Episode 165 // Life and Work as a Full-Time Artist with Amira Rahim

February 27, 2018

Contemporary abstract expressionist painter, Amira Rahim, joins us today to talk about carving out your corner in the market as a visual artist, using tools such as Instagram to share your work and story, and asking for money in exchange for your art. 


Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Everyone can create their own market. Whatever you're selling there's someone out there that's interested in it."
- Amira Rahim

Discussed in this Episode

  • A day in the life of a full-time artist (the non-Instagram version)
  • Becoming known for something vs. being pigeon-holed as an artist
  • Carving out your own corner of the market
  • Sharing your story along the way
  • Using Instagram as an artist or maker
  • Being a prolific artist
  • Selling your work as an artist


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Amira Rahim 0:00
Yeah, and I just want to say to that is, I also thought sort of like when I was starting out, I was like, what, what's selling? What does the market want, blah, blah, blah, and you can try to fit into that mold or you can create your own market. And I feel that I feel like everyone can create their own market, whatever you're selling, there's someone out there that that's interested in it. And a lot of times, they're not even interested in the work, they're interested in you. So you're either going to put yourself as a spotlight depending on how comfortable you are. Me I like to hide behind my work. I don't want to be a personality. I don't ever intend on being a personality. But there are a lot of people that are very comfortable being personalities, and their work may not be as great as other people on Instagram or on other websites. But, um, they're visible and they're loud. Like they're the loudest people in the room. So people gravitate towards that. Um, but you know, I think really, a lot of it is just creating your own market.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 1:05
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 1:09
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm Amir Rahim and I'm being boss.

Emily Thompson 1:17
Today we're talking about life as a full time artist with amuro Rahim. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss club.

Kathleen Shannon 1:29
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Emily Thompson 2:25
Amir Rahim is a contemporary abstract expressionist painter whose work has been procured by collectors from all around the world, most notably by the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi. Amira has been featured in Ebony Magazine and the Huffington Post and the National in addition to painting amuro runs an online community, passion, color joy, where she guides new and seasoned artists through branding and establishing their art business online.

Kathleen Shannon 2:54
All right, Amira, thank you so much for joining us on the show. I've been following you on Instagram, and have been such a fan of your paintings and your work and just you as a person as you share more of who you are, through your social platforms. And so I'm really stoked to get to talk to you today. Yeah, I'm excited to be here. Thank you. Alright, so you are a full time artist, and I'm dying to know what a day in the life looks like for you. Like, what is your day? Like?

Amira Rahim 3:27
Huh? Yeah, I guess it abscent flows, you know, really depends on urgent deadlines and sort of, um, if I have any big projects, but it doesn't include painting all the time, which is probably a surprise to some people, it certainly was a surprise to myself as I kind of got more busy and you know, more like, I guess known, the more your brand becomes more visible and you attract more customers, it seems like the less painting you're doing. So it's sort of just like the nature of the business. But um, I would say like, on a good day for me, I wake up and make myself some breakfast, I'll head into the studio. I love listening to podcasts, or like audio books while I'm in my painting flow. And I'll paint for a few hours and then I usually switch gears and do a lot of admin task or try to think of other creative ventures that I'm working on. And a lot of customer service and hopefully kind of finding some time for myself at the end of the day, just to kind of like mellow out. Maybe yeah, that's pretty much like a typical day for me if there is such a thing exists.

Kathleen Shannon 4:55
You know, I always think of having deadlines for myself like working with a client Just being under all this pressure, I never think of a painter and that's part of this podcast is just to debunk some myths, right and to relay inside look at what it's like. And so I did not imagine using like, you know, if I'm rushing toward a deadline, like I was just always imagine it being not puppies and rainbows, but definitely ideal like, right like super artsy like you're in your overalls covered in paint, like the Instagram version of what a painter looks like, right? And yeah, I'm curious to hear like, what kinds of projects and deadlines you do have, like, when is it that you're working on a deadline? What are you trying to accomplish? What are the deliverables? And to whom?

Amira Rahim 5:40
Yeah, yeah, those are really great questions, because like, it changes so much. And I think that's what keeps my day pretty exciting. I was one of those people where I kind of find myself, I used to find myself like, kind of looking flaky and not really knowing what Job was right for me and kind of being okay, different things. But, um, it wasn't until it wasn't until I started working for myself, where it's like, I really tapped into my zone of genius. And I think it'd be, just because it is so challenging. I'm one of those people where, if I already know what the end result is going to be like, and I'm like, Oh, I just do X, Y, and Z. And then that's the result, I kind of get bored really easily. So it's nice to not know what the end looks like, for me, but um, you know, a lot of days, it is super dreamy, and it is like, rolling out of bed and painting and like, you know, taking a break from my creative burdens with like Netflix, or watching TV or having a two hour bath, you know, and it's so many days like that, um, that I really indulged in, I think, especially last year, whereas like, now I'm I'm definitely more, I would say, almost wearing two different hats. And I was sort of thinking about that I definitely feel like more of a boss this year. And it's challenging, because there are a lot of days where I can't do what I want to do, I kind of have to do the things to keep my business going and to move forward. So yeah, I hope that answer your question. I remember.

Kathleen Shannon 7:21
Well, like part of my question, though, is what are your deadlines for? Like, are you writing mission paintings? Or are you working on a collaboration with a client? who commissioned you for something? Or is it you know, prints for your Etsy? Or you know, what, like, how do people pay you money for your paintings? Okay,

Amira Rahim 7:39
yeah, so like a couple things came up this past in the past 30 days, right. So just to give a glimpse of what it looked like, I host an artist community called passion, color, joy. And I, I've been kind of focusing on a lot of other things. And September is something about September, where you're always just sort of like, you just want to get back in gear, whatever that means for you. And so I decided to invite the community to do a 30 paintings in 30 Days Challenge, knowing full well that are probably wasn't going to be able to do all 30 days of the paintings. And then like in the midst of that, my licensing company, they contacted me and they said that, hey, do you have any more of these camels? Because we well, first they asked me if it was okay to produce them if it was good for production. And I sort of told them that, you know, like, I'd already sold them on my own. I've ran some additions on my own, so we couldn't use them exclusively for that company. And so I had to reproduce, like pre create some new work for them. And that came out of nowhere. And they're like, yeah, we really want these on the shelves in time for the holidays. Obviously, no, because this is a big, the biggest like commercial season for us. And so that came out of nowhere, and I was like crap, okay, now I gotta paint these candles, like sort of shift gears, and then commissions as well. So also juggling commissions. This past the past few weeks has been pretty interesting. So I have a permission from a client in Australia that I think has been pretty slow paced. I think he's like a PhD student. So he's really laid back. He's just sort of like, Hey, can you do this again, and I just want you to make this painting for me. And then I had a couple who reached out was actually a husband's really cool, because like, he found my work. And I guess his wife was looking at my work. And he said that he noticed his wife like looking at my artwork. And they were trying to conceive for a couple of years and sort of struggling with that. And they were able to have success. They just had their first child and he was like he even wants to have me create this painting for her as a push guest and I was like, wow, this amazing, you know, the painting itself was the title of it was called New beginnings. And so he wanted me to kind of like recreate that, but with the colors that she loves, she really loves like orange and things like that. So I've been really focusing on trying to get that painting exactly where they want it, which is challenging, because you can't really like at least for me, I don't, I don't really like, I don't know, carbon copy my work. So and it's really intuitive and like, free flowing is abstract, right? So it's like, you know, it's random. Essentially, it's really random.

Kathleen Shannon 10:37
Yeah, give our listeners some insight, because obviously, this is a podcast, and everyone should go to your Instagram, we'll link to it in our show notes. But your work is incredibly colorful and abstract. And I think it's really interesting, this camel that you've done, because I see it on your Instagram from time to time. And it seems to be like one of those most popular pieces or like one of those pieces that a lot of probably, your more mainstream audience gravitates toward. And so I actually kind of want to ask you about that, like, how does licensing work? And, you know, did someone see that and they were like, We want to sell it? And then do you feel ever? It's almost like being typecasted? If you're an actor, for example, and you don't want to be typecast into the same role. Are you ever like, Oh my gosh, that fucking camel

Amira Rahim 11:25
is right. Yeah, yeah, no, that totally happened. Because I was living in Dubai. Well, Abu Dhabi to be exact for a few years, and I started painting these camels, and I only did a few. I did like one and then I would do another one. And then like, I had maybe like three or four. But they were so fun for me to create. And someone had commented on Instagram, like, oh, you're starting to be known as the camel lady. And I was pissed. I was like, hell no, like, I'm not a camel artists, you know, or even like an animal artist, because you really could get pigeonholed into that. And my brother is sort of creative, too. And he said, he doesn't like to tech and all that he was like, yeah, you really need to try a new animal. You know, he was sort of like, and in this kind of raises the other question, right, in terms of branding, sort of, do you keep doing the one thing until you're you're like, almost saturate in the market where you are pigeon holed? Right? And? Or do you prove how versatile you are, and how you could do everything. And it's something that I really grappled with in the beginning. Um, because the, for me, I think this still is done in archives talk on it on about that. But just like, I always kind of felt that I needed to prove that I could paint so many different subjects, and I was skilled in so many different areas. And I kept jumping from one thing to the next. And then it became apparent, I guess, like, after a year or two of selling my work online, that you almost do need to pigeonhole yourself. And it's not permanent, you know, but, um, it's sort of like, this is what you're known for right now. And the only way Like, a lot of people, they're sort of like, how do I get popular online? Or like, how do I brand myself or I, at least in the artist, community, like the visual arts community is so hard for people to feel like they stick out and feel like they offer something unique. And I think what usually works is just doing the same thing, like over and over and over again, it's really hard to train yourself that way. Because if you're creative, then there's a good chance you're all over the place, and you could do so many different things. So um, yeah, that the camera was actually on to answer your question. I have put a few up on this website. And I was actually in the UAE and I was I was driving and I remember getting a call from the licensing company. And it was like the creative director, and he was like, Hey, we started work online. We wanted to set up a meeting and I was like, holy shells. Like, I was like, freaked out, you know, cuz I remember going there as a Taurus. And this is like 2014. And like, finding myself in one of their, their shops, and just like, being in love with the way they were presenting art to the market. It was so modern, beautiful, colorful, abstract, and just very well done. And I just remember looking to sing like, man, like, how can I get my work in there? You know, and I didn't think much of it. And then a few years later, it happened and I was just sort of like, this is surreal. And yeah, we had a meeting. They I kind of showed them a variety of the work that I did, but they were really interested in the camels and it was pretty commercial too. They kind of they understand that they they communicate something to the market. And so that was really cool just to see like an idea. Touch so many people, you know, I think travelers and expats living in another country could be really lonely and really isolating. And so there's something about those camel faces that really resonated with people. And it was just like fun and sort of cheeky. I

Kathleen Shannon 15:18
mean, they all seem like they're kind of done in your abstract style, like with that expression that you bring to the canvas with all of your work. That's super consistent. I mean, let's talk about branding. I feel like the fact that you can do different subjects and explore new things, there is still that quality, whenever whenever I see a painting, I know it's yours. And I follow a lot of abstract paint painters. And I always know that it's your work whenever I see it, and you brought that to the camels. But what's really cool about them also is just the there is this, like, wimzie expression that they have, and there's so much life to these camels. So okay, well, I have

Emily Thompson 16:00
to say, because I think I think that you're waiting here is like is the plight of, you know, creative selling their work. And this idea that you can either you can either sell what the market wants, or you can create what the market wants and sell and sell your creativity. Or you can do whatever you want and potentially not sell it. And I do think there is this, there has to be this release of attachment one way or the other. And sort of finding that sweet spot. And I love that you found it. I love that you are down for exploring whatever's going to take you whichever way it needs to be. And it doesn't have to be all one way or all the other. I like that you found this place where you can, you can have your camels, but you can also do your, you know, abstract commissions, abstract commissions as well and or just create freely, but still, but still sort of serve the market in whatever way they're literally asking you to serve them.

Amira Rahim 16:56
Yeah, it is challenging. I, this morning, I sold a painting. And it was a piece I created in Sedona a couple of weeks ago, and it was probably one of the most revealing piece of works I've ever done. Maybe at first glance, no one would really look at it. And but it was like it was literally like me painting an experience I had, you know. And so it's pretty abstract, but she bought it and I actually like cancelled the order. And I just sent her new and I told her like, I'm sorry, this isn't for sale, I should have taken off my website. But um, the painting sold for a couple $100. And I just felt like, well, I am in a position now where I could sort of say, like, do certain work I don't want to sell and that that, to me is really good that I don't, you know, like, need the sales, or I mean, I don't know, like, it's not that I don't need the art sales. But I'm trying to design a business for myself where no one stream of income is sort of the only stream of income. And so, um, it requires a lot of multitasking and like managing and all that, but it is good to have that freedom. So yeah, I'm like, I don't want to sell that painting. You know, it's weird, it's like,

Emily Thompson 18:18
but what a good place to find yourself for sure. And I also wonder if this plays into the idea of the starving artists, like the artist who's not willing to, you know, work for the market or whatever, versus those that just sell out and only create for the market. So I think there I think there's a fun, middle place where you can be creative and be fulfilled by it. But also sell enough of what you do that you're able to say no, when things come along that you don't want to sell.

Amira Rahim 18:46
Yeah, and I just want to say to that is I also thought sort of, like when I was starting out, I was like, what, what's selling, what does the market want, blah, blah, blah, and you can try to fit into that mold or you can create your own market and I feel that I feel like everyone can create their own market, whatever you're selling, there's someone out there that that's interested in it. Um, and a lot of times, they're not even interested in the work, they're interested in you. So you're either going to put yourself as a spotlight depending on how comfortable you are. Me I like to hide behind my work. I don't want to be a personality. I don't ever intend on being a personality. But there are a lot of people that are very comfortable being personalities and their work may not be as great as other people on Instagram or on other websites. But, um, they're visible and they're loud. Like they're the loudest people in the room. So people gravitate towards that. Um, but you know, I think really a lot of it is just creating your own market as visual artists. We have to do that. And yes, it is kind of sad to to see a lot of the people because that now I'm in this position where I'm sort of like providing solutions for other artists and creating an environment for other artists to achieve maybe some of the things I have in the past few years. And so I'm almost like, inundated with a lot of beginner artists and a lot of beginner artists maesa. And it is kind of like, difficult for me at times to like, I don't know, coach, or how, because I feel like a lot of times people are sort of trying to play into the market, whatever that is, instead of creating that market for themselves. And I feel like that's where the that's where the magic happens. Like, that's really where the fun is.

Kathleen Shannon 20:39
Yeah, and you see it in their work too, right? whenever they're trying to just play to a market, their work isn't as authentic or true. And I think that this not only applies to visual art, but it applies to anyone who's creating anything, whenever we're just trying to follow someone else's formula. It never rings as true as if you were to really find your voice. really hone your craft. I mean, I'm curious how many beginning artists are you like stop freaking out about business and maybe become a better painter? Oh, no, I can't say that. I can't ever say everybody like to think like maybe we're skills before you worry about the business side of things. Because I want to preach that from the rooftops across all disciplines.

Amira Rahim 21:23
Yeah, I can't really say that. I just feel like it's where I've had, I've had situations were. So for me, I have started teaching this past year. And I did not teach art, that was a very conscious choice. Because I was like, This is my like, like, the love of my life. Like, I'm not going to teach you how to do that. I was very, like precious about it. You know, I'm so I'm starting to shift. The past month, I've done some things. And I taught an in person workshop in August that I prepped for, like, emotionally for an entire year. But before I was just sort of teaching social media or like general business things, and it was interesting, because, um, yeah, you do you do short of create that inspiration. And it's a good thing. But yeah, Kathleen, you definitely have to work on the craft, and like, love that part first. So I guess people find out on their own, it's really my job to like, tell people,

Kathleen Shannon 22:33
you know, I would never want to be snarky, or in a position where I'm telling someone that they're not good enough, because I don't think that's true, either. Like, I think that what you were saying about creating a market that there is a market for everyone at every skill level to connect with their dream client in that moment, and that your dream client will evolve as you evolve and grow. So it's not just that it's just more of this idea of focus on the craft first, in my opinion, like focus on getting the thing where you really want it and finding your voice and then focus on branding and marketing and growing your following from there so that you're growing it on this true foundation that really authentically reflects who you actually are.

Amira Rahim 23:17
Yeah, it's sort of hard because I, I see the merit in doing both. But what typically happens, I do see a lot of artists trying to create spaces for them to get paid and sort of like setting up their business and having a brand and like having a logo and like hiring people, and almost like jumping into that part. And literally saying that, like I don't have my style, I'm still learning how to paint or I just took this workshop a couple days ago. But they have their shop, like ready, like ready to go now they just have to fill it with work. Whereas like, you like in my mind, it was always the opposite. But um, I just feel like I did have a point with that I forgot.

Kathleen Shannon 24:08
I was gonna say, but I love what you're saying is that it's both at the same time and it's not fit, make your artwork perfect before you you know, sell it because I think that that's a problem that we see creatives across a lot of industries really struggle with where they're really trying to Emily, do you have a way to articulate the point of starting you're selling your art before you're ready, but then also continuing to hone your craft. You know what I mean? Like, are cyclical,

Emily Thompson 24:38
right. And I think you're both saying it perfectly fantastically, where it is both but if you find yourself in a position where you have branded yourself and you have a business and your customers are confused, and you're not finding passion or fulfillment in the craft that you're doing, it's because you need to go back and perfect the thing that you're trying to sell before you try to sell it because I think that translates Both in your work and not having the expertise that you that you want or not like having the time to focus on what it is that you're trying to cultivate. And it is reflected to the people you're trying to sell it to where they're confused as to what it is that you're here doing as well. So both, if you find yourself in a position where your business is ready, but your art is not focused on your art,

Kathleen Shannon 25:20
yeah, and then like, but also we don't want to perpetuate any sort of starving artists situations, right? If

Emily Thompson 25:26
you're great at art, but need to focus on your business do that, too.

Amira Rahim 25:30
Yeah, sure. Well, I can just say, like, I do remember what I was gonna say. Earlier, it was just that sometimes if it when you have the artists that are sort of like, we're in any business where they have the shop in place, and they don't really have the, like, the goods, they're frustrated, and they're sort of like, I'm not getting any sales, right? Like they have like the brand, the site everything, but the work itself isn't there. And they kind of know what's there. There. They know where their own work is at. But they're sort of like, you know, marketing and sales, and it gets really frustrating. And I think it could be frustrating when you're coming when you're starting at that point of like, this is my business. This is my so it's tricky, because I do admire the fact that they're kind of thinking ahead, and like, you know, like planning for the fact that it will be a business. But I'm always like, like, yo, like, go have fun, like, explore, I feel like you could sell your story before you can sell your work. So sell the process, sell the journey. And people gravitate towards that, like no, I honestly think no one wants to hear from me anymore. It's like it's done. At least on my personal Facebook, I have like a lot of Facebook friends that I've never met, but they sort of saw they saw my progression from sharing my work online for an entire year. Moving, posting and doing like doing things like that before I had a blog, and then I got a website. So they saw it all and they're like, Yay, but I feel like in their heads, they're like, okay, like, She's good. Now that she made it, she's fine. They don't want to hear from me. And I try not to inundate them too much. Or maybe it's just my own sort of like, you know, like, Facebook is weird. In general, Facebook, as always, I always like

Emily Thompson 27:16
to find your platform for sure. Right, for visual artists, like Instagram can definitely be that place. And you know, what I hear you, what I hear you saying here is, you know, sharing along the way and, and I do think that that story piece is hugely important for artists and being able to sell what it is that they do, and position themselves. I mean, it's hard to say like, position yourself as experts in your field like you can for coaches, or, you know, developers or those sorts of things, because I think it is a little bit different. But you can position yourself as the expert of your point of view, which is what you are selling through your work. And you do that by sharing the process along the way, which is just as important as like marketing the actual final product as well.

Amira Rahim 28:01
Right? Sometimes, like in our case is almost more important. Is that experience. And you know, you can share that immediately. But yeah, I agree. Emily, just like Instagram is the perfect platform. I think I never feel like I'm bothering people when I post on Instagram.

Emily Thompson 28:20
So right, they're definitely choosing to be there to see beautiful things in there. Let's talk about your Instagram for a second because you do have a bumping one and it is beautiful. Do you have any tips for artists who are wanting to to make their Instagram game a little more? Fantastic?

Amira Rahim 28:36
Yeah, um, well, once then I really like is just sort of like, getting away from the idea that your Instagram is your blog. And I used to think that I had to post in real time. And it wasn't until I started shifting how I view the platform. And I don't want to say curate because a lot of my images are really just on the fly. They're not super edited or professional but shifting that mentality of I can only share what I'm actually doing right now on Instagram. I like to take a lot of photos, save a lot of photos, and then repost them and come back to them. So it's not a you're not trying to come up with content, you know, and I feel like as artists, we have a huge advantage on Instagram because i think that's that's why I'm teaching Instagram now and I I love working with artists specifically because I just feel like we have that competitive advantage because it's such a visual platform. I mean, if you look at bloggers or graphic designers, and they when they decide, okay, what am I going to post on Instagram, they may have to put together a graphic or figure out something or share something completely off brand. But for artists, we have So much to share, whether it's your picture of your supplies, your workspace, your studio, a process shot these time lapse videos, that has been huge in my own growth on Instagram really strategically. A year ago, I had came back from Italy, and I actually took a social media workshop. And I came back and I was just sort of like, really relaxed. I was like, Oh, I just hit 10,000 followers. And I didn't really want any more followers. I was like, this is great, you know, sort of like the idea of like, what's enough money for you, I was like, 10,000 followers, that's enough, you know, like, I can get back to work now. And then Instagram, widen their video capacity from like, 15 seconds to one minute. And I had posted a few videos. And I remember, like the second video I posted, it got over 100,000 views and 3000 followers in 24 hours. And I was like, Oh, my God, like, This is crazy. So I and I did that in my pajamas. You know, it was like I was just on the floor. I was on the floor. And so I'm like, I don't have to show my face. I don't have to show my hunky boy or Bay or whatever. I don't have to show my fancy house, I only have to show my artwork. And I feel like, that's so good for us as artists, you know, it's like, and just as human beings, because it's not always shiny and dreamy and perfect. You know? So you I know you guys, your motto is do the work, right? And so with Instagram is just like, show the work to show the work, show the work, show the work and the followers will come the love will come and then the sales will come?

Emily Thompson 31:44
Yeah, I also have to call some attention here to all of our product makers, like not even artists, but product makers. So often we get question from, from those creatives. They're like, I don't know what kind of content to share, or what am I putting on social media and all of those things, and you just laid it out to very clearly what it is that you can be putting, it's not all about the finished product. That is definitely what people are buying, whenever someone's buying a pair of earrings or a cool shirt that you've designed or any of those things, what is going to Super inspire them and help make them make that decision to buy your thing was the process and the story behind it just as much even if not more so than the finished product. So shout out to all of our product makers out there rewind and relist.

Amira Rahim 32:31
And I mean, I'm constantly thinking about how can I create an experience for my audience online. And that's really difficult, I think is something that's always evolving, because most, we live in a world where most people are making purchases on the internet. And so they're not able to go in and touch your art and see things and talk to you. And so I'm, I'm thinking about that now. I mean, I like my website, but I'm still sort of like, Okay, what do I need to shift in the next few months to sort of make people feel like they're in the room with my artwork. And the same with Instagram. And so what I tell a lot of the students that go through my courses is just, you want to create a context for your work. And I feel like Instagram is a great platform, if you just post an image of your painting, and there's no context around. How does that painting look in a room? How does it fit in a space, the size of it? The light, the texture is if you could convey one painting in so many different ways. And I feel like that's where we should never really have a shortage of ideas. And you should have an overflow of images to share on Instagram. Not not the opposite.

Kathleen Shannon 33:44
I love it agreed, you know, and one thing that I noticed that I think that you do so well is one that consistency of style. So you do have this aesthetic that you are known for. And you're posting it over and over and over and over again. And I think that this is where really being prolific and not being afraid to hit publish on a work in progress is so important. But I also wonder how you know, 30 day challenges play into this. So you are producing or hosting a challenge right now like paint 30 paintings in 30 days. Is this a way for artists to really get into the habit of, you know, producing not only the work, but also sharing the work as they go?

Amira Rahim 34:27
Yeah, exactly. And the challenge ran from the beginning of September until the end of September. So we're still kind of like, coming out of it. But um, yeah, I mean, you're absolutely right is you really have to practice like detachment. And for me, I feel like one of the best ways to be prolific is to work on more than one painting at a time. And I'm not sort of like getting hung up on this idea of you have this spark of inspiration and then you're going to see it through and then the painting is finished and it's like oh my god, this is amazing. His anger was terrible, but it's more so about I look at the artwork is, is almost having conversations with each other. And then you develop a body of work really naturally. Because you could sort of be in that same energy when you're creating it. And it's crazy. Like it's like a madhouse, you know, you're just grabbing stuff, you're reaching for whatever. And I think that 30 paintings and 30 Days Challenge, it's, it's difficult, because you have to put the work up and publish it just like you said. So it is nice to kind of give yourself constraints and sort of say, Alright, I'm only going to create with these limitations, or under this color palette, or this size. A lot of times I like to try something I wouldn't normally do, like faces, for instance, or landscapes or whatever. Now I've been really into painting flowers. And it's kind of fun, because I've always told myself, I suck at painting flowers, like, I can't paint flowers. And I just sort of like stop telling myself that story. Like, why am I telling myself I can't paint flowers, you know, like, my flowers aren't going to look like other people's flowers. But, you know, I can paint flowers if I feel like it. So I'm like, trying to paint flowers, and it looks kind of awkward, and they're a little lopsided and weird. And, you know, it's like, all right, well, this is that, but yeah, the challenges are great. You know, challenges are good, just for getting out of the funk, I think in in any space.

Emily Thompson 36:29
Right? And we're always talking about building boundaries with when within which you can be creative, because it's in those places where you can, you can really do unusual things. I mean, whenever you have the whole whole world in front of you, we hear so many videos talking about overwhelm, talk about overwhelm, when you can do anything in any way that you want. But if you need to build yourself those constraints in order to be super creative, I think do it because so much cool stuff can come from it, including you just doing the thing.

Amira Rahim 36:59
Yeah. And it was nice. Well, like a lot of people that went through the challenge, they may have been commenting and saying like, Oh, now I have all this work, you know, now I have all this work coming up for the holidays to sell or have a show for a gallery. Or maybe you want to get into a gallery. So that's nice. It's like, you kind of have that constraint of the 30 days where you know, you have to create a new 30 days. And then if you want to just kind of be on the couch for the rest of the year, I can just say, Well, at least I did those 30 day paintings, you know, so yeah, it's, I don't know, artists are weird. I feel like we're, I'm very much like, in that business mode all the time. And so it's so funny now kind of like interacting with so many artists and just realizing like were very unusual. I think were really hard to work with that time just very like, just like a finicky bunch, you know? And I don't know, like, it's this weird.

Emily Thompson 37:56
Kathleen and I have been working with creatives and talking with creatives and being creative for long enough that we totally hear you. Yes, for sure. And talk about a group of people who have like this propensity to stand in their own way and to block themselves from success and whatever way it may be. And he loved that. And I feel like especially visual artists, like yourself tend to be at the top of that pie. Yeah, like they are really tend to be pretty good at standing in their own way. So I love that you're speaking about this as someone with both points of view, so that you can do it as the visual artists who's getting up and painting all day and you know, taking breaks to watch Netflix or whatever it may be. But you also have the business brain that helps you build those boundaries, to do the work to like do the customer service, like all the things that actually helps you get paid to be the artists that you are, because both of those things are super important in this realm of

Kathleen Shannon 38:50
being. And that's where I really want to, you know, wrap up this conversation is talking about getting paid. And so I'm here I would love to hear your top three pieces of advice that maybe an aspiring painter, or really any creative entrepreneur, I feel like all the advice we've been talking about here today applies across the board. Okay, so specifically, I would love to hear maybe three pieces of advice that you would give to an emerging artist who wants to fully support themselves with their creativity or maybe even sharing some experiences and turning points for you. That really made the difference for you whenever it came to actually selling your work.

Amira Rahim 39:27
Um, yeah, well, I would say that, five, find the first part, what really helped me was finding something that I felt like I could be a student of, and never get bored with, on whatever that is. It could be a certain medium, it could be a political idea or a cause that you're really passionate about, that you need to express in your work. I am really interested in sort of the the effects that color has on our emotions and our mood. And I've realized that I have a unique color sense mostly from other people sort of telling me that like, Oh, you use color in a really interesting way. So I sort of stripped out everything else and said, Well, let me just focus on color. And so color is the Muse right now. And it's still the muse. So I would say, the first thing is, find something that you're willing to study and sort of, like be a lifelong student of, and that becomes your niche, it's like, that's what you're not going to get bored with doing. And then the second thing would be to create a very professional, like, start start to look at what you're doing in a professional manner, and Treat it as such. And so that requires a little bit of discipline, I remember for a long time, I was only painting, like a few paintings a year, and it was always a hobby. And then I started to treat it, like, you know, like a yoga practice how people kind of do yoga every day, or you really have to buckle down and sort of get that in your under your belt first. And then the last thing would be to just ask for the sale, I think, um, I don't know if that's something that you guys talk about with people recently. But you know, asking for money is so hard. And I was sharing work online for an entire year. And I was like, wondering why no one was just asking to buy it, you know? And it wasn't until I posted a painting and asked, Does anyone want to buy this? And then I got four inquiries, that I realized, like, oh, okay, this is what entrepreneurship feels like, you know, like, this is it, you know, and it's so scary. But the more comfortable you can get with selling things, the easier it will be.

Kathleen Shannon 42:01
I feel like this is the number one piece of advice I've been giving to everyone lately, who's wanting to make more money doing what they love is asked for the money, right. So really just remind them to hire you is really what it comes down to. And don't take it for granted that people don't need to be prompted, like people need to be prompted, and they're just waiting to give you their money for the value that you're going to provide for them or for the artwork that you're going to provide for them. They just need to be told what to do. Yeah. So much. It's just it's one of those things that's so hard. And there is like a lot of money mindset blocks that go into jumping that hurdle, but it's also so incredibly simple. It's one of the easiest things that you can do. It's just every single time.

Amira Rahim 42:48
Yes, it's really scary. Especially I guess, like, I know, selling services, you kind of feel like, Oh, this is a solution, but like selling artwork, it is a luxury item. You're not really I don't know, we still undervalue our work as artists, you know, I'm like literally about to say something. I had to stop myself because I'm like, you're not literally changing anyone's life with your artwork. But you don't know that. I mean, there's a good chance that you are. So um, yeah, I just feel like sometimes the selling part I remember almost apologizing when I would ask for money. Sort of like, Oh, this painting is $75 I'm so sorry. You know, and it's almost like you feel bad that you need to get compensated for the work. So yeah, I have a whole bunch of stuff. I sold a painting for like 10 bucks like a cheeseburger. Always think back like that's like my big mac painting because I think it was like less than a Big Mac. But I was so happy that the lady wanted to buy it. I was like, Oh my gosh, well, how much do you want to pay me for? I did the conversion. It was like a couple bucks. And I was like, Whoa, Okay, goodbye. That was like after I might have partnered with it. But yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 44:00
well, hopefully not your paintings are buying you hundreds of Big Macs 1000s of Big Macs. But baby noses spend it all on Big Mac. All right, well, um, you're working our listeners find more of you and your work. They can find me at my website on www dot Amir writing calm and on Instagram. Mirror Kmart. Perfect. And finally, what makes you feel most boss

Amira Rahim 44:32
through getting money from my art? Getting paid for my work? That makes me feel like a boss. Hey, man,

Emily Thompson 44:40
I love that. Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us. It was awesome to talk to you as as a working artist making it do blending creativity with business and getting paid Big Macs to do it. Yes. Thank you guys for having me. We have gotten so much amazing feedback over the years from listeners about how our podcast has helped them start to grow and uplevel their businesses. So we want to celebrate you. Here's the boss we're celebrating this week.

Unknown Speaker 45:17
Hi, my name is best suitor, and I am being bossed I am a watercolor artist at best suitor art calm, and I am celebrating the perks of running a art studio out of my home. Yesterday while I was typing my artist resume, I looked outside and notice it was a beautiful blue sky day. So I decided to shut my computer I grabbed my dogs and a coffee coffee cup and my headphones and I walked down to the park. And when we got there, we had the entire place to ourselves. Enjoy my cup of coffee and the fresh air and I had the freedom to just step outside of the office for a minute. So within that 10 or 15 minutes that I knew I was filling most books

Kathleen Shannon 46:01
if you're feeling Boston when to submit your own boss moment or when go to WWW dot v boss clubs slash I am the boss. This episode of being Boston's brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography.

Emily Thompson 46:49
Do the work, V boss, and we'll see you next week.