Artists in Conversation:

How do you Choose Which Opportunities to Apply for?

I do my best to apply to opportunities (grants, exhibits, residencies, awards) on a regular basis, maybe 5-6 per year. My goal is to get one. Because rejection can become discouraging, I always try to have a few applications out there, rather than applying to one thing and then waiting for the acceptance/rejection letter.

Scott Silberstein

How did you get started documenting Chicago's dance community?

Television and Music Producer Scott Silberstein offers valuable thoughts on how dancers and choreographers can best document their work, and explains some of his approaches to filming dance and movement.

Mindy Rose Schwartz

How important is it for you to update your skills on an ongoing basis?

UPDATED NOVEMBER 23rd: Mindy Rose Schwartz receives the 7th annual Achievement Award from The Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts. 

Bob Sloane, Harold Washington Library

How can the Harold Washington Library archives be useful to artists?

Bob Sloane currently heads the Art Information Center at the Harold Washington Library Center. He is in charge of the dance collections, and has programmed more than 350 live dance performances in the last 18 years. Here he speaks on the library archives, how they preserve Chicago's dance history, and how artists can submit works for inclusion.

Mark Nelson

How can art-making impact social and political issues?

The projects I have created for the last 22 years are the direct result of having been raised overseas as a resident guest in other people's lands.

Frederick Holland

How can an art practice have a political/social impact?

From a historical perspective, images were often used to glorify a God or successful citizens (who served as an example of behavior that one should emulate) or to celebrate a hero (who sacrificed in service to the state). The relatively high cost and specialized skills needed for the production of imagery precluded the creation of artworks that challenged the existing powers.

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.

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.

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.

Victor Maldonado

How Did You Transition from Local to National?

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

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.

Dianna Frid

How do you respond to global issues through your art practice?

In 1998, while visiting the countryside in The Netherlands, a friend pointed out that-counter to the laws of gravity-the water canals surrounding the fields on which we stood were actually flowing up a very slight incline. These waterways are, in fact, part of an old artificial hydraulic system of drainage and containment that has kept Holland above sea level.

Michelle Grabner

How do you balance being an artist, mother and teacher?

With absolute conviction I believe and practice Ad Reinhardt's thesis put forth in "Extreme Routine."

What are the challenges of working as a photographic artist in a world of fast-changing technologies?

As a teacher of photography (who firmly believes in beginning with the black and white darkroom) it has been interesting for me to see the speed at which this medium has evolved in these past few years. Digital technologies have changed some aspects of older two-dimensional art mediums (painting, drawing, printmaking) and have introduced newer media forms into the art world. For some photographers, however, it has totally redefined the input and output of imagery.

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