Monday, January 04, 2010

MaM Poll (Dec. 2009) Results: Which art gift would you like for Christmas?

Which art gift would you like for Christmas?
copyright Katherine Tyrrell / Making A Mark

The Making A Mark Survey for December was about what sort of art gift you'd like for Christmas. I wonder how many of you got what you wanted?

154 people responded to the MAM Poll (Dec. 2009) - Which art gift would you like for Christmas? and four responses jostled for the lead position for a long time in December. I think this is the first survey I'd done where I genuinely wasn't sure what was going to be the final result. You can see the results in the chart above - right click and open in a new tab to see the chart more clearly.

Commentary on different gifts

In the end the best gift an artist could get for Christmas turned out to be an extra dollop of talent! After all we all "know" that talent is what gives you the x factor and gets you noticed! (as Susan Boyle well knows!).

However, it's maybe worth reflecting on a post on this blog almost exactly a year ago about Outstanding performance - a talent or 10,000 hours of practice? and working out much talent is natural and how much comes from lots of practice and hard work.

Interestingly, once the 'wishful thinking' was out of the way, you demonstrated you were pretty astute about what you'd like for a gift for Christmas.

Two practical and effective ways of 'making it' were the next most popular gifts. Both 'your very own concept - unique, satisfying & marketable' and 'more time in the studio to make art' each got 16% of the vote.

You very own concept: On the concept front the notion was this should NOT be about being a 'me too' artist. It was very much about becoming somebody who created art which was distinctive, marketable and satisfying for you to produce. However that is something people can work towards on their own account. A good place to start is with the last factor by working out what you really like to produce (Hint - I like landscapes!) before going on to work out how your chosen subject or way of working can be made distinctive. Only then should the 'how to make it marketable' question come into play

More time to make art: Developing that concept probably comes out of a lot of experiments which in turn can take a lot of time. It's probably not going to come through doing more of the same. Having more time in the studio was very high on a lot of people's agendas. However I have a notion that finding time to make art is probably less to do with not having enough time and more to do with a failure to organise your time to create chunks of time which are big enough to work with. One of my favourite authors used to get up two hours earlier than she used to in order to get her first book written - she created and dedicated time. My production problem this last year was partly caused by another non-art project which dictated non-negotiable deadlines to me and kept producing new things for me to deal with in a disjointed way. It left me feeling like I couldn't settle to my art. However I could have been better at organising my time. I have now resolved to let the answerphone deal with phone calls again rather than picking up the phone every time it rings!

Sponsorship to travel and paint overseas: This one came as a complete surprise to me that it rated so highly. Travelling overseas to create art has always been very high on my agenda but I wasn't aware that it was something that a lot of other people wanted to do. I guess for a lot of people the key word was 'sponsorship' as travelling abroad can very often be prohibitively expensive. Not helped by the vagaries caused by exchange rate fluctuations. I can however tell you that Americans can get a great deal over in Europe at the moment!

However it did make me wonder whether this was an extension of the 'more time in the studio' factor. This option provides more time to make art in a concentrated fashion in a dedicated and concentrated way. For those who have not tried it before I highly recommend workshop art holidays. I used to have a highly pressurised job which made great demands on my time and I know that the only way I achieved some sort of development in my art each year was my dedicated fortnight abroad with a tutor!

Tieing for 5th place - each with 10% of the vote - were these two gifts:
  • your choice of a workshop with the best artist/tutor
  • an invite to be a gallery artist with a great gallery
A workshop with the best tutor: I was surprised this came as low as it did as one of my earlier polls last year MAM Poll results: Improving your art education. indicated that one of the best ways of improving your art was to take a short workshop from a really good professional artist/tutor.

Practical aspects came low on you agenda - few wanted a studio assistant (5%), only a few wanted their art business accounts to have a healthy bottom line (5%) or help with their marketing (2%) and none of you wanted expert help in getting your framing done!

Prestige and status were low on your agenda - few wanted an invite to teach art in a prestigious location (2%) or only a small number wanted more recognition - for example through winning an art competition (4%).

In conclusion, the overall emphasis of the results is that your desires mainly revolve around self-improvement. I found this very pleasing as it's an emphasis that I can identify with in a big way. It's an underlying theme of this blog - which is maybe why its readers also have it as a theme.

Tomorrow I'll post the poll for January - and write some more about the Landscape Project.


The Art of the Landscape

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