The Work of Art

Past Project 2016

One-to-one conversations with artists in their studios, talking about the economic and professional reality of their day-to-day lives.

There are many myths about the realities of the working life of an artist. The media often paints unrealistic, idealised pictures of what artists do all day with the actual struggles, commitments and wider contributions that the vast majority of artists make not often represented.

The Work of Art is an audio series of one-to-one conversations between Artquest and artists, talking about the reality of their day-to-day lives: how their art practice is experienced in relation to competing demands on their time and money, the reality of work and life, how and when art work actually gets made, their motivations for keeping going and anticipations for the future. The series provides an honest reflection by artists on how real life interacts positively and negatively with their artistic aims. We don’t aim to provide templates for artistic life – or just to show the diversity of ways of being an artist – but to show that there are as many different ways of being an artist as there are artists.

Episode 1: Emma Smith

Emma Smith is an artist with a performance-based social practice creating public platforms for experimentation and research through site-specific actions, events and installations. Smith’s work explores human forms of connectivity looking in particular at those that operate on a sub-conscious level through resonance, molecular activity, energetics and tacit behaviour. After taking part in the Acme Fire Station Residency (2010-15) she left London, partly as a result of rising accommodation and studio expenses. Here she reflects on the impact on her practice of moving to Cambridge.

Episode 2: Barby Asante

South London based artist, curator and educator Barby Asante studied fine art at the University of East London, where she began making work in film, photography and installation on the textiles course – told that she should focus on that rather than the visual arts. Making the idea of dialogue and participation a defining part of her practice, Asante shifts freely between roles as artist, curator, educator and facilitator, exploring and emphasising the importance of the dialogic and social aspects of creative and artistic practice. Here, Asante reflects on her local neighbourhood of Brixton and the urban regeneration which threatens the established artistic community she works within.

Episode 3: Marianne Holm Hansen

Marianne Holm Hansen works across media to interrogate how organising systems and structures impacts on experience and understanding. Often responding to specific sites and situations, her work develops through independent practice, research, collaborations and conversations that take place in her studio, through commissioned or self-initiated projects and, extensively, through her work in gallery education. Although she exhibits widely, her focus is on process, dialogue and exchange rather than the pursuit of sales or a predetermined career trajectory. Here she reflects on how the practical elements of maintaining her practice interact with her life in general.