Many visual artists joke that their work will only be valuable once they are dead. And unfortunately, that often is the case. We all seem to value something more when we know the source no longer exists.
As an artist with less years in front of me than behind, I sometimes do a little introspective thinking and wonder what will happen to my art when I am dead. That may sound morbid, but in reality its quite practical to consider this and to make plans for my art while I'm alive and have the mental faculties to think rationally. We chronical the times in which we live through our art. It would be the logical thing to do the plan what happens to those valued pieces after our death. Recent delves into family history bring home to me the need for accurate records, dates and information to enable individuals in the future to track history.
How will I manage my estate? To be honest, I'm only just seriously thinking about it now and researching exactly what I need to do to ensure it lives into the future and is not collecting dust in a basement or attic in a relative's house somewhere. I need to rewrite a will and ensure that it becomes the document that gives me a little immortality despite my mortality.
Here are a few starting points to get you thinking about your art and where you want it to go when you are no longer here.
- Create an inventory of your art works.
- Define copyright of your art pieces
- Make a will
If you die without a will, the province in which you live will decide how to distribute your estate.
Where There's a Will - Estate planning for artists. This is a comprehensive document (55 pages!) about planning your estate, your will, copyright etc. It is Australian, but the information is very broad based.
Visual Artist's Guide to Estate Planning - The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation
Checklist for Planning Your Art Estate - ArtBusiness
Let Professionals Manage the Art
Estate Planning for Artists - the Crafts Report
Senior Artists Initiative
Finally, do you want to know how long you'll live? Well, there are many variables including lifestyle, diet, exercise, external environment, etc.
The Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator uses the most current and carefully researched medical and scientific data in order to estimate how old you will live to be. Most people score in their late eighties... how about you?
My calculated life expectancy is 94. I guess I have 40 years of drawing left to do...