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A Lesson in Art Marketing

I took a free, live workshop from an art teacher recently.

First, a note. I'd like to keep most of this blog a happy place. But that wouldn't be a full representation of what my life is like. I need to vent and work through this stuff. Thank you for witnessing.

I was pretty disappointed in how things went. In looking back, I am going to take the experience as a very important lesson for me in terms of what not to do. My experience reiterated how I want to run my own art business and the things I want to avoid. And this class sealed the deal in my resolve to keep those ideas.

I won’t be signing up for anything else from this person, free or not.

I have changed some of the details here because I recognize that the teacher is doing their best. I recognize they are human and that my distaste in how they do things doesn't mean that the way they are doing things is wrong, it's just not the way I want to do things. Nor is it the way I want to be marketed to.

I will slip quietly away without saying anything to them. BUT! This is my blog and I can complain here, sans details. 😂

Here are the details I feel comfortable sharing:

It was supposedly a “live” workshop but the techniques were recorded and sped up to twice the speed the teacher actually painted the demo. That’s not super fast, but I really thought I’d be hand-holded through this new technique and way of painting.

The teacher said that the painting they were doing took them 1.5 hours to do, but they "didn’t want [us] to have to sit through it." They also said, “Don’t do it with me. Watch. Take notes, and then try it later with the replay.”  

I watched and took notes until I realized there weren’t any specific, step-by-step instructions like “pick up the pthalo turquoise and add to the canvas,” to write down.

And then, after not getting much out of the “live” demonstration, the last 20 minutes contained a sales pitch. It was for a large amount of lessons around the same theme, and the class was discounted for us (those in the workshop), but only for those 20 minutes.

I felt duped.

I would not have signed up if I knew what I know now. And I was frustrated that I still didn’t know how to do the thing they had supposedly just taught me how to do.

I wish this teacher would go back to the way they used to be. A little more messy and authentic. More generous with their knowledge. Less buttoned up and all about the money. Less boring and salesy.

And I get it. Marketing yourself and your work is tough. I get that giving away things for free means you don’t get paid for your hard work.

But I also get that building a community who trusts you is super important.

Offering a free workshop, with a video that is so fast I can’t follow along — even during the replay — and THEN trying to get me to buy an entire class means that the free workshop isn’t actually a workshop but more a sales pitch disguised as a workshop.

The reality feels dishonest and yucky.

It breaks my trust with you.

I may not have paid for anything they gave me in this workshop, but I did spend my valuable time watching and listening and hoping that I’d learn how to do what they said they would teach me.



PS: I'm blogging along with Effy Wild in April. If you'd like to join the facebook group to read the rules, go here:

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