Artists in Conversation:

Lee Tracy

Effective business strategies for an artist?

It is important for artists to take things seriously; so seriously that we must enact a thoughtful plan to set ourselves up in a sustainable environment.

Jill Pope

I'm a new parent: How do I manage my time and my practice?

I am a fulltime stay-at-home mom of a 23 month old. I live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Now doesn't that have the mark of artistic success written all over it?

In the first year of my daughter's life I was busier than ever and had more exhibitions than in any previous year. In addition to all the packing and unpacking, loading and inventorying for these exhibitions I also found time to paint. It has been one of the great puzzlements this year to find that I have so much less time to devote to my craft.

Laura Weathered

How Can Artists Create a Cooperative Housing Project?

Artist finds dusty, unused space, convinces landlord to rent space, improves the raw space with the help of friends, neighborhood gets trendy, rents double, artist moves to another neighborhood. Repeat the scenario every two years. How many years do you put up with this cycle of dust and grime, and working in a really, unhealthy raw space? Artist gets tired. It costs too much to make art anymore.

Claire Pentecost

How can art-making impact social and political issues?

I collaborated with Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz daCosta to create a project of public science using Monsanto's patented RoundUp Ready (soy, canola and corn).

Chris Sullivan

A worst-case scenario for presenting your work and a lesson in preparation based on collaged facts.

Gretchen is a young sculpture student, under her arm is a tattered sketchbook that announces her scatter brained yet intriguing personae.

James Tuong Nguyen

What can other artists learn from your experience photo-documenting people affected by HIV?

Until now, I am still haunted by those eyes of that boy, the fifteen year old Vietnamese boy dying from AIDS who I could not take a photograph of in my first attempt.

Mary Patten

When is art activism and activism art? What is the goal of your practice, and how do you achieve it?

As I write this, I am thinking about the deep festering wound, the toxic running sores - not just in the waters of New Orleans and in the bodies of the victims and survivors, but in the heart of this wretched, doomed country.

Lifeline (installation) by David A. Parker

Mentors Must be Sought

Mentors offer invaluable inspiration and guidance, but they must be sought out.

I had been brought up with the notion that making art or being an artist was not a viable way of life in today's America. Worse, I knew no artists already practicing with whom I felt a close kinship or with whom I might study.

Joyce Owens

How do you cultivate a network for yourself and other artists?

You would think that a college graduate who managed to attain an M.F.A. from a prestigious eastern university would have been taught the process to becoming a professional visual artist. Did not happen...

Victor Maldonado

How Did You Transition from Local to National?

My short career as an artist has been rewarding, transformative and demanding.

Eric Lebofsky

How have you found the transition from student to working artist?

I have found that the reality of being an emerging artist differs somewhat from the intense cosmology that is often fed to and proliferated by students. While everyone knows someone-who-knows-someone who's had that "big break" right out of school, the likelihood is that you will have to do some work to get where you are going. If you have found this article, you most likely already know this.

Teena McClelland

How do events, happenings and other collaborations influence your practice?

I believe that opportunities can come from both calamity and banality. When I work, my aim is to arouse the creative aptitude of my audience and collaborators through directness and humor. For example, I play the role of an artist who is driven to make something that is bound to be a huge disaster. A documentary video tells the story of this artist who attempts to build a catapult that will allow fellow artists to dispose of their artwork and ideally come to terms with their useless constructions. In this situation, I am the passionate, reckless artist who has devised a grand scheme.

Jeremiah Ketner

How do artists use the web to create networks and develop exhibition opportunities?

Just getting out of the studio to spend a few minutes on sending out email was a chore and was not really considered as a useful networking tool at the time.

Grace Lai

How do you get your work out there?

Being your own P.R. rep. is a somewhat terrifying experience for a shy artist.

Stuart Keeler & Michael Machnic

What are the benefits and challenges of collaborating?

What is interesting about collaborating is the creation of a shared language.

Gosia Koscielak

How do you foster an interaction between the local and the international scene with your gallery?

The beginning of my international career in art was established in the 80's at the Rekwizytornia (The Property Room) Gallery, at the Contemporary Theatre in Wroclaw/Poland.

Preston Jackson

As an Artist of Color, How Do You Promote Inclusivity in Your Practice?

It has always been difficult for me to be accepted by mainstream artists, galleries and museums.

Tiffany Holmes

What pointers can you offer to other artists about giving an artists' lecture?

Creating an artist's lecture about one's own work can be an immensely fulfilling but it can be nerve-wracking too.

Michiko Itatani

How Do You Prioritize Making Art?

For me, to be an artist is an intellectual choice and a carefully chosen commitment.

Julia Fish

How do you maintain the continual output expected of a successful mid-career artist?

This is a fair question, but I'll admit: I've always winced at the word "career."

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