Episode 81

Business as an Artist with Brenda Mangalore

July 19, 2016

Today we’re talking with artist and painter, Brenda Mangalore. Brenda was a former client of both Kathleen and Emily, and we were so impressed with her philosophy on taking criticism, selling her work, and being a total boss while doing it, that we had to have her on the show to talk more!

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"When receiving criticism, you have to realize that your work is from you, but it isn't you."
- Brenda Mangalore

Discussed in this Episode

  • Brenda's creative journey (2:41)
  • The difference between a great job and your dream job (5:34)
  • Picturing your ideal day and making that a reality (16:29)
  • Receiving feedback and criticism as a creative (20:45)
  • Creating a business out of art (27:54)
  • The value of art and selling your art (31:33)
  • How to "give it away for free" as an artist (36:39)
  • Being a business person in addition to an artist (50:39)
  • Advice for creatives who are trying to find more time to work on their art (54:17)


More from Brenda Mangalore

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Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:00
Hello and welcome to being boss episode number 81. This episode is brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting.

Being boss and work and life is being in it.

Kathleen Shannon 0:16
It's being who we are doing the work, breaking some rules. And even though we each have to do

Emily Thompson 0:22
it on our own, being boss is knowing we're in it together.

Kathleen Shannon 0:27
Today we are talking to our friend and painter and fine artists, Brenda Mangalore. I want to take a second to pause and talk about charging what you're really worth. I think that this is something that is really hard for artists. And I know for myself, whenever I first started freelancing as a graphic designer, early in my career, it was so hard to charge what I was worth, I was constantly under selling myself, I remember at one point, I was selling my design services for $20 an hour, which again, still sounds like a lot to me. But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't really paying the bills. And then I read a breaking the time barrier, which is buy fresh books, cloud accounting founder, Mike McDermott, and it is all about learning how to charge what you're really worth. And this is one of the things I love about fresh books cloud accounting is that they're not just about creating software that helps you do your business better by creating seamless and professional looking invoices and easily tracking your expenses, especially if you don't have a degree in accounting, but they're constantly sharing information and they truly care about their customers. So be sure to check out breaking the time barrier, you can Google it and find it and try your free month of fresh books cloud accounting by going to fresh books comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Brenda, welcome to our show. Thank you for joining us on being boss.

Brenda Mangalore 1:59
Thank you for having me. It's a real honor to be honest to be here. I'm feeling really special right now. You are

Kathleen Shannon 2:09
totally our you're a gem, Emily and I have both worked with you through braid creative and indie shop biography helping you with your branding. And we were both so impressed by your ability to be a fine artist, but also to have such a business mind on you. So we really want to dig into that a little bit. Because I feel like a lot of the artists that we talk to, or hang out with have a really hard time blending their talent with the business side of things. So we really want to dig into that. But can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, tell us where you live and how you came to be a fine artist. Tell us your journey.

Brenda Mangalore 2:49
Okay, so I'm from Australia. I grew up here, I came here when I was eight. So pretty much. This is all I know, I come from a creative family, I have to say, but being a creative as a career or as a, I guess, as your work is just not the thing to do. And so I did well at school and the really short story of a really, really long story. And this is still long story. I did really, really well at school, but I knew that I wanted to do well at school because my parents always said, if you do really well at school, it means you could do anything you like at uni. And I knew that deep down what I wanted to do at uni was something really creative. I didn't want to do a job that I hated it. Like I remember, there was a friend who hated her job and she was in a job and and she would talk about hating that job. And I remember thinking to myself your day, eight hours a day, five days a week and like, why are you doing that and I promised myself that I wouldn't go down that road. And so I thought I'll do design. So my background is in design as a graphic designer, I figured you know, there's a job at the end of that. And, and it was still kind of creative, and it was you know, working with all the things that I was really interested in. And nobody thought I could get in because at school I was doing very academic things and you needed a portfolio and even though you do well at school here I'm not sure how you guys your high school is but you have a score at the end of that and then using that score, you can say what university you can get into and with designing creative subjects and degrees you don't actually need that you just need a portfolio and but um, you know when you're young, you just, I was just very I'll show you. So I just I did it and I got in and did reasonably okay and never felt like my portfolio was really great because design was never really my thing. I enjoyed it. I really learned about concepts presenting it. more than just something pretty there was a there was a end goal about communication about presenting and came out of that did another illustration diploma where because i really enjoy single images i didn't want to do animation i didn't want to do web design that was back then was like the thing to learn code and and he just did my head in it and so i did illustration because i always enjoyed single images i wanted to do you know one image and had that be my art and so illustration felt like another kind of job aspect you know in air quotes and then came out and i got to like my dream job working at a huge greeting cards company and and really enjoyed that really like it was the dream job it was a single image i didn't have to do annual reports i didn't have i could just played with typography and images and it was amazing until i realized i wasn't feeling happy i guess i was feeling this burden of gratitude like you should be grateful nobody said you could get a job and you got a great job and and the people were amazing and but i just realized it was a dream job just not my dream job and then pause and talk about this for a minute

Kathleen Shannon 6:15
i hate to interrupt you but i feel like i know so many people and emily i know that you've talked to so many people who have struggled with this as well where you're working your dream job on paper and you should be grateful for a place that is paying you to do what you love right but just because something looks good on paper does not mean that it's good for you so can you tell us a little bit more about how you knew that it was no longer a dream job for you like maybe even just describe the feeling or what's more about that process absolutely

Brenda Mangalore 6:46
um i think i mean there was a few little things where when you're working for a corporation there's always that lack of autonomy and lack of like respect for the artistic vision versus the business side which i am very grateful that i had that learning from but i remember there will be days where you know how you secretly kind of hope that maybe you'd be sick today so you didn't have to go to work and i remember thinking why would i think that when people you know i'm like swimming in all kinds of stationery and gift wrapping cards and but like i just remember thinking why would i you know secretly have this morbid wish that you know i might break my hand or something and then i'll be in hospital for a week like nothing serious but just just so that i could just have a break legitimately away from my work and it was just a really odd thing and and then kind of work i've got a little bit harder to go to when you know people change and there was that dynamic but um but i remember just that feeling it was like what you said like that that i should be grateful and that gratitude became more of a burden than what gratitude should be and it was just a rock sitting in my chest and it and i just like no this isn't right and i remember talking to my husband going no this isn't right and i'll be crying about it going i don't this is i'm not happy and i don't this is not what i wanted i think this was around the time when i go well what is it that you want like without thinking about you know how to make a job of it or the how of it just what just working out the words and for me that was i wanted to paint in it that was like an email what that look like but i just knew what the word was and in my story from then was pretty much working out of the house and yeah and the rest so does that answer your question

Kathleen Shannon 8:39
yes and i love that like if you inexplicably want to take a hammer to your hand yes

Unknown Speaker 8:46
yeah something might be wrong

Brenda Mangalore 8:48
exactly and but i mean there is a difference between when you're just a little burnt out versus that feeling that i had where i was just like i worked so hard for this like i really worked really hard nobody believed that i could get a design job nobody like it wasn't in the realm of my family or even my immediate circle and no one was working in this kind of different job you know i with the how well i did at school i could have been their accountant or else you know something in the hospital or a doctor or something you know legit like this proper jobs and so i was like inspiration almost four people were like oh good on you that you pursued this thing that nobody said you could do and you still did it and it's a dream job as well and yeah so so i think that i think anytime you feel like gratitude is a burden you need to like really question what is wrong because i mean i was i am and i am grateful for the experience that i have i wouldn't have that business side in that experience of what it means to produce for as a business without that job but yeah it just i couldn't bring myself to be like dancing, demonstrate and like how you expect that you will feel when you get your dream job and everything that you've been working for you feel like it should be, you know, sunshine rainbows. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 10:12
I want to know,

Emily Thompson 10:14
then I want to know about the breaking point, like, what was the point for you, when you said done throwing in the towel? Here's my like, resignation? I want to leap tell me that moment.

Brenda Mangalore 10:27
Yeah, I remember really clearly because some work was getting a little hard. And there was like, all the people that I really loved working with had left and, and, you know, the culture of it had changed a little and not not bad mouthing the company or anything, but, and I was already feeling this, I need to leave, I need to leave. And it was just like, but then if I had to find out a design job, it just didn't feel like a good alternative. And I remember sitting in the car, because I talked to my poor husband, you know, like whining and crying and, and being miserable, and sometimes taking it on him. But like, he would just sit there listening. And we'll be sitting in the car. And I remember just this one night, I'm sitting in a car and I'm crying, going, I want to pain and I want to do something else. And I'm not happy and you know, all that stuff. And he just said, Well, why don't you? And I remember thinking that really just I guess it was almost like a lightbulb moment. Or it just it was it was almost a permission that I needed. Not that I needed permission from my husband, but it was just like, Well, why don't you and then and then from there, we kind of just worked out? Well, what would need to happen in order for me to. And I just did the whole burning bridges and just quit my job and everything. Which, which I wouldn't recommend for everyone. I was in a position to do that we had savings and and i still freelanced for the company for a little while after that, which was really fantastic. Because I always got treated with a lot more risk. When I was a freelancer, and I didn't have to stay at it had to deal with the politics. I didn't have to go to any meetings. It was amazing. But for me, I needed that. And I think after that I really realized I was quite burnt out from doing something that I just really was not happy and didn't even know what that felt like and but yeah, that that not sitting in that car. And I remember looking at him and crying. And he's saying to me, Well, why don't you? And it just it, I guess it kind of cracked open all the ideas like it's, it's supposed to just be like, why am I miserable? This is what I'm miserable about. And then just circling around that for a long time. It was like, Well, why don't you do this thing that you say you want to keep doing? What do you need to do to do that? So yeah, that was that. That I guess that light bulb? Breaking? It was he was a true breaking light bulb Phoenix kind of moment for me. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 12:49
So you are known for your multi layered, colorful, abstract, intuitive paintings. You also do some really intricate typography drawings. So I'm curious, were you painting on the side while you were working your day job? When did painting enter the picture?

Brenda Mangalore 13:08
Yeah, so for me, I don't have that romantic story. I just I never painted, I just, I knew it was one of those things where you look, I will look at a painting in a shop or in a gallery. And it'll be certain paintings that I would be jealous that he was up there. But it wasn't mine. It was a really weird feeling. Because I'm like, I want that life. And I guess it could be some people who might look at musicians and go, I want to be rich and famous. I never had that feeling. But with painters I always like I want that life. And But no, I never painted. And so after that, that special night of crying. I bought some canvases and I already had some paints from my illustration, diploma from school, but there were obviously student paints and things are really just started from scratch. And I really feel like when I don't acknowledge this enough to myself, but I really started from scratch, like five years ago where I had to learn how paint works, because I knew how to work Photoshop and you could always you know, commands it if things in quite a workout, while I'm paying. It was a different language. It was a different medium was a different tool. And it it was a really fun journey. But it also meant I found teachers that I really kind of felt safe with and were happy to just teach me a few basic things of how certain mediums work and certain paint work and how these brushes are better than these brush brushes. And it was. Yeah, so I really know didn't know that much. But the intricate drawing stuff, on the other hand, was something that I've always done when I was very young. It was I guess what you do when you're very, very young, but my Julian was always very intricate. There was never any rhyme or reason to them and I didn't want them to be and they almost felt like a language beyond ourselves. That I was writing down and, and I the only reason I started doing the intricate drawings was actually because I started missing typography from design and missing playing with the shapes and the and the words, I loved words not that I would ever want to be a poet or writer or any of that I just loved other people's words. And I wanted to play with that. But it was very different to my paintings. I tried to incorporate them, but it just felt like two different things. And so. So yeah, that's the story of the two one is very new. But at the same time when I started painting, and I went to a few classes of other artists, to learn kind of their techniques, but really, he gave me permission, because I already had my own process and learn technique that I really, that's the intuitive part that I talked about, I really wanted to do that. And I wanted permission, I guess. And that really gave me that to just pursue it and really explore that. And so it was kind of new in terms of materials, but it felt so old and like coming home when I started to really let go and create from that place. And then the nature of the drawings was just picking something that I've always done when I was young, and I still have people from my past come up to me and go I remember when used to just sit there and ignore everyone and be antisocial and do the doodle things. But I'm so glad that now it's become this thing. And I found, I guess the avenue to make them into something more meaningful than just these scribbles that I will put on my notebooks and stuff. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 16:29
So I love how you say that you were jealous of painters, and that you really wanted that life. And one of the things that Emily and I really hammer home here at being boss is really picturing your ideal day, and what that looks like. So what did the ideal life of a painter look like for you? Like, how did you imagine that a painter lives? And how much of that has become your reality? So like, describe to us what a day in the life is like for you? And whether or not it's ideal? Or what about it? What's less dreamy, like, what doesn't add up to the, to the vision that you imagined? Oh,

Brenda Mangalore 17:06
I don't think I had a idea of what the ideal day for a painter was, what I was jealous off was the fact that they got to make this that came, I thought easily to them. And then they got to present it to the world. And it spoke in such volume that you couldn't get in, or I couldn't do in my design work. And so that's what's what I was pursuing. But for me, I have a two year old or two and a half year old and she's my full time hustle, I guess. So my ideal day would involve not having to look after her if I wanted to paint and, and having all that space. But unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. And I've luckily because in design, when you're in an in house studio you create when you need to create because it's time to create, there's no like waiting for the news to appear. There's the making sure you have four hours, even though I do have a couple of days of that, where I just have two or three hours in a row, which is fantastic and can get into flow. But I found that as with any job, during job or not, there's always the kind of not so good side. And for me, that's actually part of the painting process, there'll be a part of my painting process. That's kind of shitty, where it's like nothing's working. And you start doubting yourself, I think it's every creative process has this way, you start off really, really good, you can get into a flow, and then you hit this wall where you're like, Oh my god, this is the worst thing I've ever made in my life, I'm never gonna make a good thing ever again. And that's, that's hard, because you have to trust that now you will break through, you've reached this point because you always reach this point. And you know that it's a breakthrough on the other side of that you'll work something out. Nobody this new idea that comes in provided that you don't walk away completely from it about you just take a step back, knowing that you'll come come back to the studio when things are ready to present itself to you. So that for me is the hard part. And the other non dreamy side of things is the other things like cleaning brushes, and vanishing like all these things that you just got one day I'm gonna get a studio assistant who's going to be doing that. But then it's also part of it, like you need to look after your tools you need to do finishing the work. There's so much of being in that creative space when you're painting and you're really in it and it's kind of romantic idea of it, but then there's also of physicality of it. I can't stand for four hours in a row and paint because my knees get Roland and my feet hurt and I actually need to eat food and do all the things that you know human beings need to do. So it's been a good practice to balance the two to be both really into the creative space and then realizing that I need to step out because in the end those paintings don't. They don't just belong to me. They They're not me, it's as well. And I think we probably were talking about like feedback and stuff. But But yeah, part of that is that to realize that I do have a life outside of the paintings, but when you are painting you're like in it and when you're really in, and that's when ideas come in, when all the amazing, you know, you really feel that communion with your creativity. And, yeah, so it's been a good practice to find my way around that, especially when I had my little girl trying to find a new way of doing that. So yeah, I don't know which direction you want to go to. Yeah, I could go on forever. But yeah, it's just, I don't know what what was the question? No, I

Emily Thompson 20:45
want to I want to talk about that feedback piece really quick, because this is something a while we were working together, I remember coming up. And I think of this specifically in terms of Kathleen, because, Kathleen,

Kathleen Shannon 20:59
I have a hard time, really hard

Emily Thompson 21:01
time with receiving feedback on design. And I do to

Kathleen Shannon 21:06
really know what I will say, we'll get into you. I will say for me getting feedback on my design is actually I take it a lot less personal because I've been doing design for so long. And I'm also a little bit more detached from it. Because my passion. And really where I'm putting my heart and soul right now is in being boss. So it's whenever I get constructive or not. So constructive feedback around the podcast. And I'm like, Oh, just gets to me. But Emily and I were both so impressed with how you really handle feedback, and you really kind of give up ownership of your paintings that it's not just for you, that is about someone else. So

Brenda Mangalore 21:50
tell us more about that. Yeah, so I totally understand how hard it is. And I talk about this as well to other people where it's, I get it like, especially with artwork, and with design, I learned from my previous design job, you know, you could create something that you thought was the best thing ever, but it doesn't sell as well, because it was a production of cards or whatever, while something that you thought was like the ugliest shit about and then it does a million dollars, and then you'd be asked to make more of them. And you say why did I make that? But um, so with my paintings, it is so personal. There is so much of me in there, there is no I, I find that the best ones are the ones where I really truly surrender a lot of myself in there a lot of uncertainty and pain and as well as joy and questions and wonderings and all those kind of feelings. And it is very me. Because only I could have made the paintings that I make. Even if I was following somebody else's technique, or even if somebody else followed mine, they just they wouldn't have the right combination of skill and experience and knowledge to make what I make, by the same time like I've had to learn and as much as I say, and I sound like oh, I don't care, I do care, especially when people were like, Oh, well, we know my five year old could make that. And it's like, No, no, they couldn't. But But I've had to tell myself No, actually, and this helps because I've had good feedback from people who tell me what they get from it, you know, they get this incredible sense of joy, or they see something that reminds them or something that makes them feel a certain way. And I remember that I didn't intend that when I made that i i do intend for my paintings to be a kind of mirror, but I don't know what the end result is. And the person who buys it in the end, the final collector who chooses to exchange money for it, I don't know what their story is. And I love hearing about it. But that always reminds me that they get something from it that I couldn't have envisioned could have truly known to the end and it really wasn't for me it was for them because I don't create these paintings just for myself, which is why I really wanted this to be my job because I didn't want to be just painting on the side just for myself. And I think that's incredible. And I think you should definitely do that a bit especially if it helps you with creative expression and it's another hobby or whatever. But for me I always knew the loop doesn't finish until it's presented to other people and other people enjoy it. So yeah, it's it's it's not an easy thing and I totally feel the whole constructive but not really constructive criticism was but on the other hand, I think we're certain worse if you know it was supposed to go out to other people. If you can realize that it isn't you it is from you. It is you know all for you I guess but it isn't you so what they're criticizing isn't you personally, then I think it helps to just kind of surrender that and hopefully you've already moved on to the next or for me the next painting or whatever. But yeah feedback, it is hard. And it's a practice and there will be people who are just mean, you know, you should just ignore them.

Kathleen Shannon 25:06
I love the idea, though that there is this kind of third energy that's created. So there's the energy that you put into the artwork, making the thing. And then there's the energy that someone else is bringing to the table, the person who's engaging with the artwork, and then there's kind of this third entity that is formed. That is where your creative expression meets their interpretation. And I think that that is, I don't know, it's such an interesting way of looking at it.

Brenda Mangalore 25:34
Oh, yeah. And I think that's a nice, more articulate way of explaining what I just. Yeah, there is that? Well, I always say, when people ask me, or how do I know my paintings are finished, there is a lot of standing and staring when I'm near the end of a painting. And understanding and staring is really just asking myself in all the painting internally, you know, what else does it need from either composition or color point of view, but also from an overall big picture point of view. And then I found that at the very end, there's always a point where I can, literally I'm not crazy, but like there's, there's a point where you can feel like, no your work is done. And even though a part of me is like, Oh, I can just, you know, make that dark, a bit darker, or the light a bit lighter, or add just that little bit more detail to tweak it. But I found that if I crossed that line, when I know, and I you know, I feel that or hear that voice that says no, your work is done, you need to let it go. If I cross that line, I find that I end up starting a whole new story again, in that previous picture that story or expression of the painting that it was his last and then I have to keep going and pursue the next I guess painting. And so there is, I guess it's the whole even with design that you can't get perfection. But you have to know when you're part of this work or the part of your story is done. And then it has to move on to the next part of its cycle, I guess which is being seen finding the right person to engage with it and bring home with them. And then they get to live with it. And they see different things in different detail every day that they look at it and and that's its new life, and it no longer involves me. And so I think if I focus on that part of the story, I don't have to worry so much about Do you like it? Nobody likes that kind of stuff. No, I

Emily Thompson 27:34
think I think that I've never heard you speak this much. process. So like even like and we've talked a ton. And I wanted to have you on because I love your your perspective that you have on art and the feedback process and all of the things. So I love hearing you talk about it. But I want to dive really quickly into like the business side of things. So you quit your day job, you decided you want to pick up a paintbrush and paint. Tell me about it becoming a business like when and how did that begin.

Brenda Mangalore 28:11
Even though I never painted on the side, what I did do on the side was look at blogs of other painters and creatives who had I guess I saw their blogs, this is back then when blogs was the big thing. And Google and iPhones and all that wasn't as big. I really found that their blogs felt like my future diary, even though they were writing in it. In real time, it felt like the This was my story five years from now, or I had hoped for anyway. And so part of that was learning the process of trying to find, you know, how do you exchange money for that. And it really became I really learned, you know, for my huge amount of reading online was that it is a business and it was a lot of you know, back then there were weren't that many coaches around but the one or two that was that was coaching prayers would you know write blog posts, and I would like inhale all their content. And I love it was just telling creatives to realize that in the end, there's still the creative side. But if you want to exchange that for money, that is a business. Anytime you're exchanging something for something like that's a business of some kind and to make sure that you're aware of that and value work. Look at making sure you're making a profit when you're pricing your work as well as realizing that because and that's when I really realized even though I was working for a company and I was an in house studio, I really was just one of the cogs and I just realized this recently because I was thinking wise sometimes Why is it so hard to be running your own business it's it's easier to be a cog than to be the one that has to create the whole machine. But back then when I wasn't painting on the side, I was reading all this stuff when I really realized all these little parts that I would need to have in order to really create My own, not just artistic practice, but in order to make that something that I could sell. And because I had experience with cards and those kind of stationery paper products, I had seen firsthand, the two sides of both the creative side what and then analyzing the art of it going, what is it that do really well, why why did it sell that? Well, and looking at the numbers of that and discussing how can we reduce the cogs of the cost of it in order to increase profit of it without losing the essence of the the artistic part of it? And so I think having that experience really gave me a really good I guess, first few steps to really look at my work from that point of view.

Unknown Speaker 30:49

Emily Thompson 30:50
that was one of my very favorite things about working with you was that you came to me not only like as an artist who was a painter who wanted to make money, but you already had so much of it in place. And I love that you just picked it all up from reading blogs, like, yeah, we're already growing your list, you were already like, you already had a really solid opt in some cool freebies. And you knew like the functionality that you needed for your website, like you came into this, knowing enough and I love that so much of it was just like your own footwork like side hustling as a blog reader equated to you being able to like jumpstart a career as an artist making money selling her work. Yeah, I love that. Yay for reading blogs. Okay,

Kathleen Shannon 31:33
I want to talk about that. How do you actually sell your work? Because I know that we're gonna have some listeners who want to be artists full time for a living that are like, okay, but how do I sell my work? Like how? And there's a few questions that go into this, like, how as a society, can we bring more value in place more importance on art, so that artists can make a living doing what they love? And then like? That's,

Brenda Mangalore 31:57
that's a huge question. That's

Unknown Speaker 32:00
there. That

Brenda Mangalore 32:02
I think, I think, from the huge question about art and the value of it, there is a bit of responsibility on artists, I guess, to educate the general public on the value of your work. So you need to know that you're not just making a painting, it isn't just paint on a canvas, because if it is just paint on a canvas, people aren't going to pay you much for that. And for me, and it's been a long time, I didn't just jump to this even from blog writing. But I realized and talking to people who do enjoy my work and have bought the one or two at the very beginning, and was always asking, what is it that you got from it outside of, Oh, it's pretty, you know, it's, there are many pretty things, but pretty things don't last forever, unless it's a hugely big part of the values of your ideal client, like if you know about ideal clients. But if you know what value you can use, and you can communicate that and that those are both skills that you'll need to learn and practice will get help with. But if you can communicate that I think it helps people's account are okay to either go, I actually do want that value in my life. And I do see it and I will exchange something of equal value for it. Or they can go, No, I don't see the value in that I don't need that value in that. And then they can walk away. And so then you can focus on looking for the people who would get the value that you believe that your work is. On the other hand, I think it's also just, I found with a lot of people who I meet who I know would be my who would love my work. And my work would really give them joy and beauty in their homes and in their spaces. But they haven't quite given themselves permission to be I can see it where they don't quite see themselves as outliers. And I think it's like this thing above and beyond them, you know, that other people do. But it's not actually it's not super expensive. I'm not up to that super expensive stage yet. But yeah, I can see that the thing that's blocking them isn't that they don't see the value in it, they just don't see that they have the ability or they have permission, I guess to take on that identity of being an art collector, which sounds or special and beyond them. But it's just like if you say something that's beautiful, and you know that it's going to give you joy every time you look at it. I mean, it was a small thing. And I start like myself with small things. I bought these little ceramic pots that you know it's really too small to hold anything to be truly functional, but there's just something about it that's just so beautiful. And every time I look at it, it gives me a sense of joy and and really and I found with a lot of my collectors who do buy my work for the first time. They once they do it's almost like they switch in their brain and go actually no you know what I'm gonna buy good quality art like I want to have this kind of value in my life and not value just in terms of money, but like This sense of joy and beauty, but they also go, I'm never going to buy, you know, crappy little prints from Kmart again, because I've seen what it's like to own an original piece of art. And there's something about it that gives me something that beyond what I can get from just getting a print that's really cheap and still pretty. But so yeah, so I think there's that both sides of educating, but at the same time, some people just need permission. And so whether you can give that to them through your, I guess, marketing or whatever it is, or just realizing that people just aren't quite at that point yet. And then you have to let them work it out themselves. But yeah, but on the other hand, in terms of just the basic business model, I guess, for me, I just, I make prints and I make originals, and but there are plenty of other business models. And I think that's where the research into knowing even what business model means, especially for creatives is an answer to let go of this preciousness about how your paintings are special, and people should give it the respect that that you know, that he deserves. And yeah, people should but at the same time, you also need to educate people. And that's what marketing is to communicate the value that you're giving beyond just this thing that you've created. But also when people don't know who you are, they can't trust you yet. And if they can't trust you, yet, they can't believe anything that you say. So you need to build that trust as well. And part of that is the building the email list and all that kind of stuff so that they can see the heart and the work that you put into it, and then they can see the value of what you've created. Okay, I

Kathleen Shannon 36:39
have a couple of very practical questions. And then I have a challenge for our bosses listening whenever it comes to buying art. But my practical questions are, one, whenever you talk about really understanding the value that your art provides, beyond just oh, that's pretty. Are you literally asking for testimonials from your clients about how they, how they interact with your art. And if you are asking for testimonials? How do you do that? And how do you incorporate that into your marketing? Which leads me into my two parter. I'm so bad about doing this, but whatever.

Unknown Speaker 37:16
Yeah, actually, it's

Emily Thompson 37:17
me, I'm gonna lay it on you.

Kathleen Shannon 37:18
Because you might want to answer these in reverse. But my second question is, we get a lot of artists and makers asking us because Emily and I, our philosophy is to give it all away for free. Like if you are a service provider, share your gifts of knowledge, because there will not be a lack of people wanting to give you money for it. If you can prove if you can build that trust exactly what you were talking about. Yeah. But whenever it comes to artists and makers, they have a harder time. Yeah, it all away for free, because

Brenda Mangalore 37:51
they go slow.

Kathleen Shannon 37:53
So what are you writing about in your emails? How are you giving people a piece of you without giving away physical products?

Brenda Mangalore 38:01
Yeah. And I yeah. And, and I by no means am I an expert in all of this. And this is just me still working things out. I know with my work, okay, just the practicalities of it. You need to show your work. So I, I can't ask for feedback unless I show my work so. So even if it's just online, but I find it's best if it's in because it's a physical product, it needs to be in physical places so that people can physically be there. And then give you that feedback. And so I held an exhibition very early on and I did a my own. I guess it was like Kickstarter, this is back when Kickstarter just literally just started and they didn't have that available in Australia. So I kind of made my own little Kickstarter thing where I basically wrote emails to my friends and friends of friends going, you know, I'm doing this painting thing, would you like to buy a painting, I need money to like really start off my whole new supplies and resources and stuff like that, and really sold it for really cheap, like you could get $50 $100.02 $100 kind of Mikey behind Kickstarter, you can have those rewards. And so I did that. But from that, people were really happy and I got a decent money and I held an exhibition. And from that I was able to get physical, you know, one on ones seeing their faces and hearing their feedback. And I found there was a difference between the people who love your work and you always have them they love your work, but they don't want to buy and their feedback is slightly different to the ones who have already bought the work. Even the ones who bought it, you know, it was really just helping me out but they could see the genuine sincerity in their kind of, I guess the joy that they got from it and just hearing the words that they're saying from it and what they got from and what they saw in it and how they could see different things. And so I you know, kept that in my head and wrote those things out. And then kept doing that. And so when I got someone who just bought, who kind of have met me in real life so I think there's a it's very undervalued the I the concept of people meeting you in real life and just liking you as a person and then buying your work because there is a lot of beautiful artwork out there original not. So sometimes the really fine line difference between why they buy from you and not from somebody else is because they know you slightly better. And so this woman who kind of just met me, and we event thing that was for business, women and stuff, and we kind of hit it off button, you know, we weren't best friends or anything. And she bought my paintings. And because we got along I you know, I asked her actually asked her what is it that you get from is what is it that you see my paintings and, and she told me and she even said the words I get this sense of joy. And I remember when you do these ideal client exercises where you work out who it is that you want to work for? And I could never answer the what is it that your clients get from it because I don't provide a specific service. And I've always struggled with that, you know that I'm not helping them with their business or helping them in money, you're saving them time. And I always wrote down if I had it my way, and I didn't have to worry about what it actually means. I always worry I want them to just really love my work and get this sense of joy from it. And so when she said that, it kind of clicked in with everything that I was hoping for and realizing that I had I guess permission to kind of what what I want. And knowing that in the end my true intention for it can ring true for people who are my perfect ideal clients. So yeah, so there's the asking people in person provided that you actually show your work and asking them for for testimonials and knowing the difference between the people who will always and they usually the loudest who like go on and on about loving your work, but they don't actually spend the money versus the people who do spend the money. And I find that the people who spend the money even if they don't have funding fantastic on paper to say about it, the fact that they exchanged that value, I think says a lot more. And then and then from there. Yeah, just working out how to finesse that into a marketing message, I guess but. And then I can't remember what the second question. So

Kathleen Shannon 42:24
now in your emails, do you focus on building trust? Or I think what you said about people liking you person can definitely be a differentiating factor. And that's personal branding, which is what I'm preaching up and down all day, every day. So are you sharing more of who you are in your email marketing to kind of build that trust in the online realm?

Brenda Mangalore 42:46
Yes. And I've sent surveys out in my email list guy, you know, what do you want to hear from me, and I'm giving like a list of options of things that I would be happy to write about. And a lot of it, it's always coming back to what's your creative process, what inspires you for this work, because I forget that not everyone's a painter, and not everyone's creative. And that, you know, they used to live in this world like I live in, where there's all kinds of stuff. And I always have all these ideas, and I want to explore these colors. And then realizing that people find that fascinating because they don't think that way. And so that part, I know what at least for my kind of audience, they really enjoy hearing that side of things. And so I try to share that, most of the time, it's just sharing my thought processes and my thinking behind the actual work because especially with abstract work, there isn't a specific thing or to hold on to like a specific figure or still life or whatever that they can hold on to which then they can relate to their specific memory. So a lot of it it's just color and something about it that is abstract. And so I just provide you know, background story and myself and things like that, because in the end Also, I want to attract people who like it more than just the here's Here you go, here's a pretty painting I want to attract people who want to hear that part of the behind the scenes, the my story and maybe if you can see my story, you might get one facet of where these paintings come from. But on the other hand, I also leave a quite open ended so that it gives them permission to just go Oh, this is what I see in it and and build rapport in that way because I find that the people who do really love my work are the people who just kind of feel like they're my friends and I could be friends with them. And so I try to write in that kind of sets.

Emily Thompson 44:37
And then anything that you do that I really love because one of the things Katelyn was talking about was how are you giving it away for free and one of the ways that you do that is with your your newsletter opt in and that every single month to your newsletter list. You send your artwork as a like desktop background or iPhone or iPad background and so you are giving away your art for Free in some format, it's not a physical product. It's you know, your painting as a background with a really great quote, my iPad for months has had your Peter Pan quote on it like it is my favorite thing. I've I almost changed it recently. And I thought, nope, it's not going to change. So and I love that you do that, I think that's one of the best things about doing business online is that you can break barriers where there used to be tons of barriers. Yeah, sure, you're giving it away for free, but it's not some, you know, pricey physical product you're using, like, digital awesomeness to do that. And yes, the same? Well,

Brenda Mangalore 45:37
that's Well, that was the closest I can think of that was gonna be digital and that go create, from a less cost perspective, yet be able to distribute it, you know, to more people. But on the other hand, there's just like, if you think of it differently, if you can produce a show, or get yourself into an exhibition, which I think it can be, it's challenging itself. But if you can, even if it's, you know, coffee shops and stuff, which there are, you know, there's a controversy about whether or not that's viable from a business point of view. But the idea that, if you're just showing it, in public, like that itself is a kind of free thing, like people are enjoying it visually, for free, in a sense, because they don't have it in their homes. And then, but that's how you also attract people who, if they are looking for it, can find it and see it in real life and bring it home. So there's a whole debate about whether or not art just buying online, and I'm seeing increases of people just buying online even without seeing it in person. But I think that's that's just another way, I guess I'm looking at it as a free gift, I guess, because people do get to enjoy it from a visual point of view, but they may not buy it, per se. And it's I know, it's not the same as sharing your gifts of knowledge for free as a service provider. But it's, I guess, we products, that's that's the other way like just like how I go to visit certain shops and look at their beautiful products. And I know I won't buy it, but I go there. And I imagine where I would put them in my house and stuff then. But I just I would never really buy all the things in the house because my house won't be big enough. But I guess that's just another way of looking at it as long as you're actually showing it in public. Because I find that there's a lot of creatives who talk about painting, and they want to sell it, but then they only kind of have a website, or they only have it on some portfolio thing. And then that's it. And it's like, well, unless you're getting a lot of traffic in there, you're actually not really showing it, you're hiding it. So if you can find a way of making being seen, and I know that's really hard, that's where you get feedback. And so you work out the logistics and business side of things. But if you can do that, that's when you can really, you know, work out what what is it that people get from it, and at the same time sharing your gifts to people in a way that they can have a taste of it and but and then not and then decide whether or not they want to buy it and keep it forever in their home.

Kathleen Shannon 47:59
I love that idea that an exhibition also, in some ways, keeps your work local and the people who are buying your work are in your own community. Not that I think that we shouldn't cross borders, with the online world. And as art relates to that, but I do like the idea of kind of really thinking about it on a more local level in that way. What is the controversy around coffee shop exhibitions?

Brenda Mangalore 48:22
Well, okay, so from a business point of view, yes, it's because the coffee shop gets the artwork for free, and they get to hang your work and they get, you know, beautiful decoration. But people don't go to a coffee shop to buy artwork. So it's very rare, unless you set it up as a true business partnership where you get to really promote it or you get the staff to really promote your work. Otherwise it's just sits there like just like at the same time as much as I say, you should definitely show your work you can't just expect to just show your work and people will just come and buy it so you got to think about context as well. And so the controversy is whether or not it's worthwhile, I think if you can just show your work it's great and I have sold artwork at my coffee shop. But also I don't have high expectations that that's going to be a real place of I guess commerce for my artwork because people don't go in there looking for artwork they go in there and have coffee and eat food and so that I guess you got to look at it from that so from a business point of view you got to think about if you putting it in there as opposed to into a retail gallery space where people are coming looking for artwork or decoration whether or not the return on investment is worth your while but but if it's just for marketing you know just to show your work I think it's great so so there's a few like online whether or not it's worth your time and whether or not it's worth the effort and then it also this stuff like insurance if this is all the business niggly nitty gritty stuff where it's you know, the cafe, coffee shop me not enjoy your work. So if something happens to them, you lose, I guess your asset, your your product, from that point of view? Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 50:09
I think it's interesting, the most expensive piece of artwork I've bought has been from a coffee shop. And so I just think it's interesting, but it's because I had photographed it and shared it on Instagram, the piece that I loved, and I never purchased it. But the artist followed up with me. And she said, Hey, I noticed that you're interested in this, would you like to buy it? So there was that element of it?

Brenda Mangalore 50:32
And because of that personal one on one, I think it probably tipped you over the edge, like, you probably would have never thought about it again. Yeah. And so that's the business connecting, getting to know you being friends, that kind of Yeah, that piece of it. So you can't just show it and expect people to come just like you can't just create a website and expect people that just come and pay money. For your services. It's this, this whole dynamic of things that you need to have in place and make sure your ongoing promotion or marketing or just keeping in contact I think

Kathleen Shannon 51:05
I do like the idea, though, of practicing just showing your work, especially if you're a newer artist. And I also like the idea of following up and asking people would you like to buy this including the coffee shop? Hey, which one of these have you like looking at every day? What do you like to buy it?

Unknown Speaker 51:21
Yeah, and

Emily Thompson 51:21
really what I hear you saying Kathleen is realizing an artist that behaves like a business person.

Kathleen Shannon 51:30
And you know, even thinking about I can't help but go to business model. If you are showing in a coffee shop, have an exhibition, I'm sure that the coffee shop would let you have an exhibition evening, put hashtags on your artworks that you can promote and ask people to share it for you on Instagram. I think that there are definitely cross promotional ways that you can leverage a coffee shop showing or even having a professional photographer come photograph your artwork in a space that you can then put on your website. I mean, just leverage and milk the shit out of even if it's technically not a big deal, make it a big deal.

Brenda Mangalore 52:10
Yes and Newman, like just take responsibility for for sending people to see the artwork specifically. So you can't expect the general traffic at the coffee shop to you know want to buy work, you can i mean that has happened. But you can't rely on that. So you need to be the one that takes responsibility. I think the taking of your own responsibility to make things happen is a big part of that.

Kathleen Shannon 52:34
I feel pretty strongly about art is so funny Brenda because I my background is actually in fine art. I started thinking that I was going to be a painter, and then audition for graphic design school and got in but I did do fine art through school. And as my graphic design background helped me communicate it. But eventually I felt like I wasn't allowed to do fine art anymore as a graphic designer, but I've been feeling a pull toward painting again, if even just for myself and talking to you has definitely inspired me to do that. Maybe not as a business yet. But even this month in the being boss clubhouse, we're talking about passion projects, and I could definitely see painting being one of those for me.

Unknown Speaker 53:19

Emily Thompson 53:20
Make me something pretty tea.

Brenda Mangalore 53:22
Yeah. And I think there's nothing wrong with doing that just as a passion side hobby thing, I think when we are so into doing our own business, like I was thinking the other day, what am I hobbies? Outside of spending time with my daughter or spending time at work? It's nice to

Unknown Speaker 53:38
have anything to do with your daughters.

Brenda Mangalore 53:43
Yeah, well, I

used to knit and I used to do all these other things analysis. I know, I would rather read and all work on my business. Absolutely. My daughter's beautiful. But yeah, like you just if you can paint, it's grateful self expression. It's great for exploring your intuitive side, making it as a business. And there's a whole other side that you need to look at. But yeah, passion projects, I think that's a big thing that people need to find a way to have that in their life adds more color.

Kathleen Shannon 54:15
So to end this episode, what advice would you give to creatives who are trying to find time to work on their art because I know that you're a busy mom and a business person and you're juggling lots of different things.

Unknown Speaker 54:27

Kathleen Shannon 54:28
what advice would you give to people to find more time?

Brenda Mangalore 54:32
I think you need to schedule it in I think you need to draw firm boundaries. But at the same time, know that you can't sometimes you might not be able to have a whole day and you got to find a way to get into flow and you know, tap into your creative knees or whatever it is in an hour. And that's a practice and that's a skill I guess and it's in a way but also if you can Just let go of all the facts, the bullshit of, you know, I need everything in its place and everything has to be perfect before I can create, if you just do it like a practice where you just sit down, or you stand at the easel and you just create the work and know that sometimes it's going to be not so good, it's gonna be a bit shit. And sometimes it won't be fantastic. But it's the consistency if you can be consistent and just draw a little fence around your bit of time. If it's an hour, if it's half an hour, if it's you know, in between, you're waiting for your kettle to boil when you're making coffee, whatever it is, if you can make that into a daily or whatever consistent way of doing it, then you will find a way to I guess, make the time because in the end, that is what it is you're making the time and you're making a decision that it is important to you. So then you need to draw that boundary around that. And so I would love to spend all my time with my daughter and, and there's, you know, house chores and other things and people to catch up with. But I have to consciously and mindfully draw a boundary around a specific time going, I'm going to paint today, and year there'll be interruptions. And yeah, everything is not quite working. It's really, really cold here. Or even if I do spend two hours in the painting isn't nothing to really, you know, write home about, but you just the consistency cannot be undervalued and then it becomes a practice and when it becomes a practice you'll find that the creativity really visits you more often and amuse visits you more often just like Steven pressfield books about the War of Art or do the work or turning pro the consistency and the the decision to just sit down and do the work even when you don't feel like it. I think that's when you can really tap into your creativity and really do the work that you're meant to do.

Unknown Speaker 56:57
Hey, man,

Kathleen Shannon 56:59
double Amen.

Brenda Mangalore 57:01
I'm glad I got an Amen in there.

Kathleen Shannon 57:04
Amen. where can our listeners find more of you?

Brenda Mangalore 57:08
Um, you can find me on Brenda mangalore.com and Brenda Mangalore on Instagram. I'm on there a lot on Facebook. and sign up if you're going to enjoy my artwork and love reading or enjoying inspired words and colorful paintings. And yeah, that's where you can find me.

Unknown Speaker 57:32

Kathleen Shannon 57:33
Thank you so much for joining us today. We loved having you on the show.

Brenda Mangalore 57:36
Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Kathleen Shannon 57:40
Kathleen here I wanted to pop in because I've been getting asked a lot what my role I've read creative is now that being bosses taken off so much, and I wanted to let you guys know that branding, business visioning and coaching creatives to blend more of who they are into what they do while positioning themselves as confident creative experts is still a huge part of my work in my life. At braid creative, I'm still giving my team creative direction and putting my stamp of approval on every single project behind the scenes. But a big part of my role there is helping to create the braid method branding ecourse This is something I'm super passionate about. And what this ecourse does is it helps creatives who can't quite hire brave creative one on one, work on their own brand and their own business vision. We have a ecourse book, a ton of exercises and even audio files so that you can learn on the go. The ecourse is now open to new students only until August 8. Learn more at Bree creative COMM And click ecourse in the main menu Thank you for listening to being boss. Please be sure to visit our website at being boss club where you can find Show Notes for this episode. Listen to past episodes and discover more of our content that will help you be boss in work and life. Did you like this episode, please share it with a friend and show some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes. Do the

Emily Thompson 59:04
work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.