I’m Not in the Art-Selling Business… (Guess What Business I Am In?)

“I’m not ready to commit to a three-month coaching program”, he tells me.

“The fee you mentioned isn’t actually the problem, but with the UK now wanting to get out of the EU, I need to see what happens.

“It’ll have a consequence for my finances – I might even be forced to end up going back to the UK”.

I tell him that it’s not a problem, that I’m not in any hurry.

After all, until he feels a ‘hell yes, let’s do this!’, it’s not the right time to start a coaching program.

Then he tells me that what he really wants, is to just focus on painting, and have someone else get him into galleries and exhibitions.

“So our deal would be that you, Martin, get my work seen, and I pay you a commission on the sales”.

I smile.

If I had a painting for each time an artist had offered me that deal, I’d have a museum full of art.

So I tell him:

“It’s not how I work. For one thing, I’d be building your business instead of mine, but more importantly:

“It’s not what I do.

“I don’t sell art, or rather:

“I’m not in the art-selling business – I’m in the people-changing business.

“My job as a business coach is to guide an artist to the point where, in our back&forth, he or she discovers exactly what kind of marketing activity fires them up.

“And then, I help them get really good at it.

“Besides: if I were to get your art sold for you, you’d still be dependent on an external source.

“Me instead of a gallery, but the principle is the same.

“And I happen to live with the conviction that the artist is emancipated.

“As in: unslaved. A free agent.

“Bearing their own responsibility”

Where ‘emancipation’ stems from the Latin ‘mancipium’ = slave.

We’re no longer slaves to gatekeepers and permission-givers.

We have the choice of course, to not do anything ourselves and let third parties get the work sold.

I don’t object to it, I’m just not going to be that third party.

Not what I’m trained for, good at, or indeed made for.

No, I’m not in the art-selling business.

I’m in the people-changing business.

People who want to leave behind the old and build the new, that’s the kind of artist I can help.

Who knows.

Maybe one day you too will reach out, wanting change.

When that day comes, you know where to find me.



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