I’m going to be doing a days teaching on the HND fine art course at Birmingham Metropoliton College on Monday. I’ll be giving a talk about my work first thing in the morning, and then doing 1-to-1 tutorials for the rest of the day. Should be fun.
I ran a drawing workshop at Staffordshire University on Friday. The morning was a look at drawing in the loosest sense - drawing with objects and other materials. The idea was to use found materials as the starting point for the ‘drawing’ - how do they behave? What happens when you do certain things to them?
Then in the afternoon we used more traditional methods, but still looking at ideas of process, repetition and the medium dictating the form and structure of the drawing.
It was a really good day, the students were enthusiastic and really got into it, producing some great pieces of work.
I went to the seminar ‘The New Economy of Art: What are we worth? Artists and the Economic Crisis’ last night. It’s part of a series of discussions run by Artquest, CAS and DACS. It began with a panel discussion chaired by Gilane Tawadros with John Kieffer, Zineb Sedira and Bob and Roberta Smith, and then opened up to the audience for questions and discussion.
As usual I couldn’t think of a question until later on (I really have to work on that!). It was interesting and the panel spoke well, with tentative advice and supportive sounds (with the best advice coming from Sedira: “ask for a fee”), but I didn’t feel that they actually answered, or at least addressed, the question in the title of the seminar: What are we worth?
The problem I seem to come across most in my practice is that a large amount of the general public think that art is a waste of time and money. The measures the current government are bringing in (or taking out!) only go to compound this idea that the arts are the least important aspect of our society. Granted, they are not the most important either, but they have a place. Both Kieffer and Smith stressed the importance and impact of the arts in England; Smith particularly, eliciting ripples of applause for his rallying cries. But they’re preaching to the converted. Everyone in the room was either an artist, an arts professional or some kind of cultural engineer. We know art has an inherent value, we know that society will be a worse place without art, without theatre, without cinema, without music. My question to the panel would’ve been: what can we do to prove our worth - to convince those that think art is not for them to think otherwise?