By Natassia Pratt
So many artists stand on a creative precipice within their lives that many outside of the art world are unaware of. This precipice is embodied by one question: How can I shift from simply making art to making a living?
Within the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ (NAGB) Art Library sits an invaluable resource for any artist that offers fresh, common sense answers to that very question; Art That Pays: The Emerging Artist’s Guide to Making a Living by Adèle Slaughter and Jeff Kober.
Whether an actor, dancer, musician, visual artist or a writer, a straightforward and unpretentious tone is established as the authors immediately present the basic realities of an artist’s life. The emerging artist overlooks more often than not important issues such as housing, insurance, budgeting and copyrighting. For the writer, the disadvantages between writing for a large and a smaller press are discussed. For the graphic designer, the ideal dimensions for your portfolio are listed along side those for a photographer or an illustrator. Tips on approaching art galleries are laid out for the fine artist’s perusal and if that does not interest, insightful and at times amusing quotes from persons within the many creative industries can offer guidance and encouragement.
Slaughter and Kober have gathered invaluable interviews from persons within an array of creative professions and present comprehensive approaches to a topic many artists are hesitant to grapple with, finances. Senior curator Josine Starrels offers this commentary on earning money:
“If I ran an art school and if I were king, I would not allow anybody to graduate with an MFA or PhD or any of those other wonderful letters without having a secondary skill with which they can earn money” (Slaughter and Kober 159).
However you choose to face the reality of paying bills and defying the starving artist stereotype, Art That Pays can help. There is something for even the most seasoned artist to learn.
Maybe the reader only needs validation that he/she made the right decision to pursue their passion. Perhaps the reader needs that extra push to find that “B Job” that can supplement their art, Art That Pays can help. This book never promises to have all of the answers but the answers that it provides simply make sense. How far do you want your art to reach? One artist is adamant that your art must “Be seen by someone at whatever level you can show it” (Slaughter and Kober 159). How do you measure your success? One artist describes this phenomenon as “Creating an opportunity that allows me to live up to my fullest potential” (Slaughter and Kober 159).
Are you ready to do more that just make art? If you want to know how to make a living with your art or learn something new about squeezing even more out of your creative career choice, then this book is a must-read. Borrow it today at the NAGB’s Art Library.
Slaughter, Adèle, and Jeff Kober. Art That Pays: The Emerging Artist’s Guide to Making a Living. Los Angeles, Calif: National Network for Artist Placement, 2004. Print.