I have been neglecting this blog a bit whilst busy with various applications and projects, but I have started meeting with people as part of my re:view bursary. In fact I am nearly half way through my meetings. So perhaps I should at least put pixel to screen about who I am meeting and why. Already I have met curator Elaine Speight and artists Emma Smith and Erica Scourti. Next up I will be meeting curator and writer Matthew Hearn and Director of InSite Arts Sarah Collicott. Plus throughout the process Gill Park, Director of Pavilion, is acting as a mentor whereby I will meet with her several times.
I am asking the curators/directors to look at my portfolio and give some feedback on my work. Conversely I am asking the artists to tell me about their work – how they find or create opportunities, how they collaborate with others and how they frame or articulate what they do as artists.
A lot of my artwork over the past couple of years has been site or context responsive and more latterly has also developed with input from participants in a particular locality. Partially this is because I am interested in working in non-gallery public settings and in exploring collaboration with others; partially it has been pragmatic. 3 years ago I made the move from having a regular non-artist job in the arts – which gave me a stable although meagre income – to trying to earn more income from being an artist. Although I have continued with other freelance roles, I have actively been pursuing the possibility of earning money as an artist through residencies and commissions. The projects that have had the biggest budgets are the ones where I respond to a particular place or a particular people, often working with participants from the community.
Now I want to reflect on this period of working, to explore whether site-responsive or collaborative working is becoming intrinsic to what I do or if this is a distraction from my real concerns. Or more likely, it is one strategy amongst several. So I have chosen to meet with curators who work on programmes where site or place is particularly important, to get their perspective on my work. Plus I will talk with artists who work collaboratively or responsively in a research-based way in a variety of settings, but balance this with a profile in terms of gallery exhibitions or projects/residencies with arts organisations.