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2015 Grant Finalist Interview: Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand is proposed by Mark W. Wlaz

How did you hear about the grant and what inspired you to propose this specific project?

In 2014 I had begun working with Jennifer under a fee based mentoring arrangement. I was instantly impressed with Jennifer's knowledge, and her crusading concept. But most of all, her enthusiasm and energy were contagious.

I entirely bought into the notion that each of us as artists bears responsibility not only for creating art, but also for increasing the demand for art. 

It wasn't instantly clear how to accomplish this goal, but I knew it was something I would commit to trying. I read what I could about Matthew Conboy's winning concept from a year earlier, and let his idea percolate. It was several months later before my idea would take shape. 

How did you come up with the idea for your project?

One morning I was reading an email from my local, non-profit, public music radio station. It was my anniversary as a donor, and as they had done in prior years, they were offering a thank you gift. It is a very kind and well intentioned act, but it seemed to miss the mark. The gifts were of little interest to me. I wondered if other sustaining donors felt the same way.

This was when I had my "aha moment". Listeners who donate to keep the station on air, are actively demonstrating an interest in the local arts scene and a willingness to pull out their wallet in support. What an ideal target market for promoting local photographers and their art.  

By introducing artwork from local photographers into the mix as Thank You gifts - there is the opportunity to gain exposure for the artists, and stimulate the donors to collect local photography. As a partner, the radio station has the marketing muscle to lever its on-air advertising, social media efforts, website, and member email communications to promote the artists and the program. 

Why do people find art intimidating and what can be done about it?

There is no escaping the fact that for centuries Art was funded by the wealthy, and carried its own vernacular - both of which tended to create real or perceived separation from the masses.

Mural arts projects, free museum nights, inter-city youth arts, and a host of other programs work to increase accessibility, demystify, and increase exposure to the arts. They help immensely to break down barriers. Yet the notion of collecting art maintains some of its old bugaboos: "What if I choose the "wrong" piece?" and "I can't afford to collect art." are both common concerns.

By turning galleries into "art stores", and by selling art in more accessible ways - through art fairs, Thursday night art crawls, over the Internet, and at street festivals and events - we gain greater exposure, become more knowledgable and less intimidated. Upon seeing the diversity of art available, hopefully we conclude that there is something to suit everyone's taste and everyone's pocket book.

What is the greatest opportunity facing artists right now?

Technology is a fantastic enabler creating immense opportunity. Mobile phones, tablets, apps / software, desk-top computing tools are all powerful facilitators. They are inexpensive, readily accessible, and they unleash the power of our creativity and enable us to produce unique works of art.

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2015 Grant Finalist Interview: #HiddenArtSLO

#HiddenArtSLO is proposed by Catherine Trujillo, Charmaine Martinez, and Jeff VanKleeck

How did you hear about the grant, and what inspired you to propose this specific project for the Crusade for Art grant?

Jeff: Catherine told me about it.

Catherine: Jeff found it.

Charmaine: Catherine and Jeff.

But really, San Luis Obispo is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. For our local community and our two collectives, we feel like the center of the universe at times and exiled into Siberia at times because of our coastal and rural location. Photographer Jeff Van Kleeck heard about the Crusade4Art grant and pitched it as an opportunity to expose our community to national photographers and to promote our talented pool of regional and emerging photographers.  

How did you come up with the idea for your project?

Jeff: I stole the idea from Catherine.

The projects is based on the Nothing Happened Here mission: A full-circle gesture to place art in an entirely unusual and unexpected context. All we leave behind are smiles. Curator Catherine Trujillo started #HiddenArtSLO last year partnering with area artists, writers, musicians, and creatives, to hide their work throughout the county for the community to discover. The hope is that the finder shares via social media and helps generate interest for the partner artist and their work. And in a quiet way, we want to provide an incentive so that finders can become collectors, and find a love for our local artists and creatives to become life-long collectors of awesome artists.  

Building upon this concept, #HiddenPhotoSLO seemed like a perfect evolution to encourage the collecting of fine art photography. Photography inspires and tells enriching stories that connect us all.

What is the most engaging art event/collecting event you’ve been to?

Charmaine: the Wisconsin Tryagainnial: an alternative exhibition held in a rented Ryder truck by University of Wisconsin art graduate students who were all rejected from the Wisconsin Triennial exhibition at the Madison Art Center. It was a freezing night and we served hot cocoa in the truck “gallery” which was lit with several clip lights from Home Depot. The curators of the Wisconsin Triennial were kind enough to visit the Tryagainnial exhibition—they were supportive and encouraging and they thought our show in the back of a truck was hilarious.

Catherine: Typing In Public-- Reading In Public's 2010 community event. The event primarily focused on people writing on typewriters around town, but folks shared comments via TwitterFlickr, and texted their submissions. To spark some inspiration, we received submissions from a variety of people, including Gerald Casale for Devo, and Dr. Paul Frommer writing in Na'vi (with translation to English). This by far was the most hysterical, collaborative, and joyful venture where everyone and their brother was able to contribute in one form or another.

Jeff: Anderson Ranch Art Auction in Snowmass Colorado. I almost spent $1200 on a teapot and I only had $200 and it went for $3,000. It was addicting and exciting.

What do you think is the greatest struggle/weakness facing artists and the art community right now? What is the greatest opportunity/strength?

The greatest weakness is that people spend all their time viewing screens, not people. In addition, creative work is not valued in our society. The greatest opportunity is that there are so many people out there making cool stuff.  We want to be the bridge that connects artists and emerging collectors.

How do you think artists should play a role in educating the public or their audience about their art or art in general?

Artists need to give context to their work. It is not enough just to put it on the wall. People crave story, context and experience. Why not be whimsical about it!

Why do you think many people find art intimidating, and how can we lower the perceptual barriers to entry for collecting art (and specifically photography)?

Many people find fine art photography intimidating because it is so often presented in an austere, white box. Most galleries are not fun and do not engage people as people. There is a perception that building an art collection is for the wealthy. What we aim to do is place art in context for the masses. Moms, dads, students, neighbors, uncles, kids. Anyone and everyone.

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Money Management – the Key to Your Creative Entrepreneurialism – Part 3

This article (part 3 of 3) was contributed by Shantel Susan-Haines, the founder of Shantel's Money Guidance. 

Continuing on from Part 2 . . .

Becoming Comfortable with Your Tax Authority

You may/may not know the tax authority (often referred to as CRA, IRS, etc.) may request to audit you at any time.

The need to communicate and deal with your tax authority is a situation that all entrepreneurs (even creative ones like you) will encounter, even as just part of your regular activities in your business.   However, it is important not to underestimate them to make your dealings with them as comfortable and easy as possible. 

Become aware of practical steps that will help you to take decisive action, to place your business in a better and prepared position in order to properly deal with your tax authority.  Always remember the key here is not to give them a reason to contact or audit you.

In general, two points to keep in mind about your tax filings are:

  1. Keeping a good, quality set of books and records that you can rely on to backup and show the business transactions that you have been engaged in is crucial. Don’t underestimate the importance of being able to provide proof and legitimacy for what you are declaring in your tax filings. 
  2. Remember that you are ultimately responsible for what occurs in your business and your personal matters. While you may be able to defer some blame in your mind to outside influences (such as accountants, tax advisors, bookkeepers, other employees), always be aware that you are deemed to know what goes on in your business and are responsible for the consequences when it comes to dealing with your tax authority.

 Honoring Your Priceless Time & Creativity

 Time is an elusive resource. Most of the time we don’t feel there is enough of it. In reality though, there are always 24 hours in a day and everyone has the same amount . . . but is time working against your creativity?

Liberate your creative time through consideration about what only artistic-creative people like you know - that you are so different from all other entrepreneurs.  The demands on you both as an entrepreneur AND artist can make things so much more challenging with reference to your time.  Your creative flow must have time to expose and release itself together with your need to feel as though you are using your time to its fullest.  If you explore your time and its relation to your creativity you will help to avoid shortchanging yourself on this inspirationally important and irreplaceable resource. 

Always think of your time as being divided between your ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES – what you must do & OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES – what you like to do.  Keep in mind that time is often wasted in the “Optional Activities” . . . but it should contribute/nourish:  your heart, soul, mind, body, spirit and your CREATIVE-ARTISTIC SENSES. 

To stay true to your entrepreneurial purpose as a creative-artistic entrepreneur, your mindset is so important to keeping your focus about how you think about your business money. It starts with your inner thinking.

Remember to always work towards having your best business money good in mind and in place.  To achieve that, you need a continuing plan . . . so you are moving it forward into your reality.

Only you can take yourself out of where you have been and position yourself where you wish to be. Keep the momentum flowing and stay true to your business, your creativity and your purpose as a creative-artistic entrepreneur.

Would you be interested in learning more?

CLICK HERE to become part of our Free (for this select audience) Creative Entrepreneurs Business Money Enlightenment – Getting Started program

Shantel Susan-Haines, Founder

Shantel’s Money Guidance

 

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FOCAL POINT Q2.15 Interview: Loli Kantor

FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

 

Describe the arc of your photography career so far.   

I started photography late in life. I was interested in documentary photography, specifically live theater and the performing arts. I was especially passionate about documenting the creative process of performers, directors and people involved in stage work. Initially self taught, I later decided to fill the gaps with workshops and independent study courses at photography study courses at a Junior College, which provided me with the essential feedback from mentors and peers. My early inspirations were Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus and my mentor Peter Feresten. My favorite medium was black and white photography and traditional dark room printing.

A pivotal moment for me was in 2004, when I volunteered to work in Krakow Poland at a former Nazi labor camp. This sparked the idea to find living Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. For nearly a decade, I became deeply involved in the subject of presence and absence, of Jewish life in Eastern Europe today. It also gave me the time and space to feel what being a second generation to Holocaust Survivors means.

I also attended portfolio reviews and workshops to escape my solitary life in the darkroom and in my studio and to immerse myself in the wider photography community, both reviewers and fellow photographers. I responded to calls for entry and entered competitions to get my work around and attempted to use the feedback, both negative and positive, in a constructive way.

Another pivotal moment was at PhotoLucida 2009. My work began being recognized widely, and I felt that it transformed into a stronger and more cohesive body of work. I continued this a few more years with my goal being to complete this project and to publish a book.


If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

I would be a source for young photographers to mentor and teach.

I would be teaching photography workshops in the United States and abroad.

I would have 1-2 more completed bodies of work and books published.

My entire body of work from Eastern Europe would be acquired by a museum.

I would have exhibitions in reputable museums in the United States and abroad.

I would have gallery representation in the United States and abroad.

My work would be featured in nationally and internationally reputable publications periodically.


What are your goals for the next 12 months?

- To have a clear idea about my next project, the scope of the work, and the photographic language, which I will use.

- To learn one or two new photographic skills.

- To tour my new book and have scheduled talks and exhibitions for the next 2-3 years.

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FOCAL POINT Q1.15 Interview: Elizabeth Moran

FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far. 

I find an art "career" something hard to define. So many of us do other things ("labor," as Charlotte Cotton defined it for me) to support our "work." And inevitably, the labor that enables the work, influences the work to some degree. In my case, the most pivotal experience of my career thus far was when I stopped making art. I didn't know what an art career looked like (and who does, really?), so I took the best paying creative job I could find: art director for an advertising agency. It allowed me to afford to stay in New York, to pay down my student loans, and to still work in a creative field. I did well. And a career in advertising has well-defined job titles, timelines for raises and promotions, and end-goals. But I got bored with the clear-cut career path that I saw before me: I knew exactly where I would be in 2, 5, 10, even 20 years. I began teaching on the side (at NYU and ICP), and slowly began making my own work. That work led me to graduate school (the best gift I've ever given myself), so I could further pursue my research interests (through making and writing), and here I am now.

 

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

Having finished graduate school less than a year ago, I am more than happy with the progress of my career at this point. I have a full plate of exhibitions, residencies, collaborations, writing, teaching, etc., and I am lucky to have such a strong supportive and generous group of mentors and colleagues. I look forward to a future of twists, turns, and surprises. I believe that is both the challenge and reward of a career in art—there is no formal path to follow and no checklist to tick off.

 

What are your goals for 2015?

I hope to pick up writing again more seriously and to further incorporate it into my practice. I also plan to continue to experiment with audio—I enjoy how the process of collecting and editing sound is so similar to making photographs. I also just began my residency at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, so I'm excited to see what my early experiments will grow into over the next 6 months. After having spent the last several months finishing work for exhibition at NYU, I'm happy to be back in the darkroom and in my studio making a mess again.

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Money Management – the Key to Your Creative Entrepreneurialism – Part 2

This article (part 2 of 3) was contributed by Shantel Susan-Haines, the founder of Shantel's Money Guidance. 

Continuing on from Part 1 . . .

Creating Your Flexible Business Money Plan

A simple, flexible plan for your creative business money will always help you to monitor what you plan vs. what actually occurs with your business money inflows and outflows.

What is a Flexible Business Money Plan?

Flexible business money plans are often used for companies that tend to have swings in their sales and hence cost of sales from period-to-period.  As an artistic-creative company, you will notice wide variations, especially on the revenue side.  Therefore, planning the cost of sales and the revenues the business expects to generate, along with the expenses the business will require is designed to be a bit more flexible than the standard “budget.”   You will feel in control of your creative business money when you have this money plan in place. 

Clarifying Your Average Monthly Money Outflows

Another part of using your income statement to its best effect is to know how to look at your creative money outflows and to monitor its flow out of your business.  This is so important to your making some of the best determinations that you can about HOW you spend your money and turn it around to further develop your artistic work. 

Don't let this become a problem for you - learn how to continue to financially support your creative expressions, through knowing how to monitor the money that flows out of your business every month and help yourself to make optimal pricing decisions.

This can also be helpful if you wish to project money outflows for a specific project using this same technique.

Achieving Harmony with Your Cash Flows

Managing cash, better known as cash flow management, is a challenge for many entrepreneurs.

If you can’t have the amount of ready cash available to pay your current expenses – you will go out-of-business and sadly, many businesses have.

There is much talk about this topic and while it is important, it doesn't need to be overdone.  The "why" and "how" of managing/handling your cash flow really only involves a few simple actions that should be taken on a consistent basis to be their most effective and a few good practices and habits can make all the difference to your business.

Some of the common oversights about cash flow include: 

1.        If you have lots of sales – the cash will follow.

2.       Suppliers will wait to be paid when I have the cash.

3.        All clients pay on time and in full.

4.       Billing clients can happen when I have a chance.

5.       There is no need to negotiate payment terms with clients and vendors.

The above demonstrates some of the wrong assumptions that business owners often make when it comes to dealing with cash flow.  However there are practices to make your cash flow easier to manage to relieve these burdens.

Next Time Part 3 . . .

Shantel Susan-Haines, Founder

Shantel’s Money Guidance

CLICK HERE to become part of our Free (for this select audience) Creative Entrepreneurs Business Money Enlightenment – Getting Started program

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Money Management – the Key to Your Creative Entrepreneurialism – Part 1

This article was contributed by Shantel Susan-Haines, the founder of Shantel's Money Guidance. 

As a Creative-Artistic Entrepreneur, you have likely heard that you should know your key business numbers and have business money systems in place.

Like many, are you a little bewildered as to what you need to know & do?

Knowing only the essentials, the "must-knows" about managing/handling the money and finances in your business AND being comfortable to do so are important to the survivorship of your creative-artistic enterprise.

Bring about your new connection with your business money through linking to your inner confidence and discover ways to arouse this.  You can’t have a new beginning if you remain with your prior ways of thinking about your business money.  It all starts with deeply finding your inner confidence and then securing it as a place of retreat when your confidence wavers. 

Here are some key areas that you should consider in order to work into your creative business money best:

Arranging Your Bookkeeping in Order and in Place

To start, know that bookkeeping is NOT the monster it is made out to be . . . it is there to serve you and your business as an artistic-creative entrepreneur.

Good business money handling and management starts with having a bookkeeping process in place.  This often eludes many entrepreneurs as it seems so complicated, but it doesn't have to be. 

Whether you plan to perform your own business bookkeeping or engage someone else - you need to ensure that it actually happens!

Consider that 3 of the best reasons to have a good, quality bookkeeping system in place will:

1.        enable all of your business transactions to be recorded

2.       it will empower you, the business owner with the ability to understand your business financials, and

3.        it will allow you to properly file your taxes

Becoming enlightened about what you need from one of the more puzzling and time consuming aspects of your business money.  Finally, making a decision about your bookkeeping really comes down to:  hiring bookkeeping help or performing it yourself. 

While it is acceptable to decide to perform your own bookkeeping, but even if you hire a bookkeeper for that work to be performed, you should look to a professional accountant particularly for year-end, tax filing and more specific queries that you may have.

There are significant cost savings in employing an accountant and taking their professional advice. As a business owner with little or no real business experience, it takes a professional with the training and experience that will translate into helping you make better, more informed decisions. The cost is well worth it.

Understanding Your Income Statement & Profitability Points

You may or may not know it but your business income statement is by far your most important connection to better understanding your business money.

What is the Income Statement?

The Income Statement or Profit/Loss Statement provides fundamental financial information for you, the creative business owner. It shows you the revenue, cost of sales, gross profit (loss), expenses and net income (loss) for your business for a specific period.

It allows for financial performance comparisons to be made between different time frames.

The income statement shows if the business is profitable and if expenses are under control. It also shows if revenues are increasing at a rate that can sustain the cost of sales and expenses the business is incurring.

Also, you should know your Profitability Points.  Consider that you may already know when you are making money with selling your artistic-creative products/services (items & talents), but do you know the exact numbers?  If not, you need to be confident and aware of these essential numbers in order for you to be operating your business at its optimum.

If you work with your important Profitability Points, it becomes part of your savvy as a truly creative entrepreneur!

Next Time Part 2 . . .

Shantel Susan-Haines, Founder

Shantel’s Money Guidance

CLICK HERE to become part of our Free (for this select audience) Creative Entrepreneurs Business Money Enlightenment – Getting Started program

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CSA Photographer Interview: Kurt Simonson

In our Crusade Supported Art program, we commission six photographers to make an image in an edition of 50, and we sell 50 shares. Shareholders receive an original, signed and numbered photograph from each of the six commissioned photographers. We have had two CSA cycles so far, and they have been a huge success. Photographer Kurt Simonson's image (below) was part of the second round CSA and was just shipped to shareholders a couple of weeks ago. We asked him a few questions to let you get to know him a bit better.

Fireworks  by Kurt Simonson

Fireworks by Kurt Simonson

Had you heard of an art CSA before? What were your impressions of the idea?

I hadn't specifically heard of an art-related CSA, but I am always drawn to creative solutions for making and sharing art.  I've loved all the various out-of-the-box projects that Jennifer has done before, so I was up for this idea instantly.   As a teacher, I love to create and assign projects that push the students to look beyond the expected audience and codes of the art world, often encouraging students to think about art that operates in modes of partnership and collaboration, inside and outside of the gallery system.  I also loved the idea of getting to wait and see what each of the artists would create and offer!   

What about the program made you interested in being one of the participating artists?

I love the idea that the collectors were choosing to participate based on us as artists, not just based on a single image or theme.  It's very encouraging to be reminded that there are viewers and collectors out there who want to invest in us as artists, with a bigger-picture view of our entire body of work.   I was also honored to be included in some pretty exciting company, as I've enjoyed the work of all of the other photographers involved so far.     

How has your experience been so far, and what else do you hope will come as a result of participating?

I look forward to having my work reach a new set of collectors, especially 50 collectors at a time!  It's exciting for me to think that these new collectors have 6 images to either begin, or add to, their collection, and six new artists to follow and get to know.     

Please tell us about the piece you created and how it fits within your larger body of work?

Fireworks is a new addition to the Northwoods Journals project, a body of work that explores the myth and memory of my upbringing in Minnesota.  I enjoy how this image brings a slightly different season and tone to the larger series.  

Fireworks are technically illegal in Minnesota, but you would never know it.  Every year it’s standard practice to go across the border to Wisconsin and stock up for your own little Fourth of July extravaganza.  My brother has delighted in this relatively harmless practice ever since he was a child, and not surprisingly, he has carried on the tradition with his children.  I can’t help but realize that there’s something about the curious blend of playful mischief and overt transgression in this practice that is quintessentially Minnesotan.   

To see more of Kurt's work, please visit his website.

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Behold: Marc Yankus

In collaboration with Slate's photo blog, Behold, we are extending the conversation with some of their featured photographers.

In 2013 Marc Yankus, after a period of focusing (or, soft focusing) on a somewhat abstract look at cityscapes, took a photograph of the Goldman Sachs building that rests along the Hudson River in Jersey City, New Jersey. Inspired by the detail he saw in the image once he opened it up at home, Yankus began photographing buildings around New York City that jumped out at him. He then manipulated them in order to both isolate them from their surroundings and to create a sense of timelessness. Last year, Yankus showed some of the work at ClampArt in New York where he has been represented for a decade. We asked him a few questions about his career.

Read the full Behold interview here.

Do you call yourself a fine art photographer? Describe what that term means to you and why you do or don't call yourself one.

I do call myself a fine artist. I create artwork for myself and where it ends up is secondary. Where as commercial art is for and directed by someone else what I create is totally for me and thats a very freeing experience. Making art is my high!

Talk about your first break specifically regarding gallery representation but also when you started to think this would become a career for you.

When I was around 20 I created artwork for the windows for Grey Art Gallery and they introduced me to Barbara Milstein of the Brooklyn Museum who included me in an exhibition at the museum on the Brooklyn Museum in 1983.

You've worked with ClampArt for a decade now. Describe that relationship and how it has evolved.

ClampArt is the first gallery to represent me and it has been a learning curve for me to work with a gallery. It’s been a fantastic experience and our relationship has grown to be very productive for both of us.

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Thank you for your grant submissions - Photographers, your creativity is off the hook!

We just wrapped up our second Crusade Engagement Grant cycle, and I could not be more excited by the submissions we received and the direction the program is moving in.

When we announced the grant last year, it was not only a new grant for a new organization - it was a new type of grant. We give money for building audiences, not for making work. We received a lot of applications, and a lot of strong applications, but it was clear that many of the people who submitted did not completely understand the purpose of the grant.

But this year it clicked. Maybe reading last year's finalists and winner ideas and having a full year to let ideas germinate allowed the collective lightbulb to go off. The ideas were creative and well thought out. There were so, so many solid ideas.

We made our decision based on which ideas were most suited to our mission – to connect people to photography. While many of the projects were very compelling and worthy of execution, their goal was to raise awareness about a different issue through the use of photography (instead of awareness of the art itself as the end-goal). While many others did fit our mission, ultimately we selected the ideas we felt were the most innovative, logistically feasible, and would have the most impact. 

We hope you will take a look at the 2015 finalists and get inspired -
let's create demand for photography!

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$10,000 Photography Grant - It's for Creativity, Not Magnitude

Last year's $10,000 Crusade Engagement Grant went to Matthew Conboy in Pittsburgh for a big idea. BIG idea. But don't think it was the magnitude of the program that earned him the bucks - it was the creativity.

Any person who has an innovative idea to connect people to photography is eligible to apply. A photographer who has thought of a creative way to get exposure for her work and draw in new potential collectors is as likely a winner as someone with a city-wide program idea involving multiple photographers. 

So are you out in the world, trying to figure out how to build your audience and sell some work? Then put your thinking cap on, because $10,000 would probably go a long way to putting you on that path. Am I right?

Apply now!

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Behold: Jess Dugan

In collaboration with Slate's photo blog, Behold, we are extending the conversation with some of their featured photographers.

Jess Dugan has often used portraiture as a way of exploring gender and sexuality. Her latest series, “Every Breath We Drew,” to be published as a monograph this fall by Daylight, is a body of work in which Dugan not only questions the definition of masculinity but also the idea of identity. Is our self defined from within or is it part of a larger question about our connection – and desire to connect - to others?  “I was trying to make something more universal than just showing a group of people who share a similar identity,” she said. “I wanted people to reflect on that process for themselves, and how we connect with people.”

Read the full Behold interview here.

 

Left:  Betsy, 2013 . Right:  Jet, 2013 .

Left: Betsy, 2013. Right: Jet, 2013.

When you first began imagining a career in photography, what did that look like? Was gallery representation or a book publication part of that vision? 

I was lucky to get gallery representation at the very beginning of my career, so in many ways, I grew up as an artist within the gallery system.  I was also lucky to be working with a gallery director who acted as a mentor to me (more about her in question 3) and who was very sensitive to my work, always privileging the integrity of the work over its marketability.

To be quite honest, I didn’t know what a career in photography would look like.  My first year out of undergrad was a rough transition, as I had lofty ideas about grants and residencies and things like that.  My undergrad faculty were all Guggenheim-winning artists, so that was the model I saw most directly.  For many years, my career involved me working a 9 to 5 job and making just enough extra money to spend every weekend in the darkroom, which I built in my studio apartment.  After several years of that, I moved from Boston to Chicago to go to grad school (lured largely by the prospect of working with Dawoud Bey, who became a very significant mentor to me).  At that point, I was more aware of what I wanted out of my career, and it certainly involved galleries and books.

I have quite a photobook addiction, and I have always loved the book form as a way to experience photographs.  My earliest, most powerful moments with photography came from seeing myself (or people like myself) reflected in photography books at a time when I didn’t see these representations anywhere else around me.  I had many profound moments sitting in the basement of the Harvard Book Store flipping through used photography books and discovering influential photographers I would come to know and love.  

I have made many artist books and self-published books over the past 6 or 7 years, but I’m currently working on my first monograph and am really excited about that.  I’m already thinking in terms of books for my next two projects, which are well underway.  

 

You're quite a prolific photographer. Talk about the importance of producing work both for yourself and for your career.

Thank you.  You know, it’s interesting that you say that I am prolific, because in some ways I don’t know what that means.  Since I discovered photography, I have been addicted, and I have somewhat obsessively been making work since then.  

Making work is the way I feel connected to the world, and also the way I make sense of my own life, my own relationship, etc.  So, I consistently and intentionally make pictures.  What’s interesting is that I don’t really make a lot of snapshots anymore- I’m not the kind of photographer who always carries a camera.  For me, making work and truly experiencing a moment are almost always mutually exclusive activities. 

In terms of my career, it certainly helps that I make a lot of work, as galleries like showing new images.  In some ways, though, it becomes its own kind of challenge to make sense of a photographic process that comes so naturally from my life.  Though I present my work in very distinct “projects,” their creation often happens simultaneously, or one project flows into another, or themes emerge from photographs I’ve been making over a period of years. 

 

What was your first big break? Describe what that meant to you and how/if your definition of "break" has changed as you continue your career.

My definition of a break has most definitely changed throughout my career.  My first big break would have to be when I met Arlette Kayafas, owner of Gallery Kayafas in Boston.  I had just graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, an amazing school that I was quite lucky to attend, especially since I didn’t fully realize when I applied at the age of 16 how amazing their photography program was and how it would form the foundation of my career.  I was working at the Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston’s South End with Joseph Carroll, who now runs Carroll and Sons, and through my experience in the gallery I got to know Arlette, whose gallery was just down the block.  We formed a relationship, I showed her my work, and I had my first solo show one year later in the fall of 2008.  My relationship with her has been career-changing; she mentored me in the business of galleries, supported my work both emotionally and financially from the very beginning, and provided a consistent, meaningful place for me to get feedback and gain perspective on my work. 

That summer, I also took a part time job at the Harvard Art Museum which led to a full time job there, which led to me to spend the last eight years working in the museum field, which has also been hugely informative to my career as an artist. 

Over the years, there have been many moments I would describe as a big break, and how I define that has changed with time.  My first gallery, certainly.  My first museum acquisition.  My first solo show.  My first real collector. 

At this very moment, I am excited about being represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery, working on my first monograph with Daylight Books (due out Sept. 2015), and working on my first solo museum exhibition with curator Amy Galpin at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Florida.  

 

Left:   Ryan and Josh, 2013.   Right:   Laurel, 2014.

Left: Ryan and Josh, 2013. Right: Laurel, 2014.

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CSA Photographer Interview: Thomas Jackson

In our Crusade Supported Art program, we commission six photographers to make an image in an edition of 50, and we sell 50 shares. Shareholders receive an original, signed and numbered photograph from each of the six commissioned photographers. We have had two CSA cycles so far, and they have been a huge success. Photographer Thomas Jackson's image (below) was part of the first round CSA. We asked him a few questions to let you get to know him a bit better.

Tape no. 1  by Thomas Jackson

Tape no. 1 by Thomas Jackson

Had you heard of an art CSA before? What were your impressions of the idea?

I had barely heard of a conventional CSA before, city boy that I am. I immediately liked the idea, however, as it struck me as a fresh, unconventional way of presenting work to new collectors.

What about the program made you interested in being one of the participating artists?

I had been familiar with Crusade for Art pre-CSA, so when I heard from Jennifer, I was interested right away. At first I wasn’t sure about offering my work in an edition as large as 50 and at such a small dimension. Generally I do things the other way around: small editions, big prints. But I’d had the idea in the back of my mind of offering some work in a more accessible way for some time, and Jennifer’s invitation turned out to be the perfect opportunity to follow through with that. And when I saw who the other participating artists were, the decision got even easier. I’d been admiring the work of a few of them for some time, and was thrilled by the opportunity to engage in this unusual collaboration with them.

How has your experience been so far, and what else do you hope will come as a result of participating?

It would have been more of an experience if all the shares hadn’t sold out so instantaneously! It’s certainly nice to have 50 new collectors to add to the old spam list though. I look forward to keeping in touch with them in the years to come. 

Please tell us about the piece you created and how it fits within your larger body of work?

Tape no. 1 marked a continuation of my still ongoing Emergent Behavior series, and the first image I made here in California after moving from Brooklyn in late 2013. Shot in a park right in San Francisco, the installation is made from multicolored duct tape and a mile or two of monofilament. It took about 6 hours to construct and was shot just before dark. Like the the other pieces in the series, this one is an experiment in juxtaposition, and a playful attempt to impose swarming behaviors found in nature upon man-made materials.

To see more of Thomas' work, please visit his website.

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FOCAL POINT Q1.15 Interview: Marna Bell

FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far. 

I have been an artist for as long as I can remember, and it has been an amazing journey. In the 1970’s, while getting my BFA at Pratt Institute, I started teaching pinhole cameras to kids in basements in Harlem for the Police Athletic League. It was at Pratt that I remember having lunch with Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, where they first turned me on to photography. After moving to Syracuse to complete my MFA, I became in involved with the Community Darkroom at Syracuse University, which has had a big influence on my life. After graduating, I was very involved with the Everson Museum. I taught art classes, I had a one woman show of my work, and I was even invited to take part in the Oko Yono show.

In the mid-1980s, I returned to Syracuse after a brief stint in Pennsylvania and joined Light Work / Community Darkroom, which was a turning point in my career. It was then that I concentrated entirely on photography. Being accepted into the NYFA Mark program further propelled my career, which culminated in a presentation of my work at Smack Mellon in New York City. In 2011, I exhibited my Hudson series at Light Work and was later invited to participate in an exhibition of photo-based books at the SPE Northeast conference. Howard Greenberg’s Gallery in NY now exhibits my book in his artists book section. The Munson William Proctor Museum exhibited some of those images in 2013. Later that year I received a Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation award. My work has been exhibited several times in Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Art Center. In 2013, Light Work exhibited my Imperfect Memory series alongside their 40 Years / 40 Artists show, and this series recently had a four-page spotlight and interview in Black and White magazine. The Crusade for Art experience has now given me the opportunity to further my career and grow as an artist.

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

I am interested in publishing more books and having my work be in collections of some major museums. I would like to be represented by a major gallery, have solos shows, and sell some work. All of this takes more funding and recognition. I believe I have the drive to make this happen.

What are your goals for 2015?

I am constantly looking for opportunities for grants and shows that would benefit my work. There are several galleries that I have in mind and I would like to tighten my presentation and start approaching these galleries. I also would like to expand my horizons and start looking at galleries and museums outside of NYC to exhibit my work. 

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FOCAL POINT Q4.14 Interview: Ansley West Rivers

FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far. 

I feel the entire arc of my career as an artist has helped shape where I am today.  The struggle to continue making work daily, regardless of changing situations has been very important in shaping my own practice.  I have always put my practice first by scheduling all other jobs and appointments around my studio time.  As an artist, I feel like the largest hurdle is preserving your practice.  I learned early in my career that I needed to look at my studio time as sacred in order to ensure that I create space in everyday to make work. 

After undergrad, I worked for many years as an artist before going back to graduate school for my MFA.  Graduate school was pivotal to my career in many ways.  It pushed my work beyond what I had been making and made me think deeper about my concepts.  I was regularly challenged by my peers and professors, sometimes to the brink of tears, but necessary in my pursuit to move forward with my work.  The conversations around my art through the graduate program were integral to the work I am making now.  I developed the toolset and vocabulary necessary to create a stronger foundation for my own practice as I moved out of the cocoon of graduate school and back into making work alone. 

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your art career what would that look like?

I would have established relationships with integral people in the art world that would facilitate showing my work to the world.  I am constantly trying to connect to people to ensure my work is seen and supported.  I strive to build a community around my artwork so that the conversation around my work does not become stagnant.  I continuously seek the support of my peers, curators, institutions and other interested parties to further develop my work and push myself as a maker. 

If I were exactly where I wanted to be in my current project, Seven Rivers, it would be completely funded for travel and book publication.  I would have guaranteed show dates for the photographs and maps as I would like the project to travel to galleries, Universities and community centers.  I would be working with scientists, writers and other experts on water to create further conversation and material around the project. 

What are your goals for 2015?

My goals for 2015 are to finish the majority of the Seven Rivers. By the end of the year, I would like to be working towards a book and securing avenues of presentations.  I have made a schedule for myself in order to keep myself on track to obtain these goals.    

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FOCAL POINT Q4.14 Interview: Megan Doherty

FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter.  Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them.  In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.

Describe the arc of your photography career so far.  

Photography represents my second chance at life.  Immediately after college, I spent seven and a half years pursuing an MA and PhD in the philosophy of religions from the University of Chicago.  About a year or so after graduating, I began teaching myself digital photography.  I'll be honest:  I had to read the manual cover to cover.  Compared to my father's trusty Minolta XE-7 (which I tinkered with briefly in my early 20s), this thing seemed a veritable rocket ship.

In truth, while photography had always been a dream of mine, I didn't think it was possible.  Telling someone you'd like to be a photographer usually garners the same reaction as telling someone you'd like to grow up to be a rock star.  Or run away and join the circus.  They smile at you and pat you on the head, and after enough of that, you internalize the notion that it's crazy, and you had better do something a touch more practical with your life - which, for some reason, meant "academia" to me.  Don't know what I was thinking.

On that note, when faced with the death of tenure-track positions across the United States, I realized I was getting an opportunity to start from scratch.  It took a few years, but eventually I bucked up the courage to claim this dream for myself, and I've been cobbling something together ever since.  Haphazardly or not.

As someone who was immediately drawn, moth-to-flame style, to long-form, humanistic documentary work, I was absurdly lucky and grateful to apprentice under Jon Lowenstein here in Chicago, who has kindly remained an informal mentor to me ever since - and who I'm honored to consider a friend. 

Baby steps:  I received the 2014 Karen Van Allsburg Memorial Scholarship, which afforded me an opportunity to attend a week-long course at the Maine Media Workshops.  This put me in touch with another great shooter/mentor, David H. Wells.  And, strangely enough, I was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Lange-Taylor Prize, issued by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.  If I did the math right, this means I clocked in at the top 20 percent of applicants - and since I really only picked up my incomprehensible rocket ship of a camera three years prior to that, I was humbled (not to mention, shocked) beyond measure to get even that far.

If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?

I'm not sure how to answer this question, because I don't really consider myself a fine art photographer.  I'm primarily a documentary-style shooter who (like many, if not most of us) does corporate and editorial work to keep the lights on.  And I'm at least...moderately successful reducing blackout periods.  So, "more work" may be the cop-out answer, but it's also the honest one.

What are your goals for 2015?

I have two (wildly different) long-running documentary projects that need to be put to bed.  One, Back of the Yards, (http://www.crusadeforart.org/megan-doherty) which is featured here in FOCAL POINT, has been on-going for two years now.  I'm hoping to get some funding so I can finally finish this puppy.  Fingers crossed!  The other is a project I've been co-directing for the past three years, documenting one of --if not the-- best intellectual and academic bookstore in the world (http://www.semcoop-project.org/).  We're in the process of putting together a book -- a fitting capstone to a project on a bookstore, if there ever was one -- and if we keep to our schedule, that book should come out by the end of summer 2015.  Ish.  At least in theory.  It's being designed by the same fella who produced Carlos Javier Ortiz's beautiful book "We All We Got" (http://www.carlosjavierortiz.com/PROJECTS/We-All-We-Got-/1/thumbs), so I'm just happy as clam about it.

Other than finishing these, I'd like to get more photography clients, for sure, both corporate and editorial.  And while some may think I'm doing things backwards, I'd actually love to nab one of those rare photojournalism internships.  Since I didn't go to school for photography, I know I'd benefit from the razor-like focus on story-story-story.

Lastly, before I became a shooter I was a writer.  I've recently started to combine the two, and wrote a fairly substantial essay about my Back of the Yards project.  Despite turning out to be an incredibly vulnerable piece of writing -- far more so than I thought it would be -- I'd like that effort to see the light of day at some point.


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Behold: Rania Matar

In collaboration with Slate's photo blog, Behold, we are extending the conversation with some of their featured photographers.

Rania Matar began her career as an architect but after taking photography classes to better capture her four children, Matar soon changed professions. Her work is informed by both her dual nationalities (she is both Lebanese and American) and her experiences raising her children, specifically her two daughters. What she is experiencing inside is often reflected by the images she creates of other people. Her current, ongoing, work explores the complex mother and daughter relationships she titles “Unspoken Coversations.”

We asked her about her first break in the photo business and her work with galleries. Read the full Behold feature here.

 

Lauren and Kyra, Concord, Massachusetts, 2015. by  Rania Matar

Lauren and Kyra, Concord, Massachusetts, 2015. by Rania Matar

 

Tell me about your first "break" in the photo business and how that helped to push your career.

I might call it a "break" in the photo world rather than business, and I believe I had multiple "mini-breaks" sequentially, one leading to the other, rather than one big break. I was originally trained and was working as an architect. I started photography to take better photos of my kids. After September 11, I decided to start photographing in Lebanon, where I am from originally, as I wanted to tell a different story from what we were hearing on the news. My photo instructor at the time, Nick Johnson, was very supportive of this early work and took it upon himself to put it in front of a gallery owner who loved the work and connected me with Magnum photographer Costa Manos, who became a mentor and a teacher after that. This was important to me as it finalized and confirmed my shift from architecture to photography.

The second break came when I presented my work for the first time at a portfolio review with Leslie Brown, then curator of the Photographic Resource Center in Boston. She published the work on the PRC blog - my first (online) publication - and urged me to start submitting the work to competitions and presenting it at portfolio reviews. I then submitted some work to the New England Biennial and won the first and purchase prize. The jurors were Karen Haas, Lane Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Arlette Kayafas from Gallery Kayafas in Boston. I believe this was a big turning point for me, and I will always be thankful to both Arlette and Karen for that. I also believe this led me to become a nominee and then a finalist for the Foster Prize at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston with an exhibition.  

The third break happened one year at the Meeting Place at Fotofest, when I presented for the first time A Girl and Her Room. The work was very well received, and I walked out that year with two new gallery representations, a couple of sales and some exhibition offers. 

I believe breaks happen because of people who believe in your work and are willing to support it. I could not have achieved any of what I have achieved if it weren't for all the baby steps and the people who supported me along every one of those steps. I am thankful to them all for that. 

 

Do you currently work with a gallery? If so, talk a bit about how that relationship began and what is expected of you and how that influences your work. 

I work with a few galleries, and this is a tough question as I find every relationship is different, and all started differently. Because I live in Boston, I might say that Carroll and Sons gallery in Boston is the gallery I work closest with on a regular basis, but I have very good relationships with all my galleries. I started working with Joseph Carroll at the recommendation of many people in the Boston community who thought we would be a good match. The Boston photo community is small and things seems to have happened very naturally. I am learning that often finding the right gallery happens because of people's recommendations and introduction, often artists from the gallery. I think it is hard and intimidating for most artists to approach galleries, and having people help make introductions is very helpful, but it is the first step then you slowly have to learn to know each other and figure out if the relationship will work and see if the work is a good fit. It is also always helpful to speak with other artists represented by the gallery and ask about their experiences. 

I started recently working with Galerie Eulenspiegel in Basel, Switzerland and this relationship also started because of an artist of the gallery who recommended my work to the gallery owner, but also highly recommended the gallery to me. I had my first exhibition there this past January.  

But then things can happen a little differently, and I have recently connected with Richard Levy Gallery who will be presenting some of my new work for the first time at Art on Paper in NYC this week. Richard and I connected, strangely enough, through Facebook as I had been posting some work in progress that I had made in Lebanon this past year about the Syrian refugees in Beirut. We then met coincidentally in person during Art Basel at Miami Project where the gallery had a booth and Richard asked to know more about this body of work, and here we are. Sometimes it is just serendipity. 

Having a gallery who understands and champions your work, who can help you edit, present your work the best way it can, and put it out into the world is key. It is also a treat to have someone an artist trusts deal with that, so that he/she can focus on making work. Galleries can also give you a presence in a place where you would not necessarily have one otherwise. Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut is very important to me for instance. I live in Boston now, but Beirut is also home for me and it is means a lot to me to have someone giving me a presence in a place that personally matters very much to me but where I am not present physically most of the time. 

 

Do you categorize your work as "fine art"? Why or why not? Do you think categorizing photography is important?  

I don't personally like the categorizing of photography. I find it sometimes limiting. I do think my work is fine art - I treat it and present it as such - but it is also portraiture; it is about people, about girls and women, about identity and daily life. Sometimes my work has also been referred to as "Documentary" or "Personal Documentary". I stopped trying to put a label on it. I believe it could be all of the above and I want to keep following my own instincts as I am working without having to box myself and my work into one category or another. 


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Collecting Stories Part 6: To Theme or Not to Theme?

This series chronicles my (and I hope soon others') journey to becoming an art collector, with the goal of demystifying the whole concept of collecting. As you will see, I do not have an art history background, and I do not have Picassos covering my walls. There are just pieces of art that I love, and I buy them. That is collecting. See? Not so scary.

Previous installments in this series discussed how I started buying art, some embarrassing early purchases, how I learned about editioning, and building relationships with the artists I collect. In this post, I'd like to talk about themes in art collections. Many collectors I know have themes they collect within as a way to narrow their focus - photographs of musicians, black and white street photography, still lifes. . . anything really. Some may focus on a very specific time range and origin (1890-1920 American paintings, for example). But can you collect without a theme?

Hells yes. My theme has been the "everything I love" theme. And it is diverse, because my tastes range from straight documentary-style portraits to dreamy, etherial images to just about anything that makes me feel something. However, over time I have realized there are some types of images I am drawn to over and over again. My former gallery manager once pointed out my over-the-top affinity for forlorn women and birds. I also love beds and windows and intense portraits, often of rough-around-the-edges men. I don't only collect these things, I just tend to be drawn to them. I do have a bird room though (after my husband said, "can you at least put all of that bird sh*t in one place?").

an recent image of a wall in my bird room (rearranged constantly),   featuring Joshua Meier , Rachel Chabot, Tristan Spinski, Christian Bradley West, Angela Bacon Kidwell (x2), Kathleen Robbins, John Bohannon,   not pictured: Keith Carter, Randi Lynn Beach

an recent image of a wall in my bird room (rearranged constantly), featuring Joshua Meier , Rachel Chabot, Tristan Spinski, Christian Bradley West, Angela Bacon Kidwell (x2), Kathleen Robbins, John Bohannon, not pictured: Keith Carter, Randi Lynn Beach

I love white on white or mostly white images, and I recently realized I had quite a few of these and/or snow photographs. Recognizing a mini-theme, I decided to hang several of them together, similar to my bird room.

clockwise from top left: Ben Huff, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore, Daniel Coburn, Maureen Drennan (waiting on another piece. . .)

clockwise from top left: Ben Huff, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore, Daniel Coburn, Maureen Drennan (waiting on another piece. . .)

And then when I purchased my beloved David Hilliard, Anna Walker Skillman (owner of Jackson Fine Art) suggested I hang other photos with kids in them (seems I had a bunch of those too) on the wall with it.

counter-clockwise from the top left: Brandon Thibodeaux, Mark Steinmetz, Daniel Coburn, Daniel Coburn, Joshua Meier, Mark Steinmetz, David Hilliard

counter-clockwise from the top left: Brandon Thibodeaux, Mark Steinmetz, Daniel Coburn, Daniel Coburn, Joshua Meier, Mark Steinmetz, David Hilliard

So don't get hung up on rules. Just buy what you love!

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Ben Huff & S. Gayle Stevens beauties en route to fifty lucky shareholders!

And the photos keep coming for fifty lucky CSA shareholders! Ben Huff created an 11x14 landscape that looks like magic, and S. Gayle Stevens created 50 unique tintypes for shareholders. 

Jealous? Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know when the next round goes on sale!

Peterson Creek, Juneau, Alaska 2014  by Ben Huff

Peterson Creek, Juneau, Alaska 2014 by Ben Huff

Queen Anne's Lace, 2014  - 3x3 original tintypes by S. Gayle Stevens

Queen Anne's Lace, 2014 - 3x3 original tintypes by S. Gayle Stevens

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CSA Photographer Interview: Amy Friend

In our Crusade Supported Art program, we commission six photographers to make an image in an edition of 50, and we sell 50 shares. Shareholders receive an original, signed and numbered photograph from each of the six commissioned photographers. We have had two CSA cycles so far, and they have been a huge success. Photographer Amy Friend's image (below) was one of the first two sent to shareholders in our second round. We asked her a few questions to let you get to know her a bit better.

I Was There With Her, 2014  by Amy Friend

I Was There With Her, 2014 by Amy Friend

 

Had you heard of an art CSA before? What were your impressions of the idea?

I heard bits and pieces about CSA online and thought it was an interesting way to make artist’s work collectible and accessible. I think by reaching out to people it sparks an interest they already have but are unsure how or where to begin. The process of the CSA takes that into consideration and makes it exciting and affordable and do-able. 

 

What about the program made you interested in being one of the participating artists?

The process was interesting for me in that the collectors would put faith in the work to be or selected made based on the artists involved. I like that sense of anticipation to see what will come forward in the imagery. 

 

How has your experience been so far, and what else do you hope will come as a result of participating?

Excellent experience. The process was super, I loved thinking about what to make for the collection. I also appreciated the zeal in getting the word out to as many people as possible. AND I love that all this work will have a home! 

Some collectors have contacted me personally to discuss the work further or inquire about other pieces. This is exactly what I had hoped would happen. It is so special to have contact with a “real” person that appreciates what you are doing. So often we are hunkered in our studios or elsewhere -  working away with little input. 

 

Please tell us about the piece you created and how it fits within your larger body of work?

The work I made for the CSA is a continuation of my Dare alla Luce series. I have been working on it for a couple of years and it keeps calling me back. There is something about these images I come across that I cannot resist. 

In much of my work I am interested in what a photograph cannot tell us. The title of this piece, "I was there with her”, comments on the photographer, in my mind at least. We do not know much, if anything about her or the photographer. They are in many senses a mystery. Quite often the photographs present unknown people and circumstances to the viewer, but they also present, the photographer, so to speak. I am intrigued by this absent presence, particularly in this image. 

To see more of Amy's work, please visit her website.

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