What are your plans for the future?
At the moment, my plan is simply to have fun, make art, hopefully make some money and most definitely keep learning. For me that last one is essential: whatever I do in life, I want to keep learning new things. I am already aware of small signs of laziness that tend to creep in when I’m not working towards something, so somehow I need to maintain my focus and keep developing within my practice.
I’ve already thought about doing an MA at some point, but for now I’m enjoying a break after seventeen years of education!
How do you think the transition from art school to the ‘art world’ will affect your future projects/creative output?
This is the real test now, to put into practice all the self-motivation I built up at University and stay focused. I think the hardest part is going to be not having my course-mates around me all the time – when you’re in a communal studio and have shared it with the same group for three years, you build great connections and start to understand one another as artists. Other people are able to spot patterns in your work that you may have missed, and it’s just generally a really healthy environment to be in – you spur each other on just by being productive. I’m already missing the studio space itself – I tried to make some work in my bedroom at home and with the scale I’m working on right now it was very difficult.
I am anticipating a slight decrease in momentum for a while whilst I find my feet, but I’m hopeful I’ll still be able to find the support and criticism I need to keep developing my practice. If I’m proactive and positive, I can keep the momentum going.
What do you anticipate will be the most difficult aspects to overcome to become a successful artist?
One of my tutors from art school always says that “art is a long game” – you have to keep going, hard work and perseverance are key. As with a lot of things, I think one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome will be rejection, and picking myself back up again.
Success is also a subjective word: success, for me, isn’t about becoming a millionaire. If I can continue to produce work that can speak for itself and spark conversation and opinion amongst those who encounter it, that to me is success. Of course, if anyone did want to buy my work I wouldn’t turn them away!
Where do you position yourself in relation to the current art market/world?
Right now, the art world feels like an invisible web or a maze, with unwritten rules and secret codes at every junction. I am at the entrance of that maze, taking a deep breath and choosing a path.
I do feel that art school equipped me with some good transferrable skills and taught me the basics of how to be a professional – where to start looking for opportunities, how to present yourself etc.
Having done an internship at a London gallery I have some extra experience too – having seen first-hand how artist-gallery relationships work and what is expected from each party. That was really insightful.
It’s kind of like learning to drive though – you have some lessons, pass your test (graduate) then you go out and learn to drive. It’s about experience and gaining confidence.
Seeing artwork in exhibitions by established artists with similar themes/concepts to my own work has given me some confidence – it makes me feel like I’ve got something right; not that there is a right or wrong answer in art, but it makes me feel like I’m part of the conversation, that I can contribute and that I’ve got something valid to say.
Do you have any concerns about selling your work?
Making loads of money isn’t the main priority for me, but obviously I need enough to be able to carry on making work and to live. Pricing my work is probably my biggest concern – it’s putting a value on it and when you’ve never sold a piece before, how do you know what to charge?
Do you see yourself going forward as an artist? Do you have a plan B?
Being an artist is plan A, so I’m going to give it my best shot. There is no plan B at the moment, apart from my other love of writing – but I don’t see why that can’t be involved in plan A too. Being a fresh graduate is scary, but exciting at the same time. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.