1. Readings (Art in Theory) a. Sigmund Freud 21-28b. Giorgio de Chirico 58 c. Video: Leonardo Drew “Investigation” http://www.art21.org/videos/segment-leonardo-drew-in-investigationd. Carl Gustav Jung 378-381e. Go to: http://abduzeedo.com/interview-rik-oostenbroek and read “Interview: Rik Oostenbroek”. Readings ResponseOf all the artists we have read this week what ideas relate to you the most and why? If none relate to you, then write your own reading (one or two paragraphs) based on this week’s overall theme or your own. You’ll share them with the class. 2. One response for Read pages 121-125 (Art and the Law) and 161-164 (Copyright) in The Business of Being an Artistfor March 14, 2019. 3. One response for Chapters 9-18 of The Artist’s Complete Health and Safety Guide.
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1. Readings (Art in Theory) for March 14, 2019:
a. Sigmund Freud
b. Giorgio de Chirico 58
c. Video: Leonardo Drew “Investigation” http://www.art21.org/videos/segment-leonardo-drewin-investigation
d. Carl Gustav Jung 378-381
e. Go to: http://abduzeedo.com/interview-rik-oostenbroek and read “Interview: Rik
Of all the artists we have read this week what ideas relate to you the most and why? If none
relate to you, then write your own reading (one or two paragraphs) based on this week’s overall
theme or your own. You’ll share them with the class.
2. One response for Read pages 121-125 (Art and the Law) and 161-164 (Copyright) in The
Business of Being an Artist for March 14, 2019.
3. One response for Chapters 9-18 of The Artist’s Complete Health and Safety Guide.
Copyright © 2015 by Daniel Grant
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1. EXHIBITING AND SELLING ART
So, Where Can I Show My Work?
Rounding Up Visitors
Debit Cards and E-Checks.
A Word about Taxes
Open Studio Events
Juried Art Competitions
Nonprofit Art Spaces
College Art Galleries
Regional Art Museums
Other Exhibition Sites
Governors’ Art Exhibitions
Art in Embassies
Museum Sales and Rental Galleries
Regional Museum Biennials
CHAPTER 2. TALKING TO COLLECTORS
Perhaps, An Overlooked Form of Communication
Is That an Insult?
Can you Bend Without Breaking?
Marketing and Sales in a Weak Economy
CHAPTER 3. EXPANDING THE AREA OF SALES AND INCOME
Certificates of authenticity
Bartering, Leasing, and Renting Art
Selling Art in Other Countries
CHAPTER 4. DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS WITH ART DEALERS
Coming to Terms
A (Potential) Problem
Honesty is the Best Policy
Foundry Fees and Commissions
To Consign or Sell?
Bad Debts and Other Recoveries
Spreading Oneself Out Thin
Severing the Artist-Dealer Relationship
CHAPTER 5. ARTISTS AND THE LAW
The Importance of Obtaining Legal Advice
Artists Lose Lawsuits
A Legal Question: Who Owns Sketches, Models for a Commissioned Artwork?
Another Legal Question: The Right to Privacy
Yet Another Legal Issue: Sidewalk Art
Yet Another Legal Question: Defamation
CHAPTER 6. COPYRIGHT
Making a Copyright Search
Trademark Protection for Artists
Copyrighted and Trademarked Subjects
Artists’ Moral Rights
Waiving One’s Rights
Confusion Over the Term “Site-Specific”
CHAPTER 7. FROM SCHOOL TO THE WORKING WORLD
Working as an Artist’s Assistant
Finding a Job as an Art Teacher
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Teaching
Making Peace with the Academic Life
Museum Artist-in-Residence Programs
CHAPTER 8. THE MATERIALS THAT ARTISTS USE
Safe Art Practices in the Studio
Becoming More Environmentally Friendly
Proper Disposal Practices
A Primer on Paint Labels
Traveling with Art Supplies
CHAPTER 9. GETTING READY TO HANDLE THE PRESSURES
Changing One’s Style
The Benefits and Pitfalls of Censorship and Controversy
In and Out of the Spotlight
Getting Suggestions for What to Create Next
Love and Marriage
CHAPTER 10. THE SEARCH FOR MONEY
Applying for Grants and Fellowships
So Who Will Provide the Funding?
Local Arts Agencies
State Arts Agencies
Regional Arts Agencies
National Endowment for the Arts
Asking for Money
Reporting Requirements for Grant Recipients
BOOKS FROM ALLWORTH PRESS
like everyone else, enter their careers with certain expectations,
realistic or otherwise: Perhaps it’s a van Gogh-influenced idea that they will
produce great work but go unappreciated during their lifetimes; possibly, they see
themselves to be the next Damien Hirst, earning millions and living the high life,
or the Banksy of a new generation, sparking controversy with every new creation.
Underlying all these assumptions is the belief that someone (actually, lots of
people) will eventually see their work, recognizing what makes it good and
unique. Of course, it is better if people see the artwork sooner rather than
posthumously, and earning money—dare one say a living?—from the art would be
The fact is, most artists today are college graduates and, increasingly, have
master’s degrees in their fields, and they expect that their training should lead to
something tangible. At times, it may lead them to a related field, such as art
conservation or arts administration or art therapy or art teaching, which becomes
their identity and life work more than producing art. Career shifts are not
unknown in modern life. What would seem to be disappointing, however, is to
end the pursuit of an art career—for which there has been extensive training and
hopes over a period of years—simply because one doesn’t know how a career in
art is pursued.
Business and artist may seem like unrelated concepts; developing a marketing
plan, learning to write press releases, knowing how to talk about one’s artwork,
networking, establishing prices and discount policies, setting up contractual
agreements, applying for loans and funding, licensing, leasing, tax preparation,
and copyright protection (the list goes on) appear to defy the reasons that most
people choose to become artists in the first place. Artists: Think of yourselves as
businesspeople, and make an appointment with the Muse as your schedules
Small wonder, then, that so many artists find themselves needing help
understanding how the art world works and how to find their place in it. Some
pick up information in the few “survival” courses offered at various art schools;
others hire publicists and advisers to help promote or give direction to, their work;
most others glean what they can from the growing number of business and legal
guides for artists available these days, or just improvise.
A strong case can be made for just improvising, as there is little rhyme or
reason in the way that certain artists become successful while most others do not.
All of the hard work of researching galleries, making telephone calls, sending out
slides, developing a portfolio and a long résumé of exhibitions may amount to
nothing, while someone right out of art school who happens to know the right
person or to be at the right place at the right time is lionized. Luck really cannot be
talked about, and talent is not a subject for advice.
Still, throwing up one’s hands or waiting for lightning to strike is no answer
either. The business side of being an artist means knowing what the options are
and making informed choices. Too many artists are unaware that they have
choices, or that there is more than one way for them to achieve success—defined
here as the ability to make a living as an artist.
Every known method of attaining career goals has worked for certain artists,
failed for others. Therefore, to prescribe a path for success—advising artists to
write this sort of letter to a print publisher, sign this type of contract with an art
dealer, dress in this manner for a potential corporate buyer—is doomed to fail
most artists. It makes the most sense for artists to know what the possibilities are
for helping themselves, allowing them to improvise but with informed choices.
Each artist has his or her own measure of achievement. To some, that might
mean being written up in a textbook or getting work into a major museum
collection; perhaps, it is being represented by a prominent art gallery or any
gallery, or just having one’s works displayed somewhere for the public to see.
Artists who are starting out are likely to have career objectives different from
those of artists who have been working for a number of years.
“Poverty,” Anaïs Nin wrote, “is the great reality. That is why the artist seeks it.”
Perhaps poor and undiscovered is another way to define the artist, and artists with
a romantic view of the opposition of art and commerce will find little sustenance
in this book. Artists need to understand how the art world operates and develop
strategies for carving out a market for themselves—a type of knowledge that is
never in fashion. Artists whose aim is to sell their work are still accused of “selling
out” or, to use a more current term, “careerism” (only in the art world would the
idea of establishing a career be viewed with embarrassment and guilt). From art
school into the larger society, the myth of the artist as alienated, poor,
marginalized, and secretly superior to everyone else, is maintained steadfastly.
Sadly, other artists are the most fervent in protecting and enforcing this myth.
Perhaps, the worst insult aimed at an artist is “Sunday painter,” meaning
amateur or hobbyist or dabbler—other words that also are derogatory. An
“amateur psychologist,” for instance, is a busybody, and a Sunday painter
competes for refrigerator door space with the children. To be taken seriously as an
artist, one must be a professional, but how is that defined? If that means earning
one’s living through the sale of artwork, the number of people who could call
themselves professional artists drops significantly. Most studio art instructors, at
the college level on down, probably couldn’t support themselves for one month on
what they might sell in the course of a year, yet they would insist on seeing
themselves as professionals. If the definition were dependent on how much time
during the day or week someone is actively creating artwork, a lot of retirees
would come out on top. Defining professionalism through membership in an
artists’ association or society would produce a mixed bag of people who earn all,
some, or none of their income through art and who have extensive, limited, or no
professional training in studio art. The Internal Revenue Service has its own
definition, based on earnings and expenditures, because professional artists are
permitted to deduct certain costs, such as materials and studio rent, while
amateurs and hobbyists may not. The U.S. Bureau of the Census has its own,
different definition based on what an individual worked at on April first of the
decennial year. Among themselves, artists have other ways of making
classifications. Defining what makes an artist is an unanswerable parlor game, but
the question of what makes an artist a professional is a highly contentious issue,
and people may shout at each other.
Perhaps, it is wise to move away from hard and fast definitions to an
understanding that there is considerable fluidity in the field of art, in which some
people trained in design may simultaneously or periodically produce fine art to
show and sell, while others trained in studio art may work in an art-related (or
non-art-related) field but produce art on the side, where art instructors may have
little involvement with exhibitions and sales and where those with little or no
training sometimes turn a pastime into a full-time, income-producing career.
Artists have enough obstacles already without having to also prove that they are
serious about their work. In a world in which former President Jimmy Carter
turns out to be a poet and singer Tony Bennett has more sales for his paintings
than most artists lauded in the major art magazines, should there be any wonder
when people from other employment categories decide they want to be viewed as
There is a great deal of cultural baggage associated with the word “artist,” and
overcoming psychological barriers to success necessarily becomes a major
component to becoming a professional artist, successful or otherwise. Many artists
experience a variety of stresses as a result of the expectations they have for
themselves and the assumptions that others in the larger society have about them.
Chapter 9 is devoted specifically to the emotional side of developing a career as a
This book aims to describe the art market and the possible approaches that
artists may take for success. This is not a how-to book. It is unrealistic to claim
that a certain set of steps— or any one method, for that matter—will work for
everyone. A good marketing plan will not compel people to purchase art objects
they don’t like or that they cannot afford or that strikes them as inferior to the
work of other artists. And, of course, a marketing plan that proves successful for
one artist may be inappropriate for another, based on differences in personality,
temperament, medium, and the specific type of work. Instead, this book examines
different ways that different artists have used to bring their work before potential
buyers. There is no right or wrong answers to many of the challenges of
developing a career; rather, some approaches may work for certain artists but not
others. The experiences and approaches of a wide variety of artists are described
by artists themselves and individual readers may pick the methods that make
sense for them. The question for artists is not, “What is the trick?” but, “How have
successful artists achieved their success?” I am often struck by the failure of
biographies of artists to include just this kind of information: How did they get
their first exhibitions? When did they start selling their work? When were they
able to support themselves from the sale of their work and what did they do before
that? When and why did art dealers start taking an interest in their work? The
narratives about well-known artists treat these subjects, if they do at all, as
amusing anecdotes, preferring to focus on artistic influences, successes, and
personal troubles, what other famous people they knew. In no other field than the
arts are the nuts and bolts of a career path viewed as too embarrassing to mention.
Fortunately, the art world is not monolithic. There are niches for every type of
artist and specific markets for all varieties of art. Picasso may be better known and
more widely acclaimed than other artists in the past century, but only a small
fraction of art collectors ever show interest in owning something the Spanish artist
created let alone are able to afford it. Other fractions of the market exist for
miniatures, performance art, cowboy art, abstraction, portraits, illustration art,
installations, landscape painting, mixed media and collages, still lifes, videos, art
copies, and the list goes on. Buyers of one type may or may not collect in any
other category. Some buyers focus exclusively on a particular medium, such as
sculpture or works on paper, while other concentrate their collecting on a certain
style or movement (minimalism or Pop Art, for example). An artist must first find
his or her artistic voice and then locate his or her market. Both surely exist.
A final point: The art world isn’t fair, in the sense that strengths that generally
pay off in other professions, such as hard work and good skills, may go
unrewarded for artists. The student who is number one in his or her class at some
prestigious law school can rightfully expect lucrative job offers from top law firms
around the country. Major—or minor, for that matter— art dealers, curators, and
collectors on the other hand, are unlikely to know or care about an artist’s grades,
and they generally don’t recruit students. What would it even mean to be the best
student one year at, say, the Rhode Island School of Design?
Artists may also discover that recognition is unequal, as certain dealers and
collectors are more prized than others, regardless of who sells more (isn’t
everyone’s dollar the same?). A doctor isn’t esteemed professionally on the basis of
who his or her patients are, but the opposite is true with artists.
After leaving school, one may endeavor to work one’s way up the ladder—
exhibiting first on the local level, winning acceptance to a regional or national
juried art show, moving on to a larger urban gallery—and still find that sales and
name recognition never materialize. Breaking into the part of the commercial
gallery world where real money is involved, many artists learn, has a lot to do with
whom they know and who is interested in them. For many young artists, the
question seems to be, “How do I get a show of my work?” Presumably, a show
leads to sales and more shows. Finding somewhere to exhibit one’s work,
however, is not all that difficult. Every bank lobby, restaurant and cafe,
community center, and school seems to have art for exhibition and sale. I once
saw an artist’s résumé that listed, under the heading “one-person shows,” an
exhibition at Cheesecake Charlie’s in Lenox, Massachusetts. The issue isn’t
whether or not an artist can get work on display somewhere but how to make
sales. For young artists, the question must be, “How do I work my way into the art
world of collectors and dealers?”
Artists cannot wait, hoping to be discovered. They cannot assume that artwork
as good as someone else’s will be rewarded equally. Rather, artists must
aggressively pursue the marketing of their work, and part of that process is
meeting the people who may be of assistance to their careers as well as associating
with other artists.
In most biographies, major artists are described as loner geniuses, coming to
their ideas through reflection and personal experimentation, later discovered by
dealers and collectors who only vaguely sense their importance. Art history is the
last refuge of Romanticism. In real life, however, artists develop their ideas in
association with like-minded artists and these artists make referrals (to collectors,
critics, curators, and dealers) for each other. One sees too many capable artists
who will not take a personal involvement in the marketing of their work. They
want that romantic myth to work for them, allowing them to just pursue their art
and be discovered by someone who makes their career. The current example of
this tendency is th …
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