Artist Empowerment

Artists, let’s talk about money.

Artists can have a lot of hangups around money. Money can be a sensitive subject regardless of industry, but it especially seems to be in the arts. It can be hard to put a number on an idea, a talent, or a piece of art that has no comparison.

The relationship between money and art is complicated. Common thoughts are:

  • How does one put a monetary value on fine art?
  • If I sell products, does that devalue my art work?
  • If I want to be paid for my work, does that change the reason I am making it?
  • I do other things besides sell my art. Does that mean I am not a real artist or art business?

But guess what? All artists deserve to be paid fairly for their work.

“We’re trained to feel that it’s impolite to discuss money. In the art world, [often] the person we are dealing with, be it a gallery director or curator, has a broad view of a whole bunch of different artists and [can see] where we fit in among them. But if we as artists are not talking to each other about money, we are not operating with as much information as they are. So I think that artists should to talk to each other about money. They should be open and transparent. And the more we promote the culture of transparency around money the more it helps everybody. Sharing this information with each other IS artist empowerment.”

- Hannah Cole of Sunlight Tax, from the course The Ultimate, Honest Guide to Understanding Artist Taxes

Many of us have the goal of selling our work, but remember that sales are usually not the only way an artist makes money–even the most well-known and successful artists often do more than just sell their work to survive. Thinking nimbly and branching out about how you earn money to support your practice will help you to achieve success.

Ways to earn money that aren’t sales of work include:
Grants, residencies, teaching, speaking fees, public art commissions, private commissions, commercial art (maybe you are a painter who sometimes sells illustrations to magazines and websites), sales of editions or multiples, writing, design work, and the list goes on and on.

The good news is, that if you are doing any of these things already, they bolster your business and support your practice! Artists should be honest with each other about what all they do to support themselves and their work. It’s revealing, but also super inspiring, to learn that our peers have various gigs and structures in place. Everyone’s path is different and unique, and we can all learn from each other. It also might remind us that choosing our own path will lead to our own versions of success.

So, what is your story? Take some time to list all of the ways you support your art business and how these experiences have shaped your practice, expanded your network, and influenced how you spend your time. We are in the same boat as many of you and do lots of things to support our individual art practices: creating blog posts, helping artists by leading classes, workshops and individual coaching, and selling our services. Sara also teaches, and Andrea does commercial photography. We seek out grants and residencies. We’re busy, yes. But this stuff fuels our connection with our art-making and our community at large.

Check out our videos from DELVE: Comedy + Art, a networking event where artists Alex Gingrow and Michael Scoggins share their unique stories.

We’ve seen that if you can harness the storytelling potential of your experiences to share your practice, then you are well on your way to an effective marketing campaign to grow your audience! And once your audience grows even further, you have even more ammunition in support of yourself not only as a professional artist in the eyes of the world, but also as a viable business.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

The Ultimate, Honest Guide to Understanding Artist Taxes

Whether we like it or not, tax season awaits. We figured why not embrace it by getting empowered with a ton of knowledge about taxes, money, and what that means for us as artists? You should join us. It'll be fun–We promise!

We know we've had questions for years about taxes and Schedule Cs and all that stuff. We talked about it with friends and colleagues, who also felt themselves shrink away from the topic with confusion. That's why we are so excited to bring you a brand new online course called:

We have teamed up with artist/tax expert/wonderful human Hannah Cole of Sunlight Tax to demystify your tax responsibilities as an artist. Hannah speaks clearly, without jargon, and explains tax concepts in plain English.

We met Hannah in Brooklyn – she now resides in North Carolina – when her studio was down the hall from ours. An amazing artist, she got licensed as a tax expert and specifically works with artists and creative businesses because she gets it, she gets us, she is one of us! Hannah is a totally smart, badass woman and we couldn't be more excited to be collaborating with her.

With a better understanding of your money, we hope to help your art business grow. With Hannah's expertise and support, we are taking the fear out of money and empowering you to be a successful business. You can do this!

Throughout the process of making this course with her, we have learned so much. She has so many clear examples and literally translates all the confusing IRS language into phrases that ring with clarity. This course we created is a labor of love, and is a must for anyone who has ever been the least bit confused about how their art practice fits into the greater tax world.

A number of confidants have already taken the course and are saying things like:

Taxes can be intimidating and confusing. Tax professional Hannah Cole is just the opposite. In The Ultimate, Honest Guide to Understanding Artist Taxes, she delivers clear, concise, information with an encouraging and empowering style.
— Alix Sloan

Go ahead and sign up below to get notified when the course launches on February 7th, and so you can get an amazing discount and be ready for tax season!



© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.