Let's Throw Jimmy to the Lions. He's Doing Things Right

Let me introduce you to a client of mine, a gent by the name of Jimmy Kelly.

I love what he’s doing these days, and I want to show you that you can do the same thing for yourself with a small bits of concerted effort every day.

He had the mentorship program with me earlier this year, and like a good little soldier has been steadily plugging away, writing and sending an email every day.

They’re not bad, in general.

And sometimes, they’re a pretty little gem, like the one he sent today:


Updates from The Art of Creating Meaning

Framing People

It was Degas who said that “The artist’s reward is the frame”. He wasn’t far off the mark with that statement.

It’s amazing what a frame can do for a work of art. It’s a form of validation for the effort and brings it one step closer to actually finding a home on someone’s wall.

There is one problem however, frames can be prohibitively expensive, even the cheap ones. For someone like me, who is quite prolific when it comes to producing art, hard decisions in this area have to be made.

I line up newly produced paintings and I tell them straight – “You are all beautiful and deserving in your own right, but not everyone can go on to the next round”

It’s like a scene from America’s Next Top Model. There will be tears and tantrums, mainly mine. The paintings themselves are decidedly non-plussed by the whole affair. Almost telling me to just get on with it.

Finances are examined and then duly ignored as I procure some the materials for framing. Then the final decisions are made as to what will hang on the wall, for a short time at least, until a worthier new-comer arrives, fresh on the scene.

The painting that I swore would never be frameless again is ripped out without a second thought and the new one finds its true home on the wall. It will be there only for a short time, but a good time. It won’t be ignored, rather the opposite. It and the frame will be scrutinized every time I walk by.

You see, I make my own frames. Have the guillotine for cutting the angles and the under-pinner for joining them together. Everything a professional framer requires. I love that buzz of cutting and pining a new fresh frame together and then neatly slotting in the painting.

Hanging it on the wall is icing on the cake and the five, ten, sometimes fifteen minutes of staring that follows that moment.

It’s important to share our joys. A painting is for life and keeps on giving in new and unexpected ways. If you’re lucky enough to buy a painting of mine and it’s also in its original Jimmy-Kelly-made frame, your joy is possibly doubled.

This can be arranged by clicking here and allowing your imagination to see it hanging on your wall.



I say one could do a whole lot worse as an artist.

In fact, this email is a fine example of what you can achieve if you learn the right methods, and if you diligently apply yourself to regular practice

Now, this piece might not be your style or to your taste

But objectively speaking, for the audience he’s trying to reach, it’s brilliant.

For one thing, it’s perfectly personal: the way he describes – storifies, really – how his mind works is exactly the sort of showing your personality that makes emails work so well.

It makes people understand you, it gets them to KNOW you, and that allows them to like you

But there’s a lot more he does right: Jimmy mentions Degas, hinting at the fact that he’s not just a brushworker, but also UNDERSTANDS art, that he’s done his homework.

And even if a reader isn’t familiar with Degas, and even if the quote is (at first sight) superficial, showing you know what you’re talking about helps build trust.

There’s also some humour and self-mockery in it, which is another great way to engage people.

He talks about the practical process – another highly engaging thing because people generally really like learning how something works, what the process looks like, how things go together and so on.

And did you notice the ease, the relaxed style?

He’s not there to sell anything – he just shows up with something to say, something which is likely to be interesting to art buyers.

Oh wait, he IS selling something, since there’s a call to action and a link at the end.

And yet, nothing in the piece is pushy, or marketing-y, or desperate for attention.

It’s just a guy, talking to us about his work.


Real nice work

The result of some learning, and a ton o’ practice

Because believe me, when Jimmy started, his emails weren’t anywhere near this good.

Now I just wish he’d work harder to generate traffic so that more people see his writing.

That said, there’s also sense behind his madness: He has a job and doesn’t depend on art sales for his living, so it makes sense for him to really train his writing prowess first, and build the traffic once he’s confident and comfortable in his writing skin.


Anyway: I like this email. A lot.

So much so, that I’m going to piece that sucker apart for you in issue #1 of the LEAP newsletter, and give it an in-depth analysis.

It’ll be like my regular copy review – and then some, because I’ll be framing (heh) Jimmy and this email within the Listen-Explain-Ask-Profit framework which shortens to LEAP.

Now, don’t misunderstand: The newsletter won’t be just for, or about, artists – it’ll be much more than that.

In fact, I’ll show you how the principles and mechanisms he uses are universally applicable, because they work at the core of what building a relationship is about

It’s not about ‘artist-focused’ sales techniques – instead it’s about how you as a designer, or coder, or indeed painter, can use the principles and methods that work for you and with your people, regardless of what you actually make.

Why am I so convinced it’s universally applicable?

Because if you’re reading me, I’m pretty sure you are an artist in your own right: building your own ideal life, carving out your niche, living the work of art that is your life.


I’ll bet. It’ll all become clear in a week from now, when the first issue goes to the printer.

Sign up before May 31 and you’ll get a free 30-minute introduction call to go with it –> http://www.martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/




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