The Independent Artist Podcast

Black Casts and Blue Shitters- The Anxious Artist’s Guide to 2024

January 08, 2024 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong Season 3 Episode 24
Black Casts and Blue Shitters- The Anxious Artist’s Guide to 2024
The Independent Artist Podcast
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The Independent Artist Podcast
Black Casts and Blue Shitters- The Anxious Artist’s Guide to 2024
Jan 08, 2024 Season 3 Episode 24
Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong

I'm not're anxious! What a tumultuous time of year for an art fair artist! Application results, economic struggles, and a whole host of other challenges can beat down even the most optimistic of humans.  In this episode, we try to make sense of 2023, as we navigate creatively into this New Year. Tune in as Douglas and Will try to make sense of it all in a thoughtful and entertaining way!

Call for Entry (CaFE) website

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.

PLEASE RATE US AND REVIEW US.......... and SUBSCRIBE to the pod on your favorite streaming app.

VENMO/ username @independentartistpodcast or through PAYPAL.ME by clicking on this link

Email us at with conversation topics, your feedback, or sponsorship inquiries.

Mailing List

The National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA).

Music  "Walking" by Oliver Lear
Business inquiries at

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

I'm not're anxious! What a tumultuous time of year for an art fair artist! Application results, economic struggles, and a whole host of other challenges can beat down even the most optimistic of humans.  In this episode, we try to make sense of 2023, as we navigate creatively into this New Year. Tune in as Douglas and Will try to make sense of it all in a thoughtful and entertaining way!

Call for Entry (CaFE) website

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.

PLEASE RATE US AND REVIEW US.......... and SUBSCRIBE to the pod on your favorite streaming app.

VENMO/ username @independentartistpodcast or through PAYPAL.ME by clicking on this link

Email us at with conversation topics, your feedback, or sponsorship inquiries.

Mailing List

The National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA).

Music  "Walking" by Oliver Lear
Business inquiries at

Support the Show.

Douglas Sigwarth: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Independent Artist Podcast, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Artists. 

Will Armstrong: Also sponsored by Zapplication. I'm Will Armstrong, and I'm a mixed media 

Douglas Sigwarth: artist. I'm Douglas Sigworth, glassblower. Join our conversations with professional working 

Will Armstrong: artists. Test one, two, one, two. There he is.

Happy New Year, Douglas. Howdy, sir. How are you? I'm doing just fine. Things are going better than I expected this morning, so I'm happy to jump on in here. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Good, you're back in your recording closet in your studio, I see. I 

Will Armstrong: am. Yeah, I know you talked about possibly making this a video podcast and I can definitely see why.

Boy, it's sexy in here. It's great. These moving blankets that are stamped property of U Haul. It's not [00:01:00] allowed to, uh, to keep these, but, you know, breaking the law, breaking the law, like they say. What 

Douglas Sigwarth: do they say? A peek behind the curtain, right? A peek behind the packing blanket. That's 

Will Armstrong: right. That's, yeah, the wizard is in full effect.

Yeah. How are you doing? You've, you've had a big major, major surgery, but you're upright. You look bright eyed. 

Douglas Sigwarth: I'm bright eyed and bushy cast on my left leg tailed. 

Will Armstrong: That sounds kinky, but all right, how's that, uh, yeah, you got your cast on this morning. What color do you go for? I 

Douglas Sigwarth: went for boring old black.


Will Armstrong: that funny? Boring old black. Yeah. I mean, it kind of is, uh, until you get out there for your first show and, and start soaking in the heat. I said 

Douglas Sigwarth: to the nurse, maybe, I don't know who it was who put my, my cast on, the physical therapist, whatever. Um, I said, it's, it's so ironic because Renee and I are all about color.

Colored glass, brighter the better, and I went for the absence of color. 

Will Armstrong: Is it the absence or is it the presence of all? What do they [00:02:00] say? Is it black the presence of all colors? I haven't heard 

Douglas Sigwarth: that but I love it. Okay. I've got the presence of all 

Will Armstrong: on my leg Yeah, you got the presence of all colors. All right Yeah, I think you had thrown it out there asking asking other artists like what color you should go for this time around and um, that seems appropriate it does and I asked like, um, you know, soaking up the heat, you know, when you're out there on the street and, and, you know, you have that cast in there, but at the same time, what do you, what are you looking at as far as, uh, coming back from this and, and working again?

My first 

Douglas Sigwarth: show is four months from now, uh, four and a half, actually, I've got another eight to 10 weeks of recovery time, so this is, I'm only two weeks in, but I am a lot more upright and mobile. Energetic than I was the last time so this is good. Yeah, I feel good 

Will Armstrong: I mean you like you said you've been through this thing before you know what to expect and and this sounds like it's going a Little bit better than than expected.

So Mm hmm, you know Godspeed. [00:03:00] It's 

Douglas Sigwarth: weird because I'm trying to in my head before the surgery anticipate what you know I'm gonna have happen because it's been done before and When I got out of surgery and the day after surgery, I had this really nice nerve block that took all the pain away and I'm like, I don't remember it being this easy.

This is going to be the most fantastic recovery ever. Well, the nerve block wears off the next day and I was like, ah, well, I found out that there's this kind of interesting. Correlation between memory and pain you know yeah any of us do yeah any of us who've been in like the in the birthing room with our wives or girlfriends giving birth will know they have that look on their face that says.

Oh my god, I forgot this is happening to me again. Well, that's kind of what happened here. Exactly, 

Will Armstrong: this is why people have second children, second, third, fourth, whatever children, multiple kids. It's because of that, that, that [00:04:00] pain memory response. So, yeah, you got your leg baby and leg baby is starting to push and pull.

That's not, um, that's not good. But it's actually 

Douglas Sigwarth: a thing. It's built into our, our brain that we forget that we have amnesia. Isn't that isn't that crazy? I'd never heard that. Yeah, that 

Will Armstrong: really is. That's really interesting. It does make sense as far as what I've understood about childbirth. And, you know, I've never obviously, you know, I've been kicking the nuts before, but that's about as hard as it gets, but 

Douglas Sigwarth: which doesn't compare to childbirth.

So I'm told. 

Will Armstrong: So you're told. So you're told. But, um, you know, I don't want either to happen anymore. So let's move on. Yeah. Well, that's 

Douglas Sigwarth: been my exciting break. Tell me about your break from the studio and your holiday time away. Uh, you 

Will Armstrong: know, I left some small commission work. Like, you know my work, and you know I like to work big.

And if I go small, then I just don't like to do small things. And I had a beloved Client I'd done multiple pieces for her in the past and she had asked [00:05:00] me to document this this cabin that is Right on the edge of mere woods in California that her family has owned and her father passed away And there were too many kids in the family to ever try to Split it up logically.

So they had to sell it and they were heartbroken about this. And so I'm documenting this Cabinet, I'm only as good as the reference you give me, you know, can you can you paint me a portrait of my wife? I'm like only if I know her Or if I've you know Even a photograph you're not gonna get the same type of thing unless it's like an iconic kind of thing and you're you're going for That but I can't necessarily do it unless it's it's somebody I know and this was like She gave me blurry Polaroids to go from this is the pain of like a a 2d liar.

Yeah, like myself I can't imagine you you and renee taking a commission and not really Knowing you can nail the colors until you open up the instructions that the client has given you I just [00:06:00] can't imagine you getting yourself in that position, but I foolishly I didn't even open up the folder until basically the pieces are due and I'm looking at these references and I've, I've already been kind of coaxing her along going, Oh yeah, things are coming along.

Great. It is, I'm crushing this. It's going to be awesome. Meanwhile, I'm putting it. Back and back and back. It's due for Christmas Douglas. I didn't start the goddamn thing until and this is like Seven little portraits of this house like 24 by 16. She didn't give me a decent reference of the house She gave me like two blurry Polaroids like fading Blurry Polaroids that I'm supposed to and they're like and they weren't even Polaroids they were the they were a picture from her phone of the house and like It's just, it was terrible.

It was a nightmare. It's like 

Douglas Sigwarth: studying. It was too late. It's like putting off studying for your big final. You open up the notes the night before. Yeah, and you've got no [00:07:00] notes. Yeah, art show stress dream. Well, 

Will Armstrong: how did you work it out? I just did it You don't know I just did it made it look blurry I did I just kind of painted it blurry.


Douglas Sigwarth: maybe it's a new a new direction for you. Well blurry Illustration 

Will Armstrong: art. Oh, yeah, you'll see them in my next booth. That's not that's not that's not where I'm going But she had all of these elements Of things this is what we loved about I'm like it's just a sketch of the house and I'm looking like did I really just paint a blue toilet in this like seriously painted a blue toilet just right there in the front of the all these little things like each person got a thing that they love like one person loved the blue bathroom.

So Merry Christmas you get a blue shitter. Okay. Happy holidays. Happy New Year. Happy New Year. So anyway I had to do those. While my folks were here and that my folks visited for the first week of my kids break So we did all [00:08:00] of our holidays then Yeah, and then Christmas Day happened and my wife went back to the studio.

She worked she had like a commission She had to bring to Minnesota So she was doing that and doing it like a really she was setting diamonds on Christmas Day And I just kind of did laundry Okay. Yeah. And then we did Minnesota for a week, which is, you know, family family has its own anxieties and stresses and you don't get to eat the way you want to eat and whatever.

But it was lovely. We had a killer visit. Nice. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Well, I mean, typically we've, we've had years like that where holidays are, we're not getting together with family till two o'clock. We're in the studio for three hours in the morning after the kids have opened their toys and they're off playing, you know, we, we've often incorporated.

Uh, artist life, with personal life, with all that stuff, you know, we, we juggle 

Will Armstrong: it. You know what they say, Douglas, when you love what you do, you never work a day in 

Douglas Sigwarth: your life. Oh, that's goddamn work, I tell you, that is goddamn 

Will Armstrong: work. Horseshit. Artwork is [00:09:00] work. That's right, I'm just quoting memes today, that's all we got.

I got nothing. Man, I, uh, this is funny because I just posted this on, on social media, um, God, like what, two hours ago you were in getting your cast and this will tell you folks how we, how we prepare for the show. It's like, here it is. Happy New Year. How we? 

Douglas Sigwarth: Prepare for the show. 

Will Armstrong: Oh, that's right. That's right.

That's how we, it's the royal we, but meaning me. This is how I prepare for the show. I've got 

Douglas Sigwarth: notes. Will's like, uh, seat of his pants. 

Will Armstrong: Well, he did this. Okay. Douglas does this thing and it's great. We have the shared note on our phone. He'll like have all these topics and I'll, I'll like do it. It's almost like an anti topic the only thing that I added for our hour and a 20 minute long show where we're just catching up the two of us.

Here's what I added. I'm sick of the fucking booth shot. Can we stop that? Can we stop helping people with their booth shot? I'm sick to death of it. No more help. [00:10:00] No more. 

Douglas Sigwarth: So basically, Will's contribution this week was a blurry Polaroid. I'm just kidding. 

Will Armstrong: That's right. It's a subtraction, you know, when they say in, um, I don't know if you ever did any, I know Douglas did and I've done it myself, but if you've ever done any improv, they always say it's, it's end your thing with yes.

And never end it with no. And we try to carry that through with the podcast too. It's like, if he has a topic that he's super excited about talking about. I you know i try my best and it's not always that i don't always land stick the landing but uh i try my best not to be like that topic sucks moving on no 

Douglas Sigwarth: if you will say moving on it means he's done on time for something else 

Will Armstrong: that's right but i am you know call it the the bird to your ernie but you get into a jury right you get into a jury the booth shot.

It's hack detection. It's like you can anybody can can scribble [00:11:00] out for but in order to see the context Yeah, that's where you see the booth, you know, I'll help anybody that comes to me directly specifically with the booth shot But I'm tired of all these like how can we help everybody? It's not the booth shot It's the actual booth.

Like don't just try to elevate your photograph your photograph is what it's it's like it's how The jurors see your work in context and if your context is yeah, it's not as good as I thought it was Then then moving on so, um with apologies to all of the kinder more generous people in our community Uh the lovely patient And eloquent Evan Reinheimer of the world.

Um, no, I don't wanna talk about it anymore. 

Douglas Sigwarth: I know you just said you don't wanna talk about it, but I have a reaction to what you were saying. Oh, if you don't mind, . Of course. So I actually, I'm gonna try and reiterate what I, what I cut from an episode that we did earlier this year when we were talking about juries and all [00:12:00] that kind of stuff.

And it came right off the heels of me doing the, being on the art and the pearl jury and my feeling on the booth shot. Is that a lot of times we have a hard time as artists criticizing or improving our actual images of our pieces or elevating our pieces. It's hard. It's personal. You know, that's where we need to really have our focus is on the work, but it's hard to criticize somebody and say work on your work.

You know, even ourselves to say we need to get better at our work. And it almost seems like the booth shop becomes our scapegoat of if I just keep getting a better booth shop That'll be the solution to get me in and I think we need or 

Will Armstrong: the the magic order of you know, it's again It's like dating right?

Yeah, the show's just not that into you this this year you're like, you know, and 

Douglas Sigwarth: and I also feel like the booth shot is at the End of the line. For a lot of the shows that are doing, um, not projection anymore, [00:13:00] but are doing it monitor, and I felt like from my experience with jurying, you see an image, and then you want the next image to give you that, oh.

And the next image to build on it and go, Whoa, and then, Whoa, and then you want to see it in context and you don't want it to go. So make sure your booth shot doesn't be a letdown. That's brilliant. 

Will Armstrong: It's just context, though. It just puts your work in context and it says whether you're a pro or not, and it's okay if you're not totally a pro.

Uh, there are shows for you and then you can move on and you can whatever. And then you look at the other people around you and look at the display and then you work on it. But, um, taking a magic picture. Yeah. Doesn't exist right moving on. Yeah

He's on he doesn't even realize 

Douglas Sigwarth: he does it anymore 

Will Armstrong: I didn't yeah, I was like, I don't say moving on moving on All right. All right. 

Douglas Sigwarth: I wonder if susan ever gets to move it on 

Will Armstrong: No, i'm not gonna say moving on to my beautiful wife Heck [00:14:00] no, like uh, will 

Douglas Sigwarth: You watch your seats 

Will Armstrong: Well, we've know each other better enough to like, I don't have to say anything and be like, why are you arguing with me?

I'm like, I didn't say anything. That's like, she knows. She already knows. 

Douglas Sigwarth: She's perfect. So is today your first official day back in the studio from the break? 

Will Armstrong: It's my first official day walking into my studio. Man, I'm not getting anything done talking to you. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Okay, well, as you would say, we'll keep this one tight so you can get to work.


Will Armstrong: no, I mean, I started out my studio day, I met with my ex and had coffee and talked about how to You know, juggle shows and kids and trips and volleyball and activities and all this stuff. And that went better than expected. And, um, you know, we're, we're on the same, same team as far as that goes. And now, um, talking to my art show wife here on the, on the podcast, uh, got to talk to you and I got stuff to do at home, so I got to go home and [00:15:00] help move in a.

A piece of furniture we got coming. So, yeah, they kindly agreed. It's a jeweler's bench actually. So it's a new jeweler's bench for the new year. Um, and they're, they're going to deliver it. It's solid wood, right? Big, big bench jewelers out there. No, they have to be. Very sturdy in order to support the sawing and the hammering and all this stuff.

So super heavy piece of furniture. So from 

Douglas Sigwarth: Ikea, right? I'm just 

Will Armstrong: kidding. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Just put it together with a little allen wrench when I get home But they they drop it and they're like we'll only deliver to the curb Twenty bucks says you'll take it a little farther, but we'll see how it goes. I'm going to be there.

High Royce flick those things around. Stand next to me. You get a 20. All right. How about you? What's going on? 

Douglas Sigwarth: Our studio. Of course I'm on a break, obviously, but, uh, we blew glass right up. to the day before surgery. And we shut things down, and of course a glassblowing studio has a little bit more [00:16:00] infrastructure and complexities than, say, a painting studio, or whatever.

So we killed power to the, to the ovens and, you know, we'll deal with them when it's time to get back in there again. Well, Renee went back out to, to check on things and see how everything looked and, uh, sure enough, we have some furnace repairs, let's say, coming up in our future. So that's, that's never a fun thing.

It's not going to be like last time where we had to completely tear it apart, rebuild it because it had been a 15, 20 year furnace that needed a complete overhaul. This is just yearly or every other year kind of maintenance type stuff, but it's still a pain in the ass. Let me ask you this. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah. Is a furnace kind of like an old car?

Like if you, you know, if I, I noticed like if i'm driving And I had this old Pontiac when I was, you know, in my teens to, to twenties, almost to thirties. I had it forever. This 76 Pontiac Grand Prix. That was my grandfather's. Loved that car, but it was the type of thing, [00:17:00] like I drove it a certain way. I handled, I could get it started.

But then other people can't get it started. You know, you get somebody else driving it, or if you shut it off for a couple of weeks, then it kind of breaks down. Is that well, it 

Douglas Sigwarth: isn't sort of, I mean, I, we don't want to bring in like studio rentals or people to use the studio, like when we're not in there.

For that purpose alone, because the equipment is such a huge endeavor, cost, maintenance. We don't want anyone else messing it up, we want our hands on it, so it's there when we need it. But in this particular case, there are just components that break down over time. Our heating elements, made of molybdisilicide.

It's basically like, I don't know, mainly like glass. Sorry, what's that? Yeah, it's not like an element, it's glass. And then the, the electricity goes through those elements, super delicate, super fine, but they can put out a lot of heat, 2, 100 [00:18:00] degrees to be exact. So anyway, when they got shut off, one of them just had a weak point, came apart, boom, that broke.

And then the crucible that holds all of the glass, it's like the shell that holds molten clear glass. It got it starts to eat through the glass eats through that at that crucible and so it just ate through it a little bit quicker than we had anticipated so I mean there's just those those normal complexities with having a glass blowing studio that we that we have to prepare for that we always have to have in the back of our mind that something is going to happen and.

I've been reading this book. It's about the you know it because you sent me the book. It's called the endurance. It's about. Oh, 

Will Armstrong: yeah, it's about the Shackleton exploration of Antarctica. The ship gets frozen in the ice and it's about yeah, so I'm at the point if you guys there's our here's our IAP book club, but honestly, one of my favorite nonfiction books of all time.

I've already read it twice, but it's just the if the [00:19:00] ship is called the endurance and it's about these men who go on this expedition and. Just disaster after disaster after disaster and the each one of the men keeps a diary. So, you know, it's interesting to hear like the perspectives of the different men.

So, well, what 

Douglas Sigwarth: is really what about the story that is really resonating with me is all about like you have this this idea or this anticipation of what this kind of this hard journey is going to be and that often comes across with. You know, having a glass blowing studio, and we shut the studio down, and it's like we have these plans that we have the work made.

We're gonna be able to go back to the studio, flip it on, and just roll right back into our season like normal. But it's almost like the Endurance getting frozen into the Antarctic Ocean. It's like they stayed in that boat, that ship, for a year. Thinking or almost a year thinking that the ice would break and they could just keep [00:20:00] on going down through the ocean until they realize that the ship is literally being crushed.

So they have to adjust and they have to keep moving forward and I feel like these things come up and we just keep moving forward. So. I'm really enjoying that and I'm thank you by the way for sending that to me. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah, definitely. I'm glad you're reading it I thought it would would resonate with you being you know, there's a claustrophobia element to it and kind of being a Captive in your own skin that I know you're dealing with right now that I think you You've, you've handled pretty, pretty damn well, uh, both that last time and, and into this time, at least you know what to expect.


Douglas Sigwarth: depending on the day. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna lie to you, and I'm sure a lot of artists out there are with me at this time of the year. If you're not out on the road doing shows already right into your season, For those of us who are kind of like home, either working in the studio, planning for the future, there's that, really that uneasiness that [00:21:00] comes in, that creeps in, that makes you just want to figure out what everything's going to be like, what's it going to be, you know, 

Will Armstrong: so.

Right, there's so much uncertainty in our business anyway. You know is the show that I have always made money at are they gonna let me back in is it gonna rain is it gonna whatever I mean it's like I feel like the holidays and and there's all this money going out so all of your end of the year money is going out to family and gifts and travel and all the shit.

And then you go directly into the rent being due for the first six months of the year, everybody wants their booth fee, so it's like, okay, here's 500 to 1, 000 for however many shows you do, so you gotta, all of this is going out, and then everybody's like, I'm supposed to be in my studio working, and it's like, you get a hit, you take that hit, you know, you don't get into that show that you wanted to do, and you take that hit and you're shitty and you get online and you're like, Um, somebody is like, I got into this show.

Have you ever heard it? And it's your favorite show. And you didn't get in. You're just like, yeah, I've heard of [00:22:00] it. And then you just want to rip them. I just rip them a new one. Oh yeah. I've heard of it. That's how adorable you got in. You have fun selling your doodads. And it's just a, it's, it's a weird, weird time of the year.

And we're all on edge and especially the unsub. Certainty of where you are going to go, or if you're going to, you know, or if your dumb ass is going to, uh, agree to go to Miami and then your dumb ass is going to agree to turn back around and have 10 days to get to 

Douglas Sigwarth: California. Who would ever do something like that?

I mean, who would do that? Have to 

Will Armstrong: be a real moron. That's who would do that. Bert. That's who would do it. Bert. My, 

Douglas Sigwarth: uh, I did it. My co host, that's the one who did it. 

Will Armstrong: And I'm looking at these spots and it's like, you're my first two shows. Miami and California. I need a guy. Anybody got a guy? Send me a guy. I need a guy to drive.

You've got to be reasonable. How much do you pay the guy? Oh, and they've 

Douglas Sigwarth: got to have their own vehicle. 

Will Armstrong: Oh, yeah. That's right. I don't have a van. I have no van. [00:23:00] Damn. I'm gonna rent it. Well, there's the yearly recap. I'm super excited about just running to somebody and be like, who's, who's the other driver? I don't know.

It'll just be a guy. I'll find somebody. It'll work out. 

Douglas Sigwarth: It'll work out. I mean, it always does. I have to actually take a break from the 24 hour news cycles too, because that stuff is toxic. Oh yeah. Just. It's. Crazy and this is going to be one of those years. 

Will Armstrong: Let's surround ourselves with a bubble where we can just constantly just turn it on fire and turn it over our head and I'm going to mention this other book that I read into last year that I mentioned last time one of the top takeaways that I took from stolen focus by you and car is that facebook only exists.

It is only successful and it is more successful if you don't turn it off and you don't turn it off if you're pissed off. So [00:24:00] the more it makes you angry and the more it turns things over and shows you this bile, then the more you won't turn it off. So you are addicted to poison. So it's not just a conspiracy theory.

This is the way Facebook is run. So turn the goddamn thing off. And go about your business and make good art and quit getting on Facebook and telling people they're hacks, you know, 

Douglas Sigwarth: and you know what else kind of tricks me into getting on those things, uh, those, you know, on a different social media platforms is okay.

So I know that it's not good for me personally, unless I keep it very tight, like, Like I've, I've, uh, created my Instagram, my personal Instagram now for people who I would walk up to and have a conversation with because we are friends, you know, and I'm keeping it tight in that group, but I feel like what gets slippery for me.

Is I'm like, well, no, I'm doing this to promote the podcast or I'm on to [00:25:00] promote our business. There are some artists whose business model do so well on social media. And so I'm not knocking that business model and saying that that is garbage. 

Will Armstrong: But for me, it's a requirement. Right. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Right. Yeah. But for me, I don't know how you feel, but a lot of the engagement in those particular types of reasons to be on social media.

It's friends. It's other artist friends. And it's not necessarily transcending my collectors. My collectors aren't, aren't there. My collectors are at shows or have collected from us for years. And, I don't know, maybe they're too old or not interested and, and they reach out directly. Right. That has been my struggle with social media.

And one other thing about Johan Hari, because I wanted to bring him up. I was going to say, I wonder if what we were talking about, You know what you were saying about his book or sharing some insights about it if I have a phone addiction if when I am post surgery Any of [00:26:00] us who've been put under anesthesia and you're waking up and you're in the recovery room And you hear the nurses do that like old man talk to you like Douglas douglas, are you awake?

Are you can you hear me? You know talking like you're in a nursing home or something, right? And I'm starting to come to, and I hear them say, What are you doing? And I go, Just a minute. Are you okay? Are you awake? Or blah, blah, blah. And I said, Wait till I finish this. And I'm looking down at my thumbs as I'm waking up.

And they're like, Douglas, what are you doing? I go, I just have to send this text really quick. And then all of a sudden as I'm waking up, I'm realizing, I don't have my phone in my hands. I don't have, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it's like, it's true, those phone addictions are real, and they, if they, if they are in your mind, even when you're under anesthesia, that's, that's pretty scary.

Oh yeah. Yeah. It's got you good. Got me good. It's got you good. 

Will Armstrong: Got it's hooks in me. Feed that monkey. Yup, I got a text right now, I wasn't even listening to what you were saying, I was reading, I'm kidding. I know. 

Douglas Sigwarth: I know you're kidding because I'm looking at your face and you're not looking down. [00:27:00] 

Will Armstrong: I know you're looking at my face.

My eyes are shrouded with the light above and it's glinting off my gigantic forehead. So you can't see. Look, I'm looking down. You can't tell. All right. So be careful. Be mindful. Be kind. And, and do that stuff, and then we'll, we'll move on. This episode of the Independent Artist Podcast is brought to you by ZZap, the digital application service where artists and art festivals 

Douglas Sigwarth: connect.

So I've started using the events list feature in ZZap to search up some different shows to fill those holes in my schedule. You 

Will Armstrong: know, I feel like I should have something to say, but I wasn't really listening to you because I'm looking at the events list right now, and it's pretty cool. Okay. Okay, so you drop the menu down and there at the bottom, go scrolling all the way.

Way about third thing down in the smaller print, it just says events 

Douglas Sigwarth: list. That's right. All of the shows appear here regardless of their application deadline. You can use the filtering and the sorting to narrow down your search so that you can find that right [00:28:00] show that fills your desired timeframe or location.

Will Armstrong: I know a lot of people love that calendar. I like seeing the list. of events. I like scrolling through and doom scrolling late at night. It's like online dating. They don't let you swipe left or right, but you can figure out who you want to date in the coming up year. Um, another topic that I, it was funny.

Um, I, I threw that thing on there on, on, on line and said, are there any topics moving forward that you'd like us to address? Yeah. And our, our old friend David Bjerstrom commented and he was like, I'd love to hear you guys talk about, uh, the hidden costs of running a show and the secret costs. And, uh, I'm like, well, I don't know what they are.

Like, I, I will have somebody, I promise that is interesting. We'll talk to somebody that has done that. And, uh, and we have some. 

Douglas Sigwarth: I do, I do have some insight with that because, you know, I've learned a lot being on the board for NAIA because we work together with show directors and other artists and we get to learn [00:29:00] about both sides of the industry.

Will Armstrong: And I do, of course, you know, just being aware and being friends with, with directors and things. And we hear, and we talk and. We, I'm aware and I like to be informed, but I also kind of like, I don't feel comfortable enough talking about it, but go ahead. Well, I think 

Douglas Sigwarth: that for one, I mean, the costs of insurance, the costs of security, the costs of things to putting on festivals post COVID have become huge.

And I feel like we talk about with social media, we are in a very divided world right now. It's like this camp or that camp, and I feel like it's very easy for all of us, or triggering for us to fall into this, us against them, and show directors versus artists is not a healthy dichotomy for people to get into, because we are all cogs in the big wheel of this industry.

And so I feel like we need to kind of like step back and find common ground on that and [00:30:00] not feel like we're just getting gouged by this show and they don't care about us, you know. Well, I feel like 

Will Armstrong: everybody feels like everybody has their handout for more and more and more, you know, and it's like, well, the show has the handout.

They want more from me. You know, and you first get into the business, it's like, Oh, 15, 20 for an application. And we're like, Oh, this guy wants 25. And then the first person that needed 50 came along and now everybody's charging 50, right? And it's like, well, that's, you know, the shows are like zap is charging us this.

We have to pass on the thing. We're like, ah, the show is charging us this. And it's like, well, the city. Wants x amount of dollars for this and they don't want this and then the Communities everybody seems to have their hands out. So there are hidden fees everywhere. Everything costs money Nobody's giving away the street for free parking hotel blocks, it's just 

Douglas Sigwarth: And, and there's a scarcity thing.

I mean, there's a scarcity thing we're all dealing with not feeling like we've got enough, you know, enough of what we need to make that bottom line work. So, I mean, I [00:31:00] understand the struggle and the concern and the worry behind it, and it's tough. But I think to answer the question, you know, maybe going forward this year, you I would be interested in, I mean, we've had a couple show directors on in the past, but I'd be interested in this.

We haven't done this yet, and I've been wanting to, is to have some conversations with artists who have gone on to also produce shows that kind of have a dual role, they have their foot in both worlds, you know, like the artists who maybe are part of a collective, a board that puts a show on for artists.

I would like to see, I'd like to hear about that process and maybe, Because they would come from our vantage point to kind of know what can and can't be done and just to write to bring that to the listeners that's 

Will Armstrong: interesting i ran into debbie allen in cherry creek and she was potentially she and howard are potentially interested to so it'd be cool to get a both [00:32:00] both sides of that to on on a group that.

Is used to not only dealing with one community, but multiple communities as like a as a as a business model. So that would be kind of kind of cool to get that side too. It's something we could ask of those the ask of those guys if we can if I mention them by name Maybe that that holds their feet to the fire.

We can get that going this year and maybe that's that's probably to be honest It's it's more me than it is them because I haven't reached out again, but I need to do that because they're Um, I've always gotten along with those guys, so it'd be fun to talk to them. Well, 

Douglas Sigwarth: speaking of them, I mean, there's a lot of folks have hit The road this week and they are down there in Florida and they're doing the Florida weekend after weekend You know where they've got that run from the beginning of January through March So sending out a big shout out to them for those artists who are doing that that used to be Our thing.

I mean, we wouldn't maybe do every weekend. We might fly home for a spell and go back down again. But I think that that [00:33:00] for us is a thing of the past. I don't think our business model is sustainable for that kind of a 

Will Armstrong: For now. You know, you never, you know, never, never say never. You never know when you're gonna be going back and trying to squeeze that turnip again.

Just keep milk, milk that cow, milk that Florida shaped 

Douglas Sigwarth: teat. I mean, I would do a tour of, uh, three, but yeah, no, uh, ten? No, 

Will Armstrong: not possible. I used to look at Florida as one, uh, show. I'd look at as, try to look at it as one, not just one show, but as like, as like you said, a tour. I get it. Like, well, here's my goal for this tour.

Mm hmm. Um, it was always a little trickier to get. Uh, the money that I wanted out of your typical show out of a Florida run, but um, it just is what it is. It's a, it's a, it's a different business model. 

Douglas Sigwarth: It feels like some of it, like whatever show you choose to be at down there, it kind of feels, I don't want to say random because it's not random, but [00:34:00] it does feel like the collectors that see you that weekend might not be at that particular show, but next weekend.

Twenty miles north they might catch you there, you know, so yeah looking at it as a long game for that season Always is yeah, a lot of those 

Will Armstrong: guys do do travel, you know, they do travel to two different different locales Especially for those those big shows that they like and the ones that they consider considered to be their favorites.

I mean my my parents It's hilarious. They Are huge collectors of American craft and a lot of you guys know them whether you know it or not because they go by and they, they buy kind of on the smaller scale and they buy a lot more intricate craft work and, um, they love wood carving and, um, pottery and, and, um, but I've had different artists and be like, Oh my God, those are your parents.

Like, cause I'll have to. Like, oh, can you stop by this booth and pick up my, you know, my teapot and it's, uh, that's not how my mom sounds, [00:35:00] but, uh, yeah, it being that, but they have my point being that they have their shows that they think are the creme de la creme of. They're favorite shows, and they're big Longs Park people, and they love Longs Park, and they love going up to Pennsylvania, and staying in their favorite spots, and um, hitting their favorite restaurants.


Douglas Sigwarth: is that a bit of a travel from, from Virginia? Ah, 

Will Armstrong: yeah, it's about three or four hours, so they make a big weekend out of it. Mm hmm. It's, you know, up in Pennsylvania, Dutch country, and they go up and They have their favorite shows that they think, you know, you and I have our favorite shows that we think, Oh, my God.

Right. Cherry Creek and Fort Worth and, and, and Artisphere and, you know, yada, yada, yada. The list goes on. Des Moines. But they're like, no, the best shows in the country are. Like a little, little tiny show in Charlottesville and Longs Park and they've come to some of the other ones and they're not wrong.

It's just what they like. So it's, it's similar to the way, I don't know, different people run their business models, 

Douglas Sigwarth: but. Well, I do feel [00:36:00] like over the years, and I know this as a topic we've covered a lot and maybe this is a little bit of a different. Slant on it is we do, in our minds, kind of create these particular shows that we think if we don't get into those shows, we are not gonna have the year we want.

But I'll tell you, last year there were a couple shows that I wasn't too excited about. It was kind of like, well, I got in and I didn't get into the other thing I wanted, and I'm gonna show up and do. And I'll tell you, if I didn't get some, some nice, surprising commissions, you know, sales, feedback, it led to other stuff.

So I do think it's important for people to, to really just Look at forced break, sometimes a rejection, or an injury, or a recovery. I know this sounds hippy dippy, but to say rejection is protection, so to speak. You know, you are being put in this, in the location you should be that year. So have faith, and go with a good [00:37:00] attitude.

Because if you go with a shitty attitude, you're for sure gonna, like, screw up potential opportunities for yourself, so. 

Will Armstrong: Hang on, there's a disturbance in the force. Oh, here Yeah, like a bunch of listeners here, they're yeah, they're in my headphones telling me to fuck off. I I didn't get into the show. You know what, it's easy for you to say, Sigworth.

Why? Why is it easy for me to say? Yeah, it's easy for you to say, yeah, it sure is. You know, I didn't get into my favorite show again. Yeah. So F off, here's the math on it though. Yeah. It's like, if I don't get a, then I gotta do B, C, and D to make up for it. I know, and it's such, it's every bit of time away from the family.

It's like, I'm, there's no a anymore. There's no, you don't get the a. Now I, I'm, I'm, that's three more weekends to make up for A, and it's like, so this, if you're into the, the creme de la creme and you've got the sweet ass schedule sliding all the way through, Jesus ain't gonna help you, you're gonna have to go grind it.

So that's, that's where I'm looking at it, it's like, yeah, [00:38:00] that's, you can go hippie, hippie. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Will takes the wheel, no Jesus, is 

Will Armstrong: that what you're saying? Yeah, it's all up to me. I'm not taking, Jesus doesn't care about art shows. Well, 

Douglas Sigwarth: I hear what you're saying, and I, I definitely get into that headspace. So I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna sound like I don't ever go there, but I try to think of some of these biggies that I get into once every three years as a, oh good, I'm in, but I need to, in my mind, think of this as my three year Entry for this show, versus my yearly entry for this show, if that makes sense.

So I don't get myself all Bogged down with now, this is my new level or this is my new expectation or something. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah, I guess I I'm calling bullshit. Okay. Well, I reserve the right. I still think there's some teeth gnashing. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Oh, of course I mean, I'm not saying when I don't get into my show. I don't gnash my teeth.


Will Armstrong: Yeah, but all right. I try and [00:39:00] Mr. Positive and Mr. Realism, this is how we, how we're working this one. Um, I'm going to be a different Sesame Street character, uh, for the rest of the, rest of the episode. Uh, what are we looking 

Douglas Sigwarth: at next? Well, so during these breaks, you know, that we have to, that we're away and kind of, you know, taking holiday breaks or if we're on kind of a seasonal break.

What are some of the things that you do to stay inspired more mentally, not necessarily about design of, of ideas for work, but how do you kind of stay engaged in your, you know what I mean? In, in staying positive and uplifted. Oh, I just, I 

Will Armstrong: don't. You don't? Okay. I think we made that abundantly clear. I just, I, I try to go through it.

Um, no, I try to go through it bit by bit and I'll tell you this, you, this is not the answer to your question, but. You say not not maintain creativity, but that is my big goal for this year is to kind of scratch some of [00:40:00] those creative outlets that I've let go and go back to some new ideas and I'm sketching more.

I'm writing more at the beginning of the day to try to come up with new ideas and new ways to take ideas that are favorites of mine that I like to lean into, you know, there are certain themes in my booth that I just I don't want to let go because I love them still and I. You know, I may have done those for a while, but how can I, how can I continue to make myself interested by those and keep the creativity flowing around those ideas as well as coming up with new ones that accent, um, some of my favorite themes.

So, that's my, if I have a New Year's resolution, it's how to become more, Creative and to continue my voice so that would be, that's, that's where I'm at. 

Douglas Sigwarth: So are you saying part of your process is when you said writing every day? Are you like journaling thoughts, journaling ideas, doing sketches of things?

Is that kind of [00:41:00] a practice, a daily practice for you? 

Will Armstrong: I'm trying to make it more when I am at my most successful in the studio. It's when I'm firing on and I call it kind of firing on all those cylinders and it's like creativity. And line quality and productivity, and those are my, my, my three big ones.

And, you know, I feel like sometimes, you know, I'm trying to get away from the phone and all this stuff, but like, if creativity takes a hit, then my, and then sales too, that would be the fourth one. Then the other ones take hit too, because I'm not as excited about the work. I'm not getting into the shows that I want.

I'm not doing this. So it's all this, this kind of. You have to keep all of those, I think, firing at once. 

Douglas Sigwarth: It's like a vicious cycle. If one of those is off kilter, if they're out of balance, it can affect all the others. 

Will Armstrong: Right. You know, and some people have the million dollar idea and they can, they can just keep, keep um, milking it.

But eventually that gets kind of stale and people [00:42:00] can smell it on you. And then you start to kind of get complacent. So I'm fighting, trying to fight complacency and move my work into where I want it. And I've never really, you know, I'm, I'm typically right there in it, but, uh, maybe towards the second and a half of last year, the new ideas that I was coming up with last year, weren't hitting as far as.

People buying them. Okay. So then you're, you know, you kind of try to figure out the other part of the Venn diagram that, that, you know, is still working financially, that, that pays your bills. So how about you guys? I know you've got an answer. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Well, you've, you've given me a couple of things I want to react to.

And I guess the first one is kind of the, the staying inspired to do what we do. And Right. I feel like I get a lot of inspiration from sources like documentaries or, um, I'm a real documentary person. Uh, [00:43:00] Renee and I, this, during this break, we decided to subscribe to Masterclass. Okay, and do you know anything about that?

I do. Yeah, it's super cool. I mean, there's like hundreds or maybe even thousands of speakers speaking on their creative business, entrepreneurial type thinking or what their practices are. And even though you wouldn't think, well, there's a direct correlation, I seem to find something in there. That resonates with me and even if it's just their connection to something, you know, to a process or or what inspires them inspires me to look internal and get excited and get in the studio and do what we do.


Will Armstrong: you know, a lot of those people in the arts. I mean, a lot of those things different, you know, even if somebody is like writing a song about. You know, being on the road and being away from their families and like those things translate to what we do, um, being creative and [00:44:00] creating a creative life, those all translate whether it's music or film or, or production or songwriting or a lot of those, like the Rick Rubin book I found to be really inspirational and I've really gone back to that one and that one too is, um, this one that came out last year.

It's kind of, it's some kind of bottom shelf philosophy that, that's super reachable. Yeah. And digestible that you can just pick up and, um, just read a page or two and then put it back down and you could read the same page every day and it means something different to you too. 

Douglas Sigwarth: And I came across on my Spotify account that that is included in having a membership with Spotify.

Oh. That I have. for, uh, access to that. And that's one of those things that we, I brought up last year, and I've never gotten a chance to read or listen to. So that's one of my goals is to, you know, I'm sure that's one of those things you can put on and come back to almost like a podcast and jump back in at any point.

Will Armstrong: Oh, totally. Yeah, I don't actually recommend reading it start to finish. It is not a narrative and it's not a, [00:45:00] it's not something you're going to lose the thread on. It's something you can actually just pick up and read a chapter of. There's a lot of blank space within the book too, to let your mind rest.

Which I, when I first picked it up, I thought it was like, you didn't write a book, you wrote a pamphlet. Uh, because there's not an awful lot of, there are not that many words to it, but the thoughts are, are pretty profound. So, Rick Rubin's, um, what is it? It's got a big circle 

Douglas Sigwarth: and a dot. Oh, right. The creative, not the creative act, the creative 

Will Armstrong: act, the creative Eric Rubin.

That's the name of 

Douglas Sigwarth: the book. Well, I wanted to react to what you were saying about when things aren't all firing on all cylinders and how maybe one thing is out of balance, which then affects everything else in that. That circle. And I'd have to say that I struggled with that last year big time. This has been the hardest two years physically for me, I would say, out of my entire life.

So because everything that I had to deal with was through the lens [00:46:00] of physical problems, that tipped everything on its axis. And I've extended myself in a lot of different areas. I'm not going to get into the details of what they are, but the balance was way out of, out of shift. So Rene and I had a New Year's meeting this week and we've got new goals and we've got some exciting plans for ourself that I really are energizing me and getting me excited to kind of refocus and recalibrate so that creating artwork isn't just my job, that it's the thing I get inspired to do and have a good time doing and dream new things up.

So. I'm seeing the physical thing almost like I'm over the hump and I'm excited to get to the other side and, uh, see what the future brings. So, I'm 

Will Armstrong: kind of excited about that. I'm excited for you. It sounds good. It's funny, we do put a lot of, uh, energy into the podcast and I know that takes away some of our energy for Um, artworks.

I'm trying to, [00:47:00] trying to figure out where to, where to weed the 

Douglas Sigwarth: garden. There's going to be balance. I know, we don't know exactly how it's going to take shape. We both really like what we're doing with this, but it might be taking too much of our other focus. We might have to recalibrate and we don't know what that means.

So we'll figure that out and get back to you. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah, it's a work in progress. In 

Douglas Sigwarth: line with staying up mentally, I feel like, you know, having all this time on my hands, The mind just goes crazy, right? I mean, we've all talked about the mental health of being sidelined. But what I'm trying to get to the heart of it is, I think to myself, it is, for me, about this perfectionism.

And I've always hated it when people say, oh, I'm a perfectionist, because in that statement alone, it makes it sound like, well, oh, I only aspire to do. Really great things and being a perfectionist in my mind or my definition isn't about everything you only want to [00:48:00] do greatness. It's that you feel like everything you do is shit, you know what I'm saying?

And then that is the thing that is so hard to overcome. Um, right. Do you ever deal with any of that kind of that's that? 

Will Armstrong: Oh, yeah, I I've got them all every every different kind of anxiety that you want to talk about. I've got them. I've got the imposter syndrome. I've got, uh, inferiority complex. I mean, it's just is all.

I mean, we all all kind of deal with our own things. And I think anybody. Who says different is either lying or just an asshole I you know, I I know there are those of us out there who who are super confident in their work and and I I'm jealous of those guys, but I think we all hit our demons. I think you know the photographers out there i've talked to a bunch of friends of mine I've got a bunch of friends that are photographers that you know, they deal with the way other artists look at them You know and where they're like, oh it's just do they think I just [00:49:00] Push a button and take a picture and they don't think about the the reams and reams and reams of Photos that I have to take before I get one that I actually like whereas jewelers, you know, their booths are you can't just walk past a jeweler's booth and and Glance at it and know what they're all about.

I mean, I you can look in my booth You can cut your eyes in my booth or yours and tell pretty much what we're all about But in order to see a jeweler's booth you have to go and so typically a jeweler's booth has more People in it and it caught it's a lot more of a different kind of engagement. So the grass is always greener 

Douglas Sigwarth: That's interesting that perfectionism Translating into what people think of us.

Yeah other artists and our peers It's interesting because I do and have over the years maybe had a different Perception of what I thought people thought, you know, like I would think, oh, they think, let's say something negative that is haunting me and in my head. [00:50:00] And then somebody will come up and say something that is kind of positive and, and uplifting and it feels good.

And I think. I, I, I guess I misread that. I, I thought that, you know, this is the perception of me and my work, and it always makes me come back to the idea that we're so worried about what people think about us or of our work or what we do, when the reality is they probably think about Very little about it.

I don't mean little in in terms of status, but in like the amount of time They actually think about it. You know what I'm 

Will Armstrong: saying? Yeah, how much space it occupies in their head. Exactly. 

Douglas Sigwarth: It's pretty small. We, we build it up in our heads so much more than maybe what's real or actual. Right, exactly. So, uh, what are some of the other questions that we got from online?

Did you, did you want to take a look at that Yeah, I wanted 

Will Armstrong: to bring this up. Um, well, this was, this was a good segue. Sure. Into what we've kind of been talking about anyway, but our good friend jay mcdougal chimed in and you wanted to know are different because you [00:51:00] ask me how I keep up and I don't know if you maybe a bread this ahead of time but what do you do to stay he literally says what do you do to stay up and positive of the show counter by pitfalls.

To avoid like what do you do to stay stay positive and and um i mean i've i know what i've got and god i love jay i mean he's one of my favorite humans but how do i stay 

Douglas Sigwarth: positive i talk to jay mcdougall he usually cheers me 

Will Armstrong: oh that's that's. That's a pitfall right there, my friend. You gotta stay away from that guy.

Better wait till he's got his salmon colored pants on. That's, that's, that's how he stays away. That's his, his kryptonite. Yeah, uh, 

Douglas Sigwarth: honestly, I am in a partnership with a woman who cuts to the heart of things. She sees the gold. She just knows how to Turn my mood around. I mean, I'm not saying she doesn't ever get down or she doesn't ever get worried or have, you know, normal human emotion like that, but she really is [00:52:00] truly one of the most inspirational people I know who can put things into focus and to just She really is unflappable.

Will Armstrong: Yeah, that's amazing. Yeah, she's got like, um what i've noticed about renee Just being close to you guys at shows and to get her to know a little bit better But it's almost like a bedside manner, you know, she's a doctor, you know Like she would have made an excellent surgeon where she could come in and talk to the person and be like hey It's uh, you're having a bad time right now.

It may not always be right Not that she's always positive, but it's like look Uh, this show is a cancer diagnosis and i'm still going to tell you you're going to feel okay about it Here's how you get through it. Yep. A to 

Douglas Sigwarth: A to Z and tomorrow better steps and whatever. It's like not, or Yeah. Or 

Will Armstrong: even if it's not, or even if it's not, this is how we're gonna deal with it.

Right. And it's like kinda, uh, I've, I've been lucky enough to know several people in my, my father-in-Law is like that. And he was, you know, the world up there in Fergus Falls was lucky enough to have him as a, as a surgeon and Yeah. And he was that way. I remember [00:53:00] having pneumonia, getting pneumonia a few years back and the way he dealt with me in not wanting to go to the doctor and I was talking to him about it.

He was like, well, what's this like? And he's like, well, um, you know, as I had a temperature of 104 and, um, had this, you know, kind of burny, itchy thing in my lung. And I'm like, he's like, well, you got pneumonia and you need to get diagnosed in order to thing. And we're going to go over here and like, okay, well.

I'll do that first thing in the morning. And he was like, well, you'll go now. And, um, matter of fact, I just, I don't even remember arguing with him. He was just like, well, yeah, you, you'll go now and it's kind of, I see Renee being that kind of way, but it's, if you can have those kinds of people in your, in your, uh, surrounding, that's the positive one.

Another is if, um, is if you're lucky enough, this is, um, I, I believe in getting your mood right. And shaken it off and there are certain things that people can say to me that that in the past have sent me spiraling and they piss me off and I just kind of go down the and I've kind of [00:54:00] gotten used to that that it's like I realize that the that the terrible things people say to you typically are it's not them trying to be mean it's it's them trying to figure out a way to relate to you because they think you are.

You know your work is the, I said this so many times, but like the hot person in the bar that you really want to talk to and then you just step on your tongue and they're just stepping on their tongue and they're not trying to say anything mean, but it still takes me a minute and I'll just walk behind my booth and I'll just kind of do some stretches and, uh, kind of open myself back up, um, another way, and this is, this is a good one, Mr.

Hooper, if you've ever been lucky enough to be, Near Tim Hooper had a show, uh, Mr. Hooper Art, one of my very favorite people, uh, I've got so many, but God, he's, he's great, but I remember being really down at a show years and years ago, and he stuck his head out of the back of his booth, I've, I know I've said this [00:55:00] before, but Here's my, my two word mantra, or three, sorry, it's a name and a word, three words, visualize Paul Lind, that's what he said to me, and he's like, hey man, when you're feeling really bummed out, just visualize Paul Lind, and I started, and I was putting my boxes back together, and you know, and, and again, I apologize for repeating stories, but, I've only got so many of them and we're in year what three four this just how long we've been doing this.

I think we're starting number four starting for four. Alright so i'm gonna so so yeah i'm repeating my stories but man you cannot if you yeah. If you know who Paul Lynn does you can't get pissed off like it's just you can't be mad if you're thinking about Paul Lynn and I put my boxes together and chuckling about it and it's like find your Paul Lynn the inner God just most ridiculous thing that still makes me in a good mood and try to try to do [00:56:00] that for 

Douglas Sigwarth: anyone younger than a gen X you might have to Google and watch him on YouTube but yes he is definitely well I mean what you're saying.

This is something too that, that came to mind when you said that is, is humor, of course, humor and a movie that we just cycled back to. It came out like, I think 2017. Uh, do you remember the Daniel Day Lewis movie, uh, Phantom Thread? 

Will Armstrong: No. It's the one I never saw that one. 

Douglas Sigwarth: He is, it was his last movie that he said he was done doing movies after that and got Big acclaim.

Anyway, he's a dressmaker, um, house of something. Can't remember what the last name was. It's a period piece, totally renowned, uh, uh, creative artist, blah, blah, blah, and he's so in his head, and he's so particular, and everything in the world just rises and falls and sets on him. And he has this, this total mood about him where He gets inspired by a woman, a muse, [00:57:00] and then he immediately falls out of favor with her, and every little thing, the noise from the toast scraping gets under his skin, and any noise distracts his creative process, and he gets just so, like, Put out, and then he puts her out, and then he moves on to another muse.

So, the whole story is about him finding this muse, who's kinda like meets his match. She like sees that he is so into himself, and it's, it's not good. And she calls him this fussy little man. She says he's just a fussy little man, and he needs to be broken from that. Then it takes a turn and it just gets outrageous.

She secretly starts poisoning him with mushrooms so that he can, he can become very sick. He becomes powerless. He has to rely on her to nurse him back to health. And that whole process gets him out of his own way and he becomes less of a fussy little man until he cycles back into being a fussy little man [00:58:00] again.

Well, then he realizes what she's doing, he embraces the fact that he needs to be broken and be brought back, and he embraces this whole cycle. Wow. That story, it was like, that is such the artist in their head. They need to be broken from their own sense of who they are, you know what I mean, and let go of control to be reborn again.

And so stuff like that, those little mantras, those little comical stories, help me just think, I don't want to be a fussy little man. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah, I, you know, it's funny, I used to, um, I used to have a few beers at the shows, and I don't really do that anymore, um, but I'll have one maybe if somebody, but I, if, if Ghenna Khrushchevanko buys me a beer, I've never not sold a painting, or a, it's, it's, we switched it to coffee at Old Town a couple years ago, but it's always that way, he's like, let's give it a try, and he comes and he brings me a, a, a drink, and I'm like, oh man, let's get this going.

Magic [00:59:00] elixir. You know, and it's, It's it has more to do with, you know, getting your head right and forgetting about the things that are are pissing you off or whatever. I tell you, though, I mean, I don't enjoy talking to people about, you know, casts and injuries and things like that because that that gets people out of the mind of wanting to talk to you about.

It's like having a cute dog in your booth. People want to talk about the dog and they want to talk about the cast. They want to do whatever it is besides the work that's in front of them. So it's the distraction. It's tough to shake that. You only get two and a half paces, right? Wasn't that what 10 feet is?

It's like, it's like three yards, you know, and two and a half, three paces and you're, you're gone. Anything that distracts you or distracts the customer, it's, and sitting in your booth, you know, nobody wants to go into the empty booth. So I always try to move around, 

Douglas Sigwarth: but yeah, just keep the energy up and gauging and That's how you keep the mood up.

That's how you keep the buying energy up is thinking about engagement and that's [01:00:00] worked. That's worked for me. Anyway, especially this year when I had to have my ass plopped in a chair, the whole the whole show. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah, but so many people do. I mean, you did a good job of kind of being on the edge of your seat, though, and you still felt like presence in the booth without.

You know, and it's not an option to stand for a lot of us. A lot of us are getting older and have, you know, foot 

Douglas Sigwarth: issues or whatever else. Maybe you. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah. Not me. Right. Not me. I got my, I got taps on my toes. Get going. Anyway, make a lot of noise. Be, be jingly. Back 

Douglas Sigwarth: to, like, goals for the upcoming year. We've, we've touched on it a little bit.

Um, do you have anything else that you've kind of had rolling around in your head for the year that you'd like to. to focus on or to change or to improve upon. 

Will Armstrong: Yeah, I've got a whole thing I'm going to do this year, which I'm just going to get my money right and make sure I'm not spending so much on things.

And that's my big goal is getting my money right, making sure I'm paying myself enough so that I'm not paying the tax man as much at the end of [01:01:00] the year, blah, blah, blah. So business, getting a good accountant, get the business. Yeah. Business plan. Yeah. So getting all of that. Stuff straight, but God, I can't imagine a drier topic to talk 

Douglas Sigwarth: about.

Well, no, I mean, we're all sitting down and thinking about the year coming up. And we've talked about a couple of things. One of the things that Renee and I have been thinking about and try out is this has been something that we kind of broached a few years ago with another artist. We have a similar aesthetic, similar inspirations and whatnot.

We're going to work on a collaboration. And so, we, we've never worked like that before. I mean, I guess Rene and I collaborate with each other, and you and I collaborate with each other here. But, uh, creating a body of work that, in our mind, is gonna be elevated, maybe beyond the street. Maybe something that might be more corporate.

What's wrong with the street? Nothing's wrong with that, but I think I want to do less traveling with [01:02:00] getting older. Okay. And I think we want to step into bigger projects that might be a little more involved. 

Will Armstrong: Interesting. Is this creating a piece? Or is this creating a body of work, a body of 

Douglas Sigwarth: work that is emerging of what us and these other this other person that we're working with and starting the getting the ball rolling with ideas and having it be open ended enough that this collaboration.

Can go places we weren't expecting and I find that that is just the act of doing that whether it just turns into infusing energy back into our own work or if it does turn into a very successful body of work that we form another kind of a, I don't know, business model, collaboration, whatever. Um, I'm pretty excited about the opportunity and, and the direction with that.

And one of the things that our sponsor Zap might be interested to know that I, uh, I looked into this week, was I logged on to Cafe, which is a call [01:03:00] for entry. 

Will Armstrong: Kind of a competitor website. It's 

Douglas Sigwarth: basically the Zaplication. It's a sister company for Zaplication. And it's for Wait, 

Will Armstrong: sister company or Totally, or competition.

It's, it's 

Douglas Sigwarth: under the umbrella of West Staff. Oh, okay. All right. Whereas application is focused on art fairs. Cafe is for public works, corporate works, exhibitions. They have all these different, it's basically like logging into Zap. You create a profile of that kind of body of work that you want to put out there.

I mean, it's a lot more nuanced, you know, with art shows, art festivals that we do, they kind of fall under a similar vein. You show up, you put up a tent, you do the show, that kind of thing, where this is so many different opportunities that you can read about and find out if. You're right for that and 

Will Armstrong: apply.

Interesting. So grants too? Grants were in there. They do grants? I think so, yeah. [01:04:00] Is it open to everyone or do you have to be, uh? It's free 

Douglas Sigwarth: to create a profile. You have to be a little fancier. Just like ZAP, creating a profile. And then you can look at all the call to entries. Now some of the costs are dependent upon each opportunity.

Some of the opportunities there might be an application fee. Some of them might be You just apply for free and then they choose who they want to work with and then there's negotiation about budget and all that kind of stuff So that's something we're looking into. Oh, 

Will Armstrong: that's interesting. I'll have to check that out myself I'm I've been interested in some public work kind of things and I've been I saw Laura Young Chris Jackson is her partner and he runs that that law that Jackson Young Gallery in Chicago that I show my work and nice but um She just did an amazing mural, uh, public works piece, and I, I just, I think super highly of those guys.

And she did such an amazing job on that, that I've been kind of, man, that would [01:05:00] be a really fun, I've thought about mural work in my own work, and in getting some of that, and that would be I wonder if there's some of that on there. I'll have to go on and check it out. So, cool. Thanks for the tip. Yep.


Douglas Sigwarth: That's, that's one of the goals I have for us, for our Glass business, but what about for you for thinking about the podcast? I mean, maybe we can have our little business meeting out loud for people here. 

Will Armstrong: Sure. Sure. Well, it's always fun to get people's, people's takes. And I threw that out there on social media about like, what would you like to hear us talk about?

I'd like to do more panel. Stuff. Um, we flirted with this idea, talking to Dolan and Allie Marie Guyman about doing some marketing talks and doing some talks about that. Having some, some past guests like, um, you know, Marjolaine Vander Hart's, uh, focus on. Her talk was early on in the podcast and it was very specific and those are some of the talks that I'd like to get into and have maybe more of a panel and get like, you know, there are so many interesting things.

[01:06:00] I swear we could have Chris Dawquist on every week if she ever had the time. Um, she just does so many different things with the artist community in Kansas City. So. Talking to some of the people that that branch out and keep themselves well balanced some of and we've we've been lucky enough to talk to so many of our kind of artistic heroes and and getting some of those guys back on to maybe talk to each other would be fun and there are so many other new voices getting some younger people I've got a got a kind of a running tally wish list and I flirted with the idea of talking to other people actually on the show so following up on on some of those I love that.

How about you? What do you, what 

Douglas Sigwarth: do you think? Well, I, um, I've really enjoyed our, our three person talks that you and I have been having with a guest. And I think I would like to explore more of those because I think we both bring some different interesting aspects to the table. 

Will Armstrong: I think so too. I would love that.

I love that groove we hit with Sarah Collier. Yeah. And, um, we also did one with, [01:07:00] with Ben Fry that just seemed like a. Kind of a living room kind of discussion where we're just chatting. So I love I love that kind of we had a nice nice comfort level with those. So more of that more of that for sure. And I also 

Douglas Sigwarth: we are always keeping our eyes peeled for the story.

That is just like it's that inspirational story of like defying all odds kind of thing and you know, Also, the idea of representation, you know, the story that maybe the masses don't always know and kind of peeling back what's happening behind the surface of the struggles that they go through to perhaps be in this business and 

Will Armstrong: learn.

It's interesting that you bring that up because there are a couple of people that I've run across this year that still kind of have day jobs, you know, and they're juggling those kind of getting their art business off the ground. And still doing some teaching or still doing some consulting and You know, [01:08:00] it's, it's all about the hustle and how, how you, you do that and they're comfortable doing that and, and that's how their life works and, and certainly, God, absolutely no judgment there, more of just interest, you know, I'm just more interested in the fact that, that is how they.

Are still rolling. It's like, okay, well, what would it take to get you to not do it? Or would you ever not do that if it's something that enlightens you and keeps you creative and and productive? So what you're 

Douglas Sigwarth: saying as a means to like help get them over the hump So it is like a full time thing or just getting in their head as to how they juggle 

Will Armstrong: both Yeah, both really.

Um, and and no, you know again, it's I don't have any judgment in this business as far as what it goes, as long as you're making your own work and you're just out there hustling, it's, it's just however it works is how it works 

Douglas Sigwarth: for you, right? I mean, there's so much to having a connected life. If the struggle with reconciling around work that sells [01:09:00] versus Not making work at all, you know what I mean, or making the work you really want, but it doesn't sell or whatever that struggle is.

If that is too difficult to maneuver and having that regular income, then you're making the work you want to make and you're supporting yourself and it all is good. You know, you've, you've, you have, you have figured out what the right path for you is and that's amazing. So we support all of that. 

Will Armstrong: Hell yeah, if there's somebody out there making, you know, 50, 000 on average at a show and somebody out there working just as hard making 5, 000.

I don't care. You know, this is who we're talking to. These are our people, you know. This is who we're interviewing and producing the show for. 

Douglas Sigwarth: We hate to put it out there that, that people might think that we come across as we're experts or something because we're still all figuring it out. We just want to have the conversations with each other and other artists.

So that it all just gets talked about to normalize our experience because we're all going through it. We're all different nuances about it So that's 

Will Armstrong: why we bring so many [01:10:00] different people on there because we have so many different unique perspectives And I certainly don't know. I don't know I'm sure you disagree with a lot of the stuff that I say and and I know We we kind of butt heads occasionally on on different topics, but that's what makes it fun.

And I know that because we're just two voices, there are another million different, uh, voices out there that that do things a different way. Yeah, it's fun to bring some of that to light and keep it going. And it sounds to me like we're. Kind of running up against the wall here. I think we did a good job today.

Douglas Sigwarth: I think it's time to wrap it up and get on to what other stuff we need to do today. 

Will Armstrong: Go ice that foot, get that thing up in the air. Put up 

Douglas Sigwarth: and you go get that jeweler's bench from the curb to your, to the house. 

Will Armstrong: Exactly. All right. 

Douglas Sigwarth: Take care, everyone. We'll see you out there on the 

Will Armstrong: road. We'll see you on the road.

This podcast is brought to you by the National Association of Independent Artists. The website is naiaartists. 

Douglas Sigwarth: org. Also sponsored by [01:11:00] Zapplication. That's zapplication. org. And while you're at it, find us on social media and engage in these conversations. 

Will Armstrong: Be sure to subscribe to this podcast to be notified when we release new episodes.


Douglas Sigwarth: and if you like the show, we'd love it if you would give us your five star rating and offer up your most creative review on your podcast streaming service. See you next 

Will Armstrong: time.