Rhizome 2

Rhizome: Creative Art Symposium

The blurb described it as a ‘knowledge sharing day’ for anyone and everyone in the creative industry but it smelt suspiciously of networking. I probably wouldn’t have gone except that I was part of the program –pitching for the Brisbane City Council Creative Innovation award.

It turned out to be both a lovely and terrible day. Terrible because I didn’t win the $25 000 award but lovely because the whole day gave me a much needed retreat.

The knowledge sharing component of the day was creative business 101 – how to use social media, who is your audience, how to write grants. It would have been fantastic for the students of my industry research course that I’m teaching at Griffith Film School but there was not enough specialist knowledge for anyone above emerging level. Despite this, I loved catching up with other artworkers and artists around Brisbane.

These are the people who don’t follow a traditional route – if such a term even applies for anyone embarking on an artistic career. Going through an animation degree, the focus was on studios – getting into a studio, making films in a studio, doing commercial work in a studio. We weren’t really encouraged to explore alternative models – or the possibility that it was enough to want to know about an art form because you love it without having to practice in it. These artworkers and artists wear many hats. They are filmmaker/ producer, digital/ traditional painter, author/ publisher, curator/ artist. Hardly anyone worked exclusively for one studio. Some had weaved their way into niche marketplaces with the help of online platforms, something that had been impossible ten years ago. Some worked as embedded creatives in other industries. Some worked in completely unrelated fields to finance their art projects. These people spoke cheerfully about their practice. There was no wistfulness, no plan to someday have a self-sustaining art practice. To them, their plan was to support their art practice through other skills. It was worth it to maintain 100% creative control. Everyone spoke about creativity as their way of being. There was none of that cynicism of worn-down artists. Of course, the next day when we all went back to our respective workplace, it may have been a different story but for that one day, it was wonderful to have a retreat, to talk shop with fellow artists and remember why we disobeyed our parents and went to art school.

Rhizome 2     RHIZOME 1

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