I feel like I should own up a bit today. I had a lovely comment from Rosalind Davis on my blog yesterday, which I really appreciated. BUT! I wanted to say that although I have very strong opinions on some things and trying to improve conditions for artists, I am far from advanced in this (as Rosalind suggests).
The problem starts when I have to negotiate my own working conditions – then I fall far short of my own ideal standards and quickly into the trap of undercharging. Sometimes I know I am doing it, but don’t feel I can ask for more. Other times I only realise afterwards when the work kicks in and I calculate my hourly rate with horror. Thankfully, while sorting out some support from a-n for an upcoming event I’m working on, Susan Jones stopped me in my tracks and re-did the budget. In a nice way, the message was something like, for goodness sake Emily, read your own blog and apply it to real life will you?!?
So easy as it is to see the value in other people’s work, correct their underpricing and feed with reassurance and confidence, it’s just not that simple for yourself. That might be a good reason for keeping in touch with other artists and build up good networks. Then you’ll have someone around to set you straight when you forget you need to eat.
Feeling fairly rotten today. Have been keeping a cold thing at bay for a while, but I think I am about to sucumb. I might just stay home today and keep warm!
Last week was great – really busy and exciting and interesting. Paul Domela came from the Biennial to talk to us at A Curriculum. Interesting for me to hear from the horse’s mouth about the Biennial’s approach and intentions. Also good to hear a bit more about his background and unconventional route into his current position.
There was some family stuff going on this week too, but I managed to get to Bernd Behr’s talk on Thursday. It was a fascinating insight into his residency at the Centre for Land Use Interpretation and the resulting work. Then we had studio visits back at A Foundation where I faced some tough questions from Bernd that confirmed what I was thinking about the weaknesses in current ideas/plans. All good.
Friday was a talk from Kate MacGarry. This proved to be a very down-to-earth chat about how the gallery came into being and what her relationship with the gallery artists involves and how she keeps a happy ship. We also heard about certain expenisve and challenging works and how they came into being. Nice to have some things confirmed (like how not to approach a gallery) and learn lots more about how it works and what having a gallery represent you might involve. I came away thinking that I am not near that yet. Not saying never, but definitely not now.
She also came down to A Foundation and did studio visits in the afternoon and it was lovely to talk about ideas and have a non-academic/theory laden approach in contrast to Bernd’s visit. She also gave me plenty of ideas about how to solve current technical difficulties and a bit of reassurance that what I plan to make is interesting.. after worrying about repeating myself I now feel that it is more about developing work further.
On Saturday I did a workshop at Hot Bed Press and then dropped off some work for an exhibition I am in (opens Thursday) at Rogue Project Space. This show ‘Built’ includes five women artists who respond to the built environment and is curated by Liz Murphy of Contents May Vary. Although I haven’t made anything new, which feels strange, I am looking forward to showing alongside these particular artists.
Yesterday I threw a baby shower for my twin sister. She only has four weeks to go and I’m very excited about being an Aunt (Aunty Em). It was great fun, but knackering and now I am finished off.
Today I shall remain wrapped up and do some writing/admining/account maintenance ahead of the end of the tax year and budgeting. I couldn’t sleep thinking about my workload last night so it will be great to cross some things off my list.
BUILT – search for Built on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com
Ugh, waited in all day for a man to come and fix things up. Rather than between 8 – 1, it was actually 4.30 when they rocked up. As it was – the day was mainly a write off and I’m frustrated. Having trouble sleeping at the moment as I have so much on my plate, probably too much. I did a quick write down of tasks and instead of calming me down, it actually made things seem impossible. Not enough days in the week.
This is all compounded by the fact that I am having various technical difficulties with the work I want to make, i.e. everything I’ve tried to make so far has FAILED. Add in the theatre set that is turning out to be a fire-proofing nightmare. I have already done various trips to pick up and collect cardboard and I feel like burning it all, maybe adding the resin and catalyst to the pile too for extra flames.
Tomorrow morning is for set making. I can only give thanks for the fact that Elizabeth Willow is coming to help me. It can only get better right…..
Have been doing a lot of thinking about skill swapping and passing knowledge on this weekend. Hoping to have a bookbinding day with a couple of friends sometime soon to pass on what I have learned about hardback binding. I shall ask for tea and cake in return.
I have also been drawing really cheesy pictures to go on the poster for the local drama group’s next play. Hope no one ever sees them connected to my name…. but I am glad I can do this kind of thing to help them out!
I feel very lucky at the moment as we artists in A Curriculum are about to start receiving visitors at A Foundation. This week we have Paul Domela from Liverpool Biennial, Bernd Behr (an artist whose work I am very interested in) and Kate MacGarry, owner of Kate MacGarry Gallery in London. The visitors will give a talk in the morning and then do studio visits in the afternoon. I’ve never had a studio visit before and don’t have much idea of what to expect….but I know this is not the time to start talking about my work like it’s a load of crap.
I have noticed a few of us on the residency have a tendency to rubbish what we are doing and sentances are frequently cut short by a ‘or whatever’ or ‘you know, it’s just stuff’ and other throwaway comments. As an experiment I am going to try and approach it like I am cataloguing myself for Intute. My remit there is to be factual and non-emotional about resources. It has taken me a long time to be able to write like that and to emit myself from text (I have obviously not grown out of my egocentric stage of development), and perhaps it’s one way of presenting myself with some vague whiff of confidence or self belief, or whatever, you know, that sorta stuff! *blushes and avoids eye contact*
Monday – and started by waiting in for the postman to deliver materials that didn’t come, rubbish. Was planning to work with those this afternoon in A Foundation, but maybe tomorrow.
Just wanted to flag up this:
This is an online conversation I am having with Anna Francis as part of her month guest editoring the Longhouse website. There are a few conversations on the go, we are manily talking about activism in the arts and improving working conditions for artists (sound familiar?).
The weekend was fantastic – hardback bookbinding with Lucy May Schofield at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Amazing results and it sorted out a lot of my bad habits.
Last night I went to the pub with me ma and over a few glasses of plonk she manged to help me sort out all sorts of irrational thoughts I have been having about making work at A Curriculum. I have no idea where all the insecurity comes from, but I shall have to ignore it if I want to make anything…
This morning was invoices, phone calls about unpaid invoices and updating accounts. They are behind still. I have made a list, which may help me to prioritise, it may not. Now I am off to Metal at Edge Hill for a meeting about the Liverpool Art Prize exhibition, then A Foundation, then cooking tea for my granny, then home for Glee with sister, bath and bed. What an exciting life!