How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself without Selling Your Soul

Early on in the newly released seventh edition of her How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself without Selling Your Soul (Allworth Press), Caroll Michels notes that artists may spend lavishly on supplies, equipment and studio space but not so much on what might help develop their careers, “such as travel, presentation tools, software, publicity and press relations, mailing lists, and such preventive medicine as engaging the services of professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, and career coaches.” Continue reading

Making Your Life as an Artist: Making Workbook

Making Workbook inside cover.

Making Workbook inside cover.

In a previous blog post I reviewed the book and digital download Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet, a considered insight into the role of art and methods for working efficiently with an art-based skill-set. This matter-of-fact publication has unsurprisingly expanded into an even further practicable format in the Making Workbook. Continue reading

Book Review: Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market


When one refers to the business of art, certainly in the context of artists, the focus is on artists as businesspeople, not only creating artworks for sale but marketing, promoting, exhibiting and selling this art. However, the skills in this realm that artists need to learn are similar, and sometimes identical, to those of art dealers and gallery owners, which makes Edward Winkleman’s recent gallery-oriented Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market (Allworth Press) a useful addition to an artist’s bookshelf. (Full disclosure: Allworth Press also is the publisher of my books.) The author of How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery, Winkleman looks at a variety of changes in the selling of art over the past decade that are likely to make a difference in whether a gallery thrives or closes, and what he has to say to dealers is often quite applicable to artists who sell on their own or through a gallery. Continue reading

Art Marketing 101: An Artist’s Guide to a Succesful Business Plan

Art Marketing 101: An Artist’s Guide to a Succesful Business Plan 192 pages $19.95 Penn Valley, CA: ArtNetwork, 2013 ISBN: 978-0940899-80-3

Constance Smith’s Art Marketing 101 is now in its 4th edition (just released in March). The book is structured like a workbook, walking the beginning artist through “Business Basics,” “Legal Issues,” “Strategies,” “Networking,” “Exposure,”  and “Strategic Planning,”  with spaces for the reader’s responses to specific questions and to broader planning suggestions. It leads directly to the same publisher’s Advanced Strategies for Marketing Art, dealing with the subject in more concrete terms, such as where to market. Continue reading

The Time is Now: Public Art of the Sustainable City

Public art commissions always require justification—and that should tell us something. If traditional systems of representation are bankrupt and common values suspect, if committee-driven compromises can only dole out watered-down abstract “spaces” carefully formulated to offend no one and convey nothing, why do we bother? What is the purpose of public art? We say that it’s something we should have, but no one can convincingly explain why it’s necessary. “Uplift” and other vague intangibles get trotted out, but it’s hard to connect these “benefits” to projects that end in entertainment and strive for nothing loftier than increased tourist revenues. Until we can say that we need public art, nothing is going to change; and we won’t need it until it succeeds in touching and improving people’s lives in tangible ways. Continue reading

The Art of Not Making

Michael Petry’s The Art of Not Making: The New Artist/Artisan Relationship explores the issue of authorship through works in various media not technically “made” by their nominal creators.Petry, director of MOCA London, suggests that there is a “new” artist/artisan relationship, precipitated by a growing taste for highly crafted, spectacular works and an increased emphasis on technical ambition. This relationship most notably characterizes the atelier systems of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Takashi Murakami, who are notorious for employing hundreds of assistants. In their model of artistic production, the artist has the vision and the artisan brings it to life, placing the divide between artist and artisan in the space between conception and production, between artistic genius and technical know-how. Continue reading