Thursday, December 6, 2012

The List: Art Workers in Galway

First of all; Brilliant reaction to the last entry. Thanks for all the reads, the favouriting, and subscribes! Before I've even began SEO-ing my blog properly and making it not look like crap. Just wow.

Before I went off to Poland for an awesome free holiday in Krakow, where I gawked at a lot of architecture and pro-human-interaction town-planning and went to a student art exhibtion (lol), I added two new tabs to my page. I am launching a list of Art Workers on one tab and a list of Art Peoples - everyone else related to the visual art market on the second. As part of my overarching project to study artists in Galway and find ways to maximise their development and earning potential (including my own), I want to create a finally definitive art-yellow pages for Galway City. That US study on the art market in various cities - Investing in Creativity - that I raved about on my last post really blew my mind.

When I began with this list it was all on one tab. I quickly saw how huge this list was going to be and so now  all the art workers I can find get their own blog tab and categories (for now, until I can afford a super awesome website). This is also a much less lonely and neglected place for my collection of artist pages than my sprawling bookmarks folder.

This is the ultimate labour of love and rampant obliging the categorisation-obsessive Monica Geller in me. I still want to write about other things like run-of-the-mill art reviews, comics and illustration, urban art and make my own art (all my materials are still in Donegal, sob) and upskill, as well as work two friggin part time jobs for a few months to emerge from the murky stomach-clenching, nightmare-ish world of post-student debt. However, whilst the austerity economy threatens to topple and crush the Irish Artist who lives off grants, dole and no currernt and reliable understanding of the market that they're trying to sell their work in, that is without a doubt the most important thing to write about. Before I start to generally gush about local artists. Especially after Arts Council funding has just been cut by 4% as of yesterday and artists are being shouted at to become entrepreneurs and leaders of their own income streams.

<img src="artist's-wage.jpg" alt="Artist's Wage" />
Time for the artist's wage methinks.

When I have either more people to write for this blog or better time management, I will do proper heavy interviewing of Galway artists to turn this pleasing exericse in categorisation into a valid art-market framework for artists that is specific to Irish norms of art business, based on the Urban Institute study's framework, which began with interviews. All these intended interviews with my fellow artists would aim to correlate all their bickering, opining and long weaving rhetorics about the Galweigan art bubble into something substantial, productive and progressive. In the absense of a proper market analysis for Irish artists (although I looking for pre-existing art market reports for this country here, here and here) I will collect more kinds of data to create a proper market analysis (if the art market here can actually be tied down into a market category, see my hesitation about that in my last post). If my business education is to turn up anything useful for my art goals, I want to apply it to create real business models in the arts sector that can help artists.

I have my own criteria for adding artsy people to this list -
  • they must have a website/facebook page/tumblr that they regularly update with their progress and their completed work. An artist who is serious about expanding their money-making potential and who doesn't have an online presence or never updates is not worth the time it takes for me to type their name (if you are established and have your own carefully constructed ear-to-mouth network of buyers who only ever contact you by landline then grand, good for you. Go read my other awesome blog posts.);
  • I promise to not be a horrible corruption monster and only add my friends/people I think are seriously cool and am trying to suck up to (of which, I assure you, there are many). Most of the artists will be Irish connected and mostly Galwegian for now. I must profess; there will be a lot of Societies people. That is where my artistic base and beginnings in Galway began, and there are a legion of Societies people who are jaw-droppingly talented and hard-working and who I'd love nothing more than to see succeed;

    Generic photo of super happy societies students being creative and hardworking together. I do believe this was the very first Muscailt Arts Festival I was involved in - back in 2008. Ah those formative years.

  •  I will endeavour to keep my very particular tastes for art out of selecting and deselecting artists. Whilst I naturally lean towards comic book illustration, very expressionist and figurative art, surreal art, stuff with buildings and cityscapes in 'em, and graphic vector work, I will always be proud of you if you genuinely work to make a success of your art, even if I think you bore the brains out of me (and not in a good way);
  • I'm giving priority to visual artists and designers. Other fields in the arts should really find their own obsessives to build them big bloggy databases. Writers and performers that are supplementary to visual artists I want to include, e.g. comicbook writers, actors who collaberate with designers, models, lighting designers, etc. I feel that the specific field of musicians and the live music in Galway scene is a bit too far outside of my tendrils and personal interests in write about properly, but sure, we'll see how easy it is to guide them under my massive blanket definition. I am generally a sucker for any kind of start up business from young Irish people, so I will probably find a way to include a lot of businesses and individuals who are just really super cool.

This collection of everyone else who make up the art market will include:
    1. Artistic Groups and Collectives
    2. Artistic Industries
    3. Artist “Producers”
    4. Art Commentators, Magazines and Advocates/Activists  

    1. Artistic Groups and Collectives
    Basically collaberative groups that, whilst they're not employing anyone, are directly assisting artists to improve their ability to self-employ and self-manage, without selling their work. Balancing the fantastical bohemian lifestyle with a good splash of business reality.

    Love this. Source: Image from Diary of an Arts Pastor, very informative and interesting article about the "Artist-Prophet" phenomenon. Worth a peruse.

    2. Artistic Industries
    These would in theory “employ” the visual artist - give the artist a commerical outlet. Whether my inquisitive wee study ends up revealing that these loosely defined "industries" in Galway only ever seek “employees” within their own super incestous network of ass-lickers OR that Galway artistic industries are unbearable bureacratically fair and regulated in terms of recruitment, I shall list them all. Include graphic design studios, art galleries and auction houses, animation studios, art auction houses, theatres, etc. Also I will give preference to galleries that show off local artists first and foremost.

    3. Artist “Producers”
    These are the producers of artists, not the producers of artistic products. I still believe that the best kind of artist is the self-taught artist, but I will list the art colleges and institutions that run art training courses for Galwegians and have at the very least an undeniable networking role in the art world. Is a lack of training really a barrier to entry? Or is it a barrier to entry within itself? Ho hum.

    <img src="art-school.jpg" alt="Art School" />
    <3 <3 Art School Confidential fuck yeeeh <3 <3

    4.   Art Commentators, Magazines and Advocates/Activists 
    Artzines (which have absolutely expoded in the past two years or so, absolutely love the entrepreneurialism and hopefulness of them all), particuarly notable art tumblrs,websites, art critics, etc etc, that focus on Ireland and more.

     Obviously there will be overlap and general blurring in some of these groups, e.g. an artist collective with their own cop-op art gallery, an artist who runs their own gallery and sometimes feels generous enough to sell other people's stuff on some commission, etc., etc.

    Again, these categories are very broad and aren't designed to adhere to anyone else's definition and understanding of the overall playing field but my own. For big official economic stats there are just-barely definitions of artists as cultural economic agents within a broader economy by the almighty Fás: see Fás National Skills Bulletin and their many related publications on job sector supply and demand (which is really informative and eye-opening anyway). If I ever got together the resources to draw up a proper theoretical framework I would love to completely Porter's Five Forces the hell out of this city. This is of course Galway-focused, but I would love to later apply this fantasy theoretical framework to other artsy cities like Cork and Dublin and then the greater island of Ireland.

Comments on all this are totally welcome, also let me know if you want to be included in the list, should include someone/something and/or have terrifying Galway art market secrets for me.

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