Times they are a-changing.
Excellent news from the Royal Standard studio group with several people (present and past) going away to study for postgrads in various brilliant places. Other artists I know in Liverpool are also looking to move away or abroad, just bcause the time has come to do further study and expand horizons. Makes me want to do my MA all over again (but please don’t make me!)
I’ve just been reading bits of Art in a City Revisited, a book about the effect of 2008 on Liverpool. It struck me how many of the people who have shaped the events of that year, and those around it, belong to my studio generation (they are in quite a few of the pics as proof!). I worry that the graduates coming out into the city do not have the same confidence or ambition, but mostly that they are not operating in clumps. You need a clump of people to start a studio/gallery space and you need to be solid and have a lot of trust.
There is a plethora of sunday painters in Liverpool. Then there are a level of artists who are serious about what they’re doing, but they’re not quite getting it. That sounds harsh, but what I mean by that is that they aren’t seeing enough or paying enough attention to the wider art world or being really honest with themselves to really make ambitious, engaged work. Then there are a number of artists who are going places, but it’s early days. It is these people that seem to be leaving, perhaps because they need a level of critical engagement that Liverpool can’t always deliver. It can at times and especially during the Biennial, but not always. Then there are a few artists like Paul Rooney and Leo Fitzmaurice who have stayed in Liverpool, but operate internationally. There isn’t much inbetween. As far as I can see, the art school is vital in this city to change this and I breathe a sigh of relief that JMU has announced that Fine Art will be taking admissions again for next year’s intake. Hopefully this year out will be their fresh start.
Personally, I feel like leaving Liverpool and going away somewhere to get my head stuck into 6 months quiet research. It’s not very satisfying when I’m trying to make the best stuff I can for YSP but it feels compromised by the need to work and make money. Art in Education projects are bringing in good rates of pay on paper, but they also drain masses of my energy. I have still not found a good balance.
Anthony Boswell also announced the end of his blog recently
and I will miss his musings, but I also thought -fair enough! Personally, I have been trying to develop a few things (and applying for funding) that will enable a more hands on approach to looking at the ethics and economies of being a working artist. This is Getting Paid in practice rather than text I suppose. With the advent of cuts and change in government, far more people are engaged in these important issues of fair pay and treatment and this blog is becoming less useful – or more commonplace, which is a brilliant thing. I want to stay away from complaining (although it is important) and spend more time looking at ways of uniting artists to insist on better working conditions as standard.
As a-n says in their comment on ACE Funding:
“a-n calls on all these funded galleries to allocate fees and payments to artists in support of the critical mass to guarantee that quality visual arts will emerge in the future.”
More of that please.