If you are going to keep pace in an ever-evolving art market, you must be prepared to be a lifelong learner. And, you have to distinguish good sources of information from the dross.
Here are my top go-to places for art information.
1. Materials and technique
I recommend a couple of Facebook forums.
- Painting Best Practices is easy-to-consume information run by the owners of the Natural Pigments and Rublev brands of paints. There is also a website.
- Traditional Oil Painting is another Facebook group by US portraitist and teacher Virgil Elliott.
- The Michael Harding website also has some good articles about paint.
All these sources harness the expertise of the scientists working in the paint industry and other experts to answer questions about materials, rather than relying on anecdotes and personal experiences (which dominate other forums).
A word of warning: search your questions in the group before asking to save the moderators from having to answer the same questions repeatedly. Don’t attempt to give your opinion unless you are an accredited expert. They get very cranky about it.
2. The art business
Good quality information about the business of art is hard to find - especially at our micro level. But here is what I look at:
- The Artwork Archive website offers guides and blogs on the practical stuff of running your art business. I also use the software.
- The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) is an Australian take on the art business, with free guides to everything from copyright law and tax to how to exhibit and sell your art.
- Willy Russo is an Australian broadcaster and artist mentor. You can hear her Interview With An Artist podcasts with artists and gallerists or sign up for her newsletter for bite-sized snippets about what is on.
- Alan Bamberger is a new find - a San Francisco-based artist consultant found on the Threads app. I don’t always agree with him, but I find his views thought-provoking. He also has a series of articles on his website and is also on Facebook and Instagram.
3. Social Media
There is a lot of rubbish propagated around Instagram, but artist Dina Brodsky has made it her business to understand the platform and algorithm changes. Dina and artist consultant Rafael Hoekstra have teamed up to offer Instagram classes and coaching as Insights for Artists. If you sign up for their newsletter, you can get useful tips for free.
Art criticism is not meant to be an easy read, but should make you think. It should be knowledgeable and not at all sycophantic.
- Australia’s most prominent art reviewer is John Macdonald, who writes for the Sydney Morning Herald (among others). You can access all his writings if you sign up for his newsletter. Reading criticism is always thought-provoking, even if occasionally painful. But he is very knowledgeable and has changed my thinking frequently enough to make him a must-read.
- Ben Davis is a new find. He is the art critic for ArtNet and you can sign up for a newsletter. He wrote a classic piece about his run-in with an “art-influencer, which is how I found him.
5. Artist Interviews
This is how we learn there are many ways to be an artist.
- Talking with Painters: by Maria Stoljar is the mother-of-all-Australian-art-podcasts. You’ve been living under a rock if you don’t know it. Put it on your playlist. Celebrated painters being interviewed by a curious fellow artist is a winning combination.
- Exhibition: Artist interviews by former newsreader Richard Morecroft is another excellent resource… this time in video format.
- Willy Russo’s Two Red Chairs.
- Art Wank by Fiona Verity and Julie Nicholson
- The UK-based Ask An Artist
- Artist Profile Magazine. You know you have made it in Australia when you appear in this glossy.