Jan 19, 2010

Double Shot

Two similar but very different books on making it as an artist.

The first book is "How to Make Living as a Painter" by Kenneth Harris. I found this book in the Herron library my freshman or sophomore year by chance. It was one of those really really old books that have thick hard covers painted in those very odd colors (usually mustard yellow or baby poop green). It is a shorter book under 150 pages. The book tells about a man painting and selling his pieces out of a log cabin on the side of the road during tourist season (before the Internet). The book starts off with:

"A painter, like everyone else who does useful work, should expect to make a living from that work. Potato farmers, piccolo players and pathologists follow their vocations because they like the soil, or music, or studying tissues - but all of them anticipate also that their efforts will bring them enough money to live on. painters are just about the only people who have given up on the idea. And yet they need not have." (Harris , 11)

He also believes that not everybody can afford $1000 paintings but many more can afford to buy %50 or $250 paintings that they really love. He also states that you do not need to live in New York, Paris, Chicago, Etc. to become a good artist or make money from it. He covers just about everything in the book; pricing, selling, managers/agents, publicity, shows, how the public views the artist,commissions, and more. Overall it is a great book filled with great tips (including how to build a wooden crate for shipping!) which is old but not yet outdated. Since it was fist published in the 60's, this book is now out of print. I had to find my copy at a used book store in Texas.

The second book, "Living the Artist's Life" by Paul Dorrell is just under 175 pages and a very quick read. It is written by a man who was once an artist and then ran a gallery. I picked it up at Half Price Books for about five dollars. Written in 2004 it is more up to date then the Kennith Harris book and is focused more on any artist rather than just painters. (Not to knock on Kennith Harris he was just writing about what he knew and his experiences.) I easily read this in one day and it covers resumes, biographies, artists statements, portfolios, pricing, where to show your work, press releases, getting into galleries, commissions, contracts, copyright, reproductions, grants, and more. This book is avilable on Google books Here. It is also available on Amazon for $12.

I cannot even begin to explain how valuable theses books are to people like me who are starting out or thinking about becoming an artist or gallery owner and making a living off of it.

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