To the Editor:
Should commercial success taint an artist’s work? Your profile of the artist KAWS (“XX Marks the Spot,” May 15, 2019) reveals the destructive bias that persists among a large swath of the art world. If the answer to the question is yes, then the only logical conclusion is that visual artists must starve for legitimacy. And starve they do; a recent survey found that a majority earn less than $30,000 per year, despite contributing hundreds of billions of dollars to our nation’s economy—nearly five times more than the agricultural sector.
Does The Starry Night’s high price tag diminish Vincent van Gogh’s standing as an artist? Or is his success acceptable to the industry’s gatekeepers because he never reaped the financial benefits? Do the rules apply only to the work of living artists? And who gets to set these rules, anyway?
The organization I work for provides artists with business training, something they rarely receive in art school. The biggest hurdle we face is not in teaching artists how to market their art, manage their finances, or negotiate a contract—they do fine on all counts when given the chance—but rather it’s in helping them to overcome the archaic belief that they don’t deserve to make a sustainable living from their work, even as the rest of the industry makes a fine living off of them.
Sofia Perez Editorial Director, The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists
Turn Working Artists into Thriving Artists
The CHF Art-Business Accelerator Program is an intensive and interactive business-education program for working artists. Fellows plan pivotal business projects, produce an Investment-Grade Proposal, and acquire a business skill set that's designed to serve them throughout their careers.
CHF partners with art and business organizations that have a strong presence in a geographic area to bring face-to-face entrepreneurial learning to working artists where and when they need it most. The result is a growing network of partners and resources that ensures widespread reach for crucial labs, workshops, and training.
Like sticks in a bundle, artists are stronger together. The Artist Federation is a growing professional peer network of visual artists that's managed by artists. Individual chapters engage in skill and referral exchanges, joint entrepreneurial learning, and organization to achieve and maintain centrality in their industry.
Executive Fellows in the Art-Business Accelerator
Gregg paints trains and cars with historic significance. It's not just a love for things that move; Gregg sees the incredible draw of these subjects as entry points for collectors who might otherwise be alienated by the tiles and splatters of post-modern aesthetics. There's a whole world of would-be fine art lovers and aesthetes for whom physical objects tied to place and time are a door. [profile]
Willy Bo Richardson
Willy puts art in commercial spaces. But how many times do people walk by a framed painting, barely looking? By contrast, how often do people sit in a busy lobby to study art on a pedestal? Willy deletes the distractions–not of the space, but of the trappings of 'artness'. By implanting fine art as fabrics, he produces the full effect and experience of fine art emerging from the space itself, sans the stiff presentation. [profile]
Nadia uses what's in front of her and teaches others to do the same. Her work is aimed at hospitality and commercial spaces that are interested in local themes (what's in front of you) and art that utilizes locally sourced materials. This is part of Nadia's theorum that the world's success depends on working together and that depends on working first with who and what you see. [profile]
Kristin uses the detailed research methods of a molecular biologist to produce wood and metal sculptures that are vastly detailed but elegantly simple, and which connect us to the extraordinary, strange beauty of the natural world. [profile]
Belgin combines ancient aesthetics with high tech tools & processes to address a core issue–what kind of future we want. As cycles of innovation accelerate, we rapidly replace past achievements but, in the process, risk increasing alienation from the civilizations from which we've emerged and polarization toward each other. Just watch the news. [profile]
Blake exposes the absolute uniqueness of seemingly identical things, so we will care about them. We don't fight hard enough to save things we regard as mere forms or perceive as simply "one of" something. Blake uses layers to unmask otherwise hidden particularities in living things–debunking the notion that every sunflower, cornfield, or monarch butterfly is interchangeable. [profile]
Columns, Podcasts, Views & Spotlights-On
Fill the World With Art By Making Artists Thrive
A Wider Audience By Sponsoring Art Events and Broadcast Learning
CHF has multiple opportunities and sponsorship packages that include sponsoring local and regional events, broadcast learning episodes, digital learning content, and Fellowships.
Energize Your Constituency Through Learning Communities and Content
CHF works with organizations, agencies, and firms to create learning communities, hybrid educational programs, licensed content, and virtual and live events, with data-demonstrated effectiveness and expertise.
Fund the Arts and Economic Change with Demonstrable Philanthropic ROI
CHF facilitates tax-free avenues of philanthropy for funding the arts and creating economic change through the entrepreneurship of working artists. Fill the world with thriving, self-sustaining visual artists who beautify our culture.
Transforming Artists' Careers
2018 Artist Impact Data
CHF Art-Business Accelerator Program
0%Increased Their Total Art Income
0%View Their Art as Their Primary Income Source
0%Increased Their Prices or Profit Margins
Source: CHF 2018 Annual Report
These Results Depend on Your Gift
Working artists already have a job. They aren't looking for a handout. But to become self-sustaining, thriving artists that fill the world with art and fortify our economy with lifelong careers, they need BUSINESS training. YOU can ensure a dozen businesses thrive.
Why Clark Hulings
The Quintessential Artist-Entrepreneur
The keys to Hulings’ success form a template for how a working artist thrives. The ingredients were the integrity of his craft, the brilliance of personal vision, his refusal to compromise on the essentials, and an unwavering understanding of the fact that, as a professional artist, he was running a business.
CHF’s educational programs utilize the very practice areas that were key to Hulings’ success, including Sales Strategy, Financial Competence, Marketing from the Brand Narrative, Technology, and Peer Networks.
For insight into the ingredients of Hulings' success as a working artist, and for stories—from how he took on the unjust taxation of artists, and how he negotiated a vendor relationship with galleries, to how he got an interfering creative director removed from a project—dig deeper into the Example of Clark Hulings or the Career Blueprint Of Clark Hulings.