It's fair to say that it has been a relatively quiet week for arty goings on, that is, unless you want to hear about my project report that I'm currently editing and writing for my MA...Too bad if the latter appeals to you, because I've decided to dedicate this weeks' post to Blogs and the 'Art of Blogging'. In fact during the SAW blog's two and a bit year history I have yet to write a single blog about blogging!? You might have thought I'm scrapping the barrel for ideas there, and the truth is I am, but who could blame me when I have spent most of my time this week writing, reading and reading books about writing! Blah! Besides, it has been long over due, to step back and reflect on,
Why write a blog?
Who is it for?
What kind of blog's are there?
Whilst this will be a revising of my own blogging thoughts, it will also be an opportunity to show you and highlight some other artists blogs and different approaches they use.
Why write a blog? And, who is it for? Are really questions that have to be answered together, because in a way it starts with, the question of who are your audience? Please note I am keeping this in an art context as to the wider world of blogging in general. Some artists keep blog's almost like a diary, recording and documenting their practice (daily, weekly, monthly -up to you?). Blogging then almost can become like an online sketch book of ideas, tests, imagery and things/words/people/stuff that inspires you, as well as sharing things that work or things that don't. The crucial, and obvious, difference is that it is very much a sketch book that is in the public domain, which has its pros and cons. Benefits include receiving feedback on your work, an opportunity to test some of your work out publicly before committing to showing the work in a gallery context and publicity and great way to advertise yourself and your practice. The cons really come down to how much you intend to post on your blog and deciding how much of your working process you may want to reveal (it is a double-edged sword) as sometimes the less information online about an artist sometimes makes their work more intriguing, you don't want to give too much away.
Other artists blogs are, maybe more like this one and take a reflective approach on writing, reviewing and critically writing on 'the art world as a whole', so instead of focusing on their individual practice, exhibitions, galleries, books, films, music etc. are written about. Another example, is the kind of blog that is set up for just one individual project/residency (examples below) when blogging becomes a way of sharing your findings/research publicly. Therefore, context is everything, when it comes to who you are writing for, if this blog, for example, was the 'Natalie Parsley blog' I think I'd write more about my own practice and work. However, my reasons for writing a blog, the SAW blog, even though it is not 'owned' by me are in fact personal. I think that writing a blog, or indeed writing in general (be it in a sketch book, diary or whatever) as a part of ones art practice is important and rewarding. The discipline of sitting to write at the end of each week is good practice, as it allows me to actually 'stop' and take some time to think and reflect on what I have done/achieved this week. Or writing has often opened up my thinking of a particular exhibition I have seen during the week, and has sometimes led me to understanding the work better or even liking it more. The benefit of writing these thoughts publicly, is the hope, that I suppose there is/are other people that read it who feel the same way or even disagree, which is also pretty useful to know. The practice of writing a blog is also a useful skill, as writing publicly opens up a whole new set of questions, like, 'what style of writing do I use?' Bare in mind that the tone of writing to a blog gives an impression to the kind of artist you are. Some artists blogs are purely creative/visual things as well, it does not necessarily have to be about 'writing' in the word-ly way I tend to like using. You get blogs of poetry, story writing, quotes, photos, plays, conversations, lists and all manner of random stuff. Its great!
Personally I enjoy the writing element that goes with blogging, as (ha ha) I've always got something to say. However, I'm keen to emphasise that not all blogging is about writing or writing lots. In fact a lot of the time it is better to read, as I read this quote from a blog today,
"What a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, or ever rarer, the thing that might be worth saying.” Gilles Deleuze
After years of subscribing to a-n magazine, I have only just recently gotten round to looking and using their website (the truth is that I was always somewhat overwhelmed at the amount of information and stuff on there, that it felt too much to take in). Anyway, it turns out that it is really useful and I am just getting my head around their 'Artists Talking' page, which is basically like a community of arts-based blogs except with the universality of the template or design of each page all looking the same. The good thing is that it is much easier to find an artist or art project on here than it can be trawling through numerous Google Internet searches. I have already read some interesting posts that cover everything from artists residences, public art commissions, reviews, diary-based studio entries and more.
The link above, takes you to my blog on a-n, which is basically a doubling up for the SAW blog, so a lot of the posts will be the same however I think its good to have a presence on both sites. I think it would be a good idea for any artist or member of a-n to set up a blog on here, its another really useful way of staying in touch with what's going on whilst also networking and publicising what you're up to as well.
(above) Artists' blog: Fiona Campbell, Fiona has her blog connected to her website, so you have the formal web page and the blog which gives a more chatty approach to telling people about her work, what she is doing and what inspires her.
(above) Likewise, Michael Fairfax links both his blog and website together.
(above) I think this started off as a blog once, but then turned into the artist, Paul Hurley's website.
(above) An example of a project blog.
(above) Another example of an Art project blog, but also of a gallery and exhibition space.
If you write a blog, and would like a link to it to appear on the SAW blog then please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org All the blogs mentioned in this post and many others can already be found on the right hand column of the SAW blog.