Monday, April 02, 2007

Artist-to-Artist workshop at the Hoosier Salon

Post Contributed by Liz Margason

The Hoosier Salon Broad Ripple Gallery held a two day artist workshop Friday and Saturday, March 23rd and 24th. “Artist-to-Artist” featured successful local artists giving presentations on some of their strategies for success. Around 30 attending artists learned business and promotion tips from John Domont, Becky Fehsenfeld, Betty Scarpino, Douglas David, Mary Ann Davis, Ron Mack, and Carol Strock-Wasson.

Most of the attendees queried the established artists with a range of business related questions, but John Domont’s creative process centered presentation struck a chord with me. His remarks about making art were just what I needed to hear. Domont’s “Promoting Yourself and Your Work” quickly boiled down to the simple fact that the work comes first.
Domont placed utmost importance in knowing what your inspiration is. He stressed recognizing what is calling you to make art, and letting that be the spark that drives you. Allowing your personal inspiration to show is what makes your work special. Then, with discipline and technique, and you can create a unique body of work to sell. Domont’s message of approaching your art from the inside resonated with me.

All the artist presenters concluded their presentations with open question sessions. Each artist’s approach to success was a little different, just as the artists were different, but they all expressed the importance of massive quantities of professionalism. Some quick tips I noted were:

If you run an ad in a paper or magazine, do it for at least 6 months.

Have a yearly “painting burn” to get rid of all your bad paintings.

Art Calendar Magazine came highly recommended.

A Friday night, workshop sponsored gathering at The Corner Wine Bar, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday made “Artist to Artist” fun, with lots of opportunity for artist camaraderie to keep it pleasant.

20 Responses to “Artist-to-Artist workshop at the Hoosier Salon”

Anonymous said...
April 3, 2007 at 7:02 PM

"Painting burn"?! What a ridiculous and ignorant "tip" for a so called "established artist" to give anybody. The whole idea of destroying "bad" paintings completely disregards the ideas of learning, development, and growth, things I find VITAL to the process of creating and making art. To destroy "bad" artwork negates its existence, and I don't think it is an idea anyone in the art world should be promoting. Art is about learning, searching, discovering. Art is just as much about the process as it is about the damn artwork. To deny that process in favor of "sellable" work is one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard. If I went around burning bad artwork, most of the galleries in Indy would be nearly empty.

This is the trouble I see with art, with the majority of the Indianapolis art "scene" I've been exposed to. It seems to me this city is extremely concerned with presenting a beautiful and "acceptable" industry of art. Organizations such as the IDADA, Hoosier Salon, etc, focus so much on the buisiness of art. The Broadripple art fair charges a ridiculous admission fee just to enter as a viewer.

Where are the $5 art sales, the free workshops, the cheap co-ops focusing and celebrating the spirit of artmaking rather than the effect it has on someone's pocketbook? While I think and hope this city is beginning to make strides into this arena, it still has a far way to go in my opinion. When we as a city can begin deflecting the focus of art away from buisiness, from selling, and onto the actual process and spirit of the work, that's when I feel this city will finally have an arts community worth talking about.

Anonymous said...
April 3, 2007 at 7:34 PM

This is a perennial question any artist struggles with: how to make a living and not sell your soul in the process...some work day jobs, some try teaching, fine if you do not have a lot of obligations(family, kids,etc)I agree with most of your points, it is just that life is not so benevolent to the "impractical" creative types.
Being one of them, love the process, hate to sell, try to put my heart in everything I do.

Liriodendron said...
April 3, 2007 at 7:44 PM

I still don't understand why I would want to keep my ugly "dogs" hanging around, taking up space, bumming me out.
Learn from them, burn them, and paint new ones. Forget the whole selling thing....I paint for me first.
I find my crappy paintings to be rather depressing....hell, I sure don't want to look at them for more than a year, just cause someone else thinks I should. Poof! Be gone.....;)

Anonymous said...
April 4, 2007 at 1:14 PM

To the person who made the first first anonymous post here: Have you been to any of the Fountain Square art spaces?

Anonymous said...
April 7, 2007 at 1:03 PM

This goes to the first comment. I see your point, but I don't think there is ANYTHING wrong with "painting burns" I learn from painting as I work the painting...not by hanging it and looking at my mistakes or what I would have changed over and over. Keeping my old stuff around really limits my creativity. For you to say this idea is "ridiculous and ignorant" shows me you think your way is the only way. Part of the beauty of art is that we all do it different. You can disagree but show a little respect please.

Oh, one more can talk all you want about $5 art sales, free workshops and co-op galleries but rest assured Indianapolis will NEVER be taken seriously if that is what we offer. Why do you think serious art collectors in NY won't touch a co-op with a 10' pole! I'm not saying they are right or wrong, just stating a fact. And, yes I realize this is not NY.

Anonymous said...
April 7, 2007 at 4:09 PM

There's some difference between an art collector who goes to New York to buy art and someone who travels to Indy for the same purpose. Each arts locale has its own character. Indianapolis won't want to define itself with an art scene founded on the cart-before-the-horse principle of cash is king. Some artists in Chicago, Seattle, Miami, and other cities have distinguished themselves with unique and unpretentious approaches and artist spaces that shirk the art industry altogether, and these attract critical attention from outsiders. I agree with poster #1 that preferencing economic development won't cultivate a strong art scene in spirit, and, for those rightly wanting to make a buck, an art scene without vitality is one without attention or investors, in the long run.

Incidentally, plenty of tourists in New York will buy $5 crafts from street vendors in soho or $50 pieces directly from emerging artists or in less-established spaces. Those aren't "serious art collectors" looking for bluechip investments at international galleries, and neither would be those flying out to Indy to buy art. NYC also has plenty of co-ops, free workshops, and the like, but who cares what's happening there?

Anonymous said...
April 9, 2007 at 5:14 PM

"artist to artist"
more like "Illustrators to artist"

Anonymous said...
April 10, 2007 at 3:29 PM

I'd like to know who these people traveling TO Indy to buy art are!?

Anonymous said...
April 10, 2007 at 3:46 PM

To the “illustrator to artists” comment

I would love for our On the Cusp writers to voice some opinion on this topic! The divide in the art scene here in Indy that is. Why and what is that all about? Why are these guys that are clearly selling and devoting their lives to their art shunned and treated like they’re not “serious” artists? Is it because they are not “cutting edge”? Do you liken them to Norman Rockwell (the Thomas Kinkade of his era?)

Personally I would buy a Phillip Lynam any day over the “artist to artist” roster, but does that mean they are not legitimate?

Scott said...
April 10, 2007 at 4:50 PM

Alright, alright, I will chime in. Just remember to keep the tar and feathers at bay. As for the first "anonymous" I would have to disagree as well about artists destroying their own art. I promote that practice and have often done so. Bad art is just that bad art why keep it. Selling it would just make you look bad and you would most likely regret having done so and keeping it, who wants to keep everything. I have a fairly large studio now but I still feel the need to have more storage space available for good art. When the time comes to clear some room, get rid of the bad art. Should a chef keep his burnt cookies? I'd hope not.

As for the comments from Anonymous (April 7, 2007 4:09 PM) I think I agree with a lot of what you are saying but if you are implying that "regional art" is not monetarily driven, I would have to disagree wholeheartedly.

As for Anonymous (April 10, 2007 3:46 PM) Well, this could be an entire dialog in and of itself and though the road has been traveled down before there are often many twists and turns that cause for more confusion. On the Cusp has from the beginning decidedly been devoted to Contemporary Art, and no, we do not interpret that as "I am making work today therefore I am a contemporary artist". I believe that there are several stratas of art and artists in the art world and while I certainly can respect and admire forms of "outsider art", "plein air painting", "design", "decorative art", etc. it is not the world of art that I am interested in or passionate about. I think that this divide you talk about is an art world thing, not just a local scene issue. For better or worst I think that there needs to be some hint of elitism in galleries. While I was never a fan of venues like LAMP, I supported their existence as it filled a much needed niche in the art world. Galleries and artists need to find their niche as well and for some that means you are segregated to some degree. I don't know if they are generally "shunned" or treated as "not serious" in the context of their strata but I do understand why they may be so if placed in the same context as art in a different strata. Does that make sense? I think that this stratification exists in all art forms like writing and acting. A great musical stage actor may very well be shunned by Hollywood just as broadway may shun Keanu Reeves, though rightful so in that case.

May the onslaught begin.

liriodendron said...
April 10, 2007 at 6:18 PM

So who's supposed to be insulted? Artists or illustrators....heh!

There are so many styles of art and artists...enjoy yours, buy what you like, and don't worry about what others really doesn't matter.

Scott said...
April 10, 2007 at 6:39 PM

liriodendron, one of these days I am going to buy you a drink.

liriodendron said...
April 10, 2007 at 6:44 PM

Sounds good! :)

Anonymous said...
April 10, 2007 at 7:45 PM

I don't think it is an accurate statement to say that it doesn't matter what people think of one's art. Communication is a big aspect of art - and part of that is evoking a response (positive or negative) from the viewer. How do we evolve as artists without feedback, both from admirers and naysayers? One may choose to ignore it, but I think we need to hear opinions in one way or another. I for one what to know what people think about my work. What's the point of living in a naive self-preservation bubble?

You know, if we don't listen to what others think, we won't have to get our feelings hurt. what boring way to live.

Scott said...
April 10, 2007 at 8:02 PM

I agree with you about communication and listening to what people have to say about your work. It certainly can help and allow you to learn about yourself, while giving you insight into how others see your work. What I think Lirio was getting at, is to not let other peoples opinions get to you. You have to enjoy your work first and foremost.

Anonymous said...
April 10, 2007 at 11:06 PM

liriodendron and Scott....I'm going to buy you both a drink! Thanks for your very articulate assessment, I LOVE this blog.

anony (shelly)...April 10, 2007 3:46 PM

Anonymous said...
April 11, 2007 at 4:42 PM

April 7, 4:09 here.... In quick response to the points addressed to my post:

1. I was responding to the "serious art collectors" statement when I equated collecting in Indy to collecting at NYC's Chelsea bigtop... obviously a parallel does not hold, but neither do the distinctions regarding co-ops et al, which was what I meant to point out.

2. Scott, I don't know where you saw me imply that artists shouldn't make money, I explicitly said this was an expected and legitimate goal (e.g. " those rightly wanting to make a buck"). My position is really more that artists should be skeptical if conversations about building a strong art scene always revolve around the market, and "economic development through the arts" has traditionally been the jargon of legislators and real estate moguls.

Scott said...
April 11, 2007 at 5:11 PM

I think both of our comments were miss interpreted. I agree with each of your points you make. I think what I was getting at, which may or may not have related to your position, is that I believe the reason certain art forms become known as "regional art" often falls into that category due to the market/marketability surrounding the work. Styles and subjects become popular for artists to make due to the fact that there is a population of buyers of that particular type of work. Think Brown County painting, or small New England costal painting. Each are considered "regional art" and both can readily be found and purchased cheap. If regionalism is what some people think will better a local contemporary art scene, I think it is exactly that we need to get past.

liriodendron said...
April 13, 2007 at 7:11 AM

Thank you Shelly. :)

Anonymous said...
April 13, 2009 at 7:11 PM

If I were to burn some really bad paintings,
I would burn all of of John Domont's neon colored barns and those awful begging bowls.

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