Artist Kristin Simmons turned dead money into Instagram-driven #profits

kristin simmons instagram white border.png

 

An unexpected instagram connection helped New York City artist Kristin Simmons pivot from her start in advertising to a full-time, award-winning, and profitable art career. Her provocative work is informed by the excessive, materialistic cultures of Wall Street and New York City. 

 

In Kristin’s money story you will learn:

-How she made her first art sale while working in advertising

-The hashtags she used to attract a buyer to her work

-The price of the first piece of art she sold

-Why so much of Kristin’s work is tied to money and consumerism

-Her take on millennials attitudes about money and materialism

-Kristin’s background and how it led her to her career as an artist

-How the art world works when artists use galleries, versus when they self-promote on social media

-How you can buy art that is affordable

In Kristin’s money lesson you will learn:

-Her advice on how to follow your dreams, and still pay your bills

-Ways to use social media to leverage your skills and the content you create

-Pricing strategies for art

In Kristin’s money tip you will learn:

-How having the right basic ingredients at home will help you make more meals at home, and save money

-Kristin’s favorite 5 foods to have on hand

-Where Kristin goes for her recipes

In My Take you will learn:

-How to buy art as an investment

-When to use a gallery and when to seek out an artist directly

-How to use social media to research and find art to buy

-Why insurance needs should always be considered when you buy art

You will also learn how you can win a promotional video, like the ones for financial grownup for your own business- or just for yourself. 

EPISODE LINKS

Kristin Simmons website: https://www.kristinsimmonsart.com/

The name of the arts gala she is performing at on June 7th is ChaShaMa: https://www.chashama.org/event/gala2018

This summer Kristin’s art can be seen at Galerie Mourlot (https://mourloteditions.com/) as part of the Hamptons art fair (http://artmarkethamptons.com/) in early July. 

Research and buy art on some of Kristin’s favorite sites:

Mourlot editions

Wide Walls

Art Space

Paddle8.com

Also mentioned: RealSimple.com

Follow Kristin!

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kristinsimmonsart/?hl=en

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kristinsimmonsart/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter https://twitter.com/Kristins_Art

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristin-simmons-07596031/

An unexpected instagram connection helped New York City artist Kristin Simmons pivot from her start in advertising to a full-time, award-winning, and profitable art career. Her provocative work is informed by the excessive, materialistic cultures of Wall Street and New York City. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode you'll learn which hashtags to use to attract buyers on instagram and how you can follow your dreams while still paying the bills. #MoneyTips #Hashtags #Instagram #AttractBuyers

An unexpected instagram connection helped New York City artist Kristin Simmons pivot from her start in advertising to a full-time, award-winning, and profitable art career. Her provocative work is informed by the excessive, materialistic cultures of Wall Street and New York City. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode you'll learn which hashtags to use to attract buyers on instagram and how you can follow your dreams while still paying the bills. #MoneyTips #Hashtags #Instagram #AttractBuyers

 
An unexpected instagram connection helped New York City artist Kristin Simmons pivot from her start in advertising to a full-time, award-winning, and profitable art career. Her provocative work is informed by the excessive, materialistic cultures of Wall Street and New York City. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode you'll learn which hashtags to use to attract buyers on instagram and how you can follow your dreams while still paying the bills. #MoneyTips #Hashtags #Instagram #AttractBuyers

An unexpected instagram connection helped New York City artist Kristin Simmons pivot from her start in advertising to a full-time, award-winning, and profitable art career. Her provocative work is informed by the excessive, materialistic cultures of Wall Street and New York City. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode you'll learn which hashtags to use to attract buyers on instagram and how you can follow your dreams while still paying the bills. #MoneyTips #Hashtags #Instagram #AttractBuyers


Transcription

Bobbi Rebell:
... simpler for financial grownup with Bobbi Rebell and the following message come from TransferWise, the cheaper way to send money internationally. TransferWise takes a machete to the hefty fees that come with sending money abroad. Test it out for free at transferwise.com/podcast or download the app.

Kristin Simmons:
I do these pieces of old stock certificates, which is ironic because it's basically dead money, and I started drawing these Mad Men characters on them with these Lichtensteinesque bubbles and stock quotes coming out of their heads, and I posted one on Instagram, and I hashtagged the name of a company, and someone reached out to me and said, "Hey, my dad used to own that company. Can I buy that piece of art from you?"

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner, Bobbi Rebell, author of How to Be a Financial Grownup, but you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money, but it's okay. We're going to get there together. I'm going to bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, everyone, before I tell you about this week's guest, I want to let you know I have a big announcement coming up after the interview, and it has to do with something that you're all asking me about, the video promos that we put out with each episode, and how you can get them for you or your business, so stay tuned for that.

Bobbi Rebell:
Now to our guest. You heard her talking about her first sale. Want to know how much that first piece of art sold for? Well, stay with us here. The number surprised me. Artist Kristin Simmons incorporates themes of money and consumerism into her work in thought provoking and frankly sometimes polarizing ways, but she doesn't moralize. She's won a number of awards, including the National Endowment of the Arts award. Kristin grew up in New York, and her work has been informed by the city's culture, which can be a bit over the top when it comes to money here in New York City. She actually started her postcard career working in advertising doing art as her side hustle. She was able to have a studio area in her apartment, in part because of her early decision to buy an apartment at the age of 23. Being realistic, she did not see it as something that she could do for a living, especially in New York, that is, being a full-time artist. That is, until her Instagram feed prompted her very first sale. Here is artist Kristin Simmons.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, Kristin Simmons. You're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Kristin Simmons:
Thanks very much, Bobbi. I'm so happy to be here today and talk with you.

Bobbi Rebell:
I recruited you because you are a rising star artist, and you focus so much on money and finance related iconography and themes, a little bit polarizing sometimes. Tell us briefly about your art.

Kristin Simmons:
Definitely. So, my art is very much focused on consumerism and the idea of what money can do for us, both its privileges and its dangers that it has.

Bobbi Rebell:
What inspired you? Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Kristin Simmons:
My art is really inspired by the time I grew up in the late 80s, early 90s, when Reaganomics was really in full swing, and the market was booming, and I think a lot of millennials have certain mindsets or proclivities about spending and money because of how we were raised from a subconscious age.

Bobbi Rebell:
And you were raised to be very aware of money. Tell us your money story.

Kristin Simmons:
Sure. I do these pieces of old stock certificates, which is ironic because it's basically dead money. These are stocks that people were issued pre-Quotron machine in the 60s and 70s, and I started drawing these Mad Men characters on them with these Lichtensteinesque bubbles and stock quotes coming out of their heads, and I posted one on Instagram, and I hashtagged the name of a company, and someone reached out to me and said, "Hey, my dad used to own that company. Can I buy that piece of art from you?"

Bobbi Rebell:
That's crazy.

Kristin Simmons:
Yeah.

Bobbi Rebell:
Can you tell us how much you sold that first piece for?

Kristin Simmons:
The first piece I sold for $750.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's nice.

Kristin Simmons:
Yeah, it's great, and it was a unique work, so now the work has escalated to a greater price, but my prints still go for around that. I'm a big believer in trying to make original art at a price where people who are saving can afford it and also can compound over time if an artist does well in their career, but it was an amazing moment, and it really spurred me to think, okay, how can I hedge my marketing experience and maybe I'm onto an idea here that other people are interested in.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's so interesting. How much of your art sales are tied to social media, as opposed to people discovering it, because I do know you do have showings in traditional art galleries.

Kristin Simmons:
At the beginning, they were almost all tied to social media. Now I'd probably say about 30 percent.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's so interesting. So, your Instagram and social media basically is disrupting, I mean, not just yours but Instagram in general and social media is disrupting the art world in a way that I don't it is being talked about that much. It's fascinating.

Kristin Simmons:
Yeah. And it has been for a while, and other websites, too, that are more run by artists or artist run galleries, where they don't take as big of a commission. It's still a very okay market, the art world, and I don't even profess to know that much about it. I learn more every day, but I also kind of find it interesting because of that aspect and because of it's so involving and there are no set rules quote-unquote.

Bobbi Rebell:
What would be the lesson for people, you got noticed simply by being proactive on social media, and being compelling. I mean, your Instagram is really good.

Kristin Simmons:
Thank you. I would say everyone has something to share. Everyone has a story to share or something that's unique or special about them, and don't be afraid to have that voice. Yeah, you may get criticized for it. There will always be people who don't like what you're saying or think that your work or your voice is crap, but that's just one of the evils of the web, so again, I would just say be confident, and just start creating content or posting things or looking into things that interest you and be vocal about that.

Bobbi Rebell:
And if you're approached about selling something, how do you even know where to begin with the pricing?

Kristin Simmons:
For sure, sure. So that's a question I get all the time, and there's a simple answer and a not simple answer. The simple answer is what's my time, my hourly rate into making something, what are the material costs, and what is the idea worth. That's kind of a simple formula, and how you figure out what an idea is worth is a little more complicated obviously. Pricing for artists is very much set by themselves. It's a market that they set based on what the value they think their work is. For me, it's slightly gone up over time because I've had option results, I've had museum shows, and yeah, I kind of started at, again, that formula of idea, time, plus materials, and now once you gain additional credentials, you are then advised by galleries to adjust the numbers accordingly.

Bobbi Rebell:
And, of course, the galleries take 50 percent. Have to remember that.

Kristin Simmons:
Exactly.

Bobbi Rebell:
I want to talk about the money tip that you have brought with you because it's something that so many of us can benefit from, and it has to do with saving money by cooking, and you talk about the five ingredients. What do we need? Help us, Kristin. Help us.

Kristin Simmons:
Oh, my God, definitely. I mean, cooking's a great way to save money, and since I work from home, I cook all the time. Five ingredients. There are a bunch of different combinations, but the ones I like are eggs, spinach, rice, avocado and olive oil.

Bobbi Rebell:
Why those, and what do you make with those?

Kristin Simmons:
So, they're full of anti-oxidants and omega threes, most of those ingredients, and what I typically make is, I'll make like a kimchi bowl, Korean style, with rice, and I'll put an egg on top of it, and then you just throw some vegetables in it and some olive oil. It's a really healthy meal. It's very low cost to buy those ingredients, and it keeps you full for most of the day and kind of keeps your brain working and your body feeling good.

Bobbi Rebell:
Where do you get the recipes? Do you have any websites you recommend?

Kristin Simmons:
Yeah, Real Simple has actually a great cookbook. I think theirs is like 30 ingredients or something under 30 dollars that you can buy. I sometimes get recipes, I sign up for the self.com newsletter, even though I don't read their magazine. They often have good recipes, but yeah, Real Simple is probably the first place I would look. I really like their recipes.

Bobbi Rebell:
Excellent. All right, let's talk more about your art, what inspires you, where you're going to be showing this summer, where people can see it, and all that good stuff.

Kristin Simmons:
Thanks so much, Bobbi, again for having me, and in terms of the summer and what I'm doing, I am going to be part of an art gala on June 7th in New York called [Shamacha 00:08:48]. I'm hoping I'm getting the name right, or the Shamana Gallery.

Bobbi Rebell:
We'll put a link in the show notes.

Kristin Simmons:
It's a benefit hosted by the Durst organization, who gives a lot of money to the arts every year, and I'm going to be kind of doing an interactive performance piece in an office [inaudible 00:09:03] space there, and that'll be the first time I'm doing interactive performance work, so I'm looking forward to that, and then I will also be showing at the Hampton's Art Fair, which is on July 5th, because the 4th falls on a Wednesday, so there's that long weekend that comes back. July 5th to the 8th, the summer with Gallery Mourlot. That's kind of one of the biggest galleries I show with. I'm going to be showing new work there, which I'm really excited about.

Bobbi Rebell:
And where can people find you on social? Especially your Insta, but everywhere.

Kristin Simmons:
Sure. So, it's my name. It's KristinSimmonsArt, so K-R-I-S-T-I-N. Not E-N. S-I-M-M-O-N-S-A-R-T. That's my Instagram, and that's my website, too.

Bobbi Rebell:
Wonderful. Thank you so much.

Kristin Simmons:
Thank you so much, Bobbi.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, everyone. I love that Kristin advocates cooking at home. It's an easy and usually painless way to save money. It's also usually healthier, and she's right. Have five key ingredients at home. Yours might be different from hers, but that is definitely a way to save money. I want to focus on the idea though of buying art as an investment, or maybe just because you like it and want to own some art. So, Financial Grownup tip number one, Kristin pointed out kind of an open secret in the art world. Galleries take 50 percent. So, if an artist is selling work through a gallery, the gallery has costs and plays an important role, and they should get paid, so you got to take that into consideration if you go that route. However, as a buyer, if you know of an artist and you are interested in work that has not been seen at a gallery, you can go to the artist directly and have a lot more flexibility on the price.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thanks to social media, that is easier than ever, and as Kristin mentioned, well, 750 bucks, which is what she got for her first sale is a lot of money for many people. It's also a realistic price point for many people looking to start an art collection. If you're interested in actual places to go to discover artists, I did reach out to Kristin after we taped, and she sent along a few resources. I'll put them in the show notes as well, but she mentions Morlot Editions, I hope I said that correctly, Wide Walls and Art Space for original art. She also says Paddle8 is a great resource where you can even sign up for a payment plan. Prices there range from as little as 75 dollars to 15,000 dollars for most contemporary work. So, 75 bucks, you could do that.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup tip number two. When you do buy art, depending on the value, make sure that you insure it. Art can often be insured just within your home owner's policy or your renter's insurance, but read that policy. You may need to add a floater as a supplement to the policy, and get the work appraised. It's also a good idea to make sure there are photographs of the art, so if something does happen, there are documents to support your claim.

Bobbi Rebell:
Okay, onto the big announcement. I'm really excited about this. As I said at the top of the show, I keep being asked video promos for the show. Where do I get them made? How can you get one? All that stuff. The secret is I actually make them myself. Even though I was primarily a television anchor and financial journalist in my previous ventures, previous career, I also learned a lot of skills that I now use for things like that. I love making the videos, and I have a lot of fun being creative, and sometimes a little bit silly. So, I've been asked how much I would charge to make them for people, and where someone can hire me, but the truth is I'm not getting into that business. They're not for sale. I've got a lot on my plate with Financial Grownup, and my speaking engagements, and brands that I work with, so that is not going to be my next side hustle, even though a lot of you guys have asked for it.

Bobbi Rebell:
But, I have decided to try an experiment. I am going to give one away to a listener, so here's all you have to do. Between now and let's say July, every time you see me post a video, a promo video on social media, share it, and I will choose the winner based on whoever shared the most videos between now and when I pick the first winner, which again, will be in July. [inaudible 00:13:09] I will make a custom video just for you, or one that you can use promoting your business. We'll work it out. It'll be a lot of fun. I'm really excited.

Bobbi Rebell:
So, all right, thank you all for supporting Financial Grownup, always. Please share this episode, and then the others that you enjoy with your friends on social media, and also, if you have not already, please subscribe so you don't miss any episodes, and this is the big ask. I know they don't make it easy, but it really helps the show get discovered if you rate and review the podcast.

Bobbi Rebell:
More listener involvement, we have just selected our first listener to be a guest. That episode will be coming up in June. I'm excited to share it with you guys. If you want to be considered for the next one, just email us at info@financialgrownup.com. Include the money story and the money tip that you would share if you were selected.

Bobbi Rebell:
To learn more about Financial Grownup, go to bobbirebell.com/financialgrownuppodcast. Follow me on Twitter at bobbirebell. On Instagram at bobbirebell1. On Facebook at Bobbi Rebell. Thanks to Kristin Simmons for inspiring us and showing us all that art can be a profitable side hustle and even your main job, and helping us get one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart, and is a BRK Media production.