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Surviving Art

Author: Matej Tomažin

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The art world is a magical place full of complex conversations about unmade beds, buttered-up chairs and urinals, but nobody seems to want to talk about how it actually works. I want to change that.

So, welcome to Surviving Art, a safe place where trigger words like job security and pension fund are strictly forbidden.

But what isn’t, is making sense of the art market; how to price your work, approach galleries and get exhibitions, as well as tips and strategies on how to sell your art directly to collectors and get your creative message across.

A new episode every Tuesday at 16:00 CET.
140 Episodes
Is this art?

Is this art?


Countless figures throughout history have tried to explain this incredibly complex question: What is art? And more importantly, what isn’t art?But still the institutions have no real answer, no common ground upon which they could define a normative of what defines art. Brut art is a problem, so are other outsider artists, and home schooled creatives that defy or just never become part of the institutional system. It’s the carpenters that put more than the usual love and attention to detail in building their “consumer objects”. It’s the iPhones and iPads and other designer products that always walk the thin line between art and function.Then you have others that do not agree with the institutional idea that one needs to even be part of the system to be considered an artist. You only need to have ideas and communicate them with the world via your production.And in the philosophy of aesthetics — the field that studies this question ontologically — there is even more confusion.LINKS TO THE ARTICLES MENTIONED:The first one is by Thomas Nagel, titled What It Is Like To Be A Bat.The next story, written by Frank Jackson is titled What Mary Didn’t Know. Titled The Chinese Room, this wonderful tale of speaking Asian walls stirred the lines of cognitive scientists when first presented in 1980 by John Searle.
People have two intrinsic desires; to know themselves and to find a place in their environment. We constantly search for better ways, a clearer image of who we are and continuously try to place that projection of ourselves into society and our environment at large.But a lot of us make a grave mistake when conducting our search. A mistake we might not even recognise, but that defines and ultimately controls our inability to find our true way in life.
They say we are born as empty slates, pure white canvases onto which life leaves its marks and in the end produces a singular, unique imprint of colours, shapes and forms. While this may or may not be true, today I would like to think about the process itself.Also, I would like to inform all of you, that the daily blog will go through a few changes: The coming episodes will now be much longer, and published only once a week (Tuesday at 16:00 CET), with random episodes thrown in from time to time (like interviews, talks and other non-periodicals).
Let's stop with this romantic preposition that one hears all to often when talking with artists in academia. We go through a list of 8 steps to keep in mind when creating a commissioned work.
Art is emotional and as such its value is determined absolutely subjectively. The big question though is how, because even though ambivalent, subjectivity can still give us a lot of various starting points to calculate value from.It’s all about perceived value though — not that the actual value of materials in a work or the hours we spend aren’t important, but the tag word for this topic is perceived. Because let’s face it, unless your art is made out of pure gold, the materials should matter a lot less than the story that’s behind it.
I have struggled with this question for years. Not only with figuring out the value that I can provide to society, but the value I have for myself. But, even though you can find blueprints of how to build an atomic bomb online, answers to the question: “How do I fit in with society?” remained elusive, almost non-existent.The problem wasn’t that no answers to this question were out there though, it was that I did not know where to look.
A lot of us may think that artists are the only ones in the art world that are struggling with the changes, happening via social media platforms, online sales platforms and other PR, marketing and advertising related content, that now have to be made in addition to the work we do in our studio, but it’s actually a global phenomena.
The importance of critiques

The importance of critiques


Jasper Johns’ first show at the Castelli gallery was an enormous success for the artist and started off his career in an unprecedented way. But they exact method used by Leo Castelli (one of the biggest galleries to have ever walked the streets of New York) was remarkable and incredibly simple at the same time.
I have been noticing a lot of my peers creating exclusively museum sized artworks and/or installations, but most of them are failing to ever sell a piece they make. And sure, large works do have their place — a lot of my work is on the larger side because, to be honest, making it smaller would diminish its narrative powers. But the reality is, almost nobody has enough room to really hang or exhibit such a piece in their home and making such large works can be detrimental to our ability to sell.
One of my early mentors in the arts once told me a story about her artist friend that used to come by her studio and show a lot of interest in her work. He actually showed a lot of interest for every one of the local artist’s works and was a regular visitor to their studios too. Just a friendly nosy guy.It was a nice chat and after their conversation ended he left as he did many times before. She continued with her paintings, giving absolutely zero thought to the whole thing. Little did she know, what was about to unfold. I can tell you though, it wasn’t going to be pretty.
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