Episode 70 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Hype (Motivation) and Action

Hype (Motivation) and Action

There is a lot to be said for motivating words, especially if they make you feel better. Of course, it is also sad to get all pumped up by someone or something only to be deflated when your expectations aren’t met. Like making a new relationship, it is good to approach with caution, lest you be hurt too easily. This is a motivational book, I believe, and that is partially my intent, but the motivational part is also the by-product of techniques that work and my own sense of enthusiasm. In several chapters, I will discuss the role of attitude and creating your own hype in a sense, but it all boils down to your intent.

If you are looking for ways to become more energized, more focused, and more productive, your intent is to create, and if you are creating something wonderful, you will be enthusiastic about it. It is enthusiasm that is being roused by a good motivational text; it is your own sense of power and your ability to change and create. Whenever you speak enthusiastically about what you are doing or who you are, it is magnetic. People are drawn to others who are excited about something. It can be very serious or dark even, but you can still have enthusiasm about it. And since we all want to be happier in some respect or more joyous, then enthusiasm is one of the things we can look forward to. And it is something we can create.

In the chapters and the workbook, we will unlock your own stories and concepts that will generate interest from other people and the press.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 69 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / How the Book Can Be Used in Different Countries

How the Book Can Be Used in Different Countries

To be an artist in any of the cities today, as well as tomorrow, you need to earn a living in one way or another, and balance that with your art. As rent prices increase and living looks like it will not get any cheaper, we must all find ways to earn money to support our dreams as well as our monthly expenses. Many artists end up bitter at having to give up their practice of art to settle for a reliable job. It is a difficult choice. All the while, artists and creative people are seeing other creative people make fantastic livings at what they do, getting plenty of press attention and reviews, and think in some form, “Why can’t I do that?” Herein lie some of the answers for many artists.

Almost all of the resources mentioned in this book apply to international artists. Because of the online presence of slide registries in New York and elsewhere, anyone that has access to a computer can use resources that will offer them more expo- sure.

But more importantly, no matter where you live, there are people around you that can help in some way. In chapter 4, we discuss how to map the entire area where you live and make lists of important places and people for you to contact. This is a universal concept: how to make a friend. In all walks of life and in any town, the issue of how we befriend people and make good business contacts is essential. One of the guiding principles that will run through this book is how to be direct and polite in making new relationships. And that idea can be used in any city in the world, or any town, provided there are people there!

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 68 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Why Is This Book Different

Why Is This Book Different?

There is a lot of business advice for artists in book form and on the web and in blogs and teleseminars, but most artists want more than a beginning-level business course. In fact, as creative individuals, artists do not generally want a business plan; they just want to keep making art.

But what if you could create a way of working with money that was as creative as making your art?

In this book, I am exploring different ways that artists have used to sell their work and manage their careers, often in very creative ways and on their own terms.

This is a book about the art world and how a portion of it works. This book is meant for the artist as well as the creative person who has yearnings that are not yet defined but tend to the art world. It is also for conceptual artists as well as Sunday painters, because what we are talking about in this book is how to organize and run your life on art.

There are other books on marketing your art or promoting yourself, and this one too will cover that, but this book will also be a guide you write in, and by the end of the book, you will have a personal plan of actions and ideas to make life in the arts a little easier and a little more profitable. In many cases, traditional marketing techniques do not work for the arts, so you will learn about what innovative artists have done that will open a door for you to begin creating your own form of marketing.

How Teachers and Students Can Use This Book

You can use this book in several ways. I think the best way is to read it from front to back and fill out all the workbook pages. If you are doing this alone, you can go to the website for more support and can also download the workbook from there if you don’t want to write in this book (http://www.yourartmentor.com/ workbook.pdf). If you are using this book to teach a class on professional development for artists, or might teach a class in the future on this, there are a few things to consider.

Time is always the problem when it comes to creating and making plans succeed. The teacher, just like the student, often does not have “enough time” to complete the workbook, but the real problem is time management, and that is about changing your behavior.

That means to make this book work for both student and teacher or an independent artist, a time structure must first be adopted that can be achieved. Perhaps thirty minutes, five days a week at first, or less even, and soon many things will blossom. But this is the golden key: truly, it is “time management” in small letters, as boring as it may seem, that will unlock possibilities for you that you can only dream of.

Therefore, if the workbook portion is to have its greatest effect, the person must commit to a time frame and schedule so that their efforts will not be in vain.

Some of the greatest obstacles the teacher may find are psychological issues, such as fear, shyness, or a self-destructive attitude. The teacher should examine themselves as they do the workbook and complete it as well, which will aid in under- standing what the student’s struggle is. As a teacher, you also have your own struggles, and this book will help you and make it easier to identify with the students.

The student or artist doing this workbook alone must be brave and must make a commitment to finishing it, using the resources at the beginning to battle hesitation and fear of any kind, which are in the first pages of the workbook. In essence, sign the contract with yourself!

Another way to use this book is to form a group. For artists, this is a great form of support. Make a group and read the book and do the workbook together. You can also host your own seminar on the book using the online presentation tools I mention in chapter 3 so that you can stimulate a group of artists and educators to help themselves understand what it means to create a career strategy in the arts.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 67 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Make Lots of Money and Be Famous

Will You Make Lots of Money and Be Famous after Putting This Book into Practice?

Maybe you will and maybe you will not. But if you follow the book, you will learn how to be a professional artist, and no matter how things turn out, you will know that you tried and conducted yourself professionally and gave yourself a chance. That alone should give you an advantage in the marketplace. As an artist, Judith Braun once said to me, “I don’t want to look back at my life when I am eighty or ninety and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had tried to be an artist.’ I want to know that I did my best and have no regrets about it.”

There is also a burgeoning DIY movement in the arts now. It is generally meant to mean that now, many artists are “doing it themselves,” that is, they are working outside the gallery system, they are bypassing the traditional middle person in the equation and working directly with the public. That notion pertains to visual artists, musicians, writers, dancers, and many others that are in the arts.

There are many ideas in this book, but the main thing you can take with you is knowing that you conducted yourself like a professional, giving you the best possible chance at making it in the art world. There are examples of how other artists have  done it, and you can follow their examples or make up your own.

You should be reading this book if you want to see more of your art in the world, no matter where you are in your career.

If you have ever said to yourself, “I wish I could just make art,” then this is a book that can help you. If your dreams are large, like getting into the greatest museum in the world, or modest, like getting a local café, gallery, or collector to take

interest in your work, then you will find some wisdom in here to make your travels a bit smoother.

At the end of reading this book, you will have a map in your hand that outlines your strategy that is entirely your own.

If you are an artist at heart and want to let the world know how wonderful you are, then read this book, fill out the workbook, and you will be marching down a new road.

Is my art good enough?

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 66 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / The Artist Stereotype

The Artist Stereotype

One of the most crushing ideas or mythologies for artists is that you are more “pure” if you don’t promote yourself. We have been raised on these stories, and it has seeped into the minds of many artists and has stopped them from achieving their potential. You know the phrases: “He died penniless, not knowing his contribution,” “She always struggled with money,” “He never sold a painting and died without friends.” We know the stories of Van Gogh and many others that fit those phrases. And we also know how it feels to tell your parents you want to be an artist and the instant financial concern they might have for you, not to mention your friends and other relatives! I just recently read about the story of Vivian Maier, a photographer who produced over one hundred thousand photographic images from the 1950s to the 1990s. Her images were found at a yard sale. When the buyer posted some of them on Flickr, the photo-sharing site, she became an instant celebrity because the images are beautiful. Now a book and a movie will be made about her. She died before she knew of any of this. She was also homeless for a while until two children that she was a nanny for helped her by paying for an apartment and her bills. It is an incredible story. A sad story and a poignant one. When the newspapers caught hold of this story, they ate it up. It fits the age-old myth of the artist. The newspapers commented that she was a pure artist because among other things, she seem to have no commercial interests at all when making art. How infuriating that was to read! Another nail in the coffin for artists everywhere trying to earn money! I think the way this is interpreted by many artists is to take it to heart and victimize themselves by thinking they must not earn money in order to be pure, whatever that means. (More about Maier in chapter 11.)

Please, if there is one thing you take from reading this book, it should be that those stories are not only dead, they are counterproductive and can only serve to bring you down emotionally and prevent you from moving forward. Embrace the new economy that is all around us. You are valuable, your work is valuable, and as a contributor to culture, you need to live and thrive off of your work. At the very least, you need the opportunity to thrive off of your work.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 65 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Creative Ideas Are Needed

Making It in the Art World


I am writing this book to change the world. Artists are at the forefront of creative tactics that can alter not only how we perceive our lives, but how we live them.

This book is for the professional artist or the artist who wants to learn to be a professional.

If you are an artist, you are a leader. If you are a leader, you must make a stand and tell everyone who you are and why they should listen to you. In this hypercompetitive world, you must be brave, and embrace your genius, or your voice will be silenced by those around you who are not afraid to speak up.

When I grew up in the ’70s, my parents were teachers, and like all the other parents I knew, they worked a lot, bought a house, and made a modest living. I was told to go to college, get a degree, and pursue my interests. But since my interests were art, when I graduated, there were no jobs in the arts except for teaching, and I didn’t want to teach. Also, I wanted more: I wanted to be an artist and live by my own rules.

The New Economy

Let’s look at the economy. In the last century, we have been taught to get a job, go to work, pay the bills, and everything will be all right. The capitalist system needs workers, and schools turned them out. People took jobs they didn’t like and dealt with it until they retired. For the majority of the working class, their life was devoid of realizable dreams, of plans, because no one encouraged it. After coming home from a soul-crushing job, there wasn’t time to pursue what it is you love or even to explore what it is you might love. What is the answer? Fantastic state-sponsored advertising told us the new answer for many was the lottery. Buy a ticket and you can quit your job, then the dream begins. Unfortunately, the lottery made things worse, because now all your dreams are in one basket, and the chance of them coming true is practically zero. It is no wonder we see a rise in antidepressants; life is laid out to be a mediocre exercise in making money, managing stress, and taking care of your family. Now the economy is even worse, and when you get out of college, even getting a mediocre job is very difficult. The competition is growing all the time. So now people go around grousing about how the rich get richer, and all that serves to do is keep them in their place of mediocrity, of not taking risks, and getting a prescription for antidepressants or worse. Don’t play that game; it’s just what the man wants, and it will keep you down and stop you from doing anything creative.

What this new economy needs is innovators. Don’t look for gallery approval, hoping to be taken care of like a pampered pup; those days are long gone. The artists who are really making money, like Damien Hirst, are finding ways to bypass the gallery system. Even graffiti artists like Banksy are finding ways to bring their work to market without a gallery, without a middleman.

Creative Ideas Are Needed

As an artist, you stand on the edge of a new frontier. The world is waiting for your ideas. Companies everywhere are looking for creative ideas, and people all over the globe want to be inspired by something new; they want an example that they can follow and do by themselves. As an artist, it is your job to generate new and creative ideas. Galleries can still be useful, but they are a small part of the game now.

In the middle of one of the worst economies in decades, a website came along called Kickstarter that was launched in April of 2009. The idea was to provide a platform for creative people to show off their ideas and raise money for it. By 2010, Kickstarter was the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world; millions of dollars go through it every month, right into the hands of artists. Where did all that money come from in this terrible economy? From people everywhere who want to see creative ideas and projects like making music, inventions, and artworks be part of this culture.

You are being called upon to lead the next generation! As an artist, you have a big advantage, because you already know how to think creatively, and if you look at the Kickstarter website, you can see that the world values creativity.

Now it is time to make it; now is the time to show the world that you are a leader and have something to offer. Your art, your creative ideas, your willingness to be able to take a risk for what you believe in are all part of the new economy that you must engage unless you want to keep looking for a job that is boring, dull, and will suck the creative life right out of you.

This book will give you tools to pursue your dreams, and the workbook that is included at the end of every chapter is a way for you to make a contract with yourself about realizing those dreams and making a plan for them to happen! You can download the workbook on the link below.

I am the artist

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 64 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Motivation


There is no greater stumbling block for an artist than rejection. Even after a great solo show is mounted, if there are little or no sales, it can send an artist into a downward spiral. How can anyone withstand these slings and arrows? As Robert Storr alluded to in the first interview, it is about what you do with failure. We will all fail at a variety of attempts and projects, but how will you retool that failure so you can even use it to move forward? That is a personal technique not taught by schools or mentors, but by the passion that exists with you, within any given individual. It has also been said that art should be something that you must be compelled to do by an inner desire, a force you can’t stop.

I think that is one way to battle failure, to never give up, but there are other ways as well.

Another way is to approach failure as a learning tool. If you were a scientist, failure would not be considered a mistake or setback, but needed information to make something better. In art it is similar, we could choose to look at mistakes, setbacks and rejections as tools to make a better presentation, a better series of works, etc.

Another way to endure and retool failure might be to grin and bear it so to speak. That is, to keep working, keep making art, even if you are feeling set back by failure or disappointment.

Have faith that the sheer continuance of working will generate a break through and you will work with a lighter burden.

Another way to deal with failure is to give up. Leave your studio. Go somewhere that is at least 3,000 miles away or the furthest you can go. Stay there for three days to a week, don’t make art. Just think. Then come back and begin again.

There are many ways you could deal with setbacks and challenges, but an awareness that you are in a battle might help, especially if you gather fellow friends, peers, who are all in this with you together.

John Currin talked about friends just getting together to help each other. You could call it a support group, but it comes in many forms, and could also be a salon, or a revolution or a reading group.

Finding a group of friends that is supportive is also I believe what might save our planet, our species! More and more articles are written about our relative isolation as a community in our jobs and homes as opposed to working together with friends all day and eating and dancing afterwards.

A community that eats, dances and works together is a happy one it seems. I hope that some of the suggestions in this book will bring you more relationships, more friends, maybe even more dancing, and more laughing.

After all, “it’s who you know”, as they say, so why not get busy having fun and meeting people!

It’s why we are here on the planet I believe – we are here to make more friends, to be generous and kind, to dance and sing.

Phrases like that may sound like the  stuff of cliché, but as artists, we are the ones to actually make that happen, we are the ones to gather friends, to invite others to dance, and ultimately to invite others to experience a universal form – your form – of beauty, which of course, is art.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.


Episode 63 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Believing in Yourself

Self-worth, delusion, and other aspects of how an artist presents herself is essential to any artists’ career. Enthusiasm is a big part of the puzzle to learn how to make contacts and influence people.

The idea of “believing in yourself” has a different meaning for artists, because it is not initially about self-esteem or confidence, even with psychological issues aside, artists tend to have one thing in common. It is a belief in something they do, however small or large – and that is what makes an artist different from every other professional. For some it starts in childhood, but either way, the seed is always there. Then the belief has to be nurtured to some degree, by a parent, or a teacher, or a friend, and then you learn to nurture it yourself by making more art and exploring more ideas, in most cases. So this process of “believing in yourself” to me, means to keep working in the studio or wherever you work, because the art is the center of it all of course. If you do too much “business” or “networking” you will lose studio time and a balance is necessary. The center is always the studio.

The idea of the “artfully constructed personality” is not always as cold as it sounds. Andy Warhol might have been an example of a certain ‘atsy’ self-consciousness about how he appears and acts in public. Dali and others were performers in that sense as well, but Warhol seemed to play up his ability to bore rather than entertain. Another example of an artfully constructed personality is Lady Gaga the performer who once said that Stephanie Germonatta (her real name) could never be as bold and do the things Lady Gaga does.  

I mention these examples to say you can take “believing in yourself” to another level as well, and construct an artful approach to dress, manner of speech, and ambitions. It would be perfect for experimenting with while networking and meeting people, but of course you already have your own style, it’s just a matter of doing it more and trying new approaches.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.


Episode 62 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Sue Stoffel cont’d / The Eternal Optimist

Sue Stoffel interview continued.

Carey: That’s the idea. I think Creative Capital was encouraging fiscal sponsorship, because in a way this is what a lot of non-profits know how to do, Creative Time as well.

What they know very well is those wonderful things that Ann told you even about raising money, what needs to be done which means that’s the level of expertise that were artists to be able to use that they’re really conversive. They’re pro’s in how to do that. I haven’t seen this happen a lot and I think it’s very difficult for artists to raise money. Right now the art world seems to be changing so much or perhaps that’s just the whole world is always changing so much.  

Stoffel: Well, one of the projects I’m working on going forward which has to remain nameless now is finding exhibition space, living space and production space for visual artists and performance artists.

I think that’s the most pressing need right now, and the fact is that every creative person in New York is being priced out real estate wise. We’ve watched that in Brooklyn, we’ve watched that on the Lower East Side, going to Hoboken and to Philadelphia is not the answer. So I’m working with a non-profit to market empty storefronts, empty buildings, empty spaces on a temporary basis to artists in need so that they can have a studio or even an exhibition.

So it’s working with the real estate industry to make them understand that that social responsibility will come back to them in a big way by working with the creative community here in New York.

So I think that’s a viable alternative to building new studios and new buildings to work with existing structures and to make them suitable for artists to use even at a time temporary basis. So that’s one of the project that I’m working on now.

Carey: You’re working with galleries at the Lower East Side and I assume that’s how you find artists and work with artists – what are you seeing happening in the art world now? Are you excited about what you see coming out? I’ve talked with so many different people, some people say things like, there’s great work coming out, other people complain of the lack of depth in work being produced too fast, artists are thinking too much of the market. What’s your perspective on the new art that exist?    

Stoffel: I’m the eternal optimist. I mean, there’s such a disconnect between the art market and the art world and emerging art world, artists are creating extraordinary work with very resourceful materials.

I don’t agree that they’re making work too fast for the market. I think smart dealers and good dealers and long terms dealers allow artists to work at their own pace. It gets a little stressful a couple of weeks before the opening of the show but I think that model still works. The pricing structure is still where it should be. You shouldn’t have to mortgage your children to pay for a work of art. It’s the last priority at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of life’s necessities and it is actually disposable income.

So I’m not discounting art as an asset class and all the art investment funds but it’s not something that I’m interested in professionally or personally. I’ve been buying art for 30 years and the value of the collection has grown astronomically but it’s not why I do what I do. It’s not about the value. It’s about the support and the encouragement and the commitment of believing in these artists who are coming out of art school and have this incredible need to do what they do.

In that interview Sue Stoffel explains how she became a collector and I think it sheds light on how direct and simple the process can be for collectors. It started with one work of art, and from there her interest continued to grow. Like many collectors, she looks for art in galleries and talks to gallery owners about work she likes. That is primarily where she finds artists and new work. To be on her radar, and the radar of most collectors, your work needs to be on exhibit in places where collectors go.

She is a New Yorker, and most collectors in New York are looking at galleries on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where new galleries open all the time. So getting into group shows in that part of Manhattan by going to those galleries and getting familiar with the scene would help you meet collectors like her. If you are not in New York, then go to whatever neighborhood is near you that has galleries that collectors go to.

If you are a seasoned artist or emerging, this is one way to get more exposure in a new scene – by going to those galleries and looking for ways to get into group shows that can lead to sales and opportunities for solo shows.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.


Episode 61 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Sue Stoffel cont’d / Fundraising

Sue Stoffel interview continued.

Carey: And so the artists that they’re collecting, they’re not just necessarily known artists, they’re also emerging artists or unknown artists?

Stoffel: They’re all emerging artists. I worked with a lot of the galleries on the Lower East Side on Manhattan who were once the directors of the major Chelsea galleries now and who are going out on their own and starting their own stables and they bring extraordinary institutional memory with them. And have built up their own expertise and I work with them and it also depends on the taste of each client. I never show the same client the same work. I get to know how my clients live and how they live in their own residences. I do everything from delivery, installation, lighting, framing, insurance, tax planning, loans, everything.

Carey: Wow, that sounds like you’d need another degree to learn all of that. That was part of what you’ve learned in Arts Administration?

Stoffel: Yes, very much so, very much so. It’s a fantastic program.  It teaches you what everyone used to be doing by the seat of their palms. Curators used to become museum directors and now museum directors need an MBA.

Carey: And what school did you go to learn that?    

Stoffel: Columbia, here in New York.

Carey: I’d like to talk a little bit now about fundraising as well. I know you’ve worked with organizations to help with fundraising. I’m not sure if you’re doing that anymore, are you still helping with fundraising?

Stoffel: Yes, on a project basis. If I can buy into the project and it’s well conceived and they thought of a budget and they know how much it’s going to cost, I’m happy to make a few phone calls and say, “I think this is where you might have your commitment.”

But fundraising is – Anne Pastenak taught me that, fundraising is about fit. It’s about the project and about the funder, and you can only know that after having done it for a long time. So you have 3 sources of fundraising. You have corporate, you have government and you have private. And so you need to have a good healthy mix of all 3 of them in order to successfully fund any projects.

She also taught me that it takes dollar to raise a dollar. And so you need to have some kind of tools first before you go out to other sponsors and potential funders for grants and say, “Look I’ve got this. It’s going to cost me this, I need you to underwrite a third.” And sometimes they say, “I’ll write a third.” I’ll write a tenth,” but that’s how you get projects funded on a case by case basis.

Carey: Is it possible for artists to use this paradigm? I know places like Creative Capital and others are beginning to suggest to artists that they could run their studios almost like their own nonprofit and begin raising monies for their activity. Is that something you would encourage or do you think it’s possible this idea of artists’ fundraiser for their project?

Stoffel: I have never heard of that.

Carey: Organizations, like the LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) and some other new organizations that are coming up are offering artists fiscal sponsorships where they will act as the non-profit to accept the funds on behalf of the artist. So if the artist raises money or gets a commitment from a corporation or an individual to donate money to that project, it will go first to let’s say, in a case of the LMCC, to them and then they take a small percentage and write a check to the artist. Myself, and my wife and I are collaborative, when we raised some money we used Performance Space122 as our fiscal sponsor. Artists are using other organization as fiscal sponsors to essentially create their own fundraising platform.

Stoffel: I have a question back at you then. Is that fiscal sponsor responsible for the end product?

Carey: No

Stoffel: Did they oversee the end product?

Carey: No, I mean, they obviously want something to happen. Let’s say in the case of me working with Performance Space 122,, I’m responsible for communicating with that funder about the progress of it and what ultimately happens with it. The funder is really using Performance Space 122 as a way to donate to a 501(c)3 (a registered non-profit) so they get the appropriate tax off.

Stoffel: Correct.

Carey: This is similar almost to Kickstarter which is like the 501(c)3. They’re not responsible for the end product and of course there is sometimes problems with project completion.

Stoffel: I did know that the LMCC place takes sponsorship but I thought there was only the quid pro quo or they would be given studio space or …

Carey: No. Now they’re just doing fiscal sponsorship because essentially it’s book work. It’s their bookkeeper, that is committing to accepting donations on the artists behalf and creating a separate section in their book to keep track of this project but artist that doing with local churches, it could be anyone with a 501(c)3 really     

Stoffel: I’d like to know more about that, that’s an interesting model.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.