Archive for November 2010
A strong sense of community is fundamental to me when it comes to arts development. When artists bring their work together, along with a pile of brilliance, competitiveness and critical comparison surface. This is one of the many reasons I was, and will continue doing, compilation albums of some nature. The project I currently have on my brain is an all-locals covers album. The concept is for a handful of bands/artists to draw each other’s name from a hat and record a cover of one song from that group or artist’s catalog. I feel the participants should have creative freedom to shape the piece in anyway they see fit and to have a pile of fun in the process.
written by Gerard Luther Clarkes
I work the world
the world works it
and with mere words
I chip at it
and all the world
chips back at me
yet for respite
I lie down now and now
all that I’ve wrought
on it in me
because it is
just what it seems
but never quite
as if at playing
only I can hide
Gerard Luther Clarkes is an artist, composer, and writer living in a big blue farmhouse in Belfast PEI. His new website www.gerardlutherclarkes.com explores his prolific body of work; from oil paintings to essays and poetry on the human condition, to contemporary classical music.
*** Trailer: The Telling - a film by Millefiore Clarkes
TO HELP SUPPORT THIS FILM PLEASE CLICK HERE NOW!
Written by Becka Viau
It was a rainy yet incredibly warm fall night. I left the house in a bit of a rush, leaving most of my important belongings behind, including my note book and house keys, but I didn’t want to be late. Being on time is important, especially for the annual general meeting of a local artist driven co-op, where making quorum to move important changes and initiatives can be hard to achieve.
Upon arrival I was welcomed to the Island Media Co-op AGM by friendly faces and some nutritious veggie snacks. With just enough members present to reach quorum the meeting was called to order and business was addressed. Discussions around the Co-op’s vision, membership and grant programs were energetic, passionate even. However one topic grabbed my attention and is still holding strong in my mind today. Money. Money for artists to create, money granted to great ideas.
It is a reality that money is difficult for artists no matter where they are working in Canada, and as an artist on PEI I have no difficulty saying it is extremely hard to stay competitive at a national level considering the amount of funding distributed to our local organizations that serve the artistic community. In order to create work at a level that will be recognized nationally and internationally artists need to have access to the means necessary to complete their nationally competitive ideas.
Millefiore is in the post-production stage of her documentary The Telling, an ode to the stories of our time in Prince Edward Island. To achieve the financial support required to complete the Island film she is seeking sponsorship through http://www.Indiegogo.com, an online initiative to connect sponsors to great ideas.
www.indiegogo.com is an international initiative, encouraging support for great ideas from all over the world. On the website you can find great ideas from all types of people proposing projects from film to cause awareness campaigns and inventions.
There should be more government funding for artist organizations on PEI. I will conintue to advocate for this until there is change, however it is still extremely important to become members of local arts organizations, apply for provincial and local funding from these organizations and be active in the community (including attending annual general meetings on rainy fall nights.)
Still, I will be seeking sponsorship through the global indiegogo initiative, because advocacy doesn’t pay my supply bills or me for my working time as an artist.
To donate to the post production of The Telling by Millefiore Clarkes (every dollar counts) and watch the trailer go to: The Telling
Would Island Artists Benefit From More Critical Writing, Including More Criticisms? – a conversation between Christian and Pan
Written by Christian Ledwell
Prince Edward Island has a thriving arts community. Unfortunately, much of the art that is released does not receive a substantial critical response. I feel this is because reviewers are often not comfortable being negative when writing about art made on Prince Edward Island because they do not want to offend the artist.
A recent article in The Walrus mentions that Ernest Hemingway once read a review of his work called “The Dumb Ox” in a bookstore in Paris that made him so angry that he caused several thousands francs’ worth of water damage by punching a vase of tulips (showing himself to be, if not a dumb ox, at least a bull in a China shop). While negative reviews aren’t normally taken so badly, they rarely create good will. In the Island arts community, there is a strong likelihood that the reviewer and the artist know one another, and that no one will read the review as carefully as the artist.
For criticism to be effective, it needs to be an honest reflection of the reviewer’s experience of the artwork; the artist’s reaction shouldn’t be the primary concern. But given Prince Edward Island’s small size, you have to watch what you say. This is true of any conversation held in public. Once while I was having lunch with my sister, she recommended a plumber, and one of the only other two people in the restaurant turned out to be the plumber’s daughter. Conversations on the internet are even more easily overheard, as social media allows anyone to broadcast her opinion and artists Google themselves to listen in on the discussions held about their work.
A trusted outside perspective from a good director, editor, or producer goes a long way to improve an artistic vision. Criticism also gives an outside perspective, but critics don’t have a trust relationship with an artist, they don’t give their criticism in private, and the artist cannot make changes based on their criticisms. One role a reviewer can play is to curate, sifting out what is exceptional. But Prince Edward Island doesn’t need a Paris Review; Islanders hear about most exceptional art by word of mouth. Regardless, after a group of people experiences art together, there is a natural instinct to talk about what they liked and didn’t like. Criticism is a way to formalize that impulse to have a conversation about communally-experienced art. Thoughtful private conversations almost always include criticisms, even for art that is exceptional. I don’t feel that this negativity is regularly and honestly expressed in writing on Prince Edward Island.
The Island arts community is fortunate to have The Buzz, which offers consistently good writing and comprehensive coverage of arts events across the province. The Buzz is a vital part of why our arts community is thriving. The Buzz writes very positively about art, and its inclusionary approach has a lot of benefits; it is especially helpful for new artists who want to promote their work. I don’t think The Buzz needs to or should change. But I wonder if Island artists could benefit from receiving more bad press alongside the good.
A band I play in sent out our first EP out to be reviewed by music blogs. Indie music blogs are sent a high volume of records and so tend to only review music that they have something positive to say about. Of the reviews our EP received, my preference was for the review in which the reviewer was openly negative about what he didn’t like. While I stand by the material he dismisses, the songs he flagged as worthwhile are the ones that the band still plays in our live sets. By being clear about what he doesn’t like, it lends credibility to the praise he does give.
Artists want their work to be taken seriously, but for criticism to go beyond being a pat on the back, it requires an environment in which critics are free to offer negative opinions alongside positive opinions. Artists should be confident enough in their work that they can weather negative responses, and critics need to be confident enough in their opinions that they don’t pander in order to be polite. Criticism about Island art written by Islanders might be an elusive goal, but I think it is still worth aiming for. For instance, this weblog could be a good forum for artists to ask for critical feedback about their work. Until then, eavesdropping in restaurants is still a faithful standby for those looking for an objective opinion.
To Read Pan Wendt’s Response Click …