About this project
Wow! We met our goal of raising $5,000! Hoo-ray!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!! We are deeply touched by all of your generosity.
We have less than ONE day left and our NEW goal is $7,500. Remember: the more money we raise, the more stops on the tour that I can book and the more artist contributors we can fly in for events around the country.
Help us on this journey by continuing to contribute to this Labor of Love! Pass along to all those who might be interested in taking this ride with us!
Many, many thanks and kind regards,
I am incredibly proud and honored to have edited such a marvelous collection of warm and heartfelt essays by 40 visual artists from the United States and Europe. This collection is intended to show the reality of how artists -- from the unknown to the established -- juggle their creative lives with the everyday needs of making a living. They share with us in their own words how they are creative inside and outside the studio, both on a day-to-day basis and over the long haul, and I want to share with YOU these stories by going on this book tour across the country. The tour will involve:
- Readings of the essays by contributors at each stop on the tour.
- Q&A after each readings led by me.
- Panel settings where we discuss what "success" means to a full-time, working artist.
- Flying as many artists from the book as possible to other communities in order to share their knowledge and stories in person.
- Expanding the dialogue of art during these gatherings.
All of these stories are incredibly compelling and full of real-time information for any up-and-coming artist, arts professional, or just anybody interested in how artists fit all the pieces of the daily puzzle together. Depending on the personality of the artists, some essays are more opaque than others, which start a conversation; others are transparent and reveal different road maps of how artists sustain their creative lives. All of these issues will be addressed during the readings and gatherings around the country.
This project is a true "Labor of Love" begun over two years ago when I started contacting artist friends of mine about contributing short essays describing how they "navigate it all." Because of the trusting relationship I have with all of them, we were able to work transparently together in order to produce the most revealing and useful information possible. This spirit of community is readily apparent throughout the book and is one of the main reasons I want to share these stories with your community. We are all in this together and can learn from each others' individual pathways.
In addition, I plan on sharing the small profit I make on each sale with all of the contributors in this book, including the arts professionals who so generously added their acumen to this project. Therefore, because the slim profits will be spread 44 ways, no one is expected to really make any money from this book.
This book truly embodies the definition of "Labor of Love."
Published by Intellect Books (UK) and distributed by the University of Chicago Press, "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists" will be available online and in stores this month! The book runs 224 pages and includes an image of each contributor's work in a beautiful color plate. The publisher used a silky paper finish that gives this 7" x 9" book a compact, hefty feel to it. The list price is $40 and we've already had hundreds of pre-orders!
Unfortunately, as is the case with many new publications, there is no budget for an actual book tour to support its release. And while I am able organize this tour to establish venues to host book events, I still need funds to get to these places to make them happen. Therefore, I am reaching out to you, dear Kickstarter Community, for your help in getting the word out about this important book (see below for further description).
The goal is to create a book tour that secures as many appearances across the country as possible so that the book gets maximum exposure. Intended targets include: academic institutions, museums and art centers, book stores, etc. But... travel and lodging expenses can add up quickly...AND I really want to be able to fly contributors to book signings that fit with that artist. So every dollar over our $5,000 goal will go towards securing more appearances around the country by me and other artists.
Please see on the right what's offered for each level of giving. I am very grateful for your generosity, and by your contribution, you are participating and taking this book on the road with me throughout the country starting this fall!
Many warm thanks for your contributions and participation!
The book includes my preface, a forward by Carter Foster, curator of drawings at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and a concluding interview with Ed Winkleman (Winkleman Gallery) and Bill Carroll (Director of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program).
The following artists contributed essays to this book: Julie Blackmon, Sharon Butler, Amanda Church, Maureen Connor, Will Cotton, Blane de St. Croix, Jennifer Dalton, Karin Davie, Jay Davis, Peter Drake, Carson Fox, Michelle Grabner, The Art Guys, Erik Hanson, Ellen Harvey, Julie Heffernan, Laurie Hogin, David Humphrey, Tony Ingrisano, Thomas Kilpper, Richard Klein, Julie Langsam, Annette Lawrence, Beth Lipman, Jenny Marketou, Sean Mellyn, Maggie Michael, Peter Newman, Tim Nolan, Brian Novatny, Adrienne Outlaw, Amy Pleasant, Melissa Potter, Justin Quinn, Kate Shepherd, Dan Steinhilber, George Stoll, Austin Thomas, Brian Tolle, and Michael Waugh. (Note: Will Cotton & Thomas Kilpper provided their essays via an interview with me).
Please visit this page for more information about each contributor.
Quotes on the Back Cover:
Adam Sheffer, Partner, Cheim & Read Gallery
"Anyone serious about a career as an artist must read this book."
Michael Straus, Chairman,
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
"Sharon Louden has invaluably gathered together in this book an exceptionally diverse range of artists' experiences in order to illustrate, in a manner otherwise inaccessible, the inherent tensions that artists face in constantly balancing their drive to devote core time and energy to creating new work and their wish to share that work with the world with the complexities, as well as the joys, of their personal and family lives."
Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director, Creative Time
"Doing it all -- from surprisingly frank sharings on the struggles of starting out as young artists to the challenges of making time and space for creation, the artists in "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" share with candor and heart just what it takes to be an artist today."
Olga Viso, Executive Director, Walker Art Center
"I applaud artist Sharon Louden for assembling this fascinating compilation of artist testimonies. It provides a refreshing, honest look at the myriad ways that artists shape and feed their lives and evolve authentic, generative practices in a society that does not always make it easy for artists to subsist and fully contribute. "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" is thus an inspiring, unexpurgated resource for artists beginning their careers as well as any individual seeking to recalibrate his or her daily life to pursue a more purpose-filled existence."
Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head, Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art"Too often the story of how an artist makes art and a living is advertised as either a step into an abyss of debt and dementia or a glamorized Bohemia misunderstood by a general public. Yet, what these artists demonstrate in this valuable book is that the common bond for us all who aspire to a well lived life is blood, sweat and tears are the elements all the dreams are made of. From artists living off of sales of their work, to those who teach, and those who search for paychecks in odd jobs, the desire to create is never extinguished."
Here's the video on Vimeo (better for full-screen experience!):
Risks and challenges
Because the book has already been published and will be distributed this autumn, and because I have received so many positive responses already to requests to host a book signing event, I honestly believe that the biggest challenge is that we'll have more demand then funds will allow. Therefore, the more money I can raise in this Kickstarter, the more book signings I can organize.
I am asking for minimum contributions of $5,000, which will certainly be used up fairly quickly when including other artists at these book events around the country. Even though we will stay with friends and colleagues as often as possible, airfare does add up quickly.
If there aren't enough artist panels and talks to accompany this book tour, there may not be enough MP3 recordings to satisfy the more expensive tiers of offerings, where up to five recordings are being given in exchange for donations. I don't see this as a serious consideration, though.
The bottom line is that whatever amount my contributors donate will go towards getting the word out about this fabulous book.
Thank you kindly!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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