In general, I don’t think there’s enough discussion by artists about the nuts and bolts of what we do that doesn’t involve creating art. Alyson Stanfield of Art Biz Coach has and continues to make tremendous headway in helping us understand and gain ground on the non-making side of our careers, but I do wish more artists would draw back the curtain on their individual approaches to the business end of their practices. Not only would sharing those details give viewers and collectors a better understanding that making “a go” of things isn’t only about materializing ideas and inspiration into a finished work, but fellow artists would also profit greatly from a wider discussion of the different systems that occur within our workspaces.
This week I’ve been largely caught up in administrative tasks. Practice-wise, I was only able to accomplish my daily sketches and the beginning stages of two new textile pieces. For the most part it’s been a week of support work: framing the cup and saucer pieces and tending to various computer chores — including, but not exclusive to, preparing submissions for two exhibitions, crafting specific artist statements, photography, research, email, and of course writing this post.
During weeks when I have my fingers in a lot of different pies and find myself jumping from task to task, (when I’d really rather be stitching for hours at a time), I’ve found two things to rely upon for a sense of balance. First, I do my best to make at least one daily drawing. A half hour minimum is doable most days and not only lends a sense of grounding in its regularity, (no different from any other type of exercise), but each page filled in a sketchbook gives me a concrete sense of productivity in a way computer work can’t. That in itself makes the day seem more successful, even if the drawing is less than stellar.
I’ve also found it’s helpful to have a good, long book in the works that I can retreat to in the evening because it offers a feeling of continuity that carries from one day to the next — a quality that is often missing from the rest of a week that is all about checking off a string of to-do’s.
Now that they are in place, I am very happy with these maple floating frames. I particularly like that they complete the cup and saucer pieces by providing subtle visual support without grabbing too much attention. For the fun of it, and a completely opposite approach, check out the work of Holly Lane whose fabulously carved frames merge with her paintings in a 2-D/3-D amalgam that suggests, as she says in her statement, “contingency, time, potentiality, future, past, or cause and effect.”
And if you’re looking for something meaty to think about while making your way through your own list of office chores, consider the editorial “Why You Should Read Books You Hate” that appeared in the NY Times last Sunday. I guarantee it will get your wheels turning.