You spent over 30 years in the media business. (Full disclosure, you and I worked together for many years where I got to see your brilliance!). Now you have ROAR’d into a whole new experience. Can you tell us about your pivot into being a full-time artist.
Thanks Michael, and thanks for my new title, Re-imagineer! The years we worked together had a dramatic effect on the trajectory of my career and again now while pivoting to being a full-time artist. The media business allowed me to understand consumer needs, develop integrated marketing programs, provided a platform to fine-tune my sales skills, and evolved interpersonal skills. When you think about it, all the skills I mentioned include a dimension of creativity. Little did I know, at the time, that these skills are the same skills I would need to become the full-time artist I always thought I could be.
A few years ago, a wise man presented his platform, ROAR, to a group of media executives. It was at that point I started to think about my next chapter. I craved for something new and different. I started meeting with an array of companies to see what type of positions would be of interest. I must have spent a good year of exploration. It became apparent that I did not want to start over in an industry where I worked with the best people and had great success, but at the same time felt like I had to move on.
In 2020, I turned 60 and had made the decision to figure out exactly what I wanted to do next. I started to think about what would bring me the most joy. It led me to art. I love going to museums, art galleries and painting. I painted a lot in my pre-media days, so I started painting again. Then one morning over coffee, Michael, you said 5 words which hit me like a ton of bricks (in a good way); “You Gotta have a PLAN.” In 2021, the opportunity presented itself for me to leave Hearst after 23 years which gave me the push to put my plan in motion.
I spent all the time I could learning about selling art in galleries and in a digital world. I spent hours, days, months, online, talking to local artists, gallery owners, art dealers, reading art magazines and so on. I learned all I could and started painting like a crazy person morning, noon, and night (enjoying every moment of it) simultaneously working with an art sales company to build a website (robbintickart.com) and launched on social media. Feedback was extremely positive. Within weeks I sold my first painting, then another, then another and recently sold three paintings to one collector.
I have learned new skills, met new people, reconnected with friends and clients from my previous jobs, and started relationships with new clients. Being successful in the art business is extremely difficult but I am in it for the long haul. No regrets and never looking back.
Did you always have this creative ability or was this something that you discovered in midlife? What advice would you give someone to step out and express their creativity in a big way?
I think I was born with it! I always loved to color, and in high school I had an amazing art teacher who brought the best out of me. I learned to draw and paint in a traditional way but advanced to abstract art as it provided freedom to move, explore different shapes, forms, colors, and creativity. I started to sell my work back then but, at the time, I did not have the confidence in my work to make a go for it and the “starving artist” phrase was at a peak. Hence, the 40+ year career in media which had treated me well.
I would encourage everyone to explore their creative side as you would be amazed by what you find; even if you think you don’t have one. But to that person, like me, the one who could have, should have, would have…do it sooner rather than later. It’s hard work but worth every minute of it. The feeling I have deep inside every morning when I wake up is rejuvenating and exciting. You will love your day even more than you did yesterday and the day before. The love that you receive from your artwork and the response from others is the gift that keeps giving. And obviously, it does not matter what age you are when you decide to jump at the chance to love life all over again.
What has been the biggest reward for you as you became a full-time artist?
During the last few years in the media, I felt unmotivated and defeated primarily due to the changes in the industry. The strong sense of creativity changed to transactional endeavors. The endless demand for accountability and conformity to rules and regulations severely hindered satisfaction and excitement.
Being a full-time artist there is a ton of autonomy as you spend hours each day in a studio alone with your paint and canvas. There are no rules, my time is my own and I am accountable to myself. Your thoughts and creativity are visible in front of you, you feel more alive than ever before. Art goes beyond entertainment and education. As an artist, you inspire change, make people feel certain ways that they have never felt before and it can also beautify our world.
It’s the feel-good job I had craved for years.