Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is a New York contemporary art gallery, located in Chelsea. Founded in 1991 by Brent Sikkema and originally called Wooster Gardens/Sikkema Jenkins & Co., exhibits work in a variety of media.
I made a piece that stands. It’s fuzzy and biege. It was a really amazing moment, everyone in my sculpture class including Patrick clapped. It was great, and very funny considering they clapped before it was finished, but when it was standing on its own. I am not sure how much I care for it, or if it fits in to my practice. With the piece I decided every single move and outcome. It bothers me, I enjoy creating a process for the materials to them go through. This way I knew how it would look before and after I made it, but maybe I need to have more skin in the game to come up with something exciting. And this was only the first try.
Maybe there is a way I could take the chance of the pieces I like and combine it with a standing sculpture. I’m working on it…. Also I’m concerned this is too boring, or stagnant. At first I was really excited but the more it stays in the space I don’t know what to do to it next and it doesn’t feel finished. I also don’t want to epoxy the whole thing or do something I can’t really take back, which is a horrible way of thinking and I know that but it just won’t get out of my head.
And then there are those little pink pieces. Those are the pieces I make for fun, like my paper weights, these are varying hot dogs. I am teaching myself how to use a sewing machine and this is the outcome of some of my practice pieces. Sewing is unbelievably calming. When I can’t figure something out in the studio, or I just don’t know where to start, I just go and sew. I make little pouches that are filled with places and put in to shapes. I like them, they feel good to get out, but I am not sure if it’s at all related to the pieces I show for critiques.
Things I forgot to post at the end of the fall 2013 semester. I am going to search for the mysterious hidden room at Mason Gross where there are clean white walls so I can take pictures of all of work, properly. Fancy camera, levels, tripods and lighting; all the works.
I am trying to figure out where to go next, or what to do, or what to even think at the moment. I am going to go back to my artist statement/thesis proposal, and start writing again. Hopefully it will put me back on track, or at least on to some path of any sort. Please.
I have a bunch of things in progress this week. I made multiple frames, either with wood and foam, or foam only. I have been experimenting with what works best to achieve what I want. I want the frame to be affected the same way the fabric is being pushed and pulled. When I started using the foam I immediately knew that this would not be a permanent fix. It was a very weird feeling to know this so early on, although I still want to use it. I found a certain amount of it and once it is gone that will be it, at least for now. I think it is good for me to use the foam and make some shapes that I can then draw from to make a frame out of a different material. Marc gave a mini tutorial on shaped canvases but he told me that the shapes I want do not have a specific way of going about them, but that I have to experiment. He said there are a million ways to them, and it’s just about getting in the woodshop and experimenting. I have been putting it off though. It means a lot of sketching and drawing, and it means I need to know exactly what I want to happen. This will happen. I want to make wooden frames that are contorted for my finals. It must happen, and happen soon. I am nervous and somewhat scared. I know how to make stretcher bars, and I have worked with wood before but I’m kind of nervous about these. I will get over it and get myself in the woodshop, once I do some sketches.
I call these paper weights. Side projects from extra fabric and plaster. I sold these at our first auction at Mason Gross this year, and everyone loved them. They’re paper weights. It’s funny. I also keep making them for whatever reason. I am not sure what they are or why I enjoy making them, but I like the process. It is calming to know and understand a certain procedure and continuing creating.
The next step in my work was to address the frame. I feel like I have collected a certain amount of visual vocabulary but the frame was still not considered. It just held everything together in a neat little package. I don’t know how I want to adress the frame but I want to see it change. My first idea was foam. So that is what I have been exploring. Foam on top of frames, on the sides of frames, foam as frames. But I know that this will on last me so long, literally I will run out of foam but also it seems gimicky. It is all good and fun now, but I don’t think this is a long lasting solution. Hopefully by the time the foam runs out I know what to try next…
It seems like all of sudden there has been an outcry, from artists to artists. DO NOT WORK FOR FREE. It is something that has been surrounding me as well as I am getting ready to graduate.
Everywhere I look I seem to be running into this issue of money. I was recently accepted into a salon style show at Alfa Art Gallery. I had to submit a pricing list. I priced my items and I felt comfortable with what I was pricing them at, actually I thought I was fairly high. I showed my prices to a professor and I was immediately scolded. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU, YOUR PIECES ARE WORTH AT LEAST 3 TIMES THAT. I was suddenly extremely worried, and I also realized I had no idea how to price my work. How do you know how much your labor costs? There has to be some kind of equation, or at least there should be so each piece you create is equally priced or does everything become about the demand?
I asked my professor if we could have a class on how to price your work. I think it is amazing that we go through art school and no one ever teaches us the things we need to know to be working artists until our last year. There is no class on how to write an artist statement, or how to find a studio when you graduate. Or how to get into shows and exhibitions, and beyond that the business side. How do you price your work, how do you package your work if it needs to be shipped, and just the in’s and out’s of the art world. I have to say, at Rutgers we are pretty lucky that our thesis class is starting to expand into these directions but there is still a lot to cover and I wish we started this process earlier, as a freshman not a senior.
This was brought up again last Friday when our thesis class took a field trip to Brooklyn, Industry City. We had studio visits with working artists, friends of our professors. You could hear the struggle in their voices, as artists seem to be pushed out of areas in New York. It is overwhelming to think eventually I will be in this situation… And it is something that seems to be just getting worse and worse, that is until that something gives in and breaks.
Once more this confusion of money and art was brought up in a more innocent venue. The BFA annual at Mason Gross. The thesis class had an art auction. I sold some of my pieces. It was interesting to see what people made specifically for the auction. The work they made to be sold was not the work they make for their studio practice. It was funny, and I was just as guilty… It is an interesting concept to turn your studio practice into a commerical product.
And lastly, in a studio visit with Alex Kwartler. He said, straight forward, don’t work for free. He said I would do great in a studio assistant type position, that I should look for opportunities for next semester. But don’t do it for free.
I would love to not do it for free. But it seems like every internship or studio apprenticeship I find is unpaid. Unpaid and almost full time. When has this changed? I know internships were once paid, of course there were those unpaid ones scattered around, but they had to be paid otherwise everyone would just go straight for a part-time job (or full time if you could get it), or just volunteer. How did my parents go to college and have a job while today no job would hire me because of the amount hours I have in class. I don’t want to do it for free but no one seems to be giving any answers (or even pointing in a nonspecific direction) on how to do it for profit. Hopefully these articles keep growing, and evolve into forums where artists help artists by sharing opportunities, and then beyond that, where businesses and completely non-art-related fields reach out to artists. We need the whole world to help us not do it for free.