Tag Archives: Art

Making Space aka Decluttering and Letting Go

I’ve been aware of 100 day projects for a while now. The ones that help creatives (or not so creatives) create creative habits. The one I discovered and have decided to commit to is #The100 DayProject -starting (yesterday) April 6, 2015!! luna-100dayproject-pledge1

Artist Elle Luna came across the idea while at Yale School of art thanks to teacher Micheal Beirut who sets this assignment to graduate design students. He says he was fascinated “with the ways that creative people balance inspiration and discipline in their working lives” and describes the experience and some of the results in this article on The Design Observer.

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I tossed around a few ideas along the creative lines of making a collage, doing a still life, organising and photographing the bucket of scissors I bought for $20, choosing one medium like watercolour or coloured pencils and playing with that, making patterns, exploring hand lettering – all worthy projects and I’m sure I will do some of them. One day. But I felt the need to be challenged. A need to do something that I really want to do but procrastinate about.

I realised my fascination with this idea was around the psychology of forming a new habit. The project (or challenge) is really about perseverance – steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. (Thank you dictionary.reference.com) There’s all sorts of watercooler wisdom about how long it takes to form a habit (21 days is a popular response) but a study done in 2009 shows that it’s more like 66 days and some types of habits take longer to establish or become automatic than others. So 100 days might be long enough for me to change from procrastinating about making space to actually achieving it.

And the reason why I need to make space? To not be constricted. To embrace growth and change. To have a functional, private, working space. There’s so much energy embodied in all the stuff I’ve held onto for years, a lot of negative emotions like disappointment, grief, sadness and frustration. In the end the goal is to support my art making – to have the energy and space for all those other 100 day projects or even 365 days of… or 52 weeks of…

If you’re on Instagram follow #The100DayProjectMakingSpace where you’ll get a daily update of what I’ve done. On the blog I’ll pop in and update my progress every 10 days.

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Put a bird on it – the trials of pricing artwork

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Straightforward: delivering three artworks to Linden Gallery for the annual Linden Postcard Show.

A little challenging: choosing the work. All work had to be 8″ x 10″. Fortunately I had a sketchbook the right size, but I didn’t want to rip the pages out. Solution: good quality digital prints from fine art imaging specialists Imagescience.

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Pretty easy: the entry process this year was via a gallery website, so you can see the works here.

The hard part: pricing –  a figure that was fair to me, and reasonable for a work of this size to an art lover.

If this were a conversation it would go something like this:
Me: (thinking – add up the costs of entering the show ($77 for three works plus 30% commission and 10% GST on commission and the cost of getting prints made, umm lets try $100, no I need to earn a bit more than that…I know!) $120 each please.
Imagined Art Lover: Hmm $120…I’m not sure…they’re Prints, not Originals.
Me: Oh okay, what if they were less than $100, do you think that’s more reasonable?
Imagined Art Lover: Yes, that sounds good, going over $100 will put a lot of people off.
So I made them $95 each.

But even then I struggled, making the mistake of dividing the entry fee and printing costs for a per/print amount. If you’re not an accountant you might be wondering why was that a mistake. It’s all about being “out of pocket” – I’m out of pocket for a fixed amount no matter how many I sell. I’m not out of pocket one third of $77 plus one third of the printing costs plus the commission costs. Clarity: now I could see how many I had to sell to cover my costs and when I would start to earn something. And I decided to go low, as low as was bearable for me. And I’ll have to sell three prints to (almost) break even, rather than two.

There’s been loads written about this by other artists, artist coaches, critics, gallery owners, arts organisations, journalists – everyone seems to have an opinion. There’s advice about figuring out how much your materials and time are worth, plus the intangibles like the reputation of the artist (established, emerging, popular, amateur); the kind of work it is (painting, print, photo, sculpture, installation, commissioned); the size of the work, when the work was done….

So how low did I go? I decided on $60. If I sold all the prints at this show (which is not likely) I’d end up earning about the same as three days teaching.

Do you think I should give up my day job? Or just put a bird on it?

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Getting back in touch

Hi there! I hope you’ve had a chance to take a look at the recent addition to morepressingmatters – a page titled artwork. For my artwork.

When I started this blog, I made up a rule that my work wouldn’t be a part of it – because back then I had a website (www.debtaylor.com – which doesn’t exist at the moment). As an artist, I love to break the rules and see what happens. I have a few things to write about so I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to know what you think of the new page.

Studio - south wall and door

My old studio. I miss the space and fellow artists. This photo was of a show I had there before I moved my studio to work at home.

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It’s been a while

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog. After coming back from my trip to the States and Canada I was super busy with a solo show and group shows and then a studio show at the end of the year. I was exhausted and lost my mojo for lots of things – writing blog posts was just too hard.

This year I haven’t printed very much. And I haven’t seen very many shows. When I do go to a show I’m just wanting to soak it up, so I’m not thinking about how to write about it. Hopefully that will change and I can get this blog back on track. I’d like to reflect back on some of the things I did on my trip (there are some blog posts waiting to be tweaked from back then) – I can’t believe it was over a year ago!!

 

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Behind the roller shutter

I mentioned my heart dropping disappointment when I found what I thought was Guerra’s windows covered by a roller shutter. When I left Guerra, those roller shutters were up revealing a truly magical sight. I saw shiny glass objects, quite large and in the most beautiful organic liquid shapes, almost oozing, on the floor, on benches, on shelves. Inside these forms: green, growth – live plants. The space looked like some kind of crazy botanical laboratory. It was the studio of Paula Hayes. I was very tempted to ignore the “by appointment only” and knock on the door, but laden with bags of art stuff, my aching arms meant good manners prevailed.

A gallery version of what I saw

Next time.

In the meantime I watched this: 

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Finding Luscious Pigments

(c) Sebastiaan Bremer 2008, "Little Silver Breakfast," silver leaf on vintage Yamato paper, 24.5" x 36" image and sheet.

When I visited The Lower East Side Print Shop I admired the print “Little Silver Breakfast” by Sebatiaan Bremer.  I was trying to figure out how it had been made, as  it was intriguingly described as being made of silver leaf. I gave up, asking Christine Walia who had shown me around if she could please tell me about the process. She looked up the record of the work stating that a patent silver imitation leaf made of aluminium pigment had been brushed onto screenprinted Rhoplex adhesive medium. She also fetched one of the technicians, who talked to me about the process and the artists interest in using unusual pigments. He showed me pulverized rubber from pigment manufacturer, Guerra, down in the East Village which I decided I had to have!

Yes! Open!

On my art material buying day I headed down there and after having my heart sink because I’d found 510 and the roller shutter was down, I realised I was looking at next door.

Guerra was open and I felt like I’d walked into Aladdin’s Cave.

The seductive sample wall.

On my left, the wall was covered with large samples of the different pigments showing changes in intensity.

I wished I had the skill and patience to make my own printmaking inks. A good-looking man in paint spattered clothes (what else – this place was down and dirty genuine) showed me the pulverised rubber and talked about the pigment business. There are some links to great articles on the Guerra website for more on this.

I was then given a demonstration down the back of the store, of how to use an acrylic medium and a surfactant with the rubber. But I didn’t need a mixture, just the powder. (This sounds like some kind of illicit activity – I swear it was innocent!!)

They have an extensive catalogue to fantasise over (and then order from!) Does anyone else lust after colour and pigments like I do?

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A pressing place

Lower East Side Printshop open access studio

Got here. Eventually. To a”printshop” the word used more often than not in the local (North American) parlance. This one is the Lower East Side Printshop.
Also in NYC there’s The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Studio -the exception that proves the rule? In Australia we usually say “printmaking studio”, rather than printshop. Or if you’re in a French speaking part of the world, just let “atelier d’estampe” roll off your tongue.

Squeegee wall

The Lower East Side Printshop,  is no longer on the lower east side, having outgrown the original premises in 2005. Like the other places I visited it’s in a non-descript building up a few floors, but it’s a clean, light-filled welcoming space. There were only a couple of people working there when I was shown around by the incredibly helpful Christine. She filled me in on what the printshop offers – 24/7 studio access, classes at all levels, residencies (- available to legal US residents), master printing and of course details for all of these services are available on the website.

Exhibition space with "Collaborations" show on the walls

"Collaborations" in the exhibition space. All works (c) the artist

Apart from the etching presses, silk screen printing area (and areas for processing plates and screens of course) and digital facilities (complete list of facilities?: yes on the website), there is also an exhibition space.

The day I visited, I saw
“Collaborations” a selection of work done by artists working with the master printers in the Special Edition or Publishing Residency programs.  Pictured L-R: William Powhida, Ars Magica, 2010, screenprint, portfolio of 13,(I loved the humour of this work) Joe Fig, Inka’s floor, 2008, screenprint, Joe Fig, Brushes (Bill Jensen), 2008, screenprint, (stunning use of colour in these prints about the mess and well, colour of the painting process) and Sebastiaan Bremer, Little Silver Breakfast, 2008, silver leaf (loved, loved this! Technically intriguing and beautiful -more about this work in a future post).
You can see these and more artists works on the website, biographical details about the artists and purchase work through the online store. Other artists in this show were Emilio Perez, Havard Homstevdt, Joan Lindner and Amy Cutler. Each artist has used different techniques in their work – evidence of the breadth of technical knowledge available to artists working in these programs.

I would love to come back and do some work here… maybe when I find a patron or win the lottery! It’s just a bit far from home for me, but if you’re in NYC I’d recommend doing some printing here!

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