Author Christy Strauch makes it her life’s mission to support and understand artists through business and marketing. She has a forthcoming title, Artist Don’t Starve, that will likely help many artists in business. My favorite of hers was Your Marketing Personality, both a practical and wise guide to setting up a marketing system in your business.
Christy recently interviewed me on my art business, and the cross section of Art and Design. We did double interviews, one on Instagram Live, and another via YouTube. Below is the transcript of the Instagram Live.
Christy Hi, I’m Christy Strauch, I’m the possibility to profit coach, if you have a sense that you have a chaotic pile of creative possibilities, but you don’t know how you would make that into a business, I can help you. And I’m going to be talking today with Claudia Palmira.
As we start talking, you can go to one of her websites or her Instagram feed: https://byclu.com and https://instagram.com/claudiapalmiraa. So I want to say something quickly before we get started with the interview about the whole thing between being an artist and being a designer and how we sort of hate the way the English language separates those two things because they’re not necessarily different. I was thinking about this before we started that there’s some kind of, I don’t know, thing in the air that a designer as an artist who gave up or something, or a designer as an artist that decided to go commercial or whatever, which I think is dumb.
But anyway, please meet Claudia Palmira, who is an artist and a designer. And those things are very intertwined. So I want to ask you the first question is, what do you feel like? Is the purpose of your art?
Claudia Thanks, Christy. It’s really good to see you. Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed. I’m really excited. So just wanted to say something about the designer art thing. Because I’m proud of being designer, it’s a really just a fantastic thing. And I love the idea of design. And I also love artists. To me, it’s there are two different sort of channels that they’re fed from the same soul, Let’s say. And people do have different views about it. It’s an interesting topic, and that.
Christy Well, and there’s a bunch of people watching. So if anybody has any questions about the difference between art and design, if there even is one. And see, where do you, especially Claudia, see the intersection between the two? But talk about what do you feel like? Is the purpose of your art?
Claudia I mean, not to do it, but just like, I think design can be interpreted to something that’s more commercial, as you said, maybe more like something that can be produced, more like a magazine cover, like print being seen by many. And there’s something that’s really fundamentally useful or functional. Now, art has an abstract function, is functional, but you can’t, like, you know, use a painting to, like, sit on or something like a chair. But anyway, what I do, I think I’ve always done art and also design like it stores really early for me.
And the question is, what is the purpose of my art? I get these ideas and I don’t know where they come from. I imagine that they come from some kind of power force that is beyond my comprehension, is larger than I am, beyond my real, but it’s in the ether. I get these ideas I don’t know exactly from where they go, the trickle in, but then they bug me.
Christy I love this.
Claudia I have to express them in some way and the most natural way for me to express them, because I’ve done lots of expressive things. I play piano is active, a very expressive person, but it comes to me to a visual mode. And I try to bring that energy that light, the purity, the beauty into my work so that it can perhaps bring someone else to to a sense of consciousness. Beauty transcendence, a reminder that there’s another reality that’s not just the mundane that exists and that we can go there.
Perhaps that you can bring a sense of piece, which is healing in a sense away. Art does start. Art can be very healing for the self. And can you start sort of selfishly? Like, I need to get this ceiling out or through and out, and then it ends up helping someone else, maybe. I don’t know.
Christy Absolutely, it does. I’m going to hold this up again. So the Claudia Palmira site has some of your web design and stuff like that on it. Right. And then byclu.com is where a lot of your design objects are and that just launched. Anyway, the whole thing about art evoking motion, like you were talking about. I don’t know how to ask this question exactly, but the same thing is happening with your design objects, I think. Can you talk about the purpose or what kind of impact you want the design objects to have?
Claudia Again? Like the bugging idea, persistent thought came, and I’m very interested in layer. My work is full of layers, and whether it’s a digital collage or physical collage or express, and some of the things that I produced is objects are they add layers and texture to reality, to to the person. And so I just wondered what it would be like to insert a layer one of my works and what that would be. And, Yeah, I think the purpose of it, I hope that it can and joy. I mean, I love the idea that something in your home or on your body would be that reminder, right? Like beauty color, like something ethereal, something magical.
Claudia Just even for that half a second, I know I need a lot of reminders because I can get into the day and the head and the in the work and everything else, all these destructions. Right. And then I want a free these reminders, those reminders, like, actually love beauty.
Christy Something bigger than us. Yeah, I totally get that. That’s what art does for me, too. And when I can wear it on my body, that’s even more compelling. Somehow. It’s interesting. So who do you want to make an impact on with your art?
Claudia Well, you!
Christy It’s working. Yeah.
Claudia Thanks. I think when I first- I’m talking about as a child. Like my natural inclination as a child. And this is not every child. But this is mine was to make art for people. And so I would make things for people. And I even had I think I was 11 years old, and I had a little magazine that I drew, like, six copies of all my friends. Right. And I think there’s something about wanting to give my loved ones and impact my loved ones. And I’m lucky that I love a lot of people. Actually. I just tend to love people. And when they come into my circle, I gather them, and I hold them. So it’s important to me that as well as the anonymous crowds that I might be talking to. And those are great, too. But. Yeah, I mean, it’s like it almost feels personal.
Christy Well, it’s a way. I think when I’m hearing you say it’s a way to spread love. That’s very compelling to think that something I make, something you make actually brings more love into the world. That’s pretty big. So that’s really big. So you make connections with people. You know, we’re on Instagram, obviously, right this minute. And you have a website and stuff. What is your most either successful or what method do you enjoy the most while making connections with people as an artist
Claudia Well, I mean, there’s nothing more fun than an actual art opening. I mean, that’s the bomb. But that hasn’t happened for a while, only because of restriction. But I do communicate through a monthly newsletter and I do offer a gift in that newsletter.
Christy And people can sign up for your newsletter on either of them.
Claudia But actually my main website, which is my name, claudiapalmira.com. That’s where the news that I’m talking about is the other website. You can also access that too.
Claudia I give a design every month. Design, create, art. I don’t know, whatever you want to call it from an iconic, which is a series I’ve been doing for many years. And it’s like a digital collage and very much comes from the moment. So when I’m looking at what I’m feeling, what’s going on, and it’s really made right then and there in that time. And so I offer that as a gift to my subscribers. And I also have some musings and just ideas and things I share. And I don’t like to spam or overdo it.
Claudia So that’s just one time a month and it’s probably not good marketing sense, but I don’t want to do it more than that! I guess Instagram is pretty cool. I’ve been really loving this format. And then my wonderful studio team, who is generation younger, more video. And when I started this moving portrait series where very Woody Allen-like- long takes and just like jazz music, and then just glimpses into my studio life.
Christy And where are you posting that?
Claudia I put them on Instagram. It’s on my website. It’s on YouTube.
Christy That’s cool. So I want to ask you one touchy question. Maybe because we talked about this a lot. Pricing?
Christy I don’t know. I’m rolling my eyes because I have my own issues with pricing. How do you figure out pricing?
Claudia Well, it is tough because also I live in Rome, Italy, and it almost feels like it’s a different marketplace here in Europe in general. And then there’s the States. And then there’s cities in the state. So there’s always different markets and it’s a wild sort of thing. I mean, right. Like that NFT that sold for I know how much.
Claudia I’m like, you want an NFT? I got one.
Christy Yes. Right. I got one that’s only 5,000,000.
Claudia I make one every month.
Claudia You want my Photoshop layers? Sure. Anyway. So Yeah, I think it’s really hard to know. And actually as a designer, I have a design studio. I create websites. I work with people in the world on their stuff. I create creative stuff that is actually fine to use and functional in that sort of recognizable way. And so, you know, there’s sort of a standard pricing there. It’s pretty. But art, on the other hand, how do you quantify how much one of my designer trays costs? You know what I mean?
Claudia Because these are one offs, in a sense. Right. I’m not mass producing them. Maybe someday I will. I’d love to collaborate with a big brand and have them think about the pricing, really. But I think one of the tools that has really helped is that in your literature and your method is actually getting very specific about it. Like, how many hours does this take? What’s your process? The thing that’s not quantifiable are the dream. I dream about things. I think about things. I go through the world and I’m taking stuff in a new way and that you can’t really put a number on. I can say, Oh, Yeah, I dream for an hour.
Christy Right. And Here’s the bill. I mean, there would be not that we want to do this, but the dreaming parts, is the overhead. You have to allocate certain dreaming time, right. Certain dreaming time to each piece, which is doable I mean, what you’re talking about is that idea that start out because pricing is really hard because we’re all pricing something that’s never been seen before. So the way we always start is what’s the logic? How many hours did it take and what’s your hourly rate? And Let’s multiply those two things together and see how we feel about that.
Christy And that’s always a really good place to start. And then the right immediately comes up. How many hours is it just the hours I was making it, or is it the hours I was designing it and making it or the ones I was thinking designing and making? But at least there’s some place to start rather than just sort of staring up in a little bit of intuition.
Claudia Like, what is the market right now? And often in my career, it’s like, would I like to sell this, or would I like to hold on to my you know, at at a certain point, you ask me the CEO and say, you know what? I’m going to make a deal here and just sell it.
Christy Yeah. Yeah. And there’s nothing no substitute for experience selling it and see what happens. And the other thing I know we’ve talked about, too, is using your gut. Take the multiplication of the hours times hourly rate, see what that amount is. And what is your gut say then almost everybody’s gut always goes on at first, but at least then we can start to have a dialogue.
Christy Which is good. How do you balance your day job with your art? Yeah, I know.
Claudia That’s a funny question. I think if I think about balance, like not being something that has been something that’s like this, like, I’m in process of figuring it out, I’m getting there, then it’s a flow. And I think what contemplating this question, like, what is really important to me? I know what’s important to me. I know my values.
Claudia So therefore, if I come up against the decision, I know with I know what the answer is. Different value system. But when it comes to time, like, am I spending time with my son, or am I spending of time in the studio? Well, a lot of times, most of the time, I’m going to choose the motherhood.
Claudia Because I know that that’s a window that’s going to close really fast. In the sense that my son will grow up and not ask me for that hour. Yes. I do have a really strong sense of value. And I also goals and kind of concrete ideas like this. I want to create this. I’m going to create this and then sync organized. The same goes for my clientele. I’m creating this. And I said I would do it by then. I’m going to do that. And then something might have to.
Claudia So this thing that might have wait until later. But in my experience, and I think it just took a long time to trust myself and trust time that’s not running out. If I say I’m going to get to it, I will get to it. For example, the clue line. I had this idea. I think it was two years ago, and it’s only now that I have it. It’s only now that it’s out launched a month ago. So that’s okay.
Christy It is okay. That’s a reminder that it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.
Christy That helps me, too. The other thing that helps me a lot is 15 minutes count.
Claudia Yes. Absolutely. Actually, I wrote a little book about this that is going to come out soon called The Daily Micro Practice. I go into the micro. I’m so into the micro thing, as you said, 15 minutes. But for me, it could be less. And actually, I don’t quantify by time. I quantify by activity. So it’s like, I’m going to make a collage. It’s going to be one image in one word. We do that every day.
Christy How interesting.
Claudia This is something that when I was running create a group for Creative, that was like, the basis of what we did. And I learned a lot through their practice.
Christy Right. Doing that.
Claudia And that’s what inspired me to write thinking about it.
Christy Wow. So people watching. If you have a question, this is your time to ask because we’re wrapping up, because this is my last question for Claudia. What would you say to a young artist just starting out?
Claudia Well one thing I always say to all the young people just starting out because I’m so blessed to have interns and young people I work with is get a savings account.
Claudia I always tell them that because it’s so fundamental to start putting something in there. And it will grow. And one day you can buy a house! I know it’s not artistic advice but another thing is to just keeping looking. A visual artist look: look at paintings, keep a sketchbook, keep a channel open. If you are noticing that is blocking your life, any problems, anything that is prohibiting you- get help.
Christy That’s really god advice. I feel like it’s taken a long time to be myself as an artist-as a writer. That whole process of realizing yes you are a creative, this is a little self serving because I am coach, but I’ve had to get coaching myself. It’s hard to combat- and I’m writing a book about that. But the inner critic is very loud. When we’re creating something that’s never been seen before it’s very risky.
Claudia What I love about the artistic coaching, is that I’ve pushed through the critical voices and imposter syndrome during the creative process. Putting it out into the world is a whole other thing. And that’s where the voice of coach saying I believe in you comes in. Right? When you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing or never know when it’s done- it’s invaluable to have that voice in your corner.
Christy I’ve finished books by having that voice in my corner! Thank you Claudia, it’s been wonderful. So great to talk to you. Is the background one of your paintings!
Claudia Yes it is! It’s from my Maps of Time of Rome Series, and this is called Centro Pink. And here’s a tray I can hold up- it’s one of my Totem Trays.
Christy Yay! Thank you so much.
Claudia Thanks, Christy