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essays

Filtering by Category: The Artist's Quest

No More Hoarding Fairies: A story for creators who hide their work

Nicole Piar

I love to draw and sculpt in the air with my fingers when I dance. Last summer, while I was twirling away under the stars in a Hungarian meadow, I had a revelation.

I imagined that I was making little creatures with these playful hand motions – picture abstract fairies made of sunlight and love. I created each fairy quickly from a place beyond thinking and then blew it off into the crowd like a kiss.

This is the spirit I want to infuse into my art-making. Be fully present in the creation, then let it go into the world.

It is not for me to decide if my art is good enough or smart enough or true enough to leave the confines of my mind or even my studio.

Beauty and energy flow in the giving.

Let’s not hoard our art out of fear, laziness, or self-doubt. Whether we hoard our creations inside ourselves or in the attic, it is time to practice letting them go.

I know it takes courage and commitment. Even I want to hoard my fairies sometimes. (Aren't they safer from mine and other people's judgments if they never even fully exist in the world?)

I just try to remember that we can not predict how our art might help, heal, or inspire someone.

Set your creations free and then, return to the drawing board to create the next thing.

Do it quick before you can overthink it like jumping off a minor cliff into the sea. You do a quick check for rocks and water depth and then, you just jump. If you stand on the edge too long pondering every possible outcome, you will never jump.

Let’s keep sending our light fairies off into the world and trust in their inherent magic. Look, we can do it together and maybe then, it will be a little less scary. 

With love,
Nicole

P.S. Want to hear more of my trials, tribulations, and revelations as a working artist? Subscribe to Moon Letters HERE. Plus, you will also receive access to My Treasury with printable art, digital wallpapers, and guided meditations. 

Sneaking Past the Gilded Gates: A Story for Creative Rebels

Nicole Piar

The wind tickled my arm as I drove with the windows down making a meandering diagonal from New Hampshire to Los Angeles from the wet, green forests of incubating and learning to the vast desert of possibility.

After finishing school at Yale and leaving a stack of giant paintings in my dad’s basement, I left to experiment with what might be possible in a place with deep summers and a buzzing art world.

Where I hoped for openings, I found mostly locked doors and hard realities. Very young with little money and no connections or friends, the city was a destroying angel.

I lived out of my golden Nissan Sentra covered in a prevailing dust that desaturated everything. Looking for a job and an apartment, I faced rejection after rejection.

Meanwhile, I watched the perfect sunshine people gliding around in crisp designer clothing, sliding into their shiny luxury cars. Our worlds were separated by an impenetrable glass.

After countless nights with my knees screaming from sleeping like a contortionist in my car, a kindly woman rented me a tiny, ticky-tacky oasis in a neighborhood of strip malls and my degree finally worked its magic to land me a meagerly-paying position at a prestigious art gallery.

I hoped entering the art world would help me conjure an opportunity to enter through those gilded gates and make my iridescent, brush-stroke-shaped mark on the world.

But that is not what happened….

Instead, I was the messenger who turned away hundreds of artists hoping for gallery representation. Powerless to let anyone in, I witnessed a never-ending stream of talent, vision, and passion banging against a gate that never opened.

I would like to say that this only made my determination stronger -- that I powered through -- but instead, I felt defeated before beginning. I never submitted my art to a single gallery.

Have you ever, like me, felt like an outsider looking in? Have you felt intimidated by the gatekeepers or discouraged by failed attempts at entry into that golden world of the chosen?

Well, my rebel-friend, there is a way to magically bypass these gates, get your creation into the world and make your own pot of gold.

This is exactly what I did with my Spirit Cats Deck.

And let me tell you, after the radiant success of my Spirit Cats (selling 29K in pre-orders in just 30 days), the gatekeepers (publishers, agents, and galleries) came to knock on my door for a change. The tides had turned.

Kickstarter was my chosen tool but even a brilliant tool can’t work magic on its own. I have seen many crowdfunding campaigns for amazing things never gain any traction, fading out with only a few hundred dollars raised.

Having that specter of public failure nipping at my heels, I did intensive research. I experimented widely. I learned what worked and what was just a lot of useless work.

I creatively translated information designed for tech bros to apply to my magical world of Spirit Cats. I synthesized all this piecemeal advice from disparate sources into a clear and powerful strategy.

Now, I am sharing all these secrets with you in my Crowdfunding Essential course so that you too can sneak past the gatekeepers and entice them with your shining victory to come knocking at your door.

As Willy Wonka says, “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dream.” It is time for your dream to enter the collective dream.

Don’t be diminished by the gatekeepers like I was all those years ago while working in the art gallery. Your creations can transform us in unseen ways. We need your magic. Let it reach us.

With love,
Nicole

P.S. My long-awaited, Crowdfunding Essentials e-course will open for registration TOMORROW, November 3 with an early-bird discount and special limited-time bonus.

Forsaken Elves & Failure: Part 2

Nicole Piar

When we spoke yesterday, I was facing the harsh realities of printing a bunch of elf-laden holiday cards, posting them to Etsy, and watching as not a single card was sold.

This old failure was casting a shadow over my desire to create my Spirit Cats Deck. (If you missed Part 1, catch it here)

Plus, I was dealing with a very dark view of business as being greedy, soul-sucking and extremely dull.

Imagine a faceless business suit stealing all the color from the world just to make a pile of money to hoard.

Enter my blue-haired, crafty mentor, Jennifer Lee, who translated business into friendships, relationships, heart-felt communication, creativity, and cooperation with a good dose of left-brained strategy to keep things grounded and well-functioning. Wow!

She was the rainbow unicorn dispersing glittering insights – a far cry from that icy, grey-suited, business man of my imagination.

Why did that matter to me so, so much?

I have always been seeking deep connection with my fellows. I want to build a bridge between my inner world and yours.

That is why I make the art I make.

Jenn helped me see how business can be a vehicle for this larger-scale connection. Revelation!

Eventually, I tossed those boxes of elves into the recycling bin and traded them in for real learning about what it takes to successfully reach people with your creations. 

Let me just say that my elf -card scheme seemed pretty silly now that I was armed with eye-opening knowledge. I mean no one, save my family, knew that I was selling those cards.

I thought I had a megaphone when actually I was a mouse whispering in the wall. No wonder no one heard me.

When the Spirit Cats started appearing in my paintings with their healing messages, I knew I had to do better by them than those forsaken elves.

They deserved more than box mountain.

They wanted to speak to people – to move out of my little world and into your lives where they could create some real magic.

So I did 3 things:

1: I choose Kickstarter as a platform for taking pre-orders so I could make sure you really wanted these Spirit Cats before ordering thousands of them. (Ha ha, Box Mountain, you won’t get me this time.)

2: I integrated Jenn's teachings about building community and getting the word out – without becoming an annoying, walking commercial – with a massive amount of research into how crowdfunding works and how to craft a mind-blowingly effective campaign. (Yeah, hope and just posting something online didn’t really work out for my elves)

3: I kept returning to a view of the whole endeavor as a playful experiment so my fear of failure wouldn’t overpower me. (Even if I fail, I was just experimenting and collecting wisdom and data for my next exciting experiment :)

And because I want to make it easier for you than it was for me and save you from your own Box Mountain of Forsaken Elves…

I gathered everything I learned into my new e-course, Crowdfunding Essentials, that I will be releasing on Nov. 2 through a collaboration with the magical maven of business transformation, Jennifer Lee.

So, perhaps, there is something you are secretly wanting to bring into our world… to share with your fellows… to create connection… and make the world a little less lonely…

Crowdfunding Essentials will make your process infinitely easier and catapult your chances for success through the roof.

And if you are a rebel-hearted creative like me, keep an eye out for my next email about turning the rules on their heads and bypassing barriers like a cat burglar.

With love,
Nicole

P.S. Crowdfunding Essentials is your one-stop-shop for crafting a successful crowdfunding campaign. Save yourself the time and energy of countless hours of research that I did for you. ;) Sign-up now to get on the V.I.P. waiting list.

Forsaken Elves & Failure: Part 1

Nicole Piar

When scrutinizing my scheme for getting the Spirit Cats Oracle Deck into the world, this image impelled me into cloudy-headed confusion and pushing-against-a-wall resistance:

A towering mountain of unsold Spirit Cats Decks transforming my home into an impassable maze with a sadly-diminished bank account to boot. Yup, I would be surrounded by the relics of my failure in the form of cute magical kitties gathering dust.

Which is why I am so thrilled, like spinning-in-circles-and-doing-a-happy-dance thrilled, that my Spirit Cats are flying out the door. So much so, that I am ordering even more decks so I don’t run out before the holidays.

That vision of failure, though, definitely stalked me like a mountain lion at twilight. After all, I had been down that road before.

In 2008, I illustrated a line of holiday cards featuring quirky elves playing with cozy flames and topping pine trees with sparkling stars. I printed a bunch of them and excitedly posted them in my new Etsy shop.

My grand opening!!!! And……. Nothing. No one bought a single card.

I lugged those heavy boxes with me as I moved from house to house, doling out the unwanted cards as gifts. These cute elves with their sideways smiles hurt my heart and made me feel like a novice ballerina stumbling through her pirouettes.

How exactly did this happen?

Well, consider this... I have always been an artist and writer and while I love science and even math, business instinctively repelled me.

Business equalled greedy, grey-suited men who saw people as marks and nature as our honeypot. Adversarial, arrogant, manipulative, and lacking in humanity.

Yes, it was a pretty dark view.

Yet, my mostly-hermit and hidden method of creating just didn’t seem to be working. No one was receiving the messages I was sending out in the form of cute elves and other magic.

I was virtually invisible.

Tune in to Part 2 to find out just how I escaped from the Land of Forsaken Elves to arrive in the abundant world of my Spirit Cats.

With love,
Nicole