Visual Artists Ireland GET TOGETHERWorking with what youve gotNeva ElliottLike diving from a cliff the first time, working as an artist can be quite daunting. In VAI weoften hear members complain that they live in isolation. This session will look at key tipsand suggestions on how to develop on your skills and how to survive in the local context.Neva Elliott will discuss what we, as artists, need to self-sustain our practice includingsupport systems, visibility, networks, collective activity, artist’s initiatives and a DIYattitude.!
What is it you want?What is it about your current situation that you find lacking?What else do you need to feel that you have a sustainable, ’successful’, enjoyable practice?Break it down and try to find out what area you need to develop- Motivation- Production- Support- Access to audiences
MEETING MENTORING SPACE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE INFORMATION FUNDING RESPECT In 2009 I spent some time in Sligo asking artists local to the area what they needed to sustain their practices. I spoketo 22 artists in person, 12 digitally. Above is their requirements in order of importance. You may be surprised at howlow funding comes down the scale. The most important was to meet each other.
What’s geography got to do with it?Artists working outside major urban centres or in rural areas often don’t have access to the same networks, facilitiesor events that their urban peers do. However, no matter where we are geographically located we (artists) have similargoals / requirements/ aspirations in our practice.For example, Graduates may find that on leaving college they loose their support system and peer group and findthemselves in the isolation wherever they live. Those living in a major centre ( e.g. London) may actually be dauntedlevel of activity and find it hard to make contacts and ‘break through’.Essentially no matter where we work need to negotiate our working environment.Wherever we live we can be part of a local, national and international scene.
Taking control of your practice is about independent action; makingopportunities happen for yourself rather than waiting for them to happen to / foryou.If there aren’t many opportunities for artists in your area, try and createthem yourself. If you create energy and activity other opportunities will come from it.
Why cant I just stay in my studio (if I have one) and make work? Yes you can , but… Its about being proactive.Self initiated working, artist led and collaborative practice has become more relevant to sustaining our practices.There has been a shift among artists towards a more self-sufficient practitioner who has taken control of their ownartistic career, is less reliant on institutions, is actively involved in their artistic community.We know that artists are taking on roles and responsibilities that may have previously been undertaken by others forthem; running gallery spaces, studio’s, exhibitions, making projects happen for themselves without invitation.We have moved to non hierarchical modes of working (non reliance on curators, government funding etc) to selfreliance, relationships with each other, creating an active supportive community for ourselves. That community may beone of geographic closeness or may be of a more virtual kind.We are taking control over our practice and our productivity
Collaborative working Practical advantages for collaborative working / group activity:• Skill and resource sharing• Exposure to new networks/ audiences• Spread workload/ increate capacity/ work more effectively• Potential easier access to funding• Creation of a critically supportive environment• Open up exchange of ideas, tactics and opportunities• Company!To generalise artist’s motives for working together1. To develop a support network.2. To secure space.3. To organise exhibitions or events.4. To co-create a specific artwork/ projectTo feel less isolated or remote by being united within a geographical area orconnected beyond your immediate environment.
MeetingWhy important?- Peer to peer mentoring / getting advice- To inspire and motivate- Progress our own work through conversation- Provide opportunities for critical discussion- Open opportunities for collaboration (instigate initiatives)- Creates symbiotic support system- Foster growth and activity in the artistic community / invigorates a ‘local’ scene.Meeting can open up options for activity that we may not have considered or thought notpossible on our own.Access what already exists:1. Local Arts Centre - go to openings, workshops, talks.2. Make yourself known to the director/ curator of your local art-space and your local arts officer.3. Is there an arts group in your area? Don’t know -your arts officer.4. Join a communal studio, etc5. Volunteer to help with an existing art projectSet up your own:1. Informal networking or social group.2. Working group - activity/ project based3. Critical discussion group - art writing, art theory or art-relevant topics
There is a good reason that Meeting came top of the wish list for artists I met as it opens possibilities to so much elseon their listThe core practice for the majority of artists is essentially solitary. Having access to meeting your peers obviouslyprevents a sense of isolation (which can be felt not only by those who are based in non urban areas).Opportunities for meeting and interacting with your peers can range from the formal (meeting through doing forexample today’s event or organised ‘networking events”, long-term (sharing a studio) to the informal (different typeof social networking), casual (meeting at an exhibition opening) or one-off arrangements.How?Ask the artists you know/ advertise locally. Find a space. Make it a date.Have an agenda? Find out who else is interested, arrange to meet, discuss how youcan make it happen.
Dig Where you Stand www.digwhereyoustand.com Dig where you stand was collaboratively conceived between the curators Eilís Lavelle, Rosie Lynch and the artist Sarah Lincoln. It developed out of a curatorial residency initiated by South Tipperary Arts Office and is based in Southern Tipperary throughout 2012. Dig where you stand is driven by the optimistic premise that the visual arts can speak in strong and original ways to the local, and strengthen a sense that inspiration does not have to reside elsewhere, but can exist in latent form under one’s feet. Initial stages of the project have hinged around the formation of reading groups. Through these groups we are testing ways in which to expand upon the potential of the reading group form. To date, we have tested this intent by gathering to read in spaces with particular histories and have programmed screenings and installations, which resonate with the chosen texts. Third reading event Excel Arts Centre, Tipperary Town Wednesday 9th May 2012 • Fredric Jameson’s text, Archaeologies of the Future (excerpt) • lan Weisman’s text, Earth Without People (excerpt) • Uriel Orlow’s film, Remnants of the Future (2010) Miss B’s Salons http://www.ruthbeale.net/salons.htm Regular discussion events, chaired by Miss B, that bring together invited groups of artists, curators and interested parties to present and discuss their work and selected topics. They are frequently private and by invitation only, but are also held at public galleries. The first six Salons were supported by the Artquest Forum programme (UK). The salons provide social and critical space for artists to critique practice and discuss issues arising. Past salons: Monumentalism and Performativity /Media, Autonomy and Participation/ Copyright – who cares. What do we mean when we talk about ‘space’?Where I use examples within this talk are not necessarily from non-urban areas as they are just that - examples ofstructures and ideas that are transferable.Look at the methods of more established artists or initatives or at what other sectors are doing for inspiration
VisabilityVisability is not just about geographical closeness.Good promotion gets work seen, develops reputations and is key to establishing and advancing thepractice of all artists. What you are trying to do is be seen to be part of the art -sector and put yourselfin their eye line of curators (they can decide if it is attractive to them).Access what already exists:1. Include your profile in artists listings (local, NIVAL, artreview, saatchi online, re-title.com)2. Apply for open submission exhibitions3. Take part in arts related events (seminars, workshops and conferences)Do it yourself1. Set up a social media account (Twitter, face-book, linkedin).2. Set up a website.3. Create a mailing list4. Send invitations/ updates.5. Send out press releases/ develop relationships with journalists and critics.6. Put on your own exhibitionHow? Creative Choices Article: 7 ways to promote yourself by Neva Elliott
Dear all,Apologies for the mass email!I hope to see some of you at g39 in Cardiffat the end of the week. Also if any of you are around Barcelona, Leeds orBirmingham I have work there over the summer.!Best, Rebecca.!Rebecca Gould!www.rebeccagould.co.uk!The Autobiography of a Super-Trampg39, Cardiff, UK!6th June - 25th August 2012 Preview Friday 1st June 6 - 9pm!Featuring S Mark Gubb, Matthews Allen, Peter Finnemore, Paul Emmanuel, Paul RJones,Rebecca Gould, Owen Martell Simon Proffitt, Bedwyr Williams and CerithWyn Evans!///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////BoeingWay to Gas Street!Departure Foundation, 2nd Floor, 22 Gas Street, Birmingham, UK!27th April - 29th July 2012 Friday - Sunday 12 - 4pm!Featuring Louise Ashcroft, Georgina Barney, Amelia Beavis-Harrison, AlexBrenchley,Ralph Dorey,Danielle Drainey, Susan Forsyth, Rebecca Glover, RebeccaGould, Anne Guest, SteveHines, Fritha Jenkins,Iwan Lewis, Eugene Nyee Macki, GregThomas, Rebecca Turner, Sara Twomey and Rich White!Microcosm!Departure Foundation, Ellington Building, Leeds Valley Park, West Yorkshire,UKPreview Friday 3rd August 201214th June - 31st August 2012Saturdays 2 - 6pm orby appointment!////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Screen fromBarcelona Espacio de Proyectos Sant Pere, Barcelona, Spain!17th May - 2nd June 2012! Example of a simple update email I recently received from an artist I went to college with.
MentoringAs artists most of us are looking successfuls to continued learning, knowledge and stimulation.The most successful forms of mentoring are developed through personality, joint interest and a certainaltruism. This can organically happen through setting up opportunities for informal mentoring to takeplace.Mentoring is not hanging out with Yoda - it can be just hanging out with each other.Mentoring can incorporate:Discussion, skill sharing as well as giving advice through1. Formal institution set up which shows support for artists professional development2. Informal varied peer to peer mentoring by artists themselvesAccess what already exists:1. Your are doing it already - VAI.2. Online resources: a-n, art-quest, creative choice..Do it yourself:1. Ask - Is their a local business what could give you relevant advice?2. Ask -A person you already have a connection to (not necessarily local)3. Set up an critique, support or discussion group. Doesn’t necessarily have to be aboutyour own work could be about sustaining your careers.How?1. Tools for international communication: Skype, Dropbox, Viber, Google docs
Space =ActivityRather than waiting around for invitations from others to take part in projects, I was able to do theinviting myself in the knowledge that such relationships could facilitate further moments of exchange inthe future. Paul ONeillRunning your own space can offer rewards of expanding your their career, make new networks, orsimply to provide the facility you require.TemporaryBut… Running an artist-led space is much more than putting on the odd show of your work...There is also the work of Administration, Marketing , Financial management and fundraisingPromotion, Facilities management (and negotiating with landlords…)So maybe you don’t need to commit to a long term responsibility. Perhaps a one-off exhibition or shortterm project would work for you.What could that space be? Where could it be?Gallery/ exhibition / event space An empty retail / work space ( negotiated rent)Studios Desk in library/ arts spaceProject space Domestic spaceMeeting space A shelf, a wallet a cupboard!WorkshopsResource spaceInformation pointDrop in “hub”Social space
SpaceAccess what already exists1. Get involved with can existing group, offer to help, volunteer hrs or your particular skills2. Take a studio within an artist led space3. Does you local arts centre offer space for local artists usage?4. Could you use a community space?Set up your own1. Set up own space - negotiating cheap rents for derelict retail spaces2. Dublin City Council empty spaces scheme3. Negotiate area within institution (library, art centre, pub other) for local artists -designated for artists use.How?VAI article: Self-Organisation as a Way of Being by Paul O’NeillVAI article: Organising and Managing Projects by Kerry McCallVAI article: A practical guide to setting up a studio space by Jacinta Lynch
Pallas www.pallasprojects.orgFounded 1996 by 2 artists (studio and project space in a former factory) It established a reputation as a leadingexponent of an alternative art methodology and D.I.Y. work ethic resulting in imaginative and challengingprojects. Provided invited and studio artists with an outlet for their work in curated exhibitions in Dublin, BelfastLondon, Bangkok and Rotterdam, in venues ranging from the studios themselves, self-initiated outdoor projects,taking over commercial spaces (a shop in Brick Lane, London), and as invited temporary occupiers of regeneratedspaces.Pallas Heights, an exhibition space that used semi-derelict flats awaiting demolition by DCC. 4 years 19 , 30young and emergent Irish and international artists.Invited exhibitions: The Hugh Lane Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Model gallery, Sligo.Currently funded by:Associates www.associatesgallery.co.ukNon-profit gallery on Hoxton Street, London. Ryan Gander and Rebecca May Marston.Ffixed one-year programmecomprising twelve solo exhibitions of emerging artists. Once complete, Gander and Marston may have to build anew infrastructure, reputation and/or identity from scratch for their next projects. The Wallet Gallery http://theresabruno.squarespace.com/curation/Initative of 2 artists. The Wallet Gallery has been created as a networking opportunity, with the aim of achievingan artist community across londonApartment www.apartmentmanchester.blogspot.ieArtist led project and exhibition space in a one-bedroom council flat in a sixties tower block in central Manchester.Artists showed work alongside the everyday objects in the flat and made work in response to issues surroundingthe location of the space. The space ran from 2004-2009
Project fundingAccess what is already existing1. Government bodies: Arts Council, Culture Ireland. Private/ Independent pr Corporate trusts. Funded arts projects and awards (residences etc)2. Local Authority - County Council fundingDo it yourself1. In Kind (Materials / services: free, reduced cost, borrowed)2. Sponsorship3. Philanthropic givingHow?VAI article: Awards Bursaries and grants by Neva ElliottBuild relationships within your local community, it will make it easier to find in-kind orphiantropic funding or to look from funding from with your local arts officePersonal funding2008/09 StatisticsVisual Artists Ireland: The Social, Economic Fiscal Status of the VisualArtist in Ireland: Visual artists continue to need second and third jobs to make ends meetWork can provide beneficial experience, inspiration and free you from financialconstraint. That experience can be extremely beneficial to your practice - financial management,organisational , project management or within the content of the work itself.
The Good Hatchery http://thegoodhatchery.wordpress.com/about/Good Hatchery is a residential studio and workshop spaces which operates a curatorial programme of residencies,on site projects and exhibitions. The Good Hatchery is based in the rural bog lands of east Offaly in the IrishMidlands. Currently run by visual artists Carl Giffney and Ruth E Lyons.Founded in 2007 by a group of 5 graduates from Irelands National College of Art and Design (NCAD) as a response to the economicand other obstacles facing emerging artists during the boom years of the Celtic tiger.The building that houses the Good Hatchery was found in 2006 via Free-Cycle, through an advert that read ‘Wanted: derelict houseor ruin for artists”. All materials for the work were obtained for free through recycling and salvaging systems.“It has been said that under two percent of fine art graduates proceed to make an art related career for themselvesin Ireland. Even less become practicing artists. … we believe that many of its central causes are financial in origin.…. What seems to have become overlooked to some degree, is that the bulk of these financial pressures exist mainly in Dublin.We believe that it has become a myth that an emerging artist needs to stay in a city to become an established artist.The majority of the connection that our contemporaries maintain with the art world and its opportunities isconducted via the internet. Mobile broadband internet has, only in the last year, become widespread and affordableenough to keep this connection intact in rural areas. It is in these rural areas that artists can find large buildingsfree of rent and enjoy a cheaper cost of living.We intend the Good Hatchery to be an experiment in solving some of the problems associated with emerging as a youngcontemporary artist while simultaneously attempting to spread provocative art tactics and their outcomes out of the capital where itseems to maintain a stronghold.We believe that rural contexts can offer diverse and unique social contexts that, due to the geographical make up of Ireland, forexample, effect the majority of people living on the Island. This context can easily be overlooked by contemporary art practice. Wewould hope to highlight some of the rich resources and opportunities that are actually available to the emerging artist in ruralIreland by exhibiting and working with local and national bodies.Carl Giffney, 2007
Artist led projects / Self initiated working‘Artist-led’ (artist-run, artist-initiated, artist-centred) is such a general term and can encompassthe various working models, that we have been talking about but is not just about setting up aspace or an exhibition.It also means a self-reliance and determination to independently drive your practice forward.
Lynn Harris (artist with a Self initiated practice)1. How would you describe the way you work? Im really interested in the conditions that determine an artwork, vs having a fetishistic relationship with the ﬁnal object of art. So I look to create projects where the processes of negotiation that go into making artwork are evident or in some cases are the artwork. I also like to collaborate as working in the world with other people for me is a reﬂection of the condition of being in society, a reﬂection of society, where Modernist, antiquated notions of the genius creative individual is no longer a credible/ interesting position. We now openly admit that creative genius is a response of everything that came before, which is a more social perspective on how knowledge and insight is generated. I develop platforms that frame a perspective or idea and that are developed through discourse, production, events, publishing. I consider myself to have a discursive practice. Liam Gillick writes eloquently about what a discursive practice is… 2. Why do you work like this rather than relying on opportunities already available to you? Self preservation, and a personal education. I didnt like feeling hemmed in by a profession ( the art world) that is based on exclusivity, power plays and arbitrarily awards few individuals. Its not sustainable for most artists, its precarious. I dont value this market based system, DIY at least gives you a homegrown community where you can try to live out your own values and gives the happy illusion of having a bit of control… 3. What were your aims in doing so? /Have you achieved those aims? I think I partially answered above, but what starts to happen is people starting gravitating towards you, which is nice for discourse, opportunities, expansion of ideas. I would say its always still very precarious, but as long as you have your own trajectory and framework whether mental, institutional, practical, whatever, you can continue to make work. I have achieved building up my own practice, which you could consider my own language, which is not easy to maintain, but its always on the edge of dwindling out… 4. What’s been the hardest part? Making a kind of coherent, consistency. And making money. 5. How do you ﬁnance your projects? Various ways. Used to self fund from day job in design industries. For several years now have funded from several sources, teaching, talks, workshops, commissions, funding, and consulting/ freelance work. Invitations from institutions have been very generous and create great contact with students, which is brilliant. So a constant mixture. This year, been thinking about a more long term form of funding for AND Public. I was recently awarded SEED funding from Central Saint Martins Innovations Department to develop AND Public as a social enterprise. Its early days and if i have the energy, i hope it can provide service to artists who want to self publish, but hard to balance the project as both conceptual and practical, but I think is precisely where it has value for artists. Im also in discussions, with the support of CSM, with an international printer who I am trying to gain ﬁnancial support from… 6. Have you gotten anything out working this way beyond what you expected to? Loads. New ideas, new connections, tons of opportunities. But its also a lot of work, a lot of negotiation. I think you have to like to talk about ideas, to project manage, to deal with lots if different people to do this... Its tiring 7. Would you recommend self- initiated practice to others? Totally, create your own audience…
If autonomy means self-determination rather than apartness it must spread its wings… How elseare the forces that determine art to be wrested from external agencies and ulterior motives.Dave Beech Don’t start with limits. It doesn’t have to be about geography. Take control.