Document Actions

Ruth Solomons (Arts Management)

How artists work. Sustainability, self-subsidy and risk management among post economic crash UK artists.

In considering ‘how artists work’, my research looks not only at art practice, but also the related activities an artist may undertake in order to sustain their art practice. This broader view draws on my insight as a practising artist, as well as on theoretical contexts which I have identified in relation to what ‘work’ means for artists. These contexts include: post-studio debates; Fine Art’s critical inheritance; and conceptual approaches relating to adherence to a particular discipline, such as painting, sculpture or drawing.

In order to maintain a continuous thread between finding out what ‘work’ means for the artists in my study, and the theory within which the research sits, I am taking both an autoethnographic approach (self-observation) and a situated ethnographic approach (using my insight to observe a small group of case study artists). As ‘work’ can be varyingly presented/hidden according to artists’ different individual situations, the scope of the research is partly guided by the observations which are able to be made. Through this reflexive, adaptive approach, my research aims to indicate a broad range of ways in which artists incorporate (or separate) theoretical, critical and conceptual approaches into their practices, and how this mix of activities then manifests as ‘work’.

Supervisor: Dr Sophie Hope

Image: Ruth Solomons, Painting in Bubble Wrap ('Embers', 2009, oil on canvas, 41cm x 46cm), as photographed by the artist, 2016.