What Is An Artist Coach?

I was in London, on my way back to the hotel after dinner. Crista Cloutier

At the train station, I asked the man next to me which train to take. We were headed in the same direction, so I followed him.

On the train, we began to chat.

I asked about his evening and he told me that he’d just had dinner with… he hesitated… his gir….. he hesitated again… his work colleague. He’d just had dinner with his work colleague.

“Not your girlfriend?” I asked. “Why won’t you say girlfriend?”

He blushed and admitted that he did indeed have a crush on his work colleague. It confused him. We spoke for a while as the train ambled through the underground tunnels of the city.

I asked him about his art. “How did you know I was an artist?” he wanted to know.

“I’m a coach,” I replied, as he looked at me curiously. “I coach creative people. And I could see that you’re an artist from a mile away.”

“I was an artist. Now I work in tech,” he sighed. “But you don’t want to hear that story.”

“I do! I’m a coach,” I replied.

He told me of his long career as a professional artist. He told me of the cool places he’d shown his work and the wild wonderful adventures he’d had.

He told me of his teen-aged son, who had started making unwise decisions in an effort to emulate his Dad. He told me of his decision to leave the art world, change his life and get a “real job” in order to be a better role model. He told me of the conflicts he felt as a result.

We’d reached our first stop, we both needed to change trains.

He had shared some of his deepest secrets with me. “I don’t know why I just told a total stranger all this,” he said.

“It’s okay,” I assured him. “I’m a coach.”

“Do you want a drink?” he asked. “Can we continue talking?”

It was near midnight now and central London was heaving with people. I followed him out of the station and onto the packed city street.

“Follow me,” he directed as he slipped down a dark alleyway. I did.

“You do realize that you’re following a total stranger down a dark alleyway?” he warned.

“I’m a coach.” I told him, “I go where needed.”

He turned to face me. “What kind of coach? Like sports? I don’t understand what a coach is, or why I’m talking like this to a stranger.”

I followed him into a bar. It was wall-to-wall people inside. “I don’t like crowds,” I told him.

He smiled and led me through the throng to the very back of the bar where stood a bookcase. He pushed against the bookcase which magically opened, and he led me down a secret passageway.

There was dark quiet room, jazz playing softly, and a bartender who welcomed us warmly.

I explained to him that I didn’t really like the word “coach” myself, it made me feel like I should be wearing a whistle. I told him that I’m an artist but through the unique professional experiences I’ve had, I found that I have a gift for helping other artists.

“Help them what?” he asked.

“Help them find what they’re looking for, whatever that might mean.”

We went back to speaking about him, his art, and his son. We spoke of his past and of his future.

The bartender offered us another round and I asked what time the trains stopped running. “Now,” was the answer.

“I’ve got to go!” I shouted as I dashed out the bar like Cinderella at midnight. I was still miles from home.

He ran after me. He took me to the train and got me safely on the last one. We hugged tightly before I jumped aboard. “I don’t know how to thank you,” he said. “And I don’t even know your name.”

“Just call me Coach,” I said with a wink as the train door closed on my London adventure.

PS. I am a proud member of the Arts + Culture Network, a global LinkedIn group. The founder of the group recently interviewed me and asked questions that no one has ever dared ask before. Watch it here if you want to learn my secrets!



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Working in the international world of contemporary art, Crista Cloutier has spent her career selling art and marketing art to art galleries, museums and private collections. 

Using her professional experiences, Crista has created The Working Artist Masterclass, where she’s developed a global reputation as an artist’s coach. Crista can teach you how to be an artist; including how to sell your art, how to sell art online, how to sell photographs, how to price your art, how to succeed at art fairs, and even how to find your art style. 

Crista has worked with established, blue-chip artists to raise their profile and attract greater opportunities. And she’s also helped thousands of emerging artists to build a professional art practice. To learn more, visit https://theworkingartist.com

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