Full Exposure 08.28.09
I am the nag. That is my role. I believe it has something to do with my job as communications manager. Or maybe it has to do with my desire to overcome a childhood battle relating to never being "heard". Maybe both. Regardless, it is my duty at SPACES to read the artist statements, process and re-work the art-speak and then spit it back out to the public, re-size images, launch the web page, Tweet, talk, advertise and Tweet more about the artist and the exhibitions--in advance, ON TIME and the way the writers want it upon request.
I nag the media. I nag my director and my co-workers (the program managers). I nag the artists. And because I have also been cursed with a life-long battle with guilt, I am taking this opportunity to put a halt to the nagging. Based on my experience as the artist's springboard to the public, I have provided a few pointers for those of you who have been accepted for a SPACES exhibition. This way, I won't have to ask twice and you won't hate me (fear of rejection: another issue I tackle).
1. Read SPACES' requests for materials thoroughly. Because SPACES shows work that is experimental in nature (and often created for the exhibition itself or during the run of the show), providing images of finished work can pose as a challenge. My suggestion (and preference): take images of the work as it is in the process of being created. If this won't work for you, provide images of past projects that best represent the work you plan to present during the exhibition. Either way, some visual representation is necessary.
2. While on the subject of images, I stress the importance of size and quality. As a general rule, print media requests that the gallery (or artist depending on the situation) provide images that are no smaller than 300 dpi, at least 8" X 10" in size, and come in a .jpg. or .tif format. So important. By providing images this way, right off the bat, you are generously giving us flexibility to work within print and web formats.
3. More on Images: Quality is so important. You worked so hard--poured your blood, sweat and tears into your project. Take a good photograph of it. Set up the scene. Think about composition. Follow through as an artist. You would be shocked if you knew how many images I've had to pass on because they were poorly lit, were cut off in odd places, and did not convey the amazing concepts driving the project.
4. Time is of the essence: SPACES has done a number of exhibitions featuring more than one artist. Oftentimes, I have had to go with a second, even third choice image because the best had yet to come. I have to contact the media weeks, sometimes months in advance, and if I do not do it with an image, my press materials will get lost in the inbox. We, as a gallery and as artists, must grab their attention with compelling visuals or we get lost in the shuffle.
5. Document the process: I mentioned this before. If you are creating something new, experimenting with new media, expanding upon or narrowing down a concept, whatever, keep us posted. Talk about it. Blog about it. It could potentially help you in your process, but it also keeps us on the same page. This means I can effectively communicate what it is you will be doing and in turn create a hook for the media.
6. Addendum to #5: Be clear about your process, intent, and concept. I attempt, at all costs, not to inject myself into your explanation of YOUR work. I realize that part of my job is to be a mediator/translator between the media and the artists. However, using lofty language in your artist statement, proposal, and other various explanations of your work can make it difficult to break down for media relations. Make it concise and to the point.
To read more on effectively applying to art spaces, check out ED Christopher Lynn's post.
I think this will be my last nag for a while. I feel good. Really good. Painful memories of neglected jazz hands, repeated requests for grape Kool-Aid (not orange), and my desire (need, actually) for the Barbie Dream House are fading off into the distance. I feel heard. Thank you for reading and for hearing me out. I hope it helps you on your experimental journey!
Posted by Nicole Edwards, Lover of Communications