or two hours, three hours in the car.
It's a decision, you know?
Yeah. And I want that thing that you name, right? I want my people in good stead and it's making me, in fact, what it's doing right now is I'm gonna probably, I don't own the land that I'm on, but I'm gonna be able to purchase my own land and build my own studio. That's my goal.
That's exciting, that's awesome.
With brand new roof and window, like all that. I'm in a little house and I work in this back, which would be the master bedroom of the house, so that's my studio, or I work outside. Other than that, so like, I'm good, 'cause I've been doing this for so long now I can work anywhere, but I want a studio proper.
Good for you. No, I'd love to make that happen or help you make that happen. That would be awesome. That's awesome, so do you feel like you've gotten a return on your investment so far, just at a high level?
You know, Harry, without a doubt, just with anybody that ever chooses to work with you, I think that it really, you try to tell us, you say it's a sure thing. Look at it as an investment. And I believed you and it worked. And I think believing and having faith in people that are really coming from a really true place, we can discern that, and then we have to do the work. And I know that that's where it comes from. And I was willing to do that, I'm willing to do the work.
I love it. No, it's so powerful the way you said it. It's like, you have to have courage and faith in yourself and you have to stay positive, and then you have to do the work as well. And it's like if you have those two things, it's gonna work. 'Cause that's the recipe.
It's the recipe. And doing the work, for me, what I've learned a lot mostly about is that how I work with this type of information. Because I've been to university and I didn't love it. But if I did the work, I did well. If I didn't do the work, I didn't do so well. So I'm that guy, a lot of us are, right? There's very few of us that will just do extraordinarily well without doing some kind of work. It's a myth; it must be a myth.
So if, yeah, and if we're dedicated to what we do in terms of our art practices or whatever it is that we wanna, or entrepreneurial service or whatever, then we wanna do the work, right?
Yeah, you can get it done. It's like, you're like, I know that on the other side of this, this thing that's uncomfortable, this thing I've never done before, this thing that makes me a little nervous, it's like, there's a great sunny valley with more collectors that I'm working with on the other side. So you just gotta kind of keep putting one foot in front of the other, make your way there, you know?
I still see it as a kind of a darkness, but it's definitely there. Like I-
Yeah. I mean, you're just getting started. You're right, like you're not, you haven't arrived yet in my mind either. There's so much more for us to do, so. But maybe the clouds are breaking and you're seeing some sun peek through?
Well, take friends out for dinner and do things, and purchase gifts for people and upgrade things in my life without really thinking twice about it, I'm really grateful and-
It feels nice.
It feels great, yeah. More secure, all those things that money can help with. I mean, I'm also learning how to let go of a lot of that lack mentality, as they call it.
Scarcity mindset. It's not that, I was not conscious of it, but I've worked with a lot of people that are fully marginalized. And so I kind of went down into that way as well, maybe like tryin' to be as empathetic as I could. But then it can take you there, too, right? So that's part of my, and I don't wanna be there. And you don't have to be in that mindset and you can help other people as well.
And you can still empathize, yep.
Yeah, yeah, totally. Wow, that's really powerful. So thinking back to when you and I first connected and spoke, why did you decide to do business with me?
Well, I think that you were just, you had practical answers to my questions about just kind of, you knew that there was something on the other side of the Internet and Facebook. And you actually really simplified things as well. 'Cause you kept saying, you repeatedly use Facebook, you repeatedly use maybe Instagram. You repeatedly tell people to stop kind of going out to Pluto or whatever, and trying too many things. Even websites you were saying, it's not important in order to sell. So all of those little flags to me were like, all right, you're seeing something that's very simple and that you can help us with, that we may not see. And that's the most important thing about learning is that I do not see that, I could not see it, I could not find it. I think I'm pretty smart and committed. And so, like I said, I was getting here and there, like there and there with my sales, but not enough. So it's like, I want to bump it up and that's why I wanted to work with you, 'cause you can see those things. You've seen it in your practice, too, right?
Yep, yeah, definitely. So you can tell when I feel I have a lot of conviction on something and can call out, 'cause it's like, yeah, I was there three years ago, five years ago. I've done all the things, all the sand traps that you guys fall into trying to sell online. It's like.
It's never a gold sand. I'm not going out golfing, oh, no.
Remembering back to our conversation, I mean, I don't know if you remember this, but you were really nervous. I think I took a lot of coaxing for you to get comfortable and say yes, on the call. Do you remember what kicked you over the fence, so to speak?
Yeah, I was definitely not gonna do it. I mean, in the sense that I am so suspicious of what happens on the Internet that it was like to a fault, right? But the way you kept talking and I was just like, no, this guy's genuine and he knows he's talking about. And then, and I was nervous, and I think that, for me, the investment was a lot. And I mean, I could have used it for so many different things. But then there was something you said about investment, and it was like, think of it not just-
We talked about a laptop, didn't we? Did we talk about a laptop and you had just bought a new computer or something?
Maybe, what happened? What were we talking about?
Tell me if I'm off base, but I feel like I was, I said something like, we have this tendency of investing in all these other things that don't help us grow our art practice or make our lives better, like a new laptop. And then you started laughing about how maybe a family member bought you a new laptop recently, or something like that? Does that ring any bells?
Yeah, my mom bought me a laptop. And I think that that was a bit of a life-changer, 'cause I have a Magna desktop, but it's just, it's old, you know, and I just needed a new one, but.
But it was more like this sort of looking down the road and investing into self. That's what put me over the edge with you. I was like, there's something in me that was not willing to invest in myself. That's what made me nervous. Why couldn't I get around that? Why couldn't I see that that investment in time was going to be-
That would come back to you.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, we need to learn practical skills to help us in the financial world, you know?
'Cause it's tough to. Or else, like, I might as well just go get a job at the local doughnut shop, not that I'm gonna do that. That was always my-
Joke. Maybe I should just go to the doughnut shop.
Make a baker's dozen of glazed.
Crullers or croo-lers, as they say.
Yeah. Well, I'm so glad that you decided to join because it's like, I'll tell you, from my end, I can't ever tell exactly who's gonna say yes, right? But a lotta times I have such conviction, like I can see ahead of you. I'm like, I know this person can do it if they just do the work. And so that's why I'm so confident on the calls. And it's like, I just feel almost like if someone doesn't move forward, it's like I failed them because I didn't adequately communicate and convey to them that they can do it, you know? And so it was just awesome to see you sign up.
Yeah, that's something that people have been, someone like you that does that for me, I'm just so grateful because I can't see it and you could. And I couldn't see, maybe that's the other thing, too, in going forward in the future with other people. You can kinda tell people what you can see in the future. I mean, that's just sort of, I mean-
It's hard. It's really hard to do.
Yeah, but it's hard to do because each person will have a different sort of, what's the word, like slope to walk off of.
Learning curve. Yeah, their learning curve, where their mindset is at, how healthy that is. There's all these factors that affect someone's pace to be successful. But like, again, I firmly believe if they just stay positive, they keep putting one foot in front of the other, they do the work, whether it'll be one month for them, three months, six months, nine months. I mean, I was a slow developer when I learned sales. It took me like probably nine months, 12 months to really hit my stride. And even now, I'm still learning today. So that's why I believe like, that's why I'm so optimistic that people can do it. 'Cause I know it took me a long time, if that makes sense.
It does. And I think that that's the worry, there's a little last bit of worry that stuck in me, which is, it's going well. I wanna stay steady, a steady pace, you know, slow and steady wins the race kind of thing. I don't know if that's a thing, but 'cause I don't wanna do this boom and bust thing any more.
I want the steadiness. That's what is really my goal as well.
Well, hey, we're gonna keep workin' on it, so like don't psych yourself out. We'll keep going, and that's ahead of you. That's the next milestone, is let's just make this very consistent for you. So let me ask you this, though. It may be kinda silly or obvious, but would you recommend others work with me?
Oh, no, no, it's not silly at all. I would. I mean, I don't know how would you ask me to do that? Like, would you just, if anybody just asks? Like people-
No, just in general. Just in general, like hypothetically, would you recommend people that are listening to this, other artists that are listening to the interview, would you recommend that they work with us?
Oh, yeah, yeah. Artists particularly, it's just such an unusual niche that you cover. They just, we just don't have these practical skills. I mean, like you said, we'll go back to the studio, we'll produce a million paintings, but to actually show them in a public sphere and to connect to them on a level where this is like a really good investment for someone else to make. That's the difference, yeah. And, for sure, if they see it as a serious call and to them, to make money, not to bring back the Vincent van Gogh quote, but it's like, the guy was a genius or whatever that is, but he sold like one painting in his life or something like that.
Right, and his paintings are one of the most valuable paintings, right, today.
Yeah, and you can see them in Amsterdam, they have a museum after him. But I'm not saying that we all, that's the lack mentality or the scarcity mentality is that there's a lot of sort of myth around, mythologizing around that. But we need to, as living artists, we need to be able to support ourselves. And I think that don't put yourself, it's an old myth where it's like, oh, well, if you're gonna be a real true artist, you're gonna wind up like him. Well, I don't know. I think it's better to have a little coin in your pocket. You know, like I've been doing this long enough now. I'm just like, no, that's not what I want. And it doesn't, you know, no, that's it, yes.
And on the opposite side, it doesn't mean you have to go be super-commercial and try to make $10 million a year, sell your pieces for 50 million. There's this happy medium where it's like, you can make a great living and then choose to grow in that direction, and make more sales and be wildly successful if you want to. But yeah, you're not selling your soul or compromising your artistic integrity by figuring out how to make a living from your art work. That's just crazy talk.
It's just crazy talk. And that's another reason why I said yes to you, because I felt like you have that level-headedness about the way you talk about it. So when we're learning that I don't want that crazy talk to be-
Loud in your head, yeah.
No, it's already like, some of this stuff is really ego-driven, too. So it's like, oh, yeah, look at this piece or whatever or whatever. And that's cool, but everybody's different on that level as well. And we're also human so nothing's perfect. So we're trying to do, it's like you might buy IKEA furniture and you know what you're getting, because whatever; I always use IKEA furniture. Have you ever seen "The Fight Club"?
No, but hey, let me ask you another question, though. So kind of on this topic, what sort of artists do you think we're especially a good fit for?
Well, I think you're a good fit for anybody that really would like to, that sees that they can produce lots of work. Let's just put it that way, that they have the discipline to be in their studio or whether it's sculpture or anything that they do, or painting or anything, that they want to go into a new era of sales. I mean, it really is that to me. And I've really noticed the sea change in the last five years in the Internet, so if you need to learn skills that are going to get you into markets that would, they're very, I think they're kind of buried on some level.
They're alternative to the old world art markets, art fairs, gallery shows, and they're legitimate. That's the difference. You see, at first, people are like, oh, we're just selling all those crap online, stuff, work, I don't know, whatever. But it's legitimate, it's legitimate. And I feel it in my heart. I don't think I've just been brainwashed, you know what I mean?
Right, right, right, yeah, yeah, totally. And I bet like there's actually a lot of overlap. It's just that you're connecting with some of these people online or just in different ways, and in ways that weren't conventional to the art world in the past, if that makes sense, yeah.
And they are gatekeepers. So knowing to use that word, but there are, they have been gatekeepers to me. I know that; they know that. I know it in my own practice. And Canada is a small population compared to the U.S. Within my peer groups, I can tell through not getting some museum shows and stuff, there's just a certain type of gatekeeper. And I'm like, I don't want that to ever, ever stop me from creating my work.
You know what I call industries that have gatekeeping in them, you know the type of marketing people practice with that, I call it hope marketing, 'cause you just hope that someone blesses you and takes care of you, but it's not predictable, it's really difficult, you know?
Yeah, I think that that's how I've been before, I think a lot of it is that you just kind of throw things into the mash and they'll say things, I'll hear things like, well, that gallerist was in a bad mood that day, so they just didn't want you to be in.
Right, right, they didn't have breakfast that morning. Right.
Their dog went to the bathroom in the house, and so they were upset. It's like any industry where it's like, someone's mood influences your whole career, it's like that's not predictable. That's not where you wanna rescue or build your foundation. That's shaky ground to build a foundation on, if that makes sense.
Yeah, and I wonder, this is a question to you, do you see that in the art world? Is it being very dodgy, like in the terms of is it more like that or not like that? In the past, is it changing, like what's happening?
Yeah, well, I mean, I can't get too much into it, but what I would say is like, from my vantage point, I'm not of the art world. I don't really know galleries at all. I don't know anybody in museums. And so I just don't even worry about it. It's I'm so focused on you guys and our methods, and how you're having success, so it just doesn't bother me. I wish them well, I wish them success. I don't wanna denigrate them at all. And I think there's gonna always be a role for those institutions, but it's just not, it's not really a focus of mine to get kind of very literate in that, at this stage of my business, if that makes sense.
I think it's really wise to do that, to keep it separate. And that's another reason why I did join you as well, just so you know why I signed onto it. Because I actually did, for a very short time, I think, I don't know if I paid for it, but there's a guy that I did it with a couple years ago that was, he was kind of hooked into museums and stuff like that. But I just found-
Are there people that say like, hey, I can get you into museums, just pay me, and they'll introduce you to the right people, something like that?
It's kind of like, maybe that's what he was. He didn't say it straight up.
It's not exactly spoken in that direct terms, but it's kinda what they're trying to do? Interesting, okay, huh.
No worries, no worries. Well, let me ask you this. Why should an artist who's listening take action right now?
Because I think if they take action, if they invest in this program, then what they're gonna find is if they start to work within, I would say two weeks, within a week, two weeks of really focusing on all the videos and all the things that the Flywheel Lab has, and getting accountability buddies, and talking online, that even though it may seem like really unusual and strange, it just starts to work and they start to see themselves differently. And I think that that would be a really good, really, really important place to start. So they can both do their art practice and make a living from it. I mean, I think that's really what we're talking about, is making a predictable living.
Yeah, and not just a living, like a great living, right?
Well, yeah, that's my goal. I mean, I want it to be a good living.
Yep, well, that's so great-
I don't want-
This has been so much fun talking to you and learning about your story, and you sharing your wins. I really appreciate it. So like, as we wrap up here, what's your number one piece of advice for other artists who are listening in?
Yeah, nobody has ever asked me that question before.
First time for everything.
Yeah, oh, wow, what would I say for artists first-time listening in? I would just suggest that you can call it taking a risk, but what I would suggest is that you are investing, you really are investing in yourself and in the future. It's not just like, it might seem like a momentary risk just to, it's like going to any kind of college or school. You don't know if you're gonna be a doctor in five years. You don't know. You might have, like, I don't know, children or something gets in the way. So with this case scenario, you've got to take the chance and then commit yourself to it, and then it will definitely work for you, definitely, without a doubt.
Awesome, awesome. So if people wanna learn more about you, Lauren, where can they find out more about you online?
Well, I mean, I have a website, laurensatok.com, s-a-t-o-k. And you can just Google my name, s-a-t-o-k, Lauren. And then I also have a Facebook account and an Instagram account, which I have been sort of slowly not doing as much. It's at Lolo Talk, so you can find me pretty easily, yeah.
Awesome. Well, thanks again; this has been great. And let's do another one of these in a month or two when you have some more wins.
Okay, that sounds good.
All right, bye.
Bye, Harry, thank you.
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