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LindaHilton

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

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Reading progress update: I've read 38%. DNF

Art Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist - Meg Mateo Ilasco, Lisa Congdon

I gave this book another 10% before just giving up on it.  DNF at 38%.

 

Maybe a two-dimensional fine artist with formal training and lots of connections might find it helpful, but it's pretty much useless for the crafts artisan who's trying to turn a hobby into a sustainable business, or a part-time effort into a full-time occupation.

 

As I mentioned before, the formatting for the basic black-and-white Kindle is terrible.  Though there's a note from the publisher on one of the Amazon reviews that this had been fixed months ago, I purchased the Kindle edition long after that comment was posted, and it doesn't look fixed to me.

 

Page after page after page is light grey text on medium grey background.  Forget that shit: I just won't read it.  There are big blocks of just . . . grey . . . for no reason at all.  Filler?  Huh?  It's a damn book, not an ad.  Sections are indented half the page, which makes for very quick reading, and lots of page turning.

 

White space is abundant.  Meh.

 

The interviews with the successful artists -- which are approximately 50% of the text and are all in that grey-on-grey scheme -- became boring after the second or third or fourth that pretty much followed the same trajectory.  College education led to contacts, led to commissions, led to gallery space.  Successful business career allowed semi-retirement to art career.  Successful business career led to contacts with monied buyers.  Etc.  The exact order and mix might be switched around, but you get the picture.  (Yes, dear readers, pun very much intended.)

 

Given that this was supposed to be "the essentials" of establishing a career as a working artist, I was surprised that Congdon spent so little time on the internet marketing aspect, especially since that's one of the reasons I purchased the book.  How does Pinterest really work for artists?  What are the various ways to use a blog?  If you're not very good at writing, how can you collaborate with a writer to create a blog?  I had dozens and dozens of questions about this subject alone that I felt she could have addressed in at least a little more detail; she really offered few details at all. 

 

Several years ago, the speaker at my local artists' group monthly meeting was billed as giving a talk on marketing.  The room was packed with artists eager to learn.  But he had no program planned and ended up just talking about business cards.  He didn't even have samples of good and bad designs, so he just kind of critiqued members' submitted cards.  Of course, we couldn't actually see them, so whatever advice and suggestions he gave was pretty much lost on us.  I left that meeting both disappointed and a little bit angry.  I felt as if I'd been cheated.

 

That's pretty much how I felt after reading almost 40 % of Art, Inc.  It's one thing to go into a book -- or a meeting -- with no particular expectations.  But when you've built up positive anticipation and then there's, like, nothing, it's pretty discouraging.

 

All those big blank spots could have been filled with examples of what Congdon, like our speaker, considers good business card designs.  Or good blog posts.  Or what a Twitter tweet actually looks like.  The text could have been clear and readable.  The interviews could have been with a real cross-section of artists from a variety of backgrounds, in a variety of media, of various ages, with a variety of paths to a variety of successes.  The more I read of the book, the more things about it I wished were different. 

 

Again, if you're a painter or photographer, this might be of some use.  But for me it was a let down, and I didn't really need another of those.   ;-)