How Kristin C. made six figures with her art three years in a row with ADHD

By Jessica Craddock

Feb 21

Jessica: I'm here with the beautiful Kristin C. for the Artist Success Interview Series. I asked her here because I have seen a behind the scenes look in her business and I know that she is where every one of you want to be, even though she's always wanting to grow even more and even more. That's just how this world works.

Right? So made this beautiful, beautiful piece behind me, where she was talking about connections in entrepreneurship. That resonated so much with me, because you guys know, I love my relationships. I love my connections, and I love to see where they go, even when you don't know where they're going to go.

So she is a artist, creative entrepreneur, designer, she's got the whole spectrum going for her, both in her professional and personal life.

Jessica: Hi Kristen.

Kristin: Hi. Thank you for having me.

Jessica: Of course. I'm so happy to have you, and you are expecting. When are you expecting?

Kristin: I am 33 weeks pregnant right now with our third and probably our last.

Jessica: Thank you so much for taking the time, because I know that it's a, it's a busy time in your life. It's almost Christmas, and you're amazing for being here. So I asked Kristen before this call started, if she would be willing to share her numbers. She is super organized. She was like, yeah, do you want me to show you a breakdown, and like, kind of tell you what's up in my business?

Are you willing to share your numbers of how you got to six figures the last three years?

Jessica: So whatever you want to share or feel comfortable sharing would be fantastic, and then I'll ask you a couple of questions to see how we got there in the first place.

Kristin: Sure. Yeah, I think it's important to be transparent, because it helps other people make decisions and have goals and have realistic expectations about all this stuff. I'm all about that.

Jessica: So you have a couple of different facets to your art. You have kind of gone a couple of different direction. Multi-passionate, I love multi-passionate. In your past life, you were a Naval officer, and you've done some art in that direction. You've done like behind you. You've got trees and nature.

You've got some fiber, and you've kind of separated it out into different businesses in the past.

Kristin: Yes, I initially just started it as a practice just to find out with everyone else. You just start making stuff. I did separate the military inspired work because, I realized that had an identity of its own.

I don't normally recommend doing that, but this in particular felt separate. Separating, it was, I think, the best thing I did, because it gave it space to become its own thing. However, I'm still the only person managing both. In that sense, it's not ideal, but it basically started as a project that I promised myself I would do back in 2007 when I was a freshmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.

I was really inspired by a particular photographer's work who had really helped me mentally prepare for that experience, and I just like, that was kind of my driver for learning how to paint. Obviously, I didn't go to art school. I went to military school, so learning how to paint and kind of nooks and crannies of that life was so I could tell the story.

So I started it in 2018, and I have one series of paintings left before, I'm like, I did what I set out to do. But with that entity it became so much more, I think, while I'm telling you this story, I'm unpacking my own experience there, which is its own thing too. Also, I just feel like sometimes the military needs to lighten up, and so I do a lot of really loose and whimsical designing. I have fabric that like, there's a lot of crafting there. So I made cute fabric that way you can like, not so stiff and it's turned into product lines. I wholesale a little bit. So it kind of just became this thing and it's this community, like we, I made a paint kit that we did as like a group throughout 2020, to make everyone happy, because everyone was sad in 2020.

That's basically what happened, but then that's still like this isolated... they do intertwine, and I'm starting to see the connections actually, which is kinda cool. But aesthetically they're very different, and so I, you know, I ended up separating it out. That way it would give you some space to pursue the more like the essentialism of what my work is about in other ways.

That's why I have my fine art where I have a fine art practice, but then also, mama needs to make money. Sometimes I'm very experimental, and I'm not consistent. I have found different ways to make like more predictable revenue where it gives me space to experiment, but I really am trying to minimize those as I'm forward and lean into the work that really excites me. That's kind of how I navigated this, and that's kind of where I'm at right now.

Jessica: So you break it down. I know I forgot to mention that you also do the wedding painting, like live wedding painting? So you've got the, the work that you were exploring for, navigating through that part of your life. You've got the more consistent wedding painting type stuff. You've got your fine art experimental. How do they break down in terms of income for you?

Kristin: I have specific numbers.

Jessica: Specific numbers are great.

Kristin: I can give you numbers.

I think that's really helpful. I have been at, or close to six figures, three years in a row now, so I just crossed it this month this year. It was a little bit less than last year, but that's fine. They're, they're almost, I have numbers in front of me. This year they're almost 50, 50 military and my fine art, which is really cool.

Last year it was probably 70, 30 difference. That's why I really wanted to start growing my other side, so I have. Right now I'm like right at six figures, so it's about 50 grand each.

Um, that's where I have diversified a lot, so live painting this year has brought in the most revenue, which is about $20,000, maybe a little bit more.

It was a very busy fall. It was very sparse before fall, because it was still pandemic. Everyone planned their weddings for this fall, and then into next year. I'll be sitting out a lot of next year because of the baby, so it's such is life. That's fine. That was one of those stable things.

I can tell you life painting was a game changer for me, because in this space of exploration and kind of learning more about myself as an artist, I needed to look at a calendar and be like, okay, am I going to get paid? Am I going to eat? And this was a way to look at them like, wow, look, I have a contract.

I have a payment plan. I will be getting paid these weeks, or these months, and I'm good. It kind of gave me the freedom to do these other things, work on my MFA. I designed the life painting in a way that they don't take over my life during the week, which is good. I mean, there's still a lot of energy, but I put a lot of boundaries around them.

There is life painting. Originals this year add up to about $15,000 in sales, and this is really why I'd like to grow in my fine art later. That's split between both, because the military one's winding down at this point. In our conversation that we've had you had asked me, why are you holding back?

Like after we talk for like hours you're like, at the end of it, while are you holding back? Then all this, this one thing that means a lot to you. And I'm thinking, I'm not even answering your question. I'm just going to keep going. Maybe I should table that one for a minute later. Should I table that part?

Okay, I'll table it. So right now we're about 15 grand for the year in originals. In prints total, like both combined military and my regular, it's also about 15 grand, maybe 14 grand in prints. Those are important to me because, I want my work to be accessible. Most of the art I own are in prints, and so I totally respect that. I mentioned a little bit of wholesale. I've brought in about five grand in revenue and wholesale, which is not profit that's revenue. Then I have a lot of special projects, so fabric, I just did some fun fabric collections on the side. That's brought me about 1500 this year.

Then like retail products like that has been 1500. I have a special project category. That's where I, I made in my military work, I made a journal that was explicitly towards this concept of reflection on your stories. I have like about three K in teaching, and then I also do house portraits for realtors.

That was the very first thing I ever made money on, and it's this lovely network. I don't advertise them at all. It's just a couple people I trust, and it ends up being about five to $8,000 a year total. They're easy. They're fun, and they're no pressure. Then another larger number that I'm trying to reduce are commissions.

This year we're at about $13,000 in commissions. Last year was 19,000, so we are reducing.

Jessica: Yes, we're going the right direction, not for everybody.

Kristin: Not from, yeah, not for me. They were really good and having consistent income starting out, and I don't think that there's anything wrong with them. I just, they're emotionally draining for me, so I would love to become known from my voice, not for what everyone else wants from me. That's where I'm at now with this.

Jessica: So all that being said, that was a lot of things that you do. Like a crazy amounts of a lot.

I'm blown away by the fact that you can manage all that. I just respect you so much, but how much, how many hours would you say you average a week? Juggling all of that now.

Kristin: Okay, I don't want to talk about 2019 and 2020. I, When I first started, 2018 through 2020, I was in the hustle mode and there were no boundaries. I worked from home.

I had my baby at home. I don't, I don't know. I didn't track my time then, because I was just trying to do everything. I was scattering every seat possible. As you can tell, like these, some of these things are still here. This year my goal was to not work nights and weekends. I did a little bit, just a little bit, like a handful of times.

Then I also am working my school, so that doesn't really count. School is sometimes just what happens. On average I probably work four to six hours a day, Monday through Friday now. That's it. Yeah. I, and I did that by, I started it by working out. I used to work out, wake up early and workout.

I was like, Nope, I want to work out after my kids go to school. They're in daycare. That was this limit of three to four days a week I have an hour and a half at the gym, so I wasn't starting my day until 10. I was like, okay, let's see what happens if I start that, and then stop doing things at night.

Here we are now. It's focusing on the right things which I'm still working on.

Jessica: We're not getting to the questions yet, but I keep having other questions. I'm just gonna, I'm just going to go with it.

Do you find by putting more boundaries around your time that things are able to continue working as well as before?

Jessica: Do you find that by giving yourself that space and choosing to have less have more boundaries, I guess, is a better word and more space for yourself. Do you find that it's working just as well as it was before when you were as scattered? Or do you feel like sometimes you need to go back to that to be able to get everything done?

Kristin: I'm trying to never go back to that. It wasn't healthy for me. It's not good for my marriage and my children to see me like that.

No, I never want to do that again. Like my goal is to, is to really work on prioritizing what's the most important. That way, if I don't get to the rest, I don't get to the rest and that's fine. You know, but there does need to be some structure in place, because sometimes we do need to make money.

Making sure I fold in some of those commitments that I know already work, that I can tolerate, like commissions kind of are what they are. I'm slowly phasing those out. What are other ways that I can do work, and there's some things I've taken to, to more intentionally do that this year.

Jessica: Yeah.

One of my beliefs, and I just wanted to see if you were along this same line as well before I said it, is that if you give yourself that time, like I need to work out, I'm going to go do that. I'm going to do that first thing. That means I have less time to do other things, but it's all the things anyway are still going to get done, because I'm going to prioritize them, and it's going to be okay.

You still hit six figures this year. You showed me your numbers before, and it's just slightly less, but the fact that you have given yourself so much more space and still have almost the same income, I find an incredible and a huge, huge win for you.

Kristin: I agree. I'm so pleased that it was able to happen.

I wasn't going for it this year, and there were so many times this year where I ended up saying no. It's just that reminder that saying yes to something means, say no to something else. Most of the time it was my family, and that's not okay. You know, it was kind of like trying to make it work when the baby was real little, I could just sacrifice my health.

Now it's like my kids notice, and that's not okay anymore. It was never okay. It's like I had some cool opportunities in the military to do some stuff that would have been within my range of things to do, for sure. They weren't bad projects. They were things I kind of wanted to do.

Then one in particular, it was like we had talked earlier in the year. I hadn't really heard from her, but I honestly was really busy. I wasn't doing what I needed to do, and I wasn't going to reach out. I was like, you know, if she wants it, she wants it. She ended up reaching out with, basically, it would have given me one week to get everything together, and I was just at a week that I couldn't do it. I told her, I'm sorry. We talked a month ago, then maybe, but not now. I had to drop it, and it was, it was okay. It wasn't the end of the world.

Jessica: It might have felt like it might be.

Kristin: Yeah, it was hard, but I was like, again, like I am picturing that late night and my attitude the next day and my resentment. I'm like, it's not worth it.

It's just not worth it anymore to keep burning both ends of the candle.

Jessica: Okay. Because I feel like we get into some, some good stuff here.

What has been the biggest mindset shift you needed to go from running ragged to about five hours a day without decreasing your income?

Jessica: What is the biggest mindset shift that you had to make? Let me let me see how I want to ask this. I'm going to say from last year to now, what's the biggest mindset shift you had to make? I'm changing the question on you, sorry, to go from running ragged to about five hours a day with out decreasing your income.

Kristin: Now that's a good question. In one sense, defining enough would be one, defining what's enough. That's a huge one. It's humbling, because I have the potential to make so much more money in the real world. There's a lot easier ways to make money, even as an artist, but I chose this, and that's its own story too.

It's important to me, and I think that art brings value to the world that isn't always respected in the monetary culture, capitalist culture we live in, honoring that and being okay with not comparing those numbers, if that makes sense. That's probably kind of a weird thing to say, because I'm very like also driven.

I want to, I like that. Recognizing, giving myself the space, which, this is kind of something I think I do pretty well, but I have to take a step back but giving myself the space regularly, like daily, weekly, monthly, yearly to think and reflect on my priorities and what worked and what didn't work.

We had just talked last month, because I was like, I need someone else to talk with me about this. That's why we connected, because I was like, I'm in my head too much right now. That's a practice that I think has been very helpful in being unafraid to make big changes, but make those changes wisely. You can't just stop what you're doing and expect something else to fill in this place.

You have to kind of integrate something else in. Maybe that's it. It's just being okay with recognizing what the priorities are in your life, and not really caring about what someone else thinks about it.

Jessica: That sounds so simple. Just recognize your priorities.

Kristin: It's hard.

Jessica: It's so hard for so many people.

So how did you do that?

Kristin: Well, at the end of 2019, I was feeling burnout. You know, my husband is really good at communicating boundaries to me. He's like something's got to change, Kristen, and I had taken on a really large commission. It was my first five figure commission.

That number had put my savings account to a place where I, I pay myself a regular salary and it's defined. It finally had put me in a place where I could afford three months of not working. Not that I wouldn't work, but it was like, ooh, there's this space free.

I didn't have to quite spin my wheels so much, so intentionally making that savings plan was great. Then insert the pandemic. All of a sudden, the trajectory I was on to finally have some space kind of reverted back to old ways because I kind of needed to. Looking back, did I need to, probably not.

So end of 2020, I was like, I'm here again.

I'm done hustling, and again, same conversation, same boundaries, same reflection. Nick was like, something's got to change this isn't healthy, and I recognized it too. That's kind of where it started and just taking small steps, recognizing what's the first thing I need to do? I need to go to the gym.

I get very distracted when I work out at home. I hate waking up early to workout. Let's try that first and then see if we can make this work just two days a week. Did I answer the question? What was the question?

Jessica: I kind of you did. I think so. So you, you recognize what you need.

You make a small choice to support that and you implement it into your life. That's kind of what I heard.

Kristin: Yeah. And then doing it as honorably as possible. Like again, you can't just sometimes drop what's working if you don't like it. Sometimes it may maybe phase it out is a good way to do it.

Jessica: Maybe give yourself a timeline.

You got three months to get rid of this and replace it with something else.

Kristin: The pace that was on in 2020 was frantic, especially with the military work. That was one thing where I'm like my goal this year, instead of four collections of paintings, was one collection of painting for the military work.

That gave me the space to do other things, and now I'm like, this took me basically an extra year and a half longer than I wanted it to, but it's fine. No one got hurt. Like the work is still there. I will work on the last one probably this summer, and then I'll be like, I did it and I did it in four years instead of two.

And I'm like, that's okay. I did it, and that's completely fine. The world did not expect or was not disappointed, and if they were, who cares you know? I felt more intentional to just slow down a little bit.

Jessica: You also were okay with choosing again, like you set your own timeline, but then it just wasn't there in your life. It wasn't fitting in, but you didn't give up on it. You kept choosing it, but you just chose ways to make it work.

Kristin: For sure. Yeah.

What one practical step have you taken that has gotten you the furthest?

Jessica: Okay. My next question. What one practical step have you taken in your business that has moved you forward the most, the fastest. I feel like you are uniquely positioned to answer this question, because you are a person who reflects on what's working.

So I'm curious to hear your answer.

Kristin: Okay. Moved me forward the fastest... I feel like there's two steps. There's two things to that. Sorry. There's like weird shadows on my face.

There we go. The, the first is. I have always had a really good handle on the numbers and the money. I didn't pay myself for probably the first 15 months of doing this. And then when I did, I set a salary that I felt comfortable that I could achieve. It was very small, and it's gone up from there. I'm actually going down.

I think I mentioned that to you right now, but it's because I'm entering another phase of change and I would rather get paid less and still be in business than be growing at a time where I really want to be with my baby. So one of them is that. My degree is in engineering in the military is a ton of spreadsheets, and so it's just a natural thing for me to keep track of stuff. Just really knowing what numbers are and, kind of setting a salary that I can live with. Being okay with that and also setting out space for the important part of a practice, which is experimentation.

For me as an artist, I want to make sure that I'm always playing and that's like a weekly part of my, my practice. So that's the first, and there's, like I said, there's a thousand different ways of doing that. I've changed mine over the years, whatever worked, but it's been a business, it's been a profitable business since I started.

That's great. Then the other one, cause of growing the fastest.

I would say, everyone's scared. Everyone is scared of rejection but to go for it anyways. Putting things out there before you're ready, saying yes to things within reason. That's me finding things that I didn't really intend on doing.

Saying yes to things or saying yes to opportunities and kind of just being brave and recognizing that, like this whole thing is, is interconnected, like all of these opportunities. To just go out there and try and to meet somebody is so important. Yes. You just never know. You just never know.

The first coffee shop show I did, I went into labor that day. It was a good one. And you know, it's not like I sold a ton of pieces. I was out for three months, but that's what actually led to wedding painting. Like someone saw that and said you'd be good at this.

Can you do my wedding? Here we are, and I still sell prints from people who found me there. That led to my first real show and good venue, and then that led to the gallery I'm in now. You just never know where these things are going to take you. Also for me, I don't look in on the internet.

I don't sell out online collections at all. I sell some. I don't, I'm not that, like that model of oh my gosh, you wouldn't know that I have a six figure studio practice, but I do. That's because it's just like leaning into it does work, and if the local community is great, then do that. I personally love the local community. COVID made things hard. Just go out there and do it and don't overthink it too much. Everyone's scared, and if anything, that's almost a rite of passage, learning how to be confident in your work, in the face of people's opinions.

Cause there's always gonna be someone that has something to say that's not nice. Whatever, it's not for them, it's for you, and that's important just to use your voice in the world. That's probably it.

Jessica: I had something that I wanted to say, and then you said something about people are not always going to be nice. My mind immediately went to an email that I got. People are mean sometimes, but it's okay. You have to share who you are, put yourself out there.

Kristin: It's a support group, where you like share the bad, the battle. I had two this week and I was like, it would be good to share that stuff. It gets in your head, it can ruin, or it can derail you if you want it.

Jessica: It's like, why do people feel the need to do that? I don't understand. But I remember now, what I wanted to point out from what you said. You said, "I don't sell out my online collections, and people might not think I'm successful from the outside."

I want to point out how important that is for everyone to grab onto and really, shove that down into your heart and grab on to it, because it's not about the perception. A lot of times we get stuck in our head about the perception, but Kristin has been running a successful six-figure artist's business for the past three years, so who cares what people think about what her business looks like?

Kristin: For sure. I mean, actually, if you want to go with numbers, because the original art is the work that I labeled as the work I did from the honest place, right, like my curiosity, so in terms of numbers this year, that's $14,000, $15,000.

That's 15% of what I made this year. I do want to increase that percentage, but that's more for me than for anybody else. It's more I just would like to make a little bit more money on the things that I feel like is my voice, and that's fine. I'm not ashamed of, well, I have some wishing, but I'm learning to be like, whatever.

It's like the, how much experimentation did I get to do? I'm working on my master's. There's a lot up there. I just found out I'm ADHD too, so that explains a lot. 15% of my income is the stuff that I really feel like proud, not that I'm not proud of, but know, this is my voice.

Jessica: It comes from your soul space.

Also, I believe with all my heart that you are learning boundaries and prioritizing yourself, and the more that you do that, the more income you're going to make from those things, believing that you can. Because when you are like, well, this feels safe and this feels safe and this feels safe, and you say yes to all those, there's not enough space for this one.

So that's shifting for you

Kristin: Saying yes to one thing is no to something else. My kind of my experiment, you've challenged me to do this, and I've been reflecting on it a lot, is like to act on these ideas and to just go ahead and put them out there quicker and more often. I'm like but that does mean I have to do less of this other stuff.

If I'm spending all of my effort on commissions, then I'm not having time to do this stuff, and it feels really good. It's scary, because what if you don't like it? I love to play in the studio, and these things need to be seen. They don't need to exist in this drawer.

I think these would be great, and so I'm going for it. We'll see what happens.

Jessica: I'm also, I'm throwing your own advice back at you. You said there were two things you did to grow the fastest, and one of them was being scared and doing it anyway.

Kristin: Yep. You're right. You're right. And I'm terrified because this feels personal.

Jessica: Yeah. Yeah. It's the scary stuff that makes a difference.

Kristin: Actually, reflecting on that though, my first real show I did these giant paintings of trees, and I was like, can I say this? I was balls to the wall. I, I like no holds. I was really, I was distributing my cards to all the local businesses in the area and putting things on windows without asking and like all this stuff.

Honestly, the outcome to my expectation was not what I wanted. I felt like it just wasn't what I had pictured in terms of like turnout. I was the only person doing anything like that venue and didn't really do a whole lot of promoting. I think that actually caused some damage.

I think I've actually been hiding in a way ever since, because it was like, that hurt so much. Part of it was like, was my expectation too high, given that was like my very

first show, probably. I was like just recognize and know that was something that hurt even though it was still great.

I still sold a few pieces, which is amazing. I was like, that was recognizing, that did cause some pain. I'm like, okay, it's 2022.

That was three years ago. It's time to get yourself out there again, and stop hiding behind things that you know work..

Jessica: One of the things I like to tell my clients is to not have expectations.

By that I don't mean don't hope or don't have goals or any of that kind of thing, but I talk a lot about magic in my group. If you have this has to happen, then you lose out on all of these other things, like earlier we were talking about how this opportunity leads to that opportunity leads to that opportunity.

Honestly, you probably got, or could have gotten a lot more out of that than you realized. Probably you didn't see it because you were looking here and you weren't, you didn't have the peripheral vision on. So, next time you do it, you're looking for your next opportunity. It's not just about sales.

Sales are important, of course, but a lot of times the sales will come after, when you follow up with those relationships that you met. I mean, there's so many beautiful things that can happen, or it leads to a podcast interview which leads to this, which leads to that. That's what we're looking for.

Kristin: For sure. Yeah, it's beautiful.

Jessica: I love it so much. Okay. I get all excited about that stuff.

What advice do you have for someone who isn't sure they have what it takes to get to the next level?

Jessica: What advice do you have for someone who isn't sure they have what it takes to get to the next level? Let's define next level. Next level being for you, let's say, having more space in your life but still getting what you need.

Kristin: Hmm. It's almost kind of the same thing I was saying. It's just do it, stop thinking and just do it, wisely, you know? I think there are some practical tips of standardizing some things. That way you're not buying 15 different sizes of canvases.

You're just buying two very practical. There's that.

Jessica: Those are such small, easy, tweaks though.

Kristin: Yeah. They're really easy. They're really easy. Understanding that this is a process that everybody feels. I don't think I ever expected to be where I was, and I still feel this way.

I still feel like insecure and scared, and I think that's just the nature of being an artist and an entrepreneur. Believing in yourself that it will be okay. The worst thing in the world is not failure. It's probably not trying at all. Truly believing that whatever just needs to come out is valuable to the world. That thing doesn't have to change the world. There's amazing work out there that's addressing big issues, but joy is one, too. That's what it is. I don't know. I'm not sure if I'm answering this question, but I'm not even sure.

I'm usually like, I was in the Navy. Here's your action plan, but you have to believe in your own vision and your own voice before anything else. From there, trust that you have the creativity and the strength to execute it. Being in the pandemic taught me that we can figure this out. We'll make this work.

It may not look like we expected. It might be kind of stressful nights at first, but we'll figure this out. It's okay. Like we're creative people.

Artists are creative people, and you can apply that to your business too.

Jessica: Please, please, please apply that to your business. Don't get stuck in, well, this is how this person does it, so this is how I have to do it. If anything, go back and listen to all of these interviews, not a single dang one of them are anything similar.

Kristin: If there's one thing I could tell myself years ago, it's just stop comparing and looking at what other people are doing and measuring that as success. You don't know everyone, everyone has a unique set of like circumstances that will make it work for them or not work for them.

You know what I mean? For me, it's like I had I was just telling my husband the day I'm like, I had this background in the military and I was able to so intimately touch on this nerve with them. I love that community, because I understand them so well. When I got out of the military and trying to have work outside of that, no one knew who I was, because I was in this world for such a long time.

It was both a privilege and something I have to overcome at the same time, but still a privilege. We all have these little privileges that can seem like they're unique to us, like this unique set of people that we know and, and things that we can say.

Jessica: It's so easy to say, well, she was able to do it because she had blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Kristin: Yeah.

Jessica: But you've got to just got to look around you.

I think most if not everyone will say well yeah but, yeah but, yeah but about what they already have, but it's about learning to use that not to your advantage. That sounds like opportunistic, but using it to help boost you up.

Kristin: I think also redefining what that goal is. For a long time, me and every other artist wanted to be licensed by anthropology.

I still would love that, because I just love the story. It was more of this wicket that I assumed I needed to have than about something else. It was kind of like, how could you apply that in something that might be more backdoor, like unachievable to me.

Honestly, I went around that a lot and it was like, I don't really want to dive into that right now. I took some time and learned about licensing and that's a lot. It's a lot. I would love to one day, but not right now.

Then as a fine artist, like to do a museum show is like this big thing. Normally that's something that would take, I don't know. I don't know how you get those.

With my military work, this is, again, something so specific and so intimate. I did a cold call with our naval academy museum and they called me back the next day and were like, we'll schedule a show. I only have been working artist for three years and I already have a museum show through this other format, and then that's leading to something new in the future, which is super cool. I'm not getting paid for that, but it's like still so cool to have that experience. You probably have things like that, that you could do, that completely is achievable, and it is right in your back pocket.

I mean, maybe not my specific circumstances, but everyone's got something they can do.

Jessica: Yes. You keep having so many light bulbs that I wanted to hit on. I'll come back to that in a minute, maybe. Hmm. Anyway, I love everything you're saying, so good. Thank you.

Kristin: You're welcome.

Thank you for sharing your perspectives. I've been on your email list for awhile and follow you on social media, and we finally had worked together. That came after a long time of just exploring other things and you know, I've come to the conclusion that I really like what she's saying.

It really makes sense to me, and your perspective is really helpful. I think it's necessary in this community, in this space, because art is different than business. It's like there's creativity, there's consistency, there's discipline, but then sometimes it's emotional and it's personal and it feels different than a commodity.

It's just, there's a tension here that I kind of love living in sometimes. Sometimes I don't. We need these voices to help share because it's helpful. I don't want people feeling inadequate or that their voice is invalid, because they're not selling. That's something that you can work on and you can grow, but keep making. It's really important.

Jessica: It's so important.

Art is, I don't know how it ever became a part of society or our society. I don't think this has ever been true of the entire rest of this world, but in our society, somehow we have started to devalue it. That makes me so sad. I think the more that we kind of stand our ground about how it is valuable and how it can change perspectives and lives and bring joy and just the simple things.

Kristin: For sure. It's going to make the difference.

My therapist used a really great example of like science and spirituality. It's like, how do you weigh the two? They're very different, you know? If I have cancer, I'm probably going to kind of lean towards science with a side of spirituality. I want to talk to my doctor, but if I'm really contemplating the meaning of life, then science, who cares! I'm going to lean into the spirituality part of things.

I love that example. There are different buckets, and they're definitely valued differently in society. That's part of, I think, understanding our roles as artists. We're more. We are business people, but we're also artists. And I think there's finding that, that marriage and how we incorporate that into our practice in our businesses, I think is really important.

Yeah. And honestly, I completely understand the separation between art and business, but in my mind, I think they're the same. Like you said, a commodity in business, you have to use your creativity, your inspiration, your connections, your relationships, your all different things to make that work. And it's the same thing over here.

It's just, I think maybe that there's a little bit more ego involved in this side, which makes it harder to get over those humps and push and persevere, but you must.

That's that's very true. I think that's a really great word, the ego, and maybe one solution to that is to finding a sales channel that works.

We've talked about that. I don't necessarily love social media, but it's like the gallery. If you can kind of handle some of that for me, I have deemed that commission cut very worth it, you know?

Jessica: There's no wrong channel. That's the other thing. It's all about looking at your unique skills, opportunities, desires, and putting them together, that creative thinking, putting them together to form your thing. Your thing is different than that thing, and that thing.

Kristin: I wish I could carry you in my pocket and listen every day. These interviews have been great, because I've been following along with them too, and I can take new things from them.

Jessica: Yes, and I want to apologize for the trippy internet. We got snow problems at my house today, so apologies to everybody. Kristen, tell us where we can find you.

Kristin: My Instagram... this is the social media I do use. I check it every day. I'm not posting every day, but it's Kristin Ray Cronic, Kristin with two i's.

It's K R I S T I N R A E. Then my last name is C R O N I C. My husband's going to be mortified. I just did that on a video. Then my website is, Kristincronic.com, and my military stuff is called easel on Stribling. I really, I love this body of work. I love this community. So if you ever just want to follow along and see what's going on with this very tight knit community, I have the same website and email or website and Instagram, so they're great.

Jessica: And if someone wants to get the best of the best from you, Instagram, email, blog, like where do you want them to go?

Kristin: Well, I am starting a blog to your recommendation? I actually had started a while back. I liked the long form writing and also with ADHD, I like bounce, but unlike Instagram, where there's a timestamp, and it throws off your grid, I could blog about whatever topic I'm feeling like that day.

I could organize it in my way. So the blog is something that I feel like I'm able to express myself much better there in longer form writing. I'm able to kind of touch on topics that I really like between art, like about the art and inspiration and creativity, which is really important to me.

Also, kind of speaking directly to the self-taught artists, because that's where I came from. Obviously, now I'm in school, but that's not how I started. Blog is great and on Instagram, like everyone, I log in more than I should, so I'm there. I just don't produce the content. I am putting it into the blog.

Jessica: So blog, I'm trying to remember. It's kristincronic.com/blog, or I think there was another word in there.

Kristin: Just go to my website, and it'll, take you there. Kristincronic.com is like my redirect, so just go there.

Jessica: Okay. It'll take you where you need to go. Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you so much for sharing your amazing insights and your unique perspective and your unique path and inspiring everybody. They're just going to love this interview.

Kristin: Thank you for having me.

If you liked this article, sign up below to get more just like it in your inbox every week!

Do the work & create your luck,

About the Author

I’m a mentor for intuitive visual artists to sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. Founder @ The Artist Market Co.