With each of my art business coaching clients, I try to do an exit interview a few months in to see how things are going. I wanted to give you some insights into the coaching process by sharing part of a recent session I did with the artist Natasha Kohli, who lives in Chicago.
It starts with Natasha talking about how she ended up appearing on Windy City Live, talking about a piece that was commissioned by the City of Chicago.
One of the first things that Natasha noticed when she decided to make a go at selling her art was that, while there are lots of books, blogs, and other resources to help artists, everyone seems to have different opinions. Her big take away from our work together, as she put it, was:
Natasha was having hard time expressing why people should be interested in her work. This is a very common problem, and we initially tackled it by practicing writing blog posts about her work – not for the purpose of publishing them, but for the writing practice.
Natasha noticed that the writing practice not only made her better at talking about her work, but it also influenced her art making. She was more self-aware in her artistic choices.
“That’s what connects people to the artwork,” said Natasha.
One of the more successful places Natasha ended up show her art is Matthew Rachman gallery.
In her story about how she ended up showing there, she mentioned that being comfortable with her own story and the story of her individual pieces of work enabled her to have conversations with gallery owners and curators that got her in the door.
Natasha is also showing her work at the Leo Burnett building.
Natasha honed her ability to talk about and pitch her work by doing open studio events with groups of 20 – 50 people. At one of these events, a couple approached her about showing her art in a lobby. Natasha did her usual spiel with them and 5 months later she was showing in the Leo Burnett building.
Natasha’s average size canvases go for about $5000 each right now.
In addition to getting better at telling her story, Natasha has been working on her pitching and follow up skills. She has made a consistent effort to reach out to art consultants and journalists in the Chicago area. She has discovered that it’s a long-term process.
Especially with journalists, they need to be aware of the artist and then remember them when a potential story comes up.
One of Natasha’s big takeaways from coaching was having someone to talk to who understands the art world, who understands how to sell, and the rigors of the business. She even called our coaching time “priceless” (I didn’t even ask her to say that).
If you are interested in art business coaching, you can get more information here. We currently have a couple of openings for new coaching clients in December. Whenever I mention this, we usually fill those slots up pretty quick, so if you’re interested act now.