Illustration by Petra Larsen

Illustration by Petra Larsen


Etiquette for Artful Living

Dear Babs, I’m a 16-year-old artist currently living in Austin and I was wondering are there any opportunities to showcase my art? I truly love art and drawing but unfortunately have not had much exposure and I want to share my passion and skill.
—Alexia Leclercq, Austin, Texas

Dear Alexia, Let’s see, Alexia. You’re 16. What were you expecting at this point in time in your life? I’m assuming you are enrolled in high school and take art classes. If so, is there an art club? A lot of schools enter art contests within their region. (Yours truly won 2nd place for pottery one year!) Take extracurricular art classes offered at nonprofit organizations or college extension. Most of these courses will have art shows at the end of the sessions. Showing your work is important, but you’re a bit young to expect to start competing with other artists that have been at it for a while.

It’s good you have passion about your art, because it will most likely be the only thing you can count on to get you through your journey into the art world. Maybe you will go to college after high school and major in art. Then after your undergraduate degree you can get a MFA that will cost you thousands of dollars and leave you with an astronomical student loan. Then you can move to LA or New York and hopefully land a gallery. Collectors will come and see your work, and your dealer will try to convince them that your work is important and they should buy it. They will try to get you museum shows which will then boost the worth of your work; then the collectors will begin to think they should buy your work so then they can cash in at an auction and triple their money. It’s so easy …now get crackin’.

Dear Babs, What books would you recommend for a recent art school graduate for advice on finding a gallery, or at least gaining a better understanding of how the art world works?
—Mildred, Hot Coffee, Mississippi

Dear Mildred, I recommend Post Office or Women by Charles Bukowski. There are lots of laughs about real life that aren’t always so pretty. The art world is not a real world, and you will have to navigate through all the bullshit that is part of it. You will need to keep Women by your bedside, as when you go to sleep at night, you will continually need that wakeup call in the morning to let you know you haven’t died and gone to hell now that you are in the art world.