Exposure unit – Project overview and final evaluation

November 2, 2017by lwassellEntering the Art World - Ori Gersht (17/18)Exposure

Week 1 As an emerging artist, my main concern when conducting my searches, was not that of the type of work exhibited, because I rather feel this becomes secondary when the tenuousness carried by the emerging artist is considered. Beggar’s can’t be choosers. What was more of a concern, was finding any gallery that would be willing to host emerging artists, and then working backwards from there on. What I did find in my initial searching, was a string of dead ends, ‘404 this page cannot be found’ and the sort. A cyber graveyard of the would-be platforms for my hopes and dreams, and I realised Ori wasn’t just being dramatic. Collectively, they at least exhibited one last picture, albeit a bleak metaphysical one. And so, my position as a beggar of sorts taken into consideration, I focused my research efforts on artist run galleries (the likes of which included ‘Guest Project’ and ‘Assembly Point’), as they (at least seemed to be) more human, and perhaps capable of conferring some compassion my way. The strategy I outlined and presented to the tutor was well received, and to put it briefly: I would look to build a rapport with owners, curators and fellow artists, through continued presence within the gallery space; attending workshops, seminars, exhibitions and so forth. This would have the secondary effect of enabling me to see how the space is run, what sort of selection process is used, if any biases in the type of work exhibited exist etc. etc. For, in Guest Project’s instance, work is to be submitted and judged by a panel of artists/curators for selection, through a large enough sample, an abstract notion of the biases of the judges could be discernible, from which you could either tailor work too, or move on. In Assembly Point’s case, they themselves note that (and I am paraphrasing here), ‘…studios and a gallery spaces, generate healthy cross-pollination (studio residents appear in group shows with some regularity)’. This is precisely the sort of set-up, the sort of relationship I imagined, and one that could provide a nice gateway into the gallery space. Lastly, I found a lot of the galleries online archives of previous exhibitions to be woefully lacklustre in regards to both textual information and too imagery, the former of which was typically non-existent, and so made the task of forming an idea of what the gallery was all about, very difficult. I found that using social media, instagram in my case, to search for the galleries, either by location or through hashtags, proved to be a far more successful means. In talking with Dallas, as well as fellow students, the proposition of hosting a pop-up exhibition of our own was discussed in detail. And so this is something I looked to research and present my findings of such, in week 2. Week 2 Week 2’s presentation concerned visibility, specifically our tactics and strategies for gaining such. Social media is, of course, one of the easiest and most powerful tools for such an end available at our dispense and so I spoke a lot in regards to social media platforms (instagram/facebook/twitter/flickr etc.). A quick summary of my strategy: (Commercial/art world) – Continue building my instagram presence (which currently sits at over 3,500 followers) and use such as leverage to grow on other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. – [commercial] Instagram, with thanks to its fairly recent acquisition by Facebook, has seen substantial growth and is now a hotbed for brands to promote their products/services. So, I will look to capitalise on such opportunities, by contacting companies whose products/services marry well with my work. Likely for free at first, to build up a portfolio, then look to paid work. – Be far more proactive in pushing my work to publications. Contact ‘online galleries’, newspapers, blogs and websites etc. with some examples of my work, a brief synopsis and so forth, and simply inquire as to whether they’d be interested in featuring it. Most recently, ‘Pupilsphere’ has contacted me (via instagram) asking to feature my work, but I have yet to respond… By the end of this unit, I shall have responded. – Look to collaborate with other photographer’s/artists. – Host competitions, with an entry requirement being to follow one of my social media feeds, by that instagram, facebook or twitter. – [art world] Visit workshops, exhibitions, talks/seminars, art fairs and any other such events hosted or attended by galleries, curators, directors or any other potential, ‘key holder’. In attending these events regularly, I am able to build networks with the right people, gain an understanding of how the gallery space works (work selection process for example), build an understanding of the galleries ‘personality’ (as to the directors/curators) and so forth. Information I could then use to perhaps tailor work to a gallery. – As mentioned in week 1’s blog entry, I was to research the possibility of ‘pop-up’ exhibitions. Westminster City Council has even gone so far as to have a guide on their official site, entitled, ‘using empty spaces for art projects’, which gives a run down of all you need to know and do, if you were to run such an event. Step one, is of course, locating a suitable premises to host the event in. These locations can be found online (google earth, forums, facebook community pages etc.) and with the help of agencies (www.interimspaces.co.uk for example) or by a good ol’ boots on the ground approach. – Business cards: We spoke a little on the usefulness of business cards, and though I’ve had some for a few years, I have rarely ever distributed them. They also need updating, with virtue to other advice received in week one… – Which leads me nicely onto… My personal website. I have finally put together a personal, professional website, of which I can use to curate a portfolio and direct potential clients to. The full presentation can be found on my personal blog. Week 3 Week 3 was a week of consolidation. Taking all of what I’d learnt from tutorials, via research and feedback, and consolidating such into the final assessment presentation. A lot of what I’d secured by the end of week 2, didn’t change, however and in response to feedback from Ori (also in week 2), I did more thoroughly research host artists (directors) of the spaces I had identified – to get an idea of who they are, and how they work. The proposition of hosting a pop-up exhibition was also subject of further research; identifying agencies that can assist with finding, securing and financing the rental of such spaces (interimspaces being the most interesting of the three; being a charity who help emerging artists with the costs associated with hosting a pop-up exhibition), as well as visibility tactics for such an event (mailing lists, inviting gallery curators etc.). Lastly, within our last tutorial with Ori (week 2), we were asked to identify an additional 17 targets (on top of the 3 in-depth research targets) – this was a bit of a struggle at first as I focused my searches exclusively on emerging artist galleries (supportive of such). But it became apparent that the targets could be, within reason… anything. And so, my interest shifted to modes of distribution, such as magazines and news publications (both physical prints & online pages) and then furthermore to blog features. All of which I shall now take an active role in pursuing. Week 4 (Summary) Before having partook in this unit, the possibility of exhibiting within a gallery space had never been something I had garnished with much attention. And though it may be true, that these spaces are feeble, trembling relics, I do now still believe they have a place and purpose with regards to my personal journey as an artist. Now, I still do not bestow much significance on commercial gallery spaces, for they are simply outside of my periphery currently, and so something I shall not expend time on. Even still, as a long-term goal, they just do not interest me much – for I am far more interested in spaces that place their emphasis on the artists as… artists, not as a means to make money (taking extortionate cuts of any sales). Art should never be about the money (yada-yada). My interest, then, lays within artist-run galleries. Galleries that place emphasis on art as art and galleries that build or uphold a creative community through workshops, residencies, studios and so forth. These spaces are the spaces that really interest and excite me. My short-medium term focus is still firmly placed on commission work, but there has always existed a desire to pursue my fine-art work with more vigour, to gradually make a shift to such as the main focus of my work… Artist-run galleries can prove a catalyst for such a shift, and provide a much-needed support/creative network. Through working with Ori, and so carrying out the work asked of me, I have gained a new appreciation for the agency and dogged discipline required of me, as an independent artist, to make my presence known. For whatever reason, that of which I do not quite know (but surmise a combination of fear and self-doubt), putting myself out there was always a pipe-dream, always something for tomorrow. Having to finally meditate on this, whilst working on the project, it came to my attention that I may never fully feel ready, and that the only way I could possibly make any progress, was to simply do it regardless. I’ve finally built the website I said I would 5 years ago, I’ve finally contacted galleries and organisations regarding my work, replied to promotion opportunities, ordered new business cards, started planning and buying equipment for a studio, presented my work to a panel confidently and without stuttering incomprehensibly, made contacts and connections for a documentary project I’ve been musing about for years, entered competitions, inquired about features and so on and so on. I’ve never felt as confident in my abilities and work as I do now, and it was this project that got me there. All I needed was some clarity of where I was headed, where I wanted to be.