How to be an artist? Such a question weighs heavily, unanswerable by any amount of technical training or academic curricula. How does an artist navigate the disparate conditions of school, the studio, the scene, the market, the feed, the silent hours, and all the demands of the want-to-be? Given the ever-increasing numbers of indebted graduates leaving art schools, and the scarcity of opportunities necessitated by any luxury market based on conspicuous consumption, it can be difficult to attain (much less sustain) a degree of recognition or support for one’s practice. Is it therefore beneficial to understand art-work as an entrepreneurial competition? Or does a hobbyist lens better describe what it is that artists do? We want to consider the impractical questions, each uniquely interpreted by different practitioners, in order to get a sense of how artists relate to one another, what is held in common beyond the simulated conditions of school or the social environments of openings. Do you have life-advice for other artists, therapeutic mantras to get through moments of doubt and neglect, or secret sources of self-help sustenance? Most importantly, amidst the ever-present noise of the culture industry, we want to ask how artists find the resources necessary to make art, the encouragement to maintain this nebulous occupation, the desire to be an artist without any guarantee, and the esoteric guidance to navigate open-ended creative practice.
These responses will comprise the sixth issue of our publishing project, QOQQOON. Since its inception in 2018, we have used this platform to promote argumentative writing by artists, and to imagine an art education without debt. We are looking for written submissions between 500–3000 words. We extend ongoing editorial support and work closely with artists to develop their texts. Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with pitches or rough drafts to begin a conversation.
Please confirm your interest in participating by May 24, 2021. Final drafts due August 1, 2021.