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Navigating the Art World. Artist Salon No. 1.

Updated: Apr 2



Just like my studio opening event (I know, I know, I’ve not written about it yet!) the Artist Salon was as delightful as I hoped it would be. I’d been out and bought tablecloths to cover the work tables, made sure I had enough chairs, napkins, cutlery; on this occasion I used paper plates but I plan on having a nice wee stock of hand made ceramics plates and serving dishes for the future. I made Quorn meatballs in a tomato sauce and managed to keep it warm all afternoon wrapped in a bath towel and a plastic shopping bag. I had a bag of tortilla chips in the studio cupboard so we had them as an accompaniment. For future events I’ll pay more attention to promoting its pot luck meal vibe.

These plates came out the kiln a few days later.

The idea for this event came about while thinking of ways to create connections for artists to support each other in the pursuit of financial stability while maintaining artistic integrity. I wanted it to feel like a modern version of historical conversational gatherings of intellectuals, artists and politicians. My version of this includes time to catch up, settle in, set the table, serve up, then get down to business. I wrote a bit more about my thoughts on the event over on LinkedIn.


In attendance were -

You can find them all on Instagram, go show some love.


For this first Salon I had questions in mind but I deliberately kept the structure pretty loose to allow for the conversation to go where it needed to, interjecting questions when it felt like direction was needed. I had intended on taking notes while everyone was talking but it took me out of the conversational flow so I didn’t this time but here’s what I noted later on the evening…

  • Everyone had the deep urge to make art.

  • Two forms of compromise within artistic practice came up.

    • Having a job to provide a regular income.

    • Making commercial work that sells more easily due to subject, price and/or size.

    • I'd also add in here, my own compromise - taking on freelance work on the side.

  • Imagining an artist's golden life, everyone imagined financial stability while doing what they love.

  • We were all women.

  • We were an assortment of new graduates and established artists, each one with a very different artistic practice, including painting, sculpture, a.i., performance and digital.

We also talked about being female artists; being discouraged by tutors from using pink within work during degree show year; being a mother artist, its disadvantages and its advantages; and racial tokenism within organisations and how that feels.


We were so engrossed none of us took photos of the event except this one.
The artist salon had accomplished its goal of facilitating meaningful discussions and igniting creative sparks. It reminded all participants that within the labyrinthine art world, there exists a tapestry of opportunities waiting to be woven. The challenge lies in embracing these opportunities while staying true to one's artistic vision. As artists continue to navigate this complex landscape, they are armed with the knowledge that their creativity holds the power to shape not only their lives but also the world around them. - ChatGPT

My general observations of the conversation were that the compromise of a supporting job was inevitable and accepted. Of course I have absolutely no objection to a supporting job, everybody needs money to live and sometimes it even feeds into the creative practice. What I'm wrestling with is that I don't want that for me. I've tried it, it's been fine but it's not how I want to live, I'm sure there are others who have similar feelings. It's only been 10 months since I've been solely focusing on my career as an artist and I've no idea how I would fit a regular job in. I've recently (this week!) realised I'm an all or nothing kind of person. If I'm not all in I'm not doing it properly, I work better focusing on one thing at a time and giving it my full attention. I have other thoughts on my own practice and way of being I'm going to commit to a different post so as not to go off tangent with this one.


So following on from the Salon, my question to my fellow artists is, what would your world look like if you could live off your creativity? If it was a realistic possibility what would your life look like? What is your ambition for your art, what do you want to achieve with it? I believe there's something bigger to be achieved here and I'm like a dog with a bone trying to get there. If you want to, share your thoughts in the comments.

 

The NEXT SESSION will be held at 6:30pm on Thursday the 21st September in my Newport On Tay studio and will continue on the third Thursday of the month. Attendees will be a combination of invited guests and anyone who feels they have something to contribute to the conversation and wants to come along.


If you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’re in a position to do so, please go Buy Me A Coffee or two.



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