Beginning again

December 2, 2009 at 12:55 am 2 comments

I just moved to Melbourne, VIC, Australia from Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. and today I was cranky. Here I am again, with no way to print pictures, no studio, no scanner, no structure, no particular project going, no knowledge of local nonprofits and local issues, and no idea how to tap into the artist community…besides getting tattoos on my calves. (I saw a woman today with two aggressive nymphs staring each other down from each of her calves.)

It is the same old problem that all artists deal with, on micro and macro levels, all the time. You have to make art in order to get support. And you have to get support to make art. You have to know people to meet people. You have to have money to get money.

So I started wandering into galleries, asking questions. I found the Gertrude Contemporary Art Space, and wished desperately that I had found them just a few weeks earlier, when it would have been BEFORE their application deadline. So typical.

A lot of the organizations that help emerging artists are community-based, like that one. In Phoenix, I received a lot of support from the eye lounge, which is an artist-run coop gallery; and Contemporary Forum, which is a group of people affiliated with the Phoenix Art Museum. Best way to find equivalents in your community is, of course, through word of mouth and google. And by looking at the resumes of other artists in your local community, and figuring out who supports them.

However,  I’ve been keeping my eye out for non-local organizations that support emerging photographic artists for a while, so I have a few to list below, for anyone else that might be searching for a boost. (And let me know what else is out there with your comments.)

I think the same problem applies to anyone trying to tap into a network for the first time, and volunteerism is no different. There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal recently about the trend toward taking both short trips and mid-career sabbaticals to volunteer abroad. PhotoPhilanthropy offers one way to make connections if you are looking to donate your time as a photographer through the Volunteer Opportunities tab in the Creative Momentum section. And the WSJ article’s author, Steve Mollman, compiled a list of organizations that facilitate non-photo-based service.

For anyone looking for a meaningful way to give back via the arts, I think philanthropist Ted Decker is an excellent example. His Catalyst Fund, set up in 2003, is designed to help artists market themselves—an expensive and yet crucial component of getting your work out into the world and moving your artistic career forward. He supports both international artists and Phoenix-based artists, and is a strong presence in the Phoenix arts community. His often-small—sometimes less than $300—grants make a huge difference. By helping a few individuals, he builds stronger ties between many people within a disparate city.

So, the nitty gritty—arts organizations that give emerging artists a boost:

1. Humble Arts Foundation New York is a not-for-profit organization that works to advance the careers of emerging fine art photographers by way of exhibition and publishing opportunities, limited-edition print sales, twice–annual artists grants, and educational programming. @humblearts

Bar Tender | San Antonio, TX | 1-Person Household | Goes to sleep at 8AM and wakes up at 4PM daily. by Mark Menjivar

2. Jen Bekman’s 20×200 print editions: (limited editions x low prices) + the internet = art for everyone. And Jen Bekman also has a blog (she is another arts entrepreneur whom I idolize, obviously). This is unrelated, but I love her Thiebaud + O’Hara pairing…”You are trapped in a croissant factory. And you love it.” @20×200 @jenbee

The pictures above and below are from 20×200, and are just the kind of image I’m immediately drawn to–the feral house illuminates a social issue that I’m aware of but haven’t really seen in this way before. And the fridge, in its demonstration of an extreme, reminds me of how unsustainable many of my own patterns are and yet how many other people I share them with. They are also bizzare and funny–a pleasure to look at.

Feral House #7, James Griffioen

3.  The Puffin Foundation seeks to provide support to artists who are outside the mainstream because of their race, gender or social philosophy (grant deadline Dec 9th!)

4. Artist-A-Day highlights a new person every day and sends out info to a large following.

5.  Women in Photography offers grants and exhibition opportunities. This photograph, part of  a series currently featured on the WIPNY site, delights me.

I throw myself at men #1, Lilla McElroy

6.  Saatchi Online, Photography is another chance to post your work and engage with a community of artists, collectors and gallerists.


Entry filed under: Grants, Opportunities, Publication opportunities. Tags: , , , , , .

Artist as entrepreneur: the new paradigm I do love a zoo.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jagminbros  |  December 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I know the feeling of moving to Phoenix from Boston without any resources and support group.

    Terrific blogspot! Good luck, Eliza.

  • 2. Jess  |  January 7, 2010 at 5:27 am

    I hope you’re settling into Melbourne by now, it must have been a massive change coming over from the States. I come from Qld but now live on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula and just love it. Sorry I can’t offer any local advice regarding photography but I might be useful for other bits of advice 🙂



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"In this way his work is more powerful in its moments of creation, when real human interactions are eroding racial stereotypes, than in its exhibition. And if the work succeeds, it is not because Subotzky can use a camera like no one else, it is because his photographs embody his efforts to confront social injustice on a personal level." --Charles Schultz on Mikhael Subotzky

PhotoPhilanthropy’s blog is written by Eliza Gregory

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December 2009

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