Posts Tagged ‘creative space’

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

Seasons Greetings to you all from Outlook8studio and all best wishes for a peaceful 2018. Many thanks for all your support over the years !

 

 

© 2017, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

The Venice Biennale 57. Wallmatter 17.

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

I just found out my painting “Wallmatter 17” has selected to be presented as a digital display at, The Biennial Project’s extravagant, event in Venice, Italy, during the opening/press week of The Venice Biennale 57. “La Biennale di Venezia”

Thank you The Biennial Project!

 

TITLE Wallmatter 17
MED Acrylic paint, lime, sand, cement, sealer on canvas. (Contemporary washed veneer wooden frame)

© 2017, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Arts Business Ideas. Artist’s Websites. Jenny Davis.

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Arts Business Ideas. Artist’s Websites. Jenny Davis.

Outlook8studio -Jenny Davis

 

Over the past 14 years, I have been promoting and selling my art online, as well as, exhibiting my artwork worldwide. I have also had many artists contact me, during this time, wanting to know, how I market, promote and sell my artwork on and offline. So in this post, I would like to share a few things I’ve learned from having my own, artist’s website and a few other arts business tips.

 

Outlook8studio_ Jenny Davis Etsy

 

Very early on, I learned, if you want people to take you seriously, your career as an artist is only as serious as you take it. You either work at it, as a job, putting in “regular” hours, or “occasionally” as a hobby. Its either a hobby, or your job. As a working artist its about working on your art day by day, as well as, marketing your art in all areas.

 

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I think every artist needs a website! With some hard work in the initial stages of setting up your own website, it’s always, worthwhile, getting your art online. In your own space you can do anything.

 

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Exposing your art online, helps promote and gets your work seen worldwide by potential collectors, gallery directors and other artists for collaborations and projects. Remember though, you are also competing with millions of other artists artwork, as well. So, your website, which is your online creative space, has to be place where, people will want to stop and spend time.

 

 

Handmade Brushes_ Jenny Davis

 

After the initial set-up of my own website, with the generous help of several family members, (who I am forever grateful too) I then, had to put in the hard yards myself and learn the rest. I did many courses, tutorials and googled everything, I wanted to know. I soon found out, it’s not just a matter of making the website, uploading your artworks and sitting back, waiting for sales to walk out the door. Sounds great! But, it doesn’t usually work that way.

 

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You have to work really hard on your arts business and take it seriously. Mostly on a daily, or weekly basis, promoting, marketing, photographing artworks, descriptions, layouts, seo, meta tags, as well as, getting your website seen in many areas, including search engines.

 

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Social media is one way of getting your website seen if you post regularly. A Facebook business page,  Twitter and Instagram account will help you get a following, who in turn, may visit your website to find out more.

 

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Create newsletters, blog posts set- up exhibitions and share your art life with others on your website. Network and collaborate with other artist’s on forums and in art groups.

On your website and social- media sites, its good to share, how you make your art, your challenges, your successes. Make it real! This will build up a following of people who are genuinely interested in your art, and, in what you do. People want to trust and get to know an artist, before they buy online.

 

 

Jenny Davis_Work in progress_Cigar tins s

 

Unless your famous, well known, or an established artist, picked up by reputable galleries, as a working artist, you really need to learn, how to diversify with your art.

It may not suit every artist, but, if you want to make a living from your art, these days, you need to be a creative business person too. Be open to, exploring other creative avenues, for sales and work. Your bread and butter money. This can be done alongside making, your more, serious gut- felt work for exhibitions and projects

 

Jenny Davis_Wallmatter Project 2

 

My bread and butter online websites Outlook8studio, Strazz and Atelierinparis I do have a vintage shop, as well,  Nostalgi but, after 8 years of being on Etsy, I am in the process of downsizing all shops and combining some together. Many thanks to some wonderful business advice, I received from Penny! at Sparrow Savage recently.

 

Modern living room with white colors

 

When uploading your artwork images onto your website, always make sure your photographs are professional looking, not blurred and as close possible to the colours in your original artwork. After-all,  it’s your photographs that sell your art, online.

 

Jenny Davis_ Paint in Progress 6

 

Great customer service is a must! Quickly answer any questions and concerns your customer may have. Don’t argue with your customers and be polite. If you do come across a problem, try to stay calm, cool and business- like, in your correspondence with them. They will eventually go away, but a bad business reputation won’t online.

 

Jenny Davis_Wallmatter single_ 2016

 

Packaging your artwork. Wrap your artwork professionally. I like to include a hand- signed “Certificate of Authenticity” (A statement that a work of art is genuine) with my artworks. To package small to medium size paintings on stretched canvas, I first wrap layers of acid free, tissue paper around the painting, then cut out a piece of stiff cardboard for each side. Bubble wrap it all, then pop the package into a custom- made box. A “thank you” note and instructions on how to look after the artwork, included in your package, goes a long way. Remember to slip in some extra business cards too, that can be passed onto other potential collectors/customers.

 

Art packing_Jenny Davis

If your artwork needs to be framed behind glass, I would suggest using, crystal clear perspex instead of glass. It looks like glass and is much safer and lighter, to ship, especially internationally, without the costs of breakages.

Once you get used to having a website and a presence online. It does get easier and is not so overwhelming. You may find by having your own website, it will open up a whole new world of opportunities for you and your arts business as well get your your artwork sold and out of the studio.

 

Jenny Davis_Wallmatter Paintings lot_ 2016

 

What do you do to get your art seen online?

 

 

© 2016, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Times Square Show New York.

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

I just got a nice surprise to say my artwork will be included in the Times Square Show in New York.

You’re in our celebration! You get three spots in our Times Square show. Your work will be 10 feet (3 meters) tall on the sign!

I am also, halfway of having an image of my work, 200 feet (60 meters) tall on the entire massive billboard !  If you would like to help me takeover the whole billboard in Times Square, the images below will take you to a like button.

A HUGE thank you to everyone for your continued support of my arts career! I really appreciate it 🙂

 

Didja!

Jenny Davis_Didja print smaller

Kea Blue

Kea Blue etsy

Fragility

Jenny Davis_Fragility_2013 Smaller

 

 

© 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

My favourite artist of the month. Anselm Kiefer.

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

 

My favourite artist of the month is Anselm Kiefer. A German artist who creates paintings and monumental installations with crusted surfaces, incorporating, lead, concrete, ash, acid, earth, glass and gold, broken glass, oil, emulsion, shellac, acrylic and raw materials from nature.

 

1_e_overyourcities1016-Anselm-Kiefer-Himmelsschlucht-2011-20123324kiefer_toilespages and planesh2_1995.14.4100066473a1fd3a2469753d346be80982_1kiefer 6Painting    Anselm Kiefer, The Wave - detailnational-art03

I particularly like Kiefer’s ambitious project of transforming an old derilict silk factory in La Ribaute France into a monumental studio art complex where he created his monumental works. He dug out underground chambers, tunnels, to create living and working spaces  set amongst strange, reinforced, concrete towers and bunkers, woods and caves. There was even a crypt, an amphitheatre and underground pool.

A trailer from the movie “Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow” about Kiefer’s last days at the studio.

 

Robert Hughes on Anselm Kiefer

 

A record of an assistant’s time with Anselm Kiefer from his studio in Barjac. This was in 1999 -2000.

 

© 2013 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Underground Spaces & Art. Beneath the City of Paris.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Underground Spaces & Art. Beneath the City of Paris. Throughout the world underground complexes criss cross beneath the surface of the above-ground world. There is a thriving underground world where the average person never gets to see…unless that person knows where to look. Fascinating subterranean cities and hidden underground spaces that dwell beneath our feet.

 

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For instance, beneath the city of Paris below the Metro tunnels under the railway, stations, is another thriving world where people work 24hr’s maintaining the entire transport system to keep it working at its peak. There’s the famous underground cemetery the Catacombs”les carrières de Paris” full of caverns and tunnels. The walls are laden with an interesting installations of skulls and bones.

 

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Wherever I go, I like to explore hidden underground spaces. In Paris I found a very special space under an apartment. Down there, I create stories, art and listen to the silence & chatter of the walls. I like to set up little dioramas between the red doors, damp earth walls and the ground. I then photograph and make little video’s of the scenes for later projects.

© 2012 – 2015, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Textural Surface Paintings. Barcelona Spain.

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Textural Surface Paintings I did in Spain.
In 2005 I was artist in residence at the Can Serrat International Art Center in Barcelona, Spain. During this time I completed several series of works; which developed as a result of solitary expeditions into the surrounding areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Textural oil paintings on linen, linked to ancient Catalan architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My little paintings are rubbings from actual surfaces around the Barcelona, Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient markings weathered , subtle & chalky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I added colour to my work with pure powder pigments and oils, hand mixed in my studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more of my artwork at Outlook8studio on Etsy

 

© 2012 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

UX, for “Urban Experiment.”

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

I just love this story …inspires me to keep working on my art projects which link back to my own treks of working in underground spaces below Paris over the past 5 years.

Thirty years ago, in the dead of night, a group of six Parisian teenagers pulled off what would prove to be a fateful theft. They met up at a small café near the Eiffel Tower to review their plans—again—before heading out into the dark. Read full story by Jon Lackman …

 

 

 

 

 

© 2012, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

“LAND TO LIGHT – Photo Diaries”

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
 All Photo’s by Charles Farrugia
Here are some pictures of the opening and links

© 2012 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Make a Large Studio Easel in 6 Easy – Peasy Steps

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

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How to Make a Large Studio Easel in 6 Easy- Peasy Steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I built my studio years ago, I needed to have a versatile easel. I couldn’t find anything suitable in the shops and my budget wouldn’t allow for much.  So, I went about creating one from my left over pieces of timber. I needed one that would take small to very large canvas’s all at once. I needed lots of space too. Being an abstract painter, I slosh paint and work very quickly, sometimes on many canvas’s at once. I wanted a permanent spac,e where I could work on small canvas’s 30x30cm up to very large ones 4 x 2 Meters . My easel ended up being 9 meters long x 4 meters high and after 12 years of daily use, my rough and ready easel is still going strong.

My simple Plan

Materials & Equipment

Cut yourself, or buy 2 equal lengths of  hardwood or pine, however long you want the easel to be. This is for the floor and wall runner that will hold all the upright struts.

Cut yourself, or buy equal lengths of hardwood or pine for the uprights. Decide how many uprights you want to hold your canvas .To get the length of each piece , measure from floor to top wall at the angle you want the easel to be.

Bolts, nails or screws

Wooden dowel lengths of wood for pegs

Drill with a “spade” drill bit the same circumference as the dowel pieces you have

(Spade bits are used for rough boring holes in wood.)

Tape measure

Hammer

Drill

Method

 

1.Everything will need to be measured and cut for the area your are working on.

 

2. Grab the floor runner piece, lay it perpendicular to the wall on the floor, judging the best space between the floor runner and the wall . Screw, bolt or nail to the floor at intervals to secure. (Note) Remember to allow enough space from floor runner to wall for a slight angle for the upright pieces of wood so your painting canvas can to sit without falling

 

 

3. Grab the wall runner piece and screw, bolt or nail to the upper wall at intervals and make secure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Lay all your upright pieces of wood together on a flat surface together (floor )and take your drill with the spade bit and make holes from bottom to the top on all the lengths of wood. The spacing has to be equal across the whole lot.

(If painting the easel do this now before attaching to wall)

5. Take your pre- cut lengths of wood with the holes and sit each one so the bottom is sitting behind the attached floor runner and at the top against the wall runner with the holes facing you. Screw bolt or nail the upright struts to the floor runner and to the wall runner at top. (Note) Go along the floor runner at whatever spacing you want with the upright struts to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost done. Cut lengths ( 6inches) of dowel for the pegs that will hold all your canvas’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: If the pegs don’t fit in the holes… Round off one end with sandpaper by hand, or with an electric sander.

All done!!!  Now grab your canvas and paint to your hearts content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2012 – 2017, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Art Squats. Hybrid Arts. Studio in a box Paris.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

I believe art can no longer be only confined within the walls of established art institutions and be thought as only painting or sculpture. At a time when we are at the peak of global creativity I see artists refusing to be labelled and contained. Art venues and spaces are struggling to keep up and are experimenting with new ways to present this explosion of creative output artists for multidisciplinary and multidimensional.

When I was in Paris last time, I saw evidence of this. In a city of almost 300,000 living artists Paris seems to find creative outlets for multidisciplinary and multidimensional. Little “Hybrid art” spaces are popping up everywhere in the streets. Artists themselves have had to think of innovative ways to get their art seen. Many making their home an art space open to the public.

Art squats, sandwiched between homes in residential areas, art has taken over abandoned buildings where a rich cultural life of concerts, debates, exhibitions, lectures and workshops unravels in clandestine venues.

When I’m in Paris I have a couple of creative spaces I made out of necessity. “Studioinabox” and “The Dungeon”

 

 

“Studioinabox” is a wooden trunk in the apartment living room where all my creative materials are stored. I create the work on top of the box or the floor space. I  may even display or exhibit in side the box. As I move from country to country, my “nomad art’ has to be small and transportable. I enjoy the challenge creating in the immediate space and using only items, I collect from the streets,used packaging and a few other bought art supplies that I can fit into my “Studioinabox’

 

‘The Dungeon” is a space underneath an apartment block in Paris. It’s damp, smelly and creepy with dark corridors, full of earth walls with red wooden doors. The lights are on a timer and go out every minute, so you can be stuck in a very unearthly dark abyss, if you don’t press one of the buttons on the wall quick enough. I have devised a way to stop them turning off and over the years, I have become more brave and allow myself to connect to the dark hole, for longer periods. Eventually I want to open the space and show my video and photography down there. I also have ideas of a performance in the space.

In Australia, I find there are too many artists and not enough art spaces as well. So, I’m playing around with a few ideas using my home and website, as my art space for all sorts of creative experiments. Nothing, is fully formulated or resolved yet, and will keep you all informed of my progress from this blog.

Do you have a special space where you create and show your work?

© 2011 – 2018, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

The artists are taking over…

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The Artists are taking over…If you are heading to the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia to check out  The Archibald Prize at  Tarra Warra Museum of Art , don’t forget to pop into the thriving township of  Healesville.

Healesville is full of many quaint little cafes, restaurants, bakeries’ hotels, specialist delis, selling local gourmet foods and wines, second-hand /antique shops and eateries.

Recently the artists have taken over the town with the opening of many new spaces and galleries showcasing local artists and artisan’s wares.

One such space is “Artists Lounge” This shop is a real treat. A new corner gallery that has a Contemporary/Industrial feel to it. My favourite thing at “Artist’s Lounge” is the long black chalk wall running right along one side of the building, where you can make your mark amongst the contemporary artworks on display.

Friendly, Ali and Billy who run the space, have jam packed it with unique Contemporary art from the local Yarra Valley artists. You can browse the paintings and sculpture, but there is also an eclectic array of affordable, artsy items created by the artists.

I saw some lovely pieces of wearable art with handmade books, badges, cards, recycled arts, pottery, textile pieces, silk scarves, felting, and jewellery.

For the creative, they also sell high quality artist supplies and gorgeous papers to die for. If they don’t have what you are looking for they will order it for you.

So, grab yourself a cup of Billy’s delicious coffee and soak up the atmosphere and gorgeous things at “Artist’s Lounge” in Healesville

“Artist’s Lounge”
222 Maroondah Highway, Healesville.
Open Wednesday to-Sunday 10.30am -4.30pm
Phone 59625150
Email artistslounge.com.au
Show Map

© 2011, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

2nd Place Winner

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Thank you very much to John R. Math at  Light Space & Time Gallery for choosing my painting, VM IMP. Berlin as 2nd. prize in the Abstracts Art Exhibition .My work was chosen from 550 other artists from all over the world.

All winners will now be featured on the Light Space & Time website for the month of July 2011. Thereafter, the artworks and links to the artist’s websites will remain online in the Light Space & Time Archives. Congratulations to our artists who made our Abstracts Art Exhibition so successful this month. At any time, we invite our winners and other interested visitors to link their websites to the Gallery’s archive page for further ongoing promotion.

2nd Place Winner – Jenny Davis – “VM6 IMP. Berlin”

Jenny Davis is an Australian artist, working from studio’s in Victoria Australia and Paris France, where she sometimes lives. As an artist, she enjoys working in many disciplines including: painting, sculpture, photography, installation, video, collage, recycled design, sound and virtual worlds. Jenny has shown her work in many countries, including Australia, Germany, Spain, France and USA. Her work is in private and public collections across Australia, UK, Europe and the U.S.A. Outlook8studio

 

© 2011 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Underground Urban Spaces & Art

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

My art is inspired by underground spaces and the debris left behind in the streets.

Graffiti, graphics and consumer packaging I collect from cities worldwide.

Have your speakers on and please enjoy my video! “Urban Strazz”

© 2011 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Meet the Tenant Book.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

MEET THE TENANT BOOK (20% discount)

During the week I was cleaning out my book shelves and came across my book, “Meet the Tenant”. An underground survey of Paris.  It’s an unusual photographic survey of Paris. My photographs in this book are a “non-clichéd” look at Paris. Instead of focusing on the famous monuments, I zoom in on what is beneath the surface, photographing hidden places, including a storage area under an apartment.

I know I’m crazy but, I love spaces underground.

“There’s a life underneath the earth, and people don’t know about it, but it’s very busy and living,” she said.“I have taken photos of the Eiffel Tower but I go under it, and look at closer fragments.”

If you would like to buy a copy of my book…

Buy “Meet the Tenant’

DESCRIPTION: ” Meet the Tenant” Photography in Paris Australian Artist Jenny Davis. After a venture into the dungeon area under a Paris apartment. I could feel past lives lurking within its damp walls and eerie narrow chambers of numbered red doors. I spent many days down there alone soaking in the atmosphere of the space in order to connect to some sort of creative energy which eventually took off in all directions. I am fascinated by the beauty in the unseen the contained and murky, sometimes thought of as dirty and ugly.

© 2011 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Hidden Spaces Exposed.

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Thank you very much Kimberley Seedy and Lawrence Pinder, for the great article and photographs you created for the Leader newspaper about my latest exhibition at Burrinja 351 Glenfern Rd, Upwey Victoria

11 Feb 11 @ 06:01am by Kimberley Seedy

Jenny Davis shows some of the paintings and photographs at her Burrinja Cafe exhibition.s LAWRENCE PINDER N33FP405

A COLLECTION of paintings and photographs featuring some overseas locations are on display in a new exhibition in Upwey. Abstraction and Beyond, featuring the work of artist Jenny Davis, is on at the Burrinja Cafe until March 1.

It consists of seven framed abstract oil paintings on paper, created in Barcelona in 2005, together with mounted night photographs shot in underground locations in Paris in 2010.

Davis describes her photographs as a “non-cliched” look at Paris.

Instead of focusing on the famous monuments, she zoomed in on what was beneath the surface, photographing hidden places, including a storage area under an apartment.

Davis said she loved the spaces underground.

“There’s a life underneath the earth, and people don’t know about it, but it’s very busy and living,” she said.

“I have taken photos of the Eiffel Tower but I go under it, and look at closer fragments.”

Burrinja Cafe is at 351 Glenfern Rd, Upwey.

© 2011 – 2014, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Abstraction & Beyond (update)

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Exhibition update:

“Abstraction & Beyond”

Feb.2-1 March

Burrinja Cultural Center

351 Glenfern Road (cnr Matson Drv),

Upwey, VIC, 3158 .

Open Daily 9am-5pm.

If you are heading over to the Dandenongs over the next month, checkout my exhibition “Abstraction & Beyond’ at the Burrinja Cultural Center in Upwey, Victoria.

I just finished hanging the exhibition on Tuesday with the help of Amy Jo Jory, who runs the gallery at Burrinja. A cross-cultural mix of oil paintings I created at an arts residency in Barcelona, Spain, together with mounted night photographs I shot in Paris last winter.

I’m very pleased with the way it looks. My Spain paintings really connect to the space. At Burrinja they have taken on a very Australian feel yet, they are also Spanish. I can see both cultures in the paintings.

I’m relieved it’s finally up and running and all the hard work has been done. Now I like to sit back, let go of the work and relax. Although I love having exhibitions, once they are over, I am always glad to move on and begin new ideas and projects.

Burrinja Café & Bar
Open every day

Bookings: 9754 5707

Burrinja Café provides great food and coffee in a fantastic intimate atmosphere that continues the indigenous theme of Burrinja Gallery. It is an 80 seat fully licensed café that will seduce you the moment you walk in. Escape the hustle into warm ochres, great art and comfy lounges. Enjoy lunch, group get-togethers, music events, or just relax. Burrinja cafe is the ideal place to eat while visiting Burrinja to enjoy the great art or day-tripping in the Dandenong Ranges.

Functions
Burrinja  & Café Bar caters for all types of functions.
Call for details on our wide range of tailored menu options
Music – see Events for the line up of music, spoken word and more at Burrinja Café
Fabulous cakes, coffees, chai and more – all fresh!·
Menu selections are always being updated, and we can cater to your individual needs

More Café Gig & Events Info at the Burrinja Cafe website

© 2011, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

“I am an Artist”

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Today, if you ask me who I am, or what I do, I will tell you easily and naturally, “I am an artist.” It wasn’t always easy. It took years of doubt to get to this point, but I figured out how to maintain my belief in myself as an artist, in the face of all obstacles.

I would like to share with you a fantastic piece of inspiring writing I found many years ago, unfortunately I cannot remember who wrote it ,but ,would like to thank the author many times over for their words of wisdom.

Over the years the creative steps below have helped me when I had doubts about my career as an artist. When I allowed others to take away my creative time. When I questioned if my work was good enough.

I always take something from it that inspires me, to keep going, to keep creating and just do it, because I have too.

I hope it will inspire you too and make your journey a little easier…

10-Point Plan for Nurturing Your Creative Spirit:

Since your belief in yourself as an artist hinges on your ability to create, you must put your creative time and resources ahead of all other obligations in your life. If being an artist is central to who you are, you must put that first. Everything else will follow.

1.) Tell people you are an artist. Say “I am an artist” to your family, friends, mate, boss, or therapist… Not “I’m artistic,” or “I’m trying to be an artist,” or I’m an account executive but I like to paint.” To be able to say it with confidence you have to start by saying it at all. Try, “I’m an artist, and I’m currently supporting my artistic career with work in another field.” This tells people what you think is important about yourself. Not your day job, because one year you’ll be saying “I am a salesperson,” the next year “I’m a legal secretary.” Then who are you? How will other people believe in your artist self enough to support your endeavors?

If you want to make being an artist possible, make the commitment, take a leap of faith. If you cannot tell people that you are an artist, it will be impossible to do the other things you need to do to make it come true.

2.) Make art your first job. If you are very lucky, you might get a paying job in a related field — fabric design, teaching art, illustration. But if you have a job you barely tolerate because you need the money, you must set aside a large chunk of time in which to be creative or you’ll go crazy. Cut back on your hours or work part-time! Making art is your first job. It’s a real job, no matter how little money you make doing it. (The Tax office is happy to confirm this!) Other work, even if it pays more, has to come second in your heart. Keep reminding yourself and others that you have another, more important job to go to: creating art.

[I work in brief, very productive spells between long dry spells. Since I can’t schedule the creative urge, I’ve arranged my job to allow flexible creative time, whether I get the urge or not. A dependable part-time job and paycheck have meant security. When I free-lanced as a graphic artist I found myself spending my ‘free’ time worrying about the next job. I also learned to refuse extra work. Being firm about my commitment to my career as an artist convinced my employers that it was a conviction worth respecting, even if they didn’t understand it.]

If you can, put in a couple of hours a month with an arts organization or gallery. This is real work, if unpaid, that can get you art-world connections and credentials.

3.) Put your studio first in your living arrangements. If you need to create where you live, because you work at odd hours or can’t afford a separate studio, then arrange your home around your studio. If your living room is the biggest room with the best light, make that room your studio, and don’t worry about guests. Which is more important to you, making art or entertaining? (If you need to, you can always make your studio comfortable enough for visitors or family.) If you need a separate studio, but can’t afford one, move! Find or share a cheaper apartment or share a studio.

4.) Put your creativity first in your relationships. If you’re not able to create, you’ll feel frustrated, resentful, unhappy, and will be no good to anyone. If your friends or family want to know why you need time in your studio instead of socializing or supporting them, explain to them clearly (not defensively) that you are an artist, that you take your work seriously, that it takes a lot of time, and that being creative is important to your happiness and your future. They will begin to respect your commitment. (If you need to be more specific, you can say that you are working on a show, because you are always working on a show.)
If your domestic partner or children are not actively involved in your work, you must separate your creative time and resources from them, by schedule or location, or you will be constantly trying to choose between them…an impossible task.
Sometimes crises in your relationships are more important than whatever you are doing in your studio. But if you constantly use up creative time and energy putting out emotional fires there will be nothing left to give to yourself or your work. You have to draw a line somewhere.

[At one point in a difficult relationship I realized that I was spending my time waiting around for the other person and was too anxious to create. When I realized how many months I had been away from my work, I was distressed. I was sacrificing who I was for the relationship. I told my partner that I needed time and energy to be creative, and that I should not be forced to choose between my work and our relationship. When this was clear to me, it was clear to my partner, who became more supportive.]

5.) Make art part of your social life. Making art can get lonely. Attend art events, meet and talk to other artists, join arts organizations, and create a sense of community for yourself in which art is important. When you are creating, you spend a lot of time by yourself and you can lose your perspective. If you spend time with other people to whom making art is a worthwhile enterprise, you will feel strengthened and encouraged, and it will validate what you do when you’re alone. You will also make the connections you need to survive, and you will get information about shows, grants, supplies, and a whole range of opportunities that you might not otherwise hear about.

6.) Sell your work. If you want to reach the point where all you do is make art, selling your work will be very important. Because if you don’t sell your work ,you will end up doing some other job to make money (unless you are independently wealthy). You will use up your creative time and energy in a job that does not engage your heart, though it might exercise your intellect.

Never give your work away without thinking about it very carefully. Your work is your life blood. It is the fruit of years of training and effort, and is the foundation of your portfolio. When you give away a work of art, you lessen the value of the rest of your work, partly because you appear to value it so little. However, a donation to a cause that is important to you can create good publicity about your work.

Be careful about accepting commissions. Make sure that you will be paid enough to compensate for compromising or redirecting your creativity. Don’t take a commission unless you are very comfortable with the medium and clear about the concept involved, or you will probably regret it.

To support yourself through art alone, you must accept that part of your precious creative time and energy will be spent on marketing your work :

  • 1.) improving your presentation (framing, portfolio, slides),
  • 2.) publicity (invitations, mailing list, artist statement & resume),
  • 3.) showing (contacting galleries, competitions, holding your own open studios), and
  • 4.) getting funding (grants, loans, residencies, or, yes, a part-time job.) If you need instruction or support in these areas, take a class or join an organization .

7.) Be true to your art/heart. You must not allow the intention to sell your work change your style or subject matter. For one thing, all the joy will go out of it. For another, your style, your ideas are what make your work unique! If your work is currently unfashionable, you may have to work harder and longer to show or sell, but eventually you will find the right audience for your vision. People will not buy your work on the basis of whether it is fashionable, or a good investment. They will buy it because they respond to it, for reasons of their own. The clearer you are about what you are trying to convey, and the more faithful you are in translating your vision into your medium, the stronger will be the response from your audience.

Don’t dismiss any of your creative ideas, no matter how trivial. Curiosity is your best friend. Most of the things that interest us deeply are things we were curious about as small children. (Einstein’s interest in invisible forces began with a compass he got when he was seven.) Hold on to all your ideas. Carry a small sketchbook or notebook whenever you can. Often your subconscious will prompt you, when playing or doodling, to pursue an idea that will later inspire you to serious work.

8.) Take classes and workshops. You may temporarily lose your inspiration or become discouraged about your current direction. You may find it difficult to schedule creative time, or you may have absolutely no self-discipline and succumb to every distraction that comes along. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up connections to the art community. In all these cases, a regular class will get your motor going again. You will always be working on something, even if it’s only an exercise in color, or studies in a new medium. Artists, like dancers, never stop taking classes, never stop learning.

9.) Don’t worry. Be happy. You do not need to be unhappy, an alcoholic or crazy to see visions and make beautiful things. In fact, the true symptoms of creative thinking are joy, curiosity, clarity, and a single-minded, almost obsessive concentration.

Don’t harp on mistakes or losses; they’re part of your training and may inspire new work. Take joy in your ability to solve these problems and to make use of interesting accidents. Your interest in problem-solving may have gotten you into art in the first place.

Take dry spells in your stride or the anxiety will interfere with the creative thinking that your subconscious is always engaged in. Your subconscious is busy day and night, turning over ideas, memories, dreams, and making connections. Let it work, while you do something calming or playful, renew your energy. Remind yourself often of the joy you feel while you are creating, your satisfaction in problem-solving, your delight in making discoveries, your sheer sensual response to shapes and colors.

If you experience a creeping feeling of fraudulence, especially as you get ready for a show or talk about your work, keep in mind that this is a well-known fear among artists, similar to stage-fright. (Women artists seem to suffer more acutely from this feeling.) Just roll with it; it will pass. There is a little critic in the back of your mind that sounds like all the voices of your family and teachers rolled into one. This critic or censor is a part of you that is terribly afraid of failure, and may whisper negative things in your ear to make you stop trying new or risky things, in a misguided effort to protect you. Know it for what it is, and ignore it.

Most important: every morning when you wake up, give yourself a minute with your eyes closed, and say to yourself “I deserve to be happy,” or “I am a wonderful, prolific artist.” If it doesn’t come easily, you need to say it more often. This is not just talk — words have power, and as the days go by, you will discover that they become true.

10.) Return to the source. If you ever lose your way, re-think your priorities. What things are you putting ahead of your artistic self? Is something else using up your creative time and energy? You may need to make some of the changes I’ve suggested above. Go down the list. Or perhaps you simply need to take a break. Even a corn field has to rest between crops, or it becomes drained of all nutrients and is no longer suitable for growing things.

Always remember this, once you are an artist, you are always an artist. Like swimming, you cannot forget how to create. The source of your inspiration may occasionally seem hidden by the brambles of daily life, but it is always there at your center, like a deep pool of clear water, a spring welling up from the depths of your persona, self-renewing, and waiting for you to plunge in.

© 2010 – 2011, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.

Meet the Tenant Project – The Dungeon Paris

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Meet the Tenant Project – The Dungeon Paris

Over the past 3 months I have been living and making art with my daughter in Paris. I came here to  finish off an arts project I started  2 years ago.

Meet the Tenant project began during the Summer of 2007, when I ventured down into the underground area of an apartment block in Asnieres sur seine. I sensed the presence of past lives lurking within the walls and this became the starting point for my project.

I call this space “The Dungeon” Within days I had massed hundreds of images, video, photos and drawings. I took them back to my studio in Australia and have been working on the project ever since. I edited the videos into an 18 minute piece and printed out some of the photos. Developed a story-line which keeps changing, and created a proposal to be performed . (See 1st draft below)

Today back in Paris 2010, I’m still no closer to resolving this project its forever ongoing and not sure where it will end up and its driving me mad.

Proposal No.1 $10,000Jenny Davis 2010

“Go to Paris from Australia & live in an underground space for 7 days and document everything that happens with video, photographs, drawings, whatever. All things created become yours. You will own the experience, everything, including my clothes, shoes, food containers ,implements etc…I will deliver them to you. The art piece is… The whole experience…. you can do with it what you want”

(Due to sub zero temps. this project was canceled and may be performed at a later date)

An underground space under the Notre Dame Paris

Map copyright PlanetWare.com

© 2010 – 2016, Jenny Davis. All rights reserved.