"Because just knowing, without doing, won't get you where you want to go."

This is a reference book specifically directed toward "the art business and how to prepare for success as a fine artist." Keeping to her own signature style of "Aletta," her three-fold purpose of "making art that is marketable and saleable" is for artists (i.e., those in various forms of art media, sculptors, photographers, writers) who need to gain vital tools to navigate through and anticipate various professional career stages, to build up a professional level of art production as well as create a "signature style," and to learn how to set up and manage an art business. Aletta's debut book offers a practical approach to those considering a career path in the world of art.

In the first of her three-fold purpose, Aletta's straightforward text gets right into the heart of issue by asking her audience to recall their "artist's journey"—their initial interest in art­followed by where they see themselves presently and what are their future expectations. Dividing artists into three distinct categories—the hobbyist, the amateur, and the professional—Aletta provides a chart designed within a 14-point set of pertinent criteria to encourage the journey one step farther. This criteria includes artistic motivation; art skills and knowledge; subject matter and media; business orientation; work hours; audience; reputation; credibility; visibility; desirability; attitude toward art shows and exhibitions; art income; pricing; and accounting and taxes.

Presenting one realistic scenario after the other, Aletta gives detailed descriptions of what it looks like to upgrade to the professional level. Aletta proceeds to the next steps that focus on the motivating factors (fame, fortune, followers, and faith) and conduct. Both are highly critical aspects needed to succeed, before delving into the three stages of a professional art career: emerging, mid-career, and established. Using the same 14-point set of criteria, Aletta breaks it down even more by explaining in depth all that takes place in the artist stages.

The second purpose, which centers on art production and "signature style," moves readers in the direction of visualizing their future and working to attain achievable goals using the S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T.E.R. systems. Designed as acronyms, each letter represents principles that present a way of creating structured goals. Aletta directs her audience to act on their goals as well as tracking progress. Obviously, developing professional standards includes building a vital network of art professionals who provide services to enhance artist's careers. Finally, there is the importance of creating the "signature style" and all the elements, including how to handle rejection that comes along with distinctive artwork.

Aletta's approach to the last of her three-fold purpose functions a bit differently since it probes into the nitty-gritty, and not always delightful, aspects of managing a business from setting up an artist's business structure to creating business systems. Aletta emphasizes that while the information in her book is "based on laws and business practices in the United States," rules often change and can vary from country to country. That said, it is the responsibility of the artist to keep abreast on the how-to of running a business within the artist's commercial place of residence.

Filled with a chockfull of amazing directives punctuated by encouraging and supportive comments from a variety of professional artists, My Real Job is Being an Artist is excellent and an absolute must-read for every person pursuing a professional artistic career.

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