Today I drove up to see the Wassaic Project, a residency program, annual art/music festival, and exhibition/installation space that inhabits a large historic mill in Wassaic, NY. I hadn't made it to the festival last month but wanted to see the show before it closes. I liked some of what I saw, very much. After viewing the seven levels of art tucked in nooks, I became thoughtful as I paged through the artist bios. They reminded me of the parallel job an artist faces, alongside the actual making of the art, when trying to build a career. That is, the task of finding and creating opportunities to get the work shown, shared, sold, and talked about.
Looking at artist bios can affect me in two ways. It can be inspiring, checking out where they studied, did residencies, exhibited, applied for grants and so forth, giving me ideas for resources. Or it can make me feel that there's so much I haven't explored and need to do to make any kind of dent. This year I had decided to focus on developing my work itself, spending time in new places and talking to different people, just.. painting. Then I remember I want to get all this new stuff out there, so I renew my research of calls for entry to determine if my work is appropriate and relevant. I've considered (and been encouraged to) approach galleries directly, so must ferret out possibilities. The more people you know, the more possibilities that come up. Typically, I get overwhelmed by the numerous networks, the variety of media available to me, and the energy it all requires.
I've made some progress, more than I could have once imagined (especially in the technical aspect of things) but less than I would like. It's not a matter of self-worth-- I like what I make and how my ideas are developing, even more so after the past few months-- it's a matter of creating an ever-sturdier structure to support myself. Which means more hustling. I didn't check out any art when I was in the city this last time (besides a quirky film, gelato, buying art supplies, and two hours in the Strand perusing books), but everything there kind of pushes up against me anyway, in the way that I need.