I thought I was a pretty authentic person. Boy, was I fooling myself!
Amazing what blindspots we have and how uncovering them creates new possibilities. For me, it meant realising the BS and starting to practice authenticity. So, now I want to get honest with you (and myself) about art-by-olga.
The story that I've been telling people is that I wanted to find a way to help people with my art, but what I really wanted to do is paint! Paint and find a way to make it sustainable financially so I don't have to go to work and do other things (I had an unhealthy relationship with work, really).
I decided on the 50% donation model but (listen to this!) at the back of my mind I was hoping it will bring me more sales and more money and a nice fuzzy feeling inside. I was fooling myself that I wasn't, but I was. I wanted to use it as a marketing tool. Look, I care about the cause (hate seeing women waste their lives and not having the basic needs met!) but if I'm honest with myself, that's what I was hoping for. I was trying to get publicity from a "big charity partner" to get access to their audience (to sell more art). Sad but true. Of course, big charities like that can see through it and they don't engage with small fish like me trying to jump on their bandwagon.
So how did my “business model” work? Well. Overall, since I've started (early 2019), I made a grand total of… $1465 in sales (commissions, at the market, at the art battle, direct sales to friends, none on the website) and $550 at a charity dinner, live painting gig where $275 went to me and $275 was donated to the dinner cause (also a clean water project).
In my recent 3 months in Poland, I was Instagramming a lot, doing time-lapses and getting a lot of paintings out of my system. Basically experimenting. The results? My mom bought 3 pieces and a friend bought 1... Not a great result!
In the meantime I donated ~50% of the $1465 (sales) to charity: water as planned but the exchange rate between the USA and Australia meant that the impact I even smaller than I hoped for. 1465AUD ~ 500usd gives 14 people clean water. I guess that's something and I'm glad I could at least contribute that much but there are so many things I would have done differently…
So there you have it. That's art-by-olga so far. It is not an amazing story of "following my passion and helping others as I’m doing it" as I was making some believe it is. It's an " I'm privileged, lazy and feeling bad so I drop everything to paint and slap a social impact label on it to feel less bad about my privileged life, and use the label as a PR stunt" story.
I apologise to everyone I fooled, your money did go to where I said it would go but hyped up the intention and potential impact it could have.
I apologise to my husband for not pulling my weight, and grateful that you're supporting me in finding my way.
Thank you to everyone who supported the charity: water campaign (you can still support the campaign till the end of September here)
I'm grateful for the help I got in realising my BS and how to move beyond it. I don't have a massive following, I'm a no-one in the art world, I'm not even sure anyone will read the post. But I needed to clear it up, set the record straight and practice my authenticity by being authentic where I wasn't before.
So what now? Painting is still my biggest passion and I'm not letting go of that! I'm moving to the next phase of my artistic journey by closing the last one. What I really wanted to do with it is to paint large scale works, which is what I'm going to do next. I'm going to earn money elsewhere to not compromise on my "artistic vision" whatever that is, and I'm going to take off the "label of social impact" (but still donate some. I'm thinking 10% of sales (not profits) for greater transparency). I’d love to help people with my art but I haven’t figured out how yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.
Thanks for reading and god bless/namaste.