Have there been new developments in your work since your 365 interview?
My interview was in September, which I had mentioned my solo show on the series Forgetting is so long this past December. I’m currently in a group show as part of my residency at RedLine Denver, focusing on play. For that show, I created an entirely new work, So Long, Farewell: Extinction in the Anthropocene Era, which is about extinction due to climate change/human-caused destruction. I’d been thinking a lot about interactivity, audience participation, and art’s role in society (as I mentioned in my interview), so this project was a great opportunity to essentially put that into action. We’ve had some school groups come in and interact with the work, and it’s been enlightening to see some metaphors come out of the act of playing. I can certainly tell that I’ve become bolder in trying out new things and art-making ideas that I would have shied away from before.
Something that the 365 Artists project has us thinking about is the power of collaboration. Are you involved in any projects with other artists or within your community?
Absolutely! Community engagement is very important to my practice. Part of my role as a resident with RedLine Denver is participating in various programs that focus on that, along with social justice and arts education. This semester, I’m paired with an art teacher as part of the EPIC Arts program, where we residents help guide a class through a social justice-themed work that they’ll show at RedLine at the end of the semester. I’m also volunteering this coming fall for ArtsCorps, where I’ll be mentoring a homeless/transient youth for a year. Beyond that, collaboration is key for a few series I have going right now, includingVenezuelan Sayings, a tumblr illustration blog devoted to visually translating colloquial Venezuelan expressions. Readers have tweeted, emailed, messaged, and more suggesting additional sayings, or dichos, for me to illustrate. I’ve gotten over 37 pages worth just from that back-and-forth alone! I also have an on-going sound project that hinges on participation, specifically of children of absent fathers who share their memories and experiences. This work is called I’m Perfectly Fine Without You, and it’s downloadable for free on iTunes as podcasts (the link is on my website: http://daisypatton.com/im-perfectly-fine-without-you/). I am seeking more participants, for anyone living in the Denver, CO area.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? What do you wish you would have known when you set out on this path?
I think some of the important things that many people don’t realize going into the arts is that you’re going to work—hard. A lot more than people do in office jobs (I’ve had a few so I can say that emphatically!) because there are no holidays, and you’re accountable to yourself. It’s also incredibly rewarding once you’ve figured out your best working method, and most of all, that working even when you don’t feel like it is how some epiphanies appear. I remember reading an artist talk about the “unsexy” reality that he spent about 30% of his time making art, another 30% with social media and the last sending out for exhibitions, proposals, etc. I don’t think that’s common knowledge for those outside the arts, or people first starting in—perseverance is important. The other part is that being an artist means being somewhat sociable, whether you like it or not. Networking, meeting people, whatever you want to call it is crucial for a professional artist. It’s not just creating ties in a selfish way, but rather you learn so much from each person you meet, especially other artists. I like to think of being an artist as being part of a community, and I highly respect other artists and people that are generous with their time and information. There’s this stereotype of the lone artist waiting to be discovered, and frankly that isn’t real and probably never was. I can be quite shy around people I don’t know, but getting out of your comfort zone is something you should be doing anyways if you want to be effective with your work.
Are there any upcoming shows or projects that you would like to talk about?
I’m thrilled that the momentum and opportunities from last year have continued into the new year. I’ll be part of a group show this coming summer for emerging artists on the Front Range in Colorado, at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs’ Galleries of Contemporary Art (it’ll be with Forgetting is so long). I have a solo show featuring some photographic work at the Saratoga Library in Saratoga, California this coming September. Also, a proposal that I and two peers put together was accepted for the Essex Art Center in Lawrence, MA for another group show, also September. So, very busy and exciting! I’ve also started another project, focusing again on hidden history—specifically, the history of forced sterilizations in the United States. Using embroidery, I’ll be creating portraits of some of the victims of this little talked about period of our past (and unfortunately present), as well as text pieces that will quote from the Supreme Court case legalizing forced sterilizations to current day politicians’ comments. It’s a very research-heavy, emotionally tough piece, so par for course in my practice.
Read Daisy Patton’s 365artists365days interview here.