One of the things I love about being an artist is that we transform bits and pieces of nothing into something beautiful and meaningful. It’s the ultimate recycling project.
Thanks to your help, I can now lean into my work in a new and more confident way. I want to tell you more about my process so that you have a view into my mind and thinking.
There are so many invisible parts to having an art career. Unless you are an artist yourself, you may not even be aware of all of these moving parts. Let me tell you about some of them that you will be funding.
I am blessed to have a terrific team of women working with me most days. Sandra is my full-time assistant. She’s my left hand gal and handles so many details it makes my head spin. Just to give you an idea, she develops graphics for our silk screens and orders the screens from Guadalajara. She keeps the production studio stocked with silk screen supplies, mixes the colors for the other helpers and quality controls their work. Sandra works on grants and exhibition proposals, especially ones in Spanish! Sandra’s Photoshop skills have been invaluable in developing my line of merchandise. That’s just a snapshot.
Alicia and her daughter-in-law Samantha are local women work in the production studio 5 mornings a week. They do silk screening, cutting and gluing feathers to pieces and keep the studio clean and organized. They live in a large extended family who are all grateful that these hard-working women have steady jobs.
Leni is the newest member of our team. She works remotely from Vera Cruz where she lives with her family who were deported from the US. She is a Millennial who knows social media like the back of her hand.
Tyler handles our websites and social media. When I decided not to work with Patreon or the other existing platforms due to ethical concerns, she stepped forward and said that we could create a Patron campaign on my own website. That you are reading this is a testimony to her hard and clever work.
We also work with two local sewers, Eunice and Esperanza, who sew our pages of printing. Although I do some of the sewing, I can’t keep up with all of it. And by now you know how much I like to support women in the community.
We also work with some great guys on specific projects. Dana is a local sculptor, landscape designer and hairdresser (give him all the credit for my hairstyle!). He builds the forms for my sculptures that are eventually covered with feathers.
Francisco is the manager of a huge foundry north of Guadalajara. His team built and shipped the crates to Australia and Oaxaca for the Biennales.
When we get closer to the museum shows in Guadalajara and San Diego, we will need to build crates for all of the work. Some of your contributions are going into a savings account to accumulate for this extremely expensive undertaking.
I have just introduced you to 7 dedicated people who work hard to produce and exhibit my work. Needless to say, I couldn’t do it without them. And I couldn’t sustain these jobs without your support.
In order to make work of this scale I need a lot of supplies. Chief among them are the silk screen supplies. We are constantly producing pages of recycled plastic bags that are printed with images of endangered birds and endangered languages. Producing these pages requires inks, solvents, silk screens, adhesives, backings, pins (thousands of pins!) staples, foamcore and miscellaneous supplies. When I’m building sculptures, I also need Styrofoam, bubble wrap, iron, paper and glue. For my floor installations, I order hundreds of hand-painted ceramic plates from a local family-owned factory in Tlaquepaque. Periodically, I need to build or purchase additional studio furniture like my standing work table on wheels.
Behind the Scenes
Then there are all the invisible things that an artist needs. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will give you an idea of what goes on behind the scenes. Let’s start with the website. The site needs to be hosted and projects often require additional plugins so that we can create better images and functionality. This Patron campaign required its own special plugin so that you could easily Join the Flock!
Although I do not attend all my exhibition openings, some of them are important and require flying to various cities around the US and Mexico. Last month Sandra and I flew to Oaxaca to deliver a piece to the Contemporary Art Museum and met various curators and artists. I am a member of several professional organizations like the Surface Design Association and attend conferences at least once a year where I exhibit work, see other exhibitions, meet curators and spend time with colleagues.
Artists require promotional materials. I produce business cards and catalogs. Last year I was fortunate to have my work featured on the cover of a magazine. Since I know that these editions sell out, I purchased 20 magazines so that I could use them for proposals to museums and galleries.
I’m sure I have forgotten to mention other studio expenses like bookkeeping and accounting, but this will give you an idea about where the money flows. None of it goes into my pocket unless I sell a piece of artwork. When that happens I need to pay the venue 30 – 50% of the price as per the contract.
With your help, I will be making more and larger work that will command more attention and hopefully open more doors to sales and commissions. Despite Covid and so much turbulence in the world, I remain hopeful that art matters. As a Patron, you understand the power of art to heal, inspire, calm and inform. Thank you for helping me press forward.
One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up”!