NAN in conversation with Faye Claridge
NAN talks to Faye Claridge, who received a NAN Re-View bursary in February 2008 in order to initiate mentoring with curator Katy Barron.
NAN: Faye, tell us about your work.
FC: I work mainly in photography and video to explore subjectivity and our relationships to strangers, to social identity and to the past. In my latest pieces I worked with Morris dancers from a number of different traditions, creating specially painted backdrops to explore a myriad of social and artistic issues. I deliberately workson the margins of society, with groups who are ridiculed or feared for the image they portray of themselves and their national identity.
NAN: How did you use your NAN bursary?
FC: I worked with an experienced curator from the commercial gallery world to find out more about this area and to empower my decisions ahead of my first solo show with a commercial gallery in London. Focussing on photographic exhibitions, I was able to learn about framing, pricing, networks and timescales to gain a much fuller understanding of the sector.
I’ve been heavily involved in the artist-led activity in the Midlands over recent years, but there is no commercial scene established in Birmingham or the surrounding areas. As such, my experience has been quite unique and it’s been really valuable to be able to share this through the Self Service network group.
NAN: What has the bursary meant for your career?
FC: I achieved far great confidence and awareness, sometimes learning harsh lessons about expectations of quality and technical know-how from commercial galleries. I am also far more familiar with pricing, commissions and art fair strategies now. During the mentor period I had work exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery and Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, both of which experiences were greatly helped by the project and background information I was able to gather.
NAN: Has your practice changed as a result of the mentoring you received through NAN?
FC: I am now far more confident in my relationships with galleries and my awareness of how my work can benefit from (or reject) the opportunities within the commercial sector. My peers now also have some of this information (having heard of my experiences) and are continuing to ask for peer-to-peer support in dealing with commercial galleries. While commercial success is not the main aim for most of us, being aware of the potential and the operations of this field is vital and will be a huge benefit for the decisions we make in years to come.
NAN: What are you working on at the moment?
FC: My exhibition at Danielle Arnaud is open until 3 May and I have another solo show opening at the Three White Walls Gallery, Birmingham, on 16 April (until 26 May). I’m also going to be in the Skies exhibition at Nottingham Castle from 8 May, re-showing the photographic series that was commissioned for the Tatton Park Biennial. After all that I’m having my first child at the end of May, so expect to be a little quieter career-wise for a while!
NAN Re-View bursaries support artists to artist or curatorial critique and professional development at strategic points in artists' careers, providing opportunities to take stock and feed the development of new work. These bursaries were made available to artists between 2006 and 2008 thanks to three year support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the continued financial commitment of a-n The Artists Information Company.
The current NAN bursary scheme includes Go and See, research and development bursaries for artists' groups and networks.
All NAN bursaries are assessed and awarded by a national Artists' Advisory Group, pioneering peer reviewed funding for artists.
Faye Claridge's work can be seen on www.fayeclaridge.co.uk
First published: a-n.co.uk April 2009
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