Jennifer Keller, Sacramento artist coach
What does it mean to be an artist coach?An artist coach is coaching visual artists on how to be more successful in their art careers. … There’s a lot that artists aren’t familiar with as far as the business aspect, and that’s what I deal with mostly. I also just kind of help them figure out where they’re at and where they want to go. … Then we figure out the best possible way to achieve their goals.
Is artist coaching an established career field?It’s a growing career field. There are artist coaches out there … and there are lots of books out there on how to become more successful as an artist. … It’s kind of a collective field of interest that I’m condensing into a service. I did develop a lot of my own material, and I’ve been doing a lot of research. I’ve been in the field for a while, so I know what a lot of [galleries and museums] are looking for from artists.
What’s your background?I have a B.A. from Humboldt State in studio art. My focus was museum and gallery practices, and I’ve been working in art galleries ever since. … I worked in Eureka at the First Street Gallery. In San Francisco, I worked at the Black and White Gallery … then at Solomon Dubnick for two-and-a-half years. Then I opened CoolCat [Gallery]. … I was getting blue in the face telling people, “This is how you submit your work to the gallery.” There’s a lot to it and I think that many art schools—not all of them—don’t prepare artists for that aspect of what it means to be a professional artist.
Why do you want to be an artist coach?I want Sacramento to see these really great artists and to take them seriously. And [the artists] have to take themselves seriously first.
There’s a lot of Generation X artists coming up with really innovative stuff. … I like to encourage them and help them work through some of their artist’s block. And to get confident about networking and promoting themselves. Confidence is key. On the first meeting, I tell them that confidence is the word of the day.
Are any of your artist clients showing in May’s Second Saturday?Rachel Miller is having a really great show at Deep Yoga Studio during May Second Saturday. … She’s come a long way, I’ve known her for a few years. And there’s gonna be fire dancing and tarot reading.
When you’re not coaching, what are you doing?I just got a lot more free time now that the CoolCat is closed and looking for a new space, so I paint, I work at KVIE [Art Auction] and I do the coaching and I’m hanging out in Midtown.
Sounds like a nice ecosystem.Yeah, I’m thrilled.