BOOK REVIEW: Artpreneur by Miriam Schulman

Artpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your CreativityArtpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity by Miriam Schulman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Release Date: January 31, 2023

This book is about half pep talk on selling one’s art at a higher price and half guide to marketing and selling art. “Pep talk” isn’t meant to diminish what the book does. First of all, the author does offer extensive justification for higher pricing, both from the body of research and from anecdotal experiences. Secondly, this is a pep talk that needs to be delivered and is the most important function of the book, by far. That doesn’t mean the book doesn’t do a fine job with the marketing and selling bits, but there are so many books available on that subject.

The book is directed toward graphic artists, though some of book’s message is of relevance to musicians and poets as well. (Perhaps that’s why I found the pep talk part so important, because it’s broadly germane to artists, whereas sales are quite different for media where huge numbers of copies are made versus one-of-a-kind works.)

If you’re a struggling artist or would like to avoid being one, this book is worth reading.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Critic as Artist by Oscar Wilde

The Critic as Artist: With Some Remarks Upon the Importance of Doing NothingThe Critic as Artist: With Some Remarks Upon the Importance of Doing Nothing by Oscar Wilde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Free to Read Online

In this dialogue, the characters of Ernest and Gilbert reflect upon the value, nature, and limits of artistic criticism. Ernest serves largely as foil and questioner, taking the everyman view that critics are failed artists and that criticism is a puny endeavor that isn’t good for much. Gilbert, on the other hand, defends criticism of art as an art unto itself, and a difficult one at that, one that requires revealing elements and ideas of the artistic piece that the artist didn’t put in the piece in the first place. Throughout, Gilbert lays down his counterintuitive bits of wisdom about the job of the critic, the characteristics of good critics, and – also – about artists and art, itself. [Ideas such as that all art is immoral.]

Oscar Wilde was famed for his wit, quips, and clever – if controversial – turns of phrase, and this dialogic essay is packed with them. A few of my favorites include:

“The one duty we owe to history is to re-write it.”

“Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.”

“If you wish to understand others you must intensify your own individualism.”

“Let me say to you now that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.”

“Ah! don’t say that you agree with me. When people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.”

“…nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

This is an excellent essay, and I’d highly recommend it for anyone who’s interested in art, criticism, or who just likes to noodle through ideas. You’re unlikely to complete the essay as a convert to all of Gilbert’s tenets, but you’ll have plenty to chew on, mentally speaking.


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