Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Questions to Use in Your Artist Interviews

The questions are below. For next class, please bring a printed out page, which you'll hand in to me, with your full list of questions. Also include the names of the three artists you are contacting. Please add your own questions, or make alterations to the questions below (some of these questions might not be appropriate for your particular artists). You should try to contact your artists ASAP, since it can take time to work out schedules. Again, you may conduct your interviews via email, but I would prefer either a face-to-face or a voice-to-voice conversation. Ideally, you will record the interview (you can probably use your laptop or your phone as a recording device). Please refer to the below blog post for more information about the interview, some text you may use for your initial contact email, etc.


How much of your annual income comes from your art, and how much comes from other sources?

What percentage of your time do you actually spend working in your studio? And what do you spend the rest of your life doing to support that time?

Do you belong to any professional associations? If so, why? What are the advantages that membership provides you?

Do you belong to a wider artist's community, beyond any professional associations? What is that community, and why do you participate in it?

Who is your audience? Who buys your work? Does your audience consist of one consistent demographic, or different demographics? How have you expanded your audience over time? How do you market your work?

What sort of education and/or training have you pursued in your career as an artist? Was it worth it? What were the most valuable things you've taken away from your education or training?

Does your art practice have an impact on the way you do your taxes? If so, how?

What sorts of legal issues, if any, have you had to deal with in making or selling your art?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Resources for Monday, 1/27

ONE BIG NOTE: The date for JAPR this semester is Friday, April 4th. You will be expected to have your work installed before 5pm Thursday, April 3rd.

We'll be talking to two artists on Wednesday's class – with a particular focus on their grad school experience. The artists are:

April Bachtel:

and Victoria Buck (who is an SNC alum):

Check out their websites, and have a question or two in mind for them about their grad school experience.

We are definitely listening to the Maurice Sendak interview today - here are some links:

We may also listen to this interview with Maurice Sendak:

Transcript here:


1. Two or three images of your work (in digital form -- either pictures or scans) that you will post to your blog. These can be sketchy or preparatory images of work-in-progress -- it doesn't have to be finished work.

2. Contact info for your three potential artist interviewees, and at least five questions you intend to ask your artist (you might use the same five questions regardless of who you end up interviewing, but you also might have some questions that are specifically tailored to each potential artist. You will only need to conduct one interview for the purposes of this class, but as I said before, please have two fallback options).

The interview itself (not the transcript of the interview, but a recording of the interview itself) will be due in 2 weeks, at the beginning of class on Monday, Feb 10.


Your interview subject should be someone who is doing something you'd like to be doing, after you're out of school -- or perhaps simply someone whose work interests you on some level. You will be interviewing them about how they do their work -- not in terms of art technique (although if that interests you, that could be part of the interview), but how they've arranged their life so they can do work that is meaningful to them. Maybe they're not making their own artwork full time, but they've made space in their lives to feel their artistic impulses somehow.

How have they, logistically, made it work for them to do the sort of work that they're doing? How has their career progressed and developed?

Come to class with at least five potential questions to ask them. If you want to make an initial contact with them before now and then, that would probably be smart, but don't schedule the interview itself until after we've had a chance to develop interview questions further, in Wednesday's class. I'd recommend saying you'd like an interview of about 20 or 30 minutes. You can frame it like this:

"I am taking a class called Professional Practices, and part of the aim of the class is to think about how, practically, we will pursue art-making after we graduate from school. One of the projects is to interview an artist about their career -- how it has progressed, and how they have managed to balance their work and their life. The Professor has asked us to gather information about the practical, logistical and business side of art practice. I know that some artists are reluctant to get into the details of that aspect of their work, but if you would be available for a 20 to 30 minute interview on that topic, I'd be very grateful." Obviously you can make it more specific to your target interviewee.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Welcome – Spring 2014 Professional Practices Class

By Monday's class, you will need to have set up a blog (which you will be contributing to over the course of the semester, tracking your progress as you work toward JAPR of your BFA show). You need to have at least one post on your blog, answering the following three questions:

1. Why do you make art?

2. What is the function or role of an artist in today's culture? (This is your personal take on this, it doesn't have to be an "objective" or comprehensive analysis)

3. Who are three working artists you can think of, who you might contact to interview about their professional lives? You will only be contacting one, but I want you to have a couple fallback options if your first couple choices end up being unavailable.

Here is a video we'll watch today:

We may also listen to this interview with Maurice Sendak:

Transcript here:

If you'd like a copy of the syllabus, you can find it here:

FNAR 380:

FNAR 482:

And if you'd like a digital copy of today's handout, "Ways of Being a Working Artist," you can download it here: