Starting conversations with artists

I’ve been thinking about what my next teleseminar is going to be–struggling with a topic and a possible guest. But then I had the most ingenious (I think) idea today. Why don’t I just talk with artists? I can give you expert after expert after expert, but wouldn’t it be just as valuable for you to learn from other artists’ experiences?

So, that’s my new focus: Monthly teleseminars as "Conversations with Artists." (May need a catchier title.)

I have some thoughts about topics, but I want to hear yours. What do you want to hear from other artists and are there specific artists you want to hear from?

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13 comments to Starting conversations with artists

  • It’d be cool if you did a conversation with Duane Keiser, who is credited with starting the painting a day, movement. That would be interesting to me, anyway. I am fascinated by it.

  • I am curious to know how many artists are making a good financial living (at least $40-50,000 net not gross)just from their art. Not teaching, not lecturing, nothing but the art. To be really helpful it would be about artists who did so without getting a financial start from a spouse or other relative and who did not have a trust fund. I know they’re out there….they are out there, right???

  • I think it’s a good idea! It’s always meaningful to hear gems of wisdom straight from ythe horse’s mouth from those who have “been there done that”. I also agree with Mary that if you’re talking about “how to make a living as an artist”, it would be helpful to have someone who actually has to make a living and not someone with a bank to fall back on. Thanks Alyson!

  • I’d love to hear from Christine Kane, though she’s in music, not visual art. S

  • I think hearing from artists who have had success in applying for grants would be interesting. There’s many opportunities for assistance out there but sometimes it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start and how to apply correctly. People who have been through the process repeatedly and know what works and what doesn’t would be great. Thanks Alyson, this is a great idea!

  • SK

    Thanks for asking us, Alyson. I agree with Mary, it would be helpful to know of artists who are more than paying the bills with nothing but their art and how they did it. I would also like to know which forms of advertising work best and what the results have been. And how do you get into museums?

  • I can get behind that! I’d even pay for it. I don’t think the genre matters, much. We all face the blankness, whether canvas or paper. We all are trying to live by our wits, and none of it’s easy.

  • Monet came from a wealthy family, Van Gogh’s brother financed Vincent’s career, Hans Hoffman was an incredible teacher …many greats went to art schools from trust funds…Christo got his financial start from his wife…hey, let’s not rule out people if they don’t qualify…How about starting with finding some artists who have achieved accomplishments, like Venice Biennale exhibitors, or have their work already in a big museum or gallery ? I don’t think a salary evaluation is the best way to start…(let’s keep it a secret subtext)…

  • May I make a suggestion for a guest? What do you think of an artist with tremendous longevity in career and in life? Fred Oldfield is a very well-known cowboy artist in this area. Washington State has even named a day after him. He has done so much for western and wildlife art in the northwest, many artists owe their careers to him. He’s also donated over $1 mil in art in support of children’s programs. He still does shows and paints regularly, and will be celebrating his 90th birthday in March. The current issue of Art of the West has a nice little article about him. He might be a good one to talk to about about such as ‘keeping it going’ through good and through lean, and much more.

  • Hi guyz and galz! What about artists that do matte paintings for backgrounds in movies? Artists that make props for live theater? How about greeting card artists, and illustrators? All of these artists can exhibit their art in galleries! There are many freelance artists out there who have worked hard for their dream job! I would love to meet somebody like that who has had their share of ups and downs in this business and can tell you about it. Thanks Alyson!

  • Thanks everyone for the ideas. And keep ‘em coming! SK: Be sure to check out my e-book and recording on Artists and Museums: http://www.artbizcoach.com/resources/museums.html I have some ideas for talking with artists who have their art in museums.

  • re: Sheas post about speaking to artists that only earn from their art. Yes, there are some out there, but it’s an unfair question to ask in my mind. There has always been the “art I create to make a living” and the “personal art” that is what the artist really would rather be doing. Teaching, selling DVDs of how-to, authoring books, all come under the heading of “making a living” so I can go do my art when I want to. It’s the solid base for independence as an artist and not the reason for being one. My portrait commissions, forum and speaking are what fuel and finance my ability to then take time off to create what I want to do with my art. The other “jobs” are enjoyable in their own way and allow more independence for my art. It might be better to see how a balance of these multiple “lives” work together to allow an artist to grow and create more collectors for their work.

  • I agree that making money only from art is reductive and might also be a rare bird. But artists who make a living from art and from teaching and from other means of sharing their experience are more common, and I think, more interesting. Teresa Vito is a Colorado artist who makes a living painting and teaching. Her college art teacher told her to give up or maybe get a job sweeping someone else’s studio. She took that as a sign to kick butt and make it happen and she has. I’d love to hear more stories about how people use their chutzpah, talent and creativity to make it happen.