Wednesday, August 19, 2009
RHYTHMS IN THE BUSINESS OF ART
Over the past decade, I've observed a personal rhythm to balancing activities within my art practice, and interfacing it with "the other"; and creating income to support all this. My style seems to be based on "delayed gratification". One year I might focus on writing many exhibition and funding proposals, usually done in the same year that I'm also researching and creating. But it might take two years for the exhibition proposals to come to fruition and the funding ....well, I don't hold my breath and although appreciated never enough.
I've been able to earn a bit of money from free lance teaching and writing on subjects relating to the contemporary visual arts industry in Canada. This has helped me and others move forward in understanding both our art and its unique market location. My theory is that one must understand the aesthetic location of their art in the discussion of what is art to be able to identify and access the appropriate market place. When I say "market", this includes not only the commercial sector, but the non profit artist-run galleries across the country and public venues and funding at all level. Public exhibition submission juries are "market clients" as much as a purchaser, but with different agendas.
Reprint, 4th edition or another book?: The textbook, "The Business of Art for Canadian Visual Artists, 3rd ed." ©2005, which I author and self publish is extremely close to being out of print (7 copies left). It'll never make the Oprah book list, especially given it targets the needs of artists working in the context of our very unique legal and economic structures in Canada. And, its a "textbook", so not your bedtime reading, however useful people tell me. Its time consuming for me to find a publisher for this specialty topic which is why I have just done it myself. That anyone can even find the book is a testament to their perseverance and commitment to their art, such is my limited retail distribution. All this said, its not a big money maker, even without a publisher taking a percentage. The up-front costs of printing will make it difficult to go to a reprint this year. Further, I don't have time right now to write a 4th edition to reflect my learning in the last 4 years. Another book is brewing in my mind for some time that would take the business of art for visual artists to another level, to consider especially the nuts and bolts of building an international exhibitions career. B.O.A.T. inc. Business of Art Training could produce so much more if there were more than just me financing and doing everything. I have a unique workshop that I could teach others to do, giving it more easily in different geographic locations across the country.
My Art Rhythm: Ok, ok. Back to the rhythm of my art. I know, I'm saying "back-to" quite a bit, just in order to move forward. My art is a "back-and-forth" rhythm of creative research, experimentation, production, promotions (includes proposals) and presentation. I'm also constantly honing a variety of interrelated skills in painting, digital photomontage, video, installation and performance art. Most contemporary painters have had to learn how to use a camera to document their work and computer skills to get it seen. Therefore, originally a painter, its not much of a technical leap for me to use photomontage to create a significant body of work during the past two years which I've titled, "Arctic Crisis Project, Parts, 1, 2, 3 & 4". I've also created several interactive installation artworks, often with a video element, that engage the visitor's unpredictable movements interacting with elements, evoking questions of interconnection of the whole. Because my aesthetic discusion engages the visitor/viewer as subject it needs an exhibition venue. While I may have the concept of the installation and elements, depending on the architecture and other aspects (security) of the exhibition venue, each installation becomes a unique work when it is shown.
Being a contemporary multi media artist working across disciplines and medium, I begin with an idea that may be inspired by one medium, such as photography in the case of the "Arctic Crisis Project: Parts 1 & 2, but evolves in its discussion where another medium is more appropriate, such the "Arctic Crisis Project: Part 3 - Arctic Journal Reading performance" which I did at The Other Gallery at the Banff Centre during March 2009.
Well, this has been quite a year. The framing of "Arctic Crisis: Part 2" needs my attention so I must stop this blogging right now.