Experience has forced me to remind you of your mortality. Over the decades I have heard from numerous families of deceased artists who are bewildered over what to do about all of the artwork left behind.
They are trying to figure out this new life without their artist and overwhelmed by the task ahead of them: Deciding what will become of the artwork, supplies, and studio. They’re trying to understand what is valuable and needs to be seen by others, but everything looks precious to them.
It doesn’t help that the artist in their life left a mess of things—including erratic records, if they exist at all.
I can’t help but be furious with the artist. Their descendant has to give their time, energy, and resources to care for things that the artist didn’t care enough about while they were alive.
This is not an ad for an estate attorney. This is a plea to get organized. Not for you, but for those you love and leave behind.
Artist and professional organizer Heather K. Powers talks with me on episode 143 of The Art Biz about this topic. She wants to normalize death because it’s a part of life.
This conversation is especially important for artists, who make things that take up physical space. How do you categorize those things? What kind of records need to be kept? And what, if anything, should be destroyed (see images below), reworked, or donated?
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These are difficult questions and will vary from artist to artist, but it is such an important part of planning your art legacy. My conversation with Heather can help you get started.