playing with perfume | speculating on studio spaces | investigating creative processes

My Open Studio Adventure

In the midst of the excitement of reaching our Kickstarter funding (An embarrassingly big ‘thank you’ to everyone to contributed and who helped spread the word, incidentally) I have shamefully neglected to describe and assess the recent open studio event I participated in at my studio at KIAC. So here goes.

I have only been involved in one other open studio event prior to this. It was at University a few years ago. It consisted mainly of drinking tea and waiting for someone – anyone – to show up. Inevitably, no-one did, and I left the event with the assumption that all Open Studio events would be like this.

However, last weeks’ open studio, thankfully, was different. Whilst naturally it still involved drinking tea, at least this time I had people to share a cup of tea with. Whilst the amount of people visiting my studio was by no means vast, all involved certainly responded and identified with my work and my concepts. And the simple act of talking to a stranger about my work helped consolidate my ideas and conceptual principles.

Indeed, something I learnt as the event progressed, is that talking, in this context, is a powerful tool: It is used to generate and sustain intrigue, to sell both yourself and your work and to establish connections with others, which in turn may lead to something grander. In a studio environment, it is harder for the work to speak for itself: Work isn’t visually isolated, with accompanying text and an underlying theme. It is up to you to fill in these gaps in order to pull the work from it’s physical trappings, thus allowing it to be contemplated and identified with, if you wish to succeed in an open studio event.

IMG_2095

My Studio. Certainly looking more like a hive of activity these days.

However, my experience was by no means perfect, and I think that’s partly down to me. My studio could have been tarted up somewhat in order to make it look more appealing to the visitors. I vaguely attempted to arrange works of art in an orderly fashion, but many visitors simply glanced at my studio and proceeded to walk on by without any additional thought. I think I could have made it look more appealing and more engaging in order to achieve a more positive initial response from visitors.

I also wished to sell jars of my own paint at the event. This did not happen and was a bit of a missed opportunity. I could blame the fact that the empty jars I needed in order to store the paint were only delivered to me on the same day as the event itself, but really it’s my own fault. I knew when the Open Studio was going to be, and I simply didn’t order the jars quickly enough. As I say, this was a bit of a missed opportunity, and one that should have been seized in order to generate more interest in my work.

Anyway, lets not finish on a downer, it was still a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. And the negative elements of the experience are small enough to learn from, without having to label the whole event an all-encompassing, abject, vomit-inducing failure. And that’s always good.

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4 responses

  1. Eve V Dawson MA

    Just read your blog about open studios. I’ve recently taken part at a open studios event and one of the things a couple of us were concerned about was how much to tidy up? We wanted people to be able to see our work but at the same time we wanted the working studio to be evident. I split my space down the middle in the end . . one wall for hung works the other kept as my ideas wall plus works in progress. Me sat to one side and I agree there was a great deal of talking!! But also a great deal of positive feedback.

    December 8, 2013 at 11:08 am

    • Thank you for your reply, Eve. …I agree, I was wondering about how much I should tidy up too. I decided to leave a section of my studio available for finished pieces, which could be displayed there. Kind of like a mini exhibition space. I think it worked ok. 🙂

      December 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

  2. Most artists wont admit to the realistic points you made on your own commentary. Critiques of one Selkirk at not always easy but you are going to never make that mistake again. You are on to an awesome start. Make sure next time they come into your studio they don’t leave empty handed. Chris cruz

    December 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    • Thank you for your response, Chris 🙂

      Yes, I find the whole process of writing about these experiences, detailing sucesses and failures to be very worthwhile, as it helps consolidate your thoughts and move forward. I always think that it pays to be honest with yourself. I will indeed make sure that I sell more stuff next time 🙂

      December 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

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