Artists Questioned. What is the most unusual space you’ve ever shown in?


Lucy Hogg

Lucy Hogg

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…What is the most unusual space you’ve ever shown in?

Lucy Hogg “The strangest place I ever showed my work in was the cafeteria at the Malaspina College (now called Vancouver Island University)in Nanaimo, B.C, in 1994. Their actual gallery space was too small to show the work, a 13′ wide painting. Lisa Maclean (who teaches there) suggested the cafeteria, so I thought, having just shown the work at the Vancouver Art Gallery, that this would be the demotic antidote. I don’t think the students liked it that much. The painting eventually found a happy home, now hanging over the bar in a restaurant in Washington DC that a friend of mine, James Alefantis, owns. The art institutions host their events there, so the audience is right. The last time I saw it it was necessary to spot clean what seemed to be some dried ketchup. it is a very resistant painting.” LH

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Artists Questioned. As a young artist how do you plan to establish and sustain an art practice?


 

Jessica Simorte

Jessica Simorte

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…

As a young artist how do you plan to establish and sustain an art practice?

Alexis Bulman: “One year ago (almost to the day) I graduated with a BFA from NSCAD University. Right out of school I was accepted into multiple Summer exhibits that took place in Toronto, Halifax and Charlottetown. I won an incredible art award and had my name appear in an art publication I greatly admire.
When Spring came around all those exhibits came down. I began responding to multiple artist calls for
submissions but received rejection letters almost every time, it was incredibly discouraging. After receiving
yeses I couldn’t understand why I was receiving noes. On top of that I was so busy applying to submission
calls that I stopped having time to make actual artwork.

“Less than half way through my first year out of school I knew something had to change. I missed the
community at NSCAD and I missed making artwork.

“Eventually, I rented an art studio and began making art again. The studio was shared with two other artists
and I began volunteering on the Artist Programming Committee for This Town is Small, the Community
School Task Force, and the Abilympics Canadian Association, I also became a member of IMAC and This
Town is Small and began attending screenings, lectures and openings.

“My answer to ‘As a young artist how do you plan to establish and sustain an art practice?’ is this:
By maintaining a balance.

“Make time for making art, find that supportive artist community, apply to all kinds of exciting calls for
submissions but remember these two facts: 1) For any call for submissions there could be 100 other artists
applying who all want it as badly as you do. 2) All those rejections letters make the acceptance letters feel
even more incredible and rewarding.

“It’s a very delicate and difficult balance to maintain, but I’ve been finding it incredibly fulfilling.” AB

Jessica Simorte: “Establishing is easy – just show up. Get to studio and do what you need to do. It’s sustaining that is more difficult, because you have to keep showing up. You have to solve your own problems, and then keep giving yourself new problems to solve. For artists that really need to make, it’s just not an option not to. If I find myself without a studio, I’ll paint at the kitchen table. If (when) I’m broke, I’ll make drawings on scrap paper. I like to believe that if I make work that is truly honest, driven and with tons of perseverance – that’s enough. I’ll be happy with what I do, and others might be too.

“This might be a bit obvious, but having the desire and skills to communicate via social media is essential. Most of my victories have come from community that I’ve cultivated online. And lastly, be gracious. Always be gracious.” JS

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Artists Questioned. What are the do’s and don’ts of a studio visit?


A dance with the devil, oil & spray paint on mdf panel, 120 x 99cm, 2014

Valerie Brennan, Glare,
oil & spray paint on mdf panel, 120 x 99cm, 2014

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…What are the do’s and don’ts of a studio visit?

Valerie Brennan “I have tremendous respect for artists so I always love a studio visit, as a visitor or receiving a visit, and actively welcome both. I don’t really have a list of do’s and don’ts as they usually progress very naturally, I feel an affinity with other artists so I find it easy to communicate and think we share an understanding of something fundamental as a fellow maker, so it’s comfortable. Some basic courtesies would be: be on time, be prepared: know the work of the person you are visiting and think of some specific questions that you want to ask. Find some common issues either in the creation of work or in the work itself that you can talk about. Don’t make it feel like an interrogation. Recently I had a visit to my studio and that person just spoke about themselves and spent the time listing their own achievements so that’s a don’t! Bring a bottle of wine that’s always a great start.” VB

Cliff EylandStudio visit do’s and don’ts from Cliff Eyland, who is both an artist and a curator:

– Precise directions to your studio or meeting place are essential. Do not be late. The visitor won’t be on time: be patient.

– You do not need to know why you are being visited, so don’t ask.

– Neither the visitor nor the person visited should have expectations about the results of a studio visit

– You are not obligated to provide anything more than a glass of water to the visitor. By the time they have seen you they have probably had enough coffee, and they just don’t need your alcohol and/or drugs.

– You should not have sex with the visitor, even though sex hangs in the air of many a studio visit, as it does with many artistic encounters. Save it for later

– Do not be surprised if your visitor says nothing about your work, especially if they are doing many studio visits that day.

– Allow the visitor to take photographs of you and your work

– Studio visits, especially the first studio visit (and of course when the artist does not have a studio) can be conducted in a coffee shop with a laptop. Do not overestimate the visitor’s need to see your work in person. The visitor pays for coffee shop drinks.

– In most cases, the visitor is going to understand your work, or at least easily place it in a context that they understand. You don’t have to struggle with problems of comprehension. What can’t be fathomed in your work can’t be fathomed by anybody, you included.”

Becka ViauStudio Visits – Do’s and Don’t

Don’t do this

1 – Get your self too worked up about meeting someone you think is powerful or cool. Curators and other artists are people too, and they have their self doubts just like you!

2 – Prepare a boring powerpoint about your life, your inspirations, and your influences. (If you do this you may as well just give the studio visitor some old hard candy and send them away.)

3- Tidy the studio like the pope is going to visit. You should be in your natural environment – I mean if there is old mouldy food around and the place stinks for heaven’s sake clean the filth, but don’t polish the china. Make sure there is a comfortable place for you and your guest to sit and chat.

4- Try to show the visitor your life’s work. This is almost as bad as a dull power point.

5- Gift your Art on the first visit.We all know what kind of relationship that leads to.

6- Talk about everything but your ideas, your process, your practice. Good and meaningful visitors will be naturally interested in what you are doing in the studio, that is why they are there in the first place. So, feel confident, talking about yourself and the ideas that are currently in your head is what this visit is all about!

Do this

1– Be calm and prepared. Have a card or your contact information ready to give out. Think about what is current and relevant in your studio. Has the visitor requested to see a specific work? Is that work ready and accessible – easily viewed in its best light/situation? (still in the studio.) If you are showing digital work, test it before the visit and make sure it works. this will help you not get too worked up.

2- Have a little beverage or refreshment available – this is mostly for you – pick something that will help you be calm and relaxed. I usually am drinking tea or coffee, it gives me a) something to do with my hands and b) something to do with my mouth when I should be listening and not talking.

3- Don’t have a strict plan. A script is the last thing you want when hosting a studio visit. Be honest, be open and let the conversation go where it will (as long as it stay on topic to what you are thinking about/ working on in your studio.

4- Invite them back! Invite them to check out your blog/website … or to be your friend on your social networks… If you are like me, art is my life, I basically am thinking about things all the time, and I reflect this in my online life … So do this, unless they are jerks, then just give them an old candy cane and send them on their way.

A very helpful link about studio visits:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6OV-ZwG6Z4

Pan Wendt:  Do’s and don’ts of studio visits:

Do: Think of curators as potential editors and collaborators. Curators are interested in artists and their work, and want it to succeed. Most curators are not gatekeepers. Nor are they the imaginary “public.” There is usually no need to be willfully mysterious or gnomic in this context, or to think of the studio visit as a performance.

Do: Flaunt it if you got it. Whatever it may be.

Do: Have some work to look at (and I don’t mean things that could just as well be sent via dropbox). Postpone the meeting if you don’t. Ask yourself, could this be achieved with a phone conversation? If not, it’s worthy of a studio visit.

Do: Give some sense of your working process. The more information the better.

Don’t: Be too prepared or too underprepared. I think this applies to life as much as it does power point presentations or studio visits.

Don’t: Assume that a studio visit means a show, or be too demanding on the spot about what happens next. The art world is a game that’s as deeply implicated in the highly indirect social forms of salons and playful repartee as it is in academic discourse and other courts of intellectual law. One must demonstrate aesthetic sense beyond one’s own work.

Don’t: Expect regular studio visits. This is just a matter of numbers. If a given curator can do (if they’re lucky) 50 studio visits a year, why would you expect that you will get to present your case with regular updates every few months?

Don’t: on the other hand, worry too much about your performance. Just enjoy the chance to go into detail about what you do. If a curator is visiting you it’s because they probably already think you’re a good artist and like your work. Remember that curators are usually failed artists, or wannabe artists! A comforting thought.

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Artists Questioned? What are you listening to as you work?


Phillip J. Mellen, "as yellow as certain days" 12" x 12" acrylic and house paint on canvas 2014.

Phillip J. Mellen, “as yellow as certain days” 12″ x 12″ acrylic and house paint on canvas 2014.

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…What are you listening to as you work?

Ruth Marsh: “Lately I’ve been listening to Head Hunters – Herbie Hancock, and Brian Eno & David Byrne My Life in the Bush of GhostsAnd also the CBC, as always! Q and Ideas! Oh, and of course As it Happens. Sometimes it’s necessary to have silence. I find if I don’t have any outside distraction I can handle silence; the radio and music are great for focussing attention away from multiple sources onto one thing.”RM

Phillip J. Mellen:  “I have recently made a music mix, titled: Songs for Rockwell Kent. Maybe it’s the romance in it all? Some of these songs span over a decade. While listening, I am reminded of the prettier side of the painting struggle. Some of these songs are timeless. I am doing something timeless, no? Painting.

I often change the lyrics in my head. Sometimes I sing along. Some of this music makes me show my teeth as I sing. No so much anymore. These new/old songs are prettier. More smiles and more, well, more prettiness. It’s a poetic experience listening to this music. It enhances my experience while painting. It makes it’s way in. My mind and my paintings. The surrounding environment is important to me as I paint. The mind is important and is just as much an environment. The studio is a mess, but not inside myself. It helps me clear things and preps me for painting.

I’m after the same things in my paintings. It pushes me, and also can slow me down. Making music is a creative process, too. It’s all about process. For me, music is a big part of it. I conduct my work. This may be a collaboration.

Some of the musical artists on the mix are: Joanna Newsom, Dirty Three, Anni Rossi (early), MW Ensemble, Zoe Keating, Rachel’s, and Mountain Man.  Thank you!” PJM

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Artists Questioned. What would you recommend as essential reading for an artist?


Jamie Powell, Purple Reign Acrylic and spray paint on cut-canvas, 8" x 10", 2013

Jamie Powell, Purple Reign Acrylic and spray paint on cut-canvas, 8″ x 10″, 2013

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…What would you recommend as essential reading for an artist?

Jenny Hampe Endresen: Essential reading for an artist???? Oooooh: so much! I mean, there’s poetry, literature, art history, biography, artist’s journals…. Where do I begin?! Well, the first book that came to mind was Roger Cardinal’s “Outsider Art”, which had a huge impression on me as a 22 year old…. Then, the collected writings (rantings) of my dearly belovéd Jean Dubuffet…. The journals of Joan Miró…. The diaries of Paul Klee…. “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”, by Kandinsky…. The collected writings of Piet Mondrian…. Letters of Van Gogh…. “Search for the Real”, by Hans Hoffman…. “Raw Vision: Outsider Art and Beyond”…. “Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry”, by Jaques Maritan….”The Transformation of Nature in Art”, by Ananda Coomarswamy…. “The Unknown Craftsman: a Japanese Insight Into Beauty”, by Soetsu Yanagi…. How’s that, for a start? I could list HUNDREDS of books that have had a huge influence upon my art…. Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, e.e. cummings, J.D. Salinger, Meister Eckhart, etc. etc. etc. 

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Brian Frink: Books that have been important to me…..I’m writing this on a plane.

John Berger’s, Sense of Sight

John Berger is one of my favorite writers who wrote about art.  It is difficult to label him a critic.  He did write some criticism yet he wrote much more.  Sense of Sight is a collection of his short essays.  Some are about specific artists others are musings.  His prose is compact, full of allegory and poetry.  My favorite essay in this collection is The White Bird.

Suzi Gablik, Has Modernism Failed?

In 1984 Ms. Gablik had the audacity to suggest that Modernism might have failed.  Well she had the audacity to ask that question.  It was a question on a lot of artists mind and this book neatly presented it.  She paralleled the development of Modernist art with industrialism in Western society.  She suggested that the ethos of the individual, a concept that found its full flowering in late Twentieth century America, had run it course.

I had moved from New York to Madison Wisconsin.  Ms. Gablik gave a talk about her book at the Madison Art Center.  I had the great fortune to hear her speak and buy her book.

The Empathic Civilization,  Jeremy Rifkin

This a big fat sprawling book.  Rifkin examines the idea of empathy.  He proposes that humans rather than being naturally competitive are instead, naturally empathic.  He describes the ever-increasing empathetic response in humans through the advancing development of our civilizations and our technologies.  He makes the assertion that we are well on the way to developing into what he labels Homoempathicus.  He also makes the claim that our future survival as a species is dependent on this evolution.

James Elkins  What Ever Happened to Art Criticism?

A slim volume by the Chicago based art historian and writer James Elkins.  In it he asks the very simple question that forms the title.  Elkins is a wonderfully clear writer with an accessible style reminiscent of Berger.  As it turns out something HAS happened to art criticism, it is gone.  He quickly breaks down where it went and speculates on some ideas on how to get it back.

James Elkins, What Painting Is

An amazing book about painting, I don’t know what else to say about it.

Ree Morton catalogue from her New Museum exhibition

It was 1979 and I had just moved to New York City.  I walked into a place called New School For Social Research.  In the New School was a gallery called the New Museum it was run by the legendary Marcia Tucker.  On this fall afternoon I happened upon an exhibition by the great, late Ree Morton.  This exhibition marked me, sitting in my imagination nudging me towards a quirky, idiosyncratic formalism.  It was asymmetrical and strange.  I used what money I had to buy the catalogue and it has been a cherished part of my library for thirty-two years.

David Douglas Duncan, Picasso

This book was a Christmas gift from my parents when I was in high school.  It was a gigantic coffee table style book meant to glorify Picasso.  I loved it.  I pored over the many black and white images of the artist at home, in his studio, at the beach, cavorting everywhere and making art out of his leftover meals.  Included were all of the paintings he had made for that particular year, 1974.  I still go through this book.

————————————————————————————————————————————- Ashley Garrett: I actually don’t feel there isn’t a book that couldn’t be considered essential reading for an artist! The sources of inspiration for artists are extremely wide and varied. I don’t feel that I can recommend a particular book or line of thinking to another artist, but would rather encourage other artists to look far into their own channels of thought and follow each line as far as possible. Read wide and deep, ask questions in the text, and find the next book that approaches that answer, and on to the next question. Integrity for an artist is to stay intensely curious about the world and all the things and thoughts in it. I find myself constantly re-reading books by Joyce, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov, Steppenwolf by Hesse, Nausea by Sarte, Ibsen’s realist cycle and his early plays, poems by T.S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath–just like in making work, go to the edges of what you really don’t know, and read from there. Books that were given or recommended to me by other artists mean a great deal especially: just a few are Virginia Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out by Curtis Hamilton, Ibsen by Katherine Aungier, The Poetics of Space by Noah Post, Wallace Steven’s The Palm at the End of the Mind and Henri Michaux by Brian Wood, William Butler Yates by Farrell Brickhouse, and a few great ones by high school and art school teachers including short stories by Flannery O’Connor and TJ Clark’s The Sight of Death.

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Lisa Pressman:  I have many artist books that I look through but I like to reread  books that discuss the creative process.

Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit

The Writing Life :Annie Dillard

Daybook: Anne Truit

May Sarton: The Journals of Solitude

Trust the Process Shaun Mcniff

Art and Soul: Audrey Flack

Anais Nin: all the journals

Concerning the Spiritual in Art Kandinsky

Free Play Stephen Nachmanovitch

Art and  Fear, Ted Orland

“This is on my list to get ASAP:”

The Infinite Line: Re-making Art After Modernism by Briony Fer

Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation

Art Critiques: A Guide (Second Edition) – James Elkins; Paperback

“I also did a series on my blog about what is on your book shelf?

Here,here and here.

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Jamie Powell:  Here is my list of books for artists – they are in no particular order.

Needless to say I lean towards artists writings.

Essays On The Blurring of Art Life

by Alan Kaprow

edited by Jeff Kelley

Jasper Johns

Writings, Sketchbook Notes, Interviews

edited by Kirk Varnedoe

WET on Painting, Feminism and Art Culture

by Mira Schor

Philip Guston 

Collected Writings, Lectures, and Conversations

by Clark Coolidge

Letters To Young Artists

edited by Peter Nesbett, Sarah Andress, Shelly Bancroft

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Sarah Saunders:  I’d recommend “The Art Instinct” by Denis Dutton. It’s a history of aesthetics from an evolutionary viewpoint. It basically looks at why we consider anything to be art, or beautiful. He’s not interested in judgement, critique or defining good art; it’s more about the instinct to be concerned with anything called art at all. He discusses the universality of this instinct across cultures and time. It looks at the question mainly from the observer’s point of view. I’d be interested in a similar take from the creator’s viewpoint, the basis for our motivation to create! Sadly, he died shortly after this book was published.

The other book I’d recommend is “The Language of Ornament” by James Trilling. It’s a survey of the history and expressive language of ornament. He makes a case for seeing ornament as a distinct category of art. He looks at the role of ornament; seeing it not simply as added on embellishment, but as a visual language in it’s own right (with history, expressive force, relation to material etc.).

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Artists questioned. How does an artist make connections and become part of an arts community?


Krista Svalbonas, S8NC_02 mixed media on Khadi 8 x 8, 2013

Krista Svalbonas, S8NC_02 mixed media on Khadi 8 x 8, 2013

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is… How does an artist make connections and become part of an arts community?

Julie Alexander  “Making connections and being a part of an arts community can be hard. I have so many demands on my time with a job and kids. That said, I also think there are many ways to be a part of the arts community that are unique to each of us. I am still feeling my way around and shifting what it means to me to be part of the conversation. I am a member of a collective gallery in Seattle (Soil) that features a curated show each month rather than the more insular model of focusing on members. As a gallery and as a member of the gallery, I am part of the arts community in Seattle. I have also had some good connections happen on facebook. I have been included in opportunities and have curated a show from connections that began on line. Other than that, I think just showing up to things – openings, lectures, discussions – and doing studio visits all bring you in contact with the arts community. I intend to do more of that in perhaps a more targeted way in 2014.” JA

Marc Cheetham “I would say the best way to make connections and be apart of a community is to go to openings, open studios, etc. Getting out and talking to people, especially those that are artists, and can help you in making new acquaintances. Since this isn’t always a feasible option, due to location, work, etc, for most people I would recommend Facebook. It becomes very easy to connect with artists from all over the world. You can get feedback on your work from this interaction which is an important thing and the dialog is instantaneous. I feel that all artists, even though you should be making the work for your self, need some form of validation as well. It helps in pushing your work forward and also opening up your mind. You also get to see a wide range of work you may not get to otherwise see. Unfortunately, seeing a digital copy is not as good as seeing in person, but seeing in some form is better then not at all. Increasing your knowledge of Art will also, I think, help put your work in a general context of the world. Also, being apart of the online community can lead to many opportunities to show your work. Often times artists that you are friends with may have curatorial projects going on or even just a chance to put something together and may ask you to be involved. If you have the chance to curate a show, etc. you now have a larger pool of artists to choose from as well.” MC

PE Sharpe  “The short answer is network, network, network.

For some people being comfortable with others is a natural part of the way that they move through the art worlds they inhabit, be it for business or pleasure. They find it easy to be amongst strangers, are able to put themselves forward in an open and friendly manner, can remember the names of the people to whom they are introduced, and have impeccable manners. For the majority of us, it’s not so easy. Add in the complications of the many hierarchies both visible and invisible in the arts communities we see around us and it’s a wonder any of us ever leave the house. Times have changed since I tried to break down the door to my local art community; bearing that in mind these are my suggestions to help boost your chances at finding your familiars when you are the new kid at the rodeo. I’ll stick to attending openings for artists but it’s broad enough advice that it can be useful for other circumstances.

Ready? Take a deep breath. Exhale.

Be yourself. It sounds easier than it is. The reality is that you are under scrutiny at all times when entering into any new community and it also holds true in the art world. Your entree goes beyond what or who you know – it’s a community in which people have many pursuits outside of a shared interest in art. You don’t need to know everything about the brave new world in front of you, but you have to be ready to engage with the strangers you want on your team. Give yourself the task of saying hello to at least one person you have never met before. If you don’t have a sponsor or mentor making introductions for you, introduce yourself. Make sure you don’t mumble, mmmkay?

What will you talk about? Don’t go in with an elevator speech or speed dating script in your back pocket – being ambitious for your work is not in and of itself a bad thing but starting with self-promotional screed is not the best tactical approach to building a sustained dialogue within a community. Talk about your interests and let the interests lead the conversation. Don’t be afraid of small talk – ask the people you meet how they know the host or the guest of honour at the function you are attending. Be fearlessly sincere in asking questions about the interests of others and you may find out that the business end of things fall into place when/if the time is right. Struggle too hard at being the most outlandish person in the room or be too obvious at schmoozing and you may find others backing away from you while making the sign of the cross: nobody likes a hard sell.We are artists, we have things to say about the world in which we live. Artists by their very nature are already at the top of the Intrigue Olympics. Be cool with it.

Art communities in particular place a very high value on an individual’s reputation. If you talk smack about people be prepared to be assigned to the smack talkers. It’s the most entertaining table to sit at when it’s party time, for sure, but nobody wants to think that they are going to be your next target. Be judicious. Be ethical. Don’t lie for effect. It will always come back to bite you in the ass.

Be prepared to be viewed with suspicion as a newcomer. Don’t take it personally. There is a lot of professional envy out there and it really has nothing to do with you. The art world makes people do crazy things under duress. Try not to do those things either to yourself or unto others.

Keep your wits about you at all times, even when others appear to be losing the plot. All that free beer and wine at the openings that you will attend? Don’t use it as your personal invite to get shitfaced on someone else’s dime. It’s not your birthday and you didn’t get handed a ‘get out of drunk-mode free’ card.  Don’t be greedy, and if you do try to steal that wheel of Brie for dinner at least try to be discreet. As you leave the event, remember your manners: thank the host, be it the gallery owner, event organizer, artist who invited you, say goodbye to the people you met. Try to remember their names for next time. Joining a community isn’t about signing up, it’s about showing up and becoming recognized as a supporter of other people who are in the same boat with you. Don’t forget to sign the guest book on your way out – it serves as a record of your attendance to others who watch for that sort of thing.

In the end it’s about being social, remember? Staying home while trying to become part of a community works on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr maybe, but that’s a topic for another day.” PS

Krista Svalbonas “I don’t believe there is a single definitive way to do this. Speaking from experience, there are many ways one can become part of or form an arts community. For me, community is really about building a network. I find that attending residencies are a fantastic starting point in building a community. Social media is an extremely effective force for following up and continuing to strengthen relationships created there. One may attend a residency program miles away or on another continent and still be able to easily stay in touch with those they’ve met. It’s easy to find like minded people on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Artstack, etc. I’ve befriended some fabulous artists and just great people through Facebook, many of whom I most likely would’ve never met otherwise. Also, depending on where you live, your local Arts organizations are a great place to start building a network. As a former resident of Jersey City, ProArts gives artists every opportunity to meet one another via openings, social events or happenings. I’m also a member of the College Art Association, which gives artists and teaching artists opportunities to network and meet one another. Though I can’t speak from experience on this, I would assume that having a studio in an arts building could land you in the middle of an arts scene. I think its important to find out what works for you and what makes sense in your daily life.” KS

The previous question was, and the next question is…

If you have a question you’d like answered please let me know. If it is interesting maybe I’ll use it.

Artists questioned. What should a person consider when applying to art school?


Phantom  2013  acrylic on canvas  18 X 18 in.

Paul Behnke, Phantom
2013
acrylic on canvas
18 X 18 in.

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…

What should a person consider when thinking about applying to art school?

Paul Behnke  “Cost is probably the first thing I would consider. Higher education is expensive and it is no fun to graduate and try to begin a new phase of your life with crippling debt. So I would consider state schools over smaller private institutions.

Secondly I would consider what city I wanted to live and work in. If I wanted to try and make work and show in New York I would try to attend a school there. It is easier to make connections and build a community when you are younger and both are integral to having a successful fine arts career.

And last I would suggest not attending grad school (for a studio art degree) unless you can get a lot of financial help (not loans). Instead take your art seriously, make the most of your undergrad experience, move to a big city and get to work.”

Monica LaceyOkay, let’s see – I spent 10 years deciding on an art school to attend!

When applying to art school, spend some time developing a portfolio. Take it seriously, seek mentors who will help you refine what you submit and critique your work.

A person should think about the kind of work they’re interested in making, and then finding the right educational atmosphere to learn how to think that way/produce that kind of work…they should go meet instructors/professors and be sure they can learn from them and form a relationship there. Look at the work produced by graduates of schools you’re considering and see if it appeals to you.

They should look for as much financial support as possible in the form of grants, bursaries, awards so that they are able to exit school with minimal – or no – debt.

They should look for a school that offers some entrepreneurship training since they will be starting a small business when they graduate if they become a full-time artist.

They should make friends with the registrar so that they can take extra courses without paying extra tuition. They should be prepared to spend all of their free time dedicated to their studies so that they squeeze every last drop of juice out of the experience before they’re turned loose into the cold real world.”

MP LandisA person should consider what they think that going to an art school will achieve. They should consider what would happen if they spent as much time, energy and money on developing their work and career as they will going to an art school. It definitely works for some people but art schools (and all schools in general these days) churn out way more graduates than any market can support. I know many young, talented artists who are so financially strapped from paying back school loans that they have to resort to working full time day jobs just to make minimum payments on their loans. I would also ask that one considers their commitment to making art, if they need the structure of going to an art school to be an artist, they probably do not have what it takes to continue making work after they are through.”

Stephen WrightDepends on how you view your future? Are you willing to take on tremendous debt for a degree that, in reality, only opens up careers that mostly pay poverty wages and guarantees you a minimum of 20 years of struggling just to survive while having only scraps of time to make art? Then go for it! What seems to a young person and their parents as a responsible choice, probably isn’t. It may sound condescending, but, an aspiring young artist would be better served by a degree in a more practical field. Higher education is more about discipline than knowledge. An art degree is like any other degree, one from an elite school will give you more leverage and connections than one from the school that most of us can, in practicality, afford to attend. While you may live for art, art feels no responsibility for your life what-so-ever.”

And the next question is…

If you have a question you’d like answered please let me know. If it is interesting maybe I’ll use it.