Allworth Press publisher and founder Tad Crawford is an author, attorney, and artists' rights advocate.
His most recent book is the novel A Floating Life ("strangely shimmering..." -Kirkus Review), which is published by Arcade Publishing.
Born in New York City, Crawford grew up in the artists colony of Woodstock, New York. Interested in writing both fiction and nonfiction, he majored in economics at Tufts College and graduated from Columbia Law School in February 1971. ("That explains the unusual amalgam of my activities," Crawford says. "A lot of legal skills are crucial for helping the artist and for running a publishing company. Of course, writing is an excellent background for publishing. So it's come together very well.")
Crawford clerked for a judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, then went to work for a small general law firm in New York City while writing and teaching writing and literature at the School of Visual Arts. Until he took the teaching assignment at the School of Visual Arts and learned of the need for materials to help artists understand their rights, he had not envisioned being an advocate of artists' rights.
"I found nothing in print to help artists deal with such legal matters as copyrights, contracts, income taxes, the 'hobby loss' problem, estate planning, or even how to get grants," recalls Crawford. And so, responding to what he saw as "an extreme need," he wrote a book dealing with those and other relevant issues, titling it Legal Guide for the Visual Artist and using it as a text for the "Law and the Visual Artist" course that he taught at the School of Visual Arts. Published in 1977, Legal Guide for the Visual Artist is now in its fourth edition and has one hundred thousand copies in print.
He followed this with The Writer's Legal Guide in 1978 (which has been updated and reissued with The Authors Guild as co-publisher and Kay Murray, the General Counsel for the Authors Guild, as co-author). With Arie Kopelman he wrote Selling Your Photography in 1980 and Selling Your Graphic Design and Illustration in 1981. At the same time Crawford served as Chairman of the Board for the Foundation for the Community of Artists, legislative counsel for the Copyright Justice Coalition (which had many arts groups as members), and general counsel for the Graphic Artists Guild. In 1982 Crawford was asked to help publish books for some of the organizations that he had represented as an attorney. In response, he became publisher of Madison Square Press, which issued annuals for such artists'organizations as the Society of Illustrators, the Society of Publication Designers, the Art Directors Club of New York, and the Art Directors Club of Los Angeles.
In 1988 he decided to strike out in a new direction, "to create a press that would offer the kind of information that was more like what I had taught, written about, and lobbied for." Crawford saw the need for a publishing company that would provide practical information to creative professionals, such as artists, photographers, designers, and authors. He knew first hand the issues faced every day by such creative people and could envision a spectrum of books to help them survive and prosper professionally.
In the Fall of 1989, Crawford published Allworth Press's first book, a revised edition of his classic Legal Guide for the Visual Artist. Ten more titles followed in 1990, offering information about marketing, promotion, pricing, copyright, contracts, health and safety, and much more. The first edition of Business and Legal Forms for Photographers was published in 1991. "The information in these books,"Crawford says, "can make all the difference in terms of success and prosperity." Today Allworth Press has a backlist of more than 250 books, publishes 12-15 books annually, and employs a staff of six very talented people.
Crawford's last involvement as an active lobbyist was in 1986, and he's given up active practice of the law to devote his energies to his publishing and his writing.