Blogging for the Creative Capital Blended Learning Program on Tumblr. Blog 4 of 5

I find myself working in the darkroom, that cool dark place, where I am locked away in the basement of an old mechanical building, totally oblivious to the world passing by.  I find myself deep in thought with the ventilation humming away, joined by sounds of jazz and bluegrass penetrating the air. I find myself constantly working on this documentary.  I spend time in the darkroom with all of my friends, new and old, who are artists in Newark.  I spend so much time in this one-sided relationship while working on their images, that when I see them in person after months, sometimes years, I feel like no time has passed at all.  I want to pick up the conversation right where I left it, under the enlarger, in the drying rack, or muddled under the soft ripples of developer cascading over their faces.  I live in a world of fantastic imagination with my friends.  Within that world of the darkroom, I find myself thinking that this may be the most important moment of my life.  After all of my hard work, years of education, after hardships, friendships, and worldly travel, after I am dead and gone, what I create in this one moment may be the only physical thing that survives. This one little piece of a negative, or that one print.  Who will find it?  Will anyone be able to connect these puzzle pieces to the vibrant Newark community which is now full of life, and love, and artistic power?  How will we be remembered?  Would anybody even care?

Leaving the darkroom, sunglasses sheltering my eyes, I climb up three sets of concrete stairs with heavy legs.  I am leaving the darkroom with more proof of my existence, and the existence of my peers, than I had before I entered.  I sit in the steamy car and review negatives and contact sheets.  Reality begins seeping back into my mind as I make the drive home.

How can I sustain my work?   What if I don’t get funding to continue this?  How will I pay my rent?   I roll down the driveway, say hello to my partner, and shower off the small of chemical.  I sit at the computer, follow up on emails, try to find ways to restructure my freelance business, and scour the internet for grants and fellowships.  I applied for three grants last month.  Is that enough?  How many more can I find to apply for this month?  My partner meets with a reputable gallery and sends emails and letters to collectors.  We are making work, important work.  But how do we move forward?   The uncertainty will surely lead to insanity if we don’t get a break soon.

I crack open that Creative Capital workbook and sign on for classes. I review my notes from the webinars and contemplate my peer group support meetings. I review my newest artists statement, bio, and CV. I have followed the Creative Capital writing program and am so thankful to be on task, and much more diligent in finding ways to secure my future.  It dawns on me that if I made it this far in my career with none of these tools, I will be ahead of the game when I finish this workshop.

While reviewing my life goals in the workbook I see that I have left graduate school off of my list yet again.  I have wanted to go to graduate school for over a decade now, but its off the list.   Where would I find the money anyway?  I don’t want a mortgage sized loan with no house to live in.  How could I ever afford it?  This program has made me realize that it is still ok to have these goals.  It’s ok to dream without having money, because life changes abruptly.

In the evening when I should be slowing down my mind, little voices start creeping into my head… Oh my I don’t know how you do it….  Thats incredible you don’t have to work a real job….  How do you think you will be able to have a family as an artist?…  It’s so cool you get to do what you want.  … Could you donate to this?… I just want a really small photoshoot…. When are you going to finish the project?… I soon realize that I am battling other peoples fear of living this life as my own, and drift to sleep.

As the days march on, the workshop shifts.  In the beginning of the program more things are assigned with clear deadlines.  At this point in the program, less than one month away from completion, we are keeping tabs on ourselves and being held responsible by self-regulation and  peer group meetings.  We have completed the webinars and are given the option to take three online courses at our own pace.

I started my first online course with the blended learning program last week.  I decided to take the Grants and Applications course since this is where I am with my project right now.  I followed the first half of the seminars reviewing strategies on how look for funding.  What struck me was the idea that anyone who partners with me and my documentary is not giving me a handout, they are partners because they share the same values that I do, and find my work to be important to the community.

The Creative Capital program is teaching me a variety ways to get the end result I need to sustain my work as an artist.  The main thing, as I talked about in my last entry, is to just keep doing it.  The cornerstone of writing better proposals is based on the amount of time I am spending writing them.  Writing helps to articulate the goals of my project, and gives me a clear direction for the future  Writing was something I used to shy away from.  By forcing myself to do these journal entries, and rewriting my thesis for my current project over and over, I have been able to translate my work from photographs to words.  This only makes me more confident in talking about the work and my processes.  Without this program I definitely would not have pushed myself so hard.  I am in training right now and I feel the growing pains.  The most encouraging aspect of this training program is that I believe I am getting back what I am putting in.

One of the unexpected results from participating in the blended learning program is the emotional connection to other artists around me, more so than I already had with the documentary project.  The peer groups create a platform for us to share our struggles, and has highlighted the importance of working together as a community.  We can easily unify in our passion as culture bearers.  We can start with that common bond and work forward towards a system for our children, and their children, to truly be free in the way they contribute to culture and society.

Colleen Gutwein is a documentary photographer working in Newark, NJ. She is currently developing “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project”   

Blogging for the Creative Capital Blended Learning Program on Tumblr. Blog 3 of 5

“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”
— Muhammad Ali

It’s 39 days after the initial Creative Capital Professional Development meeting, and this is by far the hardest entry I have written. I find myself thinking about so many other things that I would like to get done, but “CC Essay Due” is sitting right there in the middle of my calendar, highlighted in red, for today. I start the laundry, I do everything else on the calendar, I get a snack, I complete email responses that don’t need to be completed until much, much later, but still, “CC Essay Due” is right there in the middle of my day today.

I can’t push it off another day. If I procrastinate any more I will never find the time to get it done. I can already hear the very mean little internal dialogue to myself when I don’t get the article to Ana on time, who’s main goal is to give us a voice and let other people know about our progress in this blended learning program. The charm of the workshop has worn off as I kick my own ass into high gear and complete my task list everyday. The program is really helping me with discipline, and organization. It would be an emotional blow to my schedule if I didn’t get this essay done.The charm has worn off all right, and now it feels as though I am fully committed to running the marathon of my life as an artist.

In marathon running there is something called “The Wall”.  This “Wall” it is a very real, physical, mental, and emotional breakdown which can take down any runner, and usually occurs somewhere around the 20th mile.  The “Wall“ goes something like this: you start to feel a creepy foreboding sensation come upon you… slight at first, and then your legs are filled with lead, your stomach disowns you, you lose the ability to think about anything else except for the agony you have intentionally brought upon yourself when you decided to run this marathon.  The strongest athlete can be in the fetal position on the side of the race track.  If you pass someone who has hit their “Wall,” don’t look back.  You want to help, but you trained and dedicated everything you had to this race, so you look forward and continue.

I believe there is a metaphorical “Wall” for anyone who has chosen to follow their heart and soul and do what they want with their life, especially in the arts. Right now Creative Capital has gifted me this inspirational tool of running shoes. I have to push myself to lace up and go for a run  I don’t have to be the best, but I do have to be honorable to myself, my work, and to all the people who have believed in me and supported me in my decision to live my dreams. I am the connector to the other godly world of art. It is my responsibility to myself and all those around me to make the connection, to reach my potential, and to continue far beyond that potential.

I am now giving myself time to think, breathe, read, regroup, reorganize (thank you helpful organization webinar by Byron Au Yong) and reconsider what is important to me. I am aware I have only a finite amount of time to be able to obtain my dreams and to create the work that is burning inside of me.  I am radically redeveloping my life to be more committed to myself, and learning how to say no. It really is a beautiful word.

So maybe this blog post was just an internal inspirational talk to myself, but I think if I am feeling this way, there is a very low likelihood that I am alone in these feelings.  As we wade through the murky waters of trying to make a living as artists, its easy to get down on your art practice, yourself, your peers.  It is hard to stay upbeat when you are drowning with work and cradled in debt.  But really, we have the ability to create culture, influence society, and cultivate relevant communication through our lives and work.  We have both a voice, and an obligation.

—Colleen Gutwein is a documentary photographer working in Newark, NJ. and currently developing “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project”   (www.newarkartsphotodoc.com)

Blogging for the Creative Capital Blended Learning Program on Tumblr. Blog 2 of 5

The transformative process of the Creative Capital Professional Development Program for artists is real. This program has been working for me as much as I have been working the program. It sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. I started this 4 month workshop just less than a month ago and my eyes have been opened to the reality of my situation as an artist and how to move forward in a sustainable manner.

Last week as part of the Creative Capital workshop, I participated in a webinar “Real Life Budgeting” with Andrew Simonet. One of the main topics was how to create multiple revenue streams. As Andrew explained his success with real estate, many of us were thinking that was out of reach. Most of us are trying to meet our monthly bills and not considering saving for a downpayment on a house. Andrew explained the longterm tax benefits of owning your own home, as well as perks of renting out an apartment within your home. He advised us that there were resources we could access to make this possible like FHA Loans set up by the government, as well as ArtHome which aids artists in buying or preparing to buy a home. He then listed a few things we could do immediately to address our financial situations.

1. Pull your credit report and see where you are standing financially.

2. Contact a realtor and get an understanding of what you would need to do to consider purchasing a home.

3. Track your expenses for the week to see exactly how you are spending money.

4. Figure out what your time costs per hour, per day, and per week.

I followed Andrew’s guidelines, except for tracking my expenses. I realized that itemizing everything I bought for the week just sounded horrible. Instead I took out the maximum amount of money I wanted to spend on miscellaneous items for the next two weeks in cash, put it in my wallet, and that was it. I could spend it on whatever I needed, but the cash was my limit. Somehow I still have $16.00 left and I feel great not using a debit or credit card and trying to work it out later.

Figuring out what my time costs was probably the most important suggestion on the list. I feel more confident in the way I am pricing my time because I have a clear understanding of the amount of money I need to make to survive. I might want to give someone a deal on my work, but that is not necessarily sustainable. I am hurting myself by trying to make other people happy, when in fact we will all be much happier in the long run if I am able to continue my practice as an artist and the work purchased from me increases in value over time.

Only one month go I felt guilty about making my art, embarrassed that I needed to include an artists fee in my budget for my documentary. At this point I am feeling empowered by my work and realizing that no one in their right mind would consider trying to pay all the expenses and donate over 10,000 hours to a project unless, possibly, they were independently wealthy, which I am not. I have to make this work. It isn’t a choice, it’s a responsibility to myself, my future self, to the community around me, and to the legacy of the culture my community has created.

Colleen Gutwein is a documentary photographer working in Newark, NJ. She is currently developing “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project” a photographic documentary cataloging contemporary artists working within the Newark arts community. Gutwein uses both digital and traditional photographic processes to create a range of viewpoints into the community and each artist as an individual.  

Blogging for the Creative Capital Blended Learning Program on Tumblr. Blog 1 of 5

I am a documentary photographer working in Newark, NJ where I am currently developing “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project,” a photographic documentary cataloging contemporary artists working within the Newark arts community. I am using both digital and traditional photographic processes to create a range of viewpoints into the community and each artist as an individual.

I applied to the Creative Capital Professional Development Program to learn how to navigate the financial world of art. I often struggle with my finances and pay out of pocket for my work. Making little income as an artist, my practice is extremely difficult to maintain.

The first day of the workshop came with an overwhelming amount of information, but it was accompanied by a neatly packaged handbook and workbook. The handbook made a more thorough review of the information at home easy. The workbook is split into manageable sections.  The first workbook exercise directed me to record my goals for the next year as well as a basic action plan to achieve these goals. Writing down all of this information in detail is helping me develop a daily and weekly schedule, thus pushing me closer toward my goals. I am now scheduling time to work creatively as well as working on the back end of my art which includes budgeting for my project, looking for funding, writing more comprehensively about my work, and researching new opportunities.

This workshop got me excited to thrive as an artist. Many of the topics discussed included action points that we could put into practice immediately. One suggestion that I easily implemented in the first few days was recommended by Dread Scott during his Time Management discussion. He mentioned that he uses a time tracking app to keep track of the amount of time he spends on various activities during his day. After the workshop I checked out a few apps and another woman from the workshop recommended Toggl Timer.  I have been training myself to use the Toggl app. It has been beneficial in tracking my time and using this information to schedule for the next week, as well as logging the hours I spend on my documentary. Time tracking allows me to see when I am spending time on things that aren’t a priority, and keep them to a minimum. I have found that the time tracking also makes me less likely to check my email or social media while I am working on a specific project, creating a greater ability to focus on the task at hand.

Since starting this workshop two weeks ago, my vision for achieving my goals has been much clearer. Instead of looking at where I want to be and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I need to complete to get there, I now see my goals as attainable through a clear path of small daily tasks and routines. I hope to be able to use this focus and the resources provided by Creative Capital to obtain funding for the completion of my current documentary, as well as create a more financially stable life so I can continue my work as a photographer.  —Colleen Gutwein

Like Jazz…a Visual Perspective

artist: Kati Vilim

artist: Kati Vilim

Join me during the opening reception of  “Like Jazz…a Visual Perspective” , a group exhibition, March 2nd at 6pm in the lobby of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Victoria Theater in downtown Newark, NJ.

“Like Jazz, women are smooth, soulful and swinging, they are masters of improvisation and they sing the blues. As is jazz, women are ragtime, bebop, and cool. Women are jazz musicians and have jazzbands.” 
Gladys B. Grauer, Curator

I will also be taking part of the evening’s panel discussion “Women Speak: Art and Jazz at Newark 350”  The discussion will focus on the significance of the work of women artists when using the past to plot the cultural future of Newark.

View the Press Release HERE

The exhibition and panel discussion are free and open to the public.

Newark Open Doors 2015

We Are The Ghosts of Our Future

We Are The Ghosts of Our Future

Newark is having it’s annual Open Doors arts festival this weekend with over 50 galleries and artist studios to visit, now is the best time to experience the arts in Newark.  For more information about Newark Open Doors and the venues involved click HERE.

Friday October 16th Index Art Center will host the opening reception  for “Forum in Form”, a sculptural exhibition I curated featuring Domonique Duroseau, Amanda Thackray, Bisa Washington, Adrienne Wheeler, and Noelle Lorraine Williams.  To read the full press release, see the post below or follow the link HERE.

The side gallery at Index will be exhibiting the artists from Index Art Center’s studio residency program.  I will be showing some small works from the break-away series “We Are the Ghosts of Our Future”.

Post-Pocket Utopia will be adding to their exhibit #SeeingNewark in their new gallery space at the Gateway Center.  I have some small works from The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project in this group show.   For more information click HERE.

On Sunday October 18th, artists will open their studios throughout Newark.  I will have my shared studio space (with the fabulous Joseph O’Neal) open and will be showing large works from the Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project  break-away series “We Are the Ghosts of Our Future”. follow the Facebook event HERE

The closing reception for “Emerging Ideas”  curated by Adrienne Wheeler will be on view in the Wells Fargo Building, 765 Broad Street, 5th Floor (entry around the corner on Bank Street) and will include large works from the Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project  break-away series “We Are the Ghosts of Our Future”.  For more information follow the Facebook page HERE.

There are lots more events happening in Newark this week…. just pop into one and you can get all the information you need to keep touring around the city.  For transportation information and shuttle services click HERE….ENJOY!

“Forum in Form” opening 10.16.15

postcard-4inx6in-h-front

Forum in Form
10.16.15 | 11.13.15
Reception: 10.16.15, 6-11pm
Index Art Center
In conjunction with Newark Open Doors 2015

Dominique Duroseau
Amanda Thackray
Bisa Washington
Adrienne Wheeler
Noelle Lorraine Williams

Five coeval artists from the Newark area reclaim ideas, materials, and roles for their specific use in creating new forms. They conjure a discussion of culture and identity spanning through time.  This exhibition will fuse the sculptural works of the artists by exploring the use of tradition and myth to define history,  present day, and future.

Dominique Duroseau’s work focuses on both a philosophical and physical level of being.  Her  choice of material and pallet creates rhythm and multiplicity throughout her work.

Amanda Thackray uses non-traditional materials reflecting common objects which examine the idea of identity as a human being.

Adrienne Wheeler uses bundling techniques to create powerful and power-filled forms highlighting contemporary ideologies and our personal role in culture and violence.

Bisa Washington repurposes specific objects in her sculptures as a way to reclaim nationality, identity, religion and customs and develop legacy.

Noelle Lorraine Williams integrates craft and history to discuss our role in society and the communities we are actively part of.

Curated by Colleen Gutwein.

Gallery hours are Thursdays 6 to 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays 1 – 4pm and by appointment.

Admission is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by our neighbors 27 Mix and Kilkenny Alehouse.
Our featured artist at 27 Mix is James Wilson.


Index Art Center
237 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
www.indexartcenter.org
index.gallery@gmail.com
Gallery ph. 862-218-0278

http://www.27mix.com/
Kilkenny Alehouse

Two New Articles Released for “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project”

artist: Kati Vilim

artist: Kati Vilim

Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to be interviewed by Emma Wilcox, the owner of Gallery Aferro in Newark, for the Newark Happening website, as well as by Carrie Stetler, former editor of Hycide Magazine, for the Newark Bound magazine.  Both are available to read online at the links below:

Newark Happening interview by Emma Wilcox

Newark Bound interview by Carrie Stetler (pages 40, 41,& 45)

To see more images from the ongoing documentary please visit the official website: www.newarkartsphotodoc.com and keep up to date as more artists are added to the website through the official Facebook page.

The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project

Jem Jr. contact sheet sample

Jem Jr. Contact Sheet Samples

Over the past two years I have been working on “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project” with support from The Puffin Foundation and Index Art Center. As an artist working in Newark during the past decade,  I have recognized the influx of artists and constant change to the communities surrounding them. Now is the time to capture the energy and creative spirit of the people involved in the current Newark art scene, as well as the physical sites of studios, galleries, and museums through photographic portraits.  The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project is a two part series.  The first part consists of the digital images available to view online at: www.newarkartsphotodoc.com (artists profiles are constantly being added as this documentary is not completed) .  The second series consists of  interviews and portraits taken with a 1940’s Jem Jr 120 box camera, manufactured by J.E. Mergott Co in Newark, NJ.  These images will be on view as a full collection once the project is completed, and will be accompanied by a book including all of the images.

Newark, NJ 2013

Newark, NJ 2013

 

“Everything Like This” Opening Saturday December 6th.

Arkansas 7

“Arkansas 7”

Everything Like This
presented by Javier Santiago Studio

Joseph O’Neal
Jose Camacho
Colleen Gutwein

December 6 – December 20 , 2014
opening reception December 6  4-9pm
available by appointment after December 6th
ph 973-223-9909

Three artists have entwined their individual works to create a silent yet audible exhibition ranging from paintings and drawings to mixed media works in the intimate setting of Javier Santiago Studio.  These subtle works invite viewers to experience their internal roars while encouraging transcendent thought.

Jose Camacho has exhibited extensively throughout the New York/New Jersey metroplitan area as well as in his home country of Puerto Rico. Camacho has been the recipient of a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the arts in 2008, as well as a Print and Paper fellowship from the Brodski center in 2006 respectively.

Joseph O’Neal is an internationally collected artist having been involved in; group and solo shows in New York, New Jersey, Miami, California, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, South Carolina, and Switzerland. O’Neal creates a transcendental dialogue through a system driven by the archaic. Symbols, phonetics, and imagery come descendent from a past that, in the words of Motherwell, “…could only have been conceived of at present.”
Colleen Gutwein is a New Jersey native, and has exhibited her work  throughout the NY/NJ area, Oregon, and Japan.  She was awarded a photography grant in 2013 from The Puffin Foundation, and has taught cyanotype workshops at The Newark Print Shop and the Montclair Art Museum.  Her cyanotype collages open a new dialogue between alternative photographic processes and a modern digital era.

Javier Santiago Studio
133 Glenridge Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

map

*NYC travelers take NJ Transit, Montclair/Boonton line to Bay St. Station. Exhibition is a short walk from station.

directions from Bay St. Station