The Artists Handbook project came about as a response to the reality that many practicing visual artists and visual arts professionals – whether they have come through a formal art school or an informal training route – often have only a hazy sense of how the art world works, the skills required to survive as a (usually) self-employed person, and engage professionally and effectively with gallerists, buyers, dealers and organisations within quite a complex business environment. We believe that greater levels of professionalism among artists will yield greater levels of productivity for the industry as a whole.
The resource is aimed at artists at different stages of their careers – from people just starting out through to more established artists.
The Handbook covers a wide variety of issues that are often felt too be mysterious, complicated and a distraction from the main business of being an artist or visual arts professional – writing a good cv, filling in an income tax return, managing an inventory of work and so on.
This guide aims to make these administrative and business issues accessible, manageable and as painless as possible through the provision of easy-to-read, concise and informed advice, tools and templates.
The VANSA Artists Handbook originated through a partnership between the Africa Centre and VANSA Western Cape in 2008. Originally part of a publication which addressed both the visual and performing arts, the content was then developed by Bianca Baldi and Kai Lossgott as a stand-alone ‘starter pack’ for visual artists, with the support of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism. The present content has been further developed with financial support from the Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture and the Goethe Institute.
More recently, ARTRIGHT has partnered with a London based Arts Organisation, Artquest, to create an information exchange between the two entities. VANSA provides information to Artquest around the South African Visual Arts Industry in exchange for professional practice content.