Business of Art Book Reviews: The Basics & Getting Started

How to Get Hung: A Practical Guide for Emerging ArtistsHow to Get Hung
Molly Barnes
Julia Kirt: for emerging artists interested in commercial gallery & art market, behind scenes from gallerist perspective, beware of old school attitude

Supporting Yourself as an Artist: A Practical Guide
Deborah A. Hoover
Sue Clancy: who benefits: artists writing proposals, seeking funding; great big picture overview with practical tips about financial support


Taking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual ArtistTaking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist
Cay Lang
Julia Kirt: overview of starting art career, good practical advice & tools for all aspects of art business, not the most engaging, but super useful

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your SoulHow to Survive and Prosper as an Artist Caroll Michels
Julia Kirt: The textbook of art business; covers starting career, exhibition opportunities, & galleries well. A bit cynical, so helps harden you up
Liz Roth: My favorite book of the art business genre, because it encourages fearlessness in getting your work out there, and is clear about the odds. Well written.

Getting the Word Out: The Artist's Guide to Self-Promotion
Getting Exposure: The Artist’s Guide to Exhibiting the WorkEditors of Art Calendar Magazine (out of print, but updated version to left)

Sue Clancy: artists wanting to show; overview of exhibit opportunities, benefits & drawbacks, & avoiding fraudulent show

The volume of books about art businesses is pretty overwhelming with many titles and concentrations. I have read close more than a dozen business books targeting artists and sometimes get confused which is which, not to mention which ones to recommend for whom.  This is part of a series of feature brief reviews and recommendations of business of art books by several knowledgeable artists. I hope the reviews will help artists know which books are most useful for which topics and career stages.


Business of Art: Book Reviews

The volume of books about art businesses is pretty overwhelming with many titles and concentrations. I have read more than a dozen business books targeting artists and sometimes get confused which is which, not to mention which ones to recommend for whom.

However vast, artists should make use of the resources available. Why invent your own contract when a book already provides a sample? Why feel alone in your creative blocks when a book shows the challenges of continuing to create artwork? Why stumble through self-promotion when you could create a strategy and learn from others’ successes? Of course much of this information is available online, but the bonus of highlighting, tabbing, and taking notes makes books quite valuable. Plus the books authors give their individualistic perspective, which are each different, showing possibilities for a variety of approaches to art careers.

The next few blog posts will feature brief reviews and recommendations of business of art books by several knowledgeable artists. I hope the reviews will help artists know which books are most useful for which topics and career stages. Start the New Year of right with resources in hand.

Feel free to add your own two cents about the books!
Guest Authors:
Sarah Atlee, Artist,
Sue Clancy, Artist,
Amanda Hall, Artist & Special Projects Coordinator for Art Beat Oklahoma
Liz Roth, Artist and OK State Professor,
Eric Wright, Artist,
+ me (Julia Kirt, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

Image Caption: Book Hound by Sue Clancy (a drawing on her reviews mailed to us

Plot points from @OVAC Twitter Feed:

Behind the Scenes for Artists:
Loving @OkieCreative blog roll of Oklahoma-based design, art, culture blogs

Roberta Smith on art by Nauman. Wouldn’t every artist want their work critiqued with such clarity & thoughtfulness?

Newest $50K @USAFellows announced last night, read about them here Selection panelists’ essays enlightening too

free helpful articles for artists about taking risks, money, & marketing by Sylvia White

big shocker= artists underpaid according to LINC study

Opportunities for artists & volunteers:
emerging Okie artist public sculpture opportunity! Feb 1 deadline

artists & galleries (with regular hours) get listed on OK Tourism’s new website, em for full info

Wow $100K award to emerging artist NYT article apply here

Free workshops by @artscouncilokc Come to “Teaching Artist Toolbox” Jan 19, 2010 5:30 pm-8:30 pm. Arts Council of OKC

OVAC News:
OVAC takes Nonprofit Olympics Championship! Thx 4 playing Rebuilding Together, Cntr4Nonprofits, LOKC & @Chk!

nice 1st print article about OK Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship- partnership with @OKCMOA & @OUartsdistrict

RT @Glasstire The first twelve Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellows have been chosen, & 2 of them are Texans!

compelling public artists’ website shared by OK public art mentor Lynn Basa, highway-side, recycled materials, cool!

OVAC grant recipient @romyowens amazing photos from her Germany trip

photos from Okie artist Dylan Bradway’s show in Germany (got OVAC grant to help travel there)

OVAC artist custom Ts online now! Thks designs by Sarah Atlee @sarahmakespics , Curtis Jones, & Stuart Asprey

Hooray– NEA supports incredible projects nationwide, funds OVAC’s Art 365 again! Official release:

Jury Duty: Entering Juried Shows & Competitions Recap

On December 10, OVAC held an Artist Survival Kit workshop at the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville. This evening workshop focused on the subject of juried competitions for artists. More specifically, we hoped to give artists an idea of how things work on the other end of these competitions, from the juror or presenting organizations’ perspectives.

Scott Perkins, Curator at Price Tower Arts Center, and Joseph Gierek, owner of Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery in Tulsa, were our speakers. They have seen many submissions from artists, both in their roles as curator or gallery owner, as well as guest jurors for exhibitions. There were some recurring themes in the discussion with Scott and Joseph, including:

*Follow the rules! Most juried exhibitions have a list of do’s and don’ts for submitting. Even though they may seem frivolous when you’re getting your submission together, do follow those rules to the letter. It makes a memorable, positive impression on the organizers of the exhibition and makes life easier for the juror.

*Invest in making a good impression. Getting high quality images of your artwork, a coherent artist statement and professional framing can take a commitment on your part of time and money. But, these are some of the best ways to improve your odds of being accepted into exhibitions or receiving awards.

*Consider the juror’s perspective. Imagine you are the juror of the exhibition. What would you like to see? What information would you like to have for making your decisions? Additionally, you should also consider how the juror will be viewing your work – will they be looking at actual work, slides, digital images? Will the images be projected or viewed on a computer screen? Is the computer a Mac or PC? When possible, find this out and do a test run on your own to make sure your work is being shown to its maximum advantage.

*Strategize. With the multitude of juried opportunities available to artists, you could spend hours every day submitting and never get to them all. Investing a little time in research could save you lots of time and energy in the end. Make sure the competitions you are entering are right for you. Here are some good examples of questions to consider when you’re deciding to which competitions you will submit.


Etsy Okies: Artists Selling Online

So, I love to shop on Etsy and thought it would be fun to write about Okies selling there. I love the handcrafted and the small shops. I must not have asked in the right way or the right people to find them, so I only received a few Okie Etsy links. Even this small sample, though, has some splendid and widely varied work.

From the business side, I am curious about the benefits and challenges of the site, as well as the model of online sales. The New York Times wrote about the challenge of the business in a recent article.

Chad Mount, OKC:

Paintings and sketches of mysterious, colorful characters.

Natalie Wright, OKC:

Well-chosen vintage clothing and accessories.

May Yang, Tulsa

Screenprints and hand-printed cards [full disclosure we at OVAC are using these super-cute thank you cards]

Also, you can do a search of the seller’s location, here’s a search for sellers in Oklahoma. Alternatively, you can press the Buy tab, then click on “shop local.”

Post a link to your Etsy page or your favorite!

P. S. What other online sales vehicles are artists finding especially great or ineffective?

OK Artists Inspiration & Challenges: Eric Baker

Eric Baker, whose sculptures combine metal and glass, said that his works are about the delights of life. Baker believes that people are met with plenty of angst and anger in their daily lives and that his work doesn’t need to fuel those fires. He told me that, “One of my close friends recently paid me what I consider to be a terrific compliment: he told me that my sculpture expressed to him a sense of ‘joy’. Indeed, that is a major component of my work–that sense of wonderment, awe, and surprise that can occur no matter the place or circumstance, whether we’re with friends or alone, surrounded by natural beauty or not.” Baker said his sculptures are based in a variety of themes like entomology, theology and geology, and that more specifically he is inspired by marine life and all things botanical.

As far as the inspiration from Oklahoma, Baker said that he finds Oklahoma’s geographical location to be pertinent to our state’s culture because we are influenced by both coasts, socially, financially, and culturally. Despite our central location, Baker believes that, “Oklahoma has a strong identity of its own. The land itself can vary from barren to beautiful, and I find that most Oklahomans are honest, rugged, hardworking people who are quick to help, and quick to share. I want my artwork to be the same– simple, honest, enduring, but I hope it is also giving and insightful.” Baker, like the other artists mentioned, asserted that the biggest challenge of being an Oklahoma artist is the lack of a relationship between most Oklahomans and local artists. He stated that Oklahoma has a wealth of terrific artists, musicians, and creative people but that they are often unappreciated by the public. Baker, however, believes that this problem can and will be solved. He said, “It’s up to a local artist to begin to educate his/her clients about their work, about its intent. As Oklahoma artists themselves begin to inform the public about their created works and as the public becomes engaged in the process of critiquing and discussing artwork, then the community grows.”

Well Oklahomans, it seems like this is a call to each of us to go out there and appreciate the art that Oklahoma has to offer. So go to an art gallery or local fundraiser, it’s good for our state, the artists, and hey, you might even have a little fun!

Part 5 of 5 By Katie Seefeldt, OVAC intern

OK Artists Inspiration & Challenges: Kolbe Roper

Kolbe Roper’s artwork is centered on the artist’s age old desire to capture the meaning in daily life. It was this desire, or need to create art, that led him to a profession in art despite his family’s urging to study anatomy and trigonometry. When describing the main ideas behind his art, Roper said, “Overall my work is about my life and what happens and where I am. I live in Oklahoma and I am dealing with family issues: divorce, arrest, life with a hard dad and loving mom, drugs, alcohol, and just day-to-day living. My work is about me, but I want others to find their own stories.” He added that a recurrent theme in his work is societal boundaries and gender roles. “I love the idea of gender roles and boundaries. Here I am a gay guy doing weaving and learning to knit and I am so happy about that. As a gay guy, I find it funny to play with gender roles. Gay man takes up woman’s roles. It makes me smile.”

Unlike many of the other artists interviewed for this blog who focused on the Oklahoma landscape, Roper said, “I get inspired from what Oklahoma is and how if affects people. Also, how people understand and process Oklahoma.” Roper’s answer to my question, “What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being an artist in Oklahoma?” was, however, not surprising. Like many other Oklahoma based artists, Roper finds that the Oklahoma public is not as supportive or interested in local art as he would like. He contended, “Oklahoma is a great place to get to know yourself and although we have many galleries and art spaces, we do not have a strong back bone in buyers and patrons.”

Part 4 of 5 By Katie Seefeldt, OVAC intern