MAKING CHANGE artists for change

MAKING CHANGE artists for change


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Interview with Dave Miller

Dave Miller, "Inequality Gives Us Something to Aspire To"

Q: The MAKING CHANGE Etsy team is for artists committed to activism. Please tell us what issues are important to you.

My work tends to be critical and political, and a lot of it is social commentary I suppose. I also seem to have a campaigning and troublemaking aspect to my work. I always try to make work that is informed and researched, and I aim to give a balanced approach. I've become very angry and fixated recently on the whole financial scandal that we're currently immersed in, and the injustice that we've all been handed by our governments and their masters, the banks. My work always has its core stories and drawings, though I like to work in a range of media, from Net Art to booklets and comics/cartoons.

Dave Miller, "Paying for the Privilege"

Q: How is the idea of activism apparent in your art?

I think with the subjects I deal with, and way I approach them. I want to reach a lot of people, and inform them about things, to make people think and question. Mass market appeals to me, and I'm not comfortable with galleries, which I find generally elitist and not enough people see the work that way. I've started the Etsy shop recently, which I'm still not really sure is an appropriate place for my work - my low sales figures seem to back this up - but at least I think I can show my work to a lot of people that way. I think I need to be handing out leaflets really - pamphleting maybe - as this seems to be a more suitable way of spreading political messages, and more hands on. I'm just a bit scared of doing this!

Q: Do you think political and environmental issues can be effectively addressed in art?

Yes, as long as the work isn't political for the sake of it, and also if it's informed and balanced. I think integrity is important.

Q: Which artists do you admire who have an activist agenda?

I'm a big fan of Net Art, and am active in online communities such as Netbehaviour and Rhizome. There are many artists in this area I admire, such as Marc Garrett, Heath Bunting, Jason Nelson, and many more. Outside of Net Art there are also so many artists I like, but tend to forget their names quickly I must admit. I like Jeremy Deller, some bits of Emily Prince and Grayson Perry. I recently discovered Jess Douglas, who does lovely urban drawings. I always liked Jenny Holzer. I think the attitude is more important than the posturing, if you see what I mean. I like some of Banksy's work, but I think a lot of the street art thing is a bit phony, especially when it's bought by rich people and sells for lots of money. I'm in general very fond of digital art, so the old work of Harold Cohen I find very inspiring.

Q: Tell us something about your process of creating.

Mostly I write down ideas and brainstorms in my note books, and write lists of things to do, most of which never get done. But sometimes old ideas mix with new ones. I try to make something every day, and often planning goes out of the window, as usually I'm roused by a rush of passion or anger, with an urgent need to make something. Then I make it fast, usually drawing directly on the computer, and usually based on drawings or found photos.

Q: What is the name of your etsy shop?

At right: Dave Miller, "Trickle Down Hope"

Monday, April 19, 2010

MAKING CHANGE TREASURY Treasury for the MAKING CHANGE ETSY TEAM: All of these artists will be interviewed on this blog..Follow us!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Interview with Penny Richards

painted backpack[visual description: a backpack painted bright orange, black, and white, with images of a performer from a 1913 suffrage pageant, and "Votes for Women" in a small half-moon at center]

Q: Please tell us what issues are important to you.
disability rights, feminism, public education, community arts, the environment

Q: How is the idea of activism apparent in your art? Do you think political and environmental issues can be effectively addressed in art?

Well I try! The goal of my purses, which mostly have themes from women's history, is to spur conversations. A purse is something personal, but it's also something public and visible. I know, from carrying my own bags, that they invite questions and comments, and they open opportunities to explain and talk about women's activism. Because the purses are also "upcycled," each one is from a thriftshop and would likely have landed in the landfill. Each one serves as a reminder that other things can be remade--we don't need so much new boring mass-produced stuff when we can turn something old into something unique and wonderful.

Which artists do you admire who have an activist agenda?

Wow, okay, this is going to be an interesting group! Alex Chiu, a young artist here in Southern California, has a real passion for building community and collaboration. The Australian fiber artist Prudence Mapstone works with such joy and the kind of eclectic gathering of materials I like to see in any medium. And I'm going to draw from history to add Hannah Frank (1908-2008), a Scottish artist who made striking art-nouveau prints mainly featured in local community newsletters, programs, and other small publications--but before she died at 100, she got to see them appreciated and recognized more widely. painted purseAlso want to add Helen Carter to my favorite makers/artists--she makes these amazing recycled-fabric garments, for a wide range of bodies, and she's a wiz at using Flickr and Etsy to share her work.

[visual description: a purse painted turquoise, featuring the image of suffragist Susan Walker Fitzgerald and a 1908 quote by her, " long as the men alone are the source of power of the government, it is not a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. It is not a democracy."]

Q: Tell us something about your process of creating.

There's no mystery here: I posted a tutorial in case anyone wants to try for themselves. I thriftshop enough to have a stock of purses to play with. Usually I paint them first--without really knowing what their eventual subject will be. Then I search my favorites from the Flickr Commons project for some cool no-known-copyright images that have the right size, shape, and story for the bag--each bag is different, so this is always a new hunt. Some images work best in duplicate, or very cropped, or otherwise working with the features of the bag. I usually also add a cartouche explaining who the subject is. After the image is fixed to the bag, I start playing with inks and sharpies and more paint, adding details. There are a lot of layers of modpodge all along, and I usually have a few bags in progress at any given time.

[visual description: a bag painted yellow and orange, with a 1921 image of French chemist Irene Joliot-Curie at center, in academic regalia]

painted purse
Q: What is the name of your etsy shop?

Pennamite. It's an 18th century word for a person from Pennsylvania (where I grew up), and a play on my name. And except for references to the Pennamite-Yankee Wars, it's pretty googleable. ;)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MAKING CHANGE artists for change

I was recently granted a 3 month residency at 18th. Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA. for Oct/Nov/Dec 2010.

I will open a shop called MAKING CHANGE in their project room and will feature the art of Los Angeles area artists who work with a political/environmental/social focus. The scope of the project will actually be international as I recently started an ETSY team called MAKING CHANGE which includes artists and craftspeople who work with an activist agenda. I intend to use this blog as an interview site for the artists of the MAKING CHANGE ETSY team which I hope will expand as my residency approaches. I will promote the  MAKING CHANGE  ETSY team members throughout my residency:
Name: Making Change

Profile: Goal of Making Change is to promote a progressive activist agenda:
shops with an obviously political, social or environmental message.
Yahoo Group
How to Join: send a convo to elenamary
Members: A4DS, Andyeatsonlycandy, ArtForChange, arttoweardiva, confluencebooks, crazyartdolls, doulahara, earthplusart, EdFrascino, Elenamary, KMStitchery, localcolorist, neitherland, Pennamite, SnakeBathDance, susanhall, visualstories

Here  is an explanation of my project and with the next blog post I will begin the interviews:

Status Report Creative Economy