The Thriving Artist  By  cover art

The Thriving Artist

By: The Clark Hulings Foundation
  • Summary

  • The THRIVING ARTIST PODCAST is a feature of the Clark Hulings Foundation, which exists to provide training, professional introductions, and funding for working artists, to turn working artists into THRIVING artists. Tune in for insights from other artists, art industry experts, art collectors, and business specialists. Don't be a starving artist, be a thriving artist!
    Copyright 2023 The Clark Hulings Foundation
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  • How to Build a Robust Creative Economy That Rewards Everyone—including Artists
    Jul 27 2022

    How do we live in a robust culture? How do we produce a robust culture at a time when we are fracturing, polarized, and creative enterprise is an afterthought?

    Let's remind ourselves of where we are. If you look around, you see political fragility, economic uncertainty, and general unhappiness. That's depressing. That's the point. As a people, we ARE depressed. You don't look back at 2021, let alone what's going on now, and go, "it's a happy time." We're not happy and we have to face it. We've got essentially a global war, and a recession only partly driven by that war. We've got a big economic bubble. We have a politically fractured culture at a global level. Totalitarianism, never the friend of a creative culture, is coming back in vogue. We're at each other's throats. We're not happy. 

    The beast is slouching toward Jerusalem. The earth is heating up. We're settling into (if we're lucky) a mere detente as two nations living in one national entity. Arguably, we began going in that direction in 1945 when we settled into the Cold War and that generated the Korean war, the Vietnam war, El Salvador... and we decided to live in a state of permanent animosity, driven by munitions manufacturers, the intelligence apparatus, and munitions and chemical industries that profit from it. There was a huge amount of money to be made. Those chemical makers clean your baby and make for a sparkling kitchen and they also do deforestation in Laos.

    All of that to say that we're now in an understandable state of fragility when it comes to the role of creativity in our lives. We have a tenuous relationship with art.

    We do not even now dream so much anymore. Our dreams are smaller. We don't dream of a world that flourishes and we haven't been given a mechanism to build better dreams. The material on CHF's site is basically an insistence that there is another path—that we're working to solve that problem in a robust way.

    How do we get a robust and flourishing culture in the first place? That's the entrance to the conversation we are creating. As a culture, we tend to put creatives in a box. And even the goal of showcasing artists as essential workers and ensuring they're well-paid is not yet dreaming big enough. I think even those dreams are too small. I don't want to be a useful cog in someone's wheelhouse. I don't want to work for somebody because I have the skills. I want to work for somebody because without creative enterprise, we don't 'make it' as a culture.

    We must move away from the merely theoretical lament toward a vision of doing something practical and economically powerful. Without that, We don't build a robust creative culture. We must build a road for artists to thrive, and creativity to flourish, and it has to be done at the economic and investment level.

    Anything less creates the same problem we had all through the cold war, which is the starving artist syndrome. Only the 1% of artists can be famous and only those who know the right people and happen to gain the approval of the taste-makers can make any money. Everybody else is dirt poor and living on their cousins' sofas.

    What we're doing at CHF isn't sexy in a theoretical way, but it's actionable and practical. We're asking people to dig deep into the thought process of how we get a culture that we want to live in. And we are starting from the premise that you don't get a robust creative culture without a thriving creative economy. 

    I don't think we've widely connected the dots between these big questions—first, daring to ask them and then to dream of the ubiquitous, middle-class artist. How do you actually do it? What is the day-to-day? How do you actually implement it? And that's where we actually do have an answer.  

    It starts at the mindset and knowledge level. We foster a conversation around art as a business, and we empower art-entrepreneurs with the business training all other...

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    38 mins
  • Virtual & Analog Art—Daniel DiGriz
    Nov 26 2021

    “We’re going to need more art—all of it—to solve the world’s challenging problems. Creative intelligence is what it takes to inject life into the culture, to drive effective leadership, to drive new ideas. We don’t have to choose. We can have one foot in the world of visceral taste and touch and another foot in the digital world without having to split ourselves in half.”

    ​​​​This is a bite-sized The Thriving Artist™podcast episode with Daniel DiGriz’s perspective on art news and cultural change. As you may know from previous episodes, Daniel peruses the art news of The New York Times. This time, a couple of headlines really stood out! The first one is 50 years of Taking Photography Seriously. The synopsis: When the Photographer's Gallery opened in London in 1971, few saw the medium as suitable for exhibitions. Today everyone does. The second article is Hands Off the Library's Picture Collection! The synopsis: Cornell Spiegelman and Warhol browse the famous collection of images in the New York Public Library. Now a century of serendipitous discovery will come to an end if the collection is closed off to the public. This episode is courtesy of Shirley Lemmon.

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    16 mins
  • Clark Hulings—Archetype of the Independent Artist
    Mar 24 2021

    James D. Balestrieri is the Clark Hulings Foundation’s Writer-in-Residence. He is currently working on a new book on Hulings, Clark Hulings: Quantum Realist. Jim is the proprietor of Balestrieri Fine Arts, a consulting firm that specializes in catalogue research and arts writing, estate and collections management, and marketing and communications for museums and auctions. Jim has a BA from Columbia University, an MA in English from Marquette University, an MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon, and was a Screenwriting Fellow at the American Film Institute. He served as Director of J.N. Bartfield Galleries in New York for 20 years and has published over 150 feature essays and reviews in a wide variety of national arts publications.

    In this episode, Jim gives us an in-depth look at the themes of the upcoming Hulings book, and discusses how Clark Hulings’ career strategy applies to working artists today. Inspired by Hulings’ successes both within—and outside of—art tastemakers’ approval, Jim and Daniel question who gets to decide which artists matter, and how the canon does and does not serve the best interest of the arts, or artists. Hulings’ accomplishments, both as an artist and a small business owner, call to his deeper understanding of the dignity of work—from running a market stall to the act of making a living as a painter—as a way of belonging to the world.

    A Painter of Work
    • “Clark Hulings was an American artist. A realist—in a way. He began his career as a very successful illustrator in the golden age of illustration.”
    • “The thing that sets him apart is the subject that he found, chose, and made his life’s work. His life’s work is depicting work. Working people in working situations—whether they’re farmers, laborers, whether it’s an urban setting, a village setting, or a rural setting. What he captured was working people at work, doing what they do. And that sets him apart from almost any other American realist of that time.”
    • “Lots of people associate Clark with Western Art. [...] But really, the number of paintings he did that could be considered Western or Southwestern is miniscule compared to the numbers of paintings he did in Mexico and Europe. So there’s a whole idea that Elizabeth [Hulings] and I have talked about, which is repositioning Clark Hulings as an American Artist, and indeed, an international artist.”
    • “[Hulings] doesn’t really give you a story. They’re not narrative paintings. He moves his easel painting as far from illustration as you can imagine. You see these people working and you wonder what they’re thinking, and what they’re like, and what their inner lives are. But he gives them their privacy.”

    Travel Beyond Tourism
    • “For Hulings, travel—and if you look at his paintings, you can see it—travel was a way for him to find places. I would use the word 'traditional places,' where the traditions of work and of life were on a long continuum. He seems to be very interested, not only in showing, ‘oh yeah, those women are washing clothes in a street today,’ but in showing that the place around them was a place that had been inhabited for a long time, so that what they were doing was on a long continuum of existence. A kind of deep time. And for those, you’ve got to travel.”
    • “There's a whole tradition of travel painting where there are paintings of the famous places: paintings of Notre Dame, paintings of the Ponte Vecchio, paintings of this [or that]...That's not Clark Hulings is about. The first painting that really attracted me to his work is this small painting he did of Naples. And it's this narrow street. Narrow. You couldn't even get a car, one car down there, much less two. And there are deep shadows and the laundry is hanging across it. This is not the Amalfi Coast, this is not some
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    54 mins

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