Sunday, 18 November 2012

Art: Axis @ 21: John Plowman

As part of our 21st anniversary celebrations, we asked a selection of artists to reflect on the artistic landscape since Axisweb was founded.

On the art world:

The landscape has changed, especially in terms of the terminology that’s used. A lot of people today describe themselves with more labels: artist, writer, curator. There was a time when there was a clear distinction between the terms critic, exhibition organiser, artist and the institution, and now all those roles have become areas that art practice encompasses.

There are a lot of new graduates and emerging artists who are older. There doesn’t seem to be a lot on offer for that type of artist. There are people who are very good artists, who have returned to education that find it really difficult to get their foot in the door.

Memories of Axisweb:

I think the aim of Axis in the early days was to create a national database of artists and art works, which could be accessed by what was then called ‘exhibition organisers’ - at that time there wasn’t the term ‘curator’ as we understand it now. This was in the days before the internet: you could access a terminal in certain parts of the country, and get the information there. It seems so antiquated now.

Advice for emerging artists:
You need to take risks and you need to keep the faith. Taking risks is really important, and don’t be afraid to ask people, or speak to people. – parents call it pester power.

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