Gallery

Day Nine

Today I found out only the computer in my cubicle has Photoshop, and therefore if someone needs to use it I get shifted. I enjoyed my new position however. In my back-of-the-room cubicle I got the best view of the security camera monitor. Now I can watch random people walking around the gallery when bored.

I’ve now caught on to how email is the primary means of communication throughout the Hazelhurst office. Why walk three metres when you can spend five minutes typing it for an email? I love how technology is great at bringing people together.

My first task for today (emailed to me) was phoning more suppliers. I’m starting to get the feeling that other people dislike making telephone calls as much as I do. But other people are not interns, and so the phoning jobs get left to me.

Not that I’m complaining. I mean was phoning people about jumping castle hire – I’m sure this was probably some sort of dream of mine as a child. Plus all this practice making phone calls means I no longer sound like gibbering llama when speaking over the phone. Bonus.

After sourcing the best darn jumping castle ever, Carrie got me designing artwork wall labels for an upcoming exhibition at the Moran Gallery, a gallery that collaborates with Hazelhurst regularly. Actually, ‘designing’ is probably too strong a word for what I was doing. More like assembling. I was assembling wall labels for the Moran Gallery. It didn’t take long, and now I know the specs for a wall label.

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Something I definitely did not already pickup from high school/university/life

Since I was such a good label assembler I also got to fix up the room-sheet for the same Moran Gallery exhibition. Both these tasks made me think about how my most useful workplace skill – if my experience at Hazelhurst is anything to go by – is the ability to use Microsoft Word. It’s boring but true; I would be in deep shit if I did not know how that program worked. Interning at Hazelhurst is pretty great for getting to do tasks like this though, where I get to find out about lots of different art and artists in the Sydney region.

Returning from lunch to find myself locked out of the office (are they trying to tell me something?), I carried on with a bit of a re-design of the Vital Signs e-invite. While Carrie liked the original design I showed her, she thought it could be improved by including images of the more colourful artworks being exhibited. An idea I also liked in theory, but made difficult by the fact that 80% of the artists exhibiting have neutral-toned works and/or sent in -1000 dpi images.

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How low dpi images look  v. how they look online

 

I struggled on however, and came up with several new designs that *hopefully* no one would notice the crappy image quality in some of the images.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.