The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love, by Jackie Battenfield – “Providing real-life examples, illustrations, and step-by-step exercises, Battenfield offers readily applicable advice on all aspects of the job. Along with tips on planning and assessment, she presents strategies for self-management, including marketing, online promotion, building professional relationships, grant writing, and portfolio development.”
This is a great reference book for visual artists to have on their shelf, and the text book we use for Artist Inc. I have been lucky enough to work directly with Jackie and let me tell you – she knows her stuff. As a former gallerist in New York, a painter, and an educator, she brings a wealth of experience to her very direct way of presenting. Her advice has stayed with me years after working with her. I return to this book again and again as a reference.
Getting Your Sh*t Together: The Ultimate Business Manual for Every Practicing Artistby Karen Atkinson – “Whether you are a gallery- bound artist, a public artist, an emerging artist, a hobbyist, a crafts-person, a student, or a seasoned artist in need of a tune up, this manual is meant for you. This comprehensive book is informed by decades of experience and years of research into how to perform as a professional artist in the 21st century art world (or worlds). This book is filled with easy-to-follow instructions that will help you do everything — archive your work, start a mailing list, write a grant, and everything else you can think of.”
The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing: How to Find Funds and Write Foolproof Proposals for the Visual, Literary, and Performing Artist, by Gigi Rosenberg – “The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing is designed to transform readers from starving artists fumbling to get by into working artists who confidently tap into all the resources at their disposal. Written in an engaging and down-to-earth tone, this comprehensive guide includes time-tested strategies, anecdotes from successful grant writers, and tips from grant officers and fundraising specialists.”
The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions, by Lynn Basa – “Learn how to find, apply for, compete for, and win a public art commission. First-hand interviews with experienced public artists and arts administrators provide in-the-trenches advice and insight, and a chapter on public art law, written by Barbara Hoffman, the country’s leading public art law attorney, answers questions about this complex area.” Lynn Basa is a working artist that has received numerous public commissions. This is not theoretical but first hand advice from an experienced public artist.
Legal Guide for the Visual Artist, by Tad Crawford – “This classic guide for artists is completely revised and updated to provide an in-depth view of the legal issues facing the visual artist today and provides practical legal guidance for any visual artist involved with creative work.”
In addition to this reference book, Tad Crawford has published collections of Legal Forms that are specific to each media. These great books come with discs that contain basic boiler plate language for all the forms contained within them.
Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland – “This is a book written by artists, for artists -— it’s about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do.”
This book had been absolutely instrumental in my career, and has been a book I have returned to over and over since I began my journey as a full time artist. I buy them half a dozen at a time to pass along to my friends. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, by Twyla Tharp – “Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin…”
The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together, by Twyla Tharp – “In this practical sequel to her national bestseller The Creative Habit, Tharp explains why collaboration is important to her — and can be for you. She shows how to recognize good candidates for partnership and how to build one successfully, and analyzes dysfunctional collaborations.”
Sales and Economics
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, by Amanda Palmer – “Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.”
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel Pink – “To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extroverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.”
Whether we are convincing a gallery to believe in our work, a venue to book a show, a collector to invest in a piece, or a funder to back our project we are all in sales, and Pink can help you understand that it is not the slimy game of a car salesman but truly connecting with individuals that leads to sales.
Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely – “Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup? When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we’re making smart, rational choices. But are we? In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways.”
While Ariely does not speak directly to purchasing decisions about art, understanding behavioral economics is integral to knowing how and why people decide when buying art.