The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love
by Jackie Battenfield


DaCapo Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-306-81652-9.
Reviewed by Susan M. Andrus
Posted on 01/12/2010

Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Creative Life; Nonfiction: Arts/Crafts

Readers, writers, artists, and musicians,read this book to find out how to make a living doing what you love. Written for artists by artist Jackie Battenfield, who has been perfecting these principles and keeping detailed notes about them for the past thirty years, this book holds a wealth of information. But anyone in the arts can use these strategies because they address our human need for acceptance, nurturing, support, and direction. All you have to do is replace "artist" with writer, musician, craftsperson, or whatever word suits your passion.

Financial, family, organizational, or personal challenges sometimes sidetrack those who aim to be self-employed in the arts. Battenfield guides us gently past our childcare needs, credit card debt, chaotic record keeping, and insecurities to show us how to attack each challenge and correct our faulty thoughts and behaviors. Keeping the reader engaged with anecdotes of other artists, their direct quotations, and images of their art, as well as her own experiences, Battenfield helps us solve each of our dilemmas with sincere, concrete methods that only need our commitment to complete.

As a self-employed writer, just reading her strategies motivate me and gently move me forward in my weakest area—self-promotion. For a daughter who is an art therapist, and another daughter who is a musician, I have already ordered a copy of Battenfield's book. They will learn what I did from sections such as "Taking Charge of Your Professional Life," "Circulating Your Work," "How to Earn and Manage Money," "How to Find Even More Support: Grants, Residencies, Gifts," and "How to Build Community to Survive Being Alone"

Jackie Battenfield has a keen sense of how it feels to be an artist by addressing "the underlying emotional impediments—insecurity, guilt, fear, and shame—you will confront that will derail you." She goes on to say, "Most of the topics address issues you can control...It was an intoxicating feeling to know I had so many tools under my command." Just reading this book makes me feel supported knowing that I am not alone in my quest to make, promote, and display my art.


Jackie Battenfield is represented in galleries throughout the United States and in over a thousand collections worldwide. She teaches professional practices at Columbia University and for the Creative Capital Foundation. Visit her website.

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