Living the Dream: The Morning After Art School
by John Watson and Brian Horner, with a foreword by Dr. Jeffrey Hughes
- Series: A DIY Guide to the Art Business
- Paperback: 90 pages
- Publisher: Kendall Hunt Publishing; 1 edition (February 27, 2017)
- Language: English
“If your art school career was anything like mine was, then most of your studies, work, and preparation were focused on making and understanding art, and very little, if any, attention was paid to the nonart part of your future career.” pg ix With this statement in the preface, I knew I would be able to connect with this book, as that one phrase perfectly sums up my own art school experience, and my preparation for the “real world” after graduating. This book is hyper-focused on providing a brief overview to the recent graduate looking to embark on a career in the arts.
The chapter headings are designed like art school lessons: Sketch, Composition, Process, Craftsmanship, etc,. Each heading neatly frames the lessons involved in starting an art world career. I’ll go through the chapters here with a brief synopsis.
Chapter 1: Sketch – An introduction
This outlines the author’s own experience as naive art school grad, and the helpful mentors that helped him get started.
Chapter 2: Composition – Playing well with others
This chapter defines how an artist should interact with others in the artworld, including “top 10 behaviors to avoid when working with others” Chapter takeaway: Respect is key
Chapter 3: Process – The Daily Grind
This chapter deals with goal setting to structure your time and career path, and offers an exercise to develop a plan for the near, medium and long term. The authors talk about breaking down the goal in to smaller steps to determine a plan to achieve the goal. Touching on marketing, researching and networking, the chapter takeaway is: Have a plan!
Chapter 4: Craftsmanship – Attention to Detail
The authors discuss developing a professional voice in correspondence and emails, how to introduce yourself by email, building the necessary tools: a CV, a website, Artist statements, Social media profiles, etc. A pragmatic chapter with a takeaway to craft your materials to the audience, and pay attention to the small details to put your best self forward.
Chapter 5: Critique – Getting your work out there
“Marketing” in this chapter, refers to anything the artist does to get their work seen. The authors talk about finding an audience for the work you want to do, and not changing your work to fit an audience. The chapter covers holding open studios, different types of exhibitions, such as Juried, DIY, Artist co-ops, etc,. and commercial galleries. Chapter takeaway: Many ways to get your work in front of an audience-find the one that suits you.
Chapter 6: Context
This segment is full of pragmatic advice on mounting an exhibition, from hanging to lights and labeling. Press releases, pricing and finally delivery of your sales. A handy 12 month checklist for preparing for your exhibition. Takeaway: Advance preparation is essential!
Chapter 7: Materials – The building block of business
Finding a studio, what to look for. Health and safety. Accounting, inventory and recording keeping are all covered here. Takeaway: Transitioning from student to professional means dedicating time to the business end of the practice.
Chapter 8: Self-Portrait – Living the dream
Jobs in the art world. Rejection and how to deal with the natural ups and downs of a career. Takeaway: Love what you do.
Examples of: artist’s Statements, Press Releases, Record Templates
Posted April 8 2018 Peter D Harris