Artists in Conversation:

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."

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.

Maria Gaspar

Why have you chosen to produce artwork in Chicago?

Originally from Chicago, my dream was to live in New York. I was obsessed with its vibrancy, energy and creativity.

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."

Wafaa Bilal

Wafaa Bilal

How did political oppression impact your art practice?

I was born in Iraq on June 10, 1966. Because a member of my family had been accused of disloyalty to my country, I was denied the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming an artist.

Dawoud Bey

What does it mean to be a Black Artist? The Ironies of Diversity, or the Disappearing Black Artist

In spite of what seems to be an acceptance of diversity as a cultural and social fact of life, both in and outside of the art world, black artists are, for the most part, still largely consigned to a narrow conceptual space in which to operate.

William Conger

An Artist's Comment on Then and Now

I began showing my work in the late 1950s by participating in competitive museum shows and invitationals in college galleries and similar venues. I didn't have a solo gallery show until 1974. I suppose that was due to youthful shyness but it was also due to the scarcity of galleries and to the refusal by gallerists to sign on artists who had not yet compiled an impressive and sustained track record.

Nicole Beck

How can artist organizations like Sculpture International support an artist's practice?

When you are working in large scale public sculpture, a support group becomes one of your most useful tools - like a smooth, hot welder or your favorite hammer and chisel. Chicago has had a really strong sculpture community for years, but it's been only since 2004 that we set it in concrete by establishing Chicago Sculpture International (CSI), a satellite organization of the International Sculpture Center (ISC).

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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