Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thoughts on art studio v craft studio

In my thesis I made the analogy between the craft website as a form of ‘open studio’. By sharing the process of making the work online, or the ‘work in progress’ (WIP)

To extend the analogy, could the move of crafters taking their work from online to real world be seen as the exhibition? The current trend for online craft makers to take their work offline and into Pop-Up shops could be seen as a way to test markets and gain customer feedback.

This has also got me further thinking about the function and historical role of the artist’s studio and the similarities and differences between the traditional studio and the online studio.


·         Place to make work

·         To try out ideas

·         Feedback on work in progress

Squalor and creative mess are the aesthetics of the artist’s studio. The haphazard detritus of creation spills onto every available surface. These images are for consumption and appeal to a general desire of seeing the artist as their physical nature, the visceral paint, life – the feeling of this being the space where creation happens.

The images shared by crafters online generally lack this chaos. There is order and composition in the images of work in progress shared, and as I have argued, bears similarities to the genre of still life. The angles of the images are tightly cropped, rather than the wide view of studio making, what is often presented is the work presented with other markers of taste; a chair, book, vase or other arrangement.

Images of the artist studio and the online craft ‘studio’ are both formalised in images to show taste. The viewer hopes to see the mythical site of creation (mess) and the composed images of craft (order).

The online craft website is always ‘open’ and therefore, needs to share the making of work with their audience. There is little point in making craft for sale online if the making cannot be shared and seen. Important to craft is the hand of the maker.

At the exhibition of new art, we don’t see the making. The art is removed from the studio context. Craft is valued when we see the process of how it was made.

Barbara Hepworth's studio, via TATE

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

creative industries, should we all be entrepreneurs

Last week the Creative Futures ReportSouth Australia produced by Service Skills SA was published. It looked at the current labour and industry trends for the creative industries in South Australia.

Key messages from the Report:

The creative industries are a significant employer with capacity for further growth.

..the industry requires support to develop critical entrepreneurial skills and increase the capability of the workforce.

…a ‘skills set’ covering strategic business, marketing, financial and use of new technologies

The Reports focus on training and skills is to be expected due to the report producer being Service Skills SA and with input from the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology.

An interesting comment regards respondents wanting to gain skills in marketing, social media, arts and business management as part of their creative arts degree. This is something that I have argued for, along with many of my peers in the visual arts degree. There is a concern that creative arts degrees do not adequately prepare students to articulate the skills they have gained through their degree to an employer. Perhaps the problem is not so much with the degree but in the ability to feel confident to “sell” our skills and knowledge. In a case of being our own worst enemy there can be a tendency to use the line “it’s only a visual arts degree” to peers, family and friends.

Teaching professional skills as part of a creative arts degree is important. However, there is a tendency that graduates from these degree areas should have a ‘portfolio career’ or be ‘entrepreneurial’.

The Report suggests a ‘Creative Entrepreneurial’ Skill Set should consist of the following components:

·         Business Development

·         Marketing

·         Finance and Taxation

·         Project and Self-Management

·         Digital Literacy

Not much there then.

Is it the responsibility of the university to ensure that their graduates are equipped with not only their knowledge of painting, acting, drawing, design etc. but also to be a master of all trades? Should business and marketing become a core topic of any creative industries course?

It would be great to see employers take on more responsibility for the training and professional development of their staff. Instead of expecting graduates and new employees to have their degree, plus business knowledge, plus marketing knowledge, plus digital literacy employers should look at how they can access the already existing Skills For All courses to deliver a structured career and training progression for creative industries workers.