Where is my local artist?
This is a guest post by Tricia Kennedy.
One of my first internet art purchases was a beautiful screen print of a Cure poster made by DKNG and inside the delivery tube was this little sticker: “SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTIST”. Memories of the ‘Australian Made’ campaign flooded back to me and pangs of guilt stopped me in my tracks but also invited the question: What is it to support art and artists? And does it have to be local if the ones I like are overseas and easily seen?
In the mandatory travel period of being 20-something it was easy to pick people from home in the bars and beds of backpackers, or at least it used to be before Instagram, beards and irony. These days, however, hipster, memes and globalisation show us how the idea of ‘local’ has become based on shared style, taste and ideals. Like my new Russian friend – she likes triangles, I like triangles, yay! We are friends and on Facebook we are just around the corner from each other.
Similarly I feel familiar with art bloggers such as the Vancouver based Jealous Curator, whose one-way conversation with me has led me to buy a number of artworks from British, Canadian and American artists. I’m talking 5 years ago now, at a time when websites like Bluethumb were ideas in development and Australian artists didn’t have the same web presence as their colonial brothers and sisters.
So when I got the SYLA sticker, I stuck it on my car and went to every local gallery exhibition in Adelaide I could, bought and supported local art. I found some gems but also a somewhat closed culture of people who already knew the artist. Many galleries and cafe art exhibitions were only filled with the feet of family and friends. The more established galleries garnered a collector/art lover audience but these too had an atmosphere of someone else’s cocktail party as opposed to a cool place with art where you could meet a beautiful stranger. (#whyisntlifelikeSATC)
When I want to find something local to my taste, loves and dreams as opposed to my physical address or contact list, I go online. I still think supporting your peers as an artist is important and supporting family and friends just makes sense, but these days we get the opportunity to support a broader local, either overseas or within Australia (and I’m talking even Perth and Tasmania *grin*), so why not?
In keeping with this theme of local I’ve picked out a few works from the Bluethumb catalogue that remind me of places that feel local to me: Deck chair, weatherboard house and a stripy awning, soooo homely; Blurry Sydney street scenes – oh Sydney there are actually days when I miss you; A vintage leather wing-back armchair with Queen Ann feet stood in the fore of a dilapidated wall … pin it to house ideas and go to the store to get some exit mould.
Sydney nostalgia from Ruby Jackson.
Seriously though, all of these would suit my taste perfectly and would in turn support my – and your – local artist.
If you’re an Australian artist I would like to invite you to enter the Kennedy Prize. This is an art prize I’m coordinating for my dad who wants to support beauty in art. If that sounds like you and you could do with $25,000 then enter your work here.