Why should you apply for #CA2017?
We ask artist and CA alum Kevina-Jo Smith.
How would you describe Critical Animals?
I found Critical Animals to be an extremely supportive environment, simultaneously there was a lot of freedom. I think the Critical Animals team are a special group that promote trust and confidence within the festival, they were really approachable and inspired me to reach for new things outside my comfort zone.
Why did apply for CA 2016?
I applied for Critical Animals upon my friend Trischelle Roberts’ recommendation, she had been part of the previous years festival and thought I would really enjoy it. She was correct!
What was the best part of the symposium for you?
Hard to say a best….. So many bests! Mostly that Trish and I finally got to collaborate in an exhibition sense. We had talked about it for years, we have enjoyed each others work and made many things for each other, so it was great to form an exhibit and panel/talk together for an audience.
Unexpectedly I met new friends, I had great constructive conversations and I left the festival feeling ready to be braver within my art practice.
What makes the festival unique?
The whole experience was new to me, I had never been part of a multi discipline event before, I didn’t really know what to expect and didn’t really get to take advantage of what was on offer, there were so many things to see and people to meet.. which is why I am eager to get an application in for the 2017 festival .
How did Critical Animals support you in the lead up?
This might be a strange answer, but in retrospect I really appreciated the trust I felt from the organisers during the lead up. I had a few exhibits going on and probably wasn’t communicating enough, but I never felt any pressure or stress from the team. I really appreciated that, as a practicing artist I think you put a lot of pressure on yourself as is. I was able to really concentrate on getting the work done, which in the end is the most important part. I hope.
What did you get out of the festival?
Contributing to a festival was a whole new experience to me, it bought alive that sense of community and like mindedness. Kind of similar to art school where you meet a bunch of like minded, inspiring, busy artists. Over all I felt very encouraged to keep working! I was definitely on a high when I left and I needed it to finish up work for another install very soon after..
Who would you recommend to apply for Critical Animals 2017?
I would recommend emerging artists that need to expand their experience and meet artists and arts workers outside of their comfort space / ARI community. I would also recommend better known artists who would like to experiment outside of their current practice. Critical Animals allows the freedom to explore, whilst having a mixed disciplined audience to provide constructive criticism/feedback.
What advice would you give to people applying this year?
Pick up the phone! Email! Take advantage of the gorgeous team that is Critical Animals… they are super encouraging, easy to talk to, supportive and friendly. This isn’t always the case in the art world, so learn as much as you can from applying and exhibiting in this festival.
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Image: Kevina-Jo Smith & Trischelle Roberts, Food is Free, 2016
Imagine courtesy of Clare Weeks.