In the midst of the excitement of reaching our Kickstarter funding (An embarrassingly big ‘thank you’ to everyone to contributed and who helped spread the word, incidentally) I have shamefully neglected to describe and assess the recent open studio event I participated in at my studio at KIAC. So here goes.
I have only been involved in one other open studio event prior to this. It was at University a few years ago. It consisted mainly of drinking tea and waiting for someone – anyone – to show up. Inevitably, no-one did, and I left the event with the assumption that all Open Studio events would be like this.
However, last weeks’ open studio, thankfully, was different. Whilst naturally it still involved drinking tea, at least this time I had people to share a cup of tea with. Whilst the amount of people visiting my studio was by no means vast, all involved certainly responded and identified with my work and my concepts. And the simple act of talking to a stranger about my work helped consolidate my ideas and conceptual principles.
Indeed, something I learnt as the event progressed, is that talking, in this context, is a powerful tool: It is used to generate and sustain intrigue, to sell both yourself and your work and to establish connections with others, which in turn may lead to something grander. In a studio environment, it is harder for the work to speak for itself: Work isn’t visually isolated, with accompanying text and an underlying theme. It is up to you to fill in these gaps in order to pull the work from it’s physical trappings, thus allowing it to be contemplated and identified with, if you wish to succeed in an open studio event.
My Studio. Certainly looking more like a hive of activity these days.
However, my experience was by no means perfect, and I think that’s partly down to me. My studio could have been tarted up somewhat in order to make it look more appealing to the visitors. I vaguely attempted to arrange works of art in an orderly fashion, but many visitors simply glanced at my studio and proceeded to walk on by without any additional thought. I think I could have made it look more appealing and more engaging in order to achieve a more positive initial response from visitors.
I also wished to sell jars of my own paint at the event. This did not happen and was a bit of a missed opportunity. I could blame the fact that the empty jars I needed in order to store the paint were only delivered to me on the same day as the event itself, but really it’s my own fault. I knew when the Open Studio was going to be, and I simply didn’t order the jars quickly enough. As I say, this was a bit of a missed opportunity, and one that should have been seized in order to generate more interest in my work.
Anyway, lets not finish on a downer, it was still a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. And the negative elements of the experience are small enough to learn from, without having to label the whole event an all-encompassing, abject, vomit-inducing failure. And that’s always good.