Be the Artist of Your Every Day

Month: June 2011

5 Tips on Making a Living as An Artist (from an Artist without a Web Site)

The Garden

Monotype by Mary Gow

Is having a website one of those essential things an artist needs in order to make a living as an artist? Sculpture Thomas Hill doesn’t rank it as the top five most essential things. However, it doesn’t mean their work cannot be seen on the web.

Recently I heard Hill speak on a panel of five artists speaking on the topic of making a living as an artist. (In an earlier post I had mentioned my favorite top five tips I garnered from the 25 shared). How do you find Hill on the web? Google him. He says he’s doing fine without a site.

Unlike some members of the panel, Hill advocates not thinking of the commercial application of your work – rather more important is the pursuit of whatever you are passionate about. Don’t think about whether something will sell, think about what makes you happy to create.

There’s roughly four branches for an artist to sell through:

1) commercial gallery shows;

2) craft shows (Hill says it’s one of the best ways to get out there because you’re in direct contact with potential buyers);

3) public and corporate commissions; and

4) museum shows.

Hill reemphasizes that it’s more important to find your artist’s voice than to think about selling.

His five tips for making a living as an artist:

1) Make a LOT of work;

2) Make things you care about that mean a lot to you;

3) Don’t be afraid to ask advice (he was in a critique group and many members were 15 years ahead of him
and he got excellent advice from them);

4) Be friendly with colleagues, suppliers, etc.; and

5) Have good images. For example if a publication calls and asks you for images of your work, you already have a stable of them ready to be published.

Maybe an artist doesn’t need a website so much as she needs to be happy and producing work and lots of it. Then, the World just might find you. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have helpful members of your critique group give you a heads up.

7 Ways to Make Your Presentations Sparkle


Image by Mary Gow

If you have nine minutes to spare watch these two videos. The first is produced by BNET Video, with Carmine Gallo explaining how to present like Steve Jobs. The shorter video below features tech evangelist and author Guy Kawasaki. Here’s a highlight of their tips:

1) Set the theme with a single headline;

2) Provide an outline and verbally open and close each section with a transition;

3) Be big on visuals and short on bullet points;

4) Make your numbers meaningful (for example “75,555 iPhones are sold every day”);

5) Use video clips, surprise guests, memorable props (like he unveiled the mac air by pulling it out of an interoffice envelope;

6) Use Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 presentation rule: use 10 slides, talk no longer than 20 minutes, and use 30 point type (or a point size that’s the age of the oldest member of the audience); and

7) Rehearse rehearse rehearse. Know your material (so you can captivate your audience as you talk through your compelling images).

Do you have any tips to add?

Inside the Modern


"Inside the Museum," Photo by Mary Gow

I took this photograph at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Steins Collect show is a “must see” (through September 6th) if you enjoy the work of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. A movie that shows at noon most days and runs 52 minutes documents the endearing friendship between the two artists.

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