Last night I went back to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, not to take photographs this time but to attend an After Hours session organised by Mark Devereux Projects, which is “a new artist production-development organisation established to help increase the national and international profile of early-career visual artists.”
I went along as I’ve realised that there may be more to being an artist than simply wearing a flat cap, (though I did spot one chap in a f.c. so I knew there were real artists there). There was a bar and an opportunity to wander round and see the new exhibitions (which I’d seen earlier in the week) but the main part of the evening was a series of discussion groups each lead by a member of MDP covering such things as ‘Working as an early-career artist, gaining commissions and exhibition opportunities’ and ‘How do I get my work seen by the right people?’
I spent most of the time chatting to David Ogle, who, when he described his work, I realised I had seen one of his pieces at last year’s neo:artprize. He also lives in Emma Kelly’s old house, Emma being the curator of the Gallery at St Georges House. I wondered if this was a reflection of the smallness of the ‘artistic community’. Not sure, maybe just coincidence. Anyway, I got a lot of useful ideas such as making sure my website is up-to-date. I haven’t looked at it for over a year so it definitely needs a revamp.
I am producing a series of screenprints based on the Salford Quays development. I have the prints. Offices and people in apartments who work at Media City have blank walls and ‘loads-o-money’. We discussed methods of bridging the gap between the two. I certainly intend investigating some of David’s suggestions.
Petra Hoschtitzky-van den Houten also suggested using LinkedIn which I’d previously regarded as people putting their personal skill ‘out there’ so they can be head-hunted for better jobs. She said there were groups on it and probably ones to do with Salford Quays and I could make use of them to attract people to any exhibition. All useful information. One thing Petra was not happy about was my intention of producing a pile-’em-high-sell-’em-cheap range of cheesy prints for Etsy.
The idea is to produce un-numbered prints (which allows me to reprint if they go well) of lots of cheesy quotes/captions/sayings on a limited range of backgrounds which I could flog for about a tenner to people who want a pressie for their grannie for Christmas, rather than a work of art. Petra felt that this would have a major effect on my being able to sell my ‘real art’ screenprints at realistic prices. I suggested selling them under a different name, but she still wasn’t impressed. Need to have a rethink about it, while also investigating the other suggestions. A good night!