Advice to recent graduates
by Tori Day and Charlie Day, Managers of Studio One Gallery, London
- Be humble. Be nice. Someone once said ‘be nice to those around you on your way up, as you’ll need them on your way down’
- Get support as soon as you can. Join a club. Join a supportive studio. Start your own studios/art club. Even if its meeting up with fellow ex-students for a pint every 2 months. Keep up to date with what your contemporaries are doing/seeing
- Work with other recent graduates, help each other, learn from each other, share your skills with others. ‘You teach best what you most need to learn’
- Keep your website up to date. Very up to date
- Be on social media. Don’t be a Luddite. Share with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Tori has sold a piece via the internet an hour after finishing it! The moral of the story might be: wait until the painting is dry before you share it on Facebook!
- Networking. Horrible word, but you do need to do it. Don’t hand your business cards out at a funeral (a true story – yes, really!) But do get to know your fellow artists. We would probably rather lock ourselves away in the studio and paint, but we make ourselves go to exhibitions, and talks, etc.
- If you are in a group exhibition, find out a little about your fellow artist’s work, either from them, their website, or the gallery. If you are invigilating the show, you can then explain to interested visitors a little about each of the works, and more about your own work! You will get the inevitable question: ‘Oh, so which is your work?’
- Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t think you now have ‘a style’ that you have to stick to. You have plenty of time to keep experimenting and trying different ways of working, or different media
- Keep up the momentum…but do be prepared for the lulls, which inevitably will come
- Always have a simple business card on you. You are a visual artist, so have an image of your work on one side; name, email address and website on the reverse. (We missed this out of the talk, as we had no business cards on us from Studio One Gallery, as we have just run out!)
Tori’s subject matter could be described as still life, although she prefers to think of her paintings as ‘portraits of things’. She draws attention to the artifice of the set-up of such purposefully posed objects by including the materials she uses to construct the backdrop, rejecting the idea of a painterly window and seeking to embrace the humility not just of the objects but of the practice of painting itself. www.toridayart.co.uk
Currently Charlie is making small works based upon the feel of the coastal landscape: of the south coast, where he lives, and of the north Norfolk coast, which he visits often and where he walks extensively. These are not landscape paintings, as such. Neither are they entirely abstract, but a combination of the two, and they are inspired by the St Ives painters of the mid-twentieth century. www.charliedayart.co.uk
Studio One Gallery
Possibly the smallest gallery in London at just 10 feet by 7, Studio One has no right angles, anaglypta wallpaper and the original Georgian floorboards. We exhibit work from our own studio members, as well as local artist groups and selected early career artists. www.studio1gallery.co.uk
This advice was given as part of FBA Futures 2017, we had a lovely evening of networking and advice at Bermondsey Arts Club, an off-shoot of Artistic Spaces who’ve been offering a prize at FBA Futures since 2014.
Sophie Hill of Bow Arts/Nunnery Gallery (formerly a member of Mall Galleries’ staff and worked on FBA Futures 2014 and 2015) gave us an idea of the many and varied opportunities for professional development offered by the Bow Arts Trust in their Bow Skills programme.
Joshua Waterhouse, an FBA Futures exhibitor from 2015, spoke honesty and eloquently about the trials and joys of being a professional artist in London.