Every Sunday after church, I like to look at myself in the mirror for an hour and then look at my website and all the artwork on it for another hour. Each time I visit my website, I’m disappointed with the categories I’ve listed in my Curriculum Vitae: so depending on the week you visit, my CV will describe me in different ways.
The world of art demands many things from its contributors, and artists themselves place a lot of emphasis on accomplishing multiple endeavors. Everyone has myriad roles to fulfill and artists are no different. Aside from the captivating myth of an artist creating work in a messy studio while listening to NPR, an artist seeks to contribute in a variety of ways to an artistic endeavor.
For me, the most obvious contribution outside of my formal studio and cliché art production is art writing, i.e. art blogging. My online writings appear on a handful of blogs and consistently cover some kind of personal confession as a player in the art world. I rant about my journey towards some existential art goal and the obstacles I face to unlock that achievement. Occasionally my writings take on the guise of art criticism, but only when I feel like I have a firm grip on the subject matter in an art historical context. Sometimes I wish that a simple thumbs-up or down were enough for an art critic, but that would put some brilliant folks out of a job.
Another contribution I dabbled with in the past was curation. I’m not a curator by any means, but back in grad school, it was a fun and accessible process to tap into when our student-run galleries held calls for exhibition proposals. I really enjoy visiting artists’ studios and seeing collective ideas being manifested in different ways. Rather than writing a paper or creating my own work about a specific topic, it’s cool to think that I could curate an exhibition that presents that specific topic. I haven’t curated a show since grad school, but curating opportunities often come up in San Francisco’s popular art spaces.
I like to keep the myth of an artist-in-studio alive as a personal philosophy, but with that myth comes the curiosity of what I-as-artist then contribute to the community when I’m not contributing my personal art objects. This multiple identity complex runs in any field, but with such a small world in and of itself, art producers are constantly jumping from one role to another. It’s no secret to me that writing about art gets more attention for my own artwork which then gives me some leverage if I ever wanted to curate someone else’s artwork which is just another reason for something else to happen and then something else to happen! Explosion! I just took over the art world!