In today's episode I chat with Art Expert and Author, Maria Brophy, about pricing and selling artwork. Maria shares real life stories over the last 20 years, from managing her artist husband, Drew Brophy - selling his work, licensing, as well as some examples for pricing your art. All of which can be found in her book, Art Money Success.
Even though Maria's full time job is running their gallery near Laguna Beach, California, she still finds time to help and coach other artists struggling to establish their niche, finding the right buyers and negotiating deals.
Here's a snippet of what's in store:
[00:09:00] price murals, how to price commissions, everything that you want to know about pricing your art and selling it is what is really laid out in this book. So I know that artists right now would love to at least get a few examples of how to do that, because I don't know. I, I find. Every artist is obviously different. They have their own niche and that's something else that you discuss in the book is establishing your niche, which is so very important because that will then help you to determine where to find your buyers.
[00:12:00] really it's not going to be refined until you have a lot of time into it. That's just the reality of it. So you have to look at that and then you look at the materials that you use. Some materials like gold leaf is going to add more to the cost of artwork. You look at the materials, you look at the medium, you look at the market that you're selling to. Okay. Are you selling in a coffee shop or are you selling in a luxury market or somewhere in between?
[00:14:00] I want to see artists get momentum with their sales, get comfortable with their sales. If you set a price that deep down inside you don't feel in alignment with, you're never gonna sell it. Yeah. You have to feel good about the prices you're asking. So, where do you start, number wise?.All right. So I'm going throw out some examples.
[00:20:00] That is a great course because I think not all artists when they're trying to sell, are necessarily wanting to go and sell with a gallery or have representation. You know, whatever that reason may be, they may decide that they want to try and do it on their own, with an online presence on social media or in person at fairs and things like that. And I know there's definitely an art to it.
[00:31:00] I think it's one that comes up quite a bit for pricing your art. If you're going to sell it online or within a gallery, obviously you're going to have to add to that because of the commission that's taken from the gallery themselves, but also speaking of commissions from an artist, creating and selling then for somebody else, how would you suggest setting up a commission structure as an artist? What would be your recommended process for an artist to take them through doing a commission?
[00:43:00] It's so good to know that people or artists in particular have other streams of income that they can bring in other ways that they can generate revenue from their original art. And I think licensing, even though it's been around for years for a long time, I think over the last han
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Do you struggle with pricing your art? Selling your art? Knowing where to find the right buyer for your art? Or maybe you would just like to know how you can generate additional income from your art. If you answered yes to any one of these questions. You're going to want to listen in on today's episode. I'm chatting with Maria Brophy, art expert, who's been in the business for over 20 years. And she's going to be able to help you solve all of your pricing and selling woes. So stick around that's coming up next. Well, hello there, my friend, and welcome to another episode of The Curious Creator podcast. Today. I'm going to be discussing, along with my very special guest, pricing and selling your artwork. This is something I feel as though every single artist struggles with no matter their experience level. So whether you're a new artist or an established one, that's been practicing for many years, it's something that we just don't like to do. And there are a lot of strategies around pricing. And when discussing this topic with the other artists, everyone has their own opinion on how to price art. So today I'm going to be interviewing art expert Maria Brophy. Now Maria has been in the business, as I said, for over 20 years. She and her husband Drew Brophy, who was an artist and whom she manages, they both live, with their family, near Laguna beach in California. Maria, and Drew own a gallery and she has been selling Drew's art and other artists work for a number of years. All of her personal experiences and stories can be found and read in her book, Art Money Success. She speaks about some of her own business deals that have been successful and ones that weren't. She also shares strategies that can help you with your art sales. And those include things like connecting with your right buyers, selling art easily and ways of negotiating a sale. Licensing your art so you can be paid multiple times from one piece of artwork. Implementing business strategies and trusting your own creative intuition. So it is going to be a jam packed episode. You are in for a treat, my friend. So without further ado let's get started and let me introduce to you Maria Brophy. Hey Maria, how are you? I'm happy to be here with you. I'm really excited to have you here today because well, primarily because of your book. I mentioned it on my last podcast actually. I was talking about some of my favorite must have books and yours was one of my top picks. So I'm leading into this week's episode, from where I left off last, which was, the book, called Art Money Success. And it is on my shelf right now. It's actually one of my favorite go-to books. I think it's a book that every single artist should have, in their library of books because it's just a really good practical, realistic everyday book. It doesn't matter if you are a new artist or you've been in the industry for a really long while. It's one that you can continue to go back to. And what I wanted to chat with you today is the topic that I find most artists struggle with. And that of course is pricing. pricing your art, selling your art. And then of course the additional streams of income that, you are also very familiar with, which is licensing. So I would love, and I know the listeners would love to hear, I guess, your story initially, how you started. I know that you manage your husband's art, Drew Brophy. You've been doing that for over 20 years. Maybe give us a little bit of a background story as to how you arrived to where you are today with your book and your courses, and yeah, please share. We we'd love to know your story. So as a child, I knew I surrounded by creative people, artists, musicians, people who are living really interesting lives and doing really interesting things. It took me a long time though, to step into that world because I didn't really know how to step into it. And I went straight into the corporate world. But then one day about 25 years ago, my gosh. I met a really cute surfer dude who painted surfboards for a living and his name was Drew and still is. And, I met drew and I was just really fascinated that drew was traveling around the world, making money. Painting surfboards. And he was also doing art illustrations for surf companies. I just thought that was so amazing. So immediately, within the first, I don't know, six months of knowing him, I started helping him with his marketing and then, eventually we got married and I finally left the corporate world to work with Drew full time. And so for the last 20 plus years, I have been selling his paintings, putting together his licensing deals. We have an art gallery in San Clemente, California. So I run the gallery and I run his online sales mean basically I'm CEO of everything. The only thing I don't do is the paintings. That's really how I got into it. And then I got into helping other artists because at some point Drew and I became fairly successful. And I wanna say it was around 2006, 2007. All of a sudden people just started coming to me saying, how are you guys doing what you're doing? How are you getting Drew's art on all these products that I'm seeing in stores and surf shops and skate shops. And how are you selling paintings, in galleries? Like, how are you guys doing all this stuff? And so I started, you know, I, I can't help myself. I love helping people. I lo I, I always imagine myself growing up to be like, dear Abby. And, so I was just helping people one by one. And then one day I was like, gosh, I need to write a blog. So 2009, I started a blog where I would just write a blog, post answering questions that people would ask me. And then that led into me doing coaching and consulting and very, very part-time because my full-time job is selling art. So since 2009, I've been coaching and consulting just a couple hours a week because my job is selling art, running a gallery and doing all that stuff. But that did lead into writing my book, Art Money Success. So I finally wrote my book and everything that I learned by doing is in that book. So you won't find anything in there unless with here's a caveat, unless it's something that, I say, Hey, this person is doing this and it's a great idea, but pretty much 95% of the book is what drew and I have either succeeded in doing with making money with art or failed. And I tell you, okay, don't do this because I did this and it didn't work. Yeah. And that's great because in the book, it is very self explanatory. It's broken down very easy. You can understand it step by step and you give so many different real life examples, obviously, of what you've done in the past, over the last 20 years. So when an artist picks up that book and reads it, they're going to be able to actually use those strategies in real life. They're going to be able to sit down and say, oh, this is how I price my art. Do you know, I break it down with my cost materials and an hourly rate? Or is it a block project? You even talk a little bit about murals as well, or though I think that was on your last podcast, how to price murals, how to price commissions, everything that you want to know about pricing your art and selling it is what is really laid out in this book. So I know that artists right now would love to at least get a few examples of how to do that, because I don't know. I, I find. Every artist is obviously different. They have their own niche and that's something else that you discuss in the book is establishing your niche, which is so very important because that will then help you to determine where to find your buyers. Where are they at? Where are they hanging out? But there's still that struggle of coming up with a price. And I know that you have to sit down and say, well, how long have you been an artist for, is it, only a year? Is it 20 years? What type of artwork do you do? How good are you at your, practice? Do you hone your skills? What level of expertise do you have? So what kind of advice would you give to an artist today who is struggling with pricing their art? How would they go about doing that? Okay. So first of all, even people who have been selling art for years successfully. There's they're still struggling. Yeah. It's and you know, that's, that's good to hear question you question. I mean, we here, I have an art gallery here. I sell art. I just had an art show for another artist. It's artist named Eric Abel, and it's the first time I did a full blown art show with an artist other than Drew's art in the gallery. And literally in two days we sold $40,000 worth. Oh my goodness. Eric's art., phenomenal. It was such a huge success. Now, let me put this into perspective. There are artists that would laugh at $40,000. Like what I make that in an hour, off on my website, because there are artists at this super high level, the one percenters that will sell, a million dollars worth of art on their opening night. Okay. And then I've had art shows where we've sold $2,000 on opening night with an established artist or somewhat established, and that's not a good night for yeah. You know, that's not good for a gallery. But everything's relative. Mm. So the majority I'm gonna answer your question assuming that the majority, not the one percenters, but the 99 percenters are listening. Okay. Yeah. So first of all, you have to look at where you are. If you are fresh out of art school and you still have a ton to learn and you have not like your art might be good, but it's not refined because really it's not gonna be refined until you have a lot of time into it. That's just the reality of it. So you have to look at that and then you look at the materials that you use. Some materials like gold leaf is gonna add a lot to the cost of artwork. You look at the materials, you look at the medium, you look at the market that you're selling to. Okay. Are you selling in a coffee shop or are you selling in a luxury market or somewhere in between? Do you have collectors? No. If not it has anyone ever bought art before? No. If the answer is no, then this is where you start. You have to start low. Now there are art coaches out there that will tell you, even if you've never sold before your art is valued at $10,000, this is a $10,000 painting. Well, I'm sorry, but if you put a$10,000 price on a painting, when you've never sold art before, and you don't have a collector base and you don't have the backing of an entity, say a luxury gallery, you're never gonna sell that piece. And you're gonna be discouraged, disappointed, and you're gonna get bothered. So I like to say, look, start low so that you can get momentum. Don't put these crazy high prices on your art. If you are brand new, have never sold before. You wanna get momentum, you wanna sell a few pieces, let your art go into people's homes so that you can create more. Don't get attached to your artwork. There are artists that get so attached because they know they put their heart and soul into it. But do you want to do this for a lifetime? If so, you've gotta let those little darlings go. Yeah. Yeah. You have to take the emotion out of things. For sure. It's like selling your home you gotta let it go. Lets say you let a piece go for a low price and you realize gosh I really could have got more for that. It's not the end of the world. Let it go. I wanna see artists get momentum with their sales, get comfortable with their sales. If you set a price that deep down inside you don't feel in alignment with, you're never gonna sell it. Yeah. You have to feel good about the prices you're asking. So, where do you start, number wise?. All right. So I'm going throw out some examples, cuz I know I'm speaking in general terms and I hate when people do that. I just wanna know, give me numbers. So I look at what most established artists are doing now. Of course, artists are all over the board. So I just kind of pick and choose the artists that I personally know that are selling well. So in general, artists that are doing oil paintings and they've been selling happily selling their work for a number of years in general, they do about a $6 per square inch, and that's one way to do it. So there's a lot of ways to price your art, right? This is one way you do it by the square inch. So let's say you're doing a 16 by 24 inch canvas, 16 times 24 gives you 384 square inches. Multiply that by $6. And you've got a $2304 oil painting. Okay. Right. And that's an average for an average artist, not beginner, not established in between? That is an average for artists I know that have been selling their work for 10 or more years. Oh, I see. Okay. Selling it. And I don't mean just selling one painting a year. I mean, this is what they do full time. Right. They're successful at it. Absolutely. Yes. Okay. Now, that's I say in general, because you're talking to someone very skilled. They have a niche, Right. Have a collector base and they're using oils. Actually, you would charge more for oil paint than acrylics. My husband uses Posca paint pants. That's kind of a lower level, you know, on half his artwork. that technically gets a lower amount per square inch. Another way to, well, actually before I go into the next way to price it. Um, so if you are beginning, you obviously, are not gonna charge $6 a square inch. I mean, unless you're really confident that you're gonna be able to do it. And, and there are exceptions to what I'm saying. Okay. And let me give you an example of an exception. You have a very wealthy friend, who's an art collector. They have a giant house and they entertain all the time. And I personally know people like this. So this is a real example. They entertain all the time. They're very influential and their friends. They wanna throw you in art show privately in their home. They're going to cater it. They're gonna invite all their friends who have a lot of money who wanna be just like them and is going to buy art from you. Then yes, you can set these higher prices. That's a great idea. And, you know, I live near Laguna beach and this is a thing that some of the artists that I work with have done with friends slash collectors clients that wanna help them out. Right. And I've gone to a few of these and they're really cool events. It's amazing. Like one of them that I went to, the people throwing the art show hired a valet service to valet everybody's car when they arrived. So this is the caliber of people arriving. Now. Most artists have what I call a bro show. Bro show is when you invite all your friends, they drink all your beer, they tell you how great your art looks, and then they leave having bought nothing. Yeah. yes. Yes. I'm sure a lot of artists listening can relate to that. Yes. Yes. I'm sure they can. Now the Bro Show is great in the beginning because it gives you practice. Yeah. You practice you're comfortable because it's all your friends. And it's good getting practice displaying your art. No, for sure. The other thing too, is I think, Maria, with the bro show, which is, a great, name for that., I'm gonna use that word. But it's also a great way for artists to begin building confidence because that's something else that artists lack is confidence, right? It's one of the big things. Not only knowing how to price art, but also trying to build our confidence as artists as well. So yeah, I think that's a great way to start that. Absolutely. Oh, and I actually have an amazing online course called Art Exhibits That Sell, and I teach people how to do art exhibits outside. Yes. the gallery system. Some of it talks about the gallery, but my main focus is doing it outside the gallery system. For many reasons. I prefer, even though I own a gallery, I don't like doing art shows in galleries. I prefer to do them with companies that will host and pay for everything. Right. And they will get their buyers there. So, anyway, I just wanted to mention, I have that course and I was gonna give all listeners a discount off all my online courses, 25% coupon, the coupon code is JANE. Aw, that's a great coupon code. And I will definitely put all of that information in the show notes as well. So don't worry if you're listening and you're trying to write it all down. You can check the show notes for all of that information. So that's wonderful. That is a great course because I think not all artists when they're trying to sell, are necessarily wanting to go and sell with a gallery or have representation,. You know, whatever that reason may be, they may decide that they want to try and do it on their own, with an online presence on social media or in person at fairs and things like that. And I know there's definitely an art to it. No pun intended, in setting up a fair outside, even the way that you set up your outdoor fair and the way that you bring people in and the flow of all of that and the verbiage that you use and, and how you communicate with potential buyers and collecting leads and all those types of things. I know that's an art form in it in itself. So it's wonderful that you have a course like that. That's a lot of value that, many artists would get from that wonderful idea. Well, I've done it every which way I've done it. Our first art show that we did with my husband Drew's art was in like 1999, and we could not get his art into a gallery. Every gallery we went to said, this isn't real art. Surf art's not real art nobody's ever gonna buy this art. And I just remember feeling so hurt and upset, but at the same time, I'm really stubborn. I was like, well, screw them. We're gonna do our own art show. So we went and we rented this big space in downtown San Clemente for one night. And I got all my friends to volunteer all my cute friends to volunteer, to be bartenders. We had a Hawaiian theme because Drew's art is all like surfing and Hawaiian. Yeah. It's super cool. Very, very colorful and bright. It was amazing. What we were able to do on our own without a gallery. And we got so many people that, and we sold a ton of art and his art, I mean, and we had really cheap prices on, I mean, this was in 1999 and it was Drew's first, really big art show. He had done some little things here and there in coffee shops and whatever, but, it was incredible. And, and going back to what we were talking about before we wait code, because I know a lot of people listening are like, okay, get back to the pricing. Yeah. The $6 per square inch for established artist. What about me? I'm a new artist. Here's what I'm going to say. Play around with the numbers. Let's go back to a 16 inch by 24 inch as an example. Okay, perfect. You multiply 16 by 24 you get 384 square inches. If you are brand new artist, you could look at a $1.50, a square inch, you know, you're painting with oils. Now this, this would be, this would take you to $576 rounded. You could round it down to $575, you could round it up to $600. This is an example, but my thought is it doesn't really matter that much about what you charge, what matters is that you sell your first few paintings and get them out in the world. You open the floodgate, building in a collector base, even if it's your Aunt, your neighbor. I mean, those people count as collectors. Yeah, absolutely. I don't. If it's someone, you know, really well, or if it's somebody that's buying because they love you. Still, most of the people that buy art from us are people who love us, who we have a relationship with. Yeah. And I, I think it's, it's better to price low, like you said, and sell it, than start off too high and not sell anything because if you find yourself selling out, if you've got, got a number of pieces of art and, and they go very, very quickly, then, you know, there's room to start moving up, right. Because you've sold, there's a demand for those, those pieces. You're good to go. You can start increasing a little bit, until you reach that level where it's comfortable, they're not selling super fast, but they're still selling. Then you reach that, that right price point. But I think also being able to let things go, however, still being able to recoup your costs. You want to ensure that whatever you're selling you've covered everything that you've used to put into making that piece of art. All of the materials as well. So yeah. So what would you say then if somebody is, starting out and they're selling it. They're gonna let it go very low. Just to get those pieces out there. Would you say that they would, what kind of percentage would you say to increase on top of their cost of materials? So after all of a sudden done and they've extracted those expenses what kind of percentage then would you say maybe to add, would you call it a percentage or would you say an hourly rate that maybe you would want to, come away with? So that's a great question. That's another way to price your art. So the first example I gave was by the square inch, another way to price it is take it into account your hours. Now, this is most artists don't do this, but you could do this. You take into an account the amount of time you put into it, give yourself an hourly rate and then add the cost of your materials. You could do this in the beginning until you find your sweet spot with your pricing and really getting your pricing takes, analyzing how your work compares to other artists. As far as your skill level, your subject matter, the materials you use, the market that you're selling in. And I say market, because, if you're selling at a flea market, which I don't recommend, unless that's what you wanna do. And that's okay. There's nothing wrong with it, but you're selling at a flea market. You're never gonna sell a $500 painting. People walk around a flea market. What's a flea market. It's like a, you know, a market where people are selling goods. Yeah. I don't even know if they call them that anymore. That's like old fashioned word, but you're selling it at a place where people are walking around, looking for deals. You are not gonna sell a$500 painting probably. Yeah, I totally agree. Totally agree. But it, there are art shows, art street fairs where high end art is being sold. And then you're in a market where people are walking around expecting to pay a lot of money. Exactly. So you have to do your homework. You really have to analyze where you're making your work available, who you're making it available to. Yeah. And again, the caliber of art too, right? Like you said. Yes. one thing that, some artists do, they'll create a piece of art and it might be amazing. And then they say, well, this other artist is charging $10,000 for this. So I'm gonna charge 10,000 for this, but yet they really don't have the skill level. Yeah. Mm-hmm or the, audience, right. They're not as well known. They haven't put in 20, 30 years of dues and yet they still think they should get the same as this artist who's been doing it for 30, 40 years. And I think that's unrealistic. Absolutely. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's gonna be a lot more difficult. As well. At the end of the day, whatever you're creating and trying to sell, it has to be something that people want. So, it still comes back on the artist. The bottom line is if you're creating something that you didn't put much time or effort or care into it, and it doesn't show or reflect that in the end result , it doesn't matter where you go to try and sell that piece of work. It's not going to sell. It's gotta be good. You, you have to put in the time and the effort exactly what you said. And then of course, make sure that you're in the right market and charging those prices that reflect who your audience is. Yeah. Um, and then another way you could price your work is by the day, right? Mm. By like a day rate and this works great for mural projects or for those odd, weird projects that it's hard to determine. Yes. What it's gonna cost. So a good example, this guy brought my husband, Drew a mannequin to paint. Oh, many years ago, it was weirdest, the request commission. Wow. And it was so weird and it took a lot of time. And so we just charged the guy at day rate. This was many years ago, $1,500 a day. And we're like, we think it's gonna take five days. We don't know, but we're just gonna charge you the day rate and he's gonna spend, six or more hours a day on it. And that was how we priced that because I couldn't come up with a square inch thing. Yeah. Not for something like that. And the day rate or the block rate is really good. Especially for myself personal experience, that's what I used to do is for a decade, I painted murals in school gyms. Oh yeah. And so when I first started, I charged this obscenely low amount. It was ridiculous. And of course, through experience and time and doing it over and over again, you really figure things out quickly. But I charged a quarter of what I should have charged thinking that, oh, it's only gonna take me, X amount of hours. And then, the time that it took , and whatnot. But I, it got to a point where I would know I would walk into a school. I would look at what I had to do and it, I would know exactly to honestly, almost to the minute the time that I would end that job. I got so good at it that I knew exactly how much to charge. I knew the cost of my materials. I knew exactly how long it would take. And those are some really great examples of pricing your work. Makes a lot of sense to me. And I know all of those are in the book as well. One other question I wanted to ask too, and I think it's one that comes up quite a bit for pricing your art. If you're going to sell it online or within a gallery, obviously you're going to have to add to that because of the commission that's taken from the gallery themselves, but also speaking of commissions from an artist, creating and selling then for somebody else, how would you suggest setting up a commission structure as an artist? What would be your recommended process for an artist to take them through doing a commission? I'll tell you how we do it. And then anybody listening can make adjustments to that, to meet what they're doing. Because my husband Drew, most of his 20 year career as an artist has been commissioned work, almost all of it. And so the first thing we do when somebody says, Hey, I want Drew to paint me a commission. What does he cost? And I have three sizes. He won't paint any smaller than 18 by 24. So I say, these are the three main sizes, and these are the prices 18 by 24, 24 by 36 or 36 by 48. And then if they want something a little different that's okay. We can, work with that. We just come up with a new price based on whatever that size is. The last few commissions that he did were pretty large. He did a 40 by 60 mm-hmm that is big. That was $10,000. So we just, last year we're not even taking commissions anymore, by the way, we stopped that about a year ago. But that was the last one. And so you come up with your, your prices for the, just come up with three sizes. It just makes it easy. When you just say here's what's most commonly requested these three sizes , here's the prices that I sell these sizes for. Plus I add another, you can add $200 because it's a commission cuz commissions are kind of a pain in the butt. Yeah. So some artists will add 20%, like some of the higher priced abstract artists that I work with that I coach they will charge 20% on top of their normal price for a painting of a particular size. So they'll add a 20% commission fee to it because commissions are harder to do because your client says, well, I want you to add my dog in the painting and mix these three colors together. And can you match the color of my Ferrari? And they come up with the wackiest request. So it's harder to do a commission. So you could add a commission fee to it. You don't have to, but you could. We also have put a limit on the number of changes they can make to the concept. So some artists would say you can't make any changes to the concept. You can tell me in general what you want in the painting. I want Palm trees, a wave and a little beach hut. But I'm gonna paint it the way I wanna paint it. So really established artists can do that. They can get away. Mm-hmm like the artist that we had this big show for over the weekend. We had a couple people wanted commission work and he said, I don't take any commission under $11,000. Wow. And you can tell me in general what you want, but I'm gonna do it my way. And one, one buyer said, okay, Just like that it, yeah. Yeah. And that was that, that guy who did that is actually a personal friend of mine who owns a string of galleries. So, he knows good art when he sees it. So you wanna put a limit on the number of sketches. So the way we have worked with commissions is we'll say, what is it that you want? Okay. Then Drew will work up a sketch and you can make some changes to the sketch. You can make two sets of changes to the sketch and any additional changes after that, we're charging you a $200 change fee. Yeah. So the great thing about that is when people know they have to pay extra for changes, they're gonna be very careful to give you all the information up front so that they don't have to give you changes. Yeah. A good key point, because I've heard so many horror stories of artists creating and doing a commission, then they present the buyer with the finished piece and then the buyer says, oh, but, I'm pretty sure I said, I wanted this and oh, can you change that? And oh, I don't like this part. And so then becomes the, downward spiral of things going wrong and then losing money at the end of the day, because of, all the time and labor and energy you're putting into this piece that you thought was finished and it no longer is. And then it becomes a relationship of horrors, you know? So it's really important to set those guidelines exactly what you said right up front, because it's going to be beneficial to both, you as the artist and as the buyer. There's clear communication. There's no, misunderstanding. And when you do that, do you also request a non-refundable deposit right up front? Do you get them to sign some kind contract or? I make sure everything's in writing Uhhuh. I make sure there's a paper trail by email. I don't really bother having people sign anything because as long as they agree to it in the email, that's good enough. Mm-hmm. And I do require 50% non-refundable advance upfront before Drew even thinks about it. He's not even gonna think about it until the deposit comes in and then it goes in his schedule. He doesn't usually start it right away because he is usually finishing up other things first. And he only focuses on what he is working on at the moment. And if I even try to talk to him about a new project, he's like, don't talk to me until I'm ready to start it. Then he will start researching whatever the subject matter is. Yeah, because you're not gonna work for free before you get the commission, even the deposit, otherwise you're working, but you're not getting paid to do anything. You're giving all of this advice and help and whatnot, but you haven't been paid for anything at that point. So 50% upfront makes total sense. And then you know who is a tire kicker and who is serious, who's really wanting to buy. There's so many people of crap. Yeah. and when you're in the beginning, You kind of get taken by a lot of people. Mm. And this requirement, first of all, great communication. And I write about this in my book, Art Money Success. I tell you what to say, what to ask for. When you communicate properly upfront, you avoid all problems. Yes. Yeah. 100% communication has to be in writing when it's an agreement like that, like, okay, you're gonna give me X amount of dollars to get started. Once I receive your payment, then I will start working on the sketches. Oh my gosh, I'll tell you this guy, I had this guy come to the gallery one day. This was a few years. And he came in and he's like, I'm starting this business. I'm putting, you know, $250,000 into it. I want Drew to create all these designs and he's telling me all about, and he is all excited and he is bragging on, all the money he put into it. And I said, okay. And he is like, I just wanna sit down with Drew and have him start working on some sketches, things trying to nail Drew down. And I said, whoa, wait a minute. Can't start on it for another month or two, but first let me get you a proposal. Let me crunch the numbers, tell you what you're gonna get and for how much. So I put it all together in an email. I tell him how he can send the deposit. You can pay either by a credit card. You can send it by PayPal. I gave him four different ways to give us the money. And he kept emailing me well, can Drew work up some concepts on this, on that? He's just, he's calling me and I keep saying yes, but I'm still waiting for your deposit. This guy wasted hours of my time. Just like texting from calling, cuz I'm not gonna be rude to him. Cause I'm still waiting for his money. I'm still waiting. It's four years later boy. Was he excited to get started? He was full of crap. Well, that's a great way to weed them out. Exactly. As you said, just request that deposit up front and then you're covering all of your bases. So drew is no longer doing commissions, is that because you do primarily now licensing, which I know is one of your other specialties. And I know we can't continue on this conversation. We've already been chatting for so long, but I, know that's in your book as well, Art Money Success along with, I think you have a course on licensing too, right? Do you not? I have, I have course one, two and three trio of courses, to introduce people to art licensing. And to answer your question. So we're just taking a pause on commissions right now, right? Cause he has four commissions back to back and he's a little overwhelmed with it. He wants to get those finished. So I've just told everybody no commissions until next year. So we're just taking a break from it for now. We are doing licensing and when a licensing opportunities come like pounce on licensing, because licensing, for those of you who are listening that are not familiar with it, licensing is when you allow a company to print your artwork on their products, it could be clothing. It could be fine art, wall hangings. It could be, oh my gosh. Anything shoes? What, one of my favorite licenses that we've done with Drew's art is on glass wear. Very beautiful upscale, glass, water bottles, and water glasses, pint glasses and whiskey glasses. Beautiful set. Super upscale. One that I'm working on right now is with a big sock company because I buy their socks all the time. It's called Stance socks. Now I, oh, yes. I love them. just talked about it, hopefully next year we'll see that in stores maybe. So yeah, licensing is you can make money with your art in multiple ways. Yes. One image that drew painted in 2006 called Sunrise it's his most popular painting to date we've made approximately a half, a million dollars off of one piece of art. Wow. The original sold for around$4,500 somewhere around there. Wow. Out of an art gallery in Corona Del Mar California, back in 2006. We own the copyrights to everything that Drew's ever created, which means we have reproduction rights to everything he's ever created. Even things that we've done for big companies. We always keep ownership to the copyrights. And then we do things with the art, not all his art, but just key pieces. We will make them available for licensing. And so that one piece of art called sunrise has been printed on over a hundred different types of products since 2006. Wow, that's incredible. And I sell it as fine art every day. I mean, it's my best selling framed print out of the gallery. I can't keep them in stock selling them, selling 'em over and over and over again. That's incredible. It's so good to know that people or artists in particular. Other streams of income that they can bring in other ways that they can generate revenue from their original art. And I think licensing, even though it's been around for years for a long time, I think over the last handful of years has really started taking off and becoming more mainstream and artists are becoming more aware of it. However, there's still a lot to know and learn so that you don't get ripped off or, and that you don't lose the rights to, owning your art. Exactly what you're saying. I know that is a component of your book and something that I'm sure people listening will be interested in learning more about. And all of what you've discussed today, Maria, that can be found at your website, right? mariabrophy.com Yeah. mariabrophy.com. And again, we'll leave all of that in the show notes, along with the discount the Maria's offering to anybody that would like to take one of her courses. Maria. I'd really like to say, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been lovely having you, and I'm honored that you wanted to be part of this podcast because I know we've spoken briefly before in the past, but I wanted listeners to know who you are if they don't already and get your book and have it be something that they go back to over and over again, because it's full of practical every day, realistic information that artists can use. So thanks, Maria. Thanks for being on the show. Anything you wanna end with before we leave? I just wanna say thank you. I love these conversations and , I would like to just tell the artists, listening, that, no matter what you do, you can't really get it wrong. Even if you price something the wrong way, or you do a show in the wrong place or whatever. That's how we learn. It's called being in business for yourself. The best entrepreneurs in the world are those who just try a lot of things, analyze what works, reproduce that, which works and the things that don't work, you say, well, I learned from that and I won't do that again, but never take it personally, if something you've tried, doesn't work. Just approach it as part of your MBA. because that's really, that's the best way to learn about the art business just by doing yeah. Doing, doing Exactly what a great way to end. Thanks so much, Maria. Appreciate it. Have a wonderful day and we'll chat with you again soon. Well, that is it for today my friend. I hope you've enjoyed this episode of The Curious Creator with my special guest Maria Brophy. And I'd like to ask a favor of you. If you really believe other artists would find value in today's information, then I would love for you to share this episode with them. So they too can listen to all of the wonderful insights that Maria shared with us today. Until next time stay curious and stay creative. Bye for now.