Be Smart About Art - A Book of Discovery

If art is your life, make it your living. A book of 100 career-boosting blogs by art world expert Susan Mumford and photographer Chris King.

We did it!

On 21st Jul 2015 we successfully raised £8,072 of £7,500 target with 188 supporters in 35 days

New stretch target


We made it to the target and the book is HAPPENING!

Thank you so much to everyone who backed us. We couldn't have done it without you.

What next?

Our 'Last 24 Hours' stretch goal of £8,000 GBP will make the following a reality:

1) We'll hire a photography studio for two days, enabling the publication of blog posts that have been delayed to date, owing to the studio scale required. (One such post has been delayed for 18 months!)

2) We'll create audio versions of the first two years of blog posts, being made freely available online as podcasts (this will provide improved accessibility - a core value of Be Smart About Art).

Get in touch if you'd like to find out more and THANK YOU again for your amazing support!

Why should you pledge?

1) Because you're an artist or creative entrepreneur (or you want to be...) who's looking for pull-no-punches advice about how to make it in the art world. Our motto is, "If art is your life, make it your living" and the rewards we're offering will help you do just that.

2) Because you have a friend or relative who works their socks off, has huge amounts of artistic talent, but needs some support with the business side of being a creative. Have you seen how funding for the arts is changing? It's more important than ever that creative entrpeneurs learn how to make a living for themselves.

3) Because you're as passionate about art as we are and want to support an initiative which empowers creative micro-businesses - from artists to gallerists to indy producers and curators.  

What do you get in return?

A whole lotta love and gratitude from us! But that's just a start, because we have some great rewards for you to choose from.  Scroll down on the right to read all about them -------> (On a smartphone? Scroll down for full details.) 

OR, here's some inspiration:

1) Pledge £22 for TWO copies of the book, one for you and one for a friend.  It's never too early to start Christmas shopping, you know.

2) Pledge £95 and you get a book, plus a super opportunity to be a Be Smart About Art member for a whole year.  It's a tasty 30% discount on our usual membership fee, so it's a great way to see if your art business can benefit from our Members' network, on-line resources, events and training.

3) Fancy starring in a future 'Sunday reading' blog post to promote your own creative enterprise and to tell your story? Want to be included in a future Be Smart About Art book? Check out the 'BE A STAR' reward at £350. The return on contribution is significant when you consider all the coverage that will provide over the months and years to come! It also makes a wonderful and unique gift for the artist in your life.

4) Want to build your art collection? A selection of original fine art photographs by the book's photographer have been made available specifically for this crowdfunding project. (This is a surprise addition for the last several weeks of this campaign!) These start at £195 and go up to £750. 

In a nutshell

The 'book of the blog' will present the Top 100 blogs, and the witty photos that accompany them, from the weekly "Sunday Reading" e-newsletter. The book will also feature a Glossary of Art World Terms as well as an exclusive article telling the story of a hashtag that became a business (hint: #besmartaboutart).

"Can I make it in the art world?" 

"What's the best way to sell more art?" 

"How do collectors go about commissioning an artist?"

From the practicalities of putting a price on your creative work, to talking about art practice without engaging in 'artbollocks', the questions asked by professionals in the art world are answered in bite-sized stories every week. Each blog has a lighthearted image that attempts to capture the difficulties of making a life in the arts, so it's a really fun read.

With the endorsement of a major UK distributor, the book is set to hit bookshelves in museums, galleries and shops around the UK. We know that the blog has a positive impact on its readers and that creative artists are taking steps to improve their careers based on the advice they read. So we're self-publishing our first ever book, to reach people throughout the country (and later beyond), from all walks of life.

Will you help us make it happen?  Please pledge now ---->

Want to help us spread the word?

Let's get the whole art world talking about our motto: "If art is your life, make it your living."

Here's a social media post idea:

Pledge your support for a great initiative supporting art professionals: @besmartaboutart is #crowdfunding until 21st July:

My story

I'm Susan Mumford, an art world entrepreneur and founder of Be Smart About Art.  Every week for the 'Sunday reading' blog, I collaborate with photographer Chris King to reveal the art world (and how to conquer it) in bite-sized stories with interpretative, eye-catching images. 

We are on the cusp of turning this blog into a book, so we're running a crowd-funding campaign to get it off the ground and onto your bookshelves.

The blog started in November 2012 and the idea for the weekly edition was a lightbulb moment. I had the idea to write a piece about 'Why an artist should stay in touch with the art dealer who said no'. Sending it on a Sunday made sense, as it was a light, anecdotal story about daily life in the art world. I realised that this article could be the first in a series, and thus the ongoing, weekly 'Sunday reading' blog was born. Since that day, we've never looked back. Check out the blog.

The early photographs were largely images that Chris had taken over the years that matched the stories, but in April 2013, the visual element evolved. Having written a piece on 'The art world - a champagne lifestyle...?', Chris warned me that he had a wild idea, and wasn't sure how I would respond. He suggested that he photograph me in the bathtub drinking a champagne cocktail. My response? Fantastic idea!



Ever since then, the images have been conceptual interpretations of the stories and are often humourous in nature. People now say that they firstly look at the weekly post to see the photograph, and then they read the story. But really, they promise, they love the writing too!

Making a difference for people

I started hearing that the Sunday reading email was the single email that people looked forward to receiving each week. When I began to be told stories about how individuals were making positive changes in their careers as a result of what they read, I knew it was doing something important. This fun and informative weekly story was proving to be a catalyst for creating positive change in people's lives. 

CASE IN POINT: In early June 2015, an artist told me about how a blog post from the series, titled 'Reminder emails: Do you ever send them?' prompted her to follow-up a sales lead from an artist fair. The result? She has sold several pieces as a result of her follow-up email. Great result!

My own mission is to empower individuals who run creative enterprises. The blog is doing exactly that, as well as giving individuals new ideas, providing insight into an industry that is known for being opaque, being inspirational and, hopefully, providing an enjoyable read.

Praise for the blog and for our work here at Be Smart About Art

“Like the rest of Be Smart About Art’s work, Susan Mumford’s weekly blog takes a fresh, down-to-earth approach to the business of art. Always a great read, it answers the vital questions that you didn’t even know you wanted to ask.”

-Ivan Macquisten, former Editor, Antiques Trade Gazette

"Susan’s blog is personal and engaging. I feel that the personal advice that Be Smart About Art brings is not only very useful, but is well researched and addresses important subjects. All of these are very important to note for a safe and successful career pathway.”   - Neil Lawson-Baker, Chairman and CEO of The Chichester Art Trust and The National Open Art Competition


You (yes, you!) can help increase the blog's positive impacts

In order to get the book to more artists, gallerists, other professionals in the industry, collectors, art lovers and more, Chris and I are self-publishing. It's the next step in the ongoing collaboration, and will help make it available to more people.

We have a distributor lined up, so with YOUR support, the book will be destined for museums, galleries and bookshops around the UK.

Will you back us? Every pledge makes a difference, which means that YOUR contribution is an important stepping stone to reach our goal of £7,500.


NEW! Original limited edition photographs by Chris King

We've been itching to make this announcement for several weeks!

In the last stretch of this project, we're introducing a selection of the photographer's 'fine art' images as rewards. Chris's art works are exhibited in art fairs and galleries in London and New York. For the crowdfunding campaign only, a limited selection of works are available to acquire. By pledging for a photograph, you have a selection from the images below, within small limited editions, ideal for art collections.

Want to choose your work of art in person? Providing you are either based in London or can travel here, Chris will gladly arrange an art viewing, so that you can see works 'in the flesh' and choose which one of the selection is right for you. Be sure to go ahead and pledge towards the campaign (according to series you prefer and if it's 'The Smalls', if you want one or two images)! 


These 'direct photographs on aluminium' are printed in limited editions of 20. The four images below are available through this crowdfunding campaign with a special opportunity: Free Delivery! (And yes, that's to anywhere around the globe.)

You're able to acquire one photograph for 195 GBP (approx 295 USD) OR a pair of photographs - which we think is how these work best, for 325 GBP (approx 495 USD).  

These photos do not require frames, as they are intended to be 'floating' on the wall, attached with the in-built metal frame on the back. Better yet, not only can the fabulous resin finish be dusted (the finish of which presents a metallic shine - terrific when viewed 'in the flesh), these pieces can be placed in moist environments, such as the bathroom. At last - decent art for one of the most visited places in any home or office! 


(see details under each image):





These photographs are printed in small limited editions of 5 with one A/P. Notes on prints available here: In the case of 'HP Tree', only editions 4 and 5 of 5 are now available (as 1, 2 and 3 have sold). This is the first time that 'Snow Outside Wall, Texas - 76904 (No. 2)' and 'Blackwell Liquor - 72823' have been available, and therefore, edition 1/5 is available for both.

Normally acquired for the full price of 950 GBP (approx 1450 USD), during the crowdfunding campaign they can be purchased for 750 GBP (approx 1150 USD) -- more than a 20% discount! Your purchase includes a black frame (set directly against the image, presenting it like an image into another dimension) as well as delivery within London. If you live outside London (including USA / abroad), delivery will be agreed with you, for you to pay directly to the shipper. (We can arrange delivery / shipping very reaonsably.)

The back of the frame is signed, dated and number by the photographer. Also, you will be provided a Certificate of Authenticity.


(see details under each image):

'HP Tree - 72034' (2011), C-type photograph, Edn of 5, 76.2 x 101.6 cm (30 x 40 in)


'Snow Outside Wall, Texas - 76904 (No. 2)' (2013), Edn of 5, C-type print, 76.2 x 101.6 cm (30 x 40 in)


'Last Chance / Blackwell Liquor - 72823' (2014), Edn of 5, C-type print, 76.2 x 101.6 cm (30 x 40 in)


Returns Policy for Photographs: If you are unhappy for any reason with the photograph you receive, we will gladly replace it for you (either a direct replacement print or another of the photographer's images). The business of art is our business -- you're in good hands.

See Chris's website at

Questions? Email



We are really grateful for your support. As with any project or enterprise, success happens as a result of ideas, action-taking, luck and help from others. We can't do it without you!

We hope you like the rewards and look forward to hearing your feedback on the book.

A lovely tote bag + signed copy of the book - £25


Watch this video by Susan, showing you how to make a pledge using PayPal, either with your debit /credit card OR your PayPal account:

Frequently Asked Questions:

"Can I contribute if I'm based outside the UK?"

Yes, this is easy to do!

We've set up this campaign to give you two options for pledging: GoCardless (UK payments) and PayPal (international payments, including USA).  PayPal has been included specifically because Susan has so many overseas friends, family and colleagues.

Use this currency converter to see approximately how much your pledge will be in your home currency (subject to fluctuation):

Click here to see Susan's preferred currency converter: Oanda


"Why am I signing up to a 'Direct Debit' with GoCardless?"

GoCardless is a UK-based payment solution. By signing up, it enables you to use your account with any retailer that supports the GoCardless platform. By registering with GoCardless for this (splendid) crowdfunding campaign, you will only be charged once - as per your pledge, and only if our campaign is successful.

In future when you make a purchase at an online shop for the first (or subsequent) time, instead of having to enter your card details and record yet another username / password - providing that GoCardless is an option, you only need to enter your GoCardless username / password to process payment. It's a clean solution that makes a lot of sense.


"Is it possible to pledge from out of the UK without a PayPal account?"

YES! When you're redirected to PayPal to make your pledge, instead of typing in PayPal account details, look at the text below: "Pay by Credit Card" Type in your card details there.

Easy-peasy. (Press 'PLAY' on the instructional video above. It's easy - and worth watching the tutorial if you're not sure how to do this.)


"When will I be charged (even if the campaign doesn't reach the target)?"

GoCardless Payments: You'll only be charged after the completion of the campaign (21st July), providing that we reach the full goal of £7,500. If we don't hit that target, you won't be charged at all.

PayPal: After pledging, PayPal will hold your funds until the end of the crowdfunding campaign (21st July). Providing it's successful (yay!), the money will be sent to Be Smart About Art. However, should the campaign not hit the total target of £7,500, you will be refunded the money pledged.


Have another question to ask?

We recommend looking at Crowdfunder's FAQs page.

Alternatively: Click the "Message Project" button at the top/right of this page to send us a message. We're happy to help!


Art is a serious business - let's get to work!



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