The Art Biz ep. 171: Self Sales, Open Studios, and Relationships with Interior Designers with Carol MacConnell

A lot of artists say they’d like to work with interior designers, but few artists have been able to crack the code for doing so. My guest today is one of them.
Carol MacConnell painting
©Carol MacConnell, Afterthought. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 x 1.5 inches.

Carol MacConnell is an artist who has built a strong business foundation over her long career. I was particularly interested in talking with Carol about how she works with interior designers. It’s something I touched on with Jan McCarthy back in episode 158.

Carol’s approach, different from Jan’s, proves that there are many paths to success.

You’ll hear us discuss:

  • How she, as an artist who is legally deaf, navigates conversations.
  • Carol’s income sources, 30% of which comes from working with interior designers and the vast majority through open studio events.
  • Carol's philosophy around commissions.
  • How she segments and uses her list of 2,000 interior designers and 2,000 other subscribers.
  • What the working relationship with interior designers is like.

You’ll also hear me plead my case (again) for contracts that spell out the details of a relationship with anyone who sells your art.

My favorite thing about this conversation is that Carol doesn’t get anxious about missing out on [whatever]. She is focused on getting the work done and being authentic about what is going on rather than fussing over the algorithms and other mind traps.


“I don’t want anyone who doesn’t love my work to have it.” —Carol MacConnell


Carol MacConnell painting
Carol creating Afterthought.

Carol MacConnell Quotes

“If galleries aren’t going to put [my art] on the walls, then I'd rather they just contact me when they need it.”

“The one good thing about commissions is that people see themselves [in it] and they love it.”

“It's not my painting, it's their painting.”

“There’s a saying about commissions: Love to get them, hate to do them.”

“I wish more interior designers recognized the value of working with artists. Art is really the jewelry for the house.”

“I don’t want anyone who doesn’t love my work to have it.”

About My Guest

Carol MacConnell's artwork has been widely collected, both nationally and internationally. Her talent and skill have earned her numerous accolades and awards, as her work has been featured in juried art competitions across the nation.

Carol is constantly learning and reinventing herself as an artist. This dedication ensures that her work will continue to evolve and inspire for years. She can be found six days a week in her downtown Cincinnati, Ohio studio, where she creates large, mixed-media pieces.

Follow her on Instagram @carolpaints_

Artist Carol MacConnell

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