Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How To Do What

I have not yet met Sue Bell Yank, but I occasionally turn to her blog about "Writings about the social in contemporary art."

Her most recent post speaks to my experiences both with the Birdhouse and my earlier visit to Colorado College, a liberal arts college in Colorado Springs and my alma mater. While at CC I gave a talk about my own work, which is increasingly socially-based and (I hesitate to write this) "post studio". I also talked briefly about the work we do at the Birdhouse. I spoke with a couple of students about how the Birdhouse runs-- for example, are we a non-profit? How does it work? Who are the "members"?-- and answered a surprising number of questions about how I was able to make a living making art. I was honest about that: I do not seek to "make a living" doing the work I do. At the very best, I hope to stay in the black (see this post), but I think a lot of these students are stuck in a semi-obsolete model of Artist makes Object, Someone buys Object, and Artist makes Money. Very few of the artists I know make even half of their income from selling works of art. It's a nice thing to do, but we also supplement our incomes by teaching, giving lectures, doing commercial work, or having paying jobs that are entirely separated from our studio practices. You've got to hustle, right?

Sue Bell Yank talks about her frustration(?) with students who want a How-To guide to community-based social work. As with so many things, the answer is to jump in and do it. Each situation is unique and specific. As to running a successful non-profit she writes,
"These things are dependent on people you know, the strength of your mission, your ability to express it, the appropriateness of your location, your relationship with funders, your prior experience."
I hope that we as a nascent collective will remain flexible and able to express our mission well. I hope that for myself as an individual too. We shall see.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thoughts Counting

I don't know if it really is the thought that least not in art. Even if art is conceptual and not object based, you've still got to face the issue of presentation. And presentation, it turns out, matters. I think I've got in mind what I want to say, what experiences I want to impart, and (to some degree) what objects will be in the gallery, but I cannot yet put my finger on the presentation.

Here below is a drawing made in pursuit of that elusive presentation and tone of voice.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Future As I Know It

Just today I accepted an Americorp position to work at Beardsley Farm doing outreach and farm work. I am very glad to be entering that community and grateful to have some sense of what the future will hold. Now to nail this thesis business.

You can read more about Beardsley Farm here.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I am lucky to work with many talented and grounded people. Jarred Elrod is someone who I admire for both the quality of his work and the way he integrates his design practice with his life. To wit, the video below, which he made with two other talented young designers, Greg and Christian.

This is exactly how I felt today after a meeting about my own thesis project. Thanks friend.

the act of sitting from Jarred Elrod on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Patron, No Product

In the spirit of commerce, patronage, hierarchy, the-myth-of-genius, capitalism, and/or the democracy of the multiple I bring you: the PayPal button.

Clicking on the button above will allow you to donate real live USDs to my thesis project. My hope is to establish a temporary store in which gallery visitors can "purchase" plants, seeds, and seedlings in exchange for committing to specified labor and stewardship. Instead of paying for the plants, the purchaser will sign a contract and be documented. You, potential Medici of contemporary art, can help make that happen.

My hope is to distribute at least 12 semi-mature fruit and nut trees, which I estimate will cost approximately $40 each. If you would like to sponsor a tree, click yonder button. If you'd like to get involved in the project in other ways, please send me an email or consider coming to the Volunteer Interest Meeting, Thursday, February 11th, at 7 pm.