No artist is an island

Site crew Alex Wylde and JonJo McEvoy helped unload, before the next sculpture.

One of my students texted me today, to congratulate me for my work appearing in an article "Ten of the Best" in The West Australian newspaper today.

In my reply I thanked her for bringing it to my attention.

I also thanked Cherie for her support over the years it took me to make it.

(Years before she had also helped me obtain the kiln in which most of the work was fired.)

I later clarified my thoughts in a conversation with fellow studio artist Carol Rowling.

This is a summary and expansion of that conversation.

While my motivation to create good art may contribute to this small success, is only part of the story.

Success never comes overnight. The ninety-nine percent perspiration, one percent luck rule also applies in the arts.

But this too, does not fully explain how I was able to dedicate two and a half years to making one, two piece artwork.

One of the reasons why people work together, in any organisation. and in my case the Robertson Park Artists Studio, is it makes it so much easier.  We support each other, share in the lows and highs, and gives another reason to come into "work". documents the build.

We also share the financial, administration, cleaning etc workload of maintaining the studio, the physical space in which the artwork was created

Most discussions of Artists Studios or Artist Run Initiatives focus sharply on this aspects.

But again, these fail to capture a much more critical aspect.  Who supports us?

In the arts, audiences are an afterthought.  This is because it comes after the making.  Fair enough, let's set that aside for now.

Something is still missing from explaining the whole process of art making.

Our families and friends provide substantial financial, social, and moral support to us, in order of us to be artists.  They are often publicllly acknowledged.

But on their own, over an extended period the burden of supporting single-minded overclocking artists such as us, can eventually be too much.  I speak from personal experience.

So we have developed a larger support group.  Around eighty students attend the studio on a regular basis, providing both financial, social, and moral support for all five studio artists.  In return we share what we know and have learnt, plus share our studio space and time with them.  Many are also artists.

Then there is the families and friends of these students, who encourage and provide financial, social, childcare and moral support for the students, so they can come to the studio, to the classes and workshops.

All up I guess there must be around 350 people who have either directly or indirectly supported myself, while I created the 700 kg sculpture.

Then there is the board and 16 staff members of the nonprofit organisation that organises every aspect of the Sculpture by the Sea event. On top of that are 56 Consultants, Temporary Staff & Interns who assist them in organising and running this exhibition. Alex and JonJo in the picture above were two of these people.

Then there are over 300 people and organisations who have freely donated $250 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, to help fund Sculpture by the Sea.

Then there is my photographer, the photographers from the newspapers and journalists and Arts Editor...

So what is the total so far?  670?  700?

I'm honoured to be part of such a large and generous team.

So why does the 200,000-250,000 people who come to the exhibition see only my name next to the artwork?


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