This manual is a testimony to the belief that art can, does, and must have an existence that goes beyond the reach of the art market. These intimate essays have a disarming frankness, disclosing the lives of artists from the inside out rather than the outside in. they reveal how social action derives from self-reflection, and such artists turn personal hardships and financial difficulties into new practical models.
This fascinating set of essays reminds us that artists are not mysterious figures cloistered in studios but vital cultural contributors working right alongside the rest of us to bring beauty, truth, joy and economic value to a society that needs all of these things more than ever.
This book not only demystifies the illusion of what it means to be an artist but also positions the artist as a catalyst for productive change in our contemporary society. Insightful and inspiring, these artists align their talents with ideals of citizenship, rejecting isolationism in favor of engagement.
This brilliant collection of personal stories about what it means to be an artist in the twenty first century should finally shred that sepia-toned and nostalgic image of the solitary, studio-bound outsider with chisel or paintbrush in hand. The ingenuity and perseverance on display here is simply awe inspiring.
The Artist as Culture Producer is a collection of stories that creates transparency into artists’ lives today, inspiring audiences to challenge their ideas of the impact artists can make in our communities.
Sharon Louden is our modern day Giogio Vasari. With her second collection of artist essays, she has become one of our most important chroniclers of the lives and experiences of artists working in the twenty first century. Louden has brought us an amazing group of working artists who are imagination partners, creative entrepreneurs and exemplars of the new ways artists are working in the world.
The Artist as Culture Producer describes not only how to maintain a creative life, but how to make the creative work produced meaningful to a wider community. With essays from forty artists, Louden’s collection testifies to the impactful, vital community contributions made by contemporary artists.
The emphasis on artistic citizenship is often scarce at institutions of higher education, and this book may be the answer for understanding that there’s no direct route to guaranteed success in the art world. Louden has picked artists from the obvious U.S. cities that have a density of museums and galleries, but she’s also careful to show us those who have made their life in places like Detroit, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Oregon. Artists need not always be at the center of the art universe to forge a sustainable creative practice. While the measures of what it means to be a successful artist might differ radically for each of the artists included in Louden’s book, they are all decentralizing the image of successaway from the mainstream picture of going to the most reputable MFA programs, being represented by a mega-gallery, living in an art hub like New York or Los Angeles or London, and living on sales of works to major collections and museums. The book posits that networking and strategizing for success don’t always carry the same longterm power that sincere relationships do, and the collective narrative that emerges is one of how these artists’ plans diverged in the face of feeling the need to respond to their peers and surrounding community.
The Artist as Culture Producer contains forty wonderfully plainspoken stories of artistic life. Together, the first-person essays comprise a sort of accidental manual for finding a foothold and making a living while creating art that makes a difference in the larger community.
Both frank and richly detailed, Sharon Louden’s broad collection contains forty concrete accounts, fascinating autobiographies in miniature, from artists describing the various ingenious means by which they strive to sustain ‘a creative life.’ There are vital insights here.
In this book's preface, editor, multimedia creator, and author (Living and Sustaining a Creative Life) Louden describes artists as "extending creative energies" into their communities. True, but it's the subtitle that characterizes this informative volume and continues the efforts of her first book: it's a collection of essays by artists who, in their own words, explain how they chose their careers and how they've survived and thrived, creatively and financially. The life stories told here are by visual or cross-disciplinary artists working in a range of media (painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media). Most of them also pursue related occupations (writing, teaching, curating, running galleries). This title is a welcome alternative to so much of the general interest writing on art and artists' lives, which tends to focus on attention-grabbing topics such as multimillion-dollar auction sales, celebrity gossip, or tragedy. The essays steer clear of literary flourishes and artspeak, offering straightforward descriptions of each individual's struggles as they navigated life and career paths. VERDICT Recommended for students and aspiring artists who hunger for this kind of real-life experience, advice, and wisdom, and for those in organizations that work with them.—Michael Dashkin, New York