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Getting Your Sh*t Together: A Professional Practices Manual For Artists: By Karen Atkinson and GYST Ink Paperback – September 15, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Visual artist, curator and educator Karen Atkinson has taught Getting Your Sh*t Together for many years at the California Institute of the Arts, Side Street Projects, and all over the world. After sharing her wealth of knowledge with countless artists, and seeing these artists put her advice into action, it made sense to create an artist manual. Atkinson is the co-founder of Side Street Projects, an artist run organization and has worked with many other non profits and organizations including the National Association of Artists" Organizations, LACPS, Installation, Foundation for Art Resources, and others. Atkinson has shown her work all over the world. She has experience as a curator, director, editor, writer, installation artist, public projects organizer, grant writer, and teacher. Her involvement in nearly every facet of the art world gives her a unique perspective into how this world works.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; V2 edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453801561
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453801567
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,410,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William C. Kaminski on June 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This guide has been absolutely essential for me to move my career forward with the necessary organization and accessibility of my exhibition history and multi-media documentation of my artwork. When juggling accounts of my work that appear in print, on the internet, in still images and video, and in my own writing, it can get very confusing, and the organizational tips provided by GYST in the manual, as well as with the software, have been key. The result is a practice and career that I can engage with security and confidence. Thanks GYST!
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Format: Paperback
I think this is a great resource for a professional artist at pretty much any stage in a career. If you can't make it to one of GYST's workshops this book is a good way to download a lot of really helpful nuts and bolts information and tools for managing the "back office" life of an artist who wants to organize themselves professionally.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great resource for anyone looking to deal with the business of being a working artist. From time management to taxes, artist statements to archiving your work, GYST gives you the tools. Now it's up to you (and me) to get it together.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sorry to say, but I bought this book looking for some help and advice about HOW TO get your s*** together. Where to look and so fourth. But seriously, This book is a simple text book, with a VERy general tone. So general that it's completely UNHELPFUL. MOST of the book is filled with sample sheets, like: "use this page to write down ten goals for yourself" "Use this page to make a list of the organizations you can write to" IT is literally a book that is a fancy organizer for college kids with absolutely NO REAL HELP or even suggestions. DO NOT WASTE your time with this. No joke, there are SPELLING TYPOS on the VERY first page!!!
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Format: Paperback
this book is great. The part that helped me the most was regarding organization and time management. the book helps you break it down so you can be more productive with your time on the day-to-day, as well as more directed toward short and long term goals. And hey, it's tax deductible :)
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Though nobody wants to acknowledge it, a working artist (performing or other) ends up with as much work as they do their “art.” You have workspace, material costs, and exhibitions to organize, and if you want to show your work in galleries, you’ll have to get past the picky and snotty gallery owners. If you want to market your own art, you’ll need a business plan and forms. It can be aggravating.

Karen Atkinson begins her book Getting Your Sh*t Together by creating a checklist for personal goals. She advises the reader to make a diagram showing all the possibilities, including galleries, freelancing, agencies, etc. Then she advises choosing which ones are the most feasible, giving your economic and personal situation. Further chapters cover resumes, portfolios, photographing your artwork, and shipping artwork.

I recall a gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, where the director advised me on painting sizes. Her customers wanted nothing bigger than 18x24 inches, because most New Yorkers don’t have room for a bus-size painting. If you read Art Studio America, you can see how sculptor Artis Lane does her small statues in her kitchen, and her pieces are rarely more than 2 feet tall. If large works were her intention, she’d need a larger studio space, and that would incur rent, transportation costs, assistants, etc. Atkinson advises going through all these factors before you even start a project.

Studio space gets a full chapter in this book, and as usual, it begins with a questionnaire about the pros and cons. How much can you afford to spend on a studio? What kind of electricity will you need? What about sharing a studio? After going over all the possibilities, I wondered if it’s worth bothering about. Why not just make small drawings at home?
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Format: Paperback
I use this book to teach an artist development course and it is a wonderful resource. For the price point, it is very generous with detailed information and examples. I used to recommend Lazzari's book but it went out of print and some of the information became outdated. I tried a few others that included advice such as "just hire someone to do this for you" or "galleries always provide xyz" which is not how it works for the majority of artists these days. This is practical, accessible, and diy. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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Format: Paperback
As I enter a new career as an artist, I was faced with all of the typical artist challenges. How do I sell my work? How do model releases work? How do I rent my work out? What are vanity galleries? With this guide in hand all of the questions I had are answered in a quick and easy resource that lets me concentrate on my work and not the business side of being an artist. So far this has been an amazing asset that has relieved a huge amount of stress and headache from my career. The real beauty of this book is that it's easy to understand and just as easy to implement. Instead of espousing concepts and philosophies, GYST tells you exactly how to put their system to work! If you're starting a new career or you've been doing this forever, GYST has put together a wealth of information that every artist should reference frequently.
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