All right, three, two, one. Hey everyone, Harry Whelchel here today. I have Sharif C. And we're gonna be talking about how Sharif went from zero to $6,500 in art sales in about 30 days and yeah, Sharif, why don't I just pass it over to you? And you can just tell everybody a little bit more about yourself, your artwork and what you do.
Okay, well, thanks very much, Harry. I've been an artist, a serious artist for about 10 years now. My background is in engineering. I started out as automotive engineer, barely painted during those years and moved to California about, like I said, about 10 years ago when I started painting again. And that's where I started taking my art more serious. And my style is very, I'm a self-taught artist. I didn't go to school for this obviously. And I do, I'm inspired by music, I love music. I love listening to, or watching live music, concerts and stuff. And some of my family members are musicians. So I decided to create a series based on that. And one of my most popular paintings is a painting of like a, jazz guitars. And that was used for a wine label here in Southern California. I was lucky enough to get selected as a wine label artist. So that kind of motivated me to keep going with my art and try new things and, you know, fast forward.
Real quick, like, so behind you, aren't there some of your pieces right there?
Yeah, actually, yeah, I got, I mean, my house is filled unfortunately, with a lot of art and you know, I'm running out of space. So that's part of the reason why I'm taking this more serious now, 'cause I need to either invest in a gallery space or a studio space or move out of my house. But yeah, I've been challenged, Harry to, in California, it's very competitive out here. You got to really have your own voice. So I created a body of work, kind of like to stand out from the rest and just do something different. It's kind of the same, but different from a lot of artists. So I crested to a series of playing cards, like a poker themed art series, which is the largest body of work I've ever generated. It's about 75 to 100 pieces. And as you can see, they're all about four feet tall.
I can see the heart or, yeah, that's a heart right there.
They're all lined up. If I move them, they might fall, so.
But yeah, you have this like playing card motif with a lot of them, right?
Yeah, yeah, and it's based on, you know, the king of spades, the ace of spades, queen of diamonds, queen of hearts, stuff like that and it's usually, movie icons, movie stars, actors, musicians, you know, like Jim Hendrix
Would you call that like pop art or how do you describe your art?
Exactly, I was fortunate enough to work at a gallery, a professional art gallery in San Diego, which focused on pop art surrealism. So being engulfed in that atmosphere for five years, I was absorbing all the art that I was coming in contact with. So that's part of this series, is kind of taking the bits and pieces of other professional artists who are pop artists and kind of create my own little part pop artists series.
Nice, well, nice. Well, let me ask you this, like so, what sort of collectors do you work with? You know, what sort of people really resonate with your work?
So the wine industry has been where most of my collectors come from. So like I said, I was able to start with one winery and do one wine label, that was such a hit that I did two more. And so what I would do is I would bring some original art. First of all, the original wine label art to the winery, hang it up and people would buy it and I've never met them. You know, I never meet the people 'cause the winery will selling my work for me. So after a while, after about 10 paintings sold, I started asking, who were these people, you know, buying my art? You know, and one guy was just, you know, some rich dude with a big house and he's filling it up with a bunch of Spanish theme art. And he liked my style and he just kept on, every time I put up a piece who would buy it, so I'm like, I wanna know who this guy is.
You have a super fan.
I wanted to tell them, can we interview him or? But he's very private, you know, but he just enjoyed my style and, you know, felt like it was very, just loose and free. So, and some of them, some other collectors came from the art gallery and I did get to meet them in person, but it was very just casual. You know, it was nothing like, nothing in depth about who they are, where they're from or anything like that. It's just, they saw my art, they liked it and they bought it.
Is the vineyard like, we're kind of getting ahead of ourselves, but it's the vineyard where you do those live painting things or is that separate?
Yeah, I mean, long time ago, Harry, back in 2000 10, 11, 12, I would do a live art alongside their concerts. They had concerts in the summertime and they will let me set up my easel and paint right next to the stage. And you know, that was well received. Everybody enjoyed that, but I didn't really sell anything from those level events, you know.
But you're doing events now, today and that's at a different place. That's at like a restaurant or a club, right? So what sort of, those people that are buying from that event, do you have any sense of what sort of those collectors are like, what draws them to your work?
So the art I show at the vineyards are more of my jazzy, Spanish theme kind of art that's similar to the wine labels. I consider it my safe, conservative art. And then at the restaurant, there's a restaurant/nightclub on the other side of town, which is more of a younger, energetic crowd, you know. It's basically a nightclub. People come to party, hang out, let loose and stuff. And then I set up my easel there and paint the playing card series. So, I think that's the difference. Maybe the playing card series is more accepted for the younger crowd and they feel like maybe that's in their price range because you know, it's like something they can relate to. So yeah, I get a lot of feedback on, hey, can you paint me? Or, you know, what does it cost for me to get a painting like that from my house? Or, you know, it's all positive feedback when I did the restaurant/nightclub.
Yeah, so it sounds like, kind of like, I bet that crowd is, it's, people that are definitely professionals, but they're young, they're outgoing. They probably interested in having like, creative things or creativity in their life. They want unique things, they want things that are different and they see what you're doing and they're like, oh, can you paint me?
Yeah, now one thing, Harry, just note real quick. I have been painting at the restaurant bar for like 10 years.
Until this year, I was up on stage with the DJ and people couldn't reach me. They couldn't just walk up and talk to me 'cause I was elevated. So the difference this time is that I'm on the ground level. People can just walk up right behind me and tap me on the shoulder and just start talking. So that's a big difference.
Yeah, well, let's talk about that in a second. We'll get more into that. But before we kind of get into that, like, what do you think makes you unique as an artist? What's unique about why people connect with you and end up buying your work?
I think it's the rules that I break, you know, I, like I said, I'm not classically trained as an artist. I have no idea, I have no history on, you know, art or the great masters of art. I should probably should studied them eventually. But my technique is very odd, where, if you see it in person, it kind of like takes a minute for you to like, whoa, what is this? Because I use watercolor, but if you, if you're familiar with watercolor artists, they paint very, on watercolor paper, very translucent and not very much detail.
Right. And I kind of flipped the script and I use watercolor as if it was acrylic or oil. And I use oil mediums with my watercolor, which is violating the rules, I know, but it's a little trick that I learned from a friend at the art gallery a few years ago, where you can make your paintings pop and be more bold if you use a special medium. And so when I do live art at the nightclub, I have these, you know, high definition, you know, bright lights shining on my paintings and it pretty much illuminates the entire nightclub, you know, so you're drawn to it. And I think that's the difference. Plus, I don't think people have seen this style before. You know, we've seen poker art where people take, you know, subjects and turn them into playing cards or put them on playing cards. But I'm actually taking a character, like a James Bond character and kind of doing a mold between Two Face from Batman and James Bond. It's half black, half white, but he has a spade on his eye and it's just, it's realistic, its not too
So, no I'm not gonna answer your question, but.
Yeah, no, I think that's part of it. I mean, you talked about the style, like what about, I wonder if there's something about you, you personally, as an artist, like, do you feel like people are able to connect with you? You're open to talking to them. Like, there's something about that piece as well, perhaps?
Absolutely, that's a major part of it. I mean, a lot of artists are not comfortable coming out of their studio shell, and in their private space to share their art with the public. And I think that's what catches people off guard, it's like, who is this guy like in the middle of the nightclub painting? Like, how are you doing this? And I constantly get that. They're like looking at me like, whoa, we never seen this before. I mean, even though painting live at venues is very popular in San Diego. I used to do it all the time at another spot in San Diego. But you know, out in Temecula where I live, it's unheard of. And I'm very approachable, I love talking to people. I'm not shy, I take criticism, I take compliments all the same, I converse with people. I try to find out who they are, what they're about and what drew them to my art. And you know, basically I just tell them, you guys are in my studio space. This is where I hang out during the summer. I'm not trying to, you know, I'm not trying to sell art to you. I'm just here hanging out, enjoying the vibes and the music, just like you, except I'm painting and you're dancing. That's the difference.
But yeah, I always love chatting with the folks that come up to me. It also helps that I'm painting, you know, well actually not, I paint some controversial stuff at the nightclub, but I get away with it because it's a younger crowd, they're more accepting, you know, so.
People are loose if they're drinking, you know, people are just, you know, real loose in that environment. And I bet there's pretty probably paint a lot of people that they recognize if you're also painting celebrities or pop figures and that stuff.
Yeah, that's the lead in Harry, that's the lead in, as I have, I paint pop icons, you know, like everybody knows who Jimi Hendrixx is. Everybody knows who Prince is, Michael Jackson or you know, Katy Perry or something like that. And then I try to switch it up, where I do a commission. I have one piece of that is a commission, of a normal, regular everyday person. And then I have a celebrity right next it.
And I say, hey guys, I'm doing this commission for this young lady I met last week. She wanted me to pay her like, you know, like Jennifer Lawrence or something, so yeah.
Interesting, very cool. Well, let's go back to kind of the beginning. Like if you can think back, what were you doing before you started working with me?
I was actually, so I've been taking steps to take my art more serious and to market my art more. So I wanted to learn the whole art business. There's a program at the University of California Fulton, that it's a marketing class and they take on subjects to see how they can advance their business. Mainly for startups. Doesn't matter if you're artist or a craft store owner or a, you know, a clothing designer, whatever. They help you go from point a to point B with your business, you know, getting it off the ground, so I did that. Before I met you, I was already studying how the grow my art career and what should I focus on? Should I focus on the wine label or should I focus on the playing card series? You know, and in 2020 last year, I'd never, I didn't have any plans on, you know, really marketing myself as an artist. I was just enjoying my day job and just painting on the side and painting at the nightclub, you know.
Got it, so it sounds like last year you were just kind of painting, working on your craft. And then recently, before we started working together, you were participating in like a university class as kind of like a subject, where these kids were helping you, you know. Allegedly trying to help you with your marketing, but still in that moment, like you were trying to figure out, what should I focus on, which direction should I take things in?
Were you making any sales at the time really or not really much?
The sales were not initiated by me or there was no effort on my end. Like I said, I had a painting that was hanging up at the winery. I still have artwork up at the winery. It's just constantly on rotation.
It's kind of like consignment. Like somebody might buy it and you, but you don't have to do anything. It's just, hopefully that sells.
Exactly, there was no effort on my end, it's all on the winery's end. They take a commission and one visitor there, like long time ago saw my work, took my information down and he finally contacted me last year. And said, hey, I really liked your piece at the winery, but can you paint something, you know, similar to this file? Or, you know, more abstract? So that was the only sale I made last year.
Interesting, so you made one sale personally last year, and then you had a couple of things sold, but through this winery, otherwise.
Interesting, and how much was that sale for? Just, ball park.
That was 2,500.
Gotcha, got it, so like, thinking back to that, like about a month ago, before we were working together, like, what sort of frustrations were you feeling? What was going on? How were you feeling about what you were doing at the time?
Well, first of all, I've been frustrated with my job, which is why I started focusing more on my art. So since I'm not able to get any satisfaction out of my regular career, I decided, well, why not focus on something that I really enjoy? And, but I didn't know where to start. You know, it was like, yeah, no, the wineries, that's a good start. That has a proven track record of providing sales with no effort, you know, the winery does take commission, but I have no power in advancing that or accelerating that. So I wanted to say, well, what if I focused on putting my art in real estate or home staging? So I was investigating that and have a few successes, but I wasn't really clear on how far I can go with that. And I'm like, okay, what if I focus on my live entertainment? If I just paint it live at a venue or more venues, could I get art sales that way? I was all over the place and now.
And your just brainstorming all this stuff. And it was just like, yeah, throwing stuff at the walls.
'Cause everybody is always throwing ideas at me and I'm trying to see what works and what's gonna stick. And I'm just like constantly trying everything. And I'm like, I just need to focus.
And I remember like one thing you told me, I think that like marketing class at the university, you participated in. I think maybe you said something about how, like, the professor, they are really talented. They understood marketing, but they had a background from like really big business. So a lot of their ideas were like, oh, we'll just take this big budget and advertise, or like, can you speak a little bit to that about like how you're getting ideas from all these different places and it was hard to figure out what could relate to you as an artist, you know?
Yeah, well, with the university and with the professor, I approached the class with the intention of them focusing on how I can market myself as a business with my art, from the home staging to the wine labels, to the live entertainment. And then the professor made an excellent point. He says, well, why would anybody wanna buy from you if they don't, you know, if you're not well-known? You have no brand, you don't have a brand yet. And he's like, well, I think you need to focus on you. You're the brand. And that really clicked with me. That's probably one of the biggest takeaways from the marketing class, is like, why am I trying so hard to create a foe business that's selling my art. And that should focus on myself, the artists, myself, where I develop my own brand and the brand is me. And, you know, it was only, Harry, it was only a three month marketing class. And, you know, probably a month of it was spent just studying, you know, the students didn't know art or the art industry. So it was pretty much them getting familiar with how art works in the business world and how to market my art. And then the middle part was, how I could rebrand myself and how I can build my brand, basically from social media, you know, doing Google ads or, you know, buying ads on Facebook, stuff like that.
Well, suffice it to say, like, you're getting lots of different ideas from lots of different places. And occasionally you're getting gold nuggets, like that idea about you're the brand, but then, sometimes you get in their mix in their ideas that just weren't as applicable. And it's just hard to discern, kind of like, what to do in what order and what to focus on. It sounds like that's what you're saying.
Yeah, yeah, and I'm actually, I'm still that way to this day, I'm halfway a clothing designer, halfway a graphic designer, halfway an artist live entertainment, you know. So I'm still circulating all these different paths, but.
We're working on honing it in.
Yeah, that's exactly right.
Well, let me ask you this. So where did you first hear about us?
So I was watching YouTube, I saw your YouTube ad. You caught my attention, man, so yeah. That was like the first YouTube ad I watched in full.
And what peaked your interest?
I think it was the, I was cloudy in my thinking and you know, you caught me in a stage where I was already about to embark on that journey of taking my art business or art more seriously. And I was already in my head saying, you need to like, literally treat this as if, I mean, you don't wanna make it a nine to five, I mean, but put more focus and more energy and what you're trying to do with your art. I obviously have the inventory. So, it helps when you're walking around your house and you got a hundred paintings in your house and you go see a Harry West Whelchel ad on YouTube, answering all the questions that are in your head, you know. If you're, one of the biggest ones that stood out, was a professional artist is someone who, I don't know how you described it, but it was someone who like made a living or the art is your living or whatever and then if your just.
Yeah, you making income.
Yeah, and then a rookie artist is someone who has a day job, and you're just doing a side gig with your art.
And, you know, that's the same thing that the professor, at the university was saying is, which do you wanna do? Do you wanna be an artist with a side gig as an engineer? Or do you wanna be an engineer with a side gig as an artist? Like what's the deal? So, I had the marinate on that for awhile on, am I willing to give up my career to be an artist?
Well, yeah, I mean, it's like, and we're still working on that. You haven't left your, have you left your role or?
No, no, still have a day job.
Good, no, that's good. Like, I don't, I think like, you're really, it's, we'll get a couple more months of sales under your belt and then you'll start having options around that if you want to, and we can definitely discuss that. So I know we've probably, there's a lot of stuff that we cover. There's a lot of stuff we've been working on, but you're still just getting into it. There's still a lot to learn, but can you talk to like at a high level, maybe like one or two things where you've gotten value from our relationship and how you've had that's helped you make those sales?
I think the do, the biggest one is mindset. Changing your mindset and the view of others. Like, why am I shooting myself in the foot or being so negative before I even meet people? And it's almost like, I have the right to stand on my white board, it's like. You know, I had to tell myself you're approachable. People like your art, you never received any negative comments. What's the problem? Why don't you get yourself out there and do something? You know, so, I think in the first part of your course, you're talking about the mindset and the view of others and, you know, finding out what their hopes and dreams are and you know, what makes them click? And, you know, for me, the best way to do that is in person.
I'm not afraid to talk to strangers. And so, when you get someone in front of you and you ask those questions, like, how are you doing, what's going on in your life? And you get them talking about themselves. Then that opens up a whole new window of communication and personality and likes and dislikes and their dreams and hopes in the world. I mean, it's really in depth. And then, since you released the artist's edition part of the course, you know, I'm a visual person, you know. I try to equate the words into reality, I guess. So you had an image of, you know, the lonely guy on island and then, which is just the common man or woman. If they just had the basic needs in life, it's just, oh, I'm stranded on an island and I got the basics, I got food or I got water food, but I'm not, I'm not.
Right, and then you have on the other side, big city life, nice job, nice car, everything. Like, what does it take to get from the island to the big city life, with, you know, all the niceties taken care of? And, you know, that got me thinking. It was like, okay, well, when I have these conversations with people, instead of me trying to push on the my art and talk about art, I kind of wanna get in their head and find out, well, where are they are in their life now? And what are their hopes and dreams and where did they wish they could be? And then try to see how my art fits into that.
Dude, that is so powerful.
Do they see their art or did it see my art as carrying them from, hey, I have, you know, I have a nice job, I have steady income, but I'm not feeling great about myself. It'd be nice if I had a painting in my house that I could look at every day, that reminds me, I'm powerful, I'm strong, I can conquer. And that's gonna motivate me to be a better person in life, you know.
I love it, it's so powerful.
Yeah, those parts of your course, man, that helped tremendously. And that carries over when I do the live art, you know.
Well, let's talk about that some for a second too. So like, with the live art, you know, you were talking about it a little bit earlier and I said, let's talk about it in a sec. Can you tell everybody a little bit about how you've been at that club for 10 years doing the live painting, but you've been up on stage and how we talked and we changed some of that stuff. Can you talk a little bit about that, that piece of things?
Yeah, so, the live art gigs started. So I was part of an art club in my city. It was about a group of six or seven of us. And we would go down to this restaurant and hang out all the time. And the owner of the restaurant has a stage where bands play. They have concerts there during the summer. And I guess one summer, it was kind of slow. He wasn't having a lot of action and he invited us to come and set up our easels and paint on a stage. This is about 2008, Harry, so it was a long time ago.
And long story short, there's a lot of my art friends, either moved or moved on. And I was like the only one left. And me and the owner are like, hey man, if you wanna keep on doing this, come on back every week, we'll have you up. I'm like, cool. So I would, the stage is elevated about maybe three feet off the ground and it's outdoors. And the nightclub is outdoor, indoor nightclub. So I would set up my art next to the DJ and paint. And before, I would always have my headphones on, which was probably a big no-no, all right. 'Cause people thought, oh, he doesn't wanna be disturbed. He's up there just doing his thing, let him be.
It's kind of a signal you're giving off. You're like, I don't want to talk to people.
And still people would come and yank on my pants or touch me on the leg, try to get my attention. And they would like try to wave for me on the side, try to get my attention. I'm like, hey, what's up? You know, hey, how you doing? I'm just paying, you know. I was never trying to strike up a conversation. So, the owner of the nightclub is, he actually owns a winery, a restaurant and a brewery in the city. So it's like a three tier family business. And I don't know, he just really enjoys me doing this. For some reason, he's not offended by my artwork. He loves my artwork and he's like, the people enjoy you. And you know, we try to promote artists, local artists. So we want you to keep on coming back. So starting last year, after I took that marketing course, the students in the marketing course were saying, Sharif, you need to take advantage of that studio space you have at the nightclub. Start using that as your launching pad for telling the people who you are and getting people to come to your site, follow you. So I started to do that. I started to take advantage of an opportunity. I have a projector, and the nightclub is massive. There's a huge dance area, plenty of space, plenty open space. And there's a big brick wall on the back. So I would project my Instagram handle on the brick wall, nice and large, people get like, oh, hey, there's this Instagram. Let's just follow him right now. And then I took the headphones off and I started turning around and talking to people more.
Yeah, I remember like you and I were talking and maybe a couple weeks ago and you said that on average, you talked to like 15 people a night, but you hadn't ever thought about, you never had to actually ask for a sale.
There at the event or talking about commissions, right.
Right, it was usually them initiating the conversation about, hey, do you sell your work or can you paint me or something like that? And you know, over the past 10, 12 years of doing that, I received, you know, you get a lot of, you know, BSers and just people who just wanna know how much artwork costs and they're not interested in buying, they just, you know, they just like the scene and they like looking at you, you know. But it's not until I actually started looking at the situation as a marketing opportunity, where I said, okay, maybe I should get off the stage and come down to the main level and be amongst the people. And, you know, unfortunately, that's jus, that's one of the benefits of COVID, is it forced the nightclub to be a hundred percent outdoors.
They expanded out into almost the middle of the street. So I can capitalize on the people that are walking by the restaurant and the people inside the restaurant and the people have the nightclub. So like you said, 10 to 15 casual conversations, easily every night when I do this. And that's not even trying. There's people coming up to me and saying, I like your work or, you know, how much does it cost?
So what sort of changes like in the last month have you made to those conversations and like, do you use any of the sales techniques and things that we, that I teach to help you with that?
Yeah, actually I haven't made it to your sales, believer it not or not, I haven't made it to your sales portion. But when I looked at your leads section of the workshop, the same conversations you're striking up over social media with the quick chats, I was taking that mindset and applying it in real life or to real people on the spot. So as people came up and made comments on my art, I would ask them, hey, how are things going for you?
Yeah, so, just for the people who are listening to get some context, like, there's some, we talked about how do you use, like Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger. How do you build conversations, build relationships with people on social media? And in short, what Sharif's saying is that, just by studying that alone and using those techniques offline, he was able to actually, he didn't even have to look at the formal sales training, just that alone helped him make, what was it? Five sales in last month.
Yeah, and, you know, it's amazing how much people spill when they're a little bit tipsy. You know, they tell you a lot about themselves. You know, either they're recovering from a divorce or they were traveling from Vegas and they stopped by or, you know, they are celebrating the milestone birthday. I mean, you get all sorts of walks of life coming through that nightclub, young and old, all backgrounds, everything comes through. And so I meet all, I mean, it's a wonderful opportunity to test out your training and your workshops and see what kind of feedback you get. And, you know, the last commission I made, Harry, was basically following that same routine, you know. There is a young lady that will celebrating her milestone birthday, you know, before diving into my art, I was asking about her life and how she came, you know, to this point, you know, what major accomplishments or triumphs does she have in her life up to this point. And then we started talking about the art and the power of the color and the power of the playing cards symbols and stuff like that, and how it really resonated with her, you know. And that was like an easy warmup into, well, why don't we do a painting for you? You know, she's like, oh my God, do you do those, I mean, I thought you just did celebrities, you're gonna paint me? I'm like, yeah, let's just take some photos real quick. Yeah, I have, my set up is set up like a photo booth. So if people don't have a good photo, I just take the photo of them on the spot, which is part of what, the package.
Yeah, and that's awesome.
And that kind of leads into your, that leads into your vehicle, is people get a whole bunch of, you get a lot of special ad-ons when you work with me.
It's like an experience. It's not just like a transaction, where they get the painting and they don't have like an interaction or like, and it sounds like you do give them access to the photos too.
Yeah, yeah, so that's one of the things that I've learned from your course is, it's not just a transactional relationship. It's not just a one-off, you're not just gonna do a commission, give them a painting and you're done. You're gonna build a relationship. You're gonna follow up as you're creating the painting, you're gonna share with them the progress of the painting. And then when it's completed, then that's a whole nother level of opportunity. From delivering it to their home, having the interview with the artists, you know, a client interview. Sharing a video of how they came to meet me and how I developed the art for them. So, yeah, that's huge.
That's awesome, that's awesome. So, yeah, so just remind me, so you did how many commissions, how many originals and how much were the sales in total again?
So the first night, which was, it just blew my mind. So I watched your training and, you know, I attended some of your Q and A's and I heard some of the feedback from some of the other artists and I'm like, okay, screw it. I'm going out and I'll apply everything I know right now to this event I'm going to tonight and.
And I remember like the first time you and I talked in a Q and A, I was like, yeah, like, just go to these events. Like, it seems like you've got like this predictable source of leads literally staring you in the face. You just haven't actually been intentional about asking for the sale at the events.
Right, well, I never really asked for the sale, Harry, that's the thing, it's like, it was like a mindset thing. It was like a Jedi mind trick. I go to the event, I set up my artwork. So I have two originals that I'm working on. One was completed and one was like 60% complete. And so I just started painting. And then, you know, the impact of the colors really effect what effect people and they're gravitated toward it. So one conversation started with these two young gentlemen who were trying to decide which one resembled their wife. And he's like, oh, I got to get this for my wife. I got to get this for my wife, she would love this. And, you know, then I just started striking up a conversation with him. And then another group of guys came over and said, what did he offer? I'll double it, you know, it was just like bidding.
Yeah. And I'm like, okay guys, listen, I appreciate all the compliments. But you know, I'll take you serious, if you, whoever drops the first deposit can take home this painting or can own this painting. So it was kind of, the originals that sold were 4,000 a piece. And the deal was, is that if you meet me in person at one of my events and you talk to me in person, you're gonna get an artist direct discount, because you know, it's a lot easier to make a sell on the spot, person to person. And you know, it kind of guarantees more business. It's just more personal.
And what about the commissions?
The commissions were, the two guys that were fighting over it, were saying, okay, whoever puts down the deposit owns it. Now the guy that lost the debate came back to me and said, can you paint my girlfriend? It really bums me out that I wasn't able to get your painting last week. 'Cause he came back, Harry. He came back the following week to see if I was still gonna be there. So he came back and was like, okay, I really want you to paint my girlfriend, it's gonna be a surprise Don't tell anybody, you can't share no social media. I'm sorry, but it's gonna be very low key. So I want you to do it just for her and we're gonna have an unveiling for her. So that's how that commission panned out. He said, I made such an impression on him, on how I carried myself the first night, the previous week, that he said, I really respect you as a artist. It looks like you're, you know, you're an honest guy. You're true to your words. So I wanna work with you. So that was the second commission.
It's interesting how, like, it was a lot about, again, it's like, how you conducted yourself as an artist, that really resonated with him. Obviously the artwork has to too, that's table stakes, but it's just, it's kind of cool to hear you say that.
Yeah and that kind of, it's like a nod to the professor. He said, you're the brand, you're the superstar, you know, lean in on that. If you have the personality, you have the character, that's gonna gravitate and draw people towards you. So my bad, that was the first commission, for the guy who wanted to do it for his girlfriend, future wife. The second commission was the guy that bought the two originals, has been coming back to see me paint almost every weekend. And he just wants to hang out with me. So he brought.
Go ahead, sorry.
Oh, yeah, he brought his wife this time to the nightclub and there were more calm and relaxed. They weren't drunk and like, you know, fighting over a painting. There were very professional this time. And then, now his wife pointed the painting. So I did a quick photo shoot with his wife in front of my setup and gave him a timeframe about a of months to complete it. 'Cause I had other commissions to finish first. So that was the second one. And then the third one came last week when, again, that was a young lady celebrating a milestone birthday who wanted to do a commission in a similar style to a painting that already had up that night.
And so what was the total amount you made in sales from all those pieces?
So the two originals were a thousand a piece after the discounts. So 2000 from the originals and then the commissions are 1500 a piece. So three commissions, 1500, 4500 total.
6,500 Total, right.
And how does that feel? How does it feel to make that amount?
It feels unreal, it feels unreal. It fell so unreal that I'm trying to, you know, as my technical side likes to prove theories, I wanna just keep on proving this theory wrong until I make 20,000, 30,000, you know. If I keep the same formula up, where I go to a nightclub and I paint live on a Friday, Saturday night and make 10 to 15 interactions. And if I get 10% of those interactions turning into a sale or a commission, then I'm just gonna keep on doing that nonstop until it breaks.
Have you ever made $6,500 in a month from your art?
No, not in this short period of time, no.
And now yet, like once you've done it, does it, you feel like, oh, I can do this again. Like you see the path to doing it.
Absolutely and it's not about selling a $5,000 painting, you know, and trying to make that big sell. You can do it in increments, you know, do two or three commissions a month, 1500 a piece, that's okay, you know. Then as you start getting more notoriety and exposure, then you change it from, you know, two to three to five or six or something.
The next thing you know, you're there.
Well, let me ask you this, like, so, just more broadly, like what areas of your business or life do you feel have improved? Since I started, since we started working together.
I've become more focused and more disciplined, all right. There's a difference between starting project or venture and just taking two or three steps and then stopping and then getting lost. I think with this, since taking this course or enrolling in this course is, I've been more consistent every day and following a routine on learning the training, applying the exercises, taking the notes, and then going out in the real world and applying the logic in the real world and to not stop, be consistent. Do that week after week after week after week.
So why do you think you've had these improvements? Why do you feel like the sales have gone up? Why do you feel like your focus is better? Why do you feel like you're being more consistent, since we started working together?
Probably because I'm a little bit, I mean, I don't wanna say I'm hard on myself, but I expect more of myself. It's almost I've been waiting for me to take this more serious and you know, it's not easy to do on your own. You know, you always need like some, you need, yeah, like in sports, you need a coach constantly telling you how to kick the ball or shoot a basket or, you know, swinging a racket. You can't just be out on your own swimming in the middle of the ocean and hoping, you know, you're gonna succeed. You've got to have that coach on your side and say, oh yeah, you're doing this right or you're doing this wrong. Oh, that looks good or keep doing it, you know.
Yeah, it's like, by us working together, it almost like gives you permission to, to treat it more seriously, to be more focused, to be more consistent and then just have somebody who's in your corner who can kind of course correct you, you know.
If that makes sense.
And what really helps, what really helps, Harry, is the live feedback from the other artists, you know, when you do the Q and A and you get to hear how people are in a similar situation as you, because if you're struggling and you're struggling by yourself, it's very depressing. But if you're struggling and you can relate or find a teammate or a partner that's struggling as well, you can kind of like keep each other motivated and moving along.
Yeah, it's so easy, if you're on your own, you feel like, this is just the way it is. Like artists have to struggle. Artists have to just not make money. Like, and then as soon as you see somebody else, who's just like you, who's starting to break out and have success, but they're still, if still your making mistakes. They're still struggling, but they're actually moving, making forward momentum. You start to like, quiet that negative voice in your head. That's like, I can't do this, this isn't gonna work or whatever, you know.
Totally, so do you feel like you've gotten a good return on your investment, just at a high level?
Yeah, absolutely man.
We just got started.
Just got started and it's already paying dividends and you know, it doesn't hurt that I'm kind of somewhat an already established artists or thank goodness I have a body of work that people can see. So it was a no brainer, you know, it's like, dude, you already have the inventory, you already have the background, now go out and apply it.
We'll try to think back real quick to like, when you and I had our strategy session together and we were talking, do you remember, like what made you decide to do business with me?
It was the repeatable process. You asked me, you know, or we're talking about the thesis and do I have a repeatable sales process or strategy or something like that? And as soon as you mentioned that to me, I was like, yes and no, meaning that I do, but I wasn't repeating it. I had a fail safe, like guaranteed, I'm gonna sell a piece of art on the winery like once a year, you know. You're asking me how much do I make from that? And I said about 2,500 and that was like the.
But it's not predictable, it's not repeatable and you don't control it.
Exactly, and so that's what resonated with me, is I got to find that path that I can just repeat over and over again, walk that path over and over again. And it's gonna guarantee either connections with people, commissions, referrals or whatever and that's what's been happening, yeah.
So do you remember, was there anything. like what kicked you over the fence so to speak?
Well, I was already in, I'm already in the mindset that, I'm not gonna get fulfillment out of my day job and I wanted to focus more on my creatives, entrepreneurial type ventures. And I think the fact that you're offering, you know, it wasn't like a one and done, hey, we're gonna coach you for a month or whatever, and good luck, you know. This is, you know, thankfully, this is an ongoing, I don't know live time, but you know, long-term ongoing coaching, that's crazy. Like, I can stay in this, so a year from now, I can always refer back to this or use it as a reference if I try something new or if I need some motivation, you know. You're gonna make yourself available, you know, for the longterm, which is really nice.
So yeah, so you think like, try to remember back to that, the end of our conversation, that was the big, that was the sticking point for you. That was the thing that kicked you over the fence, was just that you felt like I was really committed to you and your success. And I wasn't gonna just leave you after a couple of weeks and say good luck.
Yeah, I mean, there's been other opportunities where I've been invited to be part of an art development program and it was like a fixed term, you know, a two or three month. Hey, in two or three months we're gonna get you this, or, you know, join us, we'll give you a 30 day free trial. And you know, after those 30 days, if you're not satisfied, you can either move on or if you are satisfied, then you can continue on, but it'll only be for three months and then after that you're on your own. You know, I think it's a side-by-side continuous coaching from your program, which is really attractive, you know, and plus the group of peers that you get the converse with and share ideas with communicate with, is very valuable. That's actually way more valuable than just the coursework. Being able to have that live human interaction on a weekly basis. Just like, if you get, if you lose focus, like you said, just attend the Q and A and then you're back on track.
Yep, that's awesome. So would you recommend others work with us?
Absolutely man, yeah, absolutely. It's the personal, you know, attention you receive, the quick responses you have on the Facebook groups, on any questions you have. You know, most coaches will give you a set of workshops or tutorials to look at or videos to look at, but were rarely that you have a one-on-one conversation about, okay, what if I don't wanna do that in the course and I just wanna focus on that? You know, you're very open to changing direction or, hey, don't put so much attention on this, really focus on this and I think that'll get you going. Yeah, that's probably the most valuable portion of the courses, is the nuance and the change of direction. And if you're feeling lost, you bring everybody back on track, so.
Yeah, so it's like the combination of the program content, plus having the Q and A calls with me where, you and I, we can connect and I can just really tailor things to your situation and help you get where you wanna go faster.
Exactly, 'cause it's not a one size fits all kind of program, you know. Some of it is catered toward business consultants. Some are, some of the workshops are catered toward creative people and you may be a well-established artist, or you may be a beginner, you know, starting with no inventory or no, you know, no connections or no marketing materials whatsoever.
Are you liking the new artists training?
Yes, yes, absolutely, it's a lot shorter, thanks for that.
Yeah, we'll keep flashing it out and I'm gonna add even more and more artists training, but yeah, it's good to be bringing you guys stuff, to just make it a little bit, even faster, clearer, more examples for you guys. So, I'm excited to be doing that. What sort of artists, like who, what sort of artists you think we're especially a good fit for it?
Wow, that's a good question. Are you talking about, what type of artists, like what stage they're at in their career, as far as are they showing that galleries and they wanna make more art sells or?
You can interpret it as you will, but I don't think, it's not as much about like the subject matter or their style of artwork, but yeah, more about their stage, in their practice of their career. Yeah, like what sort of artists do you think we're a good fit for? Or maybe personality and attitude.
Well, first of all, they have to be open to, you know, there's a lot of artists out there trying to use social media as their engine to sell art. And it's kind of like, well, you gotta figure out what stage in their art career are they at, are they looking to be the next great Picasso or whatever? And they wanna get into that high-end gallery in Los Angeles and get a lot of notoriety there, or they look into the marketing engine and, you know, get their, there are works sold in venues or to, you know, individuals and then increase sales and maybe quit their job. So, in my case, I consider myself a semi-professional artists who's on the verge of leaving his day job to take a leap of faith into his art career. So if you are an artist who wants to make a living from your art, instead of, you know, pushing the pavement, going to a day job, then this program would be a good fit for you.
Interesting, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I liked that, I think the way I would describe it, like what you're saying is, in a lot of professional spheres there's, some people are more interested in getting famous and other people are interested in making a profit or making a living or making a great living doing what they're doing. They're not mutually exclusive, but we're more about, how do you make a living? How do you make a profit from your artwork? And then the more you do that, the more successful you have, of course, you're gonna get more notoriety and fame, but it's not first and foremost about getting famous and having like a massive, massive audience from day one, if that makes sense.
Cool, so why should someone listening take action right now?
Because this is a real deal. You're gonna get results. And if you, you know, if you believe in putting in work, you're gonna get results. And you know, the coursework is tailored to guide you through the pitfalls. And, you know, like I said before, the first step is changing your mindset. And it has nothing to do with art. It has nothing to do with really business, is really about just people in general and basic communications. Which I think is the heart of pretty much any business venture out there, is you gotta get the mindset correct first.
If you don't know how to build relationships with people, it's gonna be very hard to make sales.
Exactly, you have to, yeah. You have to be open, you have to be able to communicate. You can't be shy. And if you're shy, you got to break out of that shell. So, yeah.
So yeah, so like the question was, why should someone listening take action right now?
Is it like, basically, like the, you feel like the mindset stuff is so essential that you need help though, kind of working on that and getting through it. You need someone to show you like a paradigm shift on how to do that.
If you're looking to take on large leep or an advancement in taking your art more serious, then that's why I would say they need to sign up. You know, I was a little bit, everybody's gonna be skeptical because that's just the way these coaching, you know, ventures are, where people often, you know, all these niceties and prizes and stuff, but it still boils down to you doing the leg work. And, but the difference is, is that doing the work, you have a whole bunch of guidance and assistance and reference material to help you along. You know, it's just not like here's a bunch of coursework. Go study it, go do it and then work, figure it out.
You get the one-on-one, you know, interaction and guidance, you know, that'll help you navigate.
Nice, nice. Well, what's your number one piece of advice for artists right now?
Don't lose motivation if you're not getting results. I think everything is gonna take time. That's been one of my biggest faults, is I always expect so much from the beginning. And then if I don't hit that, whatever initial target, I get frustrated. So, I mean, just stay focused and follow the coursework. Be honest with yourself and what your capabilities are, and you'll eventually see results.
Yeah, it's like, we're also conditioned, I think by a lot of different forces in society, of like, we're just want that instant feedback. And when people are, it's the first time they've done business before, in business, you don't always get that instant feedback. And so if people don't see that instant feedback, they have a resistance or something doesn't work right away. It's really, really easy to throw up your hands and I'm just, yeah, quit basically. And I think what you're saying is so powerful that like, just to stay positive, stay motivated and be honest with yourself about, okay, did I really do this, did I not do it? What can I do better? And then just keep iterating and having that iterative approach, if that makes sense.
Yeah, I mean, this is not a get rich quick kind of program. I really have to discipline myself to do the work. You know, it's not gonna just walk in and just lay itself in front on your lap and say, here you go, here's $10,000 a month.
But do you feel like, as you've had some more success, like, it gets easier. It's like, to do the work, 'cause you have that confidence and that motivation.
Exactly. It doesn't hurt when you make a sale. You know, it doesn't hurt when you get a commission, you know, like, oh crap, this is actually working. Let's keep on going and you wanna try even harder.
It really fires you up.
Definitely a good motivator.
Yep, yeah, so that's what like, like yeah, if, for artists that are struggling out there, if you can just keep going till you make that first sale and the second sale, the third sale, it's like once you get that first sale, it's just, puts a ton of wind in your sails to keep going and take action still. Well, this is awesome Sharif. I've so enjoyed chatting with you, learning more about your background, what you've been working on, really enjoying working with you and coaching you. What's on deck for you in the next, like 30 to 90 days. Like what sort of, what you wanna focus on next in terms of our relationship and growing your art practice and the things that you're gonna be working on?
So the goal for the next few months is to continue my repeatable process of going to live events and meeting people in person and applying your skills in person, onsite with real people. And on top of that, take advantage of the group conversations, of the Q and A session is to see how I can, 'cause part of, part of my growth has been taking advantage of the live events.
I really wanna start seeing how I can have an impact through social media and trying to build relationships, organic relationships with people that support my art on social media.
And you know, like I said before, I already started the lead portion of the training, where I do that. So focus more on the sales. I think that's, what's going forward in the future, is you talk about the domino effect and the sales pitfalls, I wanna put that in action now and see if I try to close a sale or push a sale. How do I go about doing that? I haven't perfected it yet. I've just been getting lucky. So I wanna see if I could be more structured with that in the coming months.
I love it, I love it, man. So yeah, I think that's a really good plan. And do you mind if I make a suggestion or two?
Yeah, so I think, remember, like we only need one predictable source of leads. So I think I would just focus on the events for now. And if you look at the sales training and really like take some insights from that, start applying that to your conversations, be a bit more systematic. I would not be surprised if you don't double your close rate. No joke, just doing that and then once we've done that, we can look at like, maybe testing out raising your pricing. I think between all that and just sticking with these events you're doing, I think you can definitely get to that 20 to 30K a month mark. And then once we're there and that's humming, we can worry about social media if you'd like to. So that's what I would suggest if I were in your shoes.
Yeah, kind of was thinking that, Harry, or I was just gonna say, why don't you just focus on the live events, man, that's kind of working for you.
Yeah, it's so much easier. If you've got something that's already working or shows promise of working, making that thing work even better. That's a lot easier than trying to get something net new to work. Social media will definitely work for you. It's just, you don't need to make your life harder than needs to be, like, I'd rather do easy things.
Damn, that's a good point man, yeah, I get it.
Awesome, well, this is good. Well, if anybody wants to follow up with you or learn more about what you're doing, where can they find you online?
Everything is just my name, Sharif C. My website is sharifcarter.com. Instagram, Sharif C. and Facebook Sharif C. You can Google my name and that'll find, you know, everything about me. So that's the best way.
Nice man, well, thank you so much for chatting with me. This has been great. Let's do this again in a month or two, see where you're at.
Absolutely, all right, man. Hopefully it'll be 10, 15, 20,000.
I love it, all right, talk soon.
All right, man, see you.
From blog videos to productivity tools, student interviews and livestream Q&A's. Here you'll find resources that help you start and grow a wildly profitable art practice.