She Talks: Art, Money and Mindset

Produced by #bossbabesATX, SHE TALKS* is an ongoing discussion-based personal and professional development series, tackling topics from finances to intersectional feminism.

On Feb. 27 at West Elm Austin, we interviewed three Austin-based creatives on their approach to creative work—how do they monetize their practice? Where do they find the time? What sorts of strategies and resources do they have to share?

In conversation with Jacqueline Gilles of the LINE ATX, Xochi Solis, Alie Jackson and Florinda Bryant shared their thoughts. Read on for insights.


The Panel

Featuring three multihyphenate Austin-based artists, in conversation with the LINE ATX's Creative and Culture Manager, Jacqueline Gilles.

Meet our panelists below:

Alie Jackson (panelist)
An award-winning designer and animator, Alie Jackson has over 8 years design experience working with big brands, blockbuster movies, music festivals, non-profits, and small businesses. Past and previous clients Include: Marvel, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Amazon Studios, ABC, Disney, FX, Home Depot, Office Depot, GSK, Sears, Boss Babes ATX, Juice Land, Texas Laser and Aesthetics, Sound on Sound Festival, Fun Fun Fun Festival, Margin Walker Presents, Transmission Events and more.

Xochi Solis (panelist and #bbatx committee member)
Xochi is an Austin, TX based artist sharing her studio time between Texas and Mexico. Her works include multilayered, collaged paintings constructed of paint, hand-dyed paper, vinyl, plastics, and images from found books and magazines. Solis considers the repeated act of layering in her work a meditation on color, texture, and shape, all leading to a greater awareness of the visual intricacies found in her immediate environment. She received her B.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas in 2005. Recent exhibitions include: Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (2017); We must build as if the sand were stone, South Texas College Library Gallery, McAllen, TX (2016); Rivers of our Vision, Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX (2013); Summer Invitational, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, New York City, NY; Flatlander, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO (2015); New Art in Austin: 20 to Watch, Austin Museum of Art, Austin, TX (2008); and currently Shaped by Subtraction, BOX 13 Artspace in Houston, TX (2017). In 2016, Solis held a residency at Pele Prints in St. Louis, MO and in 2013 was a resident artist at Arquetopia in Oaxaca, MX learning to work with natural pigments. Solis is one of 30 artists featured in the book Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform (Chronicle Books, 2014). In addition to her studio practice, she manages and spins records with the Austin chapter of Chulita Vinyl Club.

Florinda Bryant (panelist)
Florinda Bryant is an Austin, TX-based interdisciplinary artist and arts educator. Florinda is a Co-Producing Artistic Director of Salvage Vanguard Theater. As a performer and director she is no stranger to many stages in Austin, having worked with the Rude Mechs, the Vortex, Paper Chairs and Teatro Vivo. Some of favorite recent performances include Am I White ( by Adrienne Dawes), The Panza Monologues ( by Virginia Grise), Bright Now Beyond ( By Daniel Alexander Jones and Bobby Halverson) and Fixing King John ( adapted by Kirk Lynn). As a writer and poet, Florinda enjoys engaging audiences in explorations around identity, body and community. Her award winning one-woman show Half-Breed Southern Fried was produced as part of the Performing Blackness Series at UT and was directed by Laurie Carlos. As a facilitator and arts educator, Florinda has worked with at risk communities, young men and women, and adults—using performance as a social justice tool for empowerment and change for over 18 years. Florinda is also the Operations Manager of Creative Action, one of the nation’s leading arts education organizations. A member of the Austin Project, sponsored by the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, UT at Austin. Florinda is also a 2013 Woman of the Year for Racial Justice award recipient from the YWCA.

Here are some takeaways and information to explore based on the night's conversation and the panelists' recommendations:

1.) At the start of the talk, we asked attendees to discuss their personal definitions of the term "professional artist." What sort of constructions do we create around this word?


2.) Once the panelists joined us onstage, they began to explore their approaches to creative work and the projects they're currently working on. Xochi Solis is making new bodies of work for commercial clients and her gallery Uprise NYC, Florinda Bryant is currently producing con flama, a show for the community-oriented Salvage Vanguard Theater and her operations position at Creative Action, Alie Jackson is working on commercial work through her studio and installations for her residency with #bbatx.


3.) Our panelists then discussed the "starving artist" trope and how this often can keep artists from diversifying their incomes and fully sustaining their work. In the case of our speakers, each panelist has rallied to find sustainable paths within their work and interests (even if this means producing work outside of their personal pursuits).


4.) The panel then revisited the term "professional artist" and what that mindset shift from hobbyist to full-time artist looked like for them.

5.) To close, we shared financial and professional tips and resources. A few of the panelists' recommendations are listed below (if you'd like #bbatx's Official Artist Resource Guide, which was sent as accompanying material for the context of this session, please email thebabes@bossbabes.org):

  • If you're just getting started and want to look into local funding, exploring the City of Austin's Creative BizAid program and PeopleFund.
  • For continuing artistic professional development, Xochi Solis recommends Creative Capital.
  • Each panelist spoke to the importance of investing in your own wellness and your financial security. Finding a CPA to show you how to do your taxes, understanding your expenses and relying on a peer support system are important aspects of ensuring your sustainability (and health) as an artist.

You can keep up with the work of our panelists and moderator below:

  • Alie Jackson (panelist)
  • Florinda Bryant (panelist)
    • Social media - @salvagevanguard
    • Website - salvagevanguard.org
    • Upcoming work - Florinda's co-producing and directing con flama, a work by poet Sharon Bridgforth, at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre. The first show opens on March 15 and runs through March 31. Click here to get tickets.
  • Xochi Solis (panelist)
    • Social media - @xochisolis
    • Website - xochisolis.com
    • Upcoming work - Xochi is currently working on new work and can be found organizing events for the Austin chapter of Chulita Vinyl Club, as well as programming events for #bbatx.
  • Jacqueline Gilles (moderator)
    • Social media - @thelinehotel
    • Website - thelinehotel.com
    • Upcoming work - The LINE Hotel has partnered with Big Medium to produce an arts residency. The residency will begin taking applications within the upcoming week. Apply at Big Medium once the details are released.

Interested in attending another SHE TALKS? Stay tuned by checking back at our events calendar.


Meet the Producers, Partners and Venue
 

About #bossbabesATX: #bossbabesATX (#bbatx) is an online and offline space for women-identifying and nonbinary creatives, entrepreneurs and community organizers. Through our event series, showcases, strategic collaborations and professional development programs, we build educated, empowered and more equal creative communities. Within the last year, we've provided a platform of visibility, outreach and financial opportunity to 900+ Texas-based women artists and women-owned businesses and nonprofits. Learn more at bossbabes.org

Our events prioritize the voices of self-identifying women and nonbinary folks. We are not gender-discriminant; all are welcome to attend. This production has been made possible in part by presenting partners the LINE ATX and Resplendent Hospitality.