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In Episode 78... 

Maura Kealy Ogden is an artist and collector of images and other things. She paints fine art but is diving into her new business of creating collage pieces using found objects.  

Maura enjoys the experience of creating and loves to share it with people. Her goal is to bring joy to others and keep legacies alive by telling the stories of found objects. She believes that humanity exists in the traces of people’s lives, and she creates collage art that tells their stories using things they left behind.  

Personally, stories help Maura feel grounded by giving her an identity. As an adopted child, no one in Maura’s family looked or acted like her. Over time, Maura’s story became her identity, the story of her life with those she loves the most. Now Maura continues to strengthen her connection to her family members by telling their stories. 

The dilemma for Muara lies in how to merge her two passions, creating fine art and creating collage pieces, and figuring out the most accurate way to create a brand for her art business. She doesn’t see her collage pieces as fine art, which to her is defined as a piece that has some point of view from the artist that has value to be sold in a gallery. 

Listen in as I help Maura unlock the why behind what she creates and develop an elevator speech to build her brand. 

Key takeaways:  

  • Determine how you would define and categorize your art. (00:05:30) 
  • Define your art the way you want to, and other people will see it that way. (00:08:26) 
  • When creating your elevator speech, focus on your perspective and uniqueness. (00:13:06) 
  • Your elevator can also be the main message behind your art. (00:17:59) 
  • Ask yourself what's the most interesting part of the reason I give for being an artist. (00:25:34) 
  • Focus on verbalizing what's special about the art you are bringing to the world. (00:31:35) 
  • The goal is to get people's attention and make them connect with your art before they've even seen it. (00:33:28) 

Resources and links mentioned:

  • Connect with Maura on Instagram @‌mko_studio_artist
  • Visit Maura's website at www.mko-studio.com
  • To learn more about creating an elevator speech and other aspects of building your art business, apply for my mentorship program, Consistent Income, here.

Learn more about selling your art:

  • For more practical and energetic strategies to create consistent income and life balance, follow Jessica on Instagram @artistmarketco
  • Apply to Be a Guest on Intuitive Art Sales here
  • For information on working with Jessica, send your questions/thoughts to jessica@theartistmarket.co

Read the Transcript for this episode

 Jessica Craddock: Welcome back to Intuitive Art Sales. Today I'm here with Maura and funny tidbit here. We we recorded this two days ago. And somehow didn't I didn't hit record. So we're back again.

Maura Kealy Ogden: We have a delightful time.

Jessica Craddock: We We had a time a delightful conversation. I felt felt like I needed to pre reference that because I feel like inevitably, we're we're going to up addressing things we things we talked about last time. So I will try to contextualize this at points. points.

So, with being being said, Maura, you just mentioned that you felt like you had a pretty good plan, today you wanted wanted to actually, you say You're going to say it say it better than me.

Maura Kealy Ogden: So, our conversation on Tuesday, it was delightful. But I feel like I was kind of all over the place, which absolutely. Goes with the fact that I have ADHD. So today having that conversation in my backpack. I feel a little more prepared.

Jessica Craddock: Great. That's That's exciting. And also I didn't feel any more than any other conversation that I that it all place, so

Maura Kealy Ogden: Oh, good

So I loved your 3 questions we are to contemplate before coming on the podcast. So the first of the questions is, how would you introduce yourself and your art? So that, I'm a pro at.

My name is Maura Kealy Ogden. I am an artist. I am a collector of images, what nots, Jim crafts, you name it. I can paint you a painting that's fine art, but I'm diving into this new business, this new plan that I want to really go to town with my collage pieces. So, with that, who am I? I'm kind of two things. and I'm wondering, how do I merge that and be still kind of a fine art artist but also have this new adventure in a new town that we just moved to. The other thing you asked was, how would you describe your business? Okay. So I don't know, you know, I have a virtual gallery and I have a darling desk in downtown Morrisville, a teeny, tiny town in North Carolina. Uh, It is a provision shop. She only carries North Carolina merchandise. And I am the artist in residence. Sometimes I buy something from her shop. I paint on it. I sell it. Sometimes I work on a big painting. Afternoons, I might take my radio flyer wagon and I walk around town and sit and talk with different people and work on my art. so, that's a lot,


Jessica Craddock: Trying to make make sure that I. If it is even question, that I understand the question, which I think is when we talked last, we dove into the collage side of your business. Today you're you're actually saying, wait, I don't want want to leave the fine behind. want to want to do that, too.

Maura Kealy Ogden: It's like I'm looking for a both and, not an either or.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So, let's, let's start with a question, which is, how do you define fine art?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Fine art to me is painting, drawing, sculpture, what have you, that has a point of view from the artist that has some value to be sold in a gallery. Mm I think that's how to describe it. Kind of old school.

[00:05:30] Determine how you would define and categorize your art.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah, so tell me how that differs from the work you were were describing your excitement about last time. How is is that not fine art? I guess is the question.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Oh, great question. Well, I'm not sure if someone who owned Shane gallery in Charleston, or wherever they own, would want a sign that I bought at a shop that I then hand painted, added fabric to, and created new art.

Jessica Craddock: Why?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Maybe I have a disconnect. You're right.

Jessica Craddock: Why?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Maybe I shouldn't think that way.

Jessica Craddock: Maybe Gallery will feel that it in their gallery, but another one would. Does that make make it fine art?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yes.

Jessica Craddock: I'm not trying trying to your other work has has fine too, but I'm, I'm trying to lead you to, is actually? And And you're just putting whatever preconceived notions around whatever art is on it so so thatou can't be

Maura Kealy Ogden: fine

Jessica Craddock: artist and this other thing. But what if what if this other thing is a fine artist?

Maura Kealy Ogden: cool to explore. Absolutely. Maybe I shouldn't consider what I'm doing in this new adventure less than fascinating.

Jessica Craddock: Right. So I am am a fan. favorite favorite art is is art Whenever I go to a new city, I always and see if have a modern art museum. A sign that has fabric and is something different you wouldn't see in a traditional museum is a piece that would belong in a modern art museum. In my mind, that belongs there. If belongs in a art museum, I call that fine art. 

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yeah,

Jessica Craddock: That's my opinion. Some people are going to have other other opinions. If you it like it then people going to treat it like it's fine art. Not because everyone has their own opinions, but more people will.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I get that. So it's just a mind shift, really.


[00:08:26] Define your art the way you want to, and other people will see it that way.

Jessica Craddock: This is gonna get a little bit woo woo here, but create our own reality. Like, we is is what true for us. The more we are grounded in it, and that's the way we see it, that's how other people will be influenced to see it the same way. If we're we're thinking, fine art, other other people are going to agree with you. Mm. So, Back to your introduction, I am this and how do I also be this? How do you say it now? Assuming we believe this new belief to be true, how do you now introduce yourself?

Maura Kealy Ogden: So, what if, darling Jessica, I say, I'm an artist. In the past have stuck with acrylic and oil painting, and I'm exploring new mediums.

Jessica Craddock: It's not super exciting, if I'm being perfectly honest. Okay, we found our direction for today. We are doing your elevator speech.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Love it.

Jessica Craddock: So, it starts with, I am a. This might a hard word for you, normally, painter, photographer, sculptor, whatever, goes in here. What are you?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I'm a creative.

Jessica Craddock: I'm a creative.

Maura Kealy Ogden: So in exploring different forms of artistic expression, I know that I want them to bring me joy and others joy. Does that work in an elevator?

Jessica Craddock: It's getting closer. So, okay, we were gonna do the formula, but we're gonna back up here and we're and we're but address you said, that's to help going to help us with the second of the formula. So, , Maura, gave me an answer, but say it again. Why do you create art?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I create art to bring myself joy and others joy. I create art to have an experience in the creating, and I like to share that with people.

Jessica Craddock: I'm going to a ask a different question because I think this will help. Why do you create art ends up very broad and overarching and we narrow it down from there, but I think this going hard hard to narrow down. So, instead of that question, I'm going to ask you why create with found objects?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Collage to me begins with an intention, and that you're out and about, you're exploring the world, you find something, you then pick it up, bring it home, assemble, and in a way, you have a story before the art piece has even begun.

Jessica Craddock: Mm hmm.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Then bringing in my skill set of perhaps a ripped piece of a drawing. I'm not really a quote person, but maybe it's some fiber or fabric. To me, the assembling of it gives me great joy because it's an experience.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. I think we're getting there so I just wrote down everything you said. start with an intention. Then a story is formed. You assemble with your skillset. I'm not going to focus on the joy part right now, because I believe that it gives you joy. I believe that it give others joy, and most artists, not all, but most, want to bring and it gives them joy.

[00:13:06] When creating your elevator speech, focus on your perspective and uniqueness.

Jessica Craddock: So what we're looking for is your uniqueness, or your perspective is may be a good word for it. So you said it starts with an intention and exploring the the world. Why is that important?

Maura Kealy Ogden: That's pretty big question.

Jessica Craddock: It is.

Maura Kealy Ogden: There is so much of the humanity and little traces, The world, nature, a city, park, an old building, a new building. I love finding the little thing that was left behind. Or maybe a piece of a screw that got rusty that so perfectly can be missed.

Jessica Craddock: Hmm. I love both of those things you just said. It's one thing, but I wrote it down as two. There's humanity in the traces, and also I love finding the thing left behind that can be missed.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yeah, there's always a story to be found.

Jessica Craddock: Humanity in the traces. There's always a story to be found. I really like the phrase humanity in the traces, and standing alone it makes sense. So let's keep going.

Maura Kealy Ogden: okay.

Jessica Craddock: Traces of the things things left behind. you said that. How you decide which traces have most humanity. Which ones have the most stories to you?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Generally, something will spark a memory of my own. Often, it could be like just a gorgeous patina on, a rusty, And I find that when you see these, these remnants of people, these discarded things or forgotten things, they fit in so well into nature. Nature does magic on metal, on an old shoe, etc. Recently I bought a meat hook. That's so crazy. But if you could see this, it is the most gorgeous, like turquoise, rust, sage green. The paint's peeling. It's so firm and sturdy. Like, I didn't find that in nature. I think that'd be a touch scary. I found it at a take shop, but it was $8. And I want to do something magical with it, perhaps with other pieces that I found the past couple of months.

Jessica Craddock: So to narrate, I continue to go deeper in the things you are saying that the things, because I'm doing it with you, the things that I find most interesting about what you're saying. But if you were on your own, it would be the phrases that mean the most to you. So, why the remnants, the discarded, forgotten, why those?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I think old is precious and beautiful. I think the discarded, oh my gosh, look at this thing that was left right here. It looks so perfect in this, I, and then my mind goes in such great, uh, it goes on a great journey. So I wonder who left it, why'd they leave it? Why'd it fall out of their pocket? And I kind of take that mindset forward when I'm then at my desk, and it's time to make my own thing from what I call a trinket and. other people would call trash.

[00:17:58] Your elevator can also be the main message behind your art.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. I'm trying to figure out the phrasing, but putting your words together right now, it's something along lines of story of the humanity, the story and humanity something. It's not quite right in the remnants left behind. And I think that covered. Why does it inspire you? I still need to take it a step or two further because when I'm checking to see if it's a good elevator speech, the elevator speech can also be your main message behind your art, they become more or less interchangeable. My check to make sure it's good is, can I apply this in areas of my life that are not art?Does this help me make decisions those other areas? Is this something that want to plant my flag on? Still in the inspiration art kind of realm. I think we're getting there.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yes,

Jessica Craddock: So, I'm ready to go further, but we're kind of circling instead going deeper. I want to take art out of it. In your day to day life, what do you care about the stories behind things, the humanity in the small things, remnants being left behind? If you were leaving behind a legacy for your children of, is who Maura was, what does that have with remnants, humanity, story?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I would so love for you to come and visit. It would require a plane ride. The painting behind me, which the viewers can't see, but it's there. I purchased this as a young girl, working, and I didn't even have a couch. I bought a painting. This has traveled with me my entire life. My kids know the story. They know the story of the artist. I've kept communication with her. This painting, I literally at one point got tired of the fact that it had pink flowers. So I called her and said, would you care if I paint on my painting? She was like, absolutely. Send me a picture of it.

Jessica Craddock: That's amazing.

Maura Kealy Ogden: So I use that as an example, because I have a silver tray that has the anniversary date of my parents 25th wedding anniversary. Like I serve cheeseburgers on it. I don't really have a melamine tray. I don't have paper plates, but I'm not a freak about recycling. It's just more that what I use, what I touch, I love the story behind it, and I love telling the story.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So, story is very important you, obviously. You're serving cheeseburgers on this beautiful tray. You are carrying this around with you years telling the story of it. Why? Why does story matter? What's the point?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Golly. Okay. I think in my almost 57 years on this planet, I think I know why. I am adopted. I am in love with my family. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. I always have been. But the story of things is very important because there was never anybody that looked like me. There wasn't mannerisms that were handed down to me. In my family, my older brothers were adopted, then me, then Molly, then my baby sister, Kiki. She just came along as the story ought to be.

Jessica Craddock: Mm hmm.

Maura Kealy Ogden: So, I guess, stories help me feel grounded and give me an identity.

[00:25:34] Ask yourself what's the most interesting piece of the reason I give for being an artist.

Jessica Craddock: Aha, I see. Mow we're getting somewhere. But just in in case you're listening, and you're trying to do this on your own. See how I'm doing this? I'm just asking why. What's the most interesting piece of what I just thought about? Why do I do that? Why do I do this? So, stories make me feel grounded and give me identity. And I know this gets really annoying after a little bit. So, sorry. Sorry, not sorry.

Maura Kealy Ogden: No?

Jessica Craddock: What does identity matter? Why do you care about the story it gives you? But now, why does it matter that you have an identity. Why just go about your life just live and die go on. It's an easy exercise, but not easy exercise. Why does it matter?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Well, because I matter and, everyone I love matters and people I meet or haven't met who left a button on the ground, they matter. So you said, identity matters because I matter and they matter. I said, why does it matter to have an identity? You said, because I matter, and they matter.

Jessica Craddock: Yes, of course you matter. And how does your identity make you feel that you matter, help you feel how is, what is the question?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Okay.

Jessica Craddock: We're down to they matter. Above that was stories. So maybe if take the out it, and stories. And they matter goes together pretty well. I was trying to figure out how having an identity relates to you mattering. Like you can matter without someone understanding your identity. Does your identity make you matter more?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Okay, because of this windy, awesome staircase we're on, that you're taking me, I identify as a storyteller and story maker.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. ,

Maura Kealy Ogden: The identity part, it's hard for me to navigate that because I am who I am because of who I know, love, care for. I mean, sure, I could exist on my own in a yurt in the forest, but that would not be who I am.

Jessica Craddock: Mm hmm. I am who I because of who I love. I am inserting my own words, so let's just go round round a little bit more.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Let's do it.

Jessica Craddock: I am who I am because of who I love, and I care about being able to their stories but also I care about the stories of people I don't know because people loved them. They had an identity. You care about things not being forgotten. You care about making people feel special. You care care about keeping legacies alive through stories.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yes.

Jessica Craddock: So, let's go back to everyone is important and everyone should be remembered. That's not that profound of a statement. It's not a super unique thing to to say. I said it. You didn't it, but I feel like like that's kind of you. You are embodying all these answers you're giving me. Okay. What if it's remembering humanity in the things that have been forgotten remnants, in the discarded. Not exactly that, but something along those lines.

Maura Kealy Ogden: It like it a lot, a lot, because I've kind of, in all of our talking and this adventure of me and my husband relocating from Chicago to the small town called Morrisville, I am literally living my dream.

Jessica Craddock: Mmm.

Maura Kealy Ogden: With this amazing guy, whose dream is we share it. And I don't, I am not exactly sure if the world needs me to purchase another canvas at Michael's and buy more paint and more brushes and paper towel. It's like the doors have flung open, and it's the smallness that we said yes to that. I'm so excited and in talking you've really given me profound things to think about. Because to create this elevator speech, 

[00:31:35] You're trying to verbalize what's special about the art you are bringing to the world.

Maura Kealy Ogden: It isn't going to be very, run of the mill. Like, I'm not saying I'm special, but...

Jessica Craddock: You are special, but we're trying to verbalize the the specialness that you most want embody bring world. I think we're getting close. We're at least 80 percent there. And 80 percent is generally good enough because as it marinates, it can be tweaked by 1%, 2%, as we go.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I love it.

Jessica Craddock: I'm not saying that to get out of trying to find the perfect words here. I'm saying that I believe with all my heart, that going to the 80 percent so that you start taking action on it, so that you can can find more clarity is to get you the 100%. That's the only way to get there. So back to our elevator speech, we said, I ama  creative. You also said, I am storyteller. I am story maker. I think one of those is accurate. Which one do you think it is?

Maura Kealy Ogden: Teller

Jessica Craddock: I am an artist telling stories through a collection of discarded objects, traces, something. I tell stories through art. You can can add collage art or that want there, I think it could just be I tell stories.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Let's keep it simple.

Jessica Craddock: I agree. You have to catch their attention and make them identify with your art before they've even seen it, and then they'll say, Oh, tell more. What does it look like?

I tell stories through art using the... I'm going back to traces of humanity.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Love it! It's kind of high brow though. 

Jessica Craddock: It's a little high brow, but it will become lower brow as you say more and more.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I mean, I'm a giggler.

Jessica Craddock: Okay, hold on. Let's highbrow it, then see if can make it more giggly. I tell stories through art using traces of things I find so they they aren't forgotten. 

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yes

Jessica Craddock: So people aren't forgotten. That one.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yes!

Jessica Craddock: And I'm even going to add because this is a draft. This is long, too long, but we're trying to get to the 80%. I tell stories through art using the traces of humanity so people aren't forgotten because they matter. So how can we shorten that?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I love it!

Jessica Craddock: You love it?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I love it! Why don't we just make it into three short sentences instead of one huge one.

Jessica Craddock: We could do that. I would rather, if I get to pick, I want to have one easily understandable thing you thing can say off your tongue and people say, tell me more. Then you go forth and tell the whole page of things that I wrote down. But we just want one.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I was walking through the forest.

Jessica Craddock: I was walking through forest, found a meat hook. Not really. I tell forgotten stories through art so people aren't forgotten because they matter. I tell forgotten stories through art because they matter.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Because people matter and their stories matter.

Jessica Craddock: because people and their stories matter. Last time. I tell forgotten stories through art because people matter and their stories matter. 

That's short and sweet, not as highbrow. It's easy to understand.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I love it!

Jessica Craddock: Great. That's it my friend. That is what is at the core of your art. It's at the core of who you are as an artist and of the things you surround yourself with, of the actions that you take. You're telling stories because they matter and you don't want people to forget them.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Right on.

Jessica Craddock: That's your brand. Also, coming back to the very beginning of this conversation where you were talking about, well fine art versus this. When it has that message it can't not be be fine art my opinion. And if you did go create the quote, unquote, fine art that you were describing at the beginning of this recording, I don't think it would as true to you unless it became some version of what you were doing on found objects.

Maura Kealy Ogden: You have literally figured out the disconnect. It's been like a dichotomy almost until me and Bill landed here in this beautiful little town. And I'm like, oh, this feels like home. I miss my people, but there are so many people to meet and so much to explore and

Jessica Craddock: And stories to be found.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yeah. Little traces.

Jessica Craddock: I feel like you need to go make some art now.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I do. I do. I just walked around downtown Morrisville with the painting. And put it in credit up windows took pictures. I met 3 dogs. I met a darling woman who's an author. She gave me a book. I mean, you can't beat it. 

Jessica Craddock: I have moved to a small town myself and I'm like, this is my place, though I love big cities. But I want to visit them, not live in them. this is just a random inspiration idea. I'm going to throw it out there and you can take it or  leave it or store it for later. You find people who are experts on objects that you are drawn to, and have them tell the story. I mean, they don't know the story of the person who used it. It could be a fiction writer who makes up the story. Maybe it's a book where you create the images that go with this story. I see stories literally and visually your future.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I love it.

Jessica Craddock: Okay, Maura, we already did it, but let's do it again. Where do find you and your art?

Maura Kealy Ogden: I can be found on Instagram. I am Mko underscore studio underscore artist, and on Facebook I am Maura Kealy Ogden. I have a virtual gallery, which I'm reworking, and that is mko-studio. com.

Jessica Craddock: And that is where you put what we just wrote on that website front and and center.

Maura Kealy Ogden: I'm sooo excited! 

Jessica Craddock: I want to say one more thing then you get to go. Do you see how this is so much more you, and your work when you compare it to what you had? It was not bad... to bring joy to myself and bring others joy.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Yep.

Jessica Craddock: It's completely different.

Maura Kealy Ogden: A hundred jillion percent.

Really this is so wonderful! I really appreciate it. 

Jessica Craddock: You're welcome. It was my pleasure. I mean It.

Jessica Craddock: All right. We'll talk soon. Love you.

Maura Kealy Ogden: Love you, baby.

More about Intuitive Art Sales

This is the show where I, Jessica Craddock, am going to teach you how to source your art marketing from within. You're going to practice claiming that authentic art business that you want and leaning into the most natural way for you to get there. You're going to learn to get connected to your intuition, your confidence and your community, so that you can sell your art consistently while holding strong boundaries on your work life balance.

Most of my episodes are full of interviews with your peers. In these and all episodes moving forward, I explore what each artist wants and give them the next steps to get there. You can take their struggles and their challenges and learn how to navigate your own and create actionable steps towards creating more art sales, more consistently at higher prices than you've ever sold before.

You can find all the episodes here.

About the Author

Jessica Craddock

I mentor intuitive visual artists who are sick of one-size-fits all formulas sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. My clients regularly make 3x more in art sales within a year.

Using my signature Consistent Income method, we’ll push you over the precipice of some really amazing growth so you can become the creator of your next chapter.

My secret sauce is that we focus on not just the "doing", but also the "being". Affirmations, trusting yourself, knowing when to go slow and when to go fast, practicing getting out of your comfort zone and making room for the feelings that go with that... all this is equally as important as the action steps.

For once, you'll be ahead of the game and understand what's right for you.

  • I have an untiring need to see my Art pierce and ignite people’s hearts with peace in an ancient ethereal way

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