Lindsey Harnish of the Ferndale Public Library in Michigan inquires:
I just won a grant for my library, specifically to purchase art business books. While I've got a long list of titles on my wish list, are there particular books that you strongly recommend?
Well, Lindsey, since you used the word strongly, I pored over my titles and came up with this curated list for you.
Jackie Battenfield, The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love
Battenfield's book is quickly becoming the standard for artist career development. It's especially good for artists on the gallery track.
Heather Darcy Bhandari & Jonathan Belber, Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career
Another good book for artists seeking galleries.
Both of these books have a strong New York bent.
Daniel Grant, The Business of Being an Artist
Pretty much everything Grant writes is worth reading. I'm embarrassed to say that my edition of this book is from 2000. The 2010 edition (the most recent) adds 100 pages to my version.
Grant has also written Selling Art Without Galleries and How to Grow as an Artist.
Barney Davey, How to Profit from the Art Print Market
Davey knows the giclée market! This is the go-to book for artists who think prints are in their future.
Lynn Basa, The Artist's Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions
Any artist interested in dipping their toes into the public art arena must have this book. Public art commissions are a whole different world than galleries and selling directly to collectors.
Tad Crawford, Legal Guide for the Visual Artist
This book should be on the shelf of every artist. When you need a legal answer, just look it up! We've gotten terribly lazy and expect people online to answer stuff for us. Get the book. Trust me. You need it.
Alyson B. Stanfield, I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion
My book isn't a career guide, but focuses instead on self-promotion. And I don't mind saying that I still think it's good – especially if you want to promote directly to collectors and attract attention for your art.
David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
While this book is more about mindset than about business, it's a must-read. After all, you can't build an art business if your mind isn't in the right place.
Gigi Rosenberg, The Artist's Guide to Grant Writing
Rosenberg's book isn't just helpful advice for writing grants. It's also warm and personal. I read this book cover to cover and enjoyed every moment. Comb through the sections before you send that application in.
While neither of these books was specifically written as an artist business book, they will help anyone understand the art market economy:
If you'd like to know what the life of a private dealer is like (and get some inside gossip), try:
- Richard Polsky, I Bought Andy Warhol
- Richard Polsky, I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon)
I know there are many more out there.
What would you recommend to Lindsey and why?