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Los Angeles-based artist Grey Coutts pretty much defines the word multihyphenate.  A working artist with a focus on abstract art, he also works with brands and musicians to produce work ranging from graphic design to video, and beyond. He’s recently tapped into something he calls “Energy Portraits,” creating artwork based on someone’s spiritual, physical, and emotional energy. With a growing set of clients and new projects, Coutts recently realized that as an artist looking to sell his own work, he needed to educate himself on the business side of things. We spoke with the artist about the challenges of being a working artist, gaining an audience, and selling your own work.

How long have you been pursuing your passion for creating your own artwork? 

I started taking my art seriously in my senior year of high school. I blindly decided to major in graphic design with no knowledge of it, besides being pretty good at using Adobe Illustrator. Through that journey, I discovered that I was not only a good graphic designer, but I was an all-around creative artist. My dreams of being an abstract painter and a designer for the music industry came true, with a lot of practice, failure, and good networking.

To this day my skill set is still growing. Recently, I have been bringing my creativity to the music industry by directing music videos and working on the cover art. I am also using my art to help heal and align people’s energy and emotion with my new “Energy Portrait” modality. With this, I can read and paint a visual representation of my client’s energy and future on the canvas for them to then use as daily motivation to achieve and stay in the frequency of healing and success.

What are the challenges you face in the art world in trying to make sales and set yourself apart and gain an audience without a big gallery or agent behind you?

The biggest struggle is that people think art is cheap. It’s definitely not. The price of the canvas and the supplies alone can reach hundreds of dollars. Then to add my time and skill set, the price only increases from there.

To set myself apart from the noise on social media, I have tried to find ways to make viral content but still stay authentic to what I do as an artist. It has worked.

Having a gallery presence might help sales and make me look more official but I’m the real deal and once people speak to me I think they can figure that out.  Of course, I am open to getting picked up by a gallery and a manager, it just has not happened yet but I look forward to when it does!

What motivated you recently to take a month to work with an art sales coach?

I thought it was time to learn about sales and the business side of selling art. I signed up with a coach who specialized in this topic and I learned about the sales process and the psychology behind it.

I figured I had to learn about this sometime and what better time than now?

Grey Coutts

Would you recommend this to other artists? 

If you need motivation and tips on how to sell art and be more social media savvy then I think if you have the money you should invest.

What did you learn? 

With the guidance of an art coach I now have a better perspective on the sales side of the business and can use those skills in all areas of my creative/ business endeavors.

How do you see the evolution, trajectory, and trends in today’s climate for artists and collectors? 

I feel like true art is getting pushed to the side with all the hype that is built on social media and TIK TOK. So, at this moment – if something is flashy it attracts attention and gets views and follows. I hope this dies out soon and real art is again established by the person making it and the true meaning behind it. I think that’s what’s really important. Social media is an amazing tool but also very saturated.