Tag Archive for: art coaching

How to sell your artwork: Know Your Value


Cute English Bulldog in Hat

Charlie is more than a dog. She is constant love and creator of joy.


People ask regularly how I ended up in the arts with my background from rural Minnesota and two engineering degrees. I will spare the details of the journey for another post, but my vocation in the arts is due to my recognition that art is the most valuable creation of humankind. 


Art is hoarded by people in positions of influence across history and frankly, it is what endures from every civilization. As much as we revere science and technology today, they will always be a part of the process, never the destination. 1000 years from today our data and the findings gleaned will make us look like flatearthers and I have no doubt the iPhone 12 will overwhelmingly end up in the heap of refuse.


What is it about art that makes it so valuable?


To the creators, their artwork is an opportunity to be fully seen. Art is the tool we use to express ourselves. It brings the deepest parts of our being into the world. The word on paper, the paint on canvas, the harmony of stroked keys, the movement through space and the images captured on film are the manifestations of our thinking, our feeling and our intuitions. The work we create is the essence of who we are. It allows us to understand ourselves and just as important it allows others to understand us as well.


To other individuals, artwork is an opportunity to also be seen as well as expand the resources that are available to them. An artist allows their audience to say things that they could never put into words themselves. But more powerfully, the artist and their work allows the audience to think, to feel, and to sense the world in ways beyond their own faculties. Artworks allow the audience to gain knowledge, to build new relationships and to navigate the world in new ways. Through art, the audience is able to open up new opportunities.


When the audience becomes more than another individual the artwork is amplified. Society operating with a collective idea, feeling or sensation is a powerful tool for world changing activity. Art is often the catalyst that bends the universe towards love, justice and all the good things we aspire to. And yes, I should note it can also be used for detriment in the wrong hands.


Art has incredible power, for the creator, the audience and society and as such it is incredibly valuable! 


My vocation is to help artists harness the value of their artwork so they can impact the world, and simultaneously help the audience harness the power of art to enrich their own lives and the world around them.



Mental Prowess Part 1: Stop and Think, you don’t have time not to

Post 100 miles and 13,000 feet of climbing

On Sunday September 1st 2019 I got beat up.

It was my fault. A series of decisions, and probably my biology, put me in the position to be in immense pain that day.

I completed the Shenandoah 100, an ultra-endurance backwoods bike race in the mountains of Virginia. The experience was taxing on my body. My quads were quaking, my forearms were on fire, and my body was bruised. Twelve hours of physical exertion is a lot to endure.

I thought I planned my recovery week accordingly. I allowed myself to step out of my rigorous workout routine and planned to refrain from general physical activity. My body rebounded quickly. The following day I was achy but was not debilitated by pain. On the second day, I returned to my bike to commute to meetings and by the fourth day I was back in the gym.

However I had not recovered.

I neglected to consider the mental aspects of regaining normalcy.

I planed to proceed through my typical professional week. I maintained my usual load of meetings, I had a major event on the books, and the calendar had a launch date for a significant project. My mind needed to be incredibly active to accomplish the load.

I unknowingly did not create space to process the experience.

A critical part of endurance athletics, or doing anything hard in life, and quite possibly the true challenge, is the mental aspect. It takes a tremendous amount of will power to push through extreme activity. There comes a point where you are bored of having done the same thing for extended duration of time. You just have to keep going. There comes a point where irritation hits your awareness. You just have to keep going. There comes a point where you feel the pain. You just have to keep going. There comes a point where you ask why am I doing this. You just have to keep going.

To accomplish the big and challenging things in life you have to override your brain.

Mental prowess is developed through such exercises. This self induced trauma creates frameworks to see things differently. This new perspective is where you will find power to leap over personal and professional hurdles.

So what happened on my ride that I needed to get out and what value might doing so provide?

What do you need?

During the pitch practice of a recent coaching session I asked my client “What do you need?” Although it is rare for anyone to come out and ask the question in this form, this is the point of a pitch, to address the resources we need in order to get to where we want to be.

Pitch practice is a part of every coaching session. I refrain from using “What do you need?” as a prompt until about the fifth session. At this point the client is comfortable, or at least starting to get comfortable, talking about them self. Rarely when I put this out as the initiator of our conversation is there a prompt and concise response. It is challenging for most to articulate what is needed to get where they desire to be. I think there are two reasons for the awkward pause.

First, we struggle to know where we want to go. If we do not know what our destination is, how will we know what we need to get there. For instance, I enjoy traveling. It is easy to imagine that my goal in life is “to travel frequently”. I think this is admirable, but it is hard to know what I should ask of others if I have no specificity in my destination. What I will need to stroll the boulevards of Paris is starkly different from what is required to bushwhack through the rainforest of Costa Rica. The means to get there, the knowledge once I am there, and the tools/resources I should have on hand vary incredibly between the two.

A desire to “succeed” in business is admirable but fails to define a real destination. There are many details lacking in this type of goal. Even the more specific goal of finding funding for business is lacking. Are you looking for equity, debt, or gifts? Intimately knowing the destination we are trying to get to will drastically improve our understanding of what to ask of others to help us get there. It will accelerate our flight to the beach.

Second, we struggle to ask for help. Ego often goes hand in hand with creative and entrepreneurial practice. Ego certainly is needed when an artist dances naked in the street or an entrepreneur assumes $700,000 in debt. Your psyche needs to be strong to endure that type of risk. However, rare is the person who can change the world on their own, or for that matter even their own life. We lack all the skills that are required to achieve our fullest potential. We weren’t born with the knowledge and even if our genes are perfect, we still need mentors to show us how to use them. It is a fallacy to think that we will never need help. The sooner we learn to ask for it, the faster we will achieve our goals.

How do we get to a point where we can put out into the world effectively what we need?

Reflection and humility.

We need to afford ourselves the mental space to comprehend our destination. It needs to be specific and timely. It is harder to hit the west coast at some future date then San Francisco by the end of October. We need to give ourselves permission to recognize we need help AND that it is okay to seek it out. Frequently, the biggest obstacle in life is our self, and many times it takes someone else to move us.

Are you ready to stroll the streets of Paris, hike the trails of Monte Verde, land the next big paying gig….  if you know where you want to go JUST ASK.