Emissary Project: Garth Bayley
“I am a self-taught artist specialising in oil painting. I love to work with colour and movement with a special interest in the sculptural aspects of human and animal form. I am very involved with developing the arts in Peterborough and am on the committee of Peterborough Artists’ Open Studios and curate a pop up gallery space called Still Working Gallery. I am interested in the early incubation stages of creation across art forms and would like to meet someone who leads in this collaborative approach, incorporating working with other artists so the artists can feed off each other’s ideas rather than in insular units. I am very attracted to the work of Arts Admin in this regard and the aspect of working with emerging artists and internationally. ”
I went to visit Judith Knight and Mark Godber at Artsadmin
based in east London to find out about collaborating with other artists from different arts disciplines. I circulated a set of questions that I devised to local artists based in Peterborough with the aim of obtaining their suggestions and feedback. The final questions are outlined and addressed further below.
I took the opportunity to, on the day of my meeting with Artsadmin, visit the National Gallery to see Metamorphosis
. This is a collaborative work based on three paintings by Titian and interpreted through dance, poetry, installation and contemporary painting. This work inspired me in the early stages of the Emissary project and shaped my thinking about what I wanted to get out of my meeting. The exhibition gave me a real insight into the working and types of disciplines than can be incorporated into a theme. I particularly enjoyed the use of colour and movement that is prominent in my own work.
Another exhibition that I have been to in relation to the Emissary project is the Unlimited Global Alchemy
showing in Cambridge. This is a work by a single artist working with a group in Cape Town (South Africa) living with HIV. I went with a peer who like me originates from South Africa but has been resident in the United Kingdom for over two decades. She observed that you could substitute the word “HIV” with “depression” as an emerging epidemic in the UK milieu and this really made an impact on me. I think I would like to follow this lead and make a series of works that relate to feelings and would like to look into groups in Peterborough that could benefit from creative intervention, for example “Peterborough Streets”, a local charity for the homeless.
Lastly, as an offshoot to the Emissary program I am joining the Whitstable Metropolis DIY group though Artsadmin and I am expecting to learn more about collaborative working. This is a fairly dynamic group and working with Richard Layzell
will undoubtedly give me experience in place making. The planned outcome of the week will be decided by the group on the first meeting with a strong emphasis on performance and working with the public. The final work will be presented at the Whitstable Biennale on Sunday the 16th
My questions and answers with ArtsAdmin, Judith and Mark were:
- How do you get different art forms to cooperate especially in art lead community projects?
Being focused on and in the arts is a good place to start. We discussed open studios, Creative Peterborough and Still Working gallery as a pop up /nomadic space. This gave me a good grounding of how working in a smaller city is often more useful as you have better access to other art forms. It is also good to look at arts across the region and one of the suggested initiatives would be Live Art Collective East. This is becoming more popular from a funding point of view.
- What do you see as the benefits of collaborative projects?
Working together to a joint goal is great but comes with pitfalls and although you feed off each other you need to be careful not to get lost in project management to the loss of creating your own work
- How do you get access to organisations and get then interested in projects?
I think the most important thing that came out of this was the belief in a project
- What role can I play in initializing the process from ground roots stages to final completion of a project?
The role of facilitator from incubation to realisation needs to be mapped and the ideas come first. Then you would take those ideas to the potential collaborators to see if they would want to work with you and if you suited to each other.
- What are the key stages to a collaborative project
Find right people to work with
- Do you get (local) business involved and if so how and in what capacity?
After discussing this and my previous role in business and the local knowledge of Peterborough I was in a better place to source this info. Some advice was making sure you get the right sponsorship. A free drinks party does not always get the right message across but could be good to get a space for a performance.
- What do you regard as the “success” ingredients? What would you regard as successful completion of a project?
How did the public react/engage with the piece?
Did the piece tour?
Can this be reproduced?
How did the press rate this?
What is your own response?
- What would be your top 3 tips?
Believe in the project
Have a long term vision
Make your work when you ready
Information about Artsadmin
Artsadmin’s aim is to make art happen. Their vision is to be an arts lab for the 21st
Century for the creation of performance, site-specific and interdisciplinary work, where the innovative, experimental and unusual are nurtured.
This they achieve by:
- Discovering and developing artistic talent and supporting artists at all stages of their career
- Responding to the creativity of artists and using our expertise to help them realise ambitious ideas
- Creating safe and supportive spaces for artistic experiment, risk-taking and development
- Being truly collaborative; sharing knowledge and resources and creating meaningful partnerships and networks
- Responding to the changing environment we live in; being a leader in the arts for work that addresses the issue of climate change and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of the arts
- As artists continue to question the world, to push boundaries and challenge preconceptions, our role is to help them to do it.