As 2010 draws to a close, we reflect on the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead. This past year at Woman Made saw seven incredible show cycles and poetry readings. Programming ranged in scope from aesthetic themes like printmaking and bird images to more political exhibitions focusing on fallen soldiers, interpretations of Mexican female heroes, and investigations of gender identity. We were also fortunate to have an eclectic rotation of beautiful handmade arts and crafts in our Artisan Gallery. In 2011 we are looking forward to new themes and ideas, including cartoons and comics, collaborative and community-based art-making, and furthering support for transgender artists.
We are so grateful for your generosity and support, and wish you a wonderful year, full of health, happiness, and creativity. Without our vast community of incredible artists, members, jurors, curators, interns, volunteers, creative partners, and financial donors, Woman Made would not exist. From long-time artists and board members to new acquaintances visiting the Gallery for the first time, WMG is truly a group effort.
With our gratitude to you for your part in WMG’s success, this year’s message also includes responses by various artists to the following question: “What is your biggest creative struggle and what strategies do you employ to deal with it?”
Thank you to the artists who contributed their thoughts:
“Whenever I think there is something (domestic, usually) that I just HAVE to do before I can go to my studio and make some art, I remind myself that the computer and the dishes will always be there, as will the laundry, and food shopping will ever loom in front of me, but the creative urge will not wait for me to grant it time, and I will lose it if I put it off.” –Mary Ellen Croteau
“The English proverb, ‘A man can work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done’ expresses the fact that, in spite of the tremendous relative privilege that educated women in industrialized nations–the daughters of the feminist struggle–enjoy, public policy and personal relationships continue to leave women with the lioness’ share of the domestic work. This is in addition to a woman’s often equal or greater economic contribution to the household from outside labor. So the greatest challenge to my creative work is the shortage of time that is directly related to the multitasking necessary to manage the concerns of the domestic, the quotidian, the bodily: Food, clothing, housing medicine for my child and me–the perpetuation of the dualism of mind and body, leaving the culturally masculine work of the intellect to the margins, and to my work outside the home.
I cope by theorizing about this condition, and making some of it the subject matter of my creative and intellectual work! Topics like feminist analyses of representations and the visual forms of consumerism can be studied while grocery shopping, for example. I also cope by engaging with my creative practice as a form of play, whereby the bulk of the imagining, envisioning, and strategic planning for my studio work can fit into the interstices of the day, or occupy my thoughts during housework or exercise.”
“At this point in time, overcoming the effects of aging is my biggest creative struggle. My solution is to ask for help when I need it. Although I’m still making large heavy pieces – images transferred to roofing copper nailed to plywood or uv cured flatbed prints on polycarbonate – I get help with the preparing, framing, packing and shipping. And, I’m consciously shifting my focus to smaller mixed media pieces, artist books and book-like objects that bridge between the two. When I have difficulty threading a needle or opening a stuck jar it’s helpful to have someone nearby with sharp eyes and strong hands. As long as the creative juices keep flowing, my mind stays sharp and I can continue to make art that speaks to others, I’ll be grateful for every hour in my studio and find ways to compensate for the relatively minor inconveniences of living a long life.” –Dorothy Simpson Krause
“I am fortunate that inspiration and ideas emerge in a steady stream, so my struggle is not in the creative flow but in the activity which parallels the studio work. Being an exhibiting artist requires computer time to maintain correspondence, archives and inventory; phone and gallery time to respond to and work with the dealers who show my work; and physical time to maintain friendships, network and attend openings-plus getting out to see art, of course. My struggle is trying to fit it all in.
I’m efficient with and protective of my time. That means creating to-do lists and schedules, as well as not feeling guilty when I have to say No to a person or project.
I’ve also learned over time that not every exhibition opportunity is worth pursuing. (Artists, get your art out of the coffee shops! You’re not going to sell anything, and it’s going to smell of coffee when you get it back.)
I maintain a studio space that allows me to get right to work when I enter. It has to welcome the muse, and she likes an unencumbered painting area and good Latin music.
Finally-and it took a while-I have embraced the idea that the business of being an artist is as essential as actually making the art. This is probably the biggest issue midcareer artists have to come to terms with, because it goes against the grain of what we were taught in art school. Who came up with the idea that “it” will “happen” for you? You have to work at it!” –Joanne Mattera
“My determination is to be productive, open minded and free to create in the face of insidious racism and sexism in the art world.”
“Balancing time. Dividing time up between spiritual and physical needs, art making, family and community, has always been a major challenge for me. The two areas constantly overlap and some days my need or purpose is greater in one area or the other. I have to keep reminding myself that there is no set way of doing things and that as long as one is true to one’s self the balance will come.” –Indira Freitas Johnson
Please leave a comment and let us know what you are doing to keep on creating your work.
— WMG Staff