How to survive as an artist on the internet??
(from everest with love)
Some places to find residences/ other opportunities:
Rivet - https://rivet.es/
New media caucus - http://www.newmediacaucus.org/
Trans arts (opportunity aggregator) - https://www.transartists.org/
Creative Capital - look for their monthly roundup - https://creative-capital.org/
Alliance of Artist Communities - https://www.artistcommunities.org/
Funding - https://candid.org/find-funding
Emergency grants- https://www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org/grants/emergency-grants
My very long and somewhat disorganized list of everything I’ve ever found (my gift to you) - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KWIzznlFNs_rQCEzW5ub6ehwaLcwR80xbuOokXwRa_Y/
Here’s the hot art tips:
(Note: I put these together for students but some of it widely applies!)
Find your best people/places:
* Find your niche:
* Where are the places you read things?
* What are the conferences that host talks you like?
* Look at the cvs of artists you respect- where did they go?
* Apply to things that interest you, they will be more oriented towards your work too.
* In general, the community you grow with are the people that will make your career in the future.
What to apply for (and is it a scam?)
* On "Exposure"
* You do need your work to be in the world, but not at material cost to you.
* Many DIY and project spaces are not trying to scam you, they just have no money with which to compensate you.
* You should never pay to show work, or apply to a gallery or show that runs expensive-application-fee open calls year-round
* Some residencies do charge and are still worth it, including some “important” ones (Mass MoCA, Skowhegan, etc).
* My rule - I never pay more than my normal cost of living to do a thing
* if I can use a residency for my food/house/etc in a given month and come out even with what I would normally pay for food and rent (about $1000), it’s still good
* If you need it, ask for a need-based application fee waiver, many have them, it does not count against you
* (if anything, it is helpful to get the extra conversation in before they review applications)
* In these calculations, ask yourself what will it give you?
* A show, a place to live for a month, food, a stipend, a community, equipment, a place you wanna go... etc
* If community is important, look at who has gone in the past, and if their work is meaningful to you. They will be representative of your peers while you are there.
* Aka “come here and live and make work for a bit”
* I love them- but wouldn’t keep an apartment while I was doing a bunch
* (Good for short thinkin vacations if you have a place though!)
* They are generally what you make of them, because what they mostly offer is time
* Some also offer community and facetime with other folks in the arts
* Some are a lot easier to get than others
* I often apply to fancy/hard to get ones first, then infill my time with lower key ones that are much easier to receive
* this is a bit of a rude way to describe less prestigious spaces, but the level of competition you face changes dramatically place to place
* these small ones are often fabulous and full of amazing people but they generally don’t offer any career prestige, just a cool place to think and work for a while
Sales/pricing (for physical work):
* A few options here:
* Market rate:
* Your prices are decided by what you can sell stuff for
* This may work out to be a very low hourly rate (especially if you are a slow worker in the studio) or a very high one (you are a quick worker and have lots of demand!)
* Work is often priced by size- eg, a small drawing is much less than a big painting, regardless of time spent
* Always figure in materials cost, which can be very high for painters/sculptors/etc
* This is honestly a totally arbitrary number that changes per person, but:
* the very cheapest you should probably consider for an original is a few hundred dollars, out of your studio or a coffee shop or other low key venue (a sketch or a multiple could be less)
* my students seem to regularly price around $100-$250 which is an okay place to start if you want to move stuff/need to support yourself
* this price will increase with the venue you are showing in (a gallery will add their fee on top, and connect you with folks who might be able to spend a little more)
* you can set your prices to literally whatever- and it is sort of a gamble, because if you say you are worth more, then you are? but also, you might sell nothing? so it is kind of ~abstract~ worth
* Hourly rate:
* Pick your rate and charge by time spent. This is what I do, partly because I have a good sense of time passing so it is easy for me to track.
* My rate is $25 - $200 depending (private personal studio time that ends up making a document vs you are a bad corporation who has asked for an installation)
* I include my proposal/phone meeting/email time on the project in this cost.
* there are time trackers that you can use, I generally just type an x at the top of my project notes for every hour spent and add them up like days on a cell wall, oh no.
* I have a low range (no originals below $400, no commissions below $300, etc)
* I add materials costs on top
* 60 hours on a drawing, plus $30 for paper and pens? Somewhere in the range of $2-4k.
* A 5 hour drawing? $400
* My prices have increased over time, but are still pretty low for somebody who has had a good career otherwise. This is bc I don't have gallery representation (which is both good and bad).
* Sometimes I sell work in a book or print model, which is editions of a digital or printed thing.
* If numbered, these are often $80-$100
* If not numbered (more like a zine), these can be as cheap as $10 or $15 from me
* Regardless, always generate invoices that clearly say what you sold, to who, at what value, and with any discounts.
* (include a line that you don't take returns bc.. yeah.. sometimes folks will try to return? art? ).
* You want all this info because it will help with taxes and general records in the future.
Sales/pricing (for digital work):
* Congrats if you are a digital artist you don't need to think about this.
* JK but honestly, kind of? It’s a pretty different thing, there is not a big sales market for digital/code based work...
* Hourly rates make some sense in a digital world, especially if you are doing commissioned work.
* I also sometimes sell work in a more app model, which means you can download my work for like $2. Theoretically, I could be more compensated for this type of thing than selling a single original, but it would take a “hit” which is not, my work, generally
* I like https://itch.io/ for this, which is oriented for games but also hosts lots of weird little digital artworks
* they have a shop interface that lets you take payments or donations
* (Honestly, if you want commercial success in this field, find a gallery that specializes in this kind of digital work.)
* The best model is possibly from video art, which has a bit of a system in place for loans and purchases of similarly intangible media.
* See Video Data Bank
* "Getting a gallery" usually puts you in a commercial bracket that is different from a more academic or project-based world
* You are on their docket because you are an asset, either financially, conceptually, or both
* You are often expected to have a show there every few years and in general be producing work for them
* They connect you with collectors
* Many of whom are "investing" in work that they sell later
* Most galleries take 50%
* The "Right of First Refusal" - Many galleries include this line in sales, it means you (or them) can buy the work back if a collector decides to sell. Mostly you don't though because you can’t afford it.
* What are they?
* Commissioned work -
* Make a thing for us, often within set parameters, paid.
* GET A CONTRACT and 50% down before you start work.
* You can be commissioned by an institution, a museum, a gallery, or even a corporate space.
* Sometimes these come from open calls, but sometimes they reach out to you.
* Your contract should describe what you are making, for what compensation, the terms of the agreement, the terms of cancellation, due by what days, and what the institution will and won’t provide.
* Loans -
* Will you loan us a thing for a show?
* Sometimes a small honorarium, not always.
* They should pay shipping/install costs.
* Gifts -
* You can gift a work to an institution (not a bad way to enter an archive, but they can always decline).
* You may also be asked for gifts/donations. this is an okay way to offload old work for a tax write-off but beware that they can sometimes sell for too low which is not always good for your “value” or whatever. :/
* You can always decline to send a gift, but might not be a bad call to offer a small donation instead if you wanna keep up good relations (eg- thank you for reaching out, I don’t have anything in my studio right now, but here is $20, good luck with the fundraiser.)
* Keep documentation of where your work is. You may get a tax write-off if they are a nonprofit, so remember what you have gifted at the end of the year.
(Btw - I'm speaking from my own financial situation, which is- I have no debt and no family obligations but also no real