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Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules

Cory Huff, Melissa Dinwiddie and Leah Jay

Creative Insurgents is all about living a creative life by your own rules. We address topics like living a more fulfilled creative life, marketing, selling art online, and more.
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Top 10 Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules Episodes

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Art Journaling and Beating Back Fear with Cynthia Morris | CI#23

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


10/15/14 • 0 min to see Cynthia's art and videos.

:47 – Cory introduces Cynthia Morris, artist, writer, writing coach, and fabulous dancer

1:20 – Cynthia shows off her art journals a little bit and shows how she got started with them. She also mentions some resources from Frederick Frank, including Zen Drawing and Art As A Way

5:20 – how visual thinkers can quickly capture ideas and thoughts in a visual format instead of journaling or note taking

11:00 – Cynthia and Cory discuss the fact that even artists who are very experienced feel insecure or are unaware of how good they are at their art. Cynthia talks about putting your head down and building up chops.

15:00 – Cynthia shares her tips on how to finish a book or other long-term projects. She emphasizes the importance of understanding that big projects really take something from you, and you have to strategize on how to deal with that beforehand.

20:00 – Cory & Cynthia both talk about dealing with self-doubt and how to face that kind of fear

21:00 – Cynthia talks about how her dancing videos help her filter out people who are not a good fit for working with her

25:00 – Cynthia talks about what it means to live a creative life on your own terms

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Straight Talk on the Business of Being an Artist, with Shirley Williams | CI#22

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


10/01/14 • 37 min

0:36 - Cory shares that living in France is not paradise, and sees it as a metaphor for everyone. "Embrace the chaos."

1:09 - Melissa's Great ClutterBust program is still open throughout October. Sign up at

1:53 - Due to the lack of a good internet connection in France, Cory was unable to be present for the interview portion.

2:29 - Introducing Shirley Williams, abstract expressionist painter based in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

3:37 - Pricing: the surprising Catch-22 of commanding high prices. "It wasn't paying my bills!" (Tip: "When you end up having less work than what you're selling, that's when you raise your prices.")

6:55 - "I don't know if I want to be famous; I want to make my living from this!"

9:08 - How Shirley prices her work: Lineal inch pricing (tip: this is how professional galleries do it).

10:37 - The importance of getting clear on what you really want for yourself, and why it doesn't work to be a museum artist and a self-represented artist. "There's one thing that's constant as a professional artist, and that's change."

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Matt LeBlanc on the Artist as Entrepreneur | CI#20

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


09/03/14 • 36 min

:39 Melissa talks about her experiments with her new looping app (listen to tracks here or on SoundCloud).

1:10 Cory is getting ready to move to Montmarte, and is about to open up his Authentic Online Marketing for Artists course, starting September 15 (see for details).

2:05 Cory introduces artist Matt LeBlanc (

3:05 Matt shares how he handled the career transition from marketing employee to full-time artist.

4:52 Matt's biggest key to success.

6:32 How it felt to walk in and tell his boss he was leaving to focus on his art career full-time.

8:22 How do you build an art business on the side, while raising a family and working a full-time job? "I'm not the person who has the most talent, but I'm one of the persons who will work the hardest."

9:43 "If you're gonna pick something, make sure you research it, and make sure you do it well," and the importance of not relying on a single revenue stream.

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Secrets of Successful Solo Shows with Stan Klein & Renee Robbins | CI#19

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


08/19/14 • 32 min

:30 – Cory talks about spending the weekend in Birmingham, England.

1:30 – Melissa’s upcoming Get Sparked course.

3:14 – Stan Klein is the creator of Firecat Projects, which hosts a unique solo show model where the artist keeps all of the revenue.

8:00 – Renee Robbins did a show with Firecat about 18 months ago. Renee talks about how she worked toward the concept of her solo show. She used the Firecat show as a way of pushing herself into a new direction with her work.

11:00 – Stan & Renee talk about the collaborative process for developing the show. This new model requires a lot of trust between Stan and the artist, but it creates a more rewarding show.

14:02 – the artist needs to let people in to the creative process and the thoughts that bring the work into being. It helps people get excited about the work.

17:05 – Renee talks about how she became comfortable talking about her work.

19:55 – Melissa shares a powerful personal experience about how sharing a story and a song sold a piece of art

25:03 – How the Firecat show influenced Renee’s career financially. Several of the people from that show became subscribers to her future work.

26:23 – Stan & Renee’s suggestions on how to have a great show.

30:37 – Cory & Melissa ask for your reviews on iTunes. Click here to leave us a review and we’ll give you a shout out next episode!

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Jolie Guillebeau on Becoming an Artist | Creative Insurgents Episode 18

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


08/05/14 • 35 min

2:33 Introducing Jolie Guillebeau, and her struggle to make it to art school, being foiled at every turn by parents, teachers, and institutions.

6:11 What happened immediately after Jolie graduated from art school (hint: she didn't paint or draw for an entire year, paralyzed by fears, perfectionism, and the internal judge that came on board in school.)

8:00 How Jolie found her way out of the stuckness, and her first 100-day painting series (out of which 87 paintings sold, with a mailing list that started with just 42 people).

11:30 How Jolie grew her list from 42 to 270 people in 100 days.

12:55 Jolie's story of facing down her "You're Not a Real Artist" gremlins one at a time (her "Kill Bill List").

16:16 How Jolie priced her different 100-painting series, the challenges of Name Your Own Price pricing, and finding her pricing "sweet spot."

19:00 How Jolie transitioned into being a full-time artist, and a breakdown of where her income comes from now, including her actual income goals.

22:12 Being able to say "I'm an artist" without hesitation.

23:14 "Just as important is the product is talking about the process. In fact, in some cases, it's more important!"

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Artists Can Get Paid to Create with Patreon - Creative Insurgents Episode 17

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


07/18/14 • 28 min

1:02 Melissa's upcoming improv performance on July 20th in San Francisco, and upcoming live playshop, Unleash Your Inner Creative, on Saturday, July 26th.

3:45 Cole Palmer explains what Patreon is all about (ie, an "ongoing crowdfunding model, to allow artists to create a sustainable and reliable salary with the support of their fans).

4:37 How Patreon got started.

5:50 How Patreon is different from sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

7:00 Cory likens Patreon to an updated, egalitarian version of the old patron system.

8:41 Cory shares his perspective as a supporter of the arts, who wants to pay the webcomic artists he loves, but they don't always have something for sale!

10:15 Melissa: "There are people out there who are dying to buy something from you... if you just have a way to make it available!"

11:35 Funding and community can be combined in one place.

12:03 What kinds of artists are most successful with Patreon? Artists who already have huge followings? Or do artists build audiences on Patreon?

12:46 Examples of successful artists on Patreon: Molly Lewis, a musician earning $2,695.27 per original song from 406 patrons, and Tom Merritt, a podcaster who is earning $11,333.68 per month from 4,156 patrons.

14:34 How did Patreon create this level of success? Why is it better for an artist to use Patreon than to set up a donation button on their own website?

16:41 "I'm an artist with a vision of creating a body of work, and being supported to do that. What does Patreon do, and what do I do, to make sure I'm successful?"

19:00 How have visual artists used Patreon to good effect? (Hint: it works best to intersect the digital world and the analog world.)

21:21 Creative and unusual ways that Patreon has been used: Chalk Children's Hospital

24:50 Some visual artists who are using Patreon: Jennifer Miller, Shayla Maddox, Ricky Colsen

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What a $1 Million Art Business Looks Like with Owen Garrett | Ep 16

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


07/02/14 • 42 min

1:20 - If all of the changes Facebook is making are hurting your marketing, then you’ll want to check out the Facebook Marketing for Artists course here:

2:30 - Melissa Dinwiddie’s upcoming live retreat, “Unleash Your Inner Creative Playshop” is coming up as well.

3:30 - we introduce Owen Garrett from

4:30 - Owen talks about how he got his start selling art door to door and how he ended up selling the first piece of his own art for $500.

7:10 - why Owen doesn’t tell collectors that he’s really good at selling art, and where he got his sales training

11:00 - we talk about Owen’s blog, The Colonel, and his workshop elves. This is a great little tidbit about storytelling in selling art

15:40 - *This is the gold* how Owen actually makes money - what he sells vs. what he leaves alone

22:00 - how Owen’s commercial sales lead to additional sales, and what Owen does to help that happen

25:00 - the power of systems and how Owen has trained his employees and his business to function efficiently and smoothly, which in turn brings in more money

31:21 - Owen talks, very specifically, about how he packages his art for shipping

35:30 - last year, Owen’s business generated almost $1 million in sales. He talks about some of the luck and help he had along the way

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Grants and Residencies for Artists with Shannon Amidon | Episode 15

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


06/18/14 • 29 min

2:21 Minnie introduces artist Shannon Amidon, and introduction to the concept of the artist's residency.

3:56 Shannon shares about her month-long residency in Iceland.

4:55 How to go about getting a residency of your own (see resources below).

9:05 What kinds of organizations sponsor residencies?

10:52 Remember: residencies are competitive. Shannon's thoughts on dealing with rejection.

11:22 Shannon's history as an artist.

12:51 Shannon's vision for starting up a residency program of her own (a residency for families)!

14:36 What it means to Shannon to live a creative life on her own terms.

15:57 Where Shannon's income comes from, what she's discovered is the secret to higher sales, and the types of marketing that work for her.

18:16 How Shannon's residency experiences ...

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When Is An Artist an Entrepreneur with Claudine Hellmuth | Episode 14

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


06/02/14 • 35 min

:30 - Melissa shares her experience with varnishing paintings - acrylic artists will appreciate this a lot

2:40 - Melissa introduces Claudine Helmuth - painter, author, licensed artist and teacher

4:09 - Claudine talks about her history of how she got started in her full time art career (she learned HTML & web design early in her career, before she went full time as an artist)

7:45 - Claudine talks about every entrepreneur’s recurring nightmare: will I make enough money - even after 13 years on the path

11:20 - How Claudine’s various sources of income break down

13:40 - Why Claudine has decided to move all of her workshops online instead of in person

15:30 - Claudine talks about her experience getting dropped from Home Shopping Network

17:40 - Claudine breaks down how she started building each of her various streams of income

22:30 - we talk about acting before you know everything and testing things out without committing to them 100%

27:45 - how Claudine designed her digital downloads that she sells for people to print out on their own and put together themselves

32:00 - Claudine really approaches her art career as a business and she thinks its fun - her attitude is really refreshing - and she talks about how her audience has helped her create new and interesting directions in her art business

To see more of Claudine's work, her website is

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How to Talk About Your Art Even if You’re A Hopeless Introvert

Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules


12/30/14 • 27 min

1:15 - Vanessa’s introduction. She’s an expert in body language and sales.

3:00 - people decide VERY early in their first impression of you whether or not they’re going to buy from you. You can learn the skills that will make a great first impression.

7:30 - how we talk about our talents. The 5 aspects of who we are and how we express ourselves. Vanessa talks about how to learn these things and recognize them in others. We do some really fun playing with body language.

17:00 - what the stress hormone, cortisol, is and does

20:30 - the power of proximity. How close you stand to someone matters a lot.

24:15 - you don’t have to be an extrovert. Charisma and body language vary by person. Vanessa talks about playing to your strengths.

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What is the most popular episode on Creative Insurgents: Living a Creative Life by Your Own Rules?

The episode title 'Art Journaling and Beating Back Fear with Cynthia Morris | CI#23' is the most popular.

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