7 Great Texts To Launch Your Art Career

7 Great Texts To Launch Your Art Career

And all artists looking to advance their career.
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Let's face it, every summer of your school career you think to yourself "this is the year I better myself, I have all of this free time - I'm going to hit the books" ... And maybe you did - or if you're anything like me, you might have started four new books but only finished one. Back to school reading may sound overwhelming, but if you are a burgeoning artist it might just be the perfect refresher to energize yourself about pursuing a fine art career. As an artist, grad student, and art instructor, these are the top seven texts I recommend to those who hope to build a career in the arts.

Build your art career with these texts:

1. "The Artist's Guide: How To Make A Living Doing What You Love" by Jackie Battenfield


Jackie Battenfield teaches professional practices in the graduate program at Columbia University and for the Creative Capital Foundation. The inspiration for her book came from the common issue where too many talented visual artists feel lost or frustrated professionally because they lack fundamental business skills and the confidence to promote themselves and manage their career. This Guide provides artists with the information, tools, and techniques for developing and sustaining a professional life. It introduces valuable tactics – from planning and assessment to time management and negotiation – which are seldom offered to visual artists in ways that are relevant to their practice.

"My main inspiration was to provide a guide that artists can turn to for advice and mentoring. As a self-employed artist, (painter) for nearly thirty years I have made a living from my studio practice. In my daily life, I encounter the same issues that confront most artists: how to manage my personal life, to create new work, financially support myself, protect, and promote my art. I love my life and feel fortunate to have found a way to make it feasible. Since 1992, I have offered classes and workshops around the down-to-earth issues of building a career and help other artists develop their own sustainable, lifelong art practice."

2. "Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career" by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber

If you only read one book on building your art career - this is the one I recommend above all! "Everything you need to know (and do) as you pursue your art career." - This is text book is just that, the most comprehensive guide of its kind. It offers helpful advice to artists of every level from art school grads, mid-career artists, professional artists and other creative professionals. This book is the perfect tool to guide artists through the competitive art world and find success in their practice. Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Johnathan Melber, an arts lawyer, walk you through the important business end of being an artist so that you can essentially "act as your own manager and agent." From business basics like inventory and expense sheets to preparing invoices; taking legal precautions like copyright and drafting consignment forms or utilizing social media as a promotional tool - this is the perfect handbook to tackle each important career decision, large or small. Perhaps one of the most unique assets to this text is the combined interviews of nearly one hundred curators, dealers and other arts professionals in cities across the country, offering valuable insights about what they expect from and look for in artists. "The book is full of their interesting anecdotes and advice." Following the advice in this book could easily be the key to success. (Seriously, buy it TODAY.)

3. "Management of Art Galleries" by Magnus Resch

This book offers excellent insight into the art market by analyzing today's leading art galleries. If you are interested exploring careers in the gallery scene, this is a must-read. The author Magnus Resch lectures in cultural entrepreneurship at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. He studied economics at Harvard University and the London School of Economics. Resch has valuable experience as a former gallery owner and as the founder of the art-collector database, Larry's List, in addition to doctoral studies focused on the art market. Management of Art Galleries is a unique analysis of the global art market today. Resch offers examples and case studies from leading galleries around the world giving great insight into the art scene today.

4. "The Artist's Guide To Grant Writing" by Gigi Rosenberg

Gigi Rosenberg found success in winning grants to support her own writing, in doing so, she discovered that most artists and writers find grant writing and fundraising daunting, and often times less successful. Her desire to teach other artists how to raise money led to her popular workshops, which she’s taught from Seattle to Chicago to New York. These workshops led to The Artist's Guide To Grant Writing. Rosenberg covers every aspect of writing a winning grant application including how to research funding, build a team of support, overcome psychological roadblocks, fundraise strategically, and follow up with funders.

5. "Invitation To The Party: Building Bridges to the Arts, Culture, and Community" by Donna Walker-Kuhne

Invitation To The Party by Donna Walker-Kuhne offers strategies on building community and culture through the arts, including tips on how to:

  • initiate genuine relationships
  • demonstrate the value of the arts
  • respond to communities on their terms
  • engage in open dialogue
  • build partnerships with community leaders
  • empower community ownership of the arts
  • remain open to feedback
  • remain alert to unexpected opportunities
  • identify and create the right point of entry for each audience member
  • commit to sustaining a long-term process
  • be gracious hosts

This book is an asset to navigating your way through the art community and learning the tools to becoming a prominent member of the scene.

6. "How to Sell Art to Interior Designers" by Barney Davey and Dick Harrison

For visual artists, learning how to sell work in the design market can lead to a successful living as an artist, or they can use the design market as a way to create a secondary source of income. Authors, Dick Harrison and Barney Davey, have extensive backgrounds in selling art, working with designers, gallery experience and advising fine artists on how to make more money and be more profitable. This text is jam-packed with useful information, ideas, and advice that any artist can use to become more successful, particularly by selling their work to interior design professionals.

7. "Art Inc.: The Essential Guide fr Building Your Career as an Artist" by Lisa Congdon

This book differs from others on my recommended reading list by focusing on various art professions open to the visual artist outside of the fine art world. In this practical guide, professional artist Lisa Congdon reveals the many ways you can earn a living by making art through illustration, licensing, fine art sales, print sales, teaching, and beyond.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Popular Right Now

31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.
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When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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Fiction On The Odyssey: Without Chaos

Without chaos, what remains?
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Note: Silver Key recipient in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in Short Story


01. Chaos

Without chaos, what remains?

02. Lettuce

“I think that’s the lettuce your mother bought a month ago,” her father says after a long look into the refrigerator.

Through the gap between his legs, she catches sight of a football-sized, fuzzy and greyish-blue thing sitting in the bottomost drawer. She has no idea why it is there in the first place. Besides her mother, nobody in their family knows how to cook iceberg lettuce. Why would her mother buy it if she was planning to let it rot?

Her father answers her unspoken query. “She probably meant to cook it, but forgot. Get me a trash bag and a pair of gloves, will you?”

03. Flinches

She flinches as her mother yanks a comb through her hair.

As usual, her mother’s mind is clearly elsewhere.

04. Nondescript

The man with a foreign name is nondescript in every sense of the word. He’s of average stature, with brown hair of average length, carrying a black backpack of some random brand. Off looks alone, she finds it difficult to believe that this is the very man that her father raves about.

Upon the return of her father’s most recent trip to his motherland, in Asia, her father has taken to becoming a free advertiser for the man with the foreign name, claiming that this man was the equivalent of Jesus’s second reincarnation. Thanks to the man currently standing on the front porch of her home, her father’s greatest aspiration in life is to become a monk.

In mere days, it will no longer be just an aspiration.

She looks up, drinking in the foreign man’s absurdly average features. This is the man who is stealing her father.

If only she could remember his face.

05. Verdant

The sky was positively green the day her father left.

06. Glassy

Whenever she looks into her mother’s eyes, they’re always glassy.

07. Supply

The fridge is empty. So is the pantry.

08. Almost

It’s almost comical how quickly she went from having everything to having almost nothing. Just two years ago, she had loving parents, friends and a safe place. She used to have a home. Her biggest worry used to be whether or not she would like her dinner.

Now, she wonders if she’ll be getting one at all.

09. Steadfast

Every time he looks at her, his eyes speak of steadfast loyalty.

One time, she almost believed them.

She punched him that day.

10. Soup

Her mother has always loved soup. With every meal, her mother would always ensure that there was a bowl of something hearty. Her mother used to claim that she didn’t have a favorite soup, and that she loved all soups, gumbos, chowders, stews and broths equally.

Whenever her mother said that, she would always look at her father and smirk, for they all knew that her mother was lying. Serving tomato soup at least nine times a week, with a perpetual supply in the fridge, tomato soup was an undisputed favorite of her mother’s.

The school’s version of tomato soup tastes like watered-down ketchup, but she can’t help but savor it.

11. Comfortable

She thinks, with a twinge of self-pity, of how comfortable her life could have been.

If only she hadn’t been such a brat.

12. Copy

It was too easy.

For once, the boy with the steadfast gaze was looking away. Everyone else was looking away, too, watching attentively as the teacher ranted about their poor performance on their last test, his disappointment in them, and how, to prevent half the class from failing the semester, he was going to assign a massive, 200-point project.

Or something.

The boy with the steadfast gaze continued to rummage through his bag, oblivious to the fact that she was eyeing his completed assignment. The sheet of paper faced the ceiling, sitting on the very edge of his desk, almost like it was inviting her to come and take a grab—

So, she did.

She stuffed it into her bag faster than anyone could blink, and returned her gaze to the front of the room.

13. Potatoes

In her shared apartment with her mother, she arrives to what seems like a local grocer’s entire supply of potatoes and possibly the world’s largest stockpot.

14. After

“Meet me after class,” the teacher had said to her the second she entered the classroom.

The boy with the eyes that speak of steadfast loyalty stares at her as she sits, his eyes a little too wide.

15. Bucket

Every so often, she wonders what it would feel like to kick the bucket.

16. Trade

“Your salad for some tomato soup?” he asks, unscrewing his thermos lid.

She looks up, then frowns.

She doesn’t know why he’s talking to her, especially after that stunt she just pulled. After the bell had rung, after the rest of their classmates had vacated the room, she became a blubbering mess. She claimed that the teacher was terribly mistaken. She claimed that the boy with the steadfast gaze had copied her.

It had earned him three days of in-school suspension. There was no doubt that his mother, the perfect woman that packed him homemade crustless sandwiches and warm tomato soup in thermoses, would be furious.

The word slips out of her mouth before she can stop it. “Why?”

“I don't know,” he replies.

It’s the best soup she’s ever tasted.

17. Pedal

The bike pedal falls off, mid stride, catching her off guard. It’s only after her tightly coiled body slams into a stop sign that she’s able to process what just happened.

She gets up in time to watch the bike frame collide with a car.

Anger surges unexpectedly within her like an unwelcome guest. That bike had been her primary form of transportation. She could’ve fixed that pedal. That bike would’ve been salvageable.

But, just as suddenly, the anger dissipates.

With its departure, an underlying sense of overwhelming loss is revealed.

18. Divide

The policeman’s glares are divided equally between the car owner and herself.

19. Mark

“That’s not the right one,” she says. Her gaze is unreadable as she watches a policeman approach the door of yet another apartment. “I don’t know where mine is.”

The police are exhausted and exasperated, but they try again.

“Honey,” a female officer says in a tone of barely disguised annoyance, “Try and remember, will you?”

She knows her mother hasn’t paid the bill in three months. She knows about their eviction notice. She knows that when they get evicted, her mother will be sent to jail and she’ll be sent to live in an community home.

“I can’t.”

I can’t let that happen.

Later that night, her nails curl into fists so tight that they leave a mark as the police pound on the front door of the apartment of her residence. She prays, will all her might, that no one will notice the red, half-moon wedges imprinted onto her palms.

They don’t.

20. Ducks

Ducks are adaptable beings. They can swim, fly, and walk. They’re aggressive enough to keep unwanted attention at bay, but cuddly enough to love.

She could afford to learn a thing or two from a duck.

21. Trapping

Her jacket does not do a good job of trapping body heat. She’s desperately cold and thoroughly disappointed—she expected more from Calvin Klein.

22. Detail

The boy with the steadfast gaze pays too much attention to detail.

“Did you have a good night’s sleep last night?”

She looks away. Regardless of what comes out of her mouth, she knows he’ll see right through her.

23. Stew

Her mother stirs a massive potato stew.

She chooses not to ask.

24. Filthy

“Hey, you!”

She looks up and comes face to face with someone unrecognizable.

Not that that’s surprising. She hasn’t made any effort to get to know anyone in this horrible city. Only a few are recognizable to her, and even then, she doesn’t know any names. She refuses to learn anyone’s names. This isn’t her home, so she refuses to make herself at home.

He leans in, wrinkles his nose a bit, then leans in a bit more. “When was the last time you showered?”

A week. Almost two.

“We were talking about it and—can you do us a favor and take a shower? You smell filthy,” he whispers apologetically.

I’m aware. I’m sorry. The landlord cut our water.

She says nothing.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / George Gvasalia

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