Conference 4

Despite a weak economy, 245 conferees from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe attended Conference 4. It was the fourth Conference for some, and "it was," said  Supria Karmakar, from Ontario, Canada, "the best EVER encaustic conference."  (Wait until next year, Supria.)

Installation from Focus: Jasper Johns, Museum of Modern Art, December 2008-February 2009

Keynote and Panel

The Keynote
Roberta Bernstein, one of the foremost scholars on the work of Jasper Johns, spoke about the painter's work in encaustic. Author of the Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings and Sculptures of Jasper Johns to be published in 2012, as well as other books, articles and catalog essays on Johns, Dr. Bernstein has worked closely with him over the years. For the catalogue raisonne she has been systematically viewing and photographing every work  in Johns's oeuvre. For this reason, she was able to show images of details and versos that have never been seen before. Though one does not think of Johns as a collagist, it is in fact the layering of text and images, or images and images--that are a hallmark of his work, with wax a hallmark of that layering. In every instance, Bernstein acknowledged the important of encaustic to his work.

Dr. Roberta Bernstein

The Saturday Morning Panel
This year, for the first time, I drew from the immense pool of talent within our ranks, filling the panel with artists who had attended or presented previously at The Conference. The topic: Making a Career in Encaustic. Panelists, identified below, contributed to a lively discussion. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you can read a good deal of the colloquy that took place.

The assembled audience for Making a Career in Encaustic
Photo courtesy of Yechel Gagnon

The participants, below: JM, Elena De la Ville, Barbara Moody, Jane Allen Nodine, Alexandre Masino, Elieen Goldenberg

The Exhibitions
Four major exhibitions took place at this year: Best Foot Forward in the Hallway Gallery; the juried show, Flow and Control in the 301 Gallery; Immaculate Silence: Sasanqua Link, a solo show in the Schlosberg Gallery; and Wax Libris II, in the Library.

Best Foot Forward
Every since the first Conference, participants had been requesting a non-juried, everyone-into-the-pool show. This was the year. Within a prepared grid, each conferee was invited to place one work no larger that 12 x 12 inches, the foot of the title. What resulted was the splendid installation you see below, some 160 small paintings and sculptures.

Views from each end of the hallway
For more on the show, including individual works, click here for the exhibition website, created by conferee Kathleen Burke

The Director's Award, selected by me, went to this work:
Reclamation: Cold Laughter at Twilight, Karen Freedman
2009, encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches
Flow and Control
The juried show was selected by Joseph Carroll, owner of Carroll & Sons Gallery in Boston's South End. Breaking with the convention of previous exhibitions, Carroll opted to select fewer artists and show more work by each of them.  The artists in the show:  Jill Skupin Burkholder, David A. Clark, Shelley GilchristKen Gold, Ruth HillerNancy Lowe, Kelly Steinke, Michelle Thrane, Laura Tyler, and Robin Van Hoozer. Maggie Cavallo, assistant director of the gallery, organized the exhibition. Lynette Haggard interviewed all the artists, and the juror on her blog. Click onto their boldface names for links to Haggards's interviews.

Juror Joseph Carroll

The opening of Flow & Control

Ruth Hiller, recipient of the college's award, selected by Leonie Bradbury

Shelley Gilchrist, recipient of the Juror's Award, selected by Joseph Carroll

Wax Libris II
I organized this small exhibition of artists' books to run for the three days of The Conference. These books and book objects reflect the entire history of codified information, from the earliest clay tablets, here as words and lines scribed into wax, to scrolls and handwrought pages, to modern bound books. Some volumes are newly constructed by the artists, others transformed from library castoffs, all into works of poetry, mystery, beauty, wit, and sometimes, political expression. It’s a lovely irony that as we travel ever farther from printed matter, the resolute materiality of artists’ books remains engaging and deeply satisfying.

Panoramic view of the installation
Participating artists included Jeanne Borofsky, Miles Conrad, Supria Karmakar, Julie Shaw Lutts, Sandi Miot, Laura Moriarty, Haley Nagy, Catherine Nash, Nancy Natale, Mindy Nierenberg, Gwen Plunkett, Josie Rodriguez, Cynthia Winika, Daniella Woolf, Deanna Wood. A small selection is shown in closeup below

Haley Nagy

Julie Shaw Lutts

Gwen Plunkett

Sandi Miot, works at left; Mindi Nierenberg installation

Immaculate Silence: Sasanqua Link
Selected by Leonie Bradbury for a solo exhibition in the Schlosberg Gallery, Sasanqua Link exhibited sculptures constructed of beeswax and stainless--works that place the human body in a clinical setting, a poetic reminder of the tenderness of the body and a chilling reminder of how fragile it is.

Detail of Spinal Stele, 2006, mixed media with wax

Talks and Demos
Each year I put together a program of events that brings back talks and demos that were popular the previous year, along with new offerings. A always, the range of topics includes information on the materials and techniques we use, thematic slide talks, and presentations that offer a particular artist's way of working with the medium. An annual Call for Proposals brings in many new offerings. 

I thought you might like to see some of the planning that goes into each event--day by day, room by room, chair by chair

Cynthia Winika, assisted by Tracy Spadafora, left, and Linda Womack, in her Paper and Encaustic demo

Gregory Wright demonstrating Patterned Effects with the controlled use of burning shellac. Wondering about the safety issues? Greg covers that in his demo

Below: Greg at the completion of the demo

Kando Lozano talking about Working Large

Pamela Blum speaking about Encaustic on 3-D Supports
Photo coursey of Nancy Natale (scroll down to bottom of post for a list of link to her day-by-day reports of the Conference)

John Dilsizian, a.k.a Dr. Wax, talking about wax, from the hive to the refined product

Francisco Paco Benitez demonstrating The Encaustic Portrait

Post-Conference Workshops
One of the things I've tried to do is offer Conference demonstrations that lead into a Post-Con workshop. Not everyone who signs up for a demo during the Conference will want to continue in a hands-on way, but for those who do, it's a seamless transition. Case in point . . .

Benitez's workshop, Homage to Fayum (and is that Dawn Korman at the easel?)

Hylla Evans's Color Workshop has been a Post-Con staple

Miles Conrad's Off the Wall workshop is another back-by-popular-demand workshop. Here David A. Clark installs a work sample

Below: Some of the many small sculptures made in the class with a variety of materials, from rubber bands to twigs

Grace Vasta Carr in Sandi Miot's Working the Surface workshop

Kim Bernard, center, with her sculpture class

Some of the cast wax objects works made by class members

Catherine Nash surrounded by participants in her Wax and the Artist Book workshop

Supria Karmakar, above, and Sherrie Posternak at work

Paintings by Gregory Wright and photographs of larger sculpture Ken Gold at a Critical Feedback Workshop I ran with art critic Shawn Hill. Sometimes unlikely alliances form at workshops. Will these two end up showing together? Stay tuned

One of the evening presentations during the three days of Post-Con was Leonie Bradbury's talk on The Role of a Curator

Below: The audience, still attentive after seven hours of workshop during the day

The Vendor Room
This year the Vendor Room expanded to two rooms. Joining Enkaustikos, Evans Encaustics, R & F Paints and Rodney Thompson Panels were Kama Pigments from Montreal, Northwest Encaustic from Seattle, and several others.

Kama Pigments

Northwest Encaustic

Jeff Schaller made up a batch of t-shirts that said "I know Joanne." This is Miles Conrad wearing one and me pointing
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

*Saturday Panel: Making a Career in Encaustic
Reposted from the Encaustic Conference blog
We talk about process and technique, and we talk about showing our art, but we don't often talk about the elephant in the room: The Career. In the recent Saturday Morning Panel, we heard from five artists who have taken different approaches to setting up their studios, showing, selling and supporting themselves: Elena De La Ville, Eileen Goldenberg, Alexandre Masino, Barbara Moody and Jane Nodine.
–Joanne Mattera, moderator
 View of the panel and audience
Photo: Yechel Gagnon from the Alexandre Masino Blog

The Career
Question for Eileen: You have two careers: ceramics and painting. Can you give us a quick overview of how your ceramics career grew to accommodate encaustic, and how encaustic is now taking over as the more dominant aspect of your career?
About 10 years ago I saw an encaustic painting at an art fair in San Francisco and was very interested in the optical effect and the lush surface. I began to investigate encaustic paint, buying beeswax, buying Joanne’s book, finding R & F. I fooled around for a while, and then decided to take the five-day intensive that R&F offered in San Francisco. After that I was off and running. I carved out a space in my ceramics studio and started doing painting in between throwing, trimming and firing ceramics. At the beginning of each year, January through February, I would convert my ceramics studio to an encaustic studio and paint every day.

I began to develop my voice with painting. I have been drawing my whole life, so working in 2D was easy. I took to the materials and tools. In the last few years the painting has been taking over; most shows that I apply for and exhibit at, I show mostly painting, if not only painting. I only do one show each year where I can only show my ceramics, and I might stop doing that soon.

Question for Jane: You also have two careers: academia and a studio practice. How do the two careers inform one another? How do you structure your time?

In academia I serve as head of the art program at the University of South Carolina Upstate, I teach in the classroom, and I serve as director of the University Gallery. As an artist, I’m producing work in the studio and exhibiting, and those activities are a direct component of the requirements of my academic position.

The combination of academics and studio practice puts me in touch with artists and activities from regional and international levels. It includes travel opportunities, such as presenting at this conference, research opportunities such as participating in workshops, and travel abroad, of which I am director of a study program to Italy. This combination is a way for me to keep connected and to refresh my perspective. I find the combination to have a synergistic effect for me with this multiple layer of activities. In the past I spent years working alone in the studio, (pre-internet), and as much as I enjoyed that solitary focus of that work, it was very isolating. Today artists can connect through the Internet via social networks and blogs, but clearly the face-to-face interaction is still of most importance to the art experience.

As gallery director, I have the benefit of working with art and artists on a curatorial and presentational basis. I enjoy developing exhibition ideas, selecting and working with artists, and the installation process. Years ago I worked in display and visual merchandising, so I have a keen sense of visual presentation and it serves me as another form of art making and creativity.

What I am doing in the classroom, and with managing in the Visual Arts program, offers satisfaction from a pedagogical standpoint. I’ve spent over 30 years honing my skills and developing my knowledge of art, so having the opportunity to share that with students is meaningful, and it is a pleasure to see the results in their enthusiasm.

Being involved with several levels of art can be complicated, and time management is tricky, but I tend to be draconian if I’m preparing for a show or special event. For the most part, summers and holidays tend to be my most productive time in the studio. When I have a block of time, I tend develop a rhythm and I can move through the studio work well. During school sessions, weekends are devoted to the processing of art, packing, shipping, paperwork, studio prep, etc. So during the school year I keep notes and sketch-journals of ideas and plans for new work, so I will be ready to work when studio time is available.

"It is really about discipline, making art is not about 'when you feel like making art.' For me it is about being actively productive at any time."
I tend to think ahead, and I make every effort to plan forward. I’m not big on surprises and last minute alterations due to lack of preparation, or inefficiency, so I prefer to work forward rather than procrastinate. Some of this is built-in to my DNA but some of it I have developed over the years. And I follow the rule that preparation is a large part of productivity. I may not always be “making” art but I am doing something that will lead to or lend itself to the process.

Question for Alexandre: You have a full-time studio practice, though you used to work in a gallery to support yourself. Can you tell us how you were able to make the leap to supporting yourself as a painter?

My leap was more like a long process than a big jump into the void. Right out of University I made the conscious decision that all the jobs that I would accept would be art related or at least would require skills for me develop a practice as a full-time painter. I encountered some really dry times but I knew I didn’t want a full-time outside job; I had to spend as much time as possible in the studio.

I took all kinds of side jobs that led one to another. That’s how I became a studio assistant for [Quebec-based]
Tom Hopkins. In many respects, this was more formative than my school years and at times, it felt like I was doing a master’s degree with him. I learned the daily aspects of running a studio. I met gallery directors, curators and collectors. I met other artists. I learned how to wrap and ship a painting.

Besides working as a studio assistant, I did some graphic design. The skills I learned are still truly useful. Now I do all the design for my catalogs, ads and most of my invitation cards. Knowing how to use Photoshop and Quark X-Press is crucial to my practice and in the promotion of my career.

On top of these two main jobs, I was doing theater sets and stage lighting. Finally I was offered a job in a gallery, first to hang the shows and then to do all the different aspects of running the business. These years were extremely formative. I had the opportunity to meet many artists and do the design for several exhibition catalogues. After three years, I had pretty much learned what I could; I had the feeling of spending more time promoting other artists instead of my work and I was no longer learning many new things, so I quit. I kept doing side jobs here and there, but I gradually stop doing them.

"The most important thing is to be as creative in managing our lives as we are in making our art."

An entrepreneur opening a business will usually get a credit line. Bankers don’t tend to like artists, so we have to find other ways. I would sometimes live a few months by putting everything on my credit card. I would work like crazy on my art and the promotion aspects. It is indeed a life of insecurity but it allowed me to do exhibitions and build up my experience and my C.V. and work 100% on my art.

Two days before this panel, I went to the ICA in Boston and saw some pieces of Tara Donovan. Reading the interview in her catalogue, I saw that when she was working on her first large installation, she was so broke that even Home Depot declined her a credit card to buy the tar paper she needed. She then took things a step further than me and asked one of her good friends to get the credit card. She purchased what she needed and later paid her friend back. Now, she is showing in museums across the United States and major galleries represent her.

I'm underlying these aspects of the career as it is important to understand that when we see an artist publishing a beautiful catalogue or doing large installations requiring important investments, it doesn't necessarily mean that the artist is the lucky one with family money. It might just be that the artist is in debt but decided that realizing these specific projects was worth the risk.

Spending money on ones career is not an expense, it is an investment. I don’t invest in retirement funds, stocks, mutual funds or anything else, every single penny I have goes into my career. Anyway, I'm not planning to retire. I just do what I strongly believe and I make all my decisions thinking of the long term. Being the flavor of the month never appealed to me.

The Venice Biennale is probably the ultimate Holy Grail event in the Contemporary Art World. Its director, Francesco Bonami, stated in the Tate Magazine of May 2007 that 80% of the young artists shown at the biennale disappeared from the art scene in the last 10 years. I make my decisions thinking of the long term and I remind myself on a regular basis the words of wisdom of Giorgio Morandi: "My only ambition is to enjoy the peace and quiet that I require in order to work."

Question for Elena: You balance part-time teaching at Ringling School of art with a multimedia practice that includes encaustic, photography and now welding. Will you talk a bit about the juggling you need to do to be able to do it all?

Yes, I do a lot of juggling, but the overall constant is being able to go into my studio and do my work. I teach part time, and that provides me with the means to make my art and support myself. Since I graduated from the Art Institute of Boston I have worked in photography. I teach Photography, Alternative Processes and Encaustic painting at Ringling, Long Boat Key Center for the Arts and Art Center Manatee plus many private workshops. My life in the studio, as well as most artists that I know, is a solitary one, and I love it, but I also need the interaction and camaraderie found in a teaching institution.
."Teaching offers me a way of interacting with other artists and professionals that I would not have if I just stayed in the studio."
I consider myself a mixed media artist and that entails experimenting with all sorts of materials; that is the force behind my work. I love the experimentation and discovery of it. I have just had the opportunity to learn how to work on metal and how it loves wax. I love the big equipment and tools that are used.

Panel members: Joanne Mattera, Elena De La Ville, Barbara Moody, Jane Allen Nodine, Alexandre Masino, Eileen Goldenberg
Photo: Yechel Gagnon from the Alexandre Masino Blog
Question for Barbara: You’re balancing a full professorship with a studio practice that includes a regular schedule of exhibitions. Would you talk about the exhibition part of your practice: specifically your membership in a co-op gallery? What has the co-op given to you that other exhibition venues have not? What does it demand of you that other exhibition venues have not?
I completed a doctorate while serving as dean at Montserrat. I did no serious painting for nine years. Then I quit as dean, went back to being a professor, and started painting seriously again. Ten years ago, I was persuaded to apply to a co-op gallery in Boston’s South End and was accepted. It’s a 20-member gallery with great space, located in an area with many galleries, shops and restaurants, 50 artists’ studios, and a summer farmers’ market. The area’s First Friday openings attract over 1000 people.

Is there a stigma to being in a co-op? Probably among colleagues, but in Boston, the application process is very competitive. Co-ops are side by side with commercial galleries, so there’s no appreciable difference in space, or the quality of the shows. Most visitors don’t know the difference.

The disadvantages to a co-op are that it requires time and money. It costs $80 a month, plus gallery sitting (I pay someone), and attending a monthly meeting. You must volunteer for a job (I’m the treasurer). Having a solo show can be expensive—the invitation card, mailing, PR, reception—but each show I’ve sold more than enough to pay costs.

"But there are advantages to showing in a co-op. You get a solo show every 2-3 years."
. I like the deadline of a solo show and I work to create a coherent body of work for each one
. There’s a Member’s show every year during Open Studios in September
. The camaraderie; you enter into an existing community of artists
. The most important advantage: My work changes every two to four years; themes and mediums vary. In a co-op I can show whatever I want. No one tells me what will sell, or to keep consistent style. For example:
. For my first show, I presented 30 small realistic portraits 6 x 6”, and 70 wax paintings of ropes and knots
. For my second show: sculptural work—carved foam with wax (pillows, puffy objects, life jackets, crackers) on wall
. Third: cartoon paintings
. Fourth: charcoal animal drawings
. Fifth: large-scale charcoal drawings of piles, debris and animal fur
. Most recently (March 2010), I showed large scale acrylic paintings of atmospheric landscape space with lots of markmaking techniques.

The biggest advantage to showing in any type of gallery is that people see the work. Connections are made. The DeCordova Museum gave me a whole wall in a group show; corporate art consultants have bought a lot of my work.

Question for Jane: You direct an academic gallery. Would you share with us what you think an academic gallery has to offer the artist in pursuit of a career?
Artists are scheduled at least a year in advance. I select them on the basis of work I have seen, but they are encouraged to develop new work for the show. In some cases, artists may have new or experimental ideas for work they won’t show in a commercial gallery, which is dependent on sales; I’m willing to work with them so they can present new directions that may be exploratory or out of their norm. Clearly, exploration is what allows an artist to grow and develop.

In more monetary or pragmatic terms, our gallery designs and prints a color announcement that is mailed across the US, and we sponsor a lecture or gallery talk by the visiting artist that’s followed by a reception. We pay the artist a stipend, and our communications office promotes the exhibit in the regional media. Work can be for sale in our gallery, but we take no commission so I encourage the buyer to work directly with the artist for purchases.

"In an academic gallery, the artist has the chance to test the waters with new experimental work, and we often coordinate exhibits with other departments in the university such as the Women’s Studies, Sociology, and International Studies."

Academicians survive on the publication of their research, and an exhibit can attract a faculty or grad student to write critically about work, and it just might get published at the national level. For example, we have an art historian that is a specialist in the history of photography. She publishes and presents internationally in journals and at conferences. At the moment she is working on a commissioned book for the Tate London press.

Additionally, Spartanburg has a large international community that stems from our [automotive] industry, with such companies as Michelin and BMW. Connections to academic institutions can open doors that artists might never have anticipated. For example, Chakaia Booker, an artist using tires in her sculpture and recently showing at the DeCordova Museum, just happens to get some of those tires from the Michelin plant near Spartanburg.

Question for Alexandre: You’re represented by Galerie de Bellefeuille, one of the premier galleries in Montreal. You also show through Canada, in the US, and in Europe. Would you talk a bit about the logistics of exhibiting internationally?
You have to deal with custom papers and brokers, packing the work securely and shipping. Once the show is over, there is the return shipment. You have to pay for your own traveling expenses when attending the openings. There are also the other travel expenses in scouting out possible galleries, meeting curators and dealers. The time and energy spent doing research to find venues is not to be underestimated; sending out catalogues and invitations plays a big part in the first steps of the process but ultimately you have to travel and meet with the people you might or might not work with.
"The logistics of showing internationally are basically the same as showing regionally except that everything is way more expensive."
Showing internationally as an artist doing everything independently is time and energy consuming and it is expensive. However, I truly believe it is a crucial step in developing a career. When I started to approach galleries after graduating from University, I went for what I knew and what was close to me in Montréal. They all rejected me. I was a painter among many thousands other painters from Montréal. Then I went to Chicago to approach a gallery I had heard was looking for painters. Being a painter from abroad helped distinguish me and helped my case, as it was equally good for the gallery to represent international artists. After meeting with the gallery owner three days in a row, during the International Art Fair of Chicago, she offered me a solo show! For that show it was the first and only time that I was promoted as a French Canadian painter. After that it was easier to distinguish myself in Canada. I was a young painter with a gallery in Chicago.

There are different types of galleries and it is interesting to do business with many of them. Some galleries don't have a beautiful space but they sell. Some galleries have museum like spaces but they don't sell. Some galleries are in the business for more than thirty years and represent 60 or more artists. Other galleries are open for two years and represent twelve artists. All these galleries may be good in different ways for our career. It is a question of finding people that you can trust and that you feel comfortable working towards the same goal.

No matter what type of business relations we have with galleries, with curators or anybody else, the most important thing is to stay in control of our production and not to be pressured by the necessity of a certain venue or a certain market. It seems obvious but it is more difficult to follow than we think.

Question for Eileen: You have done many art fairs in which you set up a booth and spend the day selling directly to the public. You started with ceramics and now show a combination of ceramic work and your encaustic paintings. Would you talk about what it takes to do this kind of art fair? How do you get in? What does it entail? Would you recommend it?
There is a huge system of guides, listings and websites that list every craft/art show in the world. Not every one is appropriate [for what you do]. You have to go to the shows, talk to artists and see if your work will sell there. You have to network and do your research. The best shows are highly selective and hard to get into, if not impossible. But those are the ones I want to do.

This year I will be at the Cherry Creek Arts Fair in Denver Co, listed as the number-one show in the country for many years. I got in for the first time this year. The Smithsonian Craft Show in Wash DC, I got in once, it was a fantastic show, but they only let in craft so I can’t get in with paintings.

The shows are hard work schlepping a booth, canopy, lights, your art, setting up, selling the work, breaking it down. But you get direct feedback, and you get to talk about your work to thousands of people. Some shows are great some not so great. You have to learn to sell your work. Not just sit there and expect people to hand you money.
Question for Elena: You have an interesting history. Your art is in museums internationally, and yet here you are living in rural Florida. How do you balance those seemingly disparate ways of life—the cosmopolitan and the rural?
I received a full scholarship to the Chelsea School of Art & Design in London, where I studied Textile design, and also a scholarship to the Art Institute of Boston. I have lived in Caracas, Boston, London and Paris. I never really thought that I would live the rural life. That part has been a bit unintentional but it has become an important part of my life and it feels good for me to be focused on my art.

When I started with encaustic, over 13 years ago, I of course, got interested in bees and now I have two hives that provide me with honey, wax and a fascinating view of the world. (I also have chickens, which give me eggs and many laughs, because they are really very funny! I started out with 8 Cubalayas, endangered species, and now that number has grown to 20.) I live in a 15-acre farm with horses, bees and chickens; 13 miles outside of Sarasota.
On exhibiting internationally: "I travel every year to Europe and Venezuela, I also speak several languages. "
I show in Venezuela, have a show planned for next year in Milano and show and teach on Martha’s Vineyard and at Ringling College of Art. I like to travel and schedule workshops. I have been invited to teach in San Miguel Allende for next fall. I enjoy the dichotomy or rural versus internationality and relish them both.
Commissions, Grants, Business
Question for Barbara: You have taken on numerous commissions. Would you talk a bit about the process? How do you secure a commission? Price the work? What does it takes to execute and deliver the commission?
For 15 years, an art consultant has bought my work for a corporation that collects Massachusetts artists. They now have five buildings and they own over 75 pieces of mine. When they built the most recent building, they designed it for their art collection and included three large spaces for commissioned work. They invited five artists to make (paid) proposals and submit a budget. I was one of the artists they invited.

I worked really hard on proposals for two spaces: a horizontal cafeteria wall and a vertical lobby wall. I gave them different options for each, scanning my drawings and fitting them into an architectural plan. I had ever done that kind of presentation before, but wanted a professional presentation. I was awarded two of the three spaces.
. The cafeteria wall is 12 feet by 127 feet (flying animals and donuts). I did a painting on paper 18” x 15’, and a high-resolution scan printed and hung the panels like wallpaper to the mural size. It was fun. Little pastel marks and pencil became 3 feet high.
. The lobby wall is 50 feet high with a glass atrium. (My proposal: abstract lines, shapes, suggesting the history of textile industry in the city). I made a painting 8 feet wide by 30 feet high on MDF (12 sections, each four by five feet), set into bamboo paneling.

Submitting a budget was hard. My bid was $12,000 for the cafeteria wall and $30,000 for the
lobby wall. Once I got commission, I was very motivated to make them happy. I hired students to assist. There are photos on my website, barbaramoody.com. Based on that commission, I’ve gotten two other commissions: one for a hospital and another for a private collector. I still don’t seek out commissions, but now when I get a referral, I follow up better.

[Time ran out during the panel to address these questions, but the panelists shared the responses they had prepared.]
Question for Jane: Though you don’t have it any more, you founded and ran a jewelry company called Hardwear. Are there lessons you learned from that business which you have been able to apply to your studio practice—or more precisely to the business of being a fine artist?
Most definitely. Preparation, organization, careful document management, and above all integrity. Integrity of the product, and integrity in business procedures. Integrity is probably the most important component of building a successful career. I tend to follow the adage “you reap what you sow”. Gaining in the short-term by unethical or underhanded practices will catch up with you at some point, so keep in mind your reputation precedes you, and you will re-encounter colleagues and business acquaintances over time. I’ve learned to prepare, think ahead, take risks, but always, always, watch your back.

Question for Eileen: You recently received a big grant. What does it take to apply for such a grant, and how has it changed your career?
Each city, state has grants; there are websites for this as well to find the right grant. There are not so many for individual artists where they just hand you $500,000 to do what ever you want. Some you can’t even apply for, they have secret people out there looking for artists to give a grant to. There are restrictions and rules; you have to read the grant description, read it over and over. Make sure you can, or want to do what they want.

My grant was a wonderful opportunity for me. The grant was given to create an exhibition of my work. I had to find a venue, set a time, figure out a budget, and install the show. I did all the publicity, wrote press release, tried to get written up in the papers. Designed and mailed postcards, talked it up. Basically totally planned a one-woman show for myself, it was a great way to see what it takes to do a show. I am applying for more grants, continuing to find ways to get them.

Question for Alexandre: You have done several residencies. What have they done for your career, both in terms of helping you develop the work and in terms of advancing your career as a result of the time ant money accorded you?
Residencies give you a great opportunity to travel but mostly a window of time in which the only thing to think of and focus on is the art practice.

There are many types of art residencies; either you have many artists at once in a large facility like the Banff Center in Canada, or a single artist is given a studio in a remote place. The only residencies that I attended are of the latter. They obviously didn’t help me networking but they gave me the occasion to fully concentrate on my work without internet, phone or the pressure of the art world.

I did a residency, offered by the Brucebo Foundation, where I was awarded a studio on Gotland Island in the middle of the Baltic Sea for 3 months with nothing else to do but paint and take long walks. It had a big impact on my practice since this is where I started to focus on the many possibilities of doing landscapes. Without the residency, I probably would not be showing with the Luminous Landscape collective in parallel to this conference.

[We closed with this:]
Question for Elena: The last word goes to you. Is there anything you’d like to add, bring up, address?
I am encouraged by what I have heard here today. Each one of us here on the panel has experienced and made our careers in a different way. As I expect you will too. There are many ways to approach be it exhibits, grants, adjunct positions, and following opportunities.

"I took a walk down to the harbor this morning and there was an elderly gent looking for metals at the beach. I asked him if he had found something interesting and he said, “Not Yet. You just have to keep on looking.” That applies to all of us. Each of us will find our own way."
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About the Panel

Elena De La Ville
An artist who works in a variety of media, joined--sometimes literally--by encaustic, Elena shows throughout the Southeast and is a part-time faculty member at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Her work is in the collections of the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas Sofia Imber, and the Museo Acarigua-Araure, both in Venezuela. She lives and works in a rural area of Sarasota.
Self-supporting from the sale of her ceramics and paintings for over 30 years, Eileen has recently added grant recipient and curator to her resume. She is active exhibitor with numerous solo shows to her credit, and she teaches out of her home studio. She lives and works in San Francisco
Working out of a brand new two-story studio that he attached to his home, Alexandre focuses exclusively on encaustic in his painting. He is represented by Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal, and shows throughout the United States and Europe. He supports himself from the sale of his work, as well as through commissions and grants. He lives and works in Montreal, Canada.
Barbara Moody

Barbara has combined an academic career as an administrator and teacher with an active exhibition history. A longtime member of the Montserrat faculty, she is also a member of the Kingston Gallery in Boston, a co-op gallery that is widely respected through New England. She is a grant recipient and recently completed two large-scale mural projects. She lives and works in Beverly, Mass.
Jane Allen Nodine
Before joining the faculty of the University of South Carolina Upstate, where she is a professor of art and director of the Curtis R. Harley Gallery, Jane owned and operated her Jane Nodine Hardwear, a jewelry design and manufacturing company. Recognized with numerous awards she was selected by the South Carolina State Museum and the South Carolina Arts Commission as one of the one hundred most significant artists in South Carolina during the 20th Century. She lives and works in Spartanburg, S.C.

After working in publishing for 20 years, Joanne has supported herself fully from the sale of her paintings and art-related projects: freelance curator, visiting artist, conference director, and career consultant to artists. She divides her time between Manhattan and Massachusetts.


More blog reports:
Alexandre Masino's report on The Panel
Nancy Natale's day-by-day reports here: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Post-Con Monday and Tuesday