Thursday, June 2, 2016

It Takes a Community

Dear Artistas,
I have been thinking about community.  Yes, I sit alone in my studio creating these odd paintings about food.  You also sit alone in your studio making that crazy art about gas stations, death, birds and whatever else you think is important to life. But no artist who ever made a living from their own work, or became considered a good artist by the surrounding community, ever got anywhere on their own. It does take a community of people to help you get to a point of recognition, a place of artistic maturity, a parapet of accomplishment.  Without interacting with others we simply become idealists lost in our own little world.

Really, do I have to get on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram, and...?  No, but you do have to interact with people and the more diverse that group of people is, the better off you will be.  When I say diverse I mean getting feedback on your work from as many different kinds of people involved with the art world as possible. Of course, ask the artists close to you for their honest opinion about your art. Ask gallery owners, ask art critiques, ask artists who work in a completely different medium, ask artists from a different culture than your own, ask people who buy art, ask people to exhibit their work with you and write proposals together, ask artists to ..., I think you get the idea. The more meaningful interaction you have with others, the more it will help your art.

Just make sure the interaction is meaningful. No, you don't have to get on social media and share your whole life. But you could get on there and share the work you are making. When you go to an art opening, you can ask people about their work and share a little about your own.  In the business world its called networking. In the art world its called building your community. Whatever you do, you should realize that it takes a lot of people besides just the artist to get somewhere.

Do you know who your community is?

On the podcast this week I talk with Rogue Citizen. Rogue Citizen is a small collective of artists with backgrounds in printmaking, design, graffiti, illustration and ruckus-making, founded 2009 in Minneapolis. All five members work on the same artwork at the same time or work on individual projects under the Rogue Citizen banner. I sat down with three members of Rogue Citizen and talked about communal art creation, non-political political art, the role of technology, and the future of the world.



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