What I Learned From Some Fellow Artists...


Last week I got to take part in Art House Dallas’ Visual Artist panel. The evening started off with a group dinner and then moved into a time of conversation. I was asked to moderate a discussion with three other visual artists on a range of topics from process to integration of faith and work.

The evening was great and I could go on about it, but the purpose for this post (if not just for me) is to write down and expand upon a few little gems that some of the artists shared.

Artist Kristen Cochran

Before the panel discussion Kristen posed this question: “There are many art worlds, each of which subscribes to a unique ideology and relationship to object-making and the marketplace. What does one mean when they say, ‘the art world?’ Which art world are you interested in pursuing, and why? Can you create your own art world that orbits the currently tangled hair ball that is contemporary art?”

In her answer, she gave a list of different art worlds…

▪               Art as an object

▪               Art as (transitory/ephemeral) experience (not mutually exclusive)

▪               Art as idea (conceptualism)

▪               Art as social experiment/event/action

▪               Art as social practice – service oriented

▪               Art as performance

▪               Art as public intervention

▪               Globalization of art: art fairs, biennales, etc.

▪               Academic art – can be insulated art world of its own

▪               Local, regional, global art worlds

This question is great because I hear many emerging artists ask, “how do I get into the art world?” Kristen’s response is, “what art world do you want to get into?”

It’s a great thing to discuss as an artist, whether you are going to work for yourself, an organization, church or community center. What world do you want to be in? There is no “one” art world anymore. There are so many ways that you can strive for uniqueness and still make a living by being involved in a certain niche.

Great question Kristen.


Artist Courtney Miles

I suggest you check out Courtney’s work to see the context from which she is speaking. I love her stuff.

When answering a question on how she got involved in the Dallas gallery scene Courtney said, “Look, no one is going to discover you. No one really cares.”

No one really cares–this is so true. If you are an artist and you’re depressed that you haven’t been “discovered”, you need to change your game plan. Yes, your work has to be good, so keep working, but being a hustler is part of being a known artist. It involves constant work, updates, trying new things, progressing, communicating and getting out there for people to know you.

Look, we live in an overly saturated artistic world. People see so much stuff everyday it’s hard to take notice of small things. But, if you’re diligent in what you know you want to do, and you’re putting your head down and making good work, you’re giving time for it to mature, and you’re around–making connections, having your stuff up online, being involved in shows and other people’s lives–eventually it will rise. But no one is looking for you.

Don’t take it personally though. It’s not about you as a person. Really. You must believe that.

Artist Kyle Steed

First of all, Kyle inspired me to be more intentional with taking Instagram photos. So we left dinner and snapped portraits of each other. (His are obviously way more awesome than mine.)


Kyle said something worth sharing about art and design. In trying to narrow it down to the easiest explanation, he quoted a friend saying this: “Art asks questions. Design solves problems.”

I love this. The thought it triggered in me that day was my dealings with being an artist and working at a church (createvisualculture.com).

Those are my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.

Thanks Kristen, Kyle, and Courtney for spurring me on with your talent and insightfulness.


Originally Posted by Scott Erickson, June 29, 2012: What I Learned From Some Fellow Artists...