Once a week, Antrese Wood shares the wisdom of a talented painter or art marketing expert on her successful podcast, Savvy Painter. But she hasn’t always done so. About seven years ago, she took a giant leap, quit her day job art directing video games for Disney, and soon after moved to Argentina to pursue painting.
Being shy at heart, Antrese never expected to be hosting an art podcast. But a series of events led her to start Savvy Painter, so artists like her could learn from the wisdom from those who’ve come before. Now, she’s recorded over one hundred episodes and is helping artists build their own careers.
Read on to see how Antrese got started, how she manages a podcast, and what she expertly recommends to those just starting out:
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR ART PODCAST, SAVVY PAINTER?
Two things combined pushed me to get past my shyness and start a podcast.
I moved to Argentina in 2010, and I quickly realized how much I had taken the art community I always had in Los Angeles for granted. I graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and went on to work for Disney for a long time, so I always had two really strong communities that were local.
I created a Kickstarter campaign to fund a painting project called A Portrait of Argentina.
That project really hammered home the power of community. I wanted to create another project that would have an impact. I just didn't know what to do. My ideas were too vague.
Years ago, a friend of mine took me to see his grandfather who was an art collector. Paintings I had studied in college, sketches and notes from the same artists who made me fall in love with painting covered every available space in his house. I could not believe what I was seeing.
He walked me through his home, telling me stories about the sketches on a napkin from a lunch with Wayne Thiebaud. He told me the story of how he bought Thiebaud’s famous Gumball Machine painting before it had even dried. He joked about friends who didn’t listen to him when he urged them to buy this young artist’s work.
I had So. Many. Questions!
I had every opportunity to ask.
But I didn’t.
I wished someone had recorded his stories. That stuck with me. I had a lot of ideas about recording artists’ stories, but they were all too complicated.
Years later, I sat in my studio in Argentina, thinking about that meeting, and I started to wonder. What would happen if I pooled the knowledge of a bunch of artists? What would happen if I shared what I know about art, the business of art, marketing, and storytelling? And what if I created a space that combined the open learning environment of my college days with the business savvy I picked up at Disney and all the wondrous technology we have at our fingertips?
What if we artists combine our collective intelligence? How powerful would that be?
That’s what drove me to get over that shyness, put myself in the center of attention, and start the Savvy Painter podcast.
WE REALLY ENJOY THE WIDE RANGE OF TOPICS FEATURED ON YOUR PODCAST, FROM SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS TO ARTISTS’ STORIES. HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH TOPICS AND GUESTS TO INTERVIEW?
I’m pretty dialed in to what topics are relevant to Savvy Painter listeners. The ideas and topics are pretty easy—partly because I am an artist, too, so I’m sort of right there in the trenches with people. But more importantly, I stay in close contact with my listeners. I talk to them and listen to what they are struggling with, they tell me what they want. I never have to guess. So in that sense, they make it really easy on me!
Mono Lake Sunset by Antrese Wood
DO YOU RECOMMEND CERTAIN EQUIPMENT FOR RECORDING, EDITING, AND PUBLISHING PODCAST EPISODES?
No, not really. To be honest, just like with painting, I think it’s dangerous to get too caught up in the nitty-gritty details.
When you’re just starting out, there’s the temptation to research the heck out of everything and try to find the “perfect” tool. The truth is, if you really want to create, a dull pencil and scrap paper can be enough. Eventually, learn what is important for you to create, and then finding the tools is simple—because you have specificity. When you are just starting out, you have no idea, so the temptation is to try to second guess every possible issue, solve problems before you have them, and you end up wasting a lot of time and a ton of money.
Make a decision that gets you to good enough and move on. That is my real answer.
But I know that’s not always good enough. Just like me, when I started painting, I wanted to know what brushes my favorite artists used, what lights they had in their studios, and exactly what brand and what color paints they use, so here’s what I use for podcasting:
I started with my little white earbuds and mic from my iPhone. To record, I use Skype with Ecamm software. To host and publish, I use Libsyn. About a year and a half into it, I started using an AudioTechnica AT2020 USB Microphone with Beyerdynamic DT 770 Headphones.
From the series “A Portrait of Argentina” by Antrese Wood
HOW HAS SAVVY PAINTER IMPACTED YOUR ART BUSINESS? HAVE ANY UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES COME ALONG WITH LAUNCHING A PODCAST?
By far the most rewarding is the community, and knowing that so many artists—from beginners to established artists—are struggling with the exact same issues I am. The biggest impact in my actual painting practice has been connecting the dots between different artists’ experiences and comments.
In terms of the most unexpected opportunity—speaking engagements, like at the Laguna College of Art and Design recently, and next year I’ll be speaking at a national artist’s symposium. I definitely did not expect that!
BETWEEN TRAVEL AND YOUR BOOMING SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS (OVER 8,000 FACEBOOK FANS FOR SAVVY PAINTER), HOW DO YOU PLAN YOUR PODCASTS AND STAY ORGANIZED?
I plan things way out in advance. I batch my interviews, and then block out time for writing and promotions. That way I still have time for my own painting practice.
For example, in the last few weeks, I’ve interviewed about twenty artists, so that gives me almost five months of content. The interviews are easy, it’s what happens after that is the real time suck. So I block time in my calendar for editing the interviews, writing and recording the intros and outros, then there’s another block for writing emails to my list, and social media promotions, inviting guests, etc.
It’s a lot more involved than people usually assume, but it’s manageable if you are consistent and diligent about it. Like most things though, I learned that the hard way.
WHAT OTHER TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR ARTISTS WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN PODCAST OR ART BUSINESS?
Be crystal clear on why you are doing it and be patient. Lots of people start businesses because they think it’s a quick way to make money or that it’s not that difficult. I’ve seen a lot of podcasters and entrepreneurial online businesses fail because someone told them it’s a quick and easy way to gain an audience and make money. That’s the wrong attitude.