Anne Spalter: Thriving as a Digital Artist and Educator

Anne Spalter: Thriving as a Digital Artist and Educator

Anne Spalter (@annespalter) is a Digital mixed-media artist. Our conversation today, just like the intro of Feisworld Podcast, crosses the boundaries between business, art and the digital world. Anne is an academic pioneer who founded the original digital fine arts programs at Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the 1990s.

In her studio practice, Anne uses custom software to transform source footage—captured by her during multi-sensory experiences such as walking through an open-air flower market in Bangkok, dangling from a helicopter over downtown Dubai—into kaleidoscopic, algorithmically manipulated Modern Landscapes. Her work, Miami Marbles will mark the entrance to the annual contemporary exhibition at PULSE Miami Beach  (December 1-4, 2016).

anne-spalter-miami-marbles

Anne's work is housed in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo, NY and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence.

I met Anne for the first time at Kennard Park in Newton, MA, where she has interior and exterior pieces featured at the Sculpture Trail (Sept 1st - Nov 11th, 2016). Many local art enthusiasts and their families gathered at the opening. Little kids enjoyed the experience as much as the adults - an exploratory adventure rather where they get touch and interact with the artworks and the nature. (Big shout-out to curator Allison Newsome)

kennardpark-indoor

What struck me the most is how comfortable and relaxed Anne was, with no intention of complicating the experience. She was laughing with her friends, while taking photos of people with art in the background.

Moreover, Anne's work and her ambition as an artist and an an educator extends much beyond herself.  She has dedicated so much of her career to help young and experienced artists excel in their art careers. She has given talks and presentations at art institutions in the US and around the world. She spent six years working on a book called The Computer in the Visual Arts. Anne joined the Board of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)

Did you know? NYFA (@nyfacurrent) hosts a free #ArtistHotline--every 3rd Wednesday of the month? 

Together with husband Michael Spalter, they created the Spalter Digital Art Collection which has lent to institutions such as the V&A Museum in London and the MoMA in New York.

I hope you enjoy this episode. If any of your family and friends who are artists could benefit from Anne's knowledge, please share her wisdom and start a conversation. We believe that through the right channels and support networks, many artists can be successful artistically and financially.

Courtesy of Anne Spalter

Show Notes:

  • [06:30] What type of software you use? Tell us about those custom Adobe plugins. How long have you been working with them?
  • [08:00] Can you describe the interesting connection between your math major and your career in arts?
  • [09:00] How did the project in your latest show start? Where did you find the materials for it?
  • [13:00] Do you actively seek your opportunities or sometimes they come to you?
  • [18:00] Anne comments on how the marketing art changed over the years.
  • [22:00] Can you tell us more about how did you start your program at college and how did people react to it?
  • [24:00] You are still supporting students and education, can you give us more detail on the type of activities you do today in that regard?
  • [27:00] What are some of the challenges and setbacks you experienced in your early career?
  • [30:00] Was it obvious to identify the right opportunities?
  • [32:00] What are some of the common mistakes that artists make today? Maybe in the marketing context as well?
  • [35:00] How do you relate project management with making business from your art?
  • [36:00] How do you break up your routine? How do you plan days, weeks, months?
  • [39:00] Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?
  • [41:00] Can you share a few things about your upcoming project?

People and Organizations:

Favorite Quotes:

  • [13:00] Sometimes I actively go to a place, or I know before I’m going that it will somehow resonate with me.
  • [15:00] You have to be open to the possibilities of the moment...
  • [16:00] It’s very hard to improve on nature, and that’s the beautiful part…
  • [17:30] I didn’t like computers at all, maybe because of my traditional training, where you had to be able to use your hands and feel the medium and touch it, and interact with it, and stand back. The idea of typing and make your art work was not appealing for me.
  • [19:00] There were some aspects of the computer that were so convenient for me, that I started using it more and more. The more I did it, the more interested I was…
  • [28:00] There’s challenges for any type of artists, interestingly on the digital side there is a lot of hostility first, but later on often people want to see new technology in art, so the environment is definitely more positive.
  • [29:00] Advice for people: it’s such a bizarre area compared to the the banking (finance world) that is very regulated and there’s a lot of transparency. Arts depend a lot on your connections, network and the people you know.
  • [30:00] There’s a lot of randomness to it, but by following opportunities, even if they didn’t work out, you end up in new opportunities that do work out. It definitely takes time and you don’t know what the whole chain of reactions is gonna be...
  • [40:00] I didn’t have any obvious art talent growing up. My parents took me to shows I didn’t like...

Music Credits

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