Artists for a Better Image
Artists for a Better Image

ArtFBI is a non-profit artist advocacy organization whose purpose is to promote the process of being an artist (rather than the products we make). We do this through a number of programs and activities.See note below

bullet TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes: Media Representation of Artists: Using depictions of artists from television and film I set up discussion groups around the country to discuss stereotypes of artists, our roles in society, and why we presently find ourselves in the positions we do in our culture.

ArtFBI is also interested in repositioning artists to a more central position in society in this new Information Age. Read more about it.

For more information on putting this program on in your community, contact Jeff Gates at

bullet ArtFax, was a monthly zine of arts + advocacy information, published 10 times a year, September through June.

The initial reason for publishing ArtFax was to send timely information received via net sources to people without computers, modems, or internet access. Since it's inception in 1995, many more artists are now online and ArtFax is no longer being published.

You may download past issues of ArtFax below. Each of these is an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file. In order to view them, you will need to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is free and needs only be downloaded one time.

  • Download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    This latest version of Acrobat will allow you to view ArtFax directly within your browser's window if you place Acrobat's plugin within your browser's Plugin folder. Beginning with the November, 1996 issue, URLs listed within each issue are clickable and will take you directly to that site.

bullet Artist-related Bumper Stickers

Let people know how you feel about being an artist using this popular mode of expression! We're collecting stories on how these stickers have promoted dialogue about being an artist. Here's one:

"I was driving down the freeway at about 60 mph in my '79 Honda (which had ArtFBI's bumper sticker: ASK ME ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST) when an 18-wheeler pulled up beside me and motioned for me to roll down my window. I thought: Is there something wrong with my car?! Great! And I just put $500 into it. When I rolled down the window the trucker yelled: 'My son, he draws really well. What should he do?'

I thought: do I get into a philosophical discussion on what it's like to be an artist at this speed?' I decided if I wanted to continue being an artist I'd better not. So I yelled back: 'Call the Maryland Institute (where I teach art).' He gave me the thumbs-up and drove on.

Even though ArtFBI is on hiatus, we're still selling these stickers while supplies last. Take a look at the stickers:

Each sticker costs $3. Volume discount rates are available for 25 or more in any combination. For further information contact Jeff Gates at

bullet The Stereotype of the Hour: artist stereotypes and hype from the pages of print media.

From the July 21, 1996 issue of Parade Magazine comes this Q&A from Walter Scott's Personality Parade:

Question: What can you tell me about Alexandra Nechita, the little Romanian immigrant who became an art prodigy? I understand her paintings sell for a small fortune. --R.D.B., Toledo, Ohio

Answer: Alexandra Nechita, 10--who says she is inspired by Matisse, Pollock and Picasso--has sold paintings for as much as $50,000 and reportedly was paid $600,000 for "Outside the Lines," her new art book. Yet most critics question whether Alexandra, who lives outside L.A. with her parents, will develop into a serious artist. "Her career exists strictly through marketing," says Christopher Knight, of the "Los Angeles Times."

From the October 6, 1995 issue of Entertainment Weekly's Quote of the Week:

"If you really want to hurt your parents and you don't have nerve enough to be homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts."

Kurt Vonnegut, at a symposium held at an artists' colony outside New Albany, Indiana

Have you found a stereotype of artists in the print media? If so, let us know.

bullet The Cultural Working Class List: In order to counter negative stereotypes of artists, in 1992 ArFBI sent out a call for artists to whom art and community are synonymous. What resulted was the Cultural Working Class List of artists.

ArtFBI is a non-profit organization studying stereotypes of artists in the media.

For those who may have lost their sense of irony and humor somewhere along the Information Super Highway, ArtFBI is not affiliated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation nor any other government agency. We remain as independent as it is possible in the late 20th Century.

* ArtFBI is on hiatus and ArtFax is no longer published. If you are interested in the "TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes" program, please contact me at the email address above. These tapes are not available for sale or rent. The program is meant to be presented in a dialogue setting.

This page last updated: May 2005.

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