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

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.