This week I had a follow up interview with Michael Shirrefs of the ABC about my mentorship with Dianne Gall. It's strange to think two years ago I started on this process with Dianne and we had a tentative interview back then right at the beginning. Now with the exhibition at Kensington finishing up this week I need to reflect a little on the experiences and see what I've learnt. I hope I'm more confident now, and maybe a little more savvy thanks to Dianne's wisdom and shared experiences of the life of an exhibiting artist. She really made quite a difference to how I perceive myself as an artist, personally and professionally.
At art school they are so careful not to tell you the crappy stuff about the journey ahead and it's so useful to have a heads-up about how galleries deal with artists and what I can reasonably expect and more importantly what I should not consider.
For example, part way through the mentorship process I was approached and pressured by a new gallery to show work with them at the last minute and they also wanted me to pay $500 for the privilege of screening a video - which had a value of $600. Dianne was really clear that it wasn't acceptable to be pressured in that way and that as a gallery they wouldn't even have time to promote my work in the show and that it would not be an effective career move. I politely declined the gallery their offer. It's was a tricky decision as it's just so hard to get your work seen and every opportunity has to be considered seriously. Dianne was able to guide me through a real world situation and make clear the questions I need to ask of a gallery, or any exhibition opportunity, for that matter to make pragmatic, business focussed decisions. The gallery went under around the time of this proposed exhibition and it became apparent they were canvassing for artists to pay their rent.
The original interview and follow-up can be found here;