July 15, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Artist as Problem Solver with Michael Gadlin

Many artists take risks in their businesses and in their art without even thinking about it. They are hard wired to experiment. To stretch the boundaries of what is possible.

Artists are innate problem solvers.

Michael Gadlin paintings in studio | on Art Biz Success
A shot of Michael Gadlin's paintings in his studio. From left: The One (Collage, acrylic, house paint, ink, spray paint on panel, 72 x 80 inches), and Gallop (Collage, acrylic, house paint, ink, spray paint on panel, 72 x 80 inches).

My guest for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is one of those artists. The list of what Michael Gadlin has done to earn a living as a working artist for more than 20 years is impressive. He sells originals, consults, teaches, designs, builds websites, and even hosted a show on public television. He has also sat on boards and committees in his local Denver art community.

Michael is gifted with what seems to be an endless supply of energy. I came at him with one topic and his mind connected it to numerous other experiences. The result is a wide-ranging interview.

Michael waxes philosophically about the life of an artist. Deep stuff. We talk about the lessons he learned from other working artists, the artist's collaboration with viewers, gallery representation, why it's important to be part of a community, and much more. There are plenty of gold nuggets in this interview.


Music by Wildermiss

Alyson Stanfield with Michael Gadlin in his studio
I was delighted to visit Michael Gadlin's studio after vaccinations earlier this year.

Highlights

  • Michael Gadlin reflects on his journey as an artist and the key role of mentors along the way. (1:32)
  • The lessons Michael learned from reaching his first major studio goal. (6:28)
  • The payoff that comes with showing interest in every opportunity that crosses your path. (9:34)
  • Michael describes his approach to both figurative and non-representational art. (12:23)
  • Experimenting, problem solving creatively, and collaborating with the art community. (18:55)
  • You cannot be a one-person band and succeed in your art business. (27:00)
  • Figuring out who you are as an artist (beyond the art that you make). (29:20)
  • What does it mean to be an integral part of the art community? (31:24)

    Artist Michael Gadlin working in his studio | on Art Biz Success
    Michael in action in his studio.
  • Positioning yourself in the places that will allow you to shape the decisions that are being made in your community. (37:28)
  • When can you truly consider yourself an artist? (43:18)
  • Creating a legacy with your art and with your life. (46:01)
  • Constant hustling—Michael shares his multiple income streams. (47:36)
  • Staying organized and getting things done starts with finding the right tools. (52:13)

Mentioned

Artist Michael Gadlin | on Art Biz Success
Michael Gadlin Quotes

  • “I went into this clueless about what I would end up learning, but I don’t have any regrets.”
  • “You have to fail in order to succeed.”
  • “The art business can be up and down but the one steady thing you can do is share your vision.”
  • “The most interesting people that I’ve learned from are the ones who fail, get back up and learn to navigate just by pivoting a little.”
  • “Understanding who you are as an artist will undoubtedly help you understand your business as an artist.”

About My Guest

Artist Michael Gadlin | on Art Biz SuccessMichael Gadlin began his art education at the Art Students League of Denver, followed by Metropolitan State University, Denver, and New York’s prestigious Pratt Institute of Art & Design in Brooklyn. He was awarded a residency at La Napoule Art Foundation in France.

Gadlin sits on the board of directors at both Denver’s MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and PlatteForum, an artist’s residency in the city. He has won numerous awards throughout his career as an artist, including the youngest artist ever to win Best of Show at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Gadlin’s work now hangs in the permanent collection f the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, among other city and government collections.

Follow Michael on Instagram @contemporary_vision


Music by Wildermiss

5 comments add a comment
  • So well done! I’m honored to be a guest… What a great thing to be a part of.
    Thank you, Alyson!

  • I always appreciate the Art Biz podcast episodes but this one knocked it out of the ballpark! Such wonderful questioning and so much wisdom was dispensed. Thank you to you and your guest for sharing so generously.

  • I loved this interview with Michael Gadlin. He is so enthusiastic about supporting his community of artists, sharing his many roles for which he earns his living, and deep diving into the ups and downs of managing an art career. Great background story about collecting metal with dad. I’m a fan!

  • I enjoyed listening to this interview especially because you highlighted the importance of networking and relationships building. Thank you!

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