Episode 72 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Posthumous Notes

Posthumous Notes

If you are reading this book, you are alive, but one day, you might not be so lucky. After all, history teaches us that many artists become popular only after death, so why not be more prepared than most? When we discuss an artist’s career, it would be a failing to ignore the fact that after death, the artist leaves behind a ton of work, usually unorganized. I think it is a kind thing to do for those left behind, as well as a way to preserve your legacy, to organize your archive and think about where it will all go for generations to come. This is not a complex process and involves the details of how to properly label and store your work so that it is preserved and has the appropriate historical documents, so that when a retrospective is mounted of your work, it is easy to gather the necessary materials. This may all seem like a morbid aside, but in fact, it is a very important part of a carefully planned career.

To plan your estate, and to plan what happens to your work after your death, is to take what you are doing very seriously. If you care for your career in this way, you are taking yourself seriously as a professional and others will perceive you that way as well. Having a professional attitude in your studio and your business practice makes all the difference in terms of your own identity and how the world sees you.

Preparing for Change

One of the biggest hurdles any artist faces is the willingness to change. You are reading this book because you want more information of some kind to help you and your art. But more than likely, you will have some resistance to one or more of the suggestions in this book, not because you think it is the wrong advice, but because you don’t like the idea of changing the way you are currently working. It is my experience that there is nothing more exciting than change for the better once you prepare yourself for it. That may mean a certain sacrifice in the short term, and in the long term, that means an ability to adapt and learn new strategies that can help you.

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 71 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / The New Paradigm

The New Paradigm

The New Paradigm is a call to action for all artists all over the world to change the current system of finance and the arts. As artists, you are free to create new structures, new ideas, and new ways of making a living from your art. Some of that may include selling shares of your work to the highbrow collector end (like Christo and Jeanne-Claude), or trading your artwork for services like medical bills and groceries, or exhibiting in local libraries and coffee shops. But there are many more ways, some still to be invented by you!

As artists, there is collective power as well as individual power, and if a movement is created that supports artists, like a new educational system with real-world tools for funding your career, wouldn’t you join?

This book is the seed of a better world for artists, a new educational system that is cocreative. The new paradigm I am proposing is for artists to continue to seek opportunities outside of the traditional system.

Is there money to be made with art?

Short Examples of Self-Made Artists from Outsider to Insider

There is always the question of nature or nurture; that is, can an artist be self-made, or is she only a product (more or less) of her culture, history, mentors, family, and luck? In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he makes the argument that there is no such thing as a self-made man (or woman) but that everything is a matter of parenting, historic context, hard work, and unique opportunities. It is my belief that artists can indeed be self-made, so to speak, and that connections can be made across class structures and in spite of economic difficulties. Hard work is a given, but you don’t have to have the greatest parents or be in the right place at the right time to succeed.

My story is one of the first cases that easily illustrates this and, of course, informs much of my thinking for this book. Simply put, I worked at many different jobs such as carpenter, artists’ assistant, waiter, and more to pursue being an  artist.

I opened a gallery and started publishing a magazine, and I had no background in business. My parents were both teachers, and I went to public school. I had an idea how to begin a business, and I asked people how I could do it, and it turned out that the nonprofit structure of raising money by asking people for support worked very well for me, and that is how I began the gallery and magazine. I left those businesses after nine years and went to New York without being represented by a gallery, and I was in the Whitney Biennial within two years. I was still working as an artist’s assistant when I got to New York City, but I was looking around and asking anyone I could if they could tell me how artists get shows at galleries and museums. I began writing directly to museum directors, curators, and galleries. Since then, I have been a working artist who has gotten sponsorship directly from companies and have also had direct support from collectors and patrons. I believe you can do the same in many parts of the world, regardless of your financial and family background.

I am not trying to say that we don’t all have different situations with different degrees of difficulty in getting your art and your dream recognized, but I am saying it is possible, and I am one example, and there are many others. In this book I will give you more detail and insight into the recipe of a self-made artist, but for now, just think of the writer J. K. Rowling. Her story is now well-known, but she was quite poor at the time she began writing Harry Potter and, with a grant, was able to finish her book. The material in that book was, of course, compelling and exciting to read, but nevertheless, she is a rags-to-riches story that is worth keeping in mind.

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 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.