Build Your Own Future With Or Without The Establishment
Walter Driving Artists podcast of educational feature of the Clark Healing Fund for visual artists the clock. Healing Fund exists to provide business trading and entrepreneurial, learning to visual artists to turn working artists into thriving artists, sitting our appreciation to Jerry's Arte Rama for Supporting C. H F and this episode of the thriving artist podcast Jerry specializes in art supplies and framing. You can find them online at Jerry's Rama dot com, and at seventeen retail locations across the country Jerry's passionate to serve artists. They're on Instagram at sign. Jerry's Arte Rama. Just a brief announcement that C., H. F. has just released its annual report. This is our highlight reel providing quick head of high dosage insight into how we're unlocking the staggering potential of a world driven by creativity and connection, a world fed by artists and innovators, the summary of are fulfilled and fully delivered promise to mobilize. Your support can be found at Clark feelings fund dot Org Slash reports now our guest today is Ashley Longshore. New Orleans based artist Ashley Longshore has never waited for industry gatekeepers to open doors for her. She's a wildly. Wildly. Successful Self made entrepreneur owner of the Longshore Studio Gallery and to household name instagram profiles. Her collaborators and partners are a WHO's who of upscale brands and celebrities Diane von. Furstenberg Bergdorf Goodman Gucci Rolex and even Miley Cyrus. Her collectors are equally namedrop group including Blake lively, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek and Eli, Manning, actually has been described as a modern Andy Warhol for her pop art sensibilities Rizzoli new. York has recently published her second book. I do not cook, I do not clean. I, do not fly commercial, actually longshore welcome to the show. Oh I'm so excited to be here and to share my experiences with your audience. Fantastic, so is that book titled? True, do. You really not do any of those three things. Clear flight, I cook I clean and I would give anything on a Delta flight right now. Well I. Don't know if this is your intention with the title, but it's a it's powerful to suggest that visual artists doesn't have to have an identity that involves either starving or cutting off an ear that you can flaunt your success and so on. So, what's your take on those old stereotypes about artists? Oh well I think I think it misunderstanding where I'm coming from my whole. Is to put out there that artists are entrepreneurs that there is no limit to your success, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to be financially successful. The idea is that you get to a point where your your profits are coming in. People are engaging with your artwork. You you have that intimacy within your collector base and you've got enough money in your bank account to make any idea that. That you have in your brain, come to fruition to me that the ultimate goal it sort of play on. You know the old school trophy wife that you know the best thing in the world was just to be able to sit back and have everybody else you know. Pay All your stuff to made the drain to make your own money. That's where the power is an artist. After history artists are the ones creating tangible item that are marking our human experience, so you know that can be as big or as little as you want to be, but this is why creativity and artists are so important in our society. Would call you a celebrity artist? Is it fair to say that you were left? No choice other than to become a celebrity artists, either after because you know the taste makers in the gallery, world initially rejected you. I mean I think in America. It's really great because you have opportunity to make your own pack. And when I was told I, was it marketable? I decided to build this on my own, and although it wasn't the easy way, it was the better way because I understand my audience. Understand. My gauge moment. And you know I I've been able to build friendships that led me to great opportunities. Those opportunities that led me to other extremely successful creative people so You know whether that means. I'm celebrity. Artists are not i. think it just means that I after twenty five years I've been able to find witnessed. People have had great success as being creative authentic people do big. The rejection from the artist talent perhaps isn't actually all that common, or or do you not think? Am I allowed to use profanity? We'll have to believe it out. The establishment. What! Anybody else thinks You know you go after it. You cut your own path. You do what you have to do. You know I've been turned down more than a bed in a cheap motel. Jackson, is part of what's going to happen. No matter what you do as a creative person as an entrepreneur as an entrepreneur, you have to have a strong inner. And know exactly who you are and know exactly what you're creating because I promise you, you are going to be rejected. You're going to be told that you're no good. You're going to get criticized. You must not thrive off of that type of attention period. Ironically I often hear that that the celebrity artist if we could put that in quotes is a designation for the few that make it via the traditional route, but you made it because you turned away from the traditional route. If there is one so once you did that. Did anyone tell you anything about how to start a business or instinct or trial and error sort of play a role? I mean I I have created what I've created on instinct alone. And you know I it's like artists don't how to use tools. They know process. And early on when I realized, I'm not going to work with galleries. I'M GONNA create my own system. I'm not going to give up fifty percent. I'm going to keep. My pop margins. I'm going to build a business. When I realized that I needed to hire people based on the demand of my work, more graphic designers, more photographers, more sales people you know there's a lot of of power in that I mean I I just knew that I was going to do my own way. No matter what so That's the thing you just you find your path, and you go for it it. It is very instinctual I mean. you know now I'm in a position to hire people that have a lot of experience in operations and whatnot I. Mean I have a lot of employees now and I don't want to be a manager so It's I didn't. You mentioned to our producer that growing a business is like the slow and steady progress of termite mounds, getting bigger over many years. What are some of the small steps involved in doing that? I mean listen I. Mean I know I've gotten to I've gotten. It's taken me twenty five years to do so in the beginning, honestly prolific as you can be understanding your inner voice. Being able to figure out how to be kind to yourself when you're not completely inspired it on fire you have to have again that strong inner voice of. I can do this I'm GonNa. Be Okay. It's all right that I'm not inspired right now. It's all these little. inner thoughts positivie and. You GotTa Start Building that wall inside of you because as things start to. The more you put yourself out there. More of you are to criticism and the and the Bulls from the world so I would say that is the beginning also I talked to a lot of artists now that. You know they're like Ashley. You're all these opportunities. You've got these collaborations. You've got these collectors like yes, but let me tell you about how beautiful the part of my career was when all I had was time for my creativity. When I hope the doorbell is ringing when I hope the email digging when I hope, my phone was ringing off the hook you know, and now it's a whole nother process of time management, and the things that I need to do so that I can honor my creativity. Be There for my team. Run A business at time. My collectors have time for these podcasts. You know it's it's a it's A. It's a It's a balancing act. So you know. You have to experience. You have to enjoy every single part of this process and again there there is no instant gratification and success like there is in creativity sometimes. And being arte, having an idea and being able to paint that idea quickly, having the material that I need that. That's a very euphoric thing. The success that you need that you want. In, your career is going to take more time going. GonNa take more time, but it'll be worth it. Got To be patient. So you employ a of thirty people, your job creator and we make that argument at the Clark. Feelings Fund quite frequently that successful artists do create do contribute heavily to the economy. Can you tell me a bit about that workforce? What they do why? You have so many in how they like? Their jobs is kind of like to get a reality program view of that world. Well I have an incredible team. They're all. They're all very artsy. Creative individuals but I have photographers I've got a team of multimedia liaisons than help with all of the glitter application, and the dazzling I have a sailed team. I have a special projects coordinator I have a publicist I have a gallery manager that watches my gallery show room for have a manager that oversees all the multimedia goodness I have people that help with products and mint, and making sure that all of our certificates of authenticity and all the things are put together for all of our collectors and everything shipping appropriately and Safeway I. mean you know there? There's a lot of layers to this. It's like onion. Really I have for a person that just specializes in shop by that helping manufacturing. I've ahead of manufacturing. Sourcing, people that are helping me when I go. Hey, I have an idea I wanNA do two special edition Cookie Jars, you know ev- every year and then I got a sore, thinking person and helps me find. The right artisans that can help the help that come together in my vision then i. have someone else. We run orgasm so. You know asthma. Demand has gone up I've been able to hire this incredible team of. creative. Inspired enthusiastic, gracious individuals that are proud to be a part of a team. That's really making moves in art world. Last week counted two hundred and eighty eight thousand followers on your main instagram, Fifty, eight, thousand on a second one and a huge sales platform for you, one could say size matters, but you didn't get there overnight, and there were punctuated moments of a pithy, so tell me about the time when you sold one point. Three billion dollars worth of art in forty five minutes on instagram. which time do you want me to tell you about? You're. you know I mean. Listen at the end of the day I. Think I see I, see young artists, pulling prints of their work when their paintings are only twenty five hundred dollars and I think damn. You know people spend a lot more than that on handbags and we are talking about art. We're talking about a luxury item. And, that doesn't mean that all art has to be a million dollars. But I think when you look at your career. You have to go. We'll coin prints and are making t-shirts that cost twenty dollars. An iphone covers. That are fifteen dollars. What am I saving? Why am I not figuring out my audience? Why am I not going in with the idea that my goodness you know Pe-? People spend a fortune on. Shoes I mean a pair of high heels can call eighteen hundred dollars boots that women by costs, four thousand dollars and I mean no. Not Everybody is buying that, but also not. Everybody is an art collector. You know being able to collect something that somebody you know. They're taking their favorite. Putting it. You can actually buy it and live with it that that is a very exciting very luxury type of thing. through you know thinking about my work in this way. I've always known you know. I'm looking at polluting kearns right now. Prince of the ultimate insurance policy I'M NOT GONNA. Go Out and dilute my brand by having my work in a bunch of different galleries I'm not gonNA take the products that I am making that are limited edition and allow other stores to sell them because if I do that, I'm rooting the impact. That I can make an demand when I make releases. And the idea is here it is. It's coming if you want it. Here's the link you get on there and get it because the thing is going out to a Lotta people and you gotTa. You got one chance to get it. and. It's just basic. You know law, economics, supply and demand kind of thing. You have a subscription series also called Art Gazza where I think collectors pay a fee monthly or annually. Hand signed items from you. How did that idea come about or was it to market to a specific demographic of? Well, yeah I mean and and what? We were just discussing in me, not making prints and g clays, and all of that sort of thing it is, it's a way for somebody to and and we do. You can make monthly payments so you can buy the five hundred dollars subscription don't want. But how fun! For me to take one of my painters hamlets. That is the foundation of my work and I. Have It signed and doing our? This is something that's GonNa Happen You. I mean. Can you imagine if you wanna Andy Warhol's rollers from screen printing? I mean you know not again. Not Everybody is ready to make that entry level investment You know three thousand dollars to my office? But maybe they have if you dollars a month or five hundred dollars a year. To get these extremely limited edition crow thing that I'm creating specifically so that they go up in value, it really honors idea that you know what artists make our special like for example. Do you remember when Andy Warhol made that book of one dollar bills and I think it was. It was a hundred and eighty one dollar bill, but then the cost. Of the book with three hundred and sixty dollars, just because it had his name on it, and it was like he doubled the price of it just by saying you know because he put it together. You know artists special. We only have so many days on this planet to create. So, you know it's nice to have a platform that isn't prints and g quays, and you know. There's other creative ways to get out there and business You GotTa Get your marketing as you out. So. I think you own your own galleries. You didn't make you're you're not on the back of galleries, nor they on you, but you own your own, and although obviously the pandemic has paused most in person art transactions right now, other than some covid graffiti I saw near the subway. Tell me about your bricks and mortar gallery in New Orleans. Clearly, the physical space is still an important part of how you show your work, so what's different about selling online versus in person? I'll tell you one thing my. Trying to g has always been to be reaching out to bigger cities and You know look I love New Orleans more than anything, but we don't have a huge entrepreneurial base here. That has a lot of new money. That's constantly buying new stuff where city that lets the good times roll. We celebrate art. That's why love being here, but I've really centered most of the majority of my marketing efforts and much larger wealthier market. Because of that the majority of the art that I'm selling eighty eighty five ninety percent of it. Has, already been you know getting lead in from social media? Getting people that had seen my work in New York shows that Houston things. I've done in San Francisco. Miami London. Even Chang I that that you know I'm trying to create that engagement from doing all that work so now. The quarantine got these followers I've got. This base is strongly email. Base I've been growing for years and you know I. Can I was to new painting and boom? You know people already know what they're going to get. The other thing is and I. Say this all the time. You could see a cake image on social media. Well, yeah. It looks delicious. It looks great. How often does that thing look worse? How often does that look or or you know once you finally get it in front of you. Drag your bigger to the. I think it's even better than it was in the photograph. So I've never had a situation where somebody receives the artwork, and they were disappointed after only seeing it in an image I think the most important thing is is. Creating. The that energy and not a nurturer. Let your buyers. No now is the time to collect. And you do that. Using the media using social media using events. You know continually being prolific building building. You know it's not social. Media's not just the answer. Having one art show is not the answer. It takes years of pudding. You know lots of lines in the water. The more lines you have in the face. You didn't catch period most artists. I'd probably ask. Who are your collectors? And how did you find him? But it seems like your collectors find you. Is that accurate or actually? Are you still hunting your public and if so, how? Are, you kidding me I mean listen every time I create a new series and I put it out there for people to see. Know, there's always do engagement. There's always I mean. How many people are on the planet now? Nine billion people in billion people I mean I haven't even begun to reach all the people that could relate to the message that I'm putting out there I mean that's that's the whole thing. That's exciting as an artist. Regardless if you're a sculptor and abstract art at the A painter no matter what your subject matter is what your style is. You are putting out your own life frequency and the magic. Is that other people? are going to connect with that if you're willing to put yourself out there and allow that magnetism to happen. When you when you do that, I it's a magnet for people all over the place. So I. Mean Listen. All out there, looking for more people that love me. You can't ever stop putting yourself out there and hunting for the new collectors fortunately once you get to a certain point though get your art in houses, you in posted images of that you have been you're you're working the media you know it creates a big net, and hopefully you get that magnetism for people who are like minded in their life experience. Specifically focused on some of the celebrity collectors. What's the Blake lively story? How did she become such a brand evangelist for your work? She's just a very kind talented person who really really loves the arts, and so does her husband. And She was filming a movie. down here in New Orleans years ago and Comfortable telling you this because she. She's already told the story. I like privacy you know with my collectors, but She came in and and she you know she. She got it, she she. She loves my art work. She loves color and She's very much a lady, and very much a woman of her word, and it's just been very very good to me over the years here fizzy. Ask about my working as an artist, so you know that that magnetism can happen with anybody that walks into your world collector. One partnerships with big brands and institutions including forty works in Diane von Furstenberg flagship store, and being artist and resident at New York fashion and creating eight portraits for Christians out of show. One would think companies like Rolex don't just collaborate with anyone. So what about your work? Your brand? Your presence do you think attracts the fashion industry in particular? I think because I'm an enthusiastic self made woman. And when you put somebody out there, who is? Created their own business understand what they wanted. The consumer it it. It sends a message and you know I I have built my brand. I have put myself out there, but I am also a consumer and I work hard for the things that I love. I mean it's. It's also you know the things that I do I do with enthusiasm. I do them with gratitude and I think I think that energy is really infectious. I also work my ass off. I worked quickly. Work my team and when I'm giving a huge opportunity up from a billion dollar global corporation I work myself to death to make sure that I not only produced, but I were. And I blow their doors off I mean I live for that moment when they go. You did what you did all this. You made these pediatrics I. Mean I've walked into corporations and they've gone. Have you done this and I'm going no and they're like. Wow, you, you put together something that our entire graphic. He would take them a month You know it's all about earning an opportunity. Nobody's ever given me anything so I've had to work for it. Now you posted on Instagram on February twenty fourth that only thirteen point, seven percent of living artists represented by galleries in Europe and North America are women. Is that because women are being shutout? Incentives to enter that field for women or some other reason in your opinion. That's that's A. that's a serious Heavy conversation to be had I back from this great instagram feet called art, girl, rising and. You know it's kind of like what even when I was in Nevada, kid looking at the largest privately held our collection in the world, and I asked the woman. Where's the art by women? And she looked at me and she said there is none there's no art created by a woman in the largest privately held art. Collection in the world I don't know because for so long women. Weren't really allowed to express themselves creatively. History I don't know because of our own country. Women were combined to being in the home or secretaries or nurses. I don't know because we're just now in this. Unbelievable awakening of diversity authenticity, and being able to put yourself out there and use all this American freedom that we have, but what I know. Is this the more female artists that go out there and that that make their money that are putting themselves out? There the more power we have over the other female artists that are being paid. And you know this goes along with artists from diverse backgrounds in our country I mean it was just a few years ago at our pairs that I started to see paintings of women of color. I started to see a black artists that were being brought into these art fairs. look now the right time to be an artist I think a lot of this has to do with social media and in using social media. You can control your own methods. You can control what your putting out there and the there's talent so much creativity at again it every human being expressing their own version of their life, that creates this unbelievable web of creativity that we're living in that marks. And Know I'm not as Smith and I. I'm not a negative person. I'M NOT GONNA. Sit around and talk about the fact that you know. Oh, no, they're not letting women, and no I'M GONNA. Work really hard and and You know I'm building the pyramid right now. I WANNA have a huge foundation I wanNA have a space where I can showcase female artist and. And you know artists from diverse backgrounds artists from underrepresented communities? I WanNa have a proper rack and do that and the harder at work in the more money I make more power and control I have over that so I'm on my business and work hard and stop that paper up instead of sitting around and whining about it I'd do something about it. I think a lot of people in ordinary times, but especially at a time like this have a story or a narrative playing in their head I have to ex wires to get famous I have to do X. Y. or Z. to be successful and I can't win until X.. Y. Or Z. happens to me, but you seem to have a take a take. The bull by the horns approach if you could speak to. Run background in somewhere else. There go well if you could speak to your earlier self about taking action getting off your chair of perhaps pity, insecurity demoralization, putting your vervins action. What would you say to that young artist newer in her career? Listen here's the thing you you've got to start off by. You know success is so relative I can tell you right now, but success in my career I feel the same way right now and I sell a painting to somebody that I have to refer to as her. See as I did, when housewife, with by one of my paintings for fifty dollars twenty three years ago when I got that fifty dollars, I can't tell you how good that felt, and that felt like success, because I earned it on my own. You got to enjoy the moment that you're in. You cannot always be looking forward to something else. If you set a goal to be able to have a career where you can pay your rent, buy groceries and buy art supplies. Let me tell you you are successful. That is the beginning of your success. You must find out how to be your most prolific. You must find out who your audience is. You must have that strong inner voice of I believe in me. Everything's GonNa. Be Okay, I. I sent an email to that. Nobody email me back, but that's all right. I emailed them I mean three call today. You know if your mission is to get into galleries. Look at them as a business relationship. They work for you if they believe you ask them to purchase art. At fifty percents that you're going to keep track of your inventory. Business person and respect yourself and be kind to yourself. You're the only person you'll spend every day of your life with. Your success will begin with like healthy inner monologue so that you can deal with the rejection. The world is going to serve you. You are going to get rejected. They are gonNA. Tell you cannot do it. Yeah must say I will succeed. I can do this. Start off with a goal like I. WanNa make two hundred dollars this week. I WANNA. Make two hundred dollars. How can I get creative with my marketing? How can I find out who my audience is? You know start with that with that. It's a little. No one's to gratification instant gratification gets you drunk, high or pregnant period. Putting percentages of your sales back into the culture, namely around the current pandemic recession and those relief efforts include the art can at New Orleans Children's Hospital, New Orleans women and children's Center Project Lazarus and other things has your financial plan for the year had to change a lot to make those things happen. No no, because I was simply making the nations based off. How much my collectors! We're supporting me and the hope that I would be able to do that. I mean being able to Take care of my team. Make sure that everybody was able to pay their bills, and and I keep everybody exactly where they were before this pandemic I had to restructure my marketing, a little bit and putting some smaller pieces out. I, I, just kind of automatically assumed that because of the nervousness within the economy, people would would be more likely to be drawn to things or the lower price point at this time and I was already doing spring smalls really. So, you know. I was blown away by the support that my collectors have giving me over the last two months and yeah I mean the right now we put over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars back into the community. To say these are pretty strange days. What's making happy or inspiring? You're making you laugh right now. I love Sunshine I. Love, I love seeing my collectors happy. I love my dog. I love binge-watching shows with my partner. I love cooking. I'd have some of my best friend. Who are in my team what I call it? we've been spending long weekends together and It's been really nice, but. I mean this has been a really stressful Very high anxiety period for me and I have to say. The last two and a half months have probably been the most challenging of my career emotionally in. Cages and they didn't make within my company and. Hiring chief executive officer and making goals for the growth that I WANNA have and realizing my strengths and weaknesses and You know I'm I'm excited to start some new corruption soon so You know that. You've been listening to the thriving artists podcast and education feature of the Clark Ealing's Fund for visual artists. If you've enjoyed this program, be sure to subscribe to new episodes and review your experience on itunes. spotify or wherever you tune in for more information on Ashley's work. visit her website. Ashley Longshore Dot Com, or look her up on Instagram for information on the Clark Healing Spun Visit Clark Healing Dot Org thank you for listening. Thanks again to Jerry's Arte Rama and thank. You ashleigh it's been really great having. Thank you so much for the opportunity. To!