With the overwhelming reality that artists are expected to somehow maintain a practice, store and ship work, support their scene, self-promote, manage open accounts with galleries — all generally on spec, at least starting out — plus do whatever it takes to pay their bills, who has the time or bandwidth to keep track of opportunities to further one’s practice? Everest Pipkin, that’s who. Pipkin is a drawing and software artist from Bee Caves, Texas, who produces intimate work with large data sets. But they also maintain an exhaustive Google spreadsheet titled “The Big Artist Opportunities List” — and recently they have shared it with the world by publicly releasing this list of more than 400 opportunities for artists and creative generalists.
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“I’ve been thinking a lot about community and community health lately, and how I can contribute to the lives of others with my own skills,” Pipkin told Hyperallergic in an email interview. “Having a creative practice can feel selfish at times, and it is sometimes difficult to know how to direct it outwards to improve the conditions of the communities that we are in, especially if you are not an artist who works with or in the public. However, in building resources for my own support and development, it became clear that I was also simply building resources that could be useful in general.”
“I’ve been assembling this list for years and years and it’s served me well, but I’m over hoarding the knowledge for me and mine,” said Pipkin in a Twitter thread accompanying a link to the list. “I’m better if my community is better, and its hard out there rn. Go and get that institutional support.” The list is already making the rounds, with thousands of retweets and shares. Pipkin’s generous act is even inspiring others to do the same with their own lists.
“I got into the habit of sending this list to friends as it grew, especially after a conversation which had shifted into that common refrain of artists everywhere- of what we’re applying for, what we are waiting on, what we want to do next year, of what might be a good fit,” Pipkin told Hyperallergic. “Sometimes these friends would share their own lists back. This type of reciprocity can be a little rare in this field where so much is a competition, and it always felt good.”
Pipkin also took the opportunity to share another doc, titled “Hot art tips” that outlines basics and fine points of surviving as an artist out here in these streets. It includes brass tacks advice about scene building, pricing, working for “exposure,” residencies, scam avoidance, commissions/loans/gifts, budgeting for a project, and much more. Not only do Pipkin’s informational resources contain a wealth of advice and lived experience, they serve as a handbook on the myriad ways we ask far too much from artists, often couched in love-of-the-game rhetoric. Hats off to Pipkin and any other artist finding a way to make it work, and even with the odds stacked against success, finding ways to give more back!