1) How did you come up with the name Alaska Projects?
Was it your first choice?
It’s from a Velvet Underground song called Stephanie Says. In the song they refer to Stephanie as ALASKA because she is so cold and distant. It seemed to suit the cold and out of the way location of the ALASKA projects space. Some people have told me that they read the lyric as a cocaine reference but it’s not my take. It was my first choice.
2) What kind of artists do you want showing in your Space?
We show a variety of artist across all mediums from painting to performance. We like artists who display bravery and know what they want to achieve
or are prepared to dive head first into trying to work that out.
3) Using an underground carpark as a venue, what percentage of the
artists that show there make site specific works?
It’s hard to put a percentage on it but as it is such an unusual space everything in it in some way gets influenced by the space.
4) What is the best way to approach Alaska Projects to show work?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
and then be prepared to come down and have coffee and talk about what you want to do.
5) What is the philosophy of the space?
Opportunity. Giving artists an opportunity to experiment and develop work without some of the traditional confines.
6) If you can, what advise can you give to an artist looking for
representation, and what would it be?
I think representation is something that comes to artists rather then them looking for it. The best way to position yourself to be in that position is
to concentrate on making great work and taking as many opportunities to show as possible. Oh an document document document. People have short memories. If you are working on a body of work make sure you have something to show for it. Lastly, get out and about. See as many shows as possible and meet everyone you can. Don’t just hang in your own little circles.
7) It is a hard market out there, how are you finding it?
We aren’t that market driven and although we do sell work we are not defined by it. We seem to sell well but really are more interested in terms of visitation. In that respect, the markets great. People are interested in getting out there and experiencing shows.
8) How does an ARI make money to keep going?
It depends on the ARI. Our ARI ALASKA makes money from sales, Government support.
9) There are so many empty spaces out there that could be used for the
arts, what are your thoughts?
Absolutely, it kills me. I see artists that I’m very close to working away in tiny studios and it seems crazy to me in that there is so much empty space.
10) There are plenty of ARI (Artist run initiatives) out there, What
are you thoughts on these spaces vs Commercial galleries?
I think that ARIs are feeders for commercial galleries and sustainers. If you are represented by a gallery you might only get the chance to have a solo show once every 18 months. ARIs provide and opportunity for represented artists to show in between gallery shows. This is really important. It’s a way of developing ideas in experimental space. Smart gallerists visit ARIs too. They get a chance to see who’s coming up. For emerging artists (non represented) ARIs are like oxygen.
11) Melbourne vs Sydney how do you see the arts and the major differences?
None. They both have great spaces and great artists. i was just in Melbourne and the only difference is the rules of playing pool and what they call Schooners. Artists drift between states any way. One of my favourite artists is from Perth.
12) Social media is everywhere, do you use it and does it help?
We use it all the time and it works. It’s great. There are some obvious political issues but we use it to our advantage.
13) What art do you have on your wall at home and your office?
I have emerging artists associated with ALASKA. I have lots of works by Sarah Contos, Samuel Hodge, Bridie Connell as well as works by Ella Barclay and Kenzie Larsen and some more street stuff like a Lister, Neckface and a prized original Keith Haring Drawing mixed in with works from Maningrida.
14) What shows are coming up over the next couple of months?
We are doing SafARI as well as Ben Terakes and group shows curated by Tom Polo and Joel Mu.
15) Where can we find you?
Kings Cross Car Park
9A Elizabeth Bay Rd
Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
All blog posts and images are copyrighted and all rights belong to – Sydney Art Galleries and Art Community and Mark Rowden