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.
Artists in Conversation:
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.
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.
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).
Gretchen is a young sculpture student, under her arm is a tattered sketchbook that announces her scatter brained yet intriguing personae.
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.
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.
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.
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...
My short career as an artist has been rewarding, transformative and demanding.
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.
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.
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.
Being your own P.R. rep. is a somewhat terrifying experience for a shy artist.
What is interesting about collaborating is the creation of a shared language.
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.
It has always been difficult for me to be accepted by mainstream artists, galleries and museums.
Creating an artist's lecture about one's own work can be an immensely fulfilling but it can be nerve-wracking too.
For me, to be an artist is an intellectual choice and a carefully chosen commitment.