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.
Some shots of my show, “#YOLO” with fellow artist Paolo Martinez.
This was my first time signing up for the undergraduate project space. I never felt that I had enough work, good enough work, or something along those lines. It seemed like a looming idea that I never thought I could conquer until Paolo asked me to join him during the week of Oct 20-26. For whatever reason I had a dream about us doing this the night before he asked me, so it was a pretty perfect combination in my eyes. So the weeks went by, and we both stressed about what should be put in the show, but we never made a decision. We asked Marc Handelman for some advice days before our show, and he said less is more. So I immediately said lets put our two black pieces we had just critiqued in class, in our show. I loved Paolo small patterned painting. I loved how much space it needed to breathe; it was large for a small painting. I tried my best to find something that could be paired with his painting. I chose a smaller painting, with my version of a pattern. We originally were only going to have two pieces each in the show, but we had an awkward space so we decided one more piece each. I liked Paolo’s mixed patterned painting, with the yellows and reds. Again, I tried to find something that could be in conversation with it. I chose a painting that was divided in a similar way, and had a similar color palette. By the time we were done hanging our pieces we were stunned to find out how well our artwork fit together in the space. Surprisingly cohesive.
Last minute we decided to have an opening. I made cookies and bought soda, Paolo brought chips and candy. We were late to our own opening… but considering we thought no one would show up, to find out we were late with people waiting for us, we were amazed. I love how supportive Mason Gross is. I love that I can do something like this and get real feedback on the work, installation, and curatorial choices.