Brainard Carey Gives You the Keys to the Kingdom in ‘Making It in the Art World’

Making It in the Art World: New Approaches to Galleries, Shows, and Raising Money

 by Brainard Carey © 2011

 ISBN: 978-1-58115-868-7

 Rating: 10/10 – Useful!

I received this book as a Christmas gift last year and I have to say that it’s one of the best surprise books I have ever received – i.e. my SIL found it without any hints or input from me!

For those who don’t know, Brainard Carey is an artist and career coach for other artists /creative types.

In Making It in the Art World Brainard covers a ton of topics and the end of almost every chapter includes a workbook-style page which allows you to immediately apply what you just read to your own experiences and thoughts.

There aren’t as many intense thought / writing exercises as What Color Is Your Parachute, but you may find yourself inspired enough to scribble a lot of notes.

“Now is the 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 out of you.”

Brainard kicks off the book with a fair assessment of the current economic situation. He issues a call to arms for creatives to ignore traditional thinking (e.g. the only “successful” artist is a starving one) and traditional opportunities (like an unhealthy obsession with finding a gallery to represent you in New York City).

If you think it’s impossible to find a career in art, Brainard makes a well organized case to the contrary.  Some of the topics include:

  • Examples of income modes for artists.
  • Presentation tools and techniques for artists (including a sample email template for reaching out to museum curators).
  • Tips on how to create, build and maintain important professional relationships.
  • Insights into artist statements and critics.
  • Time management techniques.
  • Ideas for working with sponsors and private patrons.
  • The story behind Mr. and Mrs. Brainard’s surprising inclusion in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

I heartily recommend this book to all creatives. It’s great for soon-to-be and new art school grads as well as emerging artists. I especially suggest this for someone like myself. Someone who has a BFA, but they’ve been caught up in working regular, less-fulfilling-than-art jobs.

Two technical notes:

(1)  I like hard copies of how-to books and cookbooks. While I’m one of those boring people who doesn’t usually write in books, I will flatten a spine. When I did that with the paperback edition of Making It in the Art World, the cover almost completely separated from the spine.

(2)   Just as the introduction to the Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters suggests, “The quickest way to success is to read the entire book from cover-to-cover – twice. The first time helps you to appreciate how all the ideas fit together… The second read is where you start to combine the strategies…


[I]n this economy, you don’t have time to waste. [Read] the book from cover-to-cover as directed. It’s faster!”  



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<< Plans for the Blog Going Forward 



Published by Emily Duncan, on December 3rd, 2013 at 10:26 am. Filled under: Art News,Book Review,Current Events,FYI,Professional Development,SummaryNo Comments

Plans for the Blog Going Forward

I had a minor setback in writing this week. I was the designated driver for a loved one going into surgery the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. While I had brought everything I would need with me, it was overly ambitious to think I’d be able to concentrate. (Everything turned out fine, by the way!)

Jumping in, the functional goals I have for this blog fit in to the theme of continuing education (as I outlined in the previous post):

(1) Read / summarize / review art theory books. Especially those which are suggested reading for MFA candidates in the Visual Arts.

(2) Read / summarize / review books on professional development for creatives.

(3) Progress reports on on-going projects, artist interviews and events in Atlanta.


I’m still noodling through my plans for an editorial calendar, but I will forge ahead with my blog in the meantime!



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Brainard Carey Gives You the Keys to the Kingdom in ‘Making It in the Art World’  >>



Published by Emily Duncan, on December 1st, 2013 at 6:01 pm. Filled under: Art News,Creativity,Current Events,FYI,Uncategorized2 Comments

Hello, World

Hi, everybody!

You can’t see it yet, but I’m working on a revamp of my site. My web guy has gotten pulled further into his day job for the time being. So I thought, “Why not jump start my blog while we wait?”

I have been wanting to do this for a while, but I have had issues sparing the mental bandwidth to do so. As an experiment, I started my day by handwriting this copy at the very start of my day. So far, so good.

It has been almost 18 months since my last entry and, believe it or not, a lot has happened since then. Here are the highlights – at least the ones that will be relevant to this blog:

I drifted away from the part-time art classes and I started working full time for a growing publisher called Booktrope.

I applied and was accepted into the MFA Painting program at SCAD Atlanta. As the enrollment date approached, it became clear that the only financial aid I would have access to would be in the form of student loans. It was then that I decided not to proceed with an MFA at SCAD Atlanta. Please don’t misunderstand. It’s a fantastic school with an amazing network of alums, but I just couldn’t square the numbers.

2013 Tuition – $33,750 @ 3 years = $101, 250.


Loans – $20,500 (Unsubsidized Direct Loan) + $21, 873 (Optional Graduate PLUS Loan)

= $42,373

(And 3 years of that = $127,119 (!!!))


While I have confidence that I probably could have found a clever way to pay that off, it made more sense to design my own “program of study” which includes developing my own knowledge / skill base and network of contacts, free from the yoke of crushing debt.

2013 has had a few creative bright spots, but my plan is to get more active and to use my blog as an accountability tool.

So far this year I have:

* Worked on 4 painting projects.* Visited the Girl with a the Pearl Earring / Dutch masters show at de Young museum in San Francisco. (The paintings were so jewel-like and the staging was impressive. The paintings seemed to have been lit from the inside!)
* Attended a coptic binding workshop at Straw Hat Press.
* Joined Leisa Rich’s Artistic Genealogy trial workshop at C4. (I’d really like to take the longer, two-day version in the future.)
* Took part in Art Is King at the Atlanta Tech Village and I gave a quick interview for the Art Life project.
* I designed the cover art for the re-release of Diana McLellan’s The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood. (Design reveal coming soon!)


It feels good to see some of this written out and I hope to do more over the course of the next year. Coming up next: I will walk though more specifics about what I plan to do with this blog and how it will benefit both you and me. (Well, that’s assuming you’re interested in art. Otherwise, I’m not entirely sure you will like consuming any of this content.)




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Plans for the Blog Going Forward >>


Published by Emily Duncan, on November 26th, 2013 at 9:35 am. Filled under: Art News,Creativity,Current Events,FYI,UncategorizedNo Comments

Life After The Cube

I left my previous job – and a 2 hour daily commute – at the end of March. The first part of April has been full of indie book promotion and an indie marketing campaign for my new Grumbacher sponsored acrylic painting class at Michael’s. I’m hoping to streamline the process of posting calendar updates to different online publications so it’s not such a time drain.

So far it’s been good experience. I don’t have a problem concentrating or finding things to do. Instead, my main challenge has been figuring out how to fit everything I want to do into a day. I’ve put a large black corkboard on the wall behind me to visually organize everything that I want to do. I just need to make myself stop and fill it in with my notes.

Having a painting class to manage has been just the push I needed to start regularly painting again. I’m recording the process in order to make examples of my work as well as lesson plans for future classes. You can check out my first painting over at The next step will be to make some vlogs, I just need to do some research on some good lighting solutions.

Published by Emily Duncan, on April 18th, 2012 at 9:59 pm. Filled under: Art News,Creativity,Current Events,Painting,PhotographyNo Comments

Article Published in JQ Magazine

I am so excited to see that my article about Japanfest has finally appeared in JQ magazine.

This September my friend (and fellow JET Program alum), Mellissa, and I were invited to give a presentation about the recovery effort in Japan.

It was a really great experience and very flattering that the Japanese Consulate in Atlanta had noticed the Japan Earthquake Disaster Relief Idea Exchange Facebook page. (Well, Facebook pages…)

Published by Emily Duncan, on December 5th, 2011 at 6:12 pm. Filled under: Current Events,Life in Japan Tags: , , , , No Comments

“Your eyeballs may explode if you stare loo long!”

Artsy Shark published an article this summer about Threadless. I never really looked into the process before, but if your design is chosen for shirt you can make $2,000.

Once you get through the initial submission and pass (i.e you’ve followed all the guidelines, don’t submit inappropriate or copyrighted material, etc.) the design is placed on the website, open to voting by all site visitors. Of course, at this point you can use social media to drive your contacts to Threadless for votes. The designs with the top votes each week are then voted on by the staff at Threadless. This process whittles the selection from several hundred for about 10 new designs which make it onto t-shirts for sale each week.

I never knew about this process and I might give it a whirl. That’s where I bought my zombie Audrey Hepburn t-shirt!

Published by Emily Duncan, on October 25th, 2011 at 11:24 pm. Filled under: Crafts,Creativity,FYI Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Recent Portrait

I’m still picking at this portrait, so I don’t want to put up a full view of the picture just yet. I’m having a challenge with the outline of the head. This is probably coming from the fact that I don’t have an ideal set up for working in the apartment. This was painted with acrylic paint on Arches paper. It’s from a dream that I had. In the dream I was visiting the dentist for the first time in a long time. I initially spoke with the dentist and we decided what needed to be done. She then handed me a large, old glass bottle. It was made from thick brown glass with the brittle, yellowing label. She wanted me to drink from the bottle so she could begin to work on my teeth. That was when I decided that it would be best to leave.

Before leaving she wanted to check me with a special light. She turned off the overhead light and switched on a purple light which resembled a black light in a florescent tube. Shining the light next to face she made an “ah ha” sound. I wasn’t sure what she was looking at so I turned around to look at myself in the mirror behind me. My face was bathed in purple light and down the side of my neck I could see a lighted pattern which resembled a DNA test.

Published by Emily Duncan, on October 2nd, 2011 at 11:11 pm. Filled under: Dreams,Painting Tags: , , No Comments

Artists for Japan

My friend Emiko (the photographer with whom I organized the EMerge show) has started a collection of inspirational works by Japanese artists. [See the collection here]

As is the trend for many young creatives in Japan, she’s made postcard reproductions of the works to sell for charity.

Published by Emily Duncan, on May 25th, 2011 at 9:34 pm. Filled under: Art News,Creativity,Life in Japan,Photography Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

Life Tips from an Illustrator

I saw this on Facebook today. Very sweet.

This list of tips from cartoonist and illustrator, Phil McAndrew, includes a lot of wisdom which is overlooked or rarely repeated enough in art school.

Tip #1: Draw Everyday.

Published by Emily Duncan, on May 19th, 2011 at 2:41 am. Filled under: FYI Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Creativity Crisis

This morning, after sending off yet another job application, I caught up on a little bit of reading. I love my Google Reader, but sheesh, there’s so much information at any given time. It’s hard to process and read it all. Today I did find a pretty interesting article about creativity and how it’s decreasing in children these days:

THE CREATIVITY CRISIS: For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.

Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the ´Torrance kids,´ a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, ´How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?” He recalls the psychologist being excited by his answers. In fact, the psychologist’s session notes indicate Schwarzrock rattled off 25 improvements, such as adding a removable ladder and springs to the wheels. That wasn’t the only time he impressed the scholars, who judged Schwarzrock to have ´unusual visual perspective” and ´an ability to synthesize diverse elements into meaningful products.”

The accepted definition of creativity is pro´duction of something original and useful, and that’s what’s reflected in the tests. There is never one right answer. To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result).

In the 50 years since Schwarzrock and the others took their tests, scholars—first led by Torrance, now his colleague, Garnet Millar—have been tracking the children, recording every patent earned, every business founded, every research paper published, and every grant awarded. They tallied the books, dances, radio shows, art exhibitions, software programs, advertising campaigns, hardware innovations, music compositions, public policies (written or implemented), leadership positions, invited lectures, and buildings designed.

Nobody would argue that Torrance’s tasks, which have become the gold standard in creativity assessment, measure creativity perfectly. What’s shocking is how incredibly well Torrance’s creativity index predicted those kids’ creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance’s tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University recently reanalyzed Torrance’s data. The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.

Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist—has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling…

Published by Emily Duncan, on July 10th, 2010 at 1:57 pm. Filled under: Art News,Creativity,FYI Tags: , , , 2 Comments