Ian Clegg, artist and commercial photographer, discusses his project, The Cyanotype Gesture, which he carried out as part of a new Socially Engaged Art Practice module introduced in Sept 2016. The module encourages students to consider the role of photography within a collaborative or participatory environment and aims to raise questions around our understanding of socially driven art projects.
The audience or group was a cross section of business people and entrepreneurs not normally accustomed to making art but probably involved in commissioning it through the creative industry they work in. Participants were asked to choose small objects in their possession and the items would be printed as a photogram using the cyanotype process.
Their part of the industry is overlooked from an artistic angle, they are deemed as the facilitators, the bean counters. Marginalized, neglected. They are a non artistic niche.
The issue of authorship is always a discussion point in art and more so in SEA. This is not fully understood and often abused by this community, artists are regularly undermined with copyright and ownership issues. The non-creative often sees this as an insignificant problem much to the annoyance of the artist
This project highlighted who owns artwork. For a change the responsibility for completion and the ‘creative expert’ title was temporally passed on to these participants. This is alien to many of these people, used to asking artists to fulfil ever changing briefs and commissions.
Artists themselves through the education system are often very unprepared for dealing with the business environment as much as the business people are for dealing with creatives.
This project gave a small insight into the other side of the fence where the artists exist.