People are now saying that 2020 was a “catalyst for digital innovation” in the art world. One example of this is 8-bridges, a new platform designed to promote a vibrant gallery scene in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Missions and Ambitions,” their recent virtual event, featured well-known San Francisco galleries, auction houses, and museum curators talking to each other. There is much to learn from these conversations, but what strikes me is how they combine the new and the old. While the platform is digital, it is based on a network of relationships established over two decades.
These San Francisco art leaders and artists know each other because they have grown up together. If you look back to the early 2000s, these now-famous galleries were just starting out. The artists they show had recently graduated from Bay Area art institutions, like CCA, the SF Art Institute, Mills College, etc. Moreover, many were recipients or at least finalists for SF-MOMA’s prestigious SECA Award.
These privileged beginnings demonstrate the power of institutional support for artists. Yet it is important to remember that the quality of the art itself has made these artists’ careers last over time. As Claudia Altman-Siegel explains it, artists are strong when they are “reporting from a specific place” and yet the art itself is able to stand on its own.
While place sometimes means geography, the meaning here is that an artist’s work comes from an idea, a point of view, a story that needs to be told. And their art fully incorporates and expresses it.
Use this lens to consider your own work. What is the place you come from? How would you describe it? Does your art express that place so fully that it lives on its own?
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.