Reed A Prescott III

Friday, December 17, 2010

“The Easiest Sales in the World”

By Reed A Prescott III

The easiest sales in the world to make are the ones where the buyer fully believes in and benefits from what the seller has to offer. This might seem like common sense but it escapes most non-profits and individuals.

So why is it hard for the Arts to gather support? After all the ways of a creative thinking society is the underpinnings for our world. In large part it is because we somehow don’t understand this dynamic and that we can nurture it. We rarely see the value in what we do naturally and because of this we miss its opportunities. As someone who paints on location at resorts I sometimes stand in envy of those who can afford to frequent a place that offers the finer things in life. I even start to listen to that fleeting voice in my head that says “what would it be like to be in their shoes?” Reality always revels itself when one of those guests comes up to me in total admiration and says “I have always wanted to do what you are doing right now.” These are the people who are on the front line to support my work.

You see in every business, corporate board room, community leadership position, or any other place you can imagine there are people who have put their creativity aside to “make a responsible living”. People who if life would allow them to follow their dreams they would choose to do what we in the creative profession do every day. There are heads of a Forbes listed corporations who loved playing classical music, successful entrepreneurs who painted passionately in their youth, or that politician who loved to dance but gave it up under the ironic ideal of “responsibility”. They, like most of society, have been conditioned to think that the Arts have no place in culture except for taking a respite from the mundane chores of life.

How do we change that programmed thought and develop support for a true economy around “Creativity”? The answer is two fold-“Proven value and Connectedness”.

How do we prove the value of the Arts? I believe we insert ourselves into society and through participation prove our worth. Those who have nurtured a creative idea or have been part of an environment where it was safe to be unashamedly, playfully, creative have found success. Who would think that creating a Web Based outlet where friends could reconnect and stay connected would be innovative enough to even make a living at? Mark Zuckerberg did with Facebook. Who would believe that by recreating that childhood practice of enhancing your ice cream could evolve into a sweet fortune? Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Look at any fresh, new, and wildly successful businesses and you will find a creative component pushing it to the leading edge of a market. You see what most businesses know is that “Innovation leads to Profits” what artist’s know is that “Creativity leads to Innovation” We are the forefront to a prosperous economy yet we take a step back and stay on the sidelines watching as the beautiful people dance together. A society that stays on the leading edge of innovation fosters an environment where creativity leads the way or they are soon taking a back seat to other societies.

The second component is “Connectedness”. We are by design a creature that needs others. We survive better in groups, we learn interacting with others, and we feel pleasure helping others to grow. We are so designed to be connected that as our experiences change the way we see life our focus instinctively changes and seeks those who in some way have had a similar experience. It validates who we are. This dynamic presents itself in even the simplest of our life experiences. If you want to know who drives a Volvo then buy a Volvo. Want to know who is fixing up an old house then buy an old house and fix it up. The person who took a vacation to Ireland is more likely to purchase the piece you created when you lived there for a year. As if by some magnetic pull we are naturally drawn towards those with similar life experiences. We seek this connection.

One statistic that has been tossed around the art economy is that 60% of all sales made by Artist’s are to friends and families. The answer to why this is so is due to their connection with the artist. They have a front row seat to the trials and life experiences that mold the works. They have a love and heart felt desire to want the Artist to succeed and are willing to be supportive in any way possible. They live vicariously through the Artist knowing that they had a part in paving the road to the artist's success and happiness. Seeing this grow they have no regret in investing to make this happen.

A truly Creative Economy flourishes when we can open up the connections with people who benefit and fully believe in what we create. Support can be drawn to you like a magnet by opening up your life stories and to welcome those who can identify in. So weather developing a following through social media or teaching a class on how to paint our goal should always be to open those doors that allow others to connect with our life experiences and to help them grow because of that connection. As a creative culture we need to seek and develop opportunities that allow the successful businessperson to reconnect with their latent passion for the arts. We need to develop a culture that treats a creative exercise with the same value it does a cardiovascular exercise. We need to contribute and improve the world we live in by taking the lead on creativity and innovation. In a truly prosperous creative economy we need to invest some of our creative fortune and have faith that in doing so our investment matures. As we see our communitie benefit from our participation and our value evedient to all the support will follow us wherever we go.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Now under the category of full disclosure I need to tell you "I am a man". What this means is that asking for help does not come easy for me. Remembering this story told to me by Ron Rood I realize I am not the only one with this problem.

Years ago there was a lady in Bristol Vt who went to her basement to find a skunk had made its way in.... but could not get out. Perplexed she considered all her options and decided to open her hatchway and put a couple of boards across the steps so the skunk could find its way out.

After waking the next morning she decided to go down cellar to see how her plan worked. To her surprise it worked better than she had expected.

Now she had two skunks in her basement.......

One of the basic beach rules is that if you see someone distressed in the water.. do "NOT" go to their aid unless you are trained to do so. You can quickly go from 1 person in need to 2 people in need.

To be successful in business you need to understand this basic axiom. A successful business will access what services are best to hire out and what are best done in house. Although you might be able to do all your book keeping if you are the creative thinker who starts innovation... it might not be the best use of your time. You might be able to service your own vehicles yourself ....but it might be a better use of you to hire someone to do this. You get the picture.

First step is to access what skills bring in the most benefit for your business or home. Then what skills are easy for you to do but take up much of your time at little benefit and can be completed more efficiently by someone else.

Second step is to access the expense to have it done by someone else

Third step is to analize this information and decide if it is best done in house, out sourced, or maybe not even done at all then budget for that expense.

Yesterday I went to a framer with a computerized matt cutter. I had been cutting 8x10matts for small prints and found that it would take me 3-5 hours to cut 50 matts. Once the measurements were set in their computer they could cut 100 matts in an hour and at a cost to me of around 60 cents above my material cost.

This frees up time for painting, planning, and networking which have proven to be more beneficial to my business. With this I can increase my mini print market and have even more time to do the next painting.

So the next time I am in Boston and lost..... I might ask for directions.

Prescott Galleries

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Era (are) You Dyslexic?"

Are you dyslexic? I believe I might be and it has caused me a lot of problems. You see, to switch letters and numbers can lead to problems if you are talking to one of those people who take things literally.

Throughout my adult life my dyslexia has kept me very busy. I am on numerous community boards and committees because when asked to be on a board I try to say "NO" but instead I say "ON"

I had to give up paint by numbers years ago because I would paint 21- Brown instead of 12-Blue and the painting never looked right to me with blue tree trunks and a brown sky.

Now there are more people out there Dyslexic than you realize. I am constantly called "Deer", usually by women so can I assume women are more prone to this disorder than men?

My fear is that men also have this disorder which can be very dangerous in Vermont when you are a male and your name spelled back words is Deer. I stay out of the woods in the fall during deer hunting because I don't want to find out my theory is right first hand.

Now there is nothing I can do about my disorder so instead I celebrate the good that comes from it.

1) My paintings have grown to be better than any paint by number you can buy

2) I have built a misguided reputation as someone who is active in the community

3) I save money by not Deer hunting

So at the end of the day I have learned to live with my shortcomings because after all "It's hard being me..... but I get to do it"

Deer Prescott
Prescott Galleries

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Can Your Marriage Survive a Yard Sale"

Today is a big day in Lincoln Vermont. It is the 21 annual Town Wide Yard Sale. That's right 21 years of the small town recycling movement where you are obligated to go from neighbor to neighbor purchasing items that you can have for your own sale two years down the road.

Now not everyone gets the process. That's right! There are those who go to the sales just because they have never seen a particular house up close. Those who go for the social aspect. Those who are actually shallow enough to think they are actually going to keep the stuff. You name it. There are thousands of different reasons to go to this event.

For me I look forward to this every year except the years when we have our own sale. The days of preparation before hand and that dreaded day when I say to my wife.

"Let's sell the porcelain mouse with the top hat and laser beam eyes?"

"NO, we can't sell that. Great Gramma gave it to Aunt Sissy during the depression"

"Now that I have a pacemaker and can't use a chain saw can we sell that?"

"NOO, I gave you that for Christmas 2005."

"Hey, why are you selling my Tony Orlando and Dawn album?"

"Because we don't have a record player."

"Can we sell the Life magazines from the early 1950's that were in our attic when we bought the house 29 years ago?"

"Noooo, they belong to Betty Charbanaw"

"Is she still Alive?"

"I don't know but if she is I am certain she will want them back"

As the day goes on the tension grows. The evil glances are exchanged. The cold silence gets colder. Until that final rush to rid yourself of all the unwanted items before the day ends. The thinking ahead to conserve energy when you become aware that you will have to move all those boxes back into the house. So you start reducing your prices in order to get them off your hands and that's when you see a sign.

"For Sale- one husband $3 or best offer"

Prescott Galleries

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Little Acts of Kindness"

We take for granted that someone might be watching us. We see it when our kids start to imitate how we act and what we do. So I am taking the challenge to always seek to be good. If we go through life being good then those who we come into contact with might do the same.

I came to this realization one day when I walked out of my house to go get the paper. We had a light dusting of snow that evening but it suprised me to look up and see two perfect hearts looking back at me. When I took a closer look I realized that the matching hearts were left by a car that had turned around in my driveway. Although impressed I started to consider what insignificant action might I be taking that might bring a smile to someone else. I understand that I have little control over how pepole perceive my actions but I have enought faith to believe that whatever I do can be made good...

But if I keep it all good then it is a shorter trip

Prescott Galleries

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"I Inherited a Rut"

When we refer our life to being in a rut it brings up many metaphors. "A rut is just a grave open at both ends", "Definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but expect different results". etc...

What about those patterns we inherit. The ones we have because we were brought up in a certain environment. The practices we learned from an elder with no understanding of the purpose for the behavior. It can be hard to see because we are just conditionally reacting to a situation but if programed improperly we can be making the situation worse. Good habits are ones to keep.

The only way to understand why we acted a certain way is to ask questions of our self or others while trying to seek knowledge and understanding. Here is a story told by Naturalist Writer and Friend Ronald Rood about such a situation from his youth.

Ron was a little boy and he was watching his mom prepare a ham for the oven. In doing so his mom would always take a knife and cut a 1/2 inch off the end of the ham before putting it in the pan. Ron, being inquisitive asked "Mom, why do you cut that little bit off the ham before putting it in that pan?"

" I really don't know? I think it has something to do with making it flavorful and juicy.... your Grandmother always did so I do it as well"

So Ron took the question to his Grandmother..

"Gramma why did you always cut a 1/2 inch off the end of a ham before you cooked it"

"Well" Gramma said "if I didn't it wouldn't fit in the pan "

Be bold today and ask your self why did I do what I did as a reaction to a situation. The answer might surprise you.

Prescott Galleries

Friday, May 21, 2010

"To Look Good... is to Feel Good"

We need to be aware of what the image is that we create or reinforce. We all have a image that we inherit or create but do me think about how we reinforce that image? Most of us never give it a second thought. Information we put out might be damaging and here is a life experience to show how this can happen.

We loaded our car in Vermont for a family vacation on Cape Cod. Well if you are a parent you know what the first question was that floated out from the back seat. "How long before we get there?"

I was aware that they really had no reference of time so it did not matter what I told them so I would answer 15 minutes. They asked at least a dozen more times to which I would answer the same answer- 15 minutes. Now my wife and I would smile every time and it became the family joke.

I did not consider that I was giving them bad information until one day we were heading to Burlington Vt. Burlington is about 40 minutes from home and we were half way there when out came the familiar question.

"How long before we get there?"

I gave my wife a smile and said "15 minutes."

Then from the back seat we heard "15 MINUTES? That's a long time...."

As Artist's we need to be aware of the image we have to over come. The generations of stories that have reinforced the belief that we only become famous after we die or all artist's starve. We only reinforce this information by complaining about financial matters or allow someone to take advantage of us in a financial transaction.

I have found that the easiest way to put a positive image on your career is to answer the question "Do you paint full time" with "Yes". You might not be making a living at it yet but if you are working more than 32 hrs a week it is full time. What has come from this is a sense that the person asking is impressed and treats you as a equal. Then it surprises me that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy to which I soon become able to make a living at my work.

Prescott Galleries