We were working on the marketing side of being an artist at  last Friday’s class at Nottingham Contemporary. Traditionally most artists hate the selling side of things, but ever since artists like Tracey Emin have shown self promotion can be your art until you’ve got their attention, and then you can make some art and they’ll hopefully pay attention to your work, not your shenanigans, self-promotion has become an acknowledged part of the process. Sigh…I want to be recognised as the person who made the art, but only in the way Banksy is, I do not want any part of the spotlight on me…meanwhile I want the art to be seen, so I have to do my hardest thing to give my best thing a chance… thank goodness for tintanet!!!

DIS-INTERMEDIATION is a business-speak term Chris (class member) taught us. It means taking out the middle man / agent/ mediator and becoming your own broker, though really you tend to be substituting the internet and its market possibilities, so there is still a mediator, just not a third party, you are wearing two hats, the second being marketeer and publicist. A lot of artists are not great at this, with huge exceptions like Warhol, of course, but think of poor van Gogh who traded paintings for a meal and never sold a painting for cash in his life.

The internet is the saving of shrinking violets though!

A reflective practice both mirrors and confronts society – meets it where it is and shows alternatives to current norms, whether in a critical and challenging way, or a more invitational way, by engaging the viewer’s interest and creating ripples in the calm pond of apathy. (Yes, that second way is what I’m hoping for, like most longterm activists, I see room for many approaches 😉 )

So, if our practice is technically a commodity (service including experiences or object including goods for sale) why and how do we market it?

KATALLAXY (Chris classmate again!) is a community of exchange:  where economy is based on the idea of a single household or state or market, catallaxy as it is sometimes spelled, is based on the idea of a neighbourhood or group of households and states, negotiating in amity.

We need to market, because: no marketing – no market – no recognition – no sales/ no support for present and future work/ no exchange of barter vouchers to fund our everyday living expenses.

Or we can sponsor our work ourselves, by having a day job and incurring few expenses because it is released only via the internet. Doing this may be sufficient, but for the vast majority, the pleasure of exhibiting and seeing your work meet an audience demands more… 😉


In my case I want the work to be seen/felt  in person, because it has its own presence. Walking round an environmental intervention or installation can be a compelling experience, and with kinetic and spatial elements, extremely non verbal  and hard to describe, as well as being very individual. I also want all those slow patient hours of making  recognised!!! So I have slightly contradictory things going on there. As the installations and films are not for sale, and I want them to be seen without admission charge/on equal access, the costs of the exhibition have to be met somehow, and as I already find the materials and electric bill for stitching and laptop & camera battery recharging out of my benefits…preferably by a supportive community!

So: I need to use marketing  to create support that results in funding for my work and exhibitions. I need to introduce myself and my goals as well as my finished work to an audience, so I create the katallaxy/community of exchange where funds and support in kind eg lifts, printing, hanging work and taking down come easily 😉

We were asked to answer 3 questions

(Charlotte presented the most powerful piece of performance for this, I was blown away!)

who am I?

where am I (coming) from?

what do I want?

in artspeak:

I am singingbird.

I am a process artist making planet-positive installations and visual essays, which invite people to (continue) walk(ing) away from global consumerism, towards personal fulfillment. I use mainly upcycled elements to create components that can be assembled and installed as respectful interventions that surprise and delight the viewer, reminding them that joy cannot be bought and consumerism is draining the planet.


I have escaped from extreme suppression of my creativity and am at my most happy when making for myself or inviting others to release their creativity. I have worked as an adult education tutor, community artist, workshop leader and craft therapist. I have learnt dozens of skills which I harness to overcome disabling pain and fatigue in order to continue being creative in spite of severe fibromyalgia. I enjoy making beautiful and meaningful objects, including handmade artist books.

I want to make environmental installations and respectful interventions in mindful process, which are filmed to be shared by a wider audience. I would like to bring art to unexpected and non-commercial venues as well as galleries, and to extend my yarntagging to municipal foyers, office buildings and shopping centres as well as to be part of more community events, after the success of Gaia’s Guardians at Wovenfest in June 2012.

OR, for the wider community… 😉

i am singingbird, calling for creativity to bring life to the green tree in the garden…

i want to use the freedom and joyful ease making gives me to encourage viewers to pay attention to the small joys of life, and to live more and buy less.

i make short films, handmade books and large pieces of art from intricately constructed components, that use simple techniques and lots of upcycled materials, working by mindful process. i enjoy using  colour and texture to create pieces, some to console, some to delight, all hopefully to inspire others to make…

I need to create a comfortable/easeful way to be present/ share the work to a receptive audience.

Easeful refers to the issues of agoraphobia and fibromyalgia, and the solution, finding the flow where things like to happen 😉 and comes from daoist practice. So…


@ birds sing artblog (x = you are here!)

@ youtube   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCECC6gzAkchoiZ0KxQYMIDg?feature=mhee

@ vocational links, eg Disability Arts Online carry a link to my blog

to be developed:

@ facebook – as a professional site to give details of xhibs etc, links to utube, latest blogpost, pledge listing etc

– needed to be able to join TAFA [textile and fibre artists association]

@ KICKSTARTER and equivalent sites

@ textilearts networks/blog rings/ web rings for surface decoration, altered art etc

also: contact cards (blog and artist email, done!)

to be developed:

standard exhibition proposal pack for each of: fibre art/ installations/ process art/ disabled artist/ book artist/ visual essays and animations

– I am some of the way through this, for some of the strands!

pledge rewards for kickstarter etc – progressing well (that, my friends, is cos it’s making art! 😉 )