Wednesday, August 15, 2007

When that MBA comes in handy

Vito Polly-Vincent had these wise words to say regarding how to talk about work:

How about if you break your work down into sub-groupings, kind of like conceptual portfolios, so you can say, for example, "in this body I… xyz..." "In that body of work" This way you don't pigeonhole your work and place limits on what you can do. And then for marketing purposes, you create your own concise spiel - "talking points" - the purpose of which would be to unify the varying strands of your work as a whole.

Great advice for any artist. Truly.

The problem lies in what he refers to as “talking points.”

How do these sound for my own work:
1. I make video installations
2. Draw on several visual tools, including home movies, and staged societal interactions and text.
3. Explore estrangement and intimacy on a family level, repression and emancipation on a societal level.

Back to square one. This still sounds very varied and confusing to me.

All this reminds me of two things:

1. I’m an artist not a businesswoman, and never the twain shall meet.
2. All artists need a rep.


Vito Polly-Vincent said...

I can't tell from your post whether you liked my suggestions or not. I'm not trying to get you to be a businesswoman, but I would remind you that it is you who brought the concept of *marketing* into the conversation. If you are going to actually try to piece a spiel together, the first thing I think you need to do is avoid itemizing the characteristics of your work - i.e. my work is 1) X; 2) Y; and 3) Z. That makes it seem too much like a menu. I'm not an artist, but I don't think you'd have any problem finding a way to connect 1, 2 and 3 in a tight paragraph that then becomes the spoken spiel. It's not an undertaking that requires a rep (which is not to say that a rep doesn't come in handy in a host of other ways). Nor does it require a business degree. What you do need - and what I happen to know you already have - is clarity in your own mind as to what you're trying to accomplish with your work, as well the capacity to make theoretical connections so you can articulate what the work is about to others. In other words, how do you understand the relationship between video installations, the use of the visual tools you deploy, and your thematic preoccupation with issues of estrangement, family intimacy, repression, etc. Another way of posing the question: How does the medium help you articulate your themes, and how do the themes shape your decision to use certain visual tools? If you can answer these questions, then you should be able, at the very least, to get other people to see why they should care. Also, I think that doing this well is something that can potentially stimulate new ideas, new connections.

Molly Stevens said...

Again, great advice. Marketing is extremely important for an artist.

I will definitely be working on this.