(some ideas from #class)


Ok I’m bashing an idea out here; its still on the lines of how #class or similar can further forward the momentum and positive discussion outcomes achieved over what must have been an intense month of organising and doing – so whatever I’m writing here are ideas in motion – ideas maybe to think about and see if they could be updated or adapted and ….well, read on…. like I said not set in stone…..

Artist dilemmas.

I’m an artist;

Please don’t tell me that I have to say exactly what I am going to do before I have done it. You see I want the artistic freedom to create from moment to moment. And so on-etc., etc., along with various other arty anomalies that have echoed around studios, galleries and schools on and off since, well, since art became something other than a paid creative job in the renaissance, or church echelons of medieval and Greek times.


The thinker

Freedom to Create;

Got no time, and no money….


And another side to that story…..


Jennifer Dalton mentioned in this interview the other day on one of the positive changes mentioned in #class; “Advocate for artists to get paid fairly for their work, both at the gallery level (this may mean contracts!) and at the museum and non-profit level (asking for exhibition fees when often there are none in the budget).”


Art can be very ambiguous, in-flux, controlled or whatever but the nature of art is for it to express itself. So the point raised here about individual contracts falls into the need, I agree for artists in general to be more organised on that level; a contract means there are no ambiguities and therefore reduces the sometimes half-truths or misunderstandings that may occur (on either side) on completion of the work and the transaction.

And at the other end of the scale….

I mentioned before Chris Offili expressing his very real unease in having to don his artist-in-front-of-the-art-media hat as opposed to his Man U supporting artist at home hat, causing him problems in actually doing and growing with his work because of market and media pressures to perform differently.


Stuckists chris ofilli

A very cruel portrayal of the artist’s dilemma portrayed by Mark D of Nottingham Stuckists


Schools of Thought.

Groups, Schools and Organisations part 1;

Hard facts

I came across this book recently called Hard Facts (Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense). Which as part of a much wider topic addresses a fact that many businesses which have hitherto used a command and control management, keeping-the-workforce-in-check-model are, seemingly failing with the false work-hat and home-hat personas that they encourage their workforce to adopt; not only does it apparently induce over the top in-fighting within these companies but it is also failing to address the general shift to a more open; this is who I am, not a who you think I am, attitude among many workers these days – they are just themselves, they mix, they socialise, they interweb with each other – and it is changing.

The book also points to business’s like the US South West Airlines, who are more inclusive of their staff. John Lewis in the UK with their staff as partners and their shared profits also springs to mind. But more than that, the general  jekle and hydeness of these tight control formats. For example if you were to suggest in a family setting that your brothers and sisters were your competitors ( I know it happens) but  it’s not generally a bench mark for sibling rivalry instilled by the parents, and  further, if you were to organise say, a family event and extended family members were involved, the general gist would be to let each family member do their bit without checking up on them to see that they were pulling their weight (I said general gist!).


But essentially a group effort for the good of the group, rather than a leader controlling check up to ensure no one was slacking, causing rivalry.

This I think exudes outwardly from businesses, showing a similar sense of that kind of competitiveness towards other business and so on.

Stressful aswell? possibly

The book does point out that a few businesses or organisations do well with competitiveness encouraged; like the military. But the service industry is a glaring example of not.

Groups, Schools and Organisations part 2;

Finance was one of the areas I didn’t address when I was bandying on about the Steiner style approach to schools, but they do have an inclusive attitude toward funding finance, and a sliding scale contract which each parent in the UK anyway, sign up to (in Holland or other countries where Steiner receives state funding it is different). They ask you to pay as much as you can afford – there is a top level income that determines whether you pay the full set fee per term, anything under that and it is pro-rata and below a certain level, ie; benefit income, you pay small a token fee.

But no grading anywhere else; you pay what you can afford and everybody receives the same education or service.

So people still feel, as much as possible that they are contributing fairly and for the good of the whole objective (which includes their child’s education – so also prime motivator to be involved).


typical kindergarten circle


Groups, Schools and Organisations Part 3;

Back to 1997 and Mojacar Southern Spain.


A good friend of mine Tim, was at the time an artist of no fixed abode or institution – a free spirit, he eventually went on to study and take up a place lecturing at Norwich University College of The Arts. At the time I met him though, he was in his 20’s, sleeping in his car and/or on the beach and he wasn’t quite in the mood for entertaining an arts degree. This was still at a time in Mojacar and Southern Spain’s recent history that had attracted a lot of musicians, artists, film makers to the region from the 50’s Beats and the 60’s hippies onwards. An obvious bohemian atmosphere still prevailed as late as 97.

It was around then that Tim mentioned a local artist residency. Set up in 1989 in a converted mill, the idea being to allow artists to stay for a nominal fee, provided they communally cooked and basically helped out, while at the same time having a relatively uninterrupted space to create. A while ago I came across the same residency on the web and they have now joined the arts residency organisation ResArtis. Which also started out similarly in Greece with a Dutch guy who, on meeting people from other cities and residencies, decided it would be good to host group meetings at each other’s places in order to create a network and framework for better residency organisation.


Fundacion valpraiso
Fundacion Valparaiso


Looking at their membership mandate and fees structure, it seems to be aimed at providing a service for individual groups or organisations (governmental grant based or non) to link up and share information, experience and generally aiding a more professionally linked up outlook while at the same time retaining the principal of providing internationally (and with that, socially, politically, and religiously diverse) linked up communal spaces for artists to engage with their work for a number of weeks. As well as their web site community they encourage members to visit diverse destination General Meetings to further experience and contribute face to face with the group; provided, I assume you can afford the travel costs!. But I’m guessing with its organisation-to-help-other-organisation structure, the benefit works both ways (so that is their prime motivator for people to become involved).

The potential for some sort of fairly-run-for-the-good-of-the-whole idea for #class and things like it could work.

Zac Cohen mentioned in a recent blog post on the subject – taking small steps.


Not necessarily an organised group but maybe a framework of intent.

So clearer interactions can also take place in the wider art community with less of the ambiguity which sometimes hangs around artists like a misplaced hippy-esque, post-victorian mist.


Going to put this one down for a while and let it do its thing – Back to more stuff on  Wednesday!