Fairing Well

Fairing well: The university print publisher and its emerging artists

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

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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.

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

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