Friday, September 29, 2006

What is an emerging artist?

In response to my comment on Tracy’s blog, Karen wondered about the term "emerging artist."

It’s an ambiguous term that generally means an artist who’s just beginning his or her career.

When I see descriptions of galleries, they usually indicate the types of artists they represent (landscape, abstract, Russian, African-American, etc.) and also what career stage (emerging, mid-career, or established). At this point, I would never submit my work to a gallery that only represented mid-career and/or established artists.

So here’s what “emerging artist” means to me:
No longer a student.
Had a few solo shows and/or asked to be in some invitational shows.
Serious about his or her art - may not be a full-time artist but considers him or herself an artist and actively creates and markets the work.
Hasn’t had a museum show.
Isn’t necessarily in a lot of public or private collections.

But I have no idea how long you have to work as an “emerging artist” in order to go on to the next stage. Maybe after you’ve been working for 20 years you can consider yourself mid-career? Or after you have your first museum show? Or when Art Forum writes an article about you?

Do you consider yourself “emerging?” Why? If not, why not?

6 comments:

Casey Klahn said...

Great post! I "feel" myself at the beginning of my mid-career phase, and so I might be able to shed some light here.
I have had my business licence a little over 10 years, and have been full time about 4-5 years.
No museum show, which I think is probably a good indicator of one's "emergant" status. However, I am only now becoming interested in non-commercial tracks, such as critical attention or museum shows. Now the work begins on how to cultivate all of that.
So, why do I feel like I am entering my mid phase? Galleries are becoming a central focus of my career. I am seeking more representation, and have been invited into galleries (without seeking).
I am establishing, possibly, a publishing contract with a national/international publisher. Membership in a national art society has been established. My originals are being purchased outside of my "region", or nationally.
In sum, I guess the career has it's own "legs", irrespective of and in addition to hard personal marketing efforts.

Deanna said...

Casey,
Thanks for your perspective on the question. Do you have any idea of how to cultivate critical attention or museum shows? Also, in your "emerging" phase, how many galleries were you represented by?

Tracy Helgeson said...

Good post, Deanna.

I think I have skipped around a bit but am probably still in the emerging category, based on your definitions. I pretty much only have gallery representation, one review and no work in public collections or significant private collections. Not even close to a museum show. How does one get one of those anyway? Also I have only been painting seriously and full time for about 3 years.

Ultimately I guess I am not terribly concerned about my status. I just paint, do a bit of marketing so I can afford to keep painting and have faith that the things will happen as they should.

Deanna said...

As far as museum shows go, I assume that you are invited by a curator. So you must have to be on their "radar" by already being in prominent galleries and collections and getting reviewed by prominent critics. It's probably something that just happens after you've done years and years of initial marketing.

I would think that it would also be really helpful to have good gallery people - they'll be working to get your work into collections and getting it reviewed because it helps raise awareness of your work, along with your prices, which helps them, too, of course...

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for reading my comment. I think my resume lists about 5 galleries. I only ever have 2 at a time, but wish for more.
I am becoming aware that museum shows are sought out in roughly the same way as galleries. You could get invited, cold. But the reality is more that you find out their submission preferences, and send a packet.
The first element, if one becomes interested in museum shows, I think, is to de-mystify the whole thing and gather knowledge. I recently was in a museum sponsored art fair, and saw a group show hung there, where one artist was working along the same ideas as myself. I felt that I was certainly looking at peer work, not any better than my own (humble) work.
Criticism? That seems still very "numinous" to me. A solo show in an important gallery. A museum show. Anything that is part of an art critic's usual "beat".
Don't go by me, though, as I am also green at these things. Anyone out there with more knowledge?

Anonymous said...

“Emerging Arts Diversity” or in the old parlance it might have been called emerging multicultural arts is in my opinion an “innovative and inventive process that builds on the basic artistic skills and competency that one inherits from one cultural generation to another. Whilst the emphasis is usually on the young as they are emerging the inspiration usually comes from those older and more competent arts who diverging at some level of creativity into a new and innovative direction –it is in my opinion the young emerging artists who strives to reintegrate this emerging expression at new more brash and confonting level – this can be very much seen in young indigenous artists in Australia.
Rossven