Being profitable as an artist doesn't necessarily mean you need to do more.
Sometimes it's about doing less by being discerning about what you take on and where you invest your energy.
This is extremely difficult to do when you are trying to show and sell your art. You want to do more. To add new income streams and the latest marketing platforms. The ads and social media posts are encouraging you to do more.
But more is exhausting.
Jill Soukup, who has been a student and client of mine over the past decade, is my guest on this episode of the Art Biz Podcast. There are at least three things that I admire about Jill:
- She, above all, is dedicated to becoming a better artist. To methodically improving her work.
- She knows what she wants. How she wants her career, business, and life to be.
- She knows what she doesn't want.
To this list I would add that she is generous, open, and an all-around nice person.
In this conversation, Jill and I discuss how and where she sells her work, how teaching fits in with her income plan, how she makes sure she remains profitable, and why it's important for her to keep things simple.
Music by Wildermiss
- Jill’s transition to full-time artist and where she shows and sells her art today. (1:51)
- The inspiration behind Jill’s Western-themed art. (5:56)
- Selling on Instagram is changing the dynamics of Jill’s work. (8:39)
- Logistics of selling prints and giving customers what they want. (11:34)
- Spending money to make money. (15:25)
- The strategies that allow Jill to get work done without working harder. (19:31)
- For Jill, doing less has resulted in even more success in her art business. (23:47)
- The hallmark of an exceptional artist: dedication to your craft and honing your skills. (29:10)
- Teaching, raising prices, and decreasing her painting output keeps Jill’s income steady. (30:45)
- Bookkeeping details and how Jill knows she is profitable. (37:24)
- Why is simplifying so important in Jill’s business—and life? (40:56)
- Insights from Jill’s typical work day and what she's working toward now. (46:14)
Jill Soukup Quotes
“As artists we ebb and flow in our process and what we’re producing.”
“This experience is teaching me to dig deeper and to see things that I wasn’t seeing before.”
“At that point I recognized that I was so overwhelmed. I wasn’t making any decisions because I had too many decisions to make.”
“At that moment I realized what really was important to me, and that all of the other things on my list were not even necessary.”
“Everything I chose to do had to meet one of my three goals and it just simplified everything. And it was such a beautiful thing.”
About My GuestJill Soukup was born in Buffalo, New York. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Colorado, where she still resides. Jill’s affinity for horses as a young girl resulted in countless drawings and studies of them, which made for a strong drawing foundation. As a teen, she started a pet-portrait business, acquired jobs painting murals, and designed logos for local organizations.
Jill graduated from Colorado State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Art. There, she received awards for illustration and design and worked as an illustrator and designer for the university. She initially pursued a career in graphic design while continuing to paint part time. After 11 years as a designer, she made the switch to full-time painting. Her work continues to gain recognition as she receives awards, appears in national publications, and shows in important juried and one-woman exhibitions.
Follow Jill on Instagram: @jillsoukup
Music by Wildermiss