Selecting images putting work in public spaces that feels ….like a compromise it feels like I’ve sold out – it’s like the ‘take away’ part of the art… I am thinking about the way big galleries also monetise art with shop products Hockney mugs, Blow cushions and even dungarees! I decided to do this residency 2 years ago because of getting fed up of galleries making me feel like I had to come up with something saleable, or telling me they were going to curate the work but then putting all of it up like a market place.
I wanted to gain control and integrity and so I have to choose how necessary it is to a) make some £ b) for the work to be seen in context c) place work where people visit for other reasons.
If I am receiving public funding there is less pressure to sell work, but it is better to try to develop ways of supporting myself other than public funding, and I said as much in my application, in reality of course these ways are not sufficient on their own, nor is the temporary nature of public funding but they do provide a framework of support to build over time. In an environment where there are no clear career paths it is a constant challenge and the agencies that have helped me are Arts Council England, a-n.co.uk, Axisweb and local artists network Blue Monkey (Towner Gallery) providing professional support where they can. Yet I still need more! It seems to me the more I do the more I need further support with as it involves breaking new ground. Is this the same for other artists I wonder?
The commercial side of making art is a real drag, it’s a completely different skill set. It’s about what the market wants not what the artist is pursuing. Getting the balance right is the main thing I think. The dependency of artist in relation to work, to funder, to consumer the anchor must always be the work or the artistic practice, then the funder supports that on the surface and the consumer takes the image or experience away. That’s how I want to keep it.