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Art-making is one of the easiest and most lucrative of human activities.

A finished work of art can be exchanged for many desirable things such as food, shelter, sex, fame and money (which in turn could be used to purchase food, shelter, sex and fame).

So, it is understandable that you might want to know how to make art.

In the steps that follow I will share the wealth of my knowledge.



Randy Sarafan is full of credentials. He is a virtual Fellow with the FAT (Free Art and Technology) Lab and was a Resident Artist in the R&D OpenLab at Eyebeam. His works have been in museums and galleries. For a number of years he has been the proud owner of an $80,000 art school education.

Step 1: Justify your existence.

Before you can make art, you have to understand what art is.

A breif history:

Western art has a rich history, arguably dating back to ancient Greece. Of course, since visual artists historically have toiled with their hands, Greeks viewed painters and sculptors as we would today view cabinet makers; skilled laborers. In an attempt to get laid more, eat better and party with the Popes, artists in the renaissance reinterpreted the role of visual artists in antiquity to elevate their position in society. From here, western visual art was kind of like a snowball rolling down a hill of loosely packed snow. In short, it started an avalanch of rationalism that eventually landed upon abstract expressionism (think of a canvas painted white with a slash in it). Three hours later, when we finally dug Jackson Pollock out from under ten feet of packed snow, he was somehow still alive, but very pale and slightly braindead. We now called him Andy Warhol. He, along with a number of other avalanch survivors, created postmodern art. This lead Marshal McLuhan to proclaim:

"Art is anything that you can get away with."

This will be our working definition of art.

I can attempt to justify this definition by going on and on about death of the grand narrative or by poorly paraphrasing "The Practice of Everyday Life," but I'm not going to.

Remember, our goal is not to justify our definition of art itself, but to justify our creative (or non-creative) efforts as art. This is easy to do because "Art is anything you can get away with."
The artist 1 pic is weird
The idea of marketing your work and getting press is great and can become a necessary part of an art practice, don't forget that most journalists know nothing about art and are usually just filling in the spaces between the advertising and a written press release makes it even easier for them! There is so much crap about movie stars/starlets in the media it just recomments on the standard of the media. I would be suprised if this work was featured in any specialised art magazine, but hey im ok if im wrong
I guess it depends who your audience is. <br/><br/>If you care, here is my outlook on the matter:<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://randywritesletters.com/051.html">http://randywritesletters.com/051.html</a><br/>
hmmmmmm went and had a read of your outlook on the matter and not quiet sure how that relates to my comments but thanks for the read. I was commenting on your "how to market yourself in your instruction spiel" and agreeing that anyone can send their art work press release into editorials and that there is a big chance it will be listed/commented on or reviewed. Lets not get precious here, we all know that any industry or activity has a standard way of progressing through the accepted channels that produces a dialogue negative or positive that is then put out to the general public. I think their was a scientist in earlier comments disecting the way he plays the game. I think that contemporary art has the capacity to be so much more than art before (this includes using the Internet as a vehicle for expression) Clearly you randofo are a product of your environment and are not producing rembrandts why the hell would you! You are clearly a white middle class young male that has art school training and are well on your way to ticking the boxes even before you showed us how to on Instructables, go forth and create it doesn't matter if we are watching!!! Keep it up
i think your being a little to spcifick no affence
Hey don't get all huffy and puffy! I think that as artists we don't need any help in creating the stereo type that most non artist imply upon creative thinking. Anyone who goes through the necessary steps of navel gazing through undergraduate emerges a little cynical but don't discount that journey. Any individual that exhibits: in any art gallery be it a snooty NYC gallery or on the sidewalk or a student graduate show is fundamentally striving to touch, move or inspire. "Do what you love the money will follow"
I sent you that link in reference to this:<br/><br/><em>There is so much crap about movie stars/starlets in the media it just recomments on the standard of the media. I would be suprised if this work was featured in any specialised art magazine, but hey im ok if im wrong</em><br/><br/>My goal is not to be in a specialized art magazine. I'm not making art for the &quot;specialized art&quot; world. <br/><br/>I rather my artwork be a one paragraph blurb between a small-town sex scandal, Hannah Montana and a cat chasing a bear up a tree, than in Artforum. I am not making art for Artforum and have no use for it. <br/><br/>If my goal for making art is to widely disseminate and exchange ideas, then I can do it myself on the internet and virally through &quot;lower&quot; forms of press that actually reach the audience I intend to find. Of course, the problem with stooping so low is this is not a sustainable way to survive (without quitting the day job), like you pointed out:<br/><br/><em>Lets not get precious here, we all know that any industry or activity has a standard way of progressing through the accepted channels </em><br/><br/>I think this is where you and I fundamentally differ. I have no desire to be part of the art &quot;industry.&quot; The standard channel for art is pretty bleak and elitist. As an emerging artist, your only two real ways to make a living at is to cater to a bunch of rich collector twerps (through the gallery system) or rely on the generosity of corporate patrons (directly or through festivals). Clearly, there are rules that have to be followed if you want to play this game and it is not a fun game to play.<br/><br/>However, if as an artist, you assume that everything you produce is at a loss, then you are free to produce whatever you want, for whomever you want and display it where ever you want. Assuming that you are making art for the masses, this makes much more sense (as opposed to making art for the masses and then groveling at the feet of art patrons for a scrap of meat). I rather have notoriety in certain sections of popular culture than small circles of the art establishment because I feel this will ultimately be more valuable. Of course, the obvious shortcoming here is that no one has figured out how to efficiently monetize mass notoriety, where as, the art world, has already solved the problem of monetization. However, I think it is only a matter of time before this problem is effectively solved and the art world (and most &quot;art&quot;) as we know it is rendered irrelevant.<br/><br/>Perhaps you can read this and say I don't fully practice what I preach... but this Instructable is nonetheless what I learned hanging projectors in snooty art galleries in NYC... <br/>
What a glorious write! And a profound insight. I laughed out loud, not only at the instructable, but also at the indignation it fostered. Art is, and always will be, in the eye of the beholder. And the creator. <br />
well thanks i love when people say that to me or were you talking to me
Finally! The TRUTH is told about modern art! I've always said that in 100 years people will look back at the art of today and say: "People Were Really STUPID and GULLIBLE back then!". BRAVO for telling "art lovers" to STOP worshiping STUPIDITY just because these "artists" have the balls to call whatever they throw together as art. I'd like any of these people try to produce anything close to what real art is... like a Rembrandt.
I agree people have the truth out now i can start making art by the way i'm a starter so my password is $tpoland so bye
That's not what I'm saying at all.
That's what he <em>thinks</em> you're saying<br/>
Ignorance is bliss.
THIS IS A COOL ARTICLE HOW CAN I REPOST IT?
I think we con't explain painting with words. It can only explain with a brush and a piece of paper.
sir i really love painting,need hints to devlope myself.
Aww, man, I thought this would be funny. I learned this crap in school. And why are you so obsessed with sleeping indoors? Freak.<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rivermusic01/">picksart</a><br/><br/>We have a &quot;be nice&quot; comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site.<br/> We have a &quot;be nice&quot; comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site.<br/>
Why do you have &quot;The Policy&quot; on twice?
&nbsp;step six is my personal favorite
could you draw me (or get someone to draw me) some naked women?
No.
why not? you publishedd one in the instructable.
...
you have rehashed an idea that was done to death in the seventies I'm sure who ever saw this work just sighed and thought oh well at least he is attempting to explore an idea
LOL! I thought thiswas entertaining, and 'sort-of' informational...
Your art history section had me laughing so hard. My art history teacher, an 8am class by the way, always dimmed the lights, talked in a monotone, showed 500 slides of the same pot from the same ancient society of where ever, made the room really warm and printed out all the key points in the lecture FOR US. It was like he wanted us to fall asleep.
it looks so cute
I put your Instructable on my mySpace page, because one awesome piece of art deserves another. Then again, so is sniping someone at 1000m. 'Cuz I says so!<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&amp;friendid=386303306">http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&amp;friendid=386303306</a><br/>
Best instructable ever. The art history was my favorite part. I laughed out loud. Twice. I mean I took it 100% seriously and will be using your art history in my classes from now on. Nice job :D
Your $80,000 art school education must be much nicer than my $60,000 art school education...
...as well as my middle-school art education. Are you more artistic than a 5th grader?
I think if you gave a Fifth grade student some sort of medium (i.e. crayons, pencil, mud, tin foil, any of the things your fifth grade art teacher asked you to bring in for class), and told them nothing about art, they'd create something pretty interesting. Having no prior knowledge of art; the history of art, the techniques included with the mediums, would probably lead to some pretty rad stuff.
I totally agree -- I go to an arts-oriented school, and that's almost what happens. At my table, we have: one person covering his hand with masking tape; one person making his own tarot cards (e.g. "the jerk"); one person drawing a picture of the world, in which the earth is cracking open and breaking to reveal that on the inside it is a skull; one person cuting his agenda into an anarchy symbol (me), and one person... well, doesn't do much -- so, if this happens at a school where art is the focus, what would happen at a school where nothing was ever mentioned about art?
Are you an anarchist??!!??
No. It actually wasn't my agenda, it was my friends -- he was trying to get rid of it and I kept finding it in odd places. Eventually I took it home and cut it into an anarchy symbol for him (because he <em>is</em> an anarchist) and gave it to him along with a lighter for christmas. The idea was that he could lite it on fire and have a lovely burning anarchy symbol, but I'm not sure if that ever happened.<br/>
I was refering to the show "are you smarter than a 5th grader"... I guess the reference is lost of non-south-easterners...
Very... appropriate pictures randofo
pffft! wonder who deleted my post... ignoring the truth. hah!
Funny, that's what I do as a scientist too. I noodle with data, find some statistical correlation somewhere, write a long-winded article about it that ties it to other people's work, publish it, and then go to conferences in far-away cities. During the day I argue my points vigorously and with a straight face, then at night I get hammered and try to get laid. The louder I get, the more grant money I get. Science has the same "avalanche" thing- where what was once a cool way to approach the world with fresh eyes has avalanched into an obsession- an end in itself, rather than a means to better... whatever you're looking for.
I think its brilliant - never understood half of modern art (why is a shovel in a museum art) but now I get it... don't think I'd buy it though
but why giving it away<sub> it's more food shelter sex and money that could be yours. </sub><br/>
Oh, NOW i understand!<br/>Walking tall and stretching imaginations!<br/>Bill &quot;Stretch' Coleman<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.bubbletower.com/">http://www.bubbletower.com/</a><br/>
to be honest, this kind of makes me a little mad because it's so ridiculous. i'd hate to think that what i do and make as an artist can be boiled down to convincing people that anything is art... (not trying to discourage aspiring artists though... it's just, not everyone's that good at it)
LOL I love it!
I love it!! Back during the days of the Beats in San Francisco, as a kid; my best friend’s older brother was hanging out in the City, and doing the whole Beat Artist (well actually he was a musician) thing. I did a watercolor with all the cliché stuff I could think of in it (sort of Salvador Dali meets Jackson Pollock). Now you have to understand I was, like 12 years old, and didn't really have training outside of junior high school, but we wanted to make fun of the “older brother.” We gave it to him as a joke, but the joke was on us (or someone we never met). “Mars” came back one day and wanted us to make more paintings as he sold the first one on the street the first day, and figured we could finance his rise in the world of Beatdom…I never did though. Although I went on to work as an illustrator, years later, I always had a little tongue-in-cheek impudence towards “art” after that. Who knows if I had gone on with it I would have been one of the great underground artists of San Francisco at 12! I don’t think my mom would have let me …although thinking back about some of those Beat Chicks all in black…
I actually thought this would be something constructive, which is more than i can say for most of the what you call &quot;post-modern&quot; artists, which &quot;choose&quot; their medium after they have an idea, which doesn't really represent anything at all but is just an idea. Since I was a kid and probably for most people it is like that my ideas of art have changed a lot, at first i thought woow, its soo cool to have a spray painted car or something with graffiti on it. And I thought damn, those paintings of people and Christ and things like that are so ugly and theyre so excessive. I grew up, and saw more of art than I thought i will. At some point we watched in school a couple of these modern art movies, which show how these &quot;modern&quot; artists worked but most of them were on drugs or alcohol and delusional and made for most people weird stuff. These modern arts like abstract arts for me aren't really arts anymore. They're something like show whatever you want things, altho it is true that everyone can be an artist, you still have to have some knowlage, which is more what can be said about these artists and these new arts overthrow anything that was art before. An artist has an idea, he doesn't really follow any pattern, he doesn't imagine anything before making it in his mind, works as he goes, doesn't follow any rule, and he is supposed to show some ground-braking idea, that criticizes our world and how wrong it is. For me this IS NOT art. It has AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE value. There is absolutely as little technique and time and actual learning and working process put into it as possible, only to achieve something like sleeping with somebody or getting money for it. The actual paintings that Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens produced featured A LOT of time, thought, learning and panting put into them. They didn't just make anything they had on their mind, and their paintings actually resemble something that art is, beauty, some sensation and even when achieving that most people still cannot analyze what they had in mind when painting them, a whole story, idea. Even though beauty is changing through history some essential things still stayed throughout the thousands of years. And if you actually saw these paintings in real life, like i did, you would in my opinion think again what beauty and art is. Till the next life comes, please think about what is life, and not just sex, money and food. and look this up-&gt;<a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravaggio">Caravaggio</a><br/>
&quot;I actually thought this would be something constructive, which is more than i can say for most of the what you call &quot;post-modern&quot; artists, which &quot;choose&quot; their medium after they have an idea, which doesn't really represent anything at all but is just an idea.&quot;<br/><br/>First off, both modern and postmodern artists are ultimately making a representation of an idea. They are just going about it differently. <br/><br/>&quot;An artist has an idea, he doesn't really follow any pattern,&quot;<br/><br/>Not true of all contemporary artists. Some artists work algorithmically and strictly adhere to a pattern or set of logical rules or constraints.<br/><br/>&quot;he doesn't imagine anything before making it in his mind,&quot;<br/><br/>Again, this is just not true. Besides, if he (or SHE) is making it in their mind, they are <em>imagining</em> something. Is there a special level of cognition that contemporary artists don't have? Some magical dimension of divine inspiration? I think not.<br/><br/>&quot;works as he goes, doesn't follow any rule,&quot;<br/><br/>You're just repeating your false accusations and baseless judgments.<br/><br/>&quot;and he is supposed to show some ground-braking idea, that criticizes our world and how wrong it is.&quot; <br/><br/>If that what your goal is to criticize and break ground, then I suppose, yes. I like to try to make work that improves the world or makes people smile. But if that's how you want to look at things, that's your business, I suppose.<br/><br/>&quot;For me this IS NOT art. It has AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE value.&quot;<br/><br/>Should all art be judged by your personal value system?<br/><br/>&quot;There is absolutely as little technique and time and actual learning and working process put into it as possible,&quot;<br/><br/>You just cannot say there is little technique and time put into ALL contemporary art. That just shows your ignorance of contemporary art. <br/><br/>&quot;only to achieve something like sleeping with somebody or getting money for it.&quot;<br/><br/>The sole motivating factor of all human life is to reproduce. Humans reproduce sexually. Arguably, all human behavior can be reduced to terms of perpetual sexual reproduction. That said, producing artwork for money has always been and will to continue be a large part of art. Even Michaelangelo told the Pope to take a long walk off a short pier when they had a dispute over the price of a commissioned work. A lot of renaissance religious art was only produced because large amounts of wealth were involved. After all, it was not by accident or coincidence that northern Renaissance in the Netherlands and the Italian renaissance showed up in the two of the most influential centers for foreign trade. This tradition of making art on commission has only really changed in the modern era. So, forget your romantic notions of this pure form free of commerce.<br/><br/>&quot;and their paintings actually resemble something that art is, beauty, some sensation&quot;<br/><br/>Who is to judge beauty? You? Often when I look at an old painting I feel only bored.<br/><br/>&quot;and even when achieving that most people still cannot analyze what they had in mind when painting them, a whole story, idea.&quot;<br/><br/>Maybe it's not because their ideas were so profound but rather because paintings are a terrible means for conveying information over long periods of time. Maybe there wasn't such in depth information there to begin with (maybe they were just quick works made on commission to the whim of a wealthy Medici). When an old painting tells a story, it often has more to do with its own historical context and history as an object then it has to do with the message trying to be conveyed. Religious renaissance art tends to follow the same themes.<br/><br/>&quot;Even though beauty is changing through history some essential things still stayed throughout the thousands of years.&quot;<br/><br/>Maybe from a western point of view. However, once you start judging art by standards of beauty, then you are opening a whole new can of worms.<br/><br/>&quot;And if you actually saw these paintings in real life, like i did, you would in my opinion think again what beauty and art is.&quot;<br/><br/>I've seen quite a number of classical paintings throughout the world. Some are amazing and some are beautiful. Some are just ugly and boring. So, are only the beautiful and amazing ones art? Are they all art? Is anything from a certain time period art? Anything that took more than say 100 hours to paint? Come to think of it, are only representational painting and sculpture art?<br/><br/>&quot;Till the next life comes, please think about what is life, and not just sex, money and food.&quot;<br/><br/>I only know of but this life and in this life, I don't see why sex, money and food can't be the motivating factor of artistic self-expression. I like to eat. I like to have sex. I like to have money which can be exchanged for goods and services. I like to sleep indoors where its warm and sheltered (you left that one out). Maybe you will understand when you are older and living under a bridge -- alone -- with all of your profound neo-Renaissance art that will be worth little more than the paint and the canvas it is placed upon.... not that there is anything wrong with that... to each their own... that is the beautiful thing about art.<br/>
well said randofo
I love the instructable, I really love the debate too. This post in particular, where ciroman misspells painting as panting. I am sure Michelangelo logged many panting hours while hanging from the ceiling!

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Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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