Money and Art World Success / by Chris Hall

"A fascinating...money-making career can be yours!"  If you are making art with the purpose of making money, you are probably not making art.

In the art world, as in any world, it takes money to make money.  Materials, time, travel, promotion, all of this takes money.  The cold fact remains:  there are not too many successful artists who come from a poor and humble background.  I would love to have the time and money (often there is an application fee) to apply to all of the things that would get my art seen . . . I would love to properly promote my work.  But when you are concerned that the $20 app fee will take away from your rent, the rent wins.  

CAA (College Arts Association) cold called me today asking if I would renew my membership with them.  CAA is an association whose main purpose is to provide a professional community for college art professors on a national level.  If you want to get a good job teaching at a University, it will behoove you to be a CAA member.  It also helps if you can afford to go to their annual meeting, which is usually held in New York or Los Angeles.  Once you are there, I suspect there must be a lot of cool and informative lectures and such, but there must also be a good amount of playing the politician, shaking babies, kissing hands (and asses), etc.

I told the CAA rep that I would like very much to renew my membership and go their annual meeting, but that I had to worry more about how I will be getting the gas to go across town than the plane ticket to New York.  Although I was polite, the CAA rep cut the conversation short.  Usually when people want money from me (alumni associations and such), they will try a little bit harder:  "perhaps you can donate only $5 today?"  I wonder, should I be relieved or insulted by our short conversation?  I am on their level, professionally (the same degree, the same knowledge), but my lack of resources often prevents me from catching a break . . . and from being taken seriously.  These are my peers.  I am equal to them in my knowledge and ability in my chosen field.  But it is as if the CAA is some exclusive club to me, with a secret handshake, a ring, and code-words.

In other news, I received an email telling me that my application to teach at Atlanta Metropolitan College has been rejected.  I can not help but feel that money could have potentially given me better connections, CAA connections, and if I had connections, maybe my application would not have been so quickly dismissed.  At least Atlanta Metropolitan College sent me an email.  Most of the time it seems you are not even given that courtesy.