OCA Textiles 3 Sustaining My Practice- Part 2-Making Connections

Assignment 2-Exercise 3 Audience

Gillian Morris Student No. 511388

Morris (2021) Damaged Repair-A4 White Recycled Paper Torn and Ripped with Multiple Layers of Ink Jet Print and Vintage Black Linen Threads

Exercise 3 Audience

Target Audience-Research and Analysis

Who are my contemporaries?

Contemporary art is art made today by living artists. … Through their work, many contemporary artists explore personal or cultural identity, offer critiques of social and institutional structures, or attempt to redefine art itself.

My contemporaries are those textile artists who offer large scale unique “one-off” hand printed, hand-woven with/without hand stitching creative processes which are imbued with meaning through personally relevant narratives which are culturally significant and socially relevant. Some of my textile artist contemporaries who use print for example include Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor, Ruth Issett, Rachel Parker, Rachel Reynolds, Sue Hotchkis, Sheila Mortlock, Clare Burchell and Sumi Perera. There are dozens of textile artists within Scotland alone who represent my contemporaries who offer printed, woven, or stitched textiles to a range of audiences.

Who are some of the practitioners in my field?

Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor- As a printed textile artist and designer based in Glasgow the scope of her practice embraces often large-scale, site-specific commissions for both public and private interiors, one-off works for galleries, and functional domestic linens. There is a theme of memory and the home running through much of her work and the everyday or commonplace is often a starting point.  Images have their context altered through being magnified, manipulated, or abstracted, and are translated onto linen and wool through screen-printing in a series of layers to create new intimate ‘landscapes’.

Jo McDonald- Experiments with tapestry weaving techniques using a range of materials including paper as an alternative medium to the customary wools and threads. Second-hand books and objects are used as printed matter, and their built-in history is the attraction for the artist. The objects already contain traces of the past – fingerprints, skin, dedications, scribbled notes – which offer a glimpse into their earlier life.

Eszter Bornemisza-Explores the use of newspaper as a basic material which plays a central role in her recent work as it provides further visual experiences through their ephemeral character. It is fragile; the content is obsolete sometimes at the hour of appearance, while still bearing fragments of important details from the near history. It also represents the overwhelming avalanche of fake and relevant news we must distinguish day by day.

Sue Lawty- Utilises tapestry weaving to investigate the environment as her work is rooted in an emotional, spiritual, and physical engagement with the land. Subtleties of material and construction are explored intuitively and meticulously to build specific textual languages.

Lorna Brown- Her work evolves as a direct response to the screen-printing process itself. She enjoys working intuitively with a variety of imagery; layering, covering up and revealing is the core element of my practice. Having trained as a textile designer and after working in fashion/costume and interiors for many years her imagery often has traces of these recurrent influences as inspired the environment, by the shape of an object, patterns within fabric and embroidery for example.

Who is my competition?

Competitors are other individuals and/or businesses who can offer the same or similar goods and services to the same target audience- customers for example Eve Campbell, Timorous Beasties, Print Garage, Kate Gibb, Vanda Sim Sim, and Jonathan Lawes. 

Within Central Scotland especially Glasgow there are many textile artists who are self-employed and in private practice. Through extensive research processes these potential competitors differ given their art practice and creative business. While there are many artists who print, weave and stitch there are many differences between and amongst textile artists especially involving hand processes and machine. I have identified my competition and understand my unique selling point (USP) which will differentiate me from them especially in how I approach my creative practice and how I create the original visual imagery from scratch. See online blog https://weaveprint.com/

That said there is a need to keep as unique as possible in the way I work, to promote my intuitive relationship with used, repurposed, and reclaimed materials, to be environmentally supportive in what I do and how I do it. How I work creatively through relating and responding with the material and what it needs through how it reacts separates me from other textile artists especially those that use print, weave, and stitch. It is important to imbue my creative processes with meaning and a related narrative so my target audience can fully understand and relate with what I have done and why. Ultimately there is a need to continue to evolve, to harness all development and learning opportunities, to expand experiencing, to widen contemporary influences to keep informed to positively create to remain current and relevant.

Where do they love to work?

As Scotland’s studio specialists, artists, makers & creators prefer to hire studio spaces and places from Wasps and to work with Wasps. They operate and manage 20 “fit for purpose” buildings across the country, providing a range of support for almost 1,000 creative practitioners & businesses. The affordable artist studios are intended to support visual and applied artists and makers which includes exhibiting and selling opportunities through their Arts & Enterprise programme including exhibitions – over 50% of artists exhibited in the Wasps gallery programmes are tenants, Makers Markets, South Block shop, Open Studios, Art Fairs, ability to join ‘our Own Art scheme’, support and expertise from Wasps’ staff team and promotion on the website with an artist profile.

Who do they love to work with?

Visual Arts Scotland is a leading platform for national and international contemporary fine and applied artists. This agency champions craft makers, designers and applied arts practitioners. Their relationship with contemporary fine art practice is at the heart of Visual Arts Scotland’s mission today. Many related contemporary textile artists are heavily involved within their exhibition programme to showcase their new and unseen work to engage with a wider public: to generate debate, to test out and exhibit challenging and ambitious ideas within the context of Scottish and international culture as well as to increasingly sell their work. With a membership of over 700 practising artists, for whom they provide a platform – primarily for the showing and developing of new work this often acts as a primary site for generating and increasing interest in their work.

Where does my work fit and who is my audience? What are the aspects or characteristics of your audience?

Given my extensive research processes concerning contemporary art, artists, textile artists within Scotland and further afield I am confident that there is a space for me. With reduced promotion of my textile art up until now excluding exhibitions I have sold my work. I however am not looking to mass produce but rather offer unique and original pieces of textile art which hold meaning and relevance for me and/or the customer/audience so I have a specific clientele in mind, those who are looking for unique pieces of textile art using print, weave and/or stitch. I aim to exhibit more widely so expect to link in with galleries, gallery owners, curators, textile art collectors and membership organisations to develop my audience. Since I also wish to specialise in interiors for residential and commercial premises I aim to liaise with a range of sources, agencies and companies concerning project work, open calls, and commissions through direct contact, specialist websites like AXA Directory, Design Nation, https://blog.theexhibit.io/for-artists-and-curators/ as well as others… https://artcuratoronline.com/  https://www.curatorspace.com/  membership organisations and exhibitions alongside competitions and sponsorship. I will engage with public bodies including the NHS as my textile art is well placed for public spaces and buildings like hospitals and health clinics. Connecting with private concerns and commercial businesses/outlets could extend opportunities concerning conference suites, exhibition centres, etc.  Building my audience is crucial to being a successful textile artist so the use of social media and a greater online presence is required. I see the importance of having a current stream of customers who will continue to want to buy from me but also promote my work to others, of the need to stay in touch with my audience through keeping them in the loop concerning new work. To regularly communicate and update them to stay in contact with them through the internet, especially my own website.

Whose work does it sit beside?

Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor acknowledged that she has carried out commissions for a variety of spaces — these include a castle; crematorium chapel; hospital atrium, admissions reception, and dining room; theatre; office complex on a Science & Technology Park, and on a quayside. She has also developed designs that can integrate into functioning parts of an interior environment, such as Formica and glass, as well as soft furnishings that form part of an overall design scheme. Adopting a broad approach to site-specific work, Joanna has worked on both a large and small scale and on a variety of surfaces and formats. She can respond sensitively to a site, making work that interacts with and compliments the architecture. The content may be figurative or abstract and is often symbolic, poetically keying into the memory and nature of the space it occupies as well as reflecting surrounding activities. http://www.joannakinnerslytaylor.com/commissions/

Is this audience your audience too?

I feel that my audience fits with that of Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor as both work in print with natural materials, we often consider the environment and related issues, work in large scale for interiors which suit public spaces and arenas and have similar audiences.

Based on further research concerning other textile artists, who is their audience? https://www.textileartist.org/

Sue Hotchkis stated defining your work means defining your audience…What and who… which leads to generating an audience.  Hotchkis noted what is it that I am producing is the key question? For her being seen in galleries has been important as it suits her narrative and how she wants her work to be seen and related with.

Rachel Biel emphasised that her peers are not her audience, rather it is about getting her work seen and appreciated, of the need to exhibit through membership organisations, to network and connect, to pitch her work to/with those interested in what she does.

Georgianne Holland of Nestle and Soar often uses birds, trees, and nature as her themes in her folk art felt pillows. So, she engages with bird and nature groups and gets featured in their magazines and websites. Weavers and art quilters need to find corporate clients or interior designers who share an interest in their aesthetic.

Fran Seigel and Andy Pastorino of Textile Gems make beautiful cuffs embedding textile remnants under layers of carefully applied acrylic. They target Museum shops. Fran Seigel also has a line of cards made of photos of her vintage textiles. She sends samples to boutiques and gift shops that might be interested which often result in sales. Marketing needs to be prioritised so think of offering commissions to someone who can represent your work. Most receive between 15-30% commission and if they know your audience it will save time and money. Use the experts and engage in joint marketing efforts with those who have similar audiences.

Susan Lenz noted that your audience might not exist…yet and of the need to create your audience like her. Susan Lenz said her advice to an artist seeking an ideal audience is to build an audience from significant others including friends, family, social media, and people already known but not necessarily part of an established art support group. Start collecting and encourage networking. Make a personal connection as the artist is as important as the work when establishing a supportive group, an ideal audience. It is said a little piece of the artist is stitched into every work of art. Remember to talk about that piece of yourself. It is the connection to the personal, ideal audience. An ideal audience wants the artist to succeed, not just the artwork!

Nigel Cheney – Who cares? This textile artist stressed that all know that every year there are hundreds (if not thousands) of new textile graduates. The vast majority of these are incredibly talented and desperate for a future career that appreciates their talent. Finding an audience, people ‘who care’ what they do is not the aim rather graduates should focus upon making the contextualisation of their practice a central part of their creative process. They should capitalise upon social media, websites and blogs and hone their own creative process, aesthetic, material, outcome, and output once they have established what is out there that has relevance as it becomes easier to investigate how those artists/designers have managed their careers to then know how to best manage their own. As always engage and communicate with your audience customers and establish a database with these personal contacts as the most valuable resource anyone can cultivate.

Is there something a little different about your audience, their likes, and desires?

I have tried to identify my own niche interest in terms of identity and embedded histories, to start to target markets through identifying who I am and my specific personal and professional interests concerning the environment and human experiencing especially mental distress-repair-recovery, which has included contact with related agencies linked to the environment and health. I have focused upon what is personal and meaningful to me within textile art which is also of relevance to others. I specialise in print, weave and/or stitch using reused, repurposed, and reclaimed natural materials which appears to be of interest to others as well who are interested in sustaining the environment and striving for zero/reduced waste. I have increasingly developed my own narrative using my own visual style, which is based upon original artwork from scratch, working by hand including hand printmaking, weaving, and sewing using stitch to sustain closer relating and responding to the materials in use. This has attracted interest from other audiences interested in authentic relating using slow processes which facilitate improved mental health and wellbeing.

Do you want to work somewhere different or with someone different?

Timorous Beasties are a surreal and provocative design studio creating a diverse range of products, collaborations, and unique design projects internationally. I would like to work with them, to collaborate over projects, to gain experience of how they operate given the scale and depth of their audience. Timorous Beasties was established in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art. Today, the studio is a diverse operation and has emerged as a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed icon. Some Timorous Beasties brand clients include Johnny Walker, Nike, Fortnum & Mason, and Philip Treacy. The Studio’s gallery of cultural design commissions includes the Edinburgh International Festival 2009 graphics and book covers for Penguin, Magna, and Granta.

Home accessories include exclusive lines for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Brintons carpets and Liberty London. Ranking among the Studio’s strong record for bespoke furnishing and installation commissions are the V&A boardroom, UK Supreme Court, Wellcome Trust, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Robert Burns Museum. Exteriors range from engraved stone cladding for Bristol’s Cabot Circus to the extravagant aluminium decorative façade for Princes Square, Glasgow. Christies, Claridges, the Inter-Continental Hotel Group, and Hilton-Waldorf Astoria rank among the list of commercial clients. Timorous Beasties have collaborated with furniture elites Ercol, S.C.P., and the design cult classic duo, nobody & co. https://www.timorousbeasties.com/

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