Visions Future INTERNET Future ART Visions by: John Haber
An interview with American Artist Mattison Fitzgerald
Ashai Art: Have you sold art work from being directly on-line on the internet?
FitzGerald: Yes, sales happen after a personal, on line connection with the artist. Typically the art buyer wants to understand the artist, their life, mission, and commitment level. Art sales develop through the communication between patron and artist. When you show passion and commitment in e-mail and news group postings on the net, people see the validity in both your life and work, then the art sells. People want a sense of the artist and the net allows that intimate connection. When I go to a charity party in the arts, people know me before I get there. They have been fan e-mailing me and coming to visit the studio. (giggles) It's kind of fun. Due to the press and internet exposure I have been getting nationally a )nd internationally known. For instance, a man in Japan read my poems on-line and sponsored a series of paintings, I also obtained several on line commissions to design mosaics, murals, and gardens. I've also had great press coverage that initiated from the internet, including a profile that made the cover of Topia, a new national arts magazine with its own on line connection (email@example.com). They will send you a copy if you send your name, address, and inquiry.
Ashai Art: What else were you able to accomplish through the Net?
Fitzgerald: Besides this interview? (giggles) It establishes my studio as a place others will enjoy visiting as a creative incubator for American art and programming that is also including technological, educational, international and art projects. I have a lways needed that more than just an art dealer or a business because in American art the life and passion of an artist are as important as the work. The net allows you to share your life, work, passions, and most important vision.
The passion behind art and internet communication is working both ways for me and the art scene. For example, I've put visual arts supporters in touch with the Arts Council of Santa Clara County, San Jose Arts Commission, Topia Magazine, and the "Cadartists" (a program for special needs kids doing art on computers) to keep pressing for the public backing we need in SOFA, (South of First Area) Silicon Valley's arts district. Although, I have never lost the impulse to talk about art and the feelings behind it with those who want to understand the multiple levels of art and what it takes to be an American artist. American artist is about reaching beyond the edges of art, it also about your life's vision and mission, the net is allowing this to happen for me.
Ashai Art: Is the internet medium changing the way people think about art?
Fitzgerald: Yes, everything will be changing because of the internet. The net is most importantly changing the way people think about artists by broadening the idea of artists to a place closer to the truth. The truth that we are very hard working, visionary, creative, and determined business people. Americans do not know what it takes to do art, the net allows the layman a chance to get closer to their culture, artists, and interconnected creativity. The net will help us value our own culture, vision, creativity, and opportunities again. As we see more creative projects rise out of internet communications through empowering thinkers like artists and technical developers, we will have found the pot of gold at the rainbow's end. For example, my studi named after Millennium will be connecting international art, artists, through studio exchanges. In this art/net exchange school kids will be able to access the net to learn about art, creative process, people, artists at the same time Silicon Valley will be able to enjoy works from all over the globe. We are even adding real time component where the artists can communicate from studios through drawings and sketches.. Funny but millennium means a time of great happiness or human perfection - maybe this is possible through the net.
Ashai Art: You hear sometimes that we are starting to live in cyberspace. Is this the end of a tiny, exclusive art scene centered around New York?
Fitzgerald: Yes, quite possibly, what's happening is we are watching a resurgence and dispersion of culture. It's the turn of 1000 years, a millennium, it's supposed to happen
The strengthening of culture through a resurgence of art, creativity, and technology will most definitely shift and alleviate the art world power structure. SoHo is growing too expensive for artists. The net allows any artist, anywhere to exhibit their works thoughts, lives, passions and ideas inexpensively. It also allows the layman to connect directly with artists to do better research. Because of the net, art & craft will be more readily available to the masses. Fine art will become not something only accessible to the rich.
Ashai Art : What first made you think of putting your art on-line?
FitzGerald: Well, in Silicon Valley it's a little out of balance. The technological community is overworked and needs escape. It appears a balance can come from art. You see technologists often come to me with their dreams and visions. They are tired of using their creative talents on tools of destruction. They want to create more cyclic products. They want their creativity valued. I guess they recognize and respect the risks artists take and gain strength with knowing and communicating with innovative fine artists. For example, the Art & Technology Society International, ( ATSI) emerged here in Silicon Valley. They came to me as the first fine artist to help in creating a synergy of art and technology . I was happy to be a part of the ATSI founding board and part of the creating of this vision. It was shortly after the founding of ATSI we did my web site. I was the only one in the group with "real" fine art so they put my work on the net first. Immediately people wrote asking about my art. People like people who follow their dreams: net people will help you create in more ways than you expect.
Ashai Art: So you simply started talking on the internet?
Fitzgerald: Yes, at first it was a game, I was playing to see how powerful the net was. After seeing the news group alt.fan.madonna - I thought. What's the fastest way to get an alt . fan group? (giggles) I started to make my image to be a cross between tigger from whinney the Pooh and Jenny Holzer, but on the internet. Cross posting socio- political, empowering, sometimes sensual, poetic, mind bends. Well it worked. A year later a group comes up alt. fan.matti.nyankers. It made me laugh, I am the first painter in history to have a fan group (giggles) even before Picasso. For the individual artist the net is a one arm public relations machine. At my first Palo Alto show sixty of 150 guests were from the internet. The net also led me to a patron who funded my travel to New York and another interested in funding two very large public art projects we are working on. It's taking time, but creativity, g uts, and ingenuity work, especially on the Net in ways you could never predict or expect. It makes you see that everything you do can have an effect. The net can empower the individual again.
Ashai Art: Did you develop a net strategy?
Fitzgerald: Yes and No - I had to spend a few months learning how business was done. Then I thought - ok - How is it not done? That is when creativity comes in handy. There are so many ways to do things on the net differently and be profitable. One of the best ways is by connecting with others through your dreams and visions. In New York I made sure to post the announcement two weeks before and again the night before the opening New Yorkers like to decide things at the last minute. More than 100 showed up, although I had only three or four friends and contacts in New York. Interacting with the Net gave me new buyers, a wonderful review, and a means to work on a follow-up exhibition with another gallery, in Chicago, and even a contact to s tore canvasses across the country between shows. Currently my studio is working on business and education plans expressly for our web site. I recommend people take their creativity and the internet seriously. Keep in mind though not to stay with in the lines. The net is about interconnection and multiple dimensions of vision, spaces between, creativity, and possibility that is taking us into the next 1000 years.
Mattison FitzGerald is a native San Franciscan living and producing works in Silicon Valley. Her work can be seen in New York at the International Carib Art Gallery. 584 Broadway, Suite 502
She may be seen on-line at www.rhinodev.com/M. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Art and Technology Society International be reached at email@example.com.
'Topia' magazine can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org
John Haber is a freelance art writer located in New York City.