9 Best Books About Art Update 05/2022

Books About Art

Leaving art school and starting your own business is hard because you don’t have anyone to help you. When you start to doubt your progress, there aren’t any assignments or peers to turn to. There isn’t even a timetable.

We think that as artists, we should never stop learning, sharing, and growing. This is what we believe. You can feel less alone on this journey if you know where to go when you need inspiration or business ideas.

Here are 9 books that have been very important to us as artists and business owners. They have been very insightful and helped us grow as artists and businesses.

When things get tough, we reach for the pages that have been scribbled on. We also reach for them when we need a creative boost or just want to connect with someone else.

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

Edited by Sharon Louden

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

This book is for people who work as artists and wants to read stories from people who have been there. You get a sense of what it’s like to make money as an artist by reading about their stories. These stories show that we’re not alone in our struggles as artists, and they also give us hope for the future. The different perspectives of the artists are both brutally honest and funny at the same time.

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity

David Lynch

“How do artists come up with these ideas?” David Lynch is very funny when he talks about how he found and used his own creativity. Lynch is a longtime devotee of transcendental meditation, and he has a lot of fun ideas for coming up with new ideas. Life, art, and consciousness are all brought together in this book, which turns the idea of the suffering artist on its head. Instead, it says that our mental capacity, and ability to find inner peace, is what drives us to be creative.

Do It: The Compendium

Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist

As part of a twenty-year project, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist asked more than 60 well-known artists to give advice on how to make and show art. In these wacky, fun, and out-of-the-ordinary essays, you will learn how to make modern art on your own. You’ll also get some ideas for your own. Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramovic, Jon Baldessari, Matthew Barney and Louise Bourgeois are just a few of the modern artists who write about their work and connect with each other.

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

David Bayles & Ted Orland

Art & Fear Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

When we read a book about art and fear, we make sure to highlight and crease it. We also make a lot of notes with torn-up sticky notes. If you’re an artist, you’ll want to read this book. This book is written in a simple way and talks about the fears that all artists have when they finish projects or show their work to others for feedback. It’s short, clear, compelling, and worth going back to again and again because it’s so good. In this book, you will learn how to deal with internal and external pressures that have kept you from making things. Who hasn’t?

Creative Block

Danielle Krysa

This book is both beautiful and interesting. A good thing to put out on the coffee table and pick up when you need it. Danielle Krysa from The Jealous Curator talks about 50 artists’ ways to get over a creative block and find new ideas. Large, colorful pictures are laid out in a way that makes it easy to flip through the artworks and read about how each artist deals with problems in the art world in a refreshing and honest way.

Taking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist (the Insider’s Guide to Exhibiting and Selling Your Art)

Cay Lang

This is another one of those books that have a lot of book marks and handwritten notes in the margins, like this one. Cay Lang walks you through the steps you need to take to become a professional artist. You’ll learn how to promote yourself online, as well as the best ways to sell your work in galleries and other places. Taking the Leap is a concrete guide for artists who want to show their work from someone who has been doing it for a long time.


Jonathan Melber, Heather Darcy Bhandari

Art Work

When it comes to galleries, contracts, and documentation, do you feel lost? This book talks about how to run your art business on a day-to-day level. While there isn’t a magic formula for getting representation, Art/Work gives some practical advice on how to look professional, ship work, and write legal documents.

The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

Jackie Battenfield

Jackie Battenfield wrote this book for artists from an artist’s point of view, and it’s the best reference book for artists. The Artist’s Guide covers a wide range of topics that artists might come across during their careers. It gives a good picture of what professional artists need to know to have a successful career. Also, there are a lot of really good pictures of art to go with the text and make the point even more clear.

With real-life examples, Battenfield gives advice on how to plan, how to manage your time, how to market yourself, how to write grants, and how to build a portfolio. Each chapter ends with a “reality check,” where professional artists give their thoughts on the subject at hand.

Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist

Lisa Congdon

Lisa Congdon started out as a hobbyist and turned her love of art into a business that lets her work as an artist full time. In this practical guide, she draws on her own experience to lay out a plan for moving your artistic career to the next level. This book talks about specific strategies and tools that can help you improve your business skills and turn your creative drive into a profitable business. Congdon talks a lot about how to market and promote your work, how to deal with galleries and collectors, and how to handle the legal side of things.

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