We were lucky to catch up with Chuck McPherson recently and have shared our conversation below.
Chuck, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?
My latest iteration as a practicing Artist earning his daily bread has flushed out in helping other Creatives and painting in-between. In contemporary terms I guess you’d label that my artistic algorithm. Surviving on a self-generated art income is a near impossibility in today’s economy, yet hugely fulfilling when I can spread the wealth of my experience ~ using right brain imagining and deductively coming to workable solutions with my left brain. On a daily basis, time is filled with making myself visible enough for art-related gigs like show jurying, demonstrations, workshops and offering uniquely personal classes where I help Artists grow within their own skill set. I tried ZOOMing for a while, but it is a fairly flat experience. And my method of sharing needs more hands-on focus. I find great success in sharing on Facebook; latest artwork or projects, timely events like those I’ve just mentioned, or shows entered and results. I also do my fair share of volunteering or throwing my support out to local organizations that feel they can benefit by our association. That has been a very rich experience, but I’ve also gotten near to volunteering myself into the poorhouse! So, finding a balance is key. As far as a time breakdown, I spend 70% “being out there” and 30% creating for myself. But I find it works for me and I don’t feel cheated on a personal level… especially when I see positive testimonials from Artists I’ve mentored. I recently held an in-Gallery Workshop for the San Diego Watercolor Society on my unique painting techniques that shared my tools like sandpaper, Magic Eraser, X-Acto knife, corrugated cardboard, and blue painters tape for developing my watercolors. I was astounded at the great response and results from the Artists in attendance!
Chuck, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I have always been an Artist in my soul and over a lifetime have sought to hone my natural abilities into solid skills that would help advance and direct my Art Voice, whether it be technical, creative, even common sense, approaches to challenges that arise within the creative process. I was encouraged early on by parents and teachers through my teens and then targeted higher learning opportunities like attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. There, I learned stamina in creating on a demanding deadline, a demanding budget, and quality-driven results. As I applied all this education to my career, it led me to the Graphic Design field where the possibility of “making a living” loomed large. I did VERY WELL as that discipline was a great fit for my Left-Right Brain profile. How to sell a product or service creatively and productively. One large Corporate client put it this way, “We can always count on Chuck McPherson to provide effective and affordable graphic campaigns that bring attention to our offerings. When Chuck is involved in a project, we can expect a 125% climb in interest and profitability.” I apply that same desire for a client’s success to my own brand, although I find it’s more difficult to self-promote. Some find me a bit overwhelming and chalk it up to ego, but it’s MARKETING and I find many skilled artistans are very humble about their wares. I admire that to a point, but my experience shows humility makes you friends but can stifle success especially in the Fine Art field where competition for attention is fierce and there are a ton of ‘talented’ to select from. So I do what I do and let it shake out in sales and appearances.
How did you build your audience on social media?
I’ve had great success sharing my art and creative experiences on Facebook. Although I can feel caged in at times, trying to post things that will sidestep FB social censorship algorithms _ I avoid politics or, for privacy concerns, anything personal not related to my art, like when I brush my teeth. I have generated many sales on FB by just discussing my art when it’s pertinent. Recently, a Group I belong to was talking about Vintage San Diego and people were posting old photos. I decided to post some of my watercolors of landmarks around town and that prompted two people to inquire about a watercolor of Mt. Helix in La Mesa, CA. THAT turned into a commission for one lady that grew up there. I am NOT a fan of squelching freedom of expression, so I dropped my Twitter feed as soon as the powers-that-be began censoring opinion or regulating who could post on their “platform”. Haven’t missed it. I have little success on Instagram and friends try to convince me that I am missing huge connection possibilities, but that just wasn’t my experience. Linked-In, same thing. Why spend virtual time when it won’t advance my well-being and interferes with the real-time possibilities?
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
So having established that, as much as I would like it to be my bread and butter, my fine art career just isn’t yet. But when you combine all the aspects of being a creative, it keeps me quite occupied. I enter shows to give me a deadline, and often a subject, to paint to; I mentor fellow Artists that come to me when they need my help in advancing their own skills; I teach limited to ten art sessions around the County; I jury Art Shows; Workshops for art organizations; public appearances for fundraisers, charities, and companies. Supplementing with art-related activities beats having to work at a big box store as a greeter and painting when I get off work. I already discovered that doesn’t work as I put 110% of myself into whatever I am doing.
- Website: https://www.chuckmcphersonart.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chuckmcpherson
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuck.mcpherson.39
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chuckmcpherson
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cr8tveboy
Beached Caballero – Linda Kennedy