Gallery

Day Seven

Today started again with editing more artist statements. Like last week, it was great. Since today was the due date for the artists to send in their written and image elements, I had a decent stack of documents to occupy myself with. Having studied and come to understand my ex-classmates’ artistic styles over the last three years, it was fascinating to see their approaches to writing.

Whipping the images into shape proved a little tougher however. I’d been putting off dealing with artist images since last week, as several of them were not correctly formatted. Despite specifying for images to be 300dpi and either JPEG or TIFF format, about half of the images sent were of far lower quality. And for some weird reason someone sent in a screenshot, of a photo, of their work. It’s not like I was trying to be difficult – the images needed to be of a certain quality to look good on web and print publications. To be honest I was kind of expecting for this to happen. While I hate to generalise (as I know it’s not true of everyone in the industry) but I know SO MANY artists who can’t quite get their heads around tech.Not that I’m an expert, but it does kind of go to show the importance of staying updated re. technologies important in your industry.

tumblr_n332fauxYy1tr4fi7o9_500
So at least you can avoid this scenario

Frowning ever so slightly at the ten or so lacklustre images I had to work with, almost trying to wish them into being better quality, I thought about my options.

  • I could send emails back to everyone asking for them to, please, send images with the correct specifications. But I realised this might just result a whole bunch of people not understanding the issue, or how to solve it.

  • Ask Google.

Unsurprisingly, I went with option two. Turns out some smart cookie has already solved this problem and created an online program for converting image dpi. Now I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why you’re not supposed to do this. I vaguely remember being told in a photography class that this does something to the image size or something something. But after testing out an image, and seeing vast improvement for only a little bit of cropping, I was sold. All hail Google and people who put free stuff up online.

I then spent half an hour calling hydroponic supply retailers. For art, I swear.

giphy.gif

An artist who was going to be exhibiting soon at Hazelhurst wanted to use silver-backed mylar film for an installation and wanted to know where it could be sourced from. While I don’t hate calling people, I have always found it awkward as heck. Something about not being able to see someone’s face and gauge their response – I always end up talking over people by accident. But realising that I am inevitably going to have to call people all the time in every sort of job I ever have, I got stuck into it. I eventually found out answers to all of the artist’s questions and, as a bonus, learned what a ‘um’ was in regards to measurements.

For the rest of the day I got to research another big upcoming exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition was going to bring together the work of artists across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara  (APY) lands.

APYART.png
APY art-fernoon

I knew the exhibition was a pretty big deal for Hazelhurst, as they’d just been lucky enough to receive Australia Council funding for it. Which I presume, with the recent federal funding cuts to the arts sector, may be one of the lasts grants not gifted in the form of food stamps.

Researching art from the APY lands was a pretty great way to spend the afternoon really – all I had to do was look up previous images of the exhibiting artists and catalogue it with all the usual details.  Plus I got to learn more about a region of Australia I’d only previously heard mentioned in passing. 4.5 star afternoon

Day Six

Day Six

Artists are now starting to send in their information for the upcoming exhibition and I am having a field day editing it. I love going through other people’s writing checking for grammar, syntax and correct word usage. Seriously – nothing makes me happier than deleting unnecessary commas.

Even better, I learned a new word: maquette. The French word for a small scale model (in this instance) for a room. This came about as Carrie offered me the opportunity to help her create a maquette for an upcoming exhibition. I was keen to try something different but time got away. But yeah, new word. Why do we even bother with university again?

giphy.gif
Oh yeah. For the job “opportunities”.

So instead of maquette-ing, a fair portion of my day was spent drafting a letter of invitation to a suggested speaker for the exhibition’s opening night. I was dreading this. Writing the letter of invitation was easy; tailoring it to the specific speaker proposed was hard. While I agree that the person Carrie suggested as speaker was probably the most appropriate candidate, previous experience interacting with them made the whole process akin to pulling teeth. In all honesty I’d been racking my brain the past few weeks trying to think of an alternative speaker, but ultimately figured if I didn’t ask the original speaker proposed, it might look like a snub and make it difficult for others down the track.

As luck would have it though, as soon as I’d finished writing the letter of doom I went to confirm with Carrie that she still wanted it sent to the person she suggested.

She didn’t even remember suggesting said person, and told me to ask the exhibiting artists who they’d like as a speaker.

giphy.gif

With not much else to do, I opted to begin writing the Vital Signs exhibition blurb that was going to be uploaded to the Hazelhurst website. It was around this time that I realised how this internship has really improved my ability to write quick, concise but appropriately waffle-y, statements about art, artists and exhibitions. The blurb was done in 10 minutes. Which I was super proud of until I realised it meant I still had an hour and a half to fill and nothing specific to do.

tumblr_niybgpCcoz1qav3uso3_r1_500.gif
Basically.

Boredom, it seems, is a great motivator for me. I started debating whether to just do the design for the exhibition collateral, such as the e-invite, myself. Originally Carrie had asked me whether any of the artists also did graphic design and could help , or whether I was capable enough.

At the time I said no. But that was nearly two months ago and I’ve coincidentally been studying publication design in the meantime.

Also Canva. I imagine graphic designers probably hate this tool for how it simplifies design software to the point that basically an artistically-minded goat could create documents of professional standard.

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.10.40 PM.png
Made by 100% organic goats.

Having drafted the e-invite, I’ll show it to Carrie next week to see what she thinks. At the very least it would save the gallery money by not having to ask their graphic designers to make it. Yay interns!

Gallery

Day Five

Technically today marks the end of my first working “week” (five days over 5 weeks) interning at Hazelhurst gallery and arts centre.

I celebrated, as I assume is traditional, by spending nearly an hour this morning scanning hardcopy documents into digital documents.

Typical of galleries, Hazelhurst keeps a visitor’s book at the entrance to their main gallery for visitors to comment on current exhibitions. Now I have no idea if it’s also typical for galleries to create copies of these comments for the exhibiting artists as mementos (retrospectively it might actually have been a wise idea to  ask), but I thought it was a pretty neat thing to gift to the artists. And hence why I spent my morning scanning a visitor’s book.

Though a tad monotonous, going through the book as I scanned it was a surprisingly educative experience. Like many people my age, my ability to handwrite is vestigial at best, a hallmark of older, darker times. So I’d never really bothered to leave a comment in a visitor’s book before. I assumed though that the comments would be blandly positive and polite.

What I actually learned was visitor’s books are essentially the pre-digital equivalent of online comment sections. Filled with trolls.

loadofrubbish
Like their online counterparts, visitor book trolls can rarely spell correctly.

To be fair there were plenty of the aforementioned generically positive comments. But I was kind of amazed by the significant number of negative, and in some case just plain baffling comments that people had written down.

ohhhkaaaay.png
But is this really the place to share that?

After I commented on this I was informed that a disgruntled visitor had actually disliked an exhibition so much one time that they accosted the curator while they were speaking to someone. Way to get upset about not enjoying a free art exhibition bro. I mean at least the art made you feel ~something~. The experience reminded me of how in nearly every industry you’re going to come across people you can’t please, and you’re just going to have to deal with it.

somemen.gif

My morning of – let’s be honest – filing, led into the rest of the day spent researching. I’m starting to realise why so much of university is spent doing research-based assignments; that skill is going to be helpful later on. Much as I was scanning the visitor’s book as a memento for artists who had exhibited in previous exhibitions, I was tasked with searching for all previous media and event listings to also gift to these same artists.

I realised two things while completing this task.

  • Shameless self-promotion seems to be (unfortunately) so important in attracting press for art exhibitions. Maybe I’m just a terrible researcher, but there was a very meagre supply of media coverage available on the exhibitions involved. An occasional write-up in the regional paper, a brief mention in the Sydney Morning Herald’s “what’s on this weekend” section, and a whole bunch of obscure event listing sites that I’d never heard of were all I could really find on the exhibitions. I imagine that as an artist, if you really want to get your work into circulation, you’ve got to keep doggedly putting yourself out there and promoting your work.
  • There are SO many artists just in the Sydney general area. So many. I swear every time I’m at Hazelhurst I learn of another dozen. This actually might contribute to my first point – promoting yourself and getting exhibited might be kind of tough when there’s a whole bunch of equally eager artists trying to do the same thing in a culture that doesn’t really promote visuals arts as a viable career option. Also – how do all these artists get noticed and approached by galleries to exhibit? And what do they do when they’re not exhibiting at galleries, particularly when not every exhibition pays artists? I mean I know grants are a thing but I could not live solely reliant on that.

So all in all I suppose today has been quite introspective. I’ve raised quite a number of questions. Should probably see about getting them answered next time I’m at Hazelhurst.