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 2012 photo by Ed Glendinning

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
2012
photo by Ed Glendinning

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

Edited by Sharon Louden

Published by Intellect Books (2013)
Distributed by University of Chicago Press 
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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 following artists contributed essays to this book: 

Adrienne OutlawAmanda ChurchAmy PleasantAnnette LawrenceAustin ThomasBeth LipmanBlane de St. CroixBrian NovatnyBrian TolleCarson Fox,  David HumphreyEllen HarveyErik HansonGeorge StollJay DavisJennifer DaltonJenny MarketouJulie Blackmon, Julie HeffernanJulie LangsamJustin QuinnKarin DavieKate ShepherdLaurie HoginMaggie Michael and Dan SteinhilberMaureen ConnorMelissa Potter, Michael WaughMichelle GrabnerPeter DrakePeter NewmanRichard KleinSean MellynSharon L. Butler, The Art GuysThomas Kilpper, Timothy Nolan,  Tony Ingrisano, and Will Cotton.

Additional contributors include:

Carter E. Foster, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Prints and Drawings, Blanton Museum of Art (Introduction), and a conversation between Ed Winkleman, author, blogger, and former gallery dealer, and Bill Carroll, artist and Program Director, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program (Conclusion).

Published in October, 2013 and now in its sixth printing, the book has sold more than 7,000 copies to date, including over 1,500 e-copies. With sales in over 18 countries, it has become Intellect's #1 best selling publication two years in a row. The book has been translated into Korean, garnered over 45 reviews, been the subject of 15 podcasts and radio appearances, and received more individual feedback than can be counted.

Printed in the United Kingdom by Gomer Press Ltd on sustainably sourced Claro Silk paper using vegetable based inks. Format: 230 x 170mm portrait.

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

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, Former 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, Director, Brooklyn Museum
"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, Director, Perez Art Museum Miami
"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."


Essays by 40 Working Artists is the first in the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life trilogy.  The Artist as Culture Producer is the second  book and will be launched on March 2, 2017. The final book, Last Artist Standing, is scheduled to be released in 2020 and will also be published by Intellect Books and distributed by University of Chicago Press.