Sharon Louden in conversation with artist-contributor Steve Lambert from The Artist as Culture Producer at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, KY. Book signing to follow. Organized by Alice Gray Stites and Amethyst Rey Beaver.
I’m doing three free or low cost workshops in the next few weeks.
#1 How to get press
On May 5 Marisa Mazria Katz (Creative Time Reports) and I will be doing the next free Center for Artistic Activism webinar.
Why should you do it?
We’ve all been there: you’ve done a brilliant, funny, creative action but no one except some passersby and a handful of your Facebook friends have any idea it happened. Or maybe worse yet, you get some press coverage but the journalist completely missed the point. Well, we’re here to help. We’re bringing in the press expert Marisa Mazria Katz who will help us all understand how and when to connect with the press, how to communicate yourself and your campaign, how to write a great pitch or op-ed, and, very importantly, what NOT to do. Join us!
#2 & #3 Putting Your Skills to Work for Social Change
C4AA Board Chair, Patricia Jerido, Stephen Duncombe and I will be running a two part workshop for national arts organization, Creative Capital. You’re welcome to sign up for the first part or both.
Part A: FREE Webinar: Putting Your Skills to Work for Social Change, with Steve Lambert & Patricia Jerido
Wednesday, April 26, 7:00-8:30pm EST
“This free webinar gives practical guidelines on how to be an effective and resilient creative agent for social change. The webinar leaders, who have over 25 years of combined experience training people to plan and implement actions, will show how artists can best lend their expertise and perspectives to campaigns and movements that create real change in the world.”
Part B: Artistic Activism: Making Art Work
Thursday, May 4, 6:30-9:15 pm
Creative Capital Offices in Lower Manhattan
“Discover how you can use your creative practice to organize communities, and make more engaging and impactful artworks. Through a series of local and international grass-roots case studies, you will learn the basics of cultural, cognitive, and behavioral theory that will help you move audiences from exposure to action. With hands-on exercises designed to give the necessary experience to make more affective and effective artwork, you will feel more confident in applying creative powers to reach social-change goals and more connected to local and global traditions of socially engaged art.”
17in x 11in
Risograph on 80# French Paper
Buy One Get Five
I want to get these out in the world and don’t want cost to be a factor, so I’m letting you decide the price at “pay what you can” & I’ll send you all this:
Fight Back Pack #2 includes:
- At least 1 “nice” print on #80 French Paper
- At least 4 prints on standard paper (thin typing paper) to distribute as you see fit
- A few Respect and/or LIES stickers
- Instructions for how to find the phone numbers of local reps and ideas for places to hang the print
- Priority Mail shipping in a big sturdy mailer via our US Postal Service (usually $6-$10 for postage within the US)
I’m not making these to make money or further my art career. If this print is something you want to help share in your communities, I want you to have them. If you can help offset the costs of making and mailing them, it helps. All the money I get from you I’ll use to make more.
About the Print
Each layer is printed separately – blue, then red, then an overlay of black. All soy and pigment based inks.
The Riso has it’s own aesthetic. It’s inherently imperfect. Having everything align perfectly can be tricky (even when you’re as highly skilled as I am!) so sometimes you get these nice, slight, misalignments and smudges. Each print is different and prints also get their own patterns of ink texture and halftone.
Download a full size PNG and print your own.
The design went through many iterations, both on paper and digitally. You can see about 40 of those iterations here.
I was invited back to the United Nations for a workshop envisioning UN LIVE the Museum for the United Nations on Monday. The ambition of the project is a reflection of the United Nations itself; “connecting people everywhere to the work and values of the United Nations and to catalyze global effort towards accomplishing its goals.”
I just had a small advisory role made smaller because the group they brought together was excellent. I didn’t have to say many things I often bring up in other gatherings; raising awareness is not enough, people need a sense of agency, cultural change and political change are intertwined, etc.
The project is epic in scale and will take years to complete. I’m glad to have contributed.
I’m a fan of not-boring business cards
I’m a fan of not-boring business cards. This is back of the business card of Maher Nasser, Acting Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, Department of Public Information. Part of his job is communicating what the United Nations does. So why not tackle that on the back of a 3.5 by 2 inch card you give to everyone you meet?
Proud to be include in the NRW Forum publication, Planet-B: Ideas for a New World.
Planet B has been curated by Alain Bieber, Nicola Funk and Joanna Szlauderbach in cooperation with Vasco Bontje (Sustainica) and Darija Å imunoviÄ‡ (project Hörner/Antlfinger). An accompanying publication by Lukas Feireiss and Matthias Hübner presents many other utopias — from Steward Brand, through Chus MartÃnez and right up to Raymond Kurzweil (not a fan of Kurzweil by the way –SL) — that serve as an inspiration and encourage action.
SelfControl was mentioned in “How to finish a novel: tracking a book’s progress from idea to completion” in the Guardian on Monday, March 20th.
Menmuir freely admits that social media and other online temptations were a constant distraction: “Twitter, Facebook, Guardian crosswords … I’ll pretty much do anything other than write because most things are easier than writing,” he says.
Such was the pull of online distractions that he used technology to fight technology: an app called SelfControl blocked him from using social media on his laptop when he was supposed to be working.
Capitalism Works For Me! True/False was used as an illustration in a CommonDreams.org story, “How 90% of American Households Lost an Average of $17,000 in Wealth to the Plutocrats in 2016”. That story was then posted on Bernie Sanders facebook page – a nice surprise.
I contributed a chapter to The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life (amazon, library). The book includes forty essays from “artists who have successfully expanded their practice beyond the studio and become change agents in their communities.”
The whole essay is in the book and I’ve included an excerpt below. This excerpt was chosen by the editor, Sharon Louden, for the launch at The Strand. I’d prefer you read the whole thing from beginning to end, but the paradox of an excerpt is that it may be what gets you to read the whole thing.
When I was young I was often told the future was wide-open and full of possibility. But the means to that end was a strict and prescriptive path. Follow instructions, work hard in school, continue on to the best college possible, and from there you’re free to pursue your dreams! And be warned: not following this path will lead to limited options and likely failure. You can do whatever you want with your life, but you have to do this first. The problem was I couldn’t stand school.
I was a good student. I was curious and wanted to do well, my grades were good, I was liked by teachers and fellow students, but over time I wanted more than what my public high school could offer; for example the few art classes offered were a joke, music was about rote performance rather than creation and composition, subjects like photography and film didn’t exist. So out of obligation I set my desires aside and continued to push myself in areas that felt less and less relevant as I advanced; upper-level math, college level history courses, marching band, track and field, and so on. I was disciplined, endured as much as I could, and tried to channel my frustration into improving the situation the ways I saw how. I sought out information on my own with the spare time I had, and even tried to improve the school by running for, and becoming, class president — this didn’t work. Over time my effort wore down to indifference, then to resentment. Yet every weekday I had to come back, continue to work hard, and came to hate it.
All the details leading up to being committed to a psychiatric hospital are not relevant here, but this antipathy with school was layered onto other issues including a family health crisis and a death, severe migraine headaches, stress, and a lack of skills in coping or even speaking about my problems. It all collided. I was overwhelmed, in physical pain, severely depressed, and felt exhausted in every way — I’d run out of ideas and could feel myself self-destructing. I withdrew and internalized — I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know how. There’s a lot I’m leaving out, but it was bad. I needed it all to stop and felt if I could die somehow, at least I could have relief.
Someone happened to ask me the right questions at a specific moment and caught a glimpse of what was happening inside. I was checked into a hospital later that day on an involuntary hold — though at that point I was ready to volunteer. That intervention saved my life.
Those months spent in treatment became a turning point. Over the next few years I learned skills to manage stress in my life, but more importantly, I felt like I narrowly cheated death. Doing what I was told had been a total failure so I could now, rightfully, say fuck it all. I had license to reshape my life as I pleased.
When I checked out of the hospital I took a state test to leave high-school. I had no idea where I was headed, but whatever I did would be better than before.
The contrast was unreal. The outcome of my hospitalization was independence. I felt freed from constraints that had completely failed for me and released into an open space where I could choose how to move forward. There were options and I could make choices. It was the best possible outcome from a horribly painful situation and I am still so grateful for it.
The echo of these experiences are in nearly every art work I make. My work is about sharing liberation and agency. We don’t have to accept our world as it is, the ways we’re told we should navigate it, nor the costs and misery that come along with it that benefit so few. I don’t want to make art that just points out problems. I want to go further than suggesting solutions. What I’m trying to do is offer the experience I had — to give people the feeling of liberation and power that I felt. The democratic ideal that we’re not subject to culture: we can create it. And I trust they will go on and do so.