Book Projects

Cover image:
George Stoll
Untitled (15 tumblers on a 36 inch shelf #3)
8 3/4 x 36 x 7 1/2 inches
Beeswax, paraffin and pigment on a painted wooden shelf
photo by Ed Glendinning

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life:
Essays by 40 Working Artists

Edited by Sharon Louden

Published by Intellect Books
Distributed by University of Chicago Press

In this day and age, as art has become more and more of a commodity, many students graduating from art school believe that they will immediately make a living as an artist by obtaining gallery representation. One of the goals of this book is to dispel the belief that there is only one way to chart a path into a creative and sustainable life as an artist. This collection of essays 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.

The book includes a forward by Carter Foster, curator of drawings at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a conclusion by Ed Winkleman, of 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.

-- Sharon Louden, 2013

To order this book, please visit the University Chicago Press website.

Book Tour

The "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" book tour officially started on November 2, 2013, and will continue through 2015.

Past venues on the book tour include:

Salina Arts Center, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy; Seed Space, Cannonball at Locust Projects, University of Florida, Gainesville, Columbia College, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bad at Sports at the Pulse Art Fair in Miami Beach, Art Basel Miami Beach Art Fair -- Salon Programming, all-day symposium at ICP Bard MFA program in New York, 92nd St Y in New York City, Hirshhorn Museum, Lyme Academy, Indiana University, College Art Association, Rutgers University, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Artspace New Haven, Des Moines Art Center, Burnet Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; St. John's University in St. Cloud, MN; The Strand Book Store in New York City, CB1 Gallery (L.A.), Otis School of Art and Design, The Standard Hotel (L.A.), Richmond Art Center, Oakland, CA, Elizabeth Foundation, NYC; University of North Texas, Denton, TX; Holly Johnson Gallery Dallas, TX; Real Art Ways Hartford, CT; AS220, Providence, RI; Boston Public Library, Chautauqua Institution, International Sculpture Center, Maryland Institute College of Art, Rockland Center for the Arts, Rehoboth Art League, Maine College of Art, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Asheville Art Museum, a second time at the 92nd Street Y, Aberson Exhibits in Tulsa, OK, and the Society of Fine Arts in Palm Beach, Florida, among other stops.

For more information on upcoming book signing events, please visit my calendar page.

Selected Press

  • "Louden's Book Inspires with 40 Artist Success Stories," Professional Artist Magazine, August/September 2014 (PDF Version) (JPG Version)
  • Dolen, Jen, "Less Starving: Artists share their secrets on making a living from their work," Public Art Review, Issue 50, Spring/Summer 2014 (PDF Version)

Videos and Podcasts

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."


Visit the Kickstarter page where we successfully raised money for the book tour from these very generous contributors:

Kathy Kellmer, Larry Cuba, Jacob Hicks & Kaitlyn Stubbs, Rebecca Niederlander, Therese, Anton Denner, Dan Rosenberg, Mary Anna Shanahan, Anne Labovitz, Barbara Dove Fink, Leslie Gerber-Seid, Joe Covey, Andrea Pollan, Dana Maier, Joel & Sherry Mallin, Renee Di Giorgio, Phil Rosenbloom, Barry Hoggard & James Wagner, Martha Dayton, Amy Pleasant, Lani McGregor, Margo Valega, Catherine Valega, Marian Louden, Ruth Schlossberg, Ray Charles White, Carson Fox, Meena Mangalvedhekar, Ronald Bosco & James Lecce, Pattie Porter Firestone, Robert Watson, Kent Morey, Jay Lehman & Sally Morgan, David & Susan Marco, Thomas Berding, Deborah Barlow, Cihan Kenar, Dan Kellmer, Darlene Charneco, Colleen Nolan, Muriel Watkins, Michele Grabner & Brad Killam, Josh Rosner, Kim & Michael McCarty, Laura Skoler, Judith Belzerer & Michael Pollan, Jennifer & Charlie Phelps, Peter Drake, Annette Lawrence & Shay Youngblood, Intellect Books (Masoud Yazdani), Austin Thomas, Jenny Swift, Veena Vaswani, Toby Devin Lewis, Stephanie Ott, Judith Pratt, Barry Goldstein, Janet Langsam, Bill Schwinghammer, Dulcey Heller, Milisa Galazzi, Debra Claffey, Lee Lowell, Rob & Vicki Frazer, and Valerie Xanos.

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