I believe in people. I particularly believe in creative people; people who have the ability to challenge me and make my world more dynamic and a whole lot better. I want to see more artists have a bigger impact—and make my world even brighter than the one artists have already given me.
Someone asked me why I bicycle so far. I said “That’s how long it takes me to get balanced.”
Balance is important. It’s connected to core truths. We are best, I am best, when we are connected to our core truths. The things that make us tick. I’ve been involved with visual artists for over 40 years. I had a gallery for a long time. I’ve seen artists go from 0 to 60 repeatedly. I’ve seen artists stuck in the mud. I’ve seen artists succeed gloriously and others perpetually get in their own way. I’ve interviewed over 500 artists. Truths emerge.
I’ve seen what works within the art world—and 90% of the artists and curators I’ve worked with and interviewed share the same advice, opinions, and attitudes about what’s worked for them; an attitude that conveys an upward trajectory, and generosity. I don’t hear, “the pursuit of money,” or “a bigger, better gallery.” I hear, “Every day, I try to be me, better than I was yesterday.”
I learn from artists. I assist artists. I don’t shape you. I encourage you to be you. To dig deeper, to reveal more truths, to show what makes you unique, so your audience may see themselves. So I can be challenged. So I can grow. So I can do more good.
It’s kind of basic.
I work with artists all over the planet. What we do is not geography specific. It’s a lot about human relations and artists are the most fascinating people on the planet. I’m overjoyed working with you. I learn as much as I give.
I have an ongoing relationship with TED Fellows. They are fun to work with. They are used to having big dreams, and just like the rest of us—surprising to me—they are insecure about their art and their vision too. We work with that. I give (them) you the courage to be you, to set lofty goals and to move towards those goals, one small step at a time.
Having had a gallery for 30 years and curated for longer, and coached artists forever (formally since 2011) I have a lot of credentials (below), but what matters most is that we connect, resonate, and relate to one another, you with me, and you with you. This should feel right. There are plenty of coaches. Be true to you.
I am a SupporTED Mentor for TED Fellows. I live in Chicago and in 2006 was acknowledged by the Chicago Society of Artists as Man of the Year. From 2004 to 2015 I promoted Chicago art and artists by writing and distributing ArtLetter. I was the Managing Director of The Briddge Group the premier Art Succession Planning Group in the country. I was the Art Consultant/Curator for the completed 2.3 million square foot expansion of McCormick Place, where we used solely Chicago and Illinois artists at the new convention center.
I owned and operated Klein Art Works from 1981 to 2004. When I first opened in River North we established the area as a new art center. After my gallery was destroyed by fire in 1989, the gallery’s move to River West led to the development of the entire area.
The world is a troubled place. Artists can make that world better for us and better for themselves, and I want to contribute to that success.
Paul Klein, by Carol Pylant, oil on panel, 2016