Yesterday, I went to the artist talk by Yorgos Sapountzis, followed by drinks at the Stieglkeller with a few students from Andreas Lolis’s ‘Working with Stone’ class. We shared a Kaiserschmarrn (sliced pancake with plum stew) as they told me funny stories of the walkers who come up to the quarry to gawk at them while they’re working – apparently some people don’t realise how dangerous it is to come up behind someone who has an electric grinder in their hands.
Anyone who has been regularly reading this blog or has spoken to me IRL will know that I love complaining about the weather. I felt a little guilty, though, when one of my friends from the stone class told me she had been getting up every morning at 7am so she could start working at 8.30am because they needed to take a few hour break at lunchtime due to the heat. They’ve been in Salzburg for the longest out of all the Summer Academy students – almost one month – so I’m very much looking forward to seeing what they’ve produced on Friday, when they open up their working space to visitors between 4-6pm.
Since leaving formal education, I’ve really missed going to artist talks. Of course, it’s often possible to go and see one at a gallery or institution, but it never feels the same as the intimacy and honesty that comes from artists speaking directly to students. That’s why I’ve been enjoying the regular program of talks at 5020 Gallery so much. There is nothing like an artist sitting behind their computer and clicking through photographs of their work and talking about their inspirations and their process.
Yesterday, I learnt about Yorgos Sapountzis’s beginnings as a stage designer and assistant director in the theatre. The difference between the two professions, he said, was that if you’re having problems during the staging of a play there is always someone else who can come and fix it for you but as an artist you have to face up to your own problems and fears on a daily basis. Yorgos also said he’s sometimes found it difficult to develop a studio practice for that reason; in the theatre your working space is very energetic and in a white cube studio its just you and your materials. It was nice to be reminded that this struggle is an important part of the creative process.