A collaborative talks programme run in partnership with Camden Arts Centre, Practice 360 encouraged artists to consider the borders around what defines contemporary artistic practice. How do work, family, money and life blur with the core activities that artists do during their working lives?
Time is one of the most precious commodities a visual artist has. Even the everyday demands of life can be a drain on this valuable resource; whether earning money to live, teaching, travelling or fundraising. There are a whole range of activities that might be needed to sustain a career, which all take time away from that most vital activity: making art.
Practice 360 was an open discussion programme. Four sessions were held over the year that considered different demands an artist might face on their time and, by exploring specific practices (and encouraging attendees to share their approaches to dealing with these challenges) suggested ways in which many of these activities might be used to positively fuel the process of making work, or be integrated into it entirely.
1: Family – Wednesday 11 December 2013
How can the demands of a family impact on and be integrated into practice? Artist Jemima Brown talked about her experiences as an artist and parent of a six-year old son.
2: Making a living – Wednesday 2 April 2014
How do you earn enough to live and support your practice without spending all your time working for money? This can feel particularly challenging when your practice does not generate an easily sellable output. This session of Practice 360° looked at Live Art duo Hunt & Darton’s approach to this dilemma.
3: Practice and Pedagogy – Wednesday 10 September 2014
Many artists support their practices through some form of teaching, be this in a workshop or academic context. But how can this approach to livelihood inform practice and vice versa? In this session members of collective FLΔG talked about their perspective on the subject.
4: Ethics: Extremism and Compromise – Wednesday 18 March 2015
Ever since her early works, such as Eat 22 (for which she photographed everything she ate for a year), there has been a blurring between Ellie Harrison’s life and work, and an ongoing struggle to balance the two. Over the last six years, as her work has become more politicised, she has developed ever more extreme systems and rules to enable her to live her values (minimise her impact on the world) and be as efficient as possible (maximise her work time) – pushing out all unnecessary objects and relationships as a result. In this talk, as part of Artquest’s Practice 360 programme, she discussed how this rational path of continual ‘progress’ became ultimately, ironically, ‘unsustainable’, and how at a certain point she had to try to learn to compromise in order to survive.