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Art & About - ArtBiz

Being an artist is all fun and games until the bills come in. But how do you make a living as an artist?

A program of events organised by Darwin Visual Arts Association will go through all the ins and outs of the business of being an artist. The info sessions will be run by artists and arts workers with industry knowledge from the likes of Chips Mackinolty and Amy Hetherington. The presentations run over three Saturdays, telling you everything you need to know – from how to promote your brand to who gets your royalties when you kick the bucket. Program coordinator Tracey Bunn sat down with Off The Leash to chat about why it’s important to treat your art practice like a business. 

Why is it important for artists to think about being business savvy?
There are so many element of the business of being an artist, but often artists look at themselves as being a creative – which is great – but if you want to do anything with your art on a larger scale or be sustainable, you need to have those business elements in mind.

What are you hoping to achieve with this program? 
I’m hoping it’s going to create a whole generation of artists who are going to start thinking more about business and treating their art not just as something they’re passionate about, but being able to get it out there and be sustainable so they don’t have to do the café work or bland jobs we’ve all done as artists.

What are the top things artists should be thinking about?
Accounting and business planning are probably two of the most important things that artists just shy away from all the time. 

What are the common mistakes artists make?  
People don’t take themselves seriously enough, or don’t look at themselves from a business perspective. They don’t do enough groundwork to set themselves up as a business package, they just launch into little bits here or there.

What are things you had to learn the hard way? 
As a musician myself, it took me a lot of mistakes to learn. One of the big ones was invoices and contracts. For a musician, a gig contract is a must and contracts are essential in any business where money is concerned.

SAT 7, 21 28 APR | HAPPY YESS | $80 | $60 DVAA MEMB, STUDENT | $45 HALF DAY/$36  | $210 3 DAYS/$160 | dvaa.net.au

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