Speakeasy Exchange – One: Creative Labor
Saturday April 7, 2 PM
Speakeasy Exchanges are conversational platforms designed to draw on the collective knowledge and experience of all participants. Rather than reinforcing the roles of expert panel and attentive audience, invited guests in this series will come prepared with questions to stimulate and guide public discourse.
The first conversation will be concerned with the complex ways in which artists work – both for themselves and for others. How do artists maintain an active and creative personal practice while earning a living or supporting a family? How does earning money interface with the gift economy at the core of many art practices? What makes the difference between alignment, synergy and compromise? How do the burgeoning “creative industries” impact other kinds of creative labor that are experimental, immaterial or provocative? Should artists be paid more for the work they do, or is there more creative freedom to be gained in inventing different kinds of value? Come down to the Speakeasy for a drink, and bring your ideas and experiences to the conversation.
Julia Cole is an artist, community strategist and educator, who affirms that social practice as an art form does not earn a living. She makes a modest income working part-time in a non-profit arts organization and by making public art. She enjoys the freedom, but wishes full-time creative engagement came with social benefits like health insurance and a retirement plan.
David Dowell is a principal at El Dorado architects. Eldo is a progressive company that supports and works with artists, and is creatively exploring a practice of radical pragmatism. The result is a quasi-commercial enterprise that offers both personal challenges and satisfactions.
Eric May is self-employed. He is the owner of a Chicago gallery called Roots & Culture that exhibits innovative and progressive work by emerging artists. He has also developed a business from his own creative, relational practice, known as E-Dogz Mobile Culinary Community Center (featured at the Speakeasy on Friday April 6th).
Jordan Stempleman is a poet, and also works as an adjunct professor at a local art school. He believes that both of these “jobs” are viewed with a kind of superfluous necessity that leads to a severe undervaluation (spiritually and economically). But he also feels there is a certain vantage point and perspective that is gained (gifted?) from the near anonymity and movement within a class system.