The Art Biz ep. 117: A Dual Path as an Artist and Art Reviewer with Philip Hartigan

Ten years ago I published a post pleading you to write about art. Not your own art, though that’s a given, but the art of other artists.

I was alarmed at the large numbers of arts writers that were disappearing from major newspapers. Since that post was first published, the situation has only gotten worse.

Painting of a crow with hands by artist Philip Hartigan | on Art Biz Success
©2020, Philip Hartigan, Crow and Hands. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 x 1.5 inches.

Newspapers, scooped up by hedge funds like Alden Global Capital, are slashing the positions of seasoned reporters and reviewers in major cities across the country. They are a sad image of what they once were.

Thankfully, online publications have stepped in to fill the void, but we still need arts writers and reviewers in smaller cities and markets.

Artists need writers. They are a critical part of the art ecosystem. Look back on any art movement from the past century in the U.S. and you’ll find a writer behind its day in the spotlight.

My guest for this episode of The Art Biz is artist and writer Philip Hartigan. As you’ll hear, he’s not quite sure what order those labels should be in. In some respects the writing came first, but the art has always been there.

We talk about his writing life, the role that blogging has had for him, and how he came to be a correspondent for Hyperallergic online art magazine. You’ll also hear about how writing has helped him make inroads into the art world.

My hope is that you will consider writing more about not just your art, but about other artists’ work. Possibly for publication and definitely for connections within your art community.

[ See How to Write an Art Review ]

Here’s my conversation with Philip Hartigan.


  • James Joyce, literature, and Philip’s journey as an artist. (1:54)
  • The subtle narrative of Philip’s current work and his gradual return to painting. (7:19)
  • How did Philip get into writing about art for publication? (10:13)
  • Overcoming disdain for a personal art blog in favor of clarity. (13:24)
  • Writing for an online publication and becoming an online correspondent. (18:25)
  • Creating meaningful connections through writing. (24:45)
  • The value of blogging in an Instagram world. (30:18)
  • Finding your why behind writing about your art. (39:00)
  • What is on the horizon for Philip? (42:20)


Artist Philip Hartigan sets up computer for online teaching | on Art Biz Success
Philip's online teaching set-up

Philip Hartigan Quotes

  • “All artistic activities are related in some way.”
  • “Writing can be a good way to clarify your own thoughts about your work.”
  • “Talking about your art is a way of making connections and reaffirming those connections.”
  • “Writing is just making connections and having a conversation and keeping that conversation going.”
  • “A blog is your piece of real estate on the internet in a way that Instagram and Facebook just isn’t.”

About My GuestPhoto of artist Philip Hartigan | on Art Biz Success

Philip Hartigan is a visual artist, writer, and teacher. He has written about art since 2010 for Hyperallergic, Time Out Chicago, and his art blog Praeterita. His visual art has been shown in more than thirty exhibitions in Europe and the USA.

Hartigan was born in the UK and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Follow Philip on Instagram @hartiganartist and YouTube.

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3 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 117: A Dual Path as an Artist and Art Reviewer with Philip Hartigan”

  1. Thank you for a(nother) great interview! I have been, modestly, writing articles about exhibitions in the city I live in. I haven’t found “my voice” yet and was about to let go of writing but listening to Philippe interview gave me ideas and desire to continue. And have more “real estate” in my blog. Philippe will be my writing-lighthouse, shining when I feel lost with words and the English grammar!

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