219: Radically Free Portrait Artists

2022 IP Podcast Flash Briefing Round-Up - Episode 219 - Radically Free Portrait Artists - rectangle (1)

with host artist Miriam Schulman


In this podcast, you will discover…

This week we’re covering the artists behind the official White House portraits, the artist and singer-songwriter Issy Wood, enslaved pottery artists, and American outsider artist Nellie Mae Rowe. 

Official Obama Portraits Unveiled at the White House 

The White House held a ceremony to unveil the official portraits of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. Better late than never, right?  

Artist Robert McCurdy painted the official portrait of President Obama. He tells his subjects not to smile and to look directly into the camera to capture a transcendental moment.  

Michelle Obama selected artist Sharon Sprung. Mrs. Obama’s statement about how a girl like her was never meant to be in the White House is inspiring.  

For more information on the Smithsonian portraits, check out podcast episode 127, Rise of the Black Portrait Artist 

Portrait Artist Sharon Sprung 

The identity of the presidential portrait artists is top secret, and it’s usually revealed about a year after a former president leaves office.  

Sharon Sprung painted the official portrait of first lady Michelle Obama. Although she completed it in 9 months, she had to keep the portrait and the fact that she’d done this important work secret for over 5 years!  

She was inspired to paint portraits by the early death and memory of her father.  

If you think you’d like to paint portraits, you can take my free class, 5 Simple Steps to Painting Portraits That Your Friends and Family Love 

Art and Albums: Artist and Singer Songwriter Issy Wood 

Artist and singer-songwriter Issy Woods (as well as Joni Mitchell) proves that it’s possible to be a multi-passionate artist.  

Her art and her music are provocative, and like the trial-blazer she is, her album is titled My Body Your Choice.  

She’s outspoken, opinionated, talented, and not afraid to let her art reflect her passions.  

If you’d like to know more about how to generate hype around your work, you’ll love hearing my conversation with Michael Schein, The Hype Handbook with Michael F. Schein 

Enslaved Potters  

There is a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina.  

One of the items exhibited by artist Dave Drake is a piece of pottery signed with his name Dave and the word “concatenation”  

When I was researching and writing my book, Artpreneur, I was intentional about being inclusive. Too many books about art only talk about white, cisgendered men. Sharing the story of artists like Dave is important to  inspire the next generation of artists. 

It isn’t out until January, but you can get pre-order bonuses now! 

The Art of Nellie Mae Rowe 

The American artist Nellie Mae Rowe was in her 60’s when she began to transform her Atlanta home into what she called her playhouse. It became a destination for artists until she passed away in 1982. 

Check out her art in the book Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe.  

About the host, Miriam Schulman

In case we haven’t met yet, I’m an artist and founder of The Inspiration Place, where I help other artists learn how to profit from their passion. Through online classes, business coaching programs, and a top-ranked podcast, I’ve helped thousands of artists around the world develop their skill sets and create more time and freedom to do what they love. My signature coaching program, The Artist Incubator, helps artists go from so-so sales to sold-out collections.

After witnessing 9/11, I abandoned a lucrative hedge fund job to work on my art full time. Since then, my art and story have been featured in major publications including Forbes, What Women Create, The New York Times, Art of Man, Art Journaling magazine as well as featured on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. Check out my best-selling book with HarperCollins Leadership, Artpreneur, how to make money from your creativity, wherever books are sold. When I’m not in the studio, I split my time between New York City and a farmhouse in the country. I’d love to invite you to check out one of my free resources for art lovers (of every passion level) at schulmanart.com/freebies

Subscribe & Review in iTunes

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Now if you’re feeling extra loving, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and they’re also fun for me to go in an read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!

Listener shout out of the week!

Amazing encouragement
Miriam is amazing and every time I listen to her podcast I am so inspired to be more and do more as an artist!!! Since I am a new listener, I am so excited to go back and listen to all the episodes I have missed!!! Thank you Miriam!!!!




In honor of the 300th episode of The Inspiration Place podcast, I'm giving away three $100 Amazon gift cards!

There are 3 ways you can win:

  1. Leave an honest video review of the book Artpreneur on Amazon. Go to SchulmanArt.com/Amazon to leave your video review.
  2. Leave an honest review of the Artpreneur WORKBOOK on Amazon. Go to SchulmanArt.com/Workbook to leave your review.
  3. Leave an honest written review of the Audible version of Artpreneur on Audible.com. Go to SchulmanArt.com/Audible which will take you to the Audible listing. You must listen to at least one chapter and still have it in your library to leave a review.

Screenshot your review once it's live (or before you submit it), and email it to Miriam@TheInspirationPlace.net by April 18th to qualify!

If for any reason you’re unable to leave a review on Amazon but would still like to join us for the live coaching party, record an Instagram reel of your review instead and send it our way! Please note that this won’t qualify you to win one of the gift cards.



Every person who enters any of the three ways will be invited to a private 300th episode coaching party on April 18th

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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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