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Taking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist (The Insider's Guide to Exhibiting and Selling Your Art) Paperback – April 13, 2006

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Taking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist (The Insider's Guide to Exhibiting and Selling Your Art) + ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career + The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love
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About the Author

Cay Lang began teaching her Taking the Leap course in 1990. Her photographs have appeared in numerous books and magazines, and have been shown in London, Tokyo, Paris, and Toronto. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 2nd edition (April 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811850935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811850933
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bert Krages on July 11, 2006
This is an easy-to-follow guide on how to establish a serious career as a fine artist. The first edition released in 1998 was excellent and the second edition has been appropriately updated to reflect how the Internet has influenced the business of promoting an artist's work. A significant strength of this book is its description of the business practices followed in the fine art field. Understanding how galleries operate and select art is a critical aspect of establishing a career. It is also important to know the best way to establish an artist's credibility with respect to the marketing aspects. The author's tone is very respectful of artists and the creative process and her approach is to inform artists on how to best establish a presence for their work in contexts that enable an artist to maintain a living as a professional artist. Readers should be advised that the focus of the book is fine art. It does not discuss licensing practices for commercial art or how to set up and run a booth at crafts fairs. However, if you are interested in a career as a fine artist, this is a genuinely excellent book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on March 29, 2007
When people reach the stage where they start to think they may be artists, one of the things they envision is showing other people their work. At first, hanging it on their own walls seems enough (especially since many, at least at first, try to convince themselves that they are doing this work only for themselves.) But eventually the bug bites and they want to be exhibited in public. Cay Lang tells them how.

Of course the basic rule is work, work, work! But how to direct that work to get on the walls is what this book is about. Bit by bit, the author covers all of the steps that a visual artist needs to get exhibited, from preparing a submission packet for a gallery to schmoozing the press.

While reading about her process, I had a mental checklist created by consulting artists I know as well as my own experience. Once or twice, I thought I had her. She talked about mailing one's packet around. If all an artist does is send a portfolio by mail, the chance of being exhibited is small, even with the most brilliant artist's statement included. But a few chapters later there was the advice about making a personal visit, and a little later, there was the advice about networking. Eventually, she covered almost everything on the checklist.

Lang's writing is so simple as to be deceptive. It's straight forward and makes the process seem so easy. Of course, it's not, but if you can do the work you probably won't go wrong with her process.

This is an update of a previous edition, and she recognizes the importance of the internet in modern marketing. Occasionally, she makes some work seems easy, like taking pictures of your work for your portfolio. If you're a sculptor, taking pictures that will capture the spirit of your work is an art in itself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Suda on December 22, 2014
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This book seems really outdated and basic to me for a couple of reasons. First, the author talks at length about sending out artist packages to galleries via mail. Almost no one does this any more, and unfortunately new artists that read this book will spend money on materials to send packages to galleries that will never be touched. All galleries I work with today prefer these materials to be send via e-mail. So the content the author discusses is decent, but the method is extremely outdated. Also, for any artists reading this she fails to mention the commonly accepted term for an artist's resume' is now referred to as a CV (curriculum vitae).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Walter E. Churchill on September 11, 2011
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Being an artist mostly as a serious hobby until my retirement in '07, I wanted to give my hobby a boost into a possible career. The book is very good at detailing the necessary steps to building a profile and to get my art recognized. However, it is written more to the very advanced professional who just hasn't gotten the recognition they want. For me, it will take quit awhile to go through all the steps. For the more advanced it will make the journey a lot easier. I would recommend it for anyone who is serious at wanting to advance themselves in the art world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. gonet on June 4, 2008
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Great book,informative ,honest and the most helpful book I have read as a visual artist. This is the bible
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sfartists on January 3, 2012
This book is an excellent source for any artist aspiring to make art their career. It has helped me over the years more than any other I've purchased or looked at. Her index of resource books alone is worth the price. She keeps things simple, doesn't preach and doesn't fill the pages with other peoples art.
Unlike other books her list of resources will help you if you want to be your own boss and don't know where to start with legal, financial and tax related questions. Becoming an artist isn't just marketing and putting together a pretty portfolio, it's learning how to play in the real world once the doors open.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victoria L. Meyer on February 25, 2008
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Excellent book on building a business in the arts. Timely, informative advice with lots of contacts, ideas, etc.
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I had this book as a textbook for an art business class in grad school, and really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. Some of it is a little outdated (who really uses slides anymore?), but overall it was very easy to read and had a lot of great information in a very digestible format. The tone is overall very positive and breaks everything down into basic and simple steps, so it seems like you really CAN take the leap. I feel this book is a must-have for every art major who doesn't want to end up as a starving artist.
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Taking the Leap: Building a Career as a Visual Artist (The Insider's Guide to Exhibiting and Selling Your Art)
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