Saturday, October 22, 2011

Interview October 2011

I was recently contacted by a MASS Art student who had a homework assignment to interview an artist.  I thought it would be nice to share the questions and answers here.  Hope you find them helpful. -a

1. How do you combine studio practice with your life? (Location of studio in relation to your home. Is your studio at home or somewhere else?) 

As an artist it can be quite a challenge to keep one’s expenses from exceeding one’s earnings, so in order to cut corners, I use my home as my studio.  My home is an open, loft-like space, so it is easy to throw down a tarp, pull out my easel and art supplies, and create.  I find it is impossible to create successful artwork at “home”, so in order to get in the zone, I set aside specific days for studio time.

2. What keeps you sane in your studio, to stay engaged with your art?

Beyond setting aside specific days (anticipating my studio time helps me get in creative mode) I also insist that there are no interruptions while I’m creating.  This means no phone, no computer (unless I need it to create), and no television. It also means I get the house to myself during studio time.  The people in my life respect and understand why this is important. Putting these structures in place doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to create great art, but taking my studio time seriously at least gets me more than halfway there.

3. What do you do when you can’t realize an idea?

I find if life has gotten in the way and I haven’t been able to maintain a consistent studio schedule, my work falters.  There are times when I envisioned what I wanted to do and yet the end result is a disappointment.  But I know with enough commitment to consistent studio time, my work will improve, and I will be able to successfully accomplish what I set out to do. 

I think it is important to remember nothing is a waste.  Even if what you created isn’t up to snuff, that doesn’t mean the process was all for nothing. 

4. What motivates you to keep working? (What inspires you? What do you get out of making art?)

Creating gives me a peace and fulfillment that no other activity can offer.  It is what I am meant to do.  I find when I haven’t had time to do something creative in a while I get weird: I can’t sleep, and I start obsessing about baking!  (I don’t cook at all.)

Someone recently asked me why I am an artist.  I told him I am an artist because, for me, making art is like breathing.  If I couldn’t make art, my soul would die.

5. Does your art serve a purpose? (Is it personal or global?)

My goal is to create art that touches others.  So in a way it operates on both a personal and global level.

6. How often do you consider the viewer? (How do you want people to view your work?)

I am always reluctant to answer someone when they ask me what something I created means.  On the other hand, I enjoy listening to viewers’ interpretations of my art, and I love hearing from customers why they selected the piece they are buying.  I find that people understand exactly what I was trying to convey.

7. Tell me all the right and wrong things. 

Hmmmm, I’m not sure what this question means.  This doesn’t really answer the question, but I can say most creators, whether they are musicians, artists, and/or actors, graduate from school without an inkling of how to earn a living.  It has taken me years of trial and error to learn how to be a successful creative entrepreneur.  That is why I am now teaching workshops through the Jamaica Plain Arts Council and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, so that I may train others how to avoid wasting their time, money and energy along the way to reaching success in their field. All I can say is that artists must remember they are a small business and a brand, therefore they are a boss and business owner.  It is up to them to take the initiative and responsibility to be focused in their career.

8. How do you approach marketing and publicity?

This is a large part of what I teach, and there is too much to go into.  But I can say marketing oneself is a full-time commitment in and of itself.  I maintain my brand through a consistent online presence, guerrilla marketing tactics, and booking exhibitions.

9. How do you support yourself?

In addition to showing and selling my artwork, I teach for the Jamaica Plain Arts Council and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston.  I also work on an individual basis as a Creative Coach.  And I am an independent consultant for local small businesses.

10. What is the greatest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in order to continue to be an artist?

Time management!  I teach a class on that as well! J

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great, short article about Sacred Space

We all need sacred spaces where we can unwind, regroup, think, dream, create...the list goes on and on.  In my workshops I stress how important it is that creative entreprenuers maintain their work space as sacred, and how it is vital those around them regard it as sacred as well. 

Here is the link.  Enjoy!