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!”  



Let’s Connect:  Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest


<< 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!



Let’s Connect:  Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest



<<  Hello, World!                                                                                               

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.)




Let’s Connect: Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest


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

“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

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

Blood on the Water

As seen in the Wall Street Journal‘s interactive timeline of the Deepwater Horizon Rig Disaster.

Published by Emily Duncan, on May 11th, 2010 at 1:30 pm. Filled under: Current Events,FYI Tags: , , , , No Comments

Hairy Situation

The recent occurrence of disasters – both made by nature, affecting men and made by men, affecting nature – have been of great interest to me.

Don´t know why exactly. I´m basically a humanist. I´m interested in people. That´s why I love to meet new people and I work in portraiture. However, I don´t have very much faith in the goodness of The Crowd. The Crowd is especially worrisome these days as people in developed countries become increasingly divorced from the sources of the things that they need the most. Almost no one farms, they´re dependent on “just in time” tranportation systems for things like food. On the whole, no one walks or bikes very much. Of course, there are many more examples of this, but I´ve been thinking about this concept of separation. I´ve thought about this as The Crowd seems to accept the daily press releases delivered on the behalf of BP by the mainstream media. Oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, and I hear co-workers mumble about its affect on vacation planning. I´ll actually be going to the panhandle of Florida in a few weeks. I look forward to it. I´m not afraid of the effects of the oil as I´ll probably find myself standing on the beach, scanning the horizon to see if I can see anything. I´ve read in some places that the iron oxide laden oil resembles blood floating on the water. For a moment I wondered if that´s how the world will end.

In the Bible, during disasters / divine intervention / the End Times The Crowd always seems to be on the same page. They all seem to understand the situation that they find themselves in and they react to the plagues, the fires, the bugs, the illness at the same time. But the more I rack my brain, it seems that this assumption may be wrong. The stories detail the event, but the human effects are secondary. Well, during the events anyway. Thinking about the coagulated flow of oil sloughing out from the underwater epicenter, I imagine that if the world were to end then it may take a while to get everyone to comprehend it. In my mind, I could see someone not unlike myself. A person who doesn´t watch TV. They opt, instead, for occasionally checking their newsfeed. It´s a good way to gather information, but it´s rather lacking in terms of what the local weather will be like the next day.

The Individual may get up on a Monday morning, scramble to get dressed and make breakfast. They throw together a quick lunch and walk to their truck, their shoulder bag, lunch box, and gym bag cutting into their forearms as they carry a large excercise ball for their weekly ab class. This truck, for the sake of argument, needs the gas pedal pumped a few times before it will start. Trucks made in the early 80´s didn´t have fuel injection. That´s a point The Individual really didn´t appreciate until they started driving this truck. They set off for work and note the lack of traffic on the surface streets. That´s the good thing about this recession. When people started losing their jobs, they stopped driving in the mornings. Today seems a lot lighter than usual. Oh well. It´s probably some kind of holiday that other people observe but The Individual´s employer doesn´t.

The Indivdual arrives at work a few minutes early, but they´re annoyed to find no one is there. There are a few abandoned cars along the industrial parkway. A bit strange, especially considering they are stopped at abrupt angles, passenger doors thrown wide open, facing potential oncoming traffic. The Individual fishes around in their bag to retrieve cell phone. They think it´s best to call the staffing agency (that they still work for after almost two years.) They want to notify someone that they drove 40 minutes to work and the doors were locked. Perhaps The Company had finally gone under as everyone had suspected it would after the layoffs the year before. As The Individual begins to scroll through their contacts in the address book, they quickly compose a succinct announcment in their head. As The Individual presses send and sighs, the sun blinks and goes black. “Ah, shit. I should have called home first,” The Individual immediately thinks as the ancient metal connecting the frame of the truck becomes visibly electrified and the phone´s screen seizes and falls blank.

That´s how I can imagine the end happening. Not everyone will get a memo in advance, I guess. And who among the forewarned would react in a constructive way?

This brings me back to separation from The Source. This event is so big that it´s hard to wrap one´s head around it. Very few people know how to access this oil beneath the seafloor. No one could do it alone even if they wanted. It´s so complicated that it takes waves of specialized teams for each step of the process. Once it is tapped, millions of gallons are supposed to flow in a controlled way to the top. The depth at which the drilling starts and then the depth beyond the seafloor to which companies drill is also hard for The Individual to comprehend. So The Individual gives this responsibility away. They hand off the responsibility of carrying out the work as well as planning it, observing it, enforcing rules which make it safe. This is compounded by the fact that BP appears to be spinning the numbers and information about the incident. Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register. The oil released is now the size of Jamaica and swirling like an underwater hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP had permits to drill to about 20,000 feet, but there are indications that they went below 22,000 feet. Who knows what they have unleashed. This volcano of oil could have far reaching effects which go far beyond damaging fragile ecosystems lining the Gulf of Mexico. It may not be crazy at this point to speculate about the effect this event may have on the world´s oceans.

Faced with this level of uncertainty, many groups have been moved to action. A fan of creative problem-solving, I was very excited to see the proposal made by the San Francisco based group, Matter of Trust.Matter of Trust makes mats and “booms” comprised of human and animal hair.

The AH-HA! moment for making these mats and booms (usually pantyhose or netted tubes filled with hair) was when someone realized that we shampoo because our hair collects oil.

The great thing about making these booms is that they are easy to construct. Children and students often help to make them. What´s more is thatMatter of Trust is working to bring green jobs to their community. At the moment the absorbant mats made from recycled yarn and hair are woven in China, butMatter of Trust hopes to bring the facility to the US and encourage the growth of green jobs in their community.

Not only that, but the need for these mats and booms along with the simplicity of the materials involved may even spur growth in the textile industry in the US. Growing up in the south it´s always been a bit sad to drive through and see once thriving textile communities. Seeing the photos of of the warehouses filling with hair clippings and recycled yarn makes it definitely seem possible. Please consider donating. I have collected a bunch of hair from brushes and the velcro rollers I occasonally use to tame my curly hair. Hopefully I can get that in the mail soon.

Published by Emily Duncan, on May 11th, 2010 at 12:34 pm. Filled under: Current Events,FYI Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

Living with a Star

Last week NASA released new hi-def pictures of the sun. These were taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory(or SDO), launched in February 2010, the SDO is part of NASA´s Living with a Star (LWS) program. How great of a name is that?! The mission of LWS is to “study those aspects of the connected Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society.” Pretty interesting stuff.

Between this and the launch of the super secret X-37 this past week has been pretty crazy regarding space news.

To pull this back to the subject of art, it´s interesting to see how far NASA has progressed in terms of their photographic technology. In fact, they have created a handy chart to show the difference in resolution between technology civilians have access to as well as previous things they’ve used for space photography.

I wonder what kinds of photos NASA would be able to take of Earth with the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Published by Emily Duncan, on April 25th, 2010 at 1:08 pm. Filled under: Current Events,FYI Tags: , , , No Comments

Circle Sushi

Last Friday I went to Circle Sushi, a local and highly reviewed sushiya-san in Sandy Springs. It may be silly, but I had been looking forward to that dinner all week.

In addition to kabocha tempura, tofu and makizushi, we ordered not one, but two small bottles of Yaegaki Nigori sake. For those unfamiliar with sake,nigori-style sake is unfiltered. Instead of being clear, nigori sake is cloudy because the the solids which are created by the fermentation process are not filtered out. And it´s a much sweeter drink because of this. I was especially excited because on their sake menu,Circle Sushi has Yaegaki Nigori and in tiny Japanese font 兵庫 was written next to it. 兵庫 = Hyogo, the prefecture (or state) I used to live in in Japan. Once we got the bottle I read the copy on the back. The English was quite different from the Japanese. In Japanese the manufacturer made a point of mentioning that this sake was made in Himeji (姫路), the exact city I used to live in. Local specialities are not as big of a selling point in the U.S., so the English played up the “Japaneseness” of the product.

Drinking the sake made me miss Himeji and my friends who are still there. In terms of Japanese cities, Himeji isn´tthat large. Its population is a smidge lower than that of Atlanta. (To put it in perspective, Tokyo has a population of about 13 million and Osaka has about 3 million people, making the 530K-ish populations of Himeji and Atlanta quaint.)

I was lucky enough to be involved with a very active group of creative people in Himeji. While it´s on my mind, I thought I would give a bit of space here to promote a few of these folks:

Ryoko Ami: International traveller and educator. Ryoko is a prolific photographer and craft artist. At the moment she is currently charged with teaching the childen of Japanese employees working abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico.

She is quite dedicated to journaling and keeping an up-to-date blog. She created a new blog to chronicle her experience in Mexico. In her free time, Ryoko makes many different crafts. A short time ago she created a series of handmade books.

Hiroko Fujimoto: Small business owner and graphic designer. Her small speciality shop, Horn, imports interesting items from all over Japan and the world.

Kaori Hasegawa: Graphic designer / small business owner / creative facilitator. Kaori owns and operates Nayakobo, a full service graphic design and web design business. Naya also incorporates a large inner space which is often used for teaching, exhibitions, creative meet-ups and networking sessions. Centrally located, Naya has an amazing view of Otemae Park and Himeji Castle.

Emiko Yamada: Photographer. Emiko works primarily in digital photography, focusing on portraiture and building narratives through several series of photos. Emiko and I collaborated on the EMerge exhibition before I left Japan.

A Quick Translation Note: Most of these pages are presented in Japanese. This shouldn´t deter you from checking them out. If you use Firefox, there is a great application called Rikaichan. I use it almost daily. As you float the cursor over different words a bubble with a translation of the Japanese text will pop up on the screen. If you want to translate large blocks of text, I suggest using Monash University´s WWWJDIC site. It will not produce whole paragraphs like babelfish or google translate, however, it will help you to avoid weird machine translated English.

I hope to return to Himeji some time in the next year or so. In the meantime, I’m brainstorming ways to create international projects with the Himeji group via the web.

Published by Emily Duncan, on April 21st, 2010 at 3:14 pm. Filled under: FYI Tags: , , , No Comments