Uncovering the Real Politics of Art with Dalibor Polivka

Indoor Ideas by Dalibor Polivka

Society has a tendency to ignore smaller countries. And considering that there are 195 countries out there — it’s not a big shock. Despite this, there’s still a massive imbalance in the amount of attention society gives to artists from the UK and US. Which is exactly why this interview is worth your time, attention, and even participation.

When I discovered that Dalibor Polivka was a US-based artist who grew up in Slovakia during the communist era, I was intrigued. Polivka is a painter, graphic designer, conceptual artist, and a “man of theatre”. His preferred medium of expression is the art of installation, but his latest project opens the conversation between traditional and digital art. (More details on that further into the interview).

While going back through Polivka’s answers to my probing questions, I was struck by his innate depth of character and culture. There was a sudden reminder that authoritarianism existed (and indeed still exists) within the world, that the freedom of expression we all enjoy was once suppressed. I was engaged and excited to remember that there are large swathes of peoples, cultures, and ideology that even the most educated of society haven’t encountered.

Dalibor Polivka has committed himself to the long road of incremental evolution without falling into the trap of false sincerity. His honesty and authenticity are reflected in each answer. Whether you are a professional artist, a hobbyist, a student, an enthusiast, or just passing through, I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

If you’re short on time and need some transformative creative career advice, skip down to the second last answer. You won’t be disappointed.

Also, if you want to get a sense of how Polivka curates his galleries, experience them virtually on D Emptyspace:

Boarders of Anthropocene / Artificial Intelligence

Sitting at Home Looking at Phone by Dalibor Polivka

Tell us your artistic story — where did it all start and what’s the journey been like?

When I was three years old I got a box of color pencils for a birthday and I immediately realized that I want to be an artist…

[laughs] That fairytale is not my art story.

I grew up in a family of scientists and doctors. But regardless of their logic-heavy professions, it was an environment filled with respect and admiration for culture, arts and liberal thinking.

Despite — or perhaps as a result of — the political situation in the 70’s and 80’s, the city life of my small hometown Trnava, Slovakia (which is in the heart of Europe), was charged with an underground artistic energy. Its cultural vibrancy was in direct opposition to the official communist establishment. This climate became a foundation for my path to the arts.

I started to form my ideas about art in high school. I had long, exciting and inspiring discussions with my peers, analyzing everything related to eastern and western culture and their juxtaposition. I think it was that “creative dialog” that started my art journey.

Slovak art and politics often make their way into your art as a common theme. Can you talk us through how you balance delicate political commentary while staying true to your innate beliefs and culture?

I’ve lived in the USA since 1997, so I carry more issues of cultural alienation and identity concerns in my art. Slovak art and politics make a way to some of my works, but not all.

Impossible by Dalibor Polivka

Free speech — including political commentaries in the US — are part of democratic development and we have our right and responsibility to address all of our concerns. During the communist era it was a very different story.

But I see all artworks as political in their nature — they are an expression of inner belief. So there is no contradiction in balancing political commentary and staying true to some kind of artistic inner belief. But it is true that I always felt attracted to the concept of free thinking, underground happenings and an avant garde community. Perhaps it is a direct expression of freedom to contrast the regime that I grew up in.

“I naturally lean toward everything that rebels and breaks the norm of the ‘usual’ way of doing things in art — but also in real life.”

My inclination towards existentialism and conceptual art did not help me get accepted into art school during communism, and it was only after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Velvet Revolution in 1991 that the door finally opened for me.

Since then, I was able to study, practice and lecture art at the academic world in Slovakia, France, Belgium, and now in the US.

Puzzled by the World by Dalibor Polivka

You’ve been called “a man of the theatre” — how has that theatrical sense influenced your art and your creative process?

As a student I established an independent theatre group, influenced by studies of Tadeusz Kantor, Peter Brook, Eugene Ionesco, and Samuel Beckett.

Rob Mintz wrote in my recent monograph “Dalibor Polivka: Sketches and Installations” of how my production of Ionesco’s “Exit the King” was a highlight of our official theater festival — but the authorities insisted that it be performed in a cafeteria, after hours, late at night, and for a preselected audience, rather than the general public. They were trying to keep any seemingly subversive manifestations under wraps. Needless to say, anti-regime friends of the theater were keen to spot any government spies or infiltrators.

“During this era of so-called “normalization” things were far from normal — and never quite what they seemed.”

I think this phenomenon of working in secrecy or underground, working with hidden meanings, the encryption aspect — as an inherent aspect of art — fascinates me and is a vehicle through which I like to communicate.

Folk and Cosmonaut Installation by Dalibor Polivka

What do you want people who go to your galleries to feel? How do you aim to change their perceptions and conceptions through art?

On average, most of the people who walk into a gallery stroll by the works and spend very little time — often just a few seconds — in front of the artwork. Many people feel competent to criticize art because criticisms are so easy to make. Or they simply take their words lightly.

“If people decide to come to see an exhibition, they face a proposition from the artist — and they can decide to have dialog with it or reject it.”

The ability to have quality dialog with art and artworks requires some preparation on both sides and it depends on the level of sophistication of the gallery visitor. The artist and the beholder are equally responsible for this communication.

Just to Name a Few Installation by Dalibor Polivka

On larger scale we fail to explain the art and its role in society. That is why the state budgets for arts and art education are decreasing and why we need to fight for art support.

A lot of contemporary art does not make sense for average gallery goer. Art could have a persuasive power but I don’t care to explore that.

Gallery visitors, in my opinion, are not expected to change their positions or conceptions.

It’s not easy to make an exhibition if you want to be truthful about it. In short, I feel that a gallery visitor should focus on context. Context is everything.

You originally created digital sketches on Instagram as pre-work for traditional media pieces. Have you found technology fundamentally changing the way you perceive and create art?

Yes. In art history, technology was always a big part of artist practice. David Hockney talks about this in his book “The Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the lost techniques of old masters”.

My Instagram page is one specific project where I post a series of sketches made by app called SKETCHES. It is a personal diary of ordinary events and observations as well as my notes about contemporary art. I paint images with my finger on my iPhone. These are originals. Then I exercise my ability by making reproductions of them in acrylics or oil on canvas. This reproductive effort is a unique situation and experience.

Childhood by by Dalibor Polivka

In this case, technology allows me to produce faster, cleaner and brighter than traditional media. But the main point of this project is to build a comparison of traditional (oil on canvas) methods versus digital. This creates a unique frame for the context of art creation.

In short: technology provides a new tools for expression and it changes the way we think about the world. It has the power to fundamentally change our collective understanding of art. But technology alone does not have that power. Certain historic and philosophical conditions had to be in place as well.

For example Andy Warhol made us believe that any industrial object could become a work of art. So technology of that time (such silkscreen or serigraphy) allowed him to produce multiples, which in the context of new conceptual possibilities, gave rise to pop art culture that forever changed our perspective on art.

Briefly take us through your “Appearance of Wisdom” installation, what comments on society and technology are you making there?

In this installation I worked with cutting-edge, medical imaging specialists from Mission Hospital and Mission Viejo. Digitally manipulated X- rays were arranged in symmetrical compositions as “ornaments,” evoking visual interpretations of ancient spiritual wisdom related to clarity of mind, equanimity, and emptiness a fundamental tenet of Buddhism.

A twenty-foot long scroll with wooden handles, resting on a red velvet pillow, was composed of x-rays of humans and animals, merging the sacred and the profane into a philosophical object that requires philosophy in itself to be understood.

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the inventor of the x-ray machine, and Atīśa, the great Buddhist sage, are converged in a dialectical synthesis. My comment is about the interrelationship between technology and spirituality, and how our ideas of unity and wisdom meet.

Inexpressible Installation by Dalibor Polivka

You do a lot of installations and exhibitions. What does your process for that look like? How do you decide what goes where?

My practice is both outside and inside of gallery and exhibition circles. Interplay of life and art is important for me. When the right condition arises and space is available I am ready to react whatever format seems to fit the gallery.

If conditions for external space is not available I try to find different “spaces”. One of them is D Emptyspace. It’s a great tool and also could serve as a catalyst for frustrated artist who has no opportunity to get into brick white cube.

Online spaces are interesting and more and more proverbial white caves will become available. We can practice and get different experiences from these empty spaces. I really liked the idea of having a simulated gallery wall, an illusion of the real gallery. It might seem like a small thing but it can have a great impact.

Artificial Botanic by Dalibor Polivka

Do you have any advice for aspiring fine artists? How do you suggest they navigate the elite art world’s elaborate “system of filtration”?

There are many art luminaries, art critics and celebrities that give advice to aspiring artists, and I was always eager to read them. Most of them are true, but none of them is a roadmap for you.

I think everyone is successful in their own world, and yes, there is an external temporary elite art world that creates the history of art, writes the news, and set trends etc…. These makers of so called “art world” protect it because they want to keep the profits for themselves…

Alternative spaces and your own communities and friendships have far more value and are more truthful about art than big galleries and museums. We all want to be in it, be recognized for our efforts and get a piece of the pie, but look — it is not the only way.

Exchange of Ideas by Dalibor Polivka

I support small organizations, alternative spaces and I love to share my experiences and help artists and the general public get more educated about the arts. The educational aspect is important for me. Dave Hickey gives a pretty good advice to young artists and paints an alternative picture about art schools and art market. Watch his videos. Getting “in” is not the only thing you need to think about.

Lastly, build your network. Find a friend who is an art critic and knows more than you.

How do you stay balanced working as a fine artist and living in a fast-paced world full of bright, shiny distractions?

I do not see new world full of superficiality, consumerism, flat screens, gadgets and other shiny distraction as a problem. It is our mind who is distracted after all.

So if we know how to control ourselves, problem solved.

“Everything you can think of can become an inspiration and potential material for you, and gives you the opportunity to understand the world we live in, to become better humans and live more profound and meaningful lives.”

Artificial Happiness by Dalibor Polivka

Is there anything else you want to mention? Perhaps an upcoming exhibit or some parting advice?

Walking Meditation by Dalibor Polivka

I appreciate D Emptyspace time and effort in which we became closer to each other. Due to their app this dialog was possible and that in itself is a piece of art. This is how technology makes bridges between people. If we can use it to create art communities and engage people in dialog than it is worth it.

Do not worry about your next show, and do not worry about my next show.

Look…

Life itself is an art form, that should be enough, the truth is not in white cubes, its beyond their structure, beyond the frame, beyond your screen.

Hear more from Dalibor Polivka

I am preparing art retreat workshops at galleries and museums. You can find out more about my workshops by emailing me or visit the links below for more info

https://artretreat.wixsite.com/artworkshop
https://artretreat.wixsite.com/artretreatacademy

Download the app on iOS: https://apple.co/2MhsxCs

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Download

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What You Need to Tell Models to Get Better Photos

What You Need to Tell Models to Get Better Photos

Whether you’ve worked with models for years, or are absolutely an absolute beginner when it comes to model shoots, you can learn something from long-time expert Andrew McMeekin.

Character portrait shot by Andrew McMeekin

As a photographer or artist, working with models can be nerve wracking. (As we’ll soon learn, it’s just as nerve wracking for the models too!) How do you get the right pose to complete the image in your mind’s eye, or even more importantly, in your client’s brief?

Andrew McMeekin makes cinematic photographs with dramatic lighting reminiscent of works by Carravagio or Rembrandt. While he isn’t an “old master” per se, he has been shooting professionally for 12 years, specializing in fashion photography and portraiture, and keeping himself entertained with several series of historical photos.

I drilled down for a behind the scenes look at how McMeekin executes his artistic vision, respects the client brief, and keeps his feet on the ground in an industry that’s known to be a bit… dramatic.

Explore Andrew McMeekin’s Art Galleries.

If you want to get a sense of how McMeekin curates his galleries, you can now experience them virtually on D Emptyspace:

Fashion Photography: Ocean Ambassadors / Cinematic

Historic: The House of Desmond / Dark Side of Desmond / Traveling Vintage

Want to create your own galleries? Click here to download D Emptyspace for IOS from the app store.

Let’s talk about models — how do you handle them? Do you know what poses you want to get in advance?

Most models you work with will be terrified unless this is their full-time job and they’re doing it every day for big magazines. A mistake a lot of photographers make on shoots is saying “Well you’re the model, pose.” And that’s really not what a nervous person wants to hear.

A model needs to know what you want them to do. If you don’t know what kind of poses you want, it means you haven’t done your research for the shoot. If you want to work on commercial shoots, you are responsible for providing the end-product. You have to have the direction and knowledge to say, “This is what they’re paying me to get, so this is how we’re going to get it.”

Green Cadillac by Andrew McMeekin

What are the differences between working with professional models and amateurs?

There are five different categories of professional model. High-end models are in category one, and a category five would be someone with no experience at all.

With a high-end model you have to handle their temperament and showmanship. Like photographers, professional models have a front to play to keep up appearances. But if you cut the crap, you can get the job done quickly with minimal drama. If you’re calm, quiet without spouting the stereotypical “Oh darling, it’s gorgeous, it’s wonderful,” et cetera, then they’re good to work with.

If you go down the scale to an inexperienced category five, it’s totally different. They’re generally shy and have no idea what to do. You have to remember, this person was chosen simply because they are attractive, not because they are experienced. But if you’re nice and have a calm environment, and provide some direction, the model will respond well and you get better pictures for it.

The House of Desmond by Andrew McMeekin

Directing models seems to require a lot of confidence. Can beginning photographers pull that off?

It’s all about how you handle a model. I find younger photographers have technical ability, but no confidence when directing. You need to cultivate the confidence to say, “Well, hang on a second, let’s do this and cover that another time.”

Get that right and you’ll immediately get better pictures.

When celebrities or people in the public eye come in for photoshoots, they have a perceived idea of what they want to look like — and it’s normally wrong. You have to work to represent them with more authenticity.

You also do studio shoots for private clients. What’s the biggest difference between fashion shoots and portraiture for you?

Portrait Headshot by Andrew McMeekin

The style of lighting is the most important. For portrait shots, you need to bring in a more rounded style of lighting that doesn’t have any dark shadows. The last thing you want on a headshot is a shadow. You need to light everything very evenly.

Fashion shoots require more dramatic lighting because the brand wants the clothes to look sharp — it’s all about what the models are wearing and not the models themselves. When you do portraiture, it’s all about the person. Different situations, different lighting.

My biggest piece of advice: Don’t be in a hurry. I’m definitely not one of these photographers who takes thousands of pictures. Snapping every half-second puts people off. You need to get it right and take one picture. Models are more encouraged by that.

Do you find ways to express yourself creatively while working on commercial shoots?

At the end of the day, you’re doing work for a client. You always have to think “What do they want to achieve from this?” and then keep the answer in your mind’s eye. You need to deliver what the brand wants and needs. That’s what you’re being paid for.

On smaller shoots with a tight budget, you have to find the balance between the brief and creatives for yourself. But if they’ve employed an art director, you can push for what you want a little more. The art director’s job is to make sure that they deliver what the brand wants, so they’ll pull you back or push you further to serve the desired outcome.

Ocean Ambassadors by Andrew McMeekin

I’ve just done a shoot for the Ocean Ambassadors that comes to mind. The topic was centered around marine life eating and dying from plastic. The brief was to make it dark and deep with a very strong meaning. They wanted it to be hard-hitting, with mermaids, and on the beach.

So we had these mermaids and merboys all done up on the beach and a whole team of people — prosthetics, makeup, and lighting all set up on the sand — it was quite a production! And we were all there to execute the vision we’d been working on. The photos came out striking and impactful. Needless to say, the client was thrilled.

How does your experience working with models translate into your personal passion of historic portraiture?

I have a very good model for these shoots, his name is Desmond (pictured above). He’s not a pro model, but he’s an absolute master at playing the part. He turns up with all these costumes, goes into our props room, and comes out as a completely different character. It’s amazing to work with him and he makes my job a lot easier.

One photoshoot I did with Desmond was almost a disaster (Dark Side of Desmond). We were shooting historic portraiture in the old underground tunnels of the Ministry of Defense Radar system. It’s miles and miles of pitch black tunnels underground the East Coast of England. It’s really atmospheric down there… it’s so dark and full of history.

Dark Side of Desmond by Andrew McMeekin

So I was down there with Desmond in full costume, a bunch of heavy equipment and assistants. We walked quite deep into these tunnels to get to a good spot. And then suddenly, the [radio] triggers on the camera don’t fire! Turns out there’s something in the walls that blocks the electronic signal. It was a really tense moment — to click the camera and have nothing happen. It’s not what you’d call a ‘regular’ problem.

Desmond got claustrophobic and panicked a bit. So he went outside for a breather while we figured out the signal problem. We literally had to go nearer to the entrance and open a door to get the camera to work.

Photography wasn’t your first career. How did you come into it?

I started out as a hairdresser and did a lot of work preparing models for fashion shoots. When I finally decided to get photos taken to promote my salon, I couldn’t find photographers who did anything the way I wanted. Then I thought, Andrew, why don’t you just do it yourself?

Traveling Vintage by Andrew McMeekin

I went on a very expensive whirlwind of a learning curve. I got the top people on the net and the top private photographers in my area to teach me how to use a camera. I was in the fast lane — it was all very quick. I knew the hair side, the makeup side, and the fashion side — in a way I was already half-way there. There are more parallels than you think.

“Hairdressing and photography are very similar in the way you see face shapes, you learn how to look at people and their aesthetics in a different way.”

I found that the top guys were extremely good at photography, but fell apart when trying to handle a model on set. If you’re not in the fashion industry, it’s like learning another language — and I already knew the language from hairdressing.

When people come in for a photo shoot, they have much the same psychology as someone coming into the salon for a hair consultation. There’s this hidden body language and psyche that you learn as a hairdresser.

If you’re quiet and listen then people relax and that’s good for getting repeat business.

Thanks to the hairdressing salon I started out with a big client base. In the beginning, I did lots of free photo shoots with competitions and things like that — and we just progressed from there. Now I have a big five-story building that’s a one-stop-shop.

Do you have any advice when it comes to creating an effective portfolio to show off your work with models?

Keep it simple. Don’t go on about yourself and about how you were a photographer when you were four and your grandma bought you your first camera. No one is vaguely interested in that story.

“People want to know what you can deliver for them. They don’t care if you’re clever. They just think, what can you do for me?”

If you check some statistics on websites, you’ve only got about 3 lines before someone gets bored and switches the page. So make sure your vision and portfolio is very easy to navigate.

If I employ you as a photographer, what can you do? For me? That’s the crunch line.

Andrew McMeekin pictured at the Salt Flats in Bolivia

Get in Touch with Andrew McMeekin

Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

Want to create your own galleries? Click here to download D Emptyspace for IOS from the app store.

Download D Emptyspace for iOS: https://apple.co/2MhsxCs

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Download

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Finding Freedom in Paint With Ricky Joyce

Finding Freedom in Paint With Ricky Joyce

The White Snake and His Golden Apple by Ricky Joyce

This week we chat with self-made artist Ricky Joyce who’s been hard at work adding his paint strokes to the local Leicester art scene in the UK. His abundant love for freedom and streamlined system for creating and marketing his art has enabled him to “beat the 9–5” and make a living doing what he loves.

Ricky Joyce is a multimedia abstract expressionist painter. Using music and his personal experience as inspirational tools, he creates bold and expressive paintings that communicate raw emotions through color, texture, and fragments of song lyrics. Find him on D Emptyspace by searching for @rickyjoyceart.

Joyce’s acrylic paintings on canvas are an experimental expression of freedom and blur the line between abstraction and reality.

Secret Love Collection by Ricky Joyce in D Emptyspace

When did you first realize you had a creative streak?

When I was in school, I would just draw on desks (like most naughty teenage boys!) and consider my creations to be meaningless scribbles. Then Mr. Cox, my art teacher, recognized my creativity and directed me away from desks and towards paper, pastels, canvas, and paint. He really showed me what’s possible and inspired me every step of the way. I still use some of the more interesting techniques he taught me to this day.

But back then, I didn’t realize there was potential to be a professional artist… so when I left school I went in the standard 9–5 job environment. I worked in offices and customer service roles for a long time whilst always feeling unfulfilled by any job I undertook. I kept changing direction, looking for something to make me satisfied, and I had more jobs than I care to remember.

When did you decide painting was something you wanted to dedicate your life to?

I guess you could say that becoming an artist was a gradual thing. Eventually decided to leave the humdrum of office jobs behind and do something creative so I started my own creative design business. But even this creative outlet couldn’t keep me away from painting.

Design was all about grids and organized layouts — painting was free from all of that. I could create anything in paint with no rules.

“That’s when it hit me, painting is freedom.”

It was exciting, passionate and scary all at the same time. And so I decided to dedicate my life to my new found freedom. Since then, I haven’t found anything that even comes close in giving me the same satisfaction.

I get to paint my emotions, thoughts, and ideas with no rules, it’s my purest form of expression.

Preach to Me by Ricky Royce

What’s the artistic community like in Leicester? Do you feel supported as a creative?

Leicester is all about collaboration. There are so many events and workshops for artists to sink their teeth in to around the city. At every function, you really feel supported and encouraged by other artists.

Each local artist in Leicester has a unique style, so we do our own thing, and come together at shows and gatherings. We all want to see something different, it’s inspiring to see what others are creating.

“There’s a real sense of belonging here, and I am humbled to be a part of it all.”

Being supported by local creatives is a fantastic way to grow… but it’s not without hard work. You need to put in studio time, be involved in events and keep pushing boundaries to gain traction.

Hearts and Minds by Ricky Joyce

You create some fascinating textures with acrylic, what’s your process?

I love to see textures in a painting. My relationship with my paintings relies heavily on my emotions being on point (particularly with abstract work) so music is my main inspiration and keeps me focused. I often start my day in the studio by pressing play on my rock music and turning it way up loud.

I will usually work on two or three pieces at a time. I grab a large hardware store brush, (bigger the better depending on the canvas size) and start to carve out one or two areas that need color.

I add words with the back of the brush or a sharp pointed object. They’re a mash of my thoughts, words from my notes, or lyrics from the music. Then I use smaller brushes and other mark-making tools like sandpaper or paint scrapers and palette knives to create patterns in or around the painting’s focal point.

“I started adding materials to my work with interesting results.”

After maybe two or three color changes and mark-making layers, I wait for the painting dry while looking at it from different angles, analyzing the areas that balance well or the parts that need to be changed.

Sometimes I leave paintings for days and work a different piece until I feel ready to take on the refinement process. When I’m ready I work continuously until I feel that the painting is complete and well balanced.

Secret Love Collection by Ricky Joyce in D Emptyspace

And what’s the wildest tool or object you’ve ever used to make art?

I will use pretty much anything I can find to make art. Things like sandpaper, bubble wrap, polystyrene or paint scrapers make some of my favorite textures, although I have to say the wildest by a long shot was using my body. I wanted to see what patterns I could make. I won’t divulge which body parts I have used to paint with, that I’ll leave to your imagination!

Do you have any tips and tricks for laying out an exhibition? How do you decide what piece goes where?

I think the main tip would be consistency in style. Hang paintings side by side that have a cohesive look and feel — show off who you are and why you are there.

Someone recently recognized a painting of mine even though I couldn’t be seen from where they were standing. That gave me a real sense of achievement (plus they bought the painting). In terms of technical layout, I usually plan ahead by visiting the space in advance and making a mock-up of the layout so I can create a cohesive theme for the exhibit.

You use music as a major source of inspiration and creativity — can you describe how you paint your emotions on the canvas? Your piece ‘Break All The Rules’ stands out in particular.

When I listen to music I start seeing ‘visions’ of colors and images. That comes through strongly in the paintings I create.

It’s like seeing a puffy, slow-moving cloud in a blue sky. The shape and gradual movement form a picture in your mind and that picture, with all its dominant colors and textures, evokes an emotion or feeling when you visualize it.

Music affects me in a similar way. I see the colors, feel the emotions, and use the energy to start manipulating paint and blending the colors until I find a balance that conveys what’s in my imagination. It’s truly free-flowing.

Break All The Rules by Ricky Joyce

I created ‘Break All The Rules’ in this way, with no balance or composition pre-planned, with every brushstroke flowing in no particular direction. To me, it broke the traditional rules of art. The black gloss paint highlighted that no one spot on the canvas was more important or relevant than the next. It was purely expressive with no rules.

How do you market your art to potential customers? Staying active on social media is something so many artists struggle with.

I attend exhibitions, networking, and social events locally which are often packed with creative businesses and individuals. It’s a good move as they’re already thinking about what they need creatively and may be open to collaborate or have some of my art on their walls.

Then exhibiting your work in person is a quick way to get attention from the general public and lovers of art. But to continuously set up exhibits and show face takes a lot of time and money. It’s important to make sure exhibits are worthwhile for you financially and time-wise. Always make sure they are a good fit for your art practice.

Symbolic Evolution Gallery by Ricky Joyce in D Emptyspace

Having a website and high-quality digital images of your work online is important, but you can take it a step further. Always have a pre-curated selection of your work stored on your smartphone. So when you’re chatting with someone at an event, you have an instant portfolio sitting in your pocket ready to go (and hopefully a card with contact details to back it up). D Emptyspace is particularly useful for this. You can curate your work into a gallery and potential commissioners or buyers can really get a feel for the scale of your art.

Sometimes being active social media is the best option, so I try to use it on a daily basis. Instagram is a great platform though, another great way of meeting and talking to your audience via direct messaging.

Any big plans for the future?

I am working on a massive body of work and will unveil some of the works in progress soon. I want to become prolific by creating a minimum of 100 paintings all with the same signature style. I feel like my signature style is only just emerging in full. It’s been evident in small parts of older paintings for some time, and now I’m developing it even further.

So for now, my focus is on a consistent body of work that builds into a strong solo exhibition I can take to art fairs and beyond

Its time to up my game, put in the hours, and pour all my passion into art. My ultimate ambition is to have a solo exhibition in New York — a place I have always wanted to visit — but for now, the UK is my playground.

Artist Ricky Joyce pictured in his studio in Leicester

Find Joyce’s work at the Leicester Riverside Festival and art shop ‘We Are’. He is an active member of WebinArt in Leicester, a professional development program run by Creative Leicestershire.

For any New York gallery owners or art dealers, here are links to a few of Ricky’s galleries. If you like his work and want to bring it to New York, get in touch.