Long ago, in what seems now like a galaxy far away, I organized a business of art seminar series called the Artist Survival Kit. It was part of my work on the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s board. I also wrote a quarterly column on business of art topics for the magazine Art Focus Oklahoma. Part of my work included reading and reviewing published books about the business of being an artist.
Then I “retired” from doing all that and went on with my life as a fine artist and author/illustrator. Of course I continued to regularly read books on business topics.
Warp-speed ahead to the Pacific Northwest: when any two local artists get together we talk shop – creativity and business stuff – which includes discussions about books we’re reading. And the more-abundant bookshops and libraries here have impressive selections of business-of-art books sitting right there on a shelf! (Imagine that!?!) Which brings me to this book I just finished titled “Real Artists Don’t Starve” by Jeff Goins. (and yes, that’s my coffee cup in the photo)
My thoughts about “Real Artist’s Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins are below in random order:
It’s worth a read no matter where you are in your art career and worth keeping on your studio shelves for that moment when you need an “I can do this” boost.
I love the easy-to-read quality to the writing, how he clearly explains concepts about business in ways that don’t send your creative self whimpering into a corner.
I love it that he emphasizes thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur. Particularly on page 147 where he writes “Some artists tend to think making money is either a system you sell out to or something to be avoided altogether. But in reality, it’s neither. If you don’t make money, you won’t have any art to make. We must seek to better understand the business of being an artist. Ignoring this reality is the fastest route to stop creating all together. To be an artist is to be an entrepreneur. We must learn to embrace this tension and the beauty that comes from it.”
Yep – that sums up exactly what I tried to teach all those years ago in Oklahoma. But I think Jeff does a much better job of explaining things than I did – pictures being my preferred medium to words-in-a-row. Jeff Goins is much better at the words-in-a-row. So I’m very glad he wrote this book and I’m glad to recommend it. I’m also grateful that I now live in a place, in an artistic scene, where it was possible to “happen on” to it.
As Jeff Goins writes on page 91 “As artists, we want to be where we feel understood. We want to live in places where our work and way of life are encouraged.”
After reading this book I certainly feel encouraged! Now I’m going to go create something.
(Oh, by the way, I sometimes post tid-bits about art related books on my Goodreads page…)