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Artist Tool Kit

Material for a class at SFPC Code Poetry summer session.

This two part class will introduce the basic tools and resource to pursue career as an independet artist and cultural producer. This class will focus on emerging artists and writers who work with technology as an integral medium, technologists who's exploring art and independent practices.

Class goal

  • Write a 200 words project description of a project you recently completed. This is useful for your portfolio, residency application and a piece I'm writing on SFPC Code Poetry.
  • Write a 200 words project proposal for grant, commission or open call.
  • Identify residencies you want to apply.
  • Plan for an idea life situation where you will be creative and feel financially secure.

##Part 1 Writing

Project description

  • Writing artist bio in third person
  • Learning from writing about someone else's project
  • Getting written up on social media, blog, magazine, academic journal
  • Writing for interview
  • How to credit your work. Work you did, work others did for your project

Project proposal

  • Grants and residencies
  • Artist narrative
  • How to correlate between project description and proposal
  • Projecting finished project, budgets and schedule

##Part 2 Biz

  • Preliminary budget
  • Post-project budget
  • Paying other people for oursource, collaboration, consultation
  • Asking to get paid - How to get paid, best and worst experience
  • Pricing your art work for friend, collector, gallery and museum
  • Idea of putting your art in your own bank, art works are your assets for the future
  • Grant and commission cycles
  • Micro grants, crowd funding
  • Alternative methods: business structure as an art/ creative work

###Reference for Part 1 Writing

Art writings may serve different purposes. In all cases, writing has become an integral part of art practice especially since Conceptual Art. Writing helps bridge the gap between

Making (private practice) - Experience (limited engagement) - Documentation (post production, archive).

Art writng can be the vehicle that connect the concept and artist's intention with the practice and actual implementation. Art writing is a valuable resource for artists, their audience and historians as well as the collectors and community who appreciate their work.


  1. Write about one of your project. 200 words.
  2. What do you see, read, hear from your piece? Describe the experience of the work.
  3. How is it made? Describe the production. What is the material, tool and the process? Is it relevant and important for the piece?
  4. What did you try to achieve with it? What is the message or question, if any. If there's no message, what was the impulse that drive you to make this?
  5. Read your neighbor's writing, see, read, or experience the work and write about their work in 200 words or less.

It is very helpful to read writings by other artists you admire. Study their language, description, interviews and reviews. There maybe words and phrases which resonate with you. Appropriate it and make it your own.

Some good artistic and technical writing by artists and friends

Critical and exploratory art writing

Grant writing is fun!

  • Staying in schedule on Call for residency, calendars
  • Taeyoon's success rate 20~30%? not sure...
  • Taeyoon's guide for artists applying to grants and residencies. Apply early, impulsively and shamelessly.

Taeyoon's examples

Taeyoon's experience with residencies and grant

Favorite places I continue to apply every year, or wish you apply

Real life examples of project description

  • Taeyoon's
  • Taeyoon's friends

Opportunities that you should apply!

###Reference for Part 2

  • Artist Website Sales Agreement
  • Direct sales, exchange, gift
  • Gallery commissions
  • Secondary market: auction, private collection
  • Grant, fiscal sponsorship
  • Workshop fee
  • Artist talk fee
  • Who pays artist? (and how I wish the website is done differently, and a more productive discussion)
  • What to do when family and friends want to help, buy your work, how to return their favor
  • Self promotion
  • Helping another artists - the skills and compensation
  • Annual plan, 5 years plan
  • Making of Personal collection and Artist Estate
  • Selling out - Wanderlust School of selling out link

Artist, teaching, performing fees


Budget in your pay first.


In Cash or in favor.


You don't want tax conflict to be part of your art history like Something Else Press

Common pay

  • Artist talk $0~$150
  • Workshop $200~300
  • Talk in foreign city $1000 + travel/accomodation
  • Teaching once a week for a semester $3000~4500
  • Helping other artists $0~150/hour
  • Short residency $0~2000
  • Long residency (5 months+) $3~5000
  • Medium size grant/ commission $6000~10000
  • Big grant $10000~50000
  • Life time achievement grant/ big award $+++++

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is artist residencies?

Q: Why are some residencies competitive and prestigious?

  • What's different about them?
  • Is it worth applying for?

What kind of residencies are right for me?

Q: "I don't really want to do M.F.A but I do like being around school and want to further develop my art practice, career!"

  • Artist run schools : SFPC (obviously), The Public School, Trade School, New York Arts Practicum
  • Residency/ Schools/ : Biz Artists Summer Institute at LMCC/ Creative Capital
  • Grad school / residency: Van Eyck, Skowhegan,Fabrica
  • Apply for fellowship, scholarship at grad schools
  • Free Grad programs for arts is disappearing for example USC
  • Some free grad school opportunities exist in Europe, and also arts + engineering field.
  • Make your own school

Commercial gallery

Galleries in general do not accept unsolicited submissions. Try to smooch in the openings or have your project written up. It's easier if they reach out to you.

Big fish

Diversifying source of funding

###End notes

Some things I wish someone told me when I began to make art.