As my starting point for this project, I decided to revisit prior work to define the topics and themes that arise within my work to define my target audience. This will enable me to specifically market/direct myself towards a niche market within the Art World, which I can then expand upon once established
INDENTITY- exploring identity confusion/ identity disturbances
IMAGE MAKING- collaboration responding to the increasing pressures on women to conform to societies ideals of beauty
HEREDITY- exploring the inherited characteristic and traits passed down through generations and how they shape us as individuals
IMPRESSION- using the skin as a canvas to express internal emotional tension
MISC IMAGES- REFLECTING ISOLATION, ABANDONMENT ISSUES, images that relate to standing out or being different
After reviewing my work, I concluded that my target audience would comprise of those who;
- Have or are similarly battling with mental health difficulties
- Can relate on some level to mental health struggles
- Have ties to those with mental health difficulties
- Have an interest of profession relating to mental health
- Interested in raising mental health awareness
With this information I decided to look into galleries or platforms that specifically facilitate artists addressing Mental Health alongside galleries committed to supporting up-and-coming artists, students and recent graduates.
Physical Vs Online gallery space
Online and physical spaces are drastically different, despite have the same intention of displaying and selling works of art; both spaces attract differing clientele, with varying intentions regarding art.
Physical galleries are seen as a more prestigious and professional space, attracting credited international Art dealers, collectors and professionals as well as members of the public. Physical art galleries allow potential clients and the public to interact and view the art within the space, giving the viewer an immersive experience. However, some of these galleries also still hold a lot of control in regards to what Art with be shown and how it will be presented to the public. Other physical galleries spaces will attempt to charge emerging artists for their physical space, knowledge and time, which I feel as well as being unfair, would suit my current financial situation.
I also know it is very difficult as an emerging artist to get a Solo exhibition however, some galleries that facilitate group shows in which like-minded artists are brought together to organize an exhibition together. I feel this would be a great way to meet other enthusiastic, likeminded artists and network as well as actively engage in the Art World while still being relatively well supported. Finally I also feel these types of Galleries tend to be more interested in Artists with an already establish art career, not students, post-graduates or emerging artists.
Online spaces are available 24/7, 365 days of the year, which although potentially allows your Art to capture wider attention, however it removes the exclusivity and the interaction with the Art that a gallery space enables. Despite this, online galleries often give artists their own “page” and allow you to display several pieces of work from varying collections, as well as a Biography and Artist statement, and links to a website and social media accounts, all of which can be tailored to the ideal target audience.
Conclusively, I feel is much easier to gain access to the Online Art World and I feel, as an emerging artist, this would be an effective way to initially start marketing myself. Although I still very much aim to be represented by a physical gallery space, I will also be looking into the prospect of online gallery spaces.
When researching galleries, I compiled a check list of questions I wanted answered;
- Does the galleries support emerging artists or those addressing mental health?
- Who runs the gallery? Directors, curators, managers, founders, owners?
- What sort of Art work does the gallery currently display?
- Look into some of the galleries artists, how are they promoted?
- Find out what the gallery can offer you as an artist
- Will there be any costs involved?
- How much control do you have over your art once represented by the gallery?
- How they will promote you? Online or in a gallery? Just sending your name to a mailing list? Or specifically contacting clients who will be interested?
- Do they attend art fairs? If so which ones?
- Social media accounts and platforms
- Read terms and conditions!
Fragmentary- Online gallery space
Art website focussed on exploring complex mental health issues through photographic projects. Fragmentary.org was founded and is currently run by photographer and Free Space Project Director and Mentor Daniel Regan. (Regan, is a 12-year mental health service user who created Fragmentary.org after creating a body of work from his historic medical records from Brighton & Hove for a residency at the Free Space Project). Fragmentary.org shows work and supports artists in various stages of their careers as well as offering monthly peer group meet ups which provides a space for artists to discuss and further their photographic and theoretical practice with like-minded artists.
Although the layout of fragmentary appears less “professional” than galleries spaces, it is very easy to navigate your way through the site to access the information you require. As well as searching through the “Home” page, you are also able to search for projects addressing specific mental health diagnosis. Each artist on the website is given their own page containing imagery, an artist statement as well a written interview and links to their website and social media pages.
I feel Fragmentary.org would be an ideal website for my work to be initially presented on as they provide such an in depth platform for the artist to be exposed upon.
On fragmentary I found one photographer who creates surrealist narratives in response to her experiences of Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder. I personally found this very uplifting as Nicolette Clara Iles is the first photographer I am aware of who has openly responded to personal experiences of Personality Disorders.
As well as Fragmentary.org being a great support work for me, I would also be able to bring another my own experiences and responses to living with a Personality Disorder, website submissions must include short artist statement, project statement and maximum 15 images.
- Twitter: @fragmentary_art
- Facebook: Fragmentary
- Daniel Regan: @funnytimeofyear
The Free Space Project
Kentish Town Health Centre
2 Bartholomew Road
The Free space project is an Arts and well-being charity, established in 2010, that aims to relieve mental and physical suffering through the use of Arts. Working with both emerging and establish artists the project provides art activities, therapies across two NHS sites in London as well as providing residencies and exhibitions for artists exploring health and well-being. Monthly led artists peer groups, led by Photographer and Fragmentary.org founder Daniel Regan, are open to all and are targeted at networking, discussing projects, sharing professional experience and providing support.
The Free Space Project doesn’t appear to promote artists or their work on their website but you are able to view all current and prior exhibitions. However their Twitter (@FreeSpaceProj) and Facebook (FreeSpaceProject) accounts do show artists work as well as news relating to the project.
Very contemporary website layout that is easily accessible and contains lots of white space, however I struggled to find any information regarding the running of the gallery and what the gallery can offer to artists or anything regarding Art Fairs.
An online and physical gallery space located on the grounds of The Royal Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital Beckenham, London. The Gallery was set up in 1997 to showcase the work of residents/inpatients and out patients Art Therapy classes. A small artist-led team including Curator Sam Curtis provide a professional exhibition space in a supportive artist-focused environment.
Bethlem Gallery offers studio-based workshop sessions with guest artists and speakers however the website states that the gallery primarily exhibits work by artists that have had prior contact with the South London and Maudsley (S.L.A.M.) NHS Foundation Trust. I have personally been “under the care of” S.L.A.M. NHS Foundation Trust since I was 16, which could potentially enable me to exhibit at the gallery, however, it is also stated that the average waiting list for solo exhibitions is 3years. Despite this there is the opportunity to have your work promoted on their website as well as availabilities to present in several group exhibitions that run throughout the year both on and off site, which would enable me to work with enthusiastic like-minded artists in a well-supported environment.
The Bethlem gallery also collaborates with a number as artists-in-residences, several research partners as well as Bethlem Museum of the Mind (a museum set up to celebrate the achievements of people with mental health struggles) as well as running a Saturday studio space available to all former patients of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust created through a collaboration between Bethlem Gallery and the Bethlem Royal Hospital’s Occupational Therapy Arts Studios. The Maudsley Charity runs a micro-grant scheme which provides up to £500 for small projects aiding in mental health awareness for which you can apply online.
In the artists section I noted that Bethlem predominantly represents Illustrators, Painters and Sculptors were represented on the site currently alongside only 4 photographers. One of these is Liz Atkin a visual artists based in London who, through the use of art and dance, recovered from Compulsive Skin Picking
- In the “Artist” section of the website, each artist has a short Biography bellow a horizontal click-to-scroll image display. I feel this layout’s simplicity and use of white space gives room for the viewer to reflect upon the images; and I feel my “Heredity” series would sit well in this arrangement, although I would need to work on a Bio.
- Before I became a former user of The Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s facilities, I entered a photography competition which allowed me to have an image of mine on permanent display in the clinical research facility in King’s College Hospital, London. Now, as a (predominantly) recovered patient, I plan to contact The Bethel Gallery about speaking to the Gallery Curator Sam Curtis.
- Instagram: @bethlemgallery
- Twitter: @Bethlem_Gallery