The Tide Rises

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?

clouds conifers fir trees forest

Photo by Pixabay on

 ‘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.


“Desafiando la Marea”  – Oil on canvas, 48″x 24″ by Claudio Talavera-Ballon

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.


15 thoughts on “The Tide Rises

  1. Joshua thanks for this vibe. I haven’t really gotten in to the selling thing seriously but would like to. I have had several backyard art shows, which is really an excuse to bring people together and have a bite to eat or a drink. I need to branch out. I have contacted a school offering some of my art for their art programs. Cheers, I’m looking at the coyote n rabbit painting of yours as I type.

    • David. Thanks so much man. Stepping your toes in the pond is challenging. But totally doable. If you want to get your work into galleries looks for galleries that have lots of group shows. Sometimes they are willing to take on your pieces in a group show with little to no pressure. At least not as much pressure as a solo show. Check out the gallery…go to some of their openings. Sometimes you can meet the owner and get on their list for open calls. Good luck. And please check back with the blog as we will definitely be covering how to deal with galleries and getting your art out to the world. Thanks. And take care. Oh and happy birthday man.

  2. I love it! Let me know if ever I can help with this project. It’s right up my alley of course. Love our art community so much. You’ve been so instrumental in bringing me into to fold. I have big gratitude for that and just want to pay it forward. ❤️❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Dianne,
      YOU are a HUGE part of our community. The work you do at ArtSpan is crucial for so many people and your support of others is quite awesome. Your art business and your art journey are so inspiring to be around and see. Thank you for all that you do.

  3. Very well written, Josh….and provides some great insights into the way you think and what’s important to you. While I wholeheartedly agree that treating people well increases one’s odds of making connections with them, but based on my own experience, I will amend your one sentence, “Treat people well and they will be willing to help you succeed as well” to “they MAY be willing to help you”. Sadly, those who are by nature “givers” will ultimately discover when they actually really need some help (and typically have a difficult time asking) the harsh reality that those you think may help you are nowhere to be seen. The side blessing of all this is that others, many of whom you would least expect, will come into your life by kindnesses far beyond anything you can imagine. This is not only my experience, but also of so many others I hear at the Wellness House (for cancer support), but I think it translates into many other’s lives as well.
    Although I won’t connect with your blog as a fellow artist, I look forward to your future posts….XO

  4. You are the perfect person to teach this lesson. Always there to support and cheer on the successes of your community, so generous with your knowledge, and ready to lend a helping hand. Such an inspirational message.

  5. Wow! Perfectly said!
    Congratulations on starting your blog,Josh
    I am looking forward to hearing more from you!

  6. I love love love love love love LOVE this, Joshua!!! It is the same philosophy I have applied all my life to all my endeavors. I’m relatively new to SF, so I haven’t yet ventured much into the arts community, but hopefully soon I can start being more active in more ways, and do my part to lift our tide. Thanks, Josh, for showing us all how it’s done. You’re a ROCK STAR!!!! =)

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