It’s time to apply through VTAC, if my training in Visual Arts is to continue.
Today our Victoria University Artspace class, visited Paul Borg‘s studio. Based at home, in St Albans, he runs a workshop and studio out of his converted garage. The yard and surrounds are a plethora of found objects, recycled items and gathered paraphernalia. I got lost several times enroute, the VW’s nose not used to being pointed in a westerly direction.
Inside the studio boasts a cornucopia of work. Vast, skilfully executed oil paintings of his, and surrounding backyards, local landscapes, religious icons, and unique portraiture. An exemplary brushman, he taught at VU Flinders Campus for many years, and showed us a series of drawings he completed on his daily train commute. Application to his craft, long working hours, self discipline, and inspiration from unlikely sources, are all building blocks of his creative practice.
An informative Q&A session rounded off the interview, and we left his studio feeling privileged to be granted an expose to his work, specifically the family portraiture, which comprises a large part of his creative practice.
It is a collective exhibition by eight artists , 2 local , 6 international , with the underlying theme of artistic fieldwork . The central premise is that understanding is founded in personal experience and most of the works in the exhibition are taken from daily life , a record of the day to day comings and goings of the artists , and the curator .
The artists are Maria Antelman , George Egerton – Warburton , Dara Gill , Sandra Selig , Alexandre Singh , Charlie Sofo , Michael John Whelan , Nina Yuen , and the curator is Melissa Keys .
Many visual tools are used in the exhibition , including , photography , collage , b&w photography , inkjet prints , assemblages , video , altered book pages , found objects and polystyrene sculpture .
To quote the curator the artists ” composing their work using everyday found objects , images and routine simple gestures , the artists featured in ” Notes from the Field ” create humorous , poignant and haunting works that confound and rewire the habitual and commonsensical ways we establish meaning and make sense of the world . ” Melissa Keys , Curator , September , 2014 .
It is a diverse skill base employed by the artists , and they too are a very diverse group . I particularly liked Sandra Selig’s work . Her altered book pages using enamel paint , adhesives and folding techniques were displayed in a series , and were beautifully executed . It was an interesting and unusual variation of the altered book theme , and one we have used in our own practice in studying our VU Visual Arts Diploma.
Housed at 40 Dodds St , the gallery space is a former factory , and one in which I worked in the personnel office , as a young school leaver many years ago . The transformation of the former factory is innovative , although the old wooden staircase , stained glass doors and windows , concrete floors , and beamed ceilings , bear testament to its former life .
It was two days of talks , presentations , and workshops designed to help arts practitioners find a sustainable , economically viable career , in the creative fields of their choice . Many talks and presentations were given by visual artists , dancers , musicians , lyricists and music producers , filmmakers , illustrators , painters , sculptors , scriptwriters , actors and playwrights . Whilst the presentation style , and field of expertise , of the speakers varied they all had several underlying themes to their talk .
An artist has to work long and hard at their craft and it requires a sustained , day in day out work ethic . You need to exhibit , display , audition , and somehow be seen in your artistic endeavours . Networking , and self promotion are essential tools for the modern day practitioner , and effective grant writing plays a big part in the sourcing of funds , to make your practice viable . Diversifying into other fields is necessary , so you have to work across a variety of disciplines , not necessarily those of your specific interest , or addressing and complimenting your training .
Skill , talent , rigorous work and training aside , there is also an element of luck involved , ie : of being in the right place at the right time , when an opportunity arises and knowing how to seize it .
The good news is you can hope to earn $13,000 a year from all this , if you’re lucky . The general average yearly income is perceived to be much lower than this .
Artists are driven , passionate and intuitive mark makers . It is not a profession chosen for wealth , prestige , or success . Usually the profession chooses us and for those in its thrall , its a lonely , indescribable process of struggle , but one we usually can’t ignore .