Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Chosen Few Pt 2

Well, that was hardly soon, but I am back! As usual, way more to tell you than I probably have time for, but I'll try and squeeze in as much as I can!

OK, so first to deal with those topics I mentioned in my last post. First I'll wrap up this whole "chosen few" thing. So, yeah, basically, this is something I'm discovering about the art world, and I think it's kind of a rubbish thing. It just feels like the art world is a pretty elitist, snobby and unfriendly place, where those lucky few at the top who get all the attention/commissions/prizes/exhibitions whatever, are very reluctant to help or even interact with those further down the pecking order. A recent example; an artist I just discovered on Saatchi Art, whose work I think is AMAZING, but also very much like mine except in paint, and is very successful, didn't bother to reply to my very effusive email or the friend request I sent her on that website. Just a small thing, but it kind of bugged me, and I do remember thinking to myself after I looked at their website "Wow, they've had loads of exhibitions, I bet they won't get back in touch with me, they're so successful!". And my pessimism was correct. Anyway, that's a small thing compared to my next complaint. As I think I mentioned before, I went to a talk by a successful London based art curator, who has been responsible for putting on loads of big shows and working with lots of famous artists. Her advice about approaching galleries? Well, it was pretty depressing. I don't think she meant to do this, I really think she was trying to be helpful, but the basic message she sent out was "Curators are busy people, artists are always trying to get to meet them, you're really kind of an annoyance, so don't bug them too much". OK, I'm exaggerating for effect, but that really was the effect what she said had on me. Let's examine a fews key things she said:

1.Don't just send in work unsolicited to galleries, you need to build up a personal relationship with a curator if you want them to show your work.
2. On the other hand, don't expect curators to have time to talk to you at opening evenings, they are there to promote that artist's work, not talk to aspiring artists.
3. When an curator gives a talk, that's a good time to go and introduce yourself, perhaps by dropping into the conversation that the work they were talking about inspires you. (Yeah, I thought. Go join the line of all the other desperate aspiring artists all keen to compliment your talk, as it is the only opportunity they will have to meet you, and you only do it every few months.)
3. Most of the artist's they work with are people they've worked with before, or have been recommended to them by those artists or other curators.

So basically, she built up this picture of a really closed circle of elite artists and curators who all work with each other, and who don't want to be disturbed by us mere mortals, because, y'know, they're really busy doing ART! This talk kind of depressed me, as you can probably tell. Also, in my mind at least, confirming this theory, I didn't get into the Open West show. I sent in £42 entrance fee just to be considered, so these guys are happy taking money of us mere mortals, just not showing our work. (Incidently, I partly did this because the curator said you must enter shows, because even if your work isn't selected, at least it gets seen by a curator. Great. £42 well spent then.)

So, as you can tell, I'm a little fed up. But I'm not gonna let that stop me! I know I've had a problem in the past about getting one rejection and then going home and feeling like setting fire to all my work, because it must be all rubbish, and I know that to survive in this business, I need to get more resilient. And you know what? Like I said before, I am honest with myself, and I really do feel, deep down, that my work is good, so that makes me stronger. Now I just have to figure out how to convince all those people at the top of the food chain about that!

Right, well I am actually off out to go see some art now, in the form of the "Diagrams" show at the Holden Gallery, so I have to dash. Actually, when I first conceived of this blog I intended it to be a lot more about going to see other artist's work as well as my own ups and downs, and actually I have recently gone to see several really cool things, but as usual, it will have to wait until next time!

Ok, in the meantime, as a counterpoint to all that doom and gloom, here's something new I've been working on. It was initially in response for a request for work for an exhibition on the theme of "Speculative Futures", which I may or may not still enter - the deadline is tomorrow.
My inspiration, as a Sci Fi geek, was the question that's been on my mind a lot lately, about whether we will ever colonise Mars. (There was an awesome programme about this on the BBC recently, plus the "Mars" trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, that deals exactly with this issue, are some of my favourite ever books). I was thinking - would mankind at this moment make a good job of colonising Mars, or would we be destined to make all the same mistakes we do here on Earth? So this piece kind of came out of that. I made it from photos I took all within about a mile radius of my flat, so if it looks Mars like to you, I'll be pleased!
"Mars Future?"

Actually, this piece raises another issue I'm struggling with at the moment. Can something made entirely in a computer be hung on a gallery wall as "Art"? This piece does look a bit "Graphic Design-y" for want to a better expression. If I had more time, I might have printed it out and painted over it. I did make another version as a painting, which I'll maybe post next time. It's the first painting I've done in ages and I'm about 85% happy with it. But maybe splashing a bit of paint around is what my work is lacking at the moment, at least in the eyes of those that make decisions about these things....
OK, running late. More soon(isn)!

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