Thursday, March 26, 2020

Be The Artist by Thomas "Detour" Evans

Be The Artist (Fulcrum Books)

Thomas “Detour” Evans

Reviewed by Ginny Short

If you search Amazon for “art techniques” you get all sorts of choices, from botanical drawing techniques to how to do doodle art or paint on stones. Search for “the business of art” and you get a few choices. It often seems to me that we have a habit of separating art from business as if the two don’t go hand in hand. So often I remember hearing young people referred to as “creative” but encouraged to get a degree in something that will pay the rent. I was one of those. This likely creates a huge barrier between many a talented artist and success. Evans is trying to bridge that divide.

Thomas “Detour” Evans is a Denver based artist ( who, according to his own self-description, is an all-around creative. The book, he states, comes out of his own success and his desire to help others become successful as creatives. Nothing beats a good solid business background to get there.

This book is a highly readable book. You can read it straight through or you can pick and choose your chapters. Most of the chapters are applicable to many types of creatives – writers, actors, visual artists – but a few are really devoted to visual artists (and no wonder, this is Evans’ main focus.) As a writer I found many of his suggestions completely apropos to my work. Evans’ presents a chapter with some thoughtful ideas based on his own experience, then follows with examples, quotes from successful artists, “homework” or questions for thought and some suggestions for google searches to broaden your own horizon. I found these various approaches neat and easy to follow, while stimulating the thought I think that Evans’ is trying to encourage. This, I think, is the best part of the book: he is trying to have a conversation. Allow the conversation.

This book is a great introduction to the business of art.

Some of the topics he covers:

·       Mental health for artists (really, really important!!)
·       Finding your voice.
·          How to create a CV, resume and/or artist’s statement.
·       Funding, pricing and marketing your work.

He fills the book with good thoughts and insights like “don’t quit your day job” to start with, or encouraging you to ask and discover your art community (and how valuable that is), to thinking about your studio space to your legal rights as a artist. The various topics, while not in depth, gave a really good outline of important topics that an up and coming artist should consider, as well as tips on how to get more info or go deeper into each topic.

Finally, the book provided good inspiration from the words of successful artists. These quotes are scattered around the book and each was worth savoring. This book is a really solid background in the business of art, simple yet concrete. I enjoyed the conversation.

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