Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/09/2005: "Taxing for Artists"

Last night I was frustrated because I've been getting more annoying emails than usual. Some from people being too familiar (I wonder if male bloggers get these kinds of emails too?), but mostly I get emails from people wanting information about moving to or visiting Alaska. Many are sincere and really thankful but others are just demanding and act like I owe them something and start harrasing me if I don't respond immediately. Sometimes I'll write lengthy responses where I have to do research for them and then they don't even reply with a "thanks".

Well, Last night I got emails from both of my negative types and I made a post that I felt bad about this morning and have since removed. Really, it's ok if you have questions about Alaska, just give me some time to answer you ok? I have a job and a life and I have to do this blog stuff in my free time.

For those of you here in the US, I'm just finishing the 2002 edition of "The New Tax Guide for Artists of Every Persuasion". The guy who wrote the book has a website called and has links to PDF versions of expenses and income checklists for visual artists, great for tracking and categorizing my deductions. Even if you don't do the business deduction, it could be interesting to track how much you're spending on supplies etc. It really adds up in a depressing way.

On Friday I'm going in for a financial planning session to see if I'm doing everything I should be for my goal of long-term sustainability. It's sort of expensive but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Replies: 8 Comments

on Tuesday, August 9th, Howard said

I get emails from people wanting a step by step guide for how I make my art. I usually respond with a list of materials they might wish to try to experiment with. I seldom get a response. They're not really interested in being experimentaly creative they just want a how to.
I also get a lot of questions about the blog service I use which I've stopped reponding to because I don't work or get paid by said service so why should I do there work for them.
I don't really get much in the way of personal questions.

on Tuesday, August 9th, Elise said

That's one of the reasons why I didn't want to become an art professor. When I TAd a beginning ceramics class, the students were constantly copying my style. If I didn't want to show them step by step how I achieved my results (which took weeks upon weeks of experimentation on my part) then I was being "selfish" or "secretive". I realized that while I was happy to share information about materials and general techniques, I didn't want to give away *all* of my hard earned secrets...besides, exploration should be part of what students learn to do as well as emulating other people's work...some of them didn't understand when appropriation crossed that line into "knock off" terain. I know people who teach art have to be willing to let their students copy them and share everything they know.

I do occasionally get questions about how I get certain affects with my paintings (yesterday a woman emailed wanting to know how I get my colors so intense) but I enjoy those kinds of questions and I'm happy to share.

as for the personal questions, some of them are so over the top, inappropriate (and sometimes by men I've never met who live here in Juneau) that it kindof creeps me out. I don't think the things I write on this blog warrants that kind of familiarity.

on Tuesday, August 9th, greg said

You guys are brave to have a blog! I've considered it, but have a feeling any artist is going to risk crossing that line into subjectivity that gets "personal" in a way - not that ever deserves to get inappropiate responses ... but still it must be like hanging a personal grafitti board outside yer house!

Gee Elise, did you get get close to unleashing a "Holly" upon them?!? :crazy:

Def: "A Holly" (v): A well-deserved rant, with cleverly aimed comedic barbs directed towards personal anatomical underachievement. :D

I might suspect you guys have enough material now to simply paste a generic response on many inquiries(?) ... or send artists over to the wild craigslist art forum with their questions:

on Tuesday, August 9th, Elise said

It wasn't to the level of a "holly" but it wasn't very nice. Really I don't mind questions or comments about my art work at all, I like those kinds of's primarily the ones insisting I send them information about Alaska ASAP! or ones asking me the equivalent of "what are you wearing"... :cry:

on Tuesday, August 9th, Elise said

I should amend the above comment by saying that I highly enjoy Holly's rants!

on Tuesday, August 9th, dave from Nebraska said

Maybe this all goes back to the Alias/Elise pic you posted awhile back.
And if I have not mentioned my appreciation for your filling us in on your life.
Thank you for sharing!
By the way if anyone's interested, I'm wearing camo cargo shorts and battered white high top tennies!

on Wednesday, August 10th, greg said

Wait ... wait ...! Y'mean you guys "wear" clothes when blogging?? :confused:

... well that pops MY bubble! *snarff* :hehe:

on Wednesday, August 10th, Elise said

LOL! It would be funny if it was about the Alias/Elise pic because that was only my face and the other 98% was all Jennifer Garner!

As for you the naked blogging, this is a perfect example of how we've somehow veered exactly where I didn't want the conversation to go!