Jaime Salvador Castillo is an independent curator, graphic artist and the current Chair for the City of Austin's Art in Public Places Panel. Jaime's experience includes receiving his Studio Art BFA in 2005 from UT-Austin. He was the portfolio advisor for Young Artists @ Arthouse and was a contributing arts writer for The Austin Chronicle.
Jaime is Generous Art's Curatorial Board Chair. He helps the Curatorial Board review artists' submissions to Generous Art. This month, Jaime selected the artworks and set the show at Capital Factory for Beautiful Giving, so you will see his eye and mind at work with this exhibit.
Jaime's current projects include "Eyes Got It" an open call art competition offering critical reviews & exhibitions opportunities, and an upcoming exhibition at the Mexican-American Cultural Center as part of the Los Outsiders Art Collective.
Gallerist Jill Schroeder of grayDUCK Gallery
Q:Why did you become a gallerist? How does your education (formal or otherwise) inform this?
JS:I studied art and was a practicing artist out of college. I continued to produce art while working in graphic design, branding and marketing. I was in the corporate world for over a decade and eventually work became my creative outlet. When I moved down to Austin I wanted to get back to my art roots. That’s when all of my experiences from art and marketing seemed to make sense in running my own gallery.
Q:What are your various responsibilities? What does an average day or week look like? Are there daily things that help you keep up with your profession? This could be annual workshops/conferences, or just daily check ins with outside blogs/sites/social media?
JS:During an average week, I’m typically working on a number of future shows. I’m ironing out the details of the calendar and checking in with the artists that I have coming up to refine our PR and see how the general feel of the work is progressing on their end. I do my best to keep up with submissions and special events at the gallery, and I keep up with the gallery’s social media and try to keep track of all the openings around town.The week before a new show is all about that opening, though. I’m reseting the gallery, patching and painting walls. I fine tune the layout of the show, hang it and light it. PR is in full swing, hopefully. That week, I try to stay focused on just the artist or artists in that show to make sure we’re all happy with the way it looks.
Q:How do you discover new artists?
JS: I find a lot of artist through word of mouth from other artists and curators. I accept submissions online, and have found some great artists that way. I also still have strong connections to the art community in Minneapolis, so I pull from there quite a bit. I try to keep it even though by sending Austin artists to galleries up there.
Q:When you work with an artist on an exhibition, what are the responsibilities of gallerist vs. artist?
JS:Gallerist:The way I see it, the artist’s job is to execute their work as closely to their vision as they can. We’ll work together ahead of time to decide upon the body of work that we envision for the show to keep it somewhat cohesive or to tell a story. But it’s really up to the artist to develop the series, a cohesive group of pieces.My job is to promote and display the artist’s work and to advocate for them as an artist. This isn’t typically hard, because by the time someone has a show here, I’m a fan of theirs and have learned something about their process and vision.While designing the layout for the show, I work with the artist and do my best to elevate the art. Moving these pieces from an artist’s studio where they’re probably working on one or two pieces at a time into Grayduck where we have the room to spread everything out and create groupings and space often brings the art closer to its full potential. Pieces are able to interact with each other, and viewers get to see the artist’s vision and story.This is also my goal with two person or small group shows. When I select artists to show together in the space, it is my intention for the art to either contrast or relate and hopefully elevate all of the work.Another part of my job is to try to place the art with a buyer. I think even more important than having a gallery show for many artists is to see their work being added to someone’s collection to display and enjoy in their home. I don’t feel that the responsibility of selling is solely the gallery’s, in fact I don’t even believe that it’s the primary goal of Grayduck. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see the art in the best light possible and if they love it, they should consider taking it home.
Q:How does one establish a relationship with a gallerist?
JS:Visit the gallery and chat with them about the show that is currently up. Go to all the Austin art openings and chat with them there. Meet them through your network of artists.
Q:In some situations a curator and an art gallerist work together. Have you produced exhibits this way?
JS:Yes, I’ve invited guest curators to curate shows at the gallery. Each curator is different to work with and responsibilities vary between each party. Some curators chose and curated the show and others just wanted to chose the artists and handed off the curation to me.
Q:What do you look for in the work of a new artist? What do you look for in the work of a returning artist?
JS:When meeting an artist who’s work I haven’t seen before, I look for craftsmanship, a well executed idea, and a developed vision.For artists that I’m considering showing again, a lot of it comes down to how easy it was to work with them the first time. Do they have a strong work ethic? Did they meet deadlines? Did they communicate? Also, I’m looking for a reason to show them again. Has their work developed? Is this something new for them?
Q:How many of your buyers are returning customers? How do art buyers build their collections?
JS:I’d estimate that about 30% of my sales are to return buyers. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many artists buy from the gallery. Typically they’re buying work of an artists that they are unfamiliar with.Art buyers probably build their collections in many different ways, but the ones I typically sell to are buying the art that they fall in love with. They are not typically looking for a specific piece for a specific wall, although I have had some sales like that.I really enjoy selling to new art collectors, or to someone who has never bought art before.
Q:How do you decide what curatorial jobs -- exhibitions, juried shows, gallery shows -- to take on outside your gallery responsibilities?
JS:If I have the time, I’m happy to contribute in any way I can.
Q:How can artists be better, easier, or more professional to work with to make your job easier?
JS:Communication is so important. I try to cover all the bases but if I miss something, I need the artist to speak up. Time management is up there too. It makes things smoother when all info, images and work is ready to go. We have a pretty quick turn around at the gallery. We typically close a show on a Sunday and have the new opening that Friday. It takes teamwork with the artists to make that possible.
Q:What do you hope for when you promote an artist? What is an example of a good relationship?
JS:My biggest joy is when an artist gets exposure from a show here that helps them move to the next level of their career. I view the the relationship between gallery and artist to be symbiotic. In fact, I believe that extends to the entire art community. If the local galleries are well supported, then local artist do well and vice versa.
Megan Mcllwain interviews Alex Robart
When talking to people about Generous Art, I tend to focus on the point that 30% of all sales goes back into our community. My amazement of that kind of generosity can sometimes overshadow my deep appreciation of the Fine Art that is represented. Then someone like Alex comes along and reminds me that the art comes first.
I met Alex Robart in 2012 when he made his first Generous Art purchase of a piece by Katie O'Connor and Renee Nunez's Bokehs. When I learned that he had recently chosen Generous Art for another purchase -- a lovely piece by Suzanne Lewis and Eleanor Droll's Wrestlers -- I asked him for an interview. I had a long list of questions regarding the connection between art and charitable giving, but to my pleasant surprise, we just talked about the art. He showed me pictures of his impressive collection and how he had incorporated the Generous Artwork. He discovered Generous Art while dining at Texas French Bread where Katy O'Connor was being shown. He said, "While it is wonderful to have the opportunity to buy art and donate simultaneously, it is the quality of artwork that drew me in and keeps me coming back." The 'generous' part is just an added bonus.
Are you surviving or thriving? Please give us your feedback in this survey!
If you had asked me five years ago if I would be willing to spend over $45,000 of my own money, and volunteer nearly full time for four years while scrambling to pay my own bills and hardly ever make it to the studio, I would have laughed at you. I started Generous Art so I would have the chance to sell art in a way I could stomach, and to support nonprofits that help me survive. The more stories I heard from artists about our struggles to financially survive while still appearing as working professionals, the more dedicated I became. When I talk to people about the broken business models in the art world, they are shocked; but they can relate it to the music industry which has done a much better job advocating about the problems. There really are not many people or agencies advocating for Visual Artists, locally, regionally, or nationally.
Please share your data so we can advocate for you, so you have a chance to do your best work. And then please share the survey with your artist friends.
Thank you-- Jennifer Chenoweth
We've been researching topics about Professional Development, in particular, artists' transferable skills in the job market. We look forward to presenting interviews with business people talking about their specific job paths that started with a degree in art and art history.
Some artists and critics are out getting MBA's. Some artists are having more success in business and marketing because they can think creatively, have a high tolerance for risk, and are very persistent.
Here are some articles for reading about the topic:
Generous Art launches a partnership with AIA Austin for a pop-up art show where art and architecture intersect.
Join us in a roundtable discussion with distinguished local architects and artists. Featuring guest curators Larry Alan Doll, Ryan Coover, and a panel of select Generous Artists.
Admission will include signature cocktails and a vast array of locally crafted hors d'oeuvres. All proceeds plus 30% of art sales will benefit the Austin Foundation for Architecture.
It will be held on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at the Austin Center for Architecture 801 W. 12th Street, Austin, TX, 78701.
The private talk will go from 5:30pm to 7pm. This part of the event will be ticketed ($15). The public reception begins at 7pm and will go on until 9pm.
On Tuesday, February 18, we invited Austin's community of curators and our board of directors to meet for lunch in the Crenshaw Room at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. We discussed our new Curatorial Board, Artwork Criteria, and Curatorial Statement, developed by Independent Curator Salvador Jaime Castillo and the Artist's Liason to the GA Board Eleanor Droll. We talked about our mission to empower artists and sustain communities, and how we've grown.
The curators in attendance provided great insights on how to design our new Curatorial Board. We look forward to having their input on our next call for artists.
We plan to create more opportunities for curators to participate in Generous Art's dynamic shows and professional development for artists.
Many thanks to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Trento for hosting and catering this event!
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