Interview with Artist Coach John Paul Fischbach
Artist coach and mentor, John Paul Fischbach, talks about his experiences with the Auspicious Arts Incubator, writing children’s books, and offers advice for artists.
John Paul Fischbach Bio
John Paul divides his time between personal creative projects and helping independent artists through the Auspicious Arts Incubator. He has a long history of producing and directing theatre, film, festivals and site-specific events. He has lived and worked in the U.S., Denmark, England, Bali, Canada, and Australia. His advice for artists has been featured in monthly columns for Creative Foyer and Arts Hub. John Paul has been coaching Artists for over 20 years, and his book, No More Starving Artists: How to Master Your Art, Your Life & Build Your Business, will be out in early 2018.
Please tell us about your work at the Auspicious Arts Incubator.
I created the Auspicious Arts Incubator in 2007 to help my fellow artists in Australia, Canada and the US learn the marketing and business skills we need to succeed in a competitive market.
The Auspicious Arts Incubator is a not-for-profit social enterprise business arts incubator dedicated to helping build sustainable creative businesses by giving independent artists and small amd medium arts organisations the business and marketing skills (along with the confidence) they need to thrive.
Most of my time is spent helping artists as a coach and mentor. I’ve also created some more intensive on-line programs for artists who are more serious about the business side of their practice.
How does the Incubator help artists and art
We teach artists and arts organizations by giving them the practical training in business and marketing skills necessary to grow a sustainable business. We help artists and arts organizations though sustained coaching and mentoring as well as offering courses, workshops and seminars in small business and marketing for artists.
What is your art background?
I have an MFA in Directing from a very prestigious program in Canada. And I’ve always been a serial entrepreneur. I’m proud to say I’ve never had a job outside of my arts practice. The balance in my life is 50% of my time is spent helping my fellow artists through the work of the Auspicious Arts Incubator and 50% pursuing my own creative projects…. Some of the recent highlights creatively have been True Secrets Melbourne, a site-specific audio theatre app, Phillip the Penguin, an illustrated book for kids, Shoelace, a film about the day that a 5yr old succeeds in tying his shoes and most recently, Sex or Breakfast, a comedy web series.
Tell us about your children’s book.
As a new Australian, I went to see the fairy penguins at Phillip Island and saw that there was no illustrated children’s book. Their natural story of survival and instincts is great and should be shared… So I worked with the park rangers and created the book. Luckily I found an ex-Disney animator who did the illustrations.
Is it difficult to find success as a children’s book
It’s very difficult. I’m lucky because I sell the book at tourist centres, not book stores. The area of illustrated children’s books is completely overrun. There are too many artists with a great idea for a kids book.. but unless you have fame in some other field or have a big publisher book stores aren’t really interested.
How about film making? What does it take to be
successful in film?
The fact that any film gets completed is sort of a miracle. The key for me is to keep the film simple and affordable and have a good circle of artistic collaborators. Independent films are passion projects. Oh and thank heavens for crowdfunding platforms. As an experienced theatre director, I was keen to move to film. I have to say I love the difference. For the same investment of time and money, you have a product that way more people can enjoy.
Please tell us about the International Puppet
I have always been a fan of puppetry. When a talented puppeteer breathes life into a puppet, it is magical. So I created this event to showcase puppetry in all its forms. By day, the venues were filled with family friendly content and by night the same venues hosted puppetry for an adult audience. It was amazing.
You have a very diverse creative background, has
that diversity helped or hindered your art career?
For me, I love having a range of revenue streams that all come from my talent and my creativity. I think it is very hard for artists with only one string to their bow. At one point I looked back at my life and saw the pattern: if every 5 years I can look back and say, “who would have thought I’d be doing this too” I figure I’m still learning and growing as an artist.
What are some of the common problems you see
young artists making?
At the point you know you are good you need to get some marketing and business skills stat! Otherwise, you flounder for too long. If you build it they might not come…. especially if they don’t know you exist. The art can’t speak for itself, you owe it to your art to get it out there.
Do you have any other advice for aspiring artists?
Get a business coach. Take some business and marketing courses. That outside perspective is vital.