May
12
2010

Art Careers by Chris Cudworth


Career and art do not seem to go in the same sentence for most people. I get asked what I do for a living and I answer"“I am a professional artist." If you are an artist, chances are you will hear "I can't draw" or "I cannot draw a stickfigure." If I were a mechanic instead, the first response would be "Where do you work." Why is this? Are artists some mysterious unemployed lot? Do we have stigma as being untouchable? Art has had to fend off the media splash of being "Controversial" in the 80s and has had backlash since. I find there are many who seem to really love art but have not stepped into a gallery in years ….. or ever.

This is such a big question for me, why do people who do not consider themselves artists feel this way?
It brings me back to running themes within the art community: where does one go with a degree in the arts? How do you market your art when you get out of school? What is the definitive of an art community? I think community is the biggest key to why the general public is removed. Unavailable and often frustrated, artists need a community like everyone else.
Lets face it, we live in a very commercial and product driven society. Unless you live on an isolated island, this world revolves on research driven pre-selected demographics and spoon-fed advertising. Artists who are involved in advertising usually promote whichever client they are catering to, not art in general. Why is this important?
Despite art generating billions for advertising, usually promoting the very thing that drives the product is not what ads are driven by. There may be demographics for "Arts lost," "Art programs needed," but loosely generated ideas that cater only to flashy headlines. Visual art is part of an entertainment genre and has held fast to traditions of a society that had free time to spend. Time constraints and skewed thoughts about art from the media has poisoned the well that so many artists took for granted and drank deeply from.
We need to use the sources that communicate for us. Mainstream media, internet and finally, relationships with people makes art a forefront. Letting people know that a great day out can mean they can relax and love and hate different art with the freedom to do so.
That even if they cannot make "Perfect art" what really is perfect art?
Who are they competing with? Do they need to compete and have a constantly flowing wellspring of creativity to make art? No. They just need to know that art, is truly for everyone. Relaxation or pursuit, artists, in general, must accept all levels and be patient with those who wish to be a part of a vibrant movement.
Get a group, have some coffee, and dispel some myths about art. Grassroots can become a healthy lawn if those who for wish change just tend it!
May
12
2010

Playing with Canvas by Heather Goldstein

 


Do you ever feel stuck? That may be a ridiculous question because I can't think of any artist whose creative juices are always flowing. One of the best things an artist can do, in my opinion, is to PLAY and try something new! Sometimes I find that I get so involved in developing my concepts and making sure the painting I am working on will fit in the series I am trying to create and say what I want it to say, that my brain just shuts off and says, "NO MORE!"

Every once in a while I need to take a break and I found that playing in different mediums are the best arenas for me to do just that. One of the most inspiring classes I took in school was Fibers! I have used the medium for a number of different things. First, I love dye work and silk painting! Working on silk is a nice change from canvas or paper because of the hand (how it falls) of the fabric. Silk paint is wonderfully fluid and I always enjoy beautiful abstract qualities I can achieve and the great things the paint does on its own.

The best thing that I have done, however, is play with my canvas!! I'm not a huge fan of waste and I admit to being a total pack rat! I stretch my own canvas so when I am cutting away the extra, I put it to the side to sew it together later! You can use it to make yourself a Frankenstein painting! It is always fun to stretch your boundaries. Working on a canvas like that forces you to rethink your composition and work with limitations.

The other great thing you can do is to stuff your canvas! I started making dolls in Fibers and then decided to combine the best of both worlds and make stuffed heads for painting. I sewed canvas together and then stuffed it with doll stuffing (you can use newspaper too). Then, I just gessoed and painted! They were later used as part of an installation, but sometimes you need to take a breather and try something new in order to get inspired. I was having a horrible time and stressing out trying to finish a painting and oddly enough, painting stuffed heads helped me clear mine!

How do you play?

facebook.com/heatherelyseart

The Execution of Humanity
Mixed Media
2008
May
12
2010

Waiting for the Ship to Come In by M Theresa Brown

 


You gotta love it! How can we not be inspired by the artists coming up to us after our seminars and telling us that we have opened new doors for them? Or that the group makes them feel as though they belong? Yet I was saddened that the laughter at my stories about my experiences in art school were so universal. Not just then, but now. And I thought about my early experience in art school....

Watching the video we filmed during our Jan 14 seminar....{OK I need to learn to stand still and we need the professional expertise of Burning Oak Studios!} however, you can still hear the turning point story. For me, my professors are all frozen in time. So are their comments and their voices. The world of the Internet was an eye opening moment for me when I re-discovered some of those same professors. And they were turning out the same art that they had told US not to create! So I am not quite sure why they were so adamantly pro "cutting edge" art at the expense of all other forms and styles of art. It seems that they were, in fact "closet realists" all along. But as I look back with a bit more aged wisdom, my earlier annoyance at that education from them softens a bit. I realize that they too were the products and victims of the times. But what about now? What is the excuse for the identical thinking that is still going on now?

Real life goes on. So being annoyed with them and their attitudes doesn't solve anything. And maybe they did me a favor. Convinced that portraiture was indeed "prostituting my art," maybe the years that I spent not creating art and running small businesses was the catalyst I needed for what I do now! Maybe that's why I have been successful where others have not. Maybe, just maybe, those years as a single mom raising four children on only the sales of my art were necessary to my art marketing journey and my "renegade" thinking! My need to feed four children was the real epiphany. It was as though the shackles of that earlier art education thinking had opened up to free me. It was the freedom to think on my own as an artist with no boundaries, no fences and no judgment. Because, quite frankly, I didn't care. And to paraphrase the words in that timeless song of "Me and Bobby McGee" .... "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose…"

So the epiphany for any artist is also personal. As a visual person it is easy to see art marketing education in a visual manner. Let's visit this visual together and see where it applies to your life!

Can you see your ship on the ocean's horizon? The one that you need to reach? Hmm, at some point it becomes obvious that your ship is not coming into shore. What to do? The waves keep you in or near shore where you can only splash around in one place safely. Besides, you know there are dangers out there! Sharks, jellyfish, a tiring swim.…all sorts of things designed to keep you in safe waters. There are even some weights around your ankles that keep you from really swimming. But that undertow keeps tugging at you, trying to pull you away from shore. One day an undertow catches you off guard and you are pulled into deeper waters. After a brief struggle you let the rip current take you out into deeper water and then, rather than returning to safe waters, you start swimming for that ship. You might have to pause and tread water. You might have to avoid the jellyfish and hope the sharks circle someone else or maybe swim fearfully right through them. But you are heading out to meet your ship!

And that has been my art marketing journey. It would have been easier with a guide or even a map. Or maybe a group of people swimming together might keep the sharks at bay :-) After all there is safety in numbers, right? Funny, that's kind of how life goes too isn't it? All of your life experiences are in play and have made you the person you are today! Your art is influenced by where you have been, experienced or seen as well. Good or bad, we can only take our experiences and determine if reaching that ship is a goal that we want. Any goal. Your ship.

Sometimes you have to stop treading water and swim for your ship. And it's OK if the undertow started you on your way!

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