NORTH ADAMS -- A local artist's newest book lays out steps older artists can take to improve their quality of life.
Sculptor and mixed media artist Eric Rudd hopes his book, "Strategies for Serious Older Artists," will offer practical advice for an important and often overlooked demographic. Rudd, who was founding director of the Contemporary Artists Center and a driving force in the conversion of the Beaver and Eclipse mills into studios and lofts, said he has found very little advice for older artists.
"Artists don't retire; they work until they drop," Rudd said.
Rudd says the main themes of the book are how artists can continue work during their senior years and also how they can protect their legacy.
"Within my own studio, I've made adjustments and started to think about this issue," he said in a recent email. Rudd, who declined to give his age, says that he has worked in excess of 45 years in the art world.
Preventive measures can help artists minimize accidents or obstacles, which could get in the way of their work.
"A fall from the ladder at the age of 40 is easier to take than at 70," he said.
One simple preventive measure is updating a work space's lighting. Newer light fixtures are more reliable and energy-efficient lightbulbs last longer, meaning fewer trips up and down ladders and less chance of an accident.
The preservation of art can go a long way in protecting an artist's legacy, Rudd said. He suggests artists keep all their works wrapped in plastic for protection from light, dust and water. Drawings should be in flat drawers, and three-dimensional works should be covered and stored safely.
Artists can accumulate a lot of art over their lifetime of working, he said.
"Most don't even have wills, and spouses and children are not prepared to have hundreds and often thousands of artworks dumped upon them," Rudd said.
Prolific artists, Rudd said, make 200 works a year -- that could include drawings, paintings, sculptures and other projects. Over a 40-year career, an artist could still have hundreds of pieces that hadn't sold.
Rudd suggests artists begin an inventory of art themselves, rather than waiting for an executor to perform one.
"Unfortunately, the Dumpster and basement have taken care of the majority of art estates," he writes.
Rudd's book is set to publish Jan. 2, 2013. It will sell for $6.99 as an e-book through major booksellers, including Amazon.com. The book is also offered in print, retailing for $19.95, and can be ordered at www.TheBookPatch.com. It is also expected to be available in bookstores and museum and art stores.
Rudd is the author of two previous books for artists: "The Art World Dream -- Alternative Strategies for Working Artists" and "The Art Studio/Loft Manual -- For Ambitious Artists and Creators."