Fairing Well Redux:

Fairing well: Redux: Pu(bli)shing for Profit

Publisher: Printeresting
Co-authored: Andrew Super and Paul Laidler

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Continuing on the last installment’s theme of folk emerging from the Multiplied Art Fair at Christie’s (read more here), we’ll turn our sights away from the students and not-for-profits, and towards the ‘may-or-may-not-have-gone-to-school-onces’ and ‘yeah-we’d-really-like-to-turn-a-profits’. This means talking to publishers that have been around a little while, but might still be coming into their own, especially in the London scene. To do that we took a brisk walk out of Room 7 and straight into the gates of Rooms 1 and 5. We had the good fortune to speak with Ulrich Kühle and Sarah Dudley from Keystone Editions in Berlin, and James Pidcock from Grey Area Multiples in Paris. They’ve been kind enough to not only share some of their insights, but also some of their imagery – all images are courtesy of the respective artists, Grey Area, Paris, and Keystone Editions, Berlin.

Representing flip sides of the publishing presence coin at Multiplied, Grey Area has been an annual presence while Keystone are the new kids in the hall. Figuring out how to make a living by making work is one thing, but figuring out how to make a living investing in the production of the work of others and moving it in a way that allows you to survive is a whole other kettle of fish. So this instalment is going to focus on the business end of publishing in regards to the fair, and the decisions that have to be made about whose work the publishers are bringing to jolly ol’ London town.

The biggest decision about any party, obviously, is what to wear – in this case what the walls of the stand should be wearing. For both publishers, the answer was a mix of old and new, slightly safer along with a bit of a gamble. Grey Area presented some previously well received work from Matt Calderwood, alongside some insanely meticulous pigment prints from an up and coming Barcelona based artist who goes by O.W.P., just opposite some of Guy Allott’s enigmatic and melancholic aliens and robots.

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Argos, courtesy O.W.P. and Grey Area, Paris.
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Alien III, courtesy Guy Allott and Grey Area, Paris.

The printed matter ranged from traditional woodblock prints to laser cut wooden crests cum spaceships, but it thematically meshed together through a synthesis of wonder, scepticism, and ever-so-slight cynicism. In response to the similar yet varied display, James said, “For me I don’t see the difference, if it’s good I’ll show it…with one proviso, I only work with nice people.” While there were some definite stylistic similarities between the works presented, it was quite clear that the ultimate association was on the merit of the artists themselves and their working relationship with Grey Area.

Echoing the visual dissimilarities between the works was James’ display of them. Take a quick walk around Multiplied and you’ll generally see stalls whose display falls into one of three categories: jam packed with everything they could possibly put up without the wall falling down, so exceptionally minimal that the stall’s existence itself begins to feel like performance art piece, or somewhere in the middle where the display is a pure extension of the work and the publisher’s connection to and love for it. The Grey Area stall certainly falls into the latter. Emphasizing the deliberate design of the placement, James pointed out that the conceptual links between most of the works aide in figuring out what to put where, but ultimately he plans the space “quite carefully based upon which new works are on the horizon, some gallery classics, and what is realistic” for the given format.

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Ulrich and Sarah from Keystone Editions, Berlin

Presented as a counter in almost every way to Grey Area are first time Multipliers at Keystone Editions. Keystone is different in both form and function as a publisher, but with an end goal that is virtually identical – to produce work that they are fully vested in. Both Sarah and Ulrich are Tamarind trained master lithographers who have pulled prints all over the globe. Focusing exclusively on lithography (they’ve got one bad ass press, but haven’t yet purchased the rollers that will allow it to pull double duty for etching as well) they decided to finally go into business for themselves and started off working on a contract basis for various artists and entities in and around Berlin. They quickly turned to publishing as a means to bring more excitement into their studio, and to push the boundaries of print in Germany. Not exactly the lightest of claims, Sarah explained that, “in Germany, a lot of the printing is more traditional, which is fine because that’s where a lot of it started, and so there was room for us to build a bit of a niche. Especially in Berlin, by focusing on unusual ways of making lithographs, and being open to artists that were open to trying something that hadn’t been done before.” One series of prints that is wholeheartedly indicative of this pursuit are some visually raucous, yet ethereal, one color lithographs by Monika Goetz. Looking at the jagged and explosive quality of the ink on the paper it’s an easy jump to realize what the prints are of – fire, in some form – but not how they came to be – by burning massive birthday sparklers directly onto photo-litho plates.

The latest work to come from Keystone was also on display, and was a perfect example of what Ulrich and Sarah set out to do – make prints they were proud of, and allow artists to work in a way they probably weren’t accustomed to. Their collaboration with Haleh Redjaian was presented as a series of prints deceptive in their simplicity (they are comprised almost entirely of patterns of rectangles and lines in straightforward arrangements), but intriguing in their depth. Printed specifically to be some of the main work presented at Multiplied, these prints were Haleh’s first lithographs.

Having never made prints in a professional context would seem like an incredible handicap, but it’s a model that is promoted by Keystone. Ulrich clarified this by pointing out that they (he and Sarah) “do all the technical stuff… [and we] try to keep the artist…out of the production of it.” That may sound harsh, but let’s face it, the term is ‘master printer’ for a reason and less things go haywire when artists are free to be creative without having to worry about technical things.

Taking a detour back to the impetus for our Multiplied conversations, we spoke with both publishers at length about how they chose which emerging artists to bring to the fair, and their responses were remarkably similar. There were the obvious prints that made both fiscal and visual sense, with Calderwood’s work at Grey Area and some William Kentridge prints produced during Sarah and Ulrich’s time in South Africa for Keystone. But facts are facts, and full disclosure means that publishers go to fairs to primarily do a certain thing (spoiler alert – that thing is making money selling work). So why would they take the giant financial risk of bringing along something by someone who isn’t a somebody, or work that hasn’t proved profitable yet? It turns out there’s a couple of reasons. First, it works wonders for the artists themselves. Speaking to this point, James said that it’s “a pleasure to be able to pay a young artist at the end of it all, as just a small sale can be a real boost for an emerging artist. But even if it is not a question of sales, presenting new work to a large number of people over a weekend is clearly key.” Keystone not only agrees on this point, but drives it home by taking it a step further. When asked about Haleh’s response to having her work exhibited at the fair, Sarah recalled that “she was delighted…she was thrilled that we got these done in time so that we could take them to the fair…which was the plan from the beginning. When we invited her, we told her that we would love to launch these at the fair.”

Haleh’s excitement is both expected and warranted, because when it comes down to it there’s something particularly cool about saying that your work has been shown at Christie’s. Christie’s is a big name brand, and being directly associated with big name brands is almost always a good thing. Even if it’s just a morale booster, being able to walk through a space and see your work hanging on the wall a short distance from the likes of Robert Blake, Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn…well, that’s a pick me up to say the least. For their part, Christie’s seems to enjoy helping propagate this feeling by encouraging publishers to bring work from their fresh faces and allow the fair to emulate the democratic nature of the multiple itself. The moral of the story – be good, make good, do good, show good. And then, hopefully, earn good.

We’ve allowed for a bit of time to elapse, and it looks like that’s exactly how things have shaped up since the conclusion of the fair. James at Grey Area has been working in earnest prepping to exhibit new Guy Allot woodcuts and paintings at the London Art Fair in just a few weeks. And as for O.W.P. and the first time exposure of Multiplied? Well, it turns out that being fresh faced can be a good thing – that translates into two new commissions from people who had never seen the artist’s work previously. The results of the fair were equally as impressive, albeit distinct, for Sarah and Ulrich at Keystone Editions. Ulrich pointed out that they went to Christie’s not only to sell work, but also to advertise the services of the workshop. Judging by the amount of new projects that are showing up on the Keystone site, the advertisement definitely worked. Here’s hoping that all continues to fare well into 2015!

Andrew and Paul would like to thank James, Ulrich, and Sarah for taking the time to assist in the creation of this article. They’re awesome people doing great work – thank you!

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Robot IX, courtesy Guy Allott and Grey Area, Paris.
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Jelly Net, courtesy O.W.P. and Grey Area, Paris.

Fairing Well

Fairing well: The university print publisher and its emerging artists

Publisher: Printeresting
Co-authored: Paul Laidler and Andrew Super

multiplied

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The university as a producer and publisher of prints is not a new concept when we consider established US-based institutes such as Graphicstudio in Tampa, Florida, (part of the University of Southern Florida) and the Tamarind Institute, which is part of the University of New Mexico. Similar UK-based publishing enterprises have emerged in more recent years including the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy, each displaying prints from their extensive collections and graduate portfolios. International print fairs such as The London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy cater for university publishers, although the costs of attending such events on an annual basis can prove to be difficult – especially if the Universities do not reside in the fair’s host city. Within an art market context, one might also consider the fundamental divides between the university and industry based print gallery/publisher. The latter often boasts (or is set up in such a way to develop) an established list of artists and clients – resulting in a tried and tested model with an economic return for sustaining such a business. That said (and to keep this article relatively short – because we promised) we aim to elaborate on the article’s snazzy title – well, actually it’s probably the start of a larger conversation, or at least we hope so.

A Fair Case Study
The university representatives at Multiplied 2014 included the London based institutions of: the Royal College of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art, and the University of the Arts London group MiAL (Made in Arts London). As part of our visit to this year’s Multiplied Art Fair we visited the newest of the three university publishers – Made in Arts London, who were exhibiting at the event for the first time. Made in Arts London is a social enterprise (not for profit) situated within the University of the Arts London Student Union. UAL includes Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication (formerly London College of Printing), London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art.

A Fair Context
To assist us with our enquiry, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s Multiplied Contemporary Art in Editions Fair, hosted by Christies in South Kensington, London. The fair provides opportunities for emerging print publishers / galleries to exhibit on an international stage. Directed by Murray Macaulay, the fair launched in 2010 after taking inspiration from the dynamic representation on show at the Editions/Artists’ Books Fair (E/AB) Fair in New York. The E/AB runs at the same time as the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) fair, and showcases the established cohort of the print world alongside emerging galleries, studios, artists and print initiatives. The E/AB’s wide-ranging inclusion of print producers offers a somewhat more democratic approach to an international print fair when compared to some of the more established fairs. The inclusive nature of the E/AB was central to the initiation and approach for Multiplied, especially after considering that London had not really experienced this type of print fair before – thus creating a niche for someone to occupy.

The E/AB’s eclectic mix of publishing representatives has also seen the continual presence of the university print publisher; this year’s event hosted The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University and The LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University. When asked about the inclusion of the university print publisher at the Multiplied contemporary print event, Director Murray Macaulay referred to the fair’s role as one of cultural patronage. This position enables the nurturing of the next generation of artists (whilst they are still students), showcases innovative arts research projects and perhaps most importantly provides a platform to share this vibrant scene with a wider audience. Mr Macaulay further explained that the university publisher has always proved to be very popular with the Christie’s event visitors, whilst facilitating the emergence of a younger crowd and their networks. This popularity may be attributed to the freshness of the work, alongside the accessibility of price – a situation that is mutually beneficial for the exhibitors when considering possibilities of connecting with the patrons of these events, who are often well connected and affluent.

The Fairers:

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P. Laidler, (CFPR Editions) Multiplied 2014
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A. Super, (CFPR Editions) Multiplied 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fair Selection:
As previously stated, we were lucky enough to attend Multiplied 2014 and when we say ‘we’, we mean Paul Laidler (CFPR Editions Academic Lead) and Andrew Super (CFPR Editions artist) as this year’s CFPR Editions representatives for Multiplied.

Shameful self-promotion to follow:
CFPR Editions is part of the Centre for Fine Print Research, situated within the University of the West of England, Bristol. The publishing of print editions and multiples within an internationally renowned research centre allows artists to access state of the art facilities and explore an array of established and emerging print processes. The centre has always worked with leading artists on many innovative projects, pushing the boundaries of industrially designed technology whilst broadening the notion of print practice. All profits from sales go towards the development of new publications that enable opportunities for emerging artists and continue the centre’s groundbreaking research activity. CFPR Editions was founded in 2011 by Research Fellow Paul Laidler as part of a research project that sought to position and develop the centre’s production of artworks within an art market context. As a relatively new university-based print publisher that seeks to ‘enable opportunities for emerging artists’ we thought it would be interesting to see how other institutions and print publishers were supporting the early career artist.

A Fair Case Study:

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Made in Arts London, Multiplied 2014

The university representatives at Multiplied 2014 included the London based institutions of: the Royal College of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art, and the University of the Arts London group MiAL (Made in Arts London). As part of our visit to this year’s Multiplied Art Fair we visited the newest of the three university publishers – Made in Arts London, who were exhibiting at the event for the first time. Made in Arts London is a social enterprise (not for profit) situated within the University of the Arts London Student Union. UAL includes Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication (formerly London College of Printing), London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art.

On the last day of the fair we took the opportunity to speak with the MiAL representatives Francesca Peschier (Creative Opportunities Assistant) and Jasmine Szu-Ying Chen (Central Saint Martins MA Student). The venture was launched three years ago and founded by Robyn Minogue one of the sabbatical officers at the Student Union, and Kate Rintoul, a former student. MiAL represents current students and very recent graduates (within five years). As well as representing these early career artists, MiAL also provides creative opportunities to help students promote and sell their work, including one-to-one mentoring and a range of professional practice based workshops and events throughout the year.

The foregrounding of a support system through a series of creative development programmes was an interesting model to consider alongside the established activities of a publishing practice. To find out more specifics, we asked Francesca Peschier about the type of workshops that MiAL run.

“Our workshops are primarily for our artists and creative ambassadors but we do also do bigger events for University of the Arts students, and sometimes for other universities and the general public. Past workshops have included: using social media in selling and promotion, and marketing and open space technology. We have also held artist-led events for other universities and the public including screenprinting workshops and art-party tours, where the artists give guided tours of our workshops and the works made there. As a publisher we take a small percentage of the sale price of the artwork to cover our running costs which also gets students used to commercial pricing structures.”

With a keen eye on promotion, and prior to MiAL attending Multiplied 2014, the magazine ‘The Resident’ selected 13 aspiring artists to look out for at this year’s Multiplied Fair. The review resulted in 12 graduates from Made in Arts London being selected, and the group was also featured in Port Magazine’s video about Multiplied. The video is available on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/109225355) and features two MiAL student artists, and the established artist Yinka Shonibare.

https://vimeo.com/109225355

A Fair Selection:
After considering the amount of students that UAL represents, the possibility of including all students and graduates within MiAL would be logistically impossible. Therefore representation by MiAL is organised through a selection procedure where the students submit work through an online platform (www.madeinartsLondon.com). The submissions are judged by a group of industry experts who meet twice a year to select work. The selection panel is divided into three categories that represent a range of disciplines across the arts that include Printmaking with Photography, Fine Art and Design.

Although still in its infancy MiAL has exhibited at the Affordable Art fair and is continually applying for exhibition opportunities and learning from each event. When asked about their experience of their first Multiplied Francesca Peschier described the event as “a whole new audience that we wouldn’t have had, especially with it being editions – so obviously lots of people interested in print and photography.”

Community Fair:
When discussing this further it became clear that the students were equally adept at promoting other MiAL artists, having made leads and sales for their peers. This became particularly evident after hearing that one student had said it was easier to sell other student’s work in that any bashfulness becomes redundant, whilst facilitating a reciprocal networking relationship between them.

Fair Artist:

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Jasmine Szu-Ying Chen, (MiaL), Multiplied 2014

The emphasis on print was also represented by the selection of UAL students assisting on the MiAL stand. Whilst at the stand we were able to speak with Jasmine Szu-Ying Chen (aka Jazz), a Masters students studying Art and Science at Central Saint Martins. The work selected to be on show at Multiplied was a continuation of Jasmine’s BA study that has developed from an interest in anatomy, old medical equipment and 18th Century drawing. Now seen as a larger series, the work draws upon the age of enlightenment and the resulting philosophies in science. Jasmine went on to describe her interest in objects as belonging too, but not necessarily confined by the disciplines of art and science. This train of thought subsequently led to a discussion around the aspirations of the period before eloquently contextualising her practice around the fact that this was all idealised. The opportunity for emerging artists to speak to the public at an international event and see the reaction to their work is often a great indicator when understanding and engaging with an audience. Although Jasmine is no stranger to exhibiting (having shown work at Kaohsiung international airport in Taiwan and at a number of group exhibitions such as Modern Panic at Hackney Road), Multiplied was her first art fair. When asked about the experience, Jasmine commented that the event was very different from the gallery exhibition format that she was used to. More specifically, the fair presented the opportunity to meet emerging artists like herself, see artworks by esteemed artists ‘in the flesh’ and exhibit alongside some heroes, most notably Norman Ackroyd.

Fair enough
From our initial discussions it would appear that the university print publisher is evolving its role and identity within the print market. By offering a unique opportunity for graduates to directly experience an international art market stage, and enlisting enterprise skills alongside production, there appears to be an encouraging transition from graduate student to early career artist.

… To be continued

something about text and image

Aristotle‘The best metaphoric analogies were the ‘graphic’ where the writers words should cause the listener to see things’.

Aristotle suggested that metaphor by proportion or analogy is most significant to the visual arts. Although the word graphic has a number of definitions I thought it would be interesting to begin locating analogies (within fictional texts) that make use of image making associations to the graphic ‘arts’. Why? Well I admire the craft of writing or perhaps more importantly what ‘can’ happen during the act of reading  i.e. when the written words recede into a mental image without you realising, basically the opening sentence to this post – it’s a simple thing but an amazing thing never the less. Anyway I’m not a writer, more of an image maker / thinker, something that has led me to make / write this post. Okay I’m getting to it.

As an image thinker I am always keen to consider how images work beyond the makers domain (the irony being I often think through making), how they function, what happens to them in different contexts and how a new understanding and appreciation may emerge. So imagine finding texts that use the graphic as an analogy and through the act of reading we end up falling inside of our beloved images.

Here are a couple to give you an idea:

‘…for a few seconds the house fell as quiet as a photograph’.

Douglas Coupland, The Gun Thief.

‘It was as if another Overlook now lay scant inches beyond this one, separated from the real world (if there is such a thing as a ‘real world’, Jack thought) but gradually coming into balance with it. He was reminded of the 3-D movies he’d seen as a kid. If you looked at the screen without the special glasses, you saw a double image – the sort of thing he was feeling now. But when you put the glasses on, it made sense.’

Stephen King, The Shining.

…drop me a line if you know of any.