These are the crazy wonderful bouquets of San Francisco based artist Casey Gray. I had to share those ‘work-in-progress’ shots because, apparently, he starts by masking ‘n spraying perfect vessels, and then builds his painted bouquets from there! [Casey] works primarily as a painter, but also makes
Firstly, can I just say what an amazing community of thoughtful, helpful souls you have created here, Danielle?!? Seriously. So much appreciation and love. (I feel seeeeen!!!)
Secondly, as a general response to all...so many great ideas. So many excellent questions. Thank you. Thank you.
And thirdly, here's where I'm at...I pondered all your thoughts and ideas letting ruminate as I went down to the studio. And then I bypassed all my current 2D works in progress, cleared a spot on my desk and grabbed my box of unfinished assemblage works (some I haven't touched in 5 years!) and started to play. My first reaction was "oh! I'd forgotten how much FUN this is!" and after a half hour, I was thinking, "Ugh. This isn't as much fun as I thought it was going to be" and finally, my brain started working out a problem I'd been having with a collage I'd been working on.
Walking away from a BIG opportunity is hard. Being sought after and "liked" is a delicious ego stroke which as artists, on this lonely road a lot of the time, is a rare occurrence. But as you all said, art has to be from the heart or what's the point?!?
Guess I have my answer. 😉
Thank you all! ♥️♥️
My Dear Jen,
Sit down on the floor, close your eyes, think back to the moment before you got this invitation, and breathe. Seriously. In the quiet of your mind and body, you already have your answer. What answer did you find for yourself? Did it involve asking them questions about how they define 3-D art? What are the responsibilities of being a part of this gallery? Are their works at the level of my own? Take pride and ownership of your worth as an artist and a human. Since you chose to spend the last year focusing on your painting and collage, were you, at the moment before you got their invite at a place in your mind where you like, "This ROCKS! I LOVE where I am going with painting and collage, AND I WANT to keep exploring this." OR were you like: "Ug. I have committed an ENTIRE year to this, and I don't want to feel like I wasted my time, but making art this way doesn't feel right." All the nerves and excitement you shared seem to be about your wanting to fit into someone else's box. What's the shape of your box, and does this opportunity fit inside it? I believe in you. You got this!
Wow, this sounds like a lot of pressure and not much time. If they want your work by April then I think it needs to be your existing work. At least for me it would as I would definitely not be making my best work in those circumstances. Also, consider that a coop gallery usually requires you to spend time working at the gallery. Are you a people person? Would this add to your joy?
As the late and great David Bowie said: "never play to the gallery" (if I remember correctly). They chose you for the work you did so far. However, if you really feel like going 3D at this exact moment, go for it. Because YOU want to, not because the gallery wants you to. Good luck!
Hey Jen Worden,
I feel like you know the answer to this question. It can be hard to follow our instincts when a good opportunity arises, though. Have a good think about where you want to go with your work. If it includes 3D pieces then maybe you can do both and the coop is a good fit. If joining them means you won’t have time for other work, how does that feel for you? I have nothing but respect for artists who pass up certain opportunities to make room for the ones that make sense for them. Do what you want to do; if you decide to decline simply explain that your work is currently focused on a more 2D approach and you’d love to join them but not as a 3D-specific artist. Maybe it will start a conversation that will lead exactly where you need to go…All the best!
Sounds like a major left turn with a lot of pressure. Kate Wilson says it all I think. (and David Bowie of course!) As an assemblage and collage artist it would take me a year to create a new body of assemblage work. I would talk to them and say if you really want me to join how about April 2024 so I can give you my best work. Very hard to say no when you are being courted but you have to do what is best for yourself and your art practice and also for the gallery.
From experience I have had the same experience. I can say if you don’t go with what you and your heart and intuition wants it will feel like a ball and chain because you are not doing what YOU want. Pressure for artist is not always good. You will feel obligated to do what others want you to do. You may be locked into doing assemblage. I know ego is excited but not always best. Money may come for awhile but then what? What do you want?
I’m of the have it all and do it your way camp.... can you collage the assemblage? Is there another member with whom you can collaborate for the structural element while you do the surface element? Print your collage on vinyl and wrap the structures? Project collaged image onto a structure?
pop-up collage? Mobile suspensions of collage? (I’m such a Calder girl! At the tender age of 53 hahaha) something like the Eames cards... surfaces that slot into each other to create dimensionality... if you’re collaging on panel, you can get into all kinds of ways of making structures out of them....
even if your substrate is canvas, can you use an adhesive that is flexible enough to shape it into structures without cracking?
What ideas does the collective propose to your dilemma?
Could you give yourself a limited time and budget to play with possibilities to see if it would satisfy your heart?
What if : you combine all your qualities and make 3d painting/collage assemblage?
Firstly, congratulations! You should take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge the wonderful feeling of being chosen for your work :). Only a moment though as time is precious here ha! I think there are two questions that you meed to answer here. The first is what kind of work do you WANT to do? If assemblage work is on your mind and calling to you, perhaps you owe it to your creative self to pursue it. No one ever got anywhere by playing it safe. Remember that you can still pursue your painting in other avenues outside of the co-op. Perhaps a multi-disciplinary practice will inform your work in ways you have not considered. It won't be easy but nothing worth anything ever is. However, oniy you know your yourself and have the ability to determine if this is doable for you. Finding something close to balance in life is important to your sanity so if sticking to your painting practice and pushing it further feels right then thats your answer. I always go with what FEELS right over what THINKS right, if you ignore my grammar for the gist of it.
The second question is have you thought about what it means to be a part of a collective? Its a different business model. It requires working closely with a group. Do you know the members of this group and their personalities? You will be required to do a certain amount of work. What skills can you offer to this group? I'm sure they have already factored this into your invitation. A coop is not for every artist. Some thrive in this environment, others do not. Knowing yourself is very important. Good luck! Exciting times for you!
The artist heart wants what the artist heart wants. Sounds like you’re feeling pulled toward painting because it is what you need right now in your artistic journey. Sure, a collective might seem like a way to validate your work and put it out there, but you can do that yourself with this new medium and renewed passion! Passion fuels consistent, fulfilling work…taking an opportunity because it might be good for exposure doesn’t burn as hot in said artist heart. 😊 Excited for you and a new art experience–you’ve got this!
I’d say depends on some things. How much you want to be represented at that space. Do you feel it in yourself to create that type of work. Are you forcing it out just to meet the needs? Is this truly the direction you want to go in or is it setting you back.
This is such a good question and understandable (good!) dilemma. I'm hearing in your note that your gut is telling you this isn't the right time. I had someone at a gallery reach out once about a painting that I liked but wasn't the path I wanted to travel, so I passed. I'm so glad I did, even though I still don't have gallery representation.
I also think if you read this note from me and you think I'm wrong - or read the other notes full of great ideas and love them, then go for it! Good luck!
Is there a way that you can do both? For example,work on painting and collage 2 days a week and assemblage 3 days a week? Obviously you could split your time however it works for you
Just had a look on your Instagram..why not combine it all. Take it as the next step forward..a foot in the door..check out this Dutch assemblage artist https://instagram.com/karinvanderlinden1?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Paintings and collage merging into assemblage..
Go for it 👍 best Michelle @mgallagherartwork