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Living and Sustaining a Creative Life
Essays by 40 Working Artists

Edited by Sharon Louden
Chapter Titles     |      Reviews     |      Comments

In this day and age, when art has become more of a commodity and art school graduates are convinced that they can only make a living from their work by attaining gallery representation, it is more important than ever to show the reality of how a professional, contemporary artist sustains a creative practice over time. The 40 essays collected here in Living and Sustaining a Creative Life are written in the artists’ own voices and take the form of narratives, statements and interviews. Each story is different and unique, but the common thread is an ongoing commitment to creativity, inside and outside the studio. Both day-to-day and Big Picture details are revealed, showing how it is possible to sustain a creative practice that contributes to the ongoing dialogue in contemporary art.  These stories will inform and inspire any student, young artist and art enthusiast, and will help redefine what ‘success’ means to a professional artist.

To learn more about Louden's book and to read a short extract visit Intellect's IQ magazine


To read more head over to Sharon Louden's website

To read the full review in Public Art Review click here to download the pdf.

Chapter titles
Sharon Louden
Carter E. Foster
Adrienne Outlaw • Amanda Church • Amy Pleasant • Annette Lawrence • Austin Thomas • Beth Lipman • Blane De St. Croix • Brian Novatny • Brian Tolle • Carson Fox • David Humphrey • Ellen Harvey • Erik Hanson • George Stoll • Jay Davis • Jennifer Dalton • Jenny Marketou • Julie Blackmon • Julie Heffernan • Julie Langsam • Justin Quinn • Karin Davie • Kate Shepherd • Laurie Hogin • Maggie Michael and Dan Steinhilber • Maureen Connor • Melissa Potter • Michael Waugh • Michelle Grabner • Peter Drake • Peter Newman • Richard Klein • Sean Mellyn • Sharon L. Butler • The Art Guys • Thomas Kilpper • Timothy Nolan • Tony Ingrisano • Will Cotton
Ed Winkleman and Bill Carroll
'Sharon Louden has invaluably gathered together in this book an exceptionally diverse range of artists’ experiences in order to illustrate, in a manner otherwise inaccessible, the inherent tensions that artists face in constantly balancing their drive to devote core time and energy to creating new work and their wish to share that work with the world with the complexities, as well as the joys, of their personal and family lives.' – Michael Straus, Chairman, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

'Anyone serious about a career as an artist must read this book.' – Adam Sheffer, Partner, Cheim & Read Gallery

'I applaud artist Sharon Louden for assembling this fascinating compilation of artist testimonies. It provides a refreshing, honest look at the myriad ways that artists shape and feed their lives and evolve authentic, generative practices in a society that does not always make it easy for artists to subsist and fully contribute. "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" is thus an inspiring, unexpurgated resource for artists beginning their careers as well as any individual seeking to recalibrate his or her daily life to pursue a more purpose-filled existence.' – Olga Viso, Executive Director, Walker Art Center

'Too often the story of how an artist makes art and a living is advertised as either a step into an abyss of debt and dementia or a glamorized Bohemia misunderstood by a general public. Yet, what these artists demonstrate in this valuable book is that the common bond for us all who aspire to a well lived life is blood, sweat and tears are the elements all the dreams are made of. From artists living off of sales of their work, to those who teach, and those who search for paychecks in odd jobs, the desire to create is never extinguished.' – Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head, Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

'Doing it all - from surprisingly frank sharings on the struggles of starting out as young artists to the challenges of making time and space for creation, the artists in "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" share with candor and heart just what it takes to be an artist today.' – Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director, Creative Time

'This was a fantastic book. Thank you Sharon for bringing to light that which we artists struggle: how to make it all work while we are making our work. I highly recommend this wonderful collection of essays! ' – Milisa M Galazzi, from amazon

'I've been unable to put it down ... each essay is short, but packed with fascinating personal and professional details. I'm savoring each one and discovering so much in the process. Each artist who wrote had a different perspective, which makes this book so universal for artists. ' – Tracey, from amazon

'What struck me while reading each of these personal histories was how direct and honest the accounts were ... Living and Sustaining also stands out for its well designed blending of text, image and white space' – Deborah Barlow, from amazon

'Eye opening, touching, humorous and brave – these honestly-rendered descriptions of what artists do to survive (emotionally, materially and creatively) are extraordinary' – Ann Fensterstock, from amazon

'I loved every page. Wonderful book' – David A. Clark, from amazon

'It’s the first I heard about such a practical guide book from working artists ... and it makes me incredibly happy that it exists.' – Saltwater Birch

'A very interesting book' – Eileen R. Tabios

'Living and Sustaining a Creative Life should be handed out with every fine arts degree' – The Art Blog, Andrea Kirsh

'I highly recommend the book' – Art Biz Blog, Alyson Stanfield

'I knew I had to read this book' – A Geography of Reading, Isla McKetta

'While the book includes essays by fine artists, their experiences are likely to resonate with people in a range of careers. Young artists will find inspiration and new ideas for how to carve out a creative existence. Non-artists may be surprised to discover that, in many ways, being a working artist also means learning how to run a small business.' – BreakThru Radio, Thomas

'It’s inspirational, honest (sometimes brutally) and powerfully motivational; an undeniable must-have' – Arts the Word, Becca Joy Harris

'I really enjoyed this book because, for the most part, it is really down to earth and the essays were short little nuggets that I could read in one sitting.' – Carolyn A Pappas

'A handsome, useful book' – CultureCrash, Scott Timberg

'I would suggest any artist making, or planning to make his/her living as an artist, invest in a copy as soon as possible.' – VoxPhotographs Weblog

'(A) personable, easy-to-read volume of pragmatic artist testimonies.' – Public Art Review, Jen Dolen

'These inspiring stories show how artists create both inside and outside the studio, both day-to-day and over the long haul.' – Professional Artist

'Though written about the unique experience of fine artists, “Living and Sustaining A Creative Life” is worth the read by anyone seeking to build a life of artistic intention without ignoring the need for monetary sustenance. ' – Courtney M. McSwain

'I found the reading insightful and hopeful. Approaching graduation gives me more anxiety than faculty crits do, which logically doesn’t seem to make sense at this point in the year but it is what it is. ' – Katie Kahn

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