Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Emily Speed
Rather than talk about my work on here (I have tried it and it seems to make me quite despondent) I have decided it will be far more helpful for me to explore some of the issues facing artists trying to make a living out of this business...
# 270 [9 November 2011]
I wanted to add this scrappily drawn diagram here - it tracks life post YSP and how the exhibition has positively influenced things and directly brought in work.
The curator and I really wanted to make something that could be used as a document to show the effect that supporting emerging artists can have and to encourage the park to continue to take chances. I did also write it as a list for her - not everyone needs pictures to understand things after all :D
I just got the work delivered back to the studio last week so it was good to reflect a little bit.
I'm sure I missed things out too, but it's a good start.
# 269 [3 October 2011]
First, a cheekily brilliant look at getting paid by Mister Bingo:
Second, yet another warning about Debut Contemporary. I saw this while I was in Japan and I thought it was important to flag up, particularly because Teresa has written so openly about it.
Don't go there, please.
# 268 [1 August 2011]
So, for the first time in months I’ve had a bit I headspace. I’ve been getting a few things clear and have decided that the blog may have come to a natural end. I’ve been thinking this for a while and while I don’t plan on declaring it dead, I think it is going to become a place to highlight links and interesting projects rather than the diary-style blog it has been.
There is, of course, a ton more to be said about getting paid, artists’ rights and working conditions, but as I’ve been writing from a personal point of view, I’ve started to realise that the same issues re-coccur constantly. I feel like I have been round the carousel once and have started to experience similar things again, and I really don’t want to start repeating myself.
I plan to have a good rake through the blog and make a kind of summary PDF document of all the good stuff. Over the next year I have plans to work on a few long-term projects that involve putting some of the getting paid knowledge into action. I’d also like to do a bit of writing around the bigger picture after gathering some research together.
I still get a fair few emails every month (thank you C for the confirmation about Debut Contemporary being worth avoiding - a hilarious email about cameras/pink bowties and a completely lack of transparency in their proceedings). I really appreciate those and all the comments/dialogue the blog has brought and I will miss it. Getting Paid has just been a great thing to do all round and has brought me some really interesting friends and employment. Thanks everyone.
# 267 [19 July 2011]
Just looking into mycake.com, an online book-keeping tool recommended by Binita Walia @Tspaceinbetween (of Myideasbook)
Online book-keeping and benchmarking. Costs £149.99 + VAT = £179.99 per year
Cheaper than an accountant... but still more than I have to spare at the moment. The webiste uses Kashflow software, so I might try a free 60 day trial of that first: http://www.kashflow.com/landing/indexb.asp although the first two months with mycake are free to help with cashflow, which is thoughtful. It is set up for teeny creative businesses, so I guess they would have thought of that!
Interestingly, they say they show you how you are comparing to others in the sector (anonymously of course!), I am also attracted by things being backed up and reminders for overdue invoices.
I have always done my own tax return/accounts before with basic excel spreadsheets, but am finding that my income & expenditure are becoming incresingly complicated. Add to this a year or more of being completely absorbed in a heavy works load and I am a bit of a mess in my paper-life.
Think it might be time to look at getting some help!
Anyone have any other recommendations for how they cope with accounting?
Also via Binita, a free e book: The 5 big mistakes creative people make with money: http://lateralaction.com/moneymistakes/
The 5 mistakes being these:
1. Burying your head in the sand
2. Doing the bare minimum at the last minute
3. Not charging enough
4. Working with crap clients
5. Letting expenses get out of hand.
Hmm, I seem to be guily of 3/5 of those!
# 266 [19 July 2011]
Well, the exhibition is up and I think it went ok.... I am in the obligatory black hole at the moment, feeling a bit dazed and empty and also like I'll never have any ideas ever again. That's not strictly true as I have already found myself reaching for a notebook whilst trying to get to sleep.
But generally I am pleased, especially with the catalogue. The book was part of the exhibition budget as it cost far too much to print for YSP to actually make any money from selling it. This is something that forms a vital part of career development: providing me with a document that can be used as a legacy of the exhibition and to support future applications.I think it costs around £3,500 to print the edition and personally I would rather have this spent on a book than wages, especially when I consider how much work and expertise went into laying it out etc. It sells for £5.
Thanks to Rachel Howfield for coming along to the opening, brilliant to meet someone in the flesh that I feel like I know fairly well just through Artist's Talking.
(How embarrassing - just interrupted by water-meter man. His look of horror at the piles of boxes and cardboard in the front room did make me blush a little).
I also just wanted to add this link, a piece by Alistair Gentry on the excess of artists. This has come up before, especially in Hans Abbing's 'Why Artist's are Poor'. It's funny. I especially like suggestion #7:
Eliminate every situation in which an artist is expected to be an underpaid teacher, social worker, daycare nanny or some combination of the aforementioned. Eliminate the very idea that artists are meant to fulfil these roles.
In the section titled 'First against the wall when the revolution comes' various groups are mentioned, including artists:
 Artists. The ones who stab other artists in the back, the ones who work for nothing instead of demanding proper pay, the ones who care about nothing and nobody but themselves. Compliant artists who never complain no matter how badly they’re treated, because they’re scared of blotting their copy book. The liars and plagiarists.
# 265 [9 July 2011]
The Money Vacuum phenomenon.
I have just realised why artists are often out of pocket on projects (one reason among many).
When close to the opening of an exhibition something happens and we start to throw money at it. Extra fast postage, having something made because you're out of time, getting things made/printed just in case, even though if you had time to really think, you'd know you didn't need said things. etc etc.
Before you know it, you've spend a fortune because you want the thing to be right, or the best it can be.
I knew this already of course, but I think I'll remember it next time. My behaviour will probably stay the same though.
# 264 [8 July 2011]
Thanks to those people who got in touch about lost artwork and things. Interesting that no one did it publicly, but understandable, especially when some have not resolved the situations. That also applies if you want to work with that organisation again too I guess. A bit worryingly, seven people replied and not one had been reimbursed in full and five had not received anything or are still in dispute. Seems like a situation where artists hold none of the power.
Also, before I disappear into install next week, I wanted to put this invitation out into the ether, but especially for any bloggers who might live in Yorkshire and fancy popping in to the opening!
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
EMILY SPEED: MAKE SHIFT
Private View Invitation
15.07.11 / 17.30–19.30 / Bothy Gallery
YSP warmly invites you to the private view of
Emily Speed: MAKE SHIFT
MAKE SHIFT is the first solo exhibition by Emily Speed, including new sculpture, installation, drawing and photography made in response to YSP’s built environment. Emily’s work explores the temporary and the transient through reference to architecture and the body. She examines buildings, both literally and metaphorically, as physical shelters and as containers for memory, bound with the history of their occupiers.
RSVP online or call 01924 830579
Emily Speed Study Day & Picnic
06.08.11 / 11.00–16.00 / £4 / Book online
Supported by Design Centre North
I think I am due a post about what it has been like working at YSP as I've never worked anywhere like it or had this amount of support before. The curator asked if I would mind writing a little bit about how it has benefitted me - to put the case forward for continuing to support smaller scale shows by emerging artists. Honestly, I could write an essay. If all big institutions did this for just one artist a year, I honestly think it would change the amount of mid-level opportunities massively.
But enough for now... I still have some more work to make!
# 263 [4 July 2011]
Apologies for my absence. Times are busy and my brain is feeling like a jumble sale.But, I wanted to flag this issue of galleries not handling work very well.
Unfortunately last year, a piece of my work disappeared while it was at CUBE Gallery. Luckily, we had filled out a condition form and they had no problem accepting blame. It did take some time (9 months), but I received around half the sale price from them as compensation, a compromise for both os us but the best solution. Despite their willingness to cooperate, this was a really stressful thing to have to deal with, especially asking for money. So what do you so if the gallery refuse to admit blame and won't have any part in helping you out after they damage work?
A friend recenty posted an angry scribd post about such a situation - expensive prints getting damaged and the galleriest refusing to accept blame. Making things public is difficult too - it leaves you with a strained relationship (if you even want to work with that person again!).
Has anyone been in such a situation before, and how did you handle it? Did you have a happy outcome?
# 262 [11 June 2011]
I've been meaning to mention this for ages, but Ellie Harrison's Work-athon for the self employed takes place on Monday.
I really like the idea of this, lots of self employed people all coming together in one place for a day and working 9-5 together. I was disappointed not to be able to go (mainly because I am already committed to a workshop in Blackpool, but the London thing doesn't help either). But if I were free and closer, I would totally be there with my thick rimmed glasses on and new stationery to hand :D
# 261 [1 June 2011]
Just found this Art Worker app on itunes:
It's pretty simple but works out a suggested daily rate as well as fees for talks/workshops (based on yearly outgoings) and prices for work. It's a bit like a-n's fees calculator basically.
I like it. I am planning to use it as a third party in any discussions about payments, mainly if I need some time to think/pluck up courage. Think 'Art Worker app says no'.
It costs £1.79.
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