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In Episode 76...  

Andrea Erhardt is a muralist and art business coach from Springfield, Missouri. Andrea had always been interested in creating art for a living, but she never really thought it was possible.  

After graduating with a degree in general business and painting, Andrea started a promotional business with a few friends that did very well, but her heart kept coming back to painting. Once she decided to do a few small murals for friends and acquaintances, word started to spread about her work. Andrea began taking paid jobs painting logos on windows for local businesses and found that she had a great advantage being in an area where competition for her mural business didn’t really exist. 

It wasn’t long before Andrea landed a job as a logo painter for Bass Pro Shops, which is headquartered where she lives in Missouri. She was young, single and willing to travel, and she spent several years creating murals in new Bass Pro Shops locations. The downside was that the position was very demanding of her time, keeping her on the road and away from home a lot. The advantage, however, being that she gained a lot of experience painting large-scale work on a tight schedule.  

Eventually Andrea grew tired of always being away from home and decided to focus on growing her mural business back home. She did so by focusing on painting murals in public spaces in the early stages of her business career. As she became more successful, she realized that she could provide valuable insight and assistance to other artists wanting to start their own mural business.  

Listen in to learn more about Andrea’s journey from entrepreneur to artist and how she grew a thriving mural business. 

Key takeaways:  

  • Andrea didn’t really think making a living painting was possible. (00:07:36) 
  • It's easy to get a yes when you are offering holiday window painting. (00:10:18)
  • Come prepared with examples of mural ideas to present to the manager. (00:15:40)
  • Working with nonprofits is a great way to get experience and build your confidence. (00:22:10) 
  • If you can paint on canvas, you can paint murals. (00:27:02) 
  • Andrea gives two tips to establishing your mural business more quickly. (00:30:25) 

Resources and links mentioned:

  • Connect with Andrea on Instagram @‌artbyandreaerhardt
  • Visit Andrea's website for more about her courses and membership for muralists at www.artbyandreae.com
  • Listen to Episode 299 of Andrea's Artist Academy podcast for her interview with Jessica here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/artist-academy/id1460759412

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
  • Apply for my mentorship program, Consistent Income, 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. I am here with Andrea Erhardt who is a muralist as well as another art business coach. And I invited her on here today because she has been doing this for quite some time with quite a bit of success, and I really thought that you guys could benefit from learning some lessons of what Andrea has done to create a successful mural business and how she works with artists and any tips and tricks both practical and mindset that you can take away if murals are something that you are interested in doing with your business.

So, with that, I'm going to let Andrea take it from here for a few minutes and just give us a little bit of background information on kind of what she has been doing over the past 10 years. And we'll go from there. Sound good?

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah, sounds good. Thank you so much. So yeah, I'm a muralist, and I got my start by, I guess back in the day. So I went to, art school, in general, and graduated with a degree in general business and painting. And I was just following what I liked business and painting, but then I graduated and I was like, okay, I have a degree in coloring.

What the heck am I going to do with this? I was like, where, what am I going to do? And this was back, back in my day. I know I'm too young to say that, but it was, I mean, over 10 years ago.

Jessica Craddock: We can do it.

Andrea Erhardt: 10 years ago, and Instagram wasn't really a thing. And I mean, Facebook was, but I, I wasn't even following artists online yet.

I didn't know that this was a thing, a possible idea. So, I just started painting windows around town. I thought maybe I would create a painting business. I didn't know. I was just kind of saying yes to everything that came about. And the thing that I got asked most for was to do logos for businesses around town.

I would paint logos on barns, so I live in the Midwest and very middle of nowhere Missouri. So, there's a lot of barn painting a lot of sheds, corrugated metal and a lot of other things. It's a great place to grow up and live, but not big on the art scene, which I later found that was so much in my favor.

I had thought that I had to move to LA or New York to really make it, but actually I had such a leg up here, even though it was a little bit more scarce and a little bit harder to talk people into murals and whatnot, because they saw it as graffiti. And they just weren't that used to it. Once I got it going, it was really easy for me to become the go to person in my area because there wasn't a lot of competition.

I'd So I started to do logos around and just again, saying yes to everything. And I didn't know that Bass Pro Shops is headquarters here in Springfield, Missouri. And

Jessica Craddock: I think I did know that.

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah, I got in touch with their imagery department and they needed a logo painter because theirs was quitting. So, I went into an interview and I said, yes, I can paint anything you want. I will show up anywhere. And that's what we did. So, they flew me down to Tennessee. So, Bass Pro, they build me stores all over the United States and Canada. There's so many. And 10 years ago, they were going through a construction boom where their stores were popping up everywhere.

So as soon as they build the walls and, you know, primer the walls, the artists would come in last and we would paint in a very hurried manner and try to make the store deadline. And so that's what I did for years. So, I was working around some of the best muralists in the country. There were guys that were 70 years old. Like they were much older, they've been doing this their whole lives and that was my first big eye opening.

I remember going on the Bass Pro Shops construction site and being like, I'm fresh out of college, I can paint anything. And then I go in and I see this beautiful underwater scene that's just huge, way bigger than anything I'd ever painted before.

And it's like, I know nothing. Teach me everything, please. It was just so intimidating. I've later learned that, you know, now the, the bigger, the better. It's just using a bigger paintbrush. And it's just the exact same thing as a canvas and, but it's just a lot more body movements and energy and all that.

But so, yeah, that's how I got my start. I was for several years. I worked underneath some extremely talented muralists and not only did we need to paint really well and really realistic, we needed to paint fast because construction is all about speed. Always behind and that store opening date is not changing.

So, there were some days that we worked 24 hours to try to get that store opening because art is the very last thing. And it just conditioned me to go really quickly. But also, you know, maintain a certain level of quality. So once the construction boom started to dip, they weren't building as many stores anymore. Recently, they've started to go back to that, but back then I was traveling all the time. I mean, we would work 3 weeks, and I would be home for 5 days and then go back. And I didn't have a family then.

So, I was like, yeah, well, I'll just go. I'll go wherever. But it was, it was very lonely working on the road. And I mean, you're away from your friends and your family and it's a great learning experience. But I remember being done with that and being like, okay, I am just so determined to build my art business back here in Springfield, Missouri, so I can sleep in my own bed at night. One day when I decide to have a baby, which I do now. He's one year old. I can eventually say no to working for Bass Pro Shops, so I don't have to travel. And I can just do my own stuff.

And that has come to fruition through lots of marketing and whatnot. So how I did that, how I built and made a name for myself around here was I started to do street art or murals in public places.

Um, and this was several years ago where, you know, those wing murals, those like butterfly wing murals or angel wings. So, they were just starting to become popular back then. And I saw that, and we went to Nashville, and we saw the wings there and Austin, Texas. I love to travel. I've been to all seven continents. So, seeing all the, all the arts everywhere else in the world is like Springfield, Missouri doesn't have any of that. Maybe I could bring it here. So, lots of pitching going and taking my proposal around town. Say, hey, you have a really big wall and it's blank and boring. And it's in this really like high traffic area.

Can I paint some butterfly wings on it? Like I had a couple of people will just say yes. And I did the first of them for free. And those butterfly wings, I got so much business from those ones. And then to where I could use those as a platform to say, hey, I've done this. And most of the people around town had seen them by now.

So, I would go around to other businesses and say, Hey, do you want a photo op for your business? This could help draw in customers and people share it on social media. We can create a hashtag and that's how I got my start. And so now I don't typically do a lot of that anymore. It's a little overdone now that everybody has kind of got onto it.

But if you're in a town that doesn't have like a greeting from Springfield mural or wings or whatever, by all means, that works. It's great marketing.

[00:07:36] Andrea didn’t really think making a living painting was possible.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. Let's take a couple steps back. I think that that was a really good intro into where you are now and kind of the steps you took to get there, but I kind of want to go back to little Andrea from art school. Did you come out thinking, I need to make money with my art. What can I do? Or did you just kind of fall into, I really want to try painting murals or like, what was your mindset there?

Was it more, I need to make money, or I need to explore this thing I'm interested in, like, which direction did you go from there?

Andrea Erhardt: I was very, I don't know, I, I really think that it was possible really. Cause I didn't know anybody who was, and until I got that lucky break of networking and getting hired by Bass Pro Shops and corporate, I didn't know that I could do this full time.

I just thought, you know, so I had, I had started a couple other businesses. I always say like, I am an entrepreneur turned artist. I've loved the idea of startups and I just love the idea of creating something and selling it. And just happened to also be interested in art.

And so, I had a, a different business. I started a business where, um, I had a group of promo girls, and we would go, and we would promote for Pepsi at the Superbowl. And we would do AT& T at the final four. And like, we, we got some really big stuff. And so, I was like, maybe this is what I'm going to do.

But I remember always telling people like, yeah, but I, I really like to do art. And it wasn't until I started really doing it and once I put those first couple murals out, just being asked to do them for friends at first and just started putting them out and putting them on social media. And people started sharing it.

I was like, oh, people are seeing those photos and they're hiring me for other things and window painting and all of that. So, it just, it kind of fell into it, but I didn't really know what I was doing. I was kind of hopeful but didn't really think that it was possible.

Jessica Craddock: I think that we're similar in that way, in that we are entrepreneurs turned artists where most people that I come in contact with are the opposite. They're artists who are trying to learn how to be an entrepreneur. So, for those people, do you have any practical. What was one of the biggest things that you did that helped you create an art business once you had kind of fallen into it?

What was the, maybe the biggest mindset switch or step that you took to start making money with it?

[00:10:18] It's easy to get a yes when you are offering holiday window painting.

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah. So, this, this piece of advice is my number one piece of advice for people who want to start a mural business, specifically. And it's, I wish somebody would have told me way, way, way sooner, because It was several years into my mural business where I finally caught on to this was a thing, but window painting. It's really easy to get a yes for holiday window painting.

It's not permanent. It's typically low cost. It's really easy in to be introduced to a business. So, I would just take a window painting flyer around downtown. I mean, you could start in the spring and then they would ask you and they ask you to come back and do 4th of July windows and then fall windows.

But the major thing is Christmas windows. You can be so booked out for the holidays doing windows. But what that leaves it. First off, it gives you practice painting large scale, practice sending invoices and really communicating with the customer in a non-permanent way because windows are, you can just erase it after the season's over.

And so, it's a little bit less intimidating and you get those connections with those businesses to where if you paint windows for somebody, if they need their logo Or they decided to do a mural in 2 years from now, you're the person they're calling. So, that's the number 1 thing I tell people, like, go pass out a window flyer, and just get that easy in, yes, and it just will jumpstart your mural career.

Jessica Craddock: So, most people, I like to pretend I can read people's minds, uh, most people at this point are listening and going, okay, yeah, that's great, but I think I'll probably start off by just posting online that I want to paint window murals or making a webpage that I want to paint window murals. Because going to people and telling them that I paint window murals and asking them for their business sounds kind of scary. So, for those people who really need that push to get this going in an expedient fashion, what would you recommend for them in order to switch their mindset around, it's too scary to go ask for people's business? All

Andrea Erhardt: I completely understand. And what I, what I did is I put practice on my own windows, or if you have like a glass door or something, that way you get that experience. You can have the photos. You can create the flyer. And then whenever I was little Andrea going around to these downtown businesses. I sometimes I would have my flyer in hand and jacket on like, all right, I'm going to do this. I'm a big girl and I would go, and I would go up to the door, and I would just like take a walk around the block. I'm like, nope, nope, not this time. One more walk. Okay, here we go. Okay, it's fine. It's fine. So, what I'm trying to say is I understand, but the more, the more practice you have in with it, the more confident you're going to be to deliver what they want. Because I think what people are scared of is first off, that interaction. It's scary to talk to because you're not sure what they're going to say. What if they want something that you've never done.

Like, it's just, you don't know how it goes. yeah, what I always tell my students, if you don't know an answer to a question, you can always say, I'll get back to you. And you can think about it, because a lot of times when I'm even now on conversations on the phone with mural customers, and they ask what I'm going to charge, and I'm not sure, I really make myself not try to think of something right in the moment. Like, hold on, let me think about it. I'll send you an email by the end of the day with all the details.

Plus, on your flyer, you can work out all the details. And the number 1 thing that people are going to ask is, well, do you remove it at the end of the season? And because they don't want to do that, or maybe they'll have window cleaners that will or whatever. So, like, all those objections. And so just figure all of those things out. You can refer the cleaning away. You can come and clean it yourself. Like, it's just, there's so many ways to go about it, but it's just experimental.

Jessica Craddock: That's such a good practical tip. Tell them you'll think about it and get back to them by the end of the day. You know, as you are talking, I would add on, don't print more than ten flyers, because they're going to ask you a question that you're not going to they were going to ask yet. So, then you can go back and add that answer to your flyer and print ten more.

So, you're not spending hundreds of dollars and not being able to edit your flyers as you go, because Why wouldn't you? Okay, so little Andrea, who was going to the door and then say, I'm going to walk around the block one more time. You said, more practice will make it easier, but in those moments, in that deciding to open the door or not, how did you actually get in there and tell them what you did?

What did you do?

Andrea Erhardt: Hmm. I mean, you just like, physically, you just walk through the door, you walk up to usually either behind the bar or the hostess or somebody say, hey, I'm a local artist. Is there a manager that I can speak to about possibly painting a mural on the side of your wall or windows or whatnot, and they're not going to know.

So, they're going to be like, yeah, sure. Let me get my manager for you. And if they say he's not available, say, do you have a card? That way I can contact them. It may be something with an email or a phone number, and they'll give you the card or whatever. But it's like, yeah. The first person that you talk to a secretary at a business, they're all the gatekeepers.

You want to get past them. You want to go to the manager and people who are going to make the decisions.

[00:15:40] Come prepared with examples of mural ideas to present to the manager.

Andrea Erhardt: And another tip that I have is I come prepared with on my iPad, or maybe you could do some printouts or something of images of ones that you've done also possible images. So, say you're wanting to paint windows for a restaurant, like you have a really fun idea for a mural at a restaurant.

I go to Google, and I go restaurant murals. And just pull those, that way they can visually see ideas, even if they're not your own, that's completely fine. You can say, hey, you know, I've seen, this is a cool mural idea that I think we could incorporate to customize it for your business. This is why I think it would be useful. It would bring some color to here.

Have you ever thought about doing something to that wall? And usually if there's a blank wall, so usually people have thought about either putting a sign on it or setting their logo. Every business loves their logo, and they want to plaster it everywhere, really big for everybody to see. So typically, if you have a couple ideas, they probably have a couple ideas too.

So just getting that started with visual things to show them, it's a really good way.

Jessica Craddock: Okay, so I'm going to recap what you just said in steps, so we can, I can make sure that I captured everything and make it really actionable. Number one, walk up to the door. I'm going to add this one. Number two, count to five, take a deep breath. Number three, walk inside. Ask for, ask the gatekeeper for the decision maker. Step four, talk to that person in terms of

using visuals, whether it's helping them imagine how it could benefit their business, what could go into that space. Or using an iPad or something else to say, see, we could do something like this or like this or like this. So, helping them imagine it is really the last step. Did I miss anything?

Andrea Erhardt: Nope. That's pretty much it. Another thing is like have a pitch down and have something written down in the notes section of your phone and just say it over and over and over and over. Hi, my name is Andrea. I'm a local artist and I saw that you have a blank wall or windows or the holiday season's coming up.

Something like that. Um, I have some ideas. For possible ways to add color to your whatever, um, are you interested in possibly hearing some of those ideas? And just like that, and whatever your pitches say it over and over and over and over that way, as soon as you go in, because I, was extremely an extremely shy kid.

It's taken a lot of work for me to come out of my bubble. My mom used to call me her shadow. And so, coming to where I can even do podcasts now is huge. And so, I would have to memorize because if I get in situations where they're really uncomfortable, my brain just goes blank, and I just can't think. And I just don't have a comeback, and I'm like, ah, so I practice.

Jessica Craddock: So, I just imagined myself. I'm not particularly interested in being a mural artist. I think it's great that you are and everybody else who wants to be, but I just imagined myself getting in my car, driving to my son's school to pick him up and the whole way there saying, hi, I'm Jessica, I have some ideas for your building.

Would you like to hear them over and over and over and over and. That seems like a really great, practical, actionable way to, maybe not get over your fear, but at least have something in your back pocket when that fear does pop up. You can pull it out, have that rehearsed, I just have to get through this one little spiel that I have said over and over, and then I can answer questions from there. And I can always go back to, I do not know the answer to that, I will get back to you by the end of the day.

Okay, so if we're going out and starting a mural business, we're starting off by advertising window painting to get our foot in the door. We're getting some relationships built up with those new customers. Let's say, I know we were just kind of talking about this, but that conversation could have gone for either the window or the mural. But we want to move out of window painting, and we want to take some of those customers that we have window painted for. And they've got some great walls, and we want to propose a mural to them. How would you alter that conversation, if any? What steps would you take to say, I've done great work for you in the past. Maybe we could do something bigger.

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah, I mean, you could just literally say that and, but I think it also comes down to having a little bit of practice with it. And so, I always suggest people either create a mural in your kids’ room, or if you have friends who have a man cave who don't want the logo down there or something. Or anybody that wants something for a very, a very discounted rate where there's not a lot of pressure. You can just get practice. You can do a little bit of what you want to do.

[00:22:10] Working with nonprofits is a great way to get experience and build your confidence.

Andrea Erhardt: Going to nonprofits is a really great way to do this. So, nonprofits, they don't have a lot of money, but they will pay for supplies. And so, if there's a nonprofit in your area, like we are big with Big Brothers Big Sisters in our area. My husband and I have been bigs for a long time, and that's a really good one.

And they will they always say yes to things like that. So, if you want free practice and feel a little bit good about it. And then you also, you have something on your portfolio. And you feel better about it because you painted something large. And then you could take that. Having those photos to post online are huge.

Just taking photos when you're starting it, taking photos when you're in the middle, in the end, doing a time lapse video the whole time, posting it over and over, you never know who's already on your friends list who might want something custom. And I think customization is the main reason that when I coach muralists, they take off quickly because we are painting what everybody else wants us to paint.

And not a lot of artists, some artists want to, you know, just draw from your own inspiration and sell all of that. I'm more business oriented and some people want to just make money. And so, and that's okay. That's just a different kind of art. And so, offering customization. Um, I post in the local mom's group here.

Anytime I do a nursery, I post in there and I just say, hey, check out this fun nursery I painted for this new mom. And I always get messages in my direct message inbox. Usually, they go to the spam folder, so you got to check that. But of people being like, hey, can you paint my kids nursery or whatever, but photos sell it.

Photos sell it without you needing to. And just to talk you guys into murals a little bit more, so I am big into the numbers. Whenever I first started painting, Bass Pro Shops, they paid me 45 an hour. And I was like, Oh my gosh, whoa! And I

Jessica Craddock: I'm rich.

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah, oh yeah. I was a 24-year-old. I think I just turned 24.

And I was like, Great, so working, 60, 70-hour weeks is what we did. I was like, I made 100, 000 this year. I worked my life away, but I, but I did it. But I remember on being on the job site, and I remember knowing, because artists talk, that the top muralists on the job site made 100 an hour. And I was like, wow.

Holy crap. 100 an hour to, to do that? Paint stuff. That is, that sounds so great. Like I can't wait until I'm old, and I could make that. And then so, and then, so time had passed, and I got really fast and really good and got better at marketing. And now I'm making three or 400 an hour because I hire somebody to work with me that's just starting out. And so that helps even it out too, but it's just, I paint murals two days a week. And you make 100 grand per year. It's like murals, because they're so big, you can charge a lot. Even when, again, there's a fad going right now with murals. Everybody wants a mural. And I get it because it's hand painted. It's custom, looks really good, and you can get really fast if you work at it.

If you're not fast, it's okay. It'll literally come in time.

Jessica Craddock: I love looking at, murals.

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah, yeah, they're so pretty, and they don't need to be the most realistic thing. Some of the most abstract just lines with outlines and just done like those, uh, one of the mural fads recently is those outlines of flowers and with cool designs behind them.

They're just lines, but they're done beautifully. So well, if you know how to just work the colors. And they can be done in just a couple of days, and you can charge. I mean, 20 to 25 per square foot is a typical rate. You can go way higher than that. Or in some areas, if you're just starting out, you can go a little lower, but a lot of money to be made in murals.

Jessica Craddock: So, I'm thinking not, not every single person who is listening is interested in murals, but they probably are interested in, the tips to grow your business and to, you know, get past some of these mindset hurdles, like opening the door to go inside. But I think that there are a lot of similarities between murals and say commissions or murals with, you know, really large custom paintings.

So, in terms of working faster, you mentioned this a couple of times and I think that this is something that's really valuable to help increase the amount of money that you're making per hour. But do you have any tips as far as things that you do, besides having an assistant, that you've learned over the years to paint faster?

What have you done?

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah, definitely. One thing that I use nowadays is a spray gun. So, murals are a lot bigger, and that could be translated into using an airbrush on a smaller canvas. But using a spray gun, I have a heavy duty Graco 360 dual speed spray gun to where you just load about a quart of paint in it, and you paint. I mean I painted this huge tiger in this gymnasium in a day, because I use the spray gun. And you spray it, and you come back in and just line it really quickly and it's good.

[00:27:02] If you can paint on canvas, you can paint murals.

Andrea Erhardt: Um, another one is, yeah, with murals, it's just. If you can paint on a canvas, you can paint on a wall. And it's the exact same method. I'm using interior, exterior latex paint so it's acrylic and you're using layers.

So, you put the first layer down, which is the base coat. So, say I'm painting a leaf. The method that I use is I'll paint the entire leaf green. I'll do a swipe for a shadow and then I'll do a swipe for a highlight. And then once you step back, if you see like murals are typically viewed up close as much as they are, just you view the entire thing as you step back.

And once you step back, it looks so much better. I think if you just kind of keep it a little bit messy up close, it's kind of hard to describe exactly. And that was one of the main things that was hard for me to transfer between a canvas and a mural was leaving it alone, adding a highlight and a shadow, and then stepping back, and wow, okay, yeah, I'm moving on to the next thing.

And sometimes I'll focus on one area as a really big, highlighted area. So, say you have the woods, I'll just do one tree that's really detailed, and the animal that's next to it, and the rest of it, it can kind of be a little messy and blended with it. It just, it doesn't quite matter that much.

Jessica Craddock: So, if we were thinking about it like a camera, that would be the, the thing that was focused and everything else is kind of out of focus, but it gives it, um, more of those elements of design where you have that focal point, and it all works better together because. You are spending less time on the other parts.

Is as you were kind of finding your own style, as you were creating faster and faster ways to paint. Was there anything you looked for? Was it like, I'm going to try, layering three colors and then see if I can make that 3D instead of trying to make all the veins on this leaf? Like, what was your thought process in trying to figure that out? Yeah.

Andrea Erhardt: Really, it just comes naturally because I've talked to other muralists that have been doing it for many years, and we all kind of paint the same way. And we never learned it from a specific person. It's just kind of what happens, I guess, and it's just learning. What you can get away with and what you can't.

And a lot of the times I'll ask my husband, be like, hey, is this detailed enough? Or do you notice any part that might be like out of, out of focus or anything? And he'll tell me like, yeah, you think you need to be a little bit more work on here or there. Or I'll ask my customer like, hey, is this enough detail for you on this? So, you kind of fall into it with your own style. I mean, things can be taught. I can show you how to do it, but I mean, it's just practice. Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: It actually kind of sounded nice when you described that it was like a built-in art critique with every piece. Maybe some people would hate that idea, but I think it's lovely to have someone to bounce ideas off of and say what do you think about this? What do you think about that?

Okay, so is there anything else that you would like to share practical tips or mindset tips. If you want to be a mural artist, is there anything else you really think everyone should know about that practice or that business model?


[00:30:24] Andrea gives two tips to establishing your mural business more quickly.

Andrea Erhardt: I mean, I think it's mostly just getting customer feedback is the main one and asking people for customization. In my experience, the artists who I've coached, who have a lot slower of a start are the ones who just want to do whatever they want to do. But the ones who take critique and take commissions are the ones who take off a lot faster.

Um, because I mean, what I think looks great is hot pink and glitter and all the things. And so not everybody's going to buy that, especially businesses, which are the main people that I paint for. Because businesses know the cost of doing business, and I can pitch them a lot higher prices. And it's just, then I have to work less.

So, uh, but yeah, I'd say just getting more into a commission based. And knowing that, I think if you in the beginning anyway, take suggestions from customers and, um, like customization, you could eventually go into creating your own stuff too. But if you're wanting to be a full-time muralist, I think taking customizations is one of the easiest ways to do that and start making money and supporting yourself with just a paintbrush.

And then you can just, you know, you know, through that, get practice, find your own style, and then be a little bit choosier. I'm a lot choosier now than I used to be. I don't want to do people portraits. I don't want to do pet portraits anymore. And so, I more do what I want, and now customers ask me for my style and just starting that way.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So, one more follow up question to that, you said the artists who really take off are the ones who will do the thing that someone is asking for. Is there a correlation with, let's say, I want to do it in my style, or I want to do all landscapes. But I'll do it whatever color and style you want, or like having a couple of things that are your back pocket deal breakers.

I want to do it like this, or I want to paint this thing. If they have that starting off, do you think the growth would be slower because of that, or can they have one or two little things that they hold on to that, they can customize the rest of it? But do you think that they would still be able to see that same amount of growth, or would it be slower?

I guess that's what I'm trying to ask.

Andrea Erhardt: I mean, if you just said yes to everything, it would go faster. But what I do is, if somebody wants me to paint something that I really don't want to paint, I'll do a lot of things for enough money. So, I'll just, I'll just price it up. I'll maybe double my cost of what it would be, and if they say yes, I'll just say yes. It's not so bad.

Yeah, then I'll do it. But also, when I do, so I'll do a mockup for a mural, like you probably would do a sketch for a canvas and whatnot. You kind of want to see what they're wanting. I'll do a mockup that I think is what they want. And then I'll do a mockup where it has a lot more of my style in it.

And sometimes they pick my style one, sometimes they pick exactly what they want that is completely on brand with what they have all set up. But sometimes, you know, I get to have fun with it. So, I'll present two options. One that's, maybe a little bit more pink in it or whatever, but, or something that would just be a little bit more fun.

 And as you start creating more stuff, that's more your style, people start asking for your style too.

Jessica Craddock: Right. Especially, I love that tip that you could, you know, make two different mockups. One that's the way you would do it, and one that's the way that they would do it. And then the more people that say yes to the way that you would do it, featuring those more often than the other ones, you can start to build that style for sure.


Andrea Erhardt: Yeah,

Jessica Craddock: So, Andrea, I know that we're going to be airing this in April. And I know in May you have something that you're going to be promoting inside of your community for muralists. Do you want to tell them a little bit about that before we wrap up?

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah. Thank you for that. So, I have this Mural Master Program to where I start artists from the very beginning. So, you've never painted a mural before ever and I help you through the process of painting the first mural getting your first couple customers pitching. I have templates for invoices, proposals, that flyer we were talking about.

I have it all for you. All you have to do is just drag and drop. And then we also encourage you, we have virtual meetups where we meet online and just a whole bit, anything that you'd need to build a mural business if you're at all interested or want to try it. Summer is the time where murals just explode. So, I have this in May to really get everybody started and then get you busy.

Jessica Craddock: Very cool. It sounds like a great resource. I wish that I wanted to paint murals so that I could join. I actually, just randomly remembered while you were talking, this had been blocked out of my memory, but in art school, we had a contest in one of the classes to design a mural. And mine ended up getting picked, and we went and painted it. I think it was on a Boys and Girls Club, and I hated how it turned out. I was like, that's so ugly, and so I think after that I just blocked murals completely out.

Andrea Erhardt: You're like, one and done. Yeah, that's so awesome.

Oh, I love that you painted it for a nonprofit.

Jessica Craddock: Anyway. Okay. So where can people find you? You have your own podcast, Instagram. Where do you want people to go?

Andrea Erhardt: Oh gosh. A little bit everywhere. So, you could find me on Instagram Art by Andrea Erhardt, Art by Andrea E on all the things too. My membership is called The Artist Academy. Go to ArtistAcademy.co. I'm way cooler on Instagram if you guys want to come follow me there. Yeah. Thank you so much for chatting. And you're on my podcast as well! So, if you guys want to listen to her episode, it'll air before this one. So, it'll already be aired by the time this episode is released, but it's Artist Academy podcast, but yeah, thank you so much.

Jessica Craddock: Awesome. Thank you, Andrea. It was super fun chatting with you. I really enjoyed it, and let's do it again sometime.

Andrea Erhardt: Yeah. Okay.

Jessica Craddock: Okay.

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.

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