I have been giving quite a bit of thought as to what the first post was going to be for the blog. I really want to set the tone and lay out my philosophy for art business and the art world. Sometimes, I think I think ‘too big’. Maybe it is best if we break the philosophy down into little bits that we can explore together. And with that….we should start at the beginning. Makes sense right?
‘A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats’
This is one of my favorite sayings. And it definitely relates to my art journey, my art business, and my life. At its core, it is about supporting those around you. When you support others we all win. Let’s look at that in the context of the art world.
I volunteer quite frequently in my local art community. Here in San Francisco, my main point of volunteering is with ArtSpan, a local arts charity that supports artists through year-round resources as well as hosting the nation’s largest and longest running Open Studios program. I have done a lot of amazing things with ArtSpan. From painting giant murals to doing community outreach and youth art programs. I love volunteering for them.
When you volunteer you meet lots of interesting people. Artists, non-artists, collectors, etc. And as you work alongside these folks you are automatically building your network. If you leave a good impression on people in these interactions you never know how that is going to come back to you later. So that’s one way the tide lifts.
Another way to support others is simply by going to their shows, celebrating other artist’s victories, and getting rid of the ‘art is a competition’ attitude. Look….If someone is selling art you should be psyched. That means ‘Team Artist’ is doing well. That means somewhere out there someone is buying art! They could be buying your work next time. So lose the competitive attitude. Jealousy and grudges leave a terrible impression on people. And people will always remember the way you made them feel. Be happy for those around you as they will return that favor when it’s time for you to sell art. Support “Team Artist’.
When you support those around you, you build really strong bonds with people. Your immediate community becomes stronger. Your ability to access resources grows tenfold. You start learning new and better ways to deal with huge challenges. And, at times, when mighty obstacles arise you will have a network of people willing to help you overcome them. That is the nature of ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ Treat people well and they will be willing to help you succeed as well.
Lastly, I am here to share what I know and to support YOU. In this blog I want to talk about art biz stuff. All things pricing, dealing with galleries, connecting with people, art archiving, etc. I am sharing this stuff because I hope that it helps you. Much of it I learned from people that I look up to….So it’s kind of like a tradition being passed down. In supporting you I am sure I will relearn a few things. But please feel free to ask all the questions you can along the way.
So for the remainder of this blog I will likely reference this phrase. It is something that I strive to live by. And it definitely is something that I have built ALL of my art philosophy on. So if you haven’t heard it before….let it sink in a little. How are YOU going to lift the tides a little? What can you do to support those around you? I would love to hear your comments and answers. Until next time.
This post was written by Joshua Coffy and edited by Harmony Anderson.