AZDCA Newsletter February 2021
Do you live a creative life? What do you think of when you think about being creative?
Do you imagine a famous designer, a starving artist or perhaps a famous chef? Regardless what comes to mind most of us certainly wouldn’t think of ourselves.
If I had to define it, I think it would require more time and way more imagination that I possess.
Would you have to give up everything to be more creative? Obviously, you wouldn’t but instead you would look at the world as it is and start looking at everything being a possibility. Since 2020 most of us have had to become more creative in trying to market ourselves and think of new ways to present our work.
There is a stream of creativity that is available for everyone to tap into. Online shows, seminars, Zoom and using social media more. Maybe it is attending a workshop that teach students how to do this and they become more confident and creative.
Even though this year has been very different, most of us still had the need to be creative. To me I did get to spend more time making art and enjoying the creative process. I tried to come up with different ideas, tried different materials and decided whatever happens to the piece -happens! I like watching a piece develop and sometimes I even got a thrill of the unexpected turnout.
I guess if I had to think about what being creative is, it is the creation and then of course knowing that what we have created has brought joy and inspiration to someone else. The path we artists take may not be a straight one, but full of curves as in this past year. But the best part though is we still can follow our hearts. And that, of course is living the creative life!
Stay creative the Divine Ms. N
President: Warren Norgaard
Vice President: Pat Glover
State Jury Chairperson: Gail Jamieson
Secretary: Sonia Irvin
Treasurer: Chris Eggers
Parliamentarian: Sudha Achar
Board Member at Large: Michelle Startzman
Board Member at Large: Nancy Dorobiala
Board Member at Large: Barb Kingdon
AZDCA will be having online workshops for the 2020-21 season! These workshops will be in real time, hosted on zoom, with these amazing artists who will be sharing their expertise and will be available for questions during the workshops. I don't have the date yet for when you can register, so be sure to check your email. Registration is available to members first, so make sure to sign up as an Arizona Designer Craft & Art member on our website if you want to have a good chance of getting into the one you want. Spaces are limited.
Lynette Andreasen – Bracelets in Many Forms
February 27 & 28, 2021 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
($500/day Beginning to Intermediate level)
Alison Antelman – Where’s the Clasp?
March 12, 13 & 14, 2021 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bette Barnette – Etching Silver & Steel
April 10 & 11, 2021 and 17 & 18, 2021 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Jan Harrell – Glitter
May 1-2, 2021 10:00am – 4:00pm
Douglas Wunder – Simple but Unique: The Art of the Layered Ring
May 15 & 22, 2021 10:00 am – 4:00 pm plus office hours for individual help
Special Event for Members only
How To Confidently & Successfully Approach Galleries
Mar 20, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM MST
This Will Be A Zoom Presentation
This event is available to AZDCA Members ONLY,
An AZDCA Member Exclusive Event! Learn how to confidently and successfully approach galleries in this intensive and interactive online workshop with Xanadu Gallery owner and RedDotBlog.com publisher Jason Horejs. Have you always dreamed of creating your art full-time? Are you selling your work and tasting success, knowing that others appreciate what you have created? Are you ready to take your art career to the next level and start selling your work in galleries across the country? Arizona Designer Craft & Art and Xanadu Gallery are pleased to invite you to participate in an exclusive workshop by gallery owner Jason Horejs. With over 28 years of gallery experience, including 19 years owning and operating Xanadu Galleries in Scottsdale and Pinetop, AZ, Jason has experienced first-hand the challenges artists face when approaching galleries. He has also observed that many artists are making simple mistakes and are ill-prepared to be talking to gallery owners, setting themselves up for frustration and failure. In this intensive workshop Jason will help you prepare yourself to confidently approach galleries by being well-prepared. You will learn how to organize your work, identify and share your unique approach and vision, and successfully research and approach galleries. This workshop is designed for artists at every level of their careers. Whether you are just beginning, or need to take your art business to the next level, learn how to kick your career into high-gear. Sculptors, painters, fine-art photographers, fine-art jewelers and fiber artists will find the workshop transformative. This is a great opportunity for you to view the gallery business from the inside, understand how gallery owners select their artists, and ask every question you’ve ever had about the gallery business. This event is for AZDCA Members ONLY, so please do not share. This event is FREE to members, and only available to the first 100 members to sign up.
Can having an emerging artist mindset benefit your career long-term?
An emerging artist mindset pushes you to grow your art business no matter where you are in your art career.
No matter what stage you are in with your art career, you can benefit from adopting the mindset and practices of an emerging artist.
“Emerging” and “established” are common art world categorizers that can be both helpful to understand various art career milestones and when applying for the right opportunities, but labels can also be limiting. After all, we’d like to think that we are all in a continual process of emergence.
“Emerging” is at one end of the art career spectrum while “established” is at the other end and “early-career” and “mid-career” fall in the nebula in-between the two. So which are you and does it matter?
“Emerging artist” typically refers to an artist who has yet to have a solo show, but there is no one rubric for qualifying each art career categorization. There is wisdom to be had within each stage of an art career and the work and attitudes you adopt in each stage can be equally as fruitful as your progress in your career.
We love the freedom, experimentation, and entrepreneurship that emerging artists embody.
If you are at the beginning of your art career, double down on emerging strategies. If you’re looking to shake up how you operate or push yourself for further career growth, adopting an emerging mindset might be just what you need.
Create your own opportunities like an emerging artist
Harness the inventiveness of an emerging artist to rethink how you approach and create opportunities for yourself in your art career.
An emerging artist most likely does not have their work inside galleries yet, so a savvy emerging artist will create their own opportunities to exhibit. New venues for displaying art are a win-win. Innovatively presenting your art gives your resume a nice new exhibition line and helps you find new audiences and even attract curators and gallerists.
Even established artists are finding that gallery representation is not the only or even the best way to show and sell work. There are so many interesting places to show art and partnerships to be had when you think outside of the white cube.
A key part of being an emerging artist is that you’re in a constant state of learning. Genuine curiosity and an authentic desire to learn and form connections are magnetic.
How can you go about creating your own opportunities?
Reach out to your artist peers and organize a show: You can mix up how you show work not just for a solo show, but as a way to present your art with other artists you admire. If you’ve been working for a while you have the benefit of knowing which artist’s work you respect. If you’re new to an art career, seek out other emerging artists who are also looking for opportunities to show their work. Just as you may have aspirations for locations to exhibit, who are artists or people in the industry you admire? Make a list and channel the openness of an emerging artist and reach out.
Re-create a space that you admire in a DIY way: List four places you’ve always wanted to show work. Why do these places appeal to you? Are there characteristics and elements of showing your work here that you could replicate in a DIY or alternative setting?
Re-think the traditional venues for showing your artwork: Think of what a typical exhibit looks or feels like, and then invert it. Successful art shows have taken place on fences, as popups, outdoors, and in other unconventional places. Your viewers will thank you for your innovation. Since you are your own exhibitor, you have the power to go full-blown creative and pave your own path.
You can pitch a solo or group show to a venue that already has a visitorship, like a local shop, or as a part of an already established art walk. The worst that can happen is you’ll get a “no” but the silver lining to a “no” is that you’ve already widened your network. That shop that you pitched an exhibit to may refer you to a better fit or think of you in the future.
A beautiful thing about an emerging mentality is that you’re open to anything and to everything. Short-term and long-term partnerships and opportunities are at the tip of your fingers when you are approaching your art goals with a “yes and” framework.
Lean into experimentation to free yourself from your creative habits
Emerging artists have the freedom to explore and build their style without the pressure of past successes. Oftentimes the mediums and themes an emerging artist uses are their first inspirations and what made them excited about being an artist.
As you progress in your art career and develop your physical art practice, you’ll probably depart some from the freeing experimentation you did as a beginner artist. Tapping into your beginner's curiosity and creativity allows you to make mistakes and re-engage your love of creating art.
If you’re feeling stuck in your art practice or want to expand your creativity, allow yourself to step back and play.
Great art doesn’t come from standing at your easel one time.
Great art is a product of the many experiments and work that you’ve created. Your best works are not an isolated product but the reflection of all your time spent building up to that moment of art creation.
Here are three ways to experiment with your art-making:
Visit old themes and processes: Do the emerging artist mindset justice by going back to create works on themes or in mediums/processes that were important to you deciding to pursue art.
Produce in a way that is opposite from your normal method. This could be creating outside if you create inside, creating at a different time of the day, or creating in a medium that is opposite from your current or preferred medium.
Create with different art history movements as style inspiration. Choose one theme to create on and then make it five different art historical styles. Yes, Cubism, Pointillism, Dada, Abstract Expressionism, Art Deco, and countless others are rooted in specific moments in time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from shifting your style of creation. You might find that elements of one of these art movements expand your work.
Embrace the idea of gradual growth and progress
Most artists steadily build their careers over the course of their lifetime.
Being able to grow in your practice and art business allows you to find your artistic voice and settle into yourself as a career artist. When you embrace the process, you'll experiment in various styles, take time to collaborate with other artists, and develop strong connections in your art community.
While the idea of being discovered at a young age or immediately out of art school is very appealing, there are drawbacks to immediate recognition. If you gain viewership or other coveted art career milestones straight away you risk becoming a blip on an art world radar. A rush of success can set you up for more stress and pressure if you don’t have a foundation of art business experience or the skills to quickly adapt.
If you’ve gained early career recognition, wonderful! Now work to sustain that rush of accomplishment throughout the entirety of your career.
How can you embrace gradual growth to strengthen your career?
Reflect on what you wanted at the start of your career: List out three things that you wanted to do as an early artist. Have you made progress on these goals? Can you set out action steps that will propel you towards these goals?
Harness the business drive of a beginner: Outside of benefitting your art creation, a slow and steady artist career allows you to build, fine-tune, and perfect the business side of your art career. Revisit the drive of an emerging artist to take on and learn every aspect of how to manage the business of art.
Stay open to opportunities and staying on top of your presence. Artists in later stages of their career may not be as attentive to updating their website, having a social media presence, or detailing their income and expenses.
Don’t stop establishing yourself as an artist. All artists benefit from the organizational and career management aspects of growing an art career. Get excited about the fact that you’re an artist and have business needs; admin is necessary but doesn’t have to be a bore. The fact that you have administrative responsibilities is a testament to your production as an artist!
Collaborate don’t compete
An emerging artist is laser-focused on developing their own career.
You can adopt that mindset of a beginner to help shake unhelpful comparisons.
Since there are so many different types of art careers and no one way to find success, competition will only leave you feeling isolated. You will always have more followers than some artists and fewer than others. You will always be further along in your career and behind others. You will know more about a certain technique than a peer and less than someone else.
Comparing yourself to where you are currently to others doesn't help you get further along. Only putting in the time and effort helps you get further.
If you happen to catch yourself getting caught up in comparison, you can check your feelings by doing the following:
Remind yourself that there is no one way to have an art career. Artists “make it” in different ways and at different points in their careers. Behind the illusion of success is struggle and work that isn’t always visible. You may not have gallery representation or hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, but your art career may be more financially stable or predictable than the artists you see online.
Reject competition. Competition is not only not productive, but it's also not beneficial. Being collaborative is not only a way for you to be kinder to yourself, but it will benefit your career. Emerging artists are always looking to learn from other artists. Adopt this collaborative approach to generate strong connections that will fortify you in your career as you become a generative part of your artist community.
Embrace collaboration as a way to build community: Collaboration sparks creativity and forges bonds that form healthy relationships. Community creates good, be that through opportunities that arise because people like to work with you and be around you, or referrals from other artists in your circle. Like a newcomer in an already established art community, look to learn, connect, share, and bring yourself genuinely to interactions.
Think of how you can contribute when approaching opportunities. Seek out other artists who you admire and be welcoming to newer artists.
The road to an art career is long and winding.
You can make the journey more enjoyable and successful by embracing the mindset of an emerging artist as you continue along your path.
Not too long ago, I saw Toshiko Takaezu’s sculptures exhibited in the ASU Ceramics Museum & Research Center.
Takaezu was a world-renowned ceramic artist and an exceptional teacher. I thought I would spot-light her for our members. As a personal connection, she was born on the island of Hawaii not far from my home and visited her family often. She taught ceramics in the local YMCA studio on her visits.
Toshiko Takaezu was born in 1922 to Japanese immigrant parents. The effects of Japanese traditional values and the beauty of Hawaii’s landscape continued to have a strong influence on her art all through her long career. Working in painting, fiber, and bronze early on, she chose clay as her main medium.
She studied ceramics at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and in Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She went to Japan, connecting with master ceramicists Toyo Kaneshige and Yagi Kazuo, and others. She was impressed with their traditional as well as experimental work and the Zen aesthetics.
Over the years, she worked combining wheel throwing and hand building, elaborating and abstracting the utilitarian vessel form to grow vertically and then closed. These closed forms became symbols of her work. They are all unique, varying greatly in scale and shape, color and texture. Some are painterly, with splashes and rivulets of color coursing down their sides. Others are more meditative, sheathed in overlapping veils of hue. She blended the cross-cultural influences of abstract expressionism and spiritually infused traditions into a powerfully resolved synthesis.
She said, “An artist is a poet in his or her own medium. And when an artist produces a good piece, that work has mystery, an unsaid quality; it is alive.”
In addition to her art, Takaezu was renowned for her teaching skill, which included twenty-five years at Princeton University. Her students remember her as a significant influence on their lives, not because she taught them how to hand-build or throw a pot or how to mix an ash glaze, or even how to cook a chicken in a kiln, but because she taught them all of it, and, her way of life, a true way, or as potters say, a “centered way.”
Today, her home is preserved by one of her students as the “Toshiko Takaezu Studio” and continues to be used as a creative workplace by students and artists alike.
Toshiko Takaezu passed away in 2011 at the age of 88.
Takaezu’s distinctive art is in major collections throughout the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the American Craft Museum. Among the many other public honors, she has received are the “Human Treasure Award” from the University of North Carolina, the New Jersey Governors Award, and Hawaii's “Living Treasure" Award.