Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mentorship Project, part II

Here is the second half of my notes on Heather and my sessions in the studio as part of the Guelph Young Artist Mentorship Project through the Guelph Arts Council, the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph and Ontario 150. The young artists will be having a show the end of August at the Boarding House Gallery- I will post some notes on that as well.
Mentorship Project- (Part II)

June 28th 

We were not sure if we were going to meet this day or not as Heather would only be able to come if she passed her drivers test the day before. She was successful with her test but did get a bit misdirected when she found herself heading for the highway by habit and had to turn around and get on the country roads. She arrives completely unfazed and dives into printing, completing the next three colours of the print, with an  edition of 12. (I am in awe here as I remember my first drive alone with my new license, it wasn't far and I was frazzled.)
All the while, we are chatting about the many aspects of showing, selling, promoting print work and the application process for shows, residencies and grants. I pass on some valuable knowledge that I received years ago when I found myself discouraged to get my first refusal letter after spending much time on the preparation of an application. I was told that once you prepare a good application, duplicate it and send it out everywhere. If you send out 10 proposals or applications, you might hear back from 3 and might have 1 successful. If you stick to this practice, you won’t find yourself so attached to one call for entry and then completely shattered when it is not accepted. Another good thing to remember when applying for shows (grants, etc.) is that the jury are one group of people who have come together to find agreement in choosing. What one group chooses on one occasion is not the same as a slightly different group on another occasion. So it may not be that your proposal itself is unsuccessful but simply the time and place and within the context of the other applicants, etc. Try, try again. Of course it is important to have let someone whose opinion you appreciate look over your applications first!
Heather is interested in something I show her and call a ‘brag book’. This is a portfolio with clear sleeves that is handy for keeping a copy of your bio, statement, CV, installation photos, awards, show posters, invites, etc. Not only is this a good way to protect these papers and keep everything together but is an easy way for someone to find out quite a bit about you at a glance.

July 9th Sunday 

This is our last formal meeting as part of the mentorship program. Heather arrives and gets to work cutting her printed gampi pieces to prepare for chine collé. Her 4 colour registration went very well, especially because the plate and the paper were semi-transparent. I get the feeling that Heather is a meticulous and precise printmaker who has had to let go of her strict habits for this print, not so much with the new technique but definitely in working with the gampi. This last part of the project proves more difficult but she moves through with a willingness to screw up a few pieces for the sake of learning. In the end, the work is lovely and Heather and I both feel it was a worthwhile accomplishment for her. Of course the teacher always learns a bit on the journey with a new student and I am grateful for the experience to work with such a talented and positive individual.
Today we discuss the mentorship group and their attempts to work together at a distance in preparing their exhibition at the Boarding House Gallery. Luckily the date has been changed to August, which will give them some much needed time to prepare.  We chat about travel and far away residencies and wonderful ways to learn and adventure within the printmaking community. Heather shows me the brag book that she has put together and I am very impressed with how much she has accomplished so far in her short career. I make a few suggestions to make it more visual and suggest the addition of a CV at the front. She announces some very exciting news that she received recently (She is the recipient of Open Studio's Don Phillips Scholarship!!) and we chat about what a great opportunity she has been granted. The next year looks very promising for Heather and her printmaking practice. I feel fortunate to have been able to spend this time with her in my studio and I look forward to following her print adventures at Paper, Sweat, Ink.

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