Thursday, April 18, 2013
Saying you're a feminist is a confronting thing to say, even in this day and age when women have come out of the dungaree s and can say that they care about women's rights with lady danger red lip stick on, but it's tricky isn't it? I don't want to isolate the other species...men, whom I am very fond of, and who have given me lots of support over the years.
I decided to write this blog about the need for more equity in the arts for women, as a feminist, and as a living, breathing artist with a paint brush in my hand, not some dried up academic with a paint brush up the butt. I'm lucky enough to have been able to create my passion into a full time gig, and I'm aware that it is fortunate for any artist, man or woman. So I want to approach this from the angle, not that I've been a victim, or that women are victims, but rather that things could be improved.
I always wanted to be a pioneer. When I was little I wanted to be the first woman to climb Mt Everest..... that is until I saw that your fingers could turn black and fall off! So this will have to do. If I have one thing to do before I am done on this earth it will be to have another go as the GORILLA GIRLS did back in the 70's of evening up the stakes.
So if things are not balanced in the art world, where are all the women that I studied with? I've been told by a professor that women gravitate towards teaching careers instead, or that they have children, and that hampers them, but it still doesn't answer it, as many women have careers, and babies and do fine in other professions, and many successful artists both men and women taught me, so that doesn't cut it either. The truth is that it's still a boys club out there, and a lot of boys form friendships, and then leg each other up, which a lot of women just don't get the benefit of, or get the blokey culture of the art world. Got it Maaate!
In any case, I want to add something positive to this debate. I've answered emails from women asking for advice on how to pursue their artistic careers, some have told me that I have saved them, inspired them, and that's something I never thought I'd ever hear. I thought I was pursuing pretty much the most selfish and indulgent thing possible, and was taken aback that I had any influence over people at all, so now that a few people have told me that they enjoy my writing, and haha read it, I'm going to talk about something that's important to me.
I am fully aware that just talking about it won't solve inequality, but you have to raise people's awareness of situations to even begin to have a conversation. When I have suggested to some people that the Archibald Prize should have a 50/50 male to woman split instead of the general figures which are on average 10 women to 30 men, it was implied that the gene pool of female talent may not be strong enough to create such a resolution. Or people have said that the issue isn't black and white.
As a lover of contemporary art, I find a lot of the work in the Archibald not really my cup of tea, however for arguments sake I'd like to know how many women entered out of the 834. If it was 424, which I would say it would have to be considering the amount of women who study art far out weigh the men, then to give them only 10 places, year after year, is not only unequal it's sexist.
I'm sure museums and galleries had the same hesitation about increasing the numbers of female artists represented in their institutions, when they were lampooned by the Gorilla Girls, when it first came to light how poorly represented women were. Well we have moved on from there, and there are more female artists in the museums, and the gallery system, and nobody takes any notice any more, because it is now the norm. But it is still not equal. Finally after it has been pointed out some more, there will be equality. It will be the norm, but not if you don't stand up for it!
Until then girls, don't just hide away in a studio by yourself, the arts is all about connection. If you have been helped by others on your way up, don't forget to offer support to artists just coming up, especially those whose work you believe in. Form a group and leg yourselves up!
Monday, December 24, 2012
Yep it's It's almost the end of the year and my last blog for 2012!
With a combined audience of just over 3,500 people who subscribe to my newsletter and are have joined me on face book I want to say Thanks for checking out the blog- and big ups to those who attended the exhibitions this year!
A special thank you to all of those who supported my work this year- those that purchased a work and brought it home this year..Thank you guys- this means I can continue to create art, my greatest passion - full time. To all the peeps who support my work on my blog and face book- thank you for all of for your beautiful comments. To @Deb Bibbie from Real Living mag thank and @Tanya Buchanan from Belle magazine Big THANK YOU for all of your support this year! I also want to thank @David Mendes who has done amazing job on so many projects with me, - from my website-to my newsletters-to my prints. Thank you David you are a star!
Thanks to all the galleries who represent my work- A special THANK YOU to all of the team at Gallery One for such an amazing sell out show at the beginning of the year.
I also would like to thank my beautiful models, who have inspired 3 exhibitions, all of whom are accomplished and amazing women in their own right. Thank you @Lexi Land, and @Stephanie Tetu Without a great model there is no hope of great painting.
It's a been a year of transformation- a time to embrace the changes going on in the world right now.
While the GFC has been tough for many in the art world, I find that it's the perfect time to roll with the changes, and introduce some new ideas into my practice, and different ways of getting my work out there that have been evolving in my mind for the past 2 years. There is a saying that my friend reminded me of the other day- "necessity is the mother of all invention"and it really is inspiring how inventive we can become when we eliminate the feeling that there is nothing to loose, and only everything to be gained.
Next year I'll be back showcasing my brand new work in a range of exciting events and exhibitions.
Starting with AN ORDINARY EDEN for Gallery One on the Gold Coast in March, and beginning to Work on my portrait of SASS and BIDE for this years Archibald prize- Later in The Year I will be Doing an exhibition in conjunction with Vogue's Day Out in Sydney out and showing in Melbourne at a date still to be confirmed. I have also just recently accepted an offer for Gallery Representation down in Victoria. Gallery Manyung so please stay tuned for new work to be headed that way soon!
I want to wish all of you a safe and relaxing holiday and an amazing 2013!
Monday, December 10, 2012
I've got work in a couple of Christmas shows at the moment. "Small wonder" an exhibition of.... yep you guessed it- small work. You can catch this work at my Canberra Gallery- Paint Box www.paintboxfineart.com/
My 3 mixed media collages, are created from lush, shiney Vinyl, splashes of acrylic paint, and are rendered with a marker pen. This one of a kind gift is priced to delight at $800
I'm also offering a Special Xmas offer hand drawn original drawings over a limited edition print of one of my collages. Only 5 unique images were produced. There are only 3 unique images left!
At $390 unframed- or $550 framed they are a steal!
To have a look check out my online shop http://www.miaoatley.com.au/shop/mia_oatley/
If you're a local- or happen to be passing by the Gold Coast's Gallery One http://www.gallery-one.com.au/this summer holidays I've got some stunning larger work there that I've just sent up. Enjoy!
Monday, November 12, 2012
The economy goes up, the economy down. Sometimes it's easier to sell art than other, but these are the things that I've learn't over 10 years. This is how I've survived, and I thought that I'd share those thoughts with you in today's blog.
-Be inventive. Mix it up, if something isn't working for you, that has in the past, find new ways to create work, or create a new line of work that is more relevant to people's budgets, eg smaller paintings, drawings, or limited edition prints.
-Don't stand still. There isn't a wage for you, so explore the full possibility of marketing available to you. The aim is that your work reach as many people as possible.
-As an artist you cannot separate yourself from the marketing and sales of your production. Remember that nobody has as much vested interest as seeing your work sold as you do. No gallery could possibly dedicate the time required to market your work as you can when they have 17-35 other artists to manage.
-Blog, send out Newsletters, use social media, update people on your exhibitions and goings on as a way of keeping yourself in people's mind's, but never forget that more personal contact is vital when it comes to connecting sales.
- Select a couple of trusted people to bounce ideas off. Take on board what intelligent people have to say, but don't be discouraged if people are negative or don't understand your ideas. If you are going to stick to something you can't listen to everybody! You need to trust yourself, and be confident.
- Dedicate at least 1-2 hours of your day on the marketing and business side of what you do- This will pay off in sales. Remember that that with expensive art, it can happen straight away, or months down the track, when someone is flipping through a magazine and sees your work. The key here is patience.
-Have a vision for the future, and set goals, because in tougher times, this will be the light at the end of the tunnel.
-Be generous and kind to other artists weather you like their work or not, weather they are doing brilliantly or terribly. It fosters a better sense of goodwill out there in the artistic community. Oil always rises to the top anyway.
- As the blog states these are some of the tools I've learned to survive as an artist, but I definatley didn't get intro being an artist to learn how to do PR, or how to do an excell spread sheet, it's a by product of how I've survived to do the thing I most love in the world.....MAKE ART!! Hope it's been helpful.
Friday, August 17, 2012
It's a one year since I added the shop section selling limited edition prints of my work, and I'm pretty happy with the results. On average 1-2 prints are purchased per week, bringing in not only additional money, and marketing, but making my work accessible to those people who really love it,and are working up to buying a drawing or a painting. I really enjoy the emails that I receive from people, their excitement is infectious.
At the time street artists had been making editions of their work for ages, so it was nothing new, but people in the fine art bracket were still quite uptight about the concept of editions, especially using a digital machine. A couple of people really slammed me for my decision to do it, but times change.
The National Art School the old stalwart for tradition is now encouraging students in printmaking to use digtital, as everything's going that way, and some of the people that were initially so uptight about making prints of their work, are now looking into doing it themselves.
The other thing that I had always done here and there, but decided to do properly 18 months ago was take over my own PR. It's also something that took a bit of time to know if it was working. I remember appearing in Vogue Living a while ago and chatting with some artist friends who asked me if it directly sold any paintings. Besides from promoting my brand, It was hard to say, It wasn't until I realized that these things could be slow burners. Magazines sit around for months after all. The sale of my portrait of Jasper Knight this month proved that. The client had seen my work featured in a Real living magazine Feb edition.
The sale of another big painting White Noise has made it a great month. With less than 2 months to go to my Sydney exhibition VENUS AND ME the studio is full of work! It's that great moment as an artist when you're rolling, on a roll, thinking , eating , dreaming paint. I'm looking Forward to this exhibition, and of course seeing you all there!