Maria Brophy


  • and make good money doing it!

    ‘Strategies for a Successful Art Business!’
Creativity / Entrepreneur

What You Do is Your Art

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the thing an artist does.

It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it.

What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.

Art is not in the eye of the beholder.  It’s in the soul of the artist.”

Seth Godin, Author of THE LINCHPIN Are you Indispensable? and a dozen other best-sellers.

I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s blog and books for awhile and so I was quite happy to meet him in person last year.  I asked him to sign THE LINCHPIN, his latest book release, to Drew for me.

When he signed it, I realized just how brilliant he really is; he wrote:

To Drew, listen to what Maria says.”  He’s incredibly insightful.

I’ve reprinted Seth’s blog post above because it speaks to me LOUD & CLEAR.

There are so many important projects that I want to complete – write books, e-book series, teach classes, speak at colleges, produce my own tv show, etc.

And it’s scary because I’m going to suck at it the first time I do anything.  It’s hard.  And who the hell am I to think that I can do big, important things?!

I just got my own tv show on the air, and you would think I’d be over the moon happy.

But I worry that it’s just not wonderful and perfect. It needs to be sharper, move faster,  suck the audience in a like Dyson Vacuum Cleaner.

And I’m scared that “they’re all gonna laugh at me!

I keep reminding myself, though – this tv show is my art.  I can’t draw or paint.  But I create in my own God-given ways.

And the only way to get good at anything is to keep doing it.  Each episode will be better than the one before.

I need to continue creating my own kind of “art”.

Get past the voices in my head that say “you’re not good enough.”  And “people will criticize.”

Seth Godin’s writing’s drill this point over and over again.

One day he’ll brainwash me just enough that I’ll stop giving into what he calls “the resistance” and continue to do what he encourages: “shipping”.

And I encourage all of you, too:

Kill the resistance.  Create your own form of art.  Ignore the voices of doubt.  And put your art out into the world.

Tell me, in the comments below, what is the resistance holding you back from?  What big project or dream have you not yet started, for fear of not being perfect at it?  Let us help break the walls down for you….

Maria xxoo

PS:  Click on Seth’s Head Above and you’ll be taken to his blog.  Sign up for his daily bits of wisdom.  It’s a great read first thing each morning!


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19 Comments What You Do is Your Art

  1. Lori Woodward

    Good morning Maria,

    You share so many of the sentiments about putting my art and my work out there. Let’s face it: It’s always scary to say something in front of thousands of listeners, and that’s what we’re doing. I read Seth’s books too, and what’s comforting is that he reiterates that eventual success requires that we get comfortable with failure. Although, I don’t see you failing at all!

    On the encouraging side. Even if you do suck at your first attempts, we’re here routing for you and know that your work will come to fruition because you’ll not give up. I really doubt it will suck anyway because you have a sincere desire to share and give us your best information. You just can’t fail with that delightful kind of attitude.

    Don’t worry, you know more than we do, and we’re waiting anxiously to glean from your experience and kind personality. Thank you so much for being willing to take time to share – I know you’ll be rewarded in many ways.

    1. Maria Brophy

      Thanks, Lori! Yes, writing from the heart leaves one extremely vulnerable. And online, you are more so. Thanks for rooting for me!

  2. Joann Sondy

    Oh, dear sister, I believe you and I are traveling similar paths. Each married to highly creative individuals and a yearning to ‘create’ our own artistic legacy. Am I proud of my husband’s work? Yes. Do I support his creative endeavors? Yes. What about my own dreams of developing a portfolio of my own (not the work I produce for my clients) but MY OWN work? I tap into it occasionally, saying to myself, that I’ll draw this weekend or take that artistic field trip to my favorite gallery next weekend.

    Well, not anymore!
    Congratulations on The Paint Shop — looking forward to seeing more of YOUR work.

  3. Indigene

    Wow, the universe just screams with like-minded people! I love you Maria! (Sorry, Drew, she was meant to be shared!) Lol!

    I’m working on some new marketing ideas, that will take me way of of my comfort zone, but I know it’s time! Why is it that when we’re afraid, we’re happy to hear that we’re not alone? I don’t know, but we are comforted by that fact.

    I know that you will be amazing at what you do! You have a proven track record, now with that step on out to the stage and get your standing ovation! I’m here to rally your cause, because I know by rallying you, I help myself, too! It’s all about a sense of community and that’s what keeps up going…(oh, and of course, the need to eat and have shelter, too!) 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing your accolades and fears, they encourage, inspire and push those of us who follow you and will keep us following you! Rock on Soul Sister, Rock On!

  4. kara rane

    Hi Maria-
    Thank you for sharing your goals and aspirations.
    My biggest obstacle is money, so I have always placed a high value on ideas>>the one place I could be free.
    There have been very, very few times I have been encouraged to be an artist.
    (mostly I have been discouraged).
    There is an ever growing shift in consciousness that is changing how many people feel. Thankfully, more people are understanding the value of that which we call art. Hopefully, we will begin to place monetary rewards on those that create such value. Imagine artists have access to as much and as many funds as scientists.
    And guess who fails over and over again,,scientists. But they often still get massive amounts of funding and accolades.
    Fund the ARTS and see what happens,,,more life, more love, more knowing, more compassion,

  5. Heather

    Thanks for this, something as simple as “Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.” makes me more confident to venture into my new series.


  6. Sarah

    Thanks for this, Maria. And for revealing your own little attacks of insecurity even in the midst of realizing a dream. Congratulations for doing it anyway and getting so out there.

    I’m a veteran artist and have had moderate success in several areas, including getting a book published this year.
    But my current challenge is to open a craft shop at home doing it my way, which flies in the face of all the current trends artists are being encouraged to follow.
    I’m not opening a webshop, I don’t do Twitter or Facebook. And sometimes I feel really stupid and stubborn since income isn’t exactly going through the roof here.
    But I am following my heart, finally. I’m spending good parts of each day making things with felt, silk and beads, happy as a clam, instead of doing more prestigious paying work, or spending time online.
    And I have finally found something to marry my ideals and income generation. By starting a small local based shop and supporting other craftspeople and artists by carrying their work commission free, I’m helping support a craft economy, creating something of value locally, and creating a base to share my long experience in art and craft techniques.
    I wake up in a panic that no one will come, nothing will sell. I have huge resistance to branding, so it takes courage to go ahead with this in my way, and trust that in 5 years I’ll have a thriving small scale ethical business that grew organiically and authentically.

  7. Oil Pastels Artist

    I was watching American Idol last night, and they had a guest on who was explaining to one of the contestants that blinders are put on horses for a reason – so they don’t get distracted! So they can focus on their goal! Yes – how insightful, right? It occurred to me that I could use some of those blinders! haha

    “What is the resistance holding you back from?” – that is a great question.

    Honestly, it’s a question that has really struck me hard recently. I was browsing the artwork of Alyssa Monks, and being so impressed with her work, and I got to thinking about the time, effort, and so much dedication she puts into it. I then ask myself – what is stopping me from creating artwork like that. I can make plenty of excuses… but really, what *is* holding me back? Only myself, in the end! Nobody else. I have every opportunity to make it happen. Not tomorrow – not next week. Right now!

    I believe that at some point, one must kill the excuses and fears and just go out and make it happen!

  8. Archan Mehta


    Your TV show was bound to happen–call it destiny?

    You’ll see, everything else will work out for you too.

    It is just a matter of time. I know this is true for you.

    Focus on your speaking engagements and not just in colleges, but all over the playground.

    Public speaking is the way to get yourself noticed and your business too. It is a great marketing move to go out there and make your voice heard. Talk about whatever is on your mind, what interests you.

    I am sure your audience will appreciate you for what you have to offer, which is a lot. Just do it, like the Nike ad. My best wishes, as always.

    And thank you for writing such an interesting post. Cheerio.

  9. Brenda

    Hey Maria,
    You may enjoy reading ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield which is about resistance and overcoming it to create art:

    I am always struggling with the voice that also says: you’re not good enough / that’s so lame, which can bring me down and cause less productive sad days. But I try to just keep moving forward, even if it’s not good enough, but forward movement is better than fear going backwards!

    thanks muchly for sharing your fears too

    1. Maria Brophy

      Thanks, Brenda. The War of Art is a great tip – I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard of it. I’m going to buy the MP3 so I can listen while running…..

  10. Mark Sisom

    Maria, hey there, I’m one of Jay Alders good friends from Jersey.

    One of my good friends out there in your neck-of-the-woods, Darin McClure, got me absolutely HOOKED on Seth Godin!!

    Godin’s words have been a surefire “voice of reason” for me with my field. I am a long time graphic design/creative director and have designed advertising and marketing campaigns for plenty of top companies and ever since being turned on to Godin’s genius I have been given new motivating ways to approach my career.

    … and gues what? You are becoming another “Seth Godin” for me. I love reading your stuff! Hopefully I’ll get to meet you and Drew someday and give you guys a big “high-5”!! 😉

    1. Maria Brophy

      Mark, thanks for the comment, and WOW, I never thought of myself as “another Seth Godin”! That’s the highest compliment ever!

      I look forward to meeting you in person one day. What a small world it is – Darin McClure is one of my dearest friends! (And so is Jay)

      1. Mark Sisom

        You’re welcome!! Yeah, small world for SURE! So cool you know Darin!! Love that dude! He is a LEGEND! lol

        Ask him about how he and I (amongst many others) were the ‘earliest of adopters’ in Social Networking via a Usenet newsgroup called alt.surfing back in the early mid 90’s. Usenet is what I would call the predecessor to what is now Social Networking/Media. It’s how I met Darin. 😉

        This was pure text based and long before there was such a thing as bulletin/message boards, forums, MySpace/FB, etc etc etc and ironically where “pimping” or marketing of any kind was complete taboo and aggressively frowned upon. If you came on there with a full on promo pitch about ANYTHING, you were proverbially attack right away. LOL

        Boy how things have changed.

        Would be super stoked to meet you and Drew someday, matter of fact, throw Drew a “double shaka” from New Jersey for me!!! hahaaa

  11. Laurie Mills

    Hi Maria
    Thank you for your great article. I totally relate! I’m right at the beginning of my art career…

    I’m learning a new style of art. I love Drew’s surf art style & am learning from him as well as trying to allow my “natural bent” to influence what I make. It’s definitely difficult as I usually draw realistic images with graphite pencil, but the colour & vibrance of this new-for-me style better expresses the delight in life.

    I feel fear & doubt – will people like my work, enjoy the message/s it conveys? Will they buy it? And then when I sit to make my next painting, I love myself in the thrill of that, and I care less about all the other stuff :).

    My aim atm is keep going, get accomplished in my style of art, and keep sharing it. One day at a time :). What’s the worst that could happen?

    You & your wisdom & experience are key factors in my even attempting to build an art career. Thank you very, very much :).

    All the best
    Laurie Mills


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