EVERYTHING IS TRANS
Artist Ivoire Foreman on using online art auctions and why you need artist business cards
By Winter Mendelson on August 23, 2017
Ivoire Foreman is a Brooklyn-based artist and recent MFA Graduate of the School Of Visual Arts in New York City. They are a builder and sculptor who experiments with a variety of mediums, often exploring gender and identity in their work with the mission to elevate Trans realities. We chat with them here about their experience with selling their artwork to their audience.
How do you describe who you are as an artist?
I believe that everything is Trans. More specifically everything I make — my use and choice of materials, the introduction and inclusion of content, and thus my final works — are influenced and shaped by my experience as a Trans-identified artist and person. Trans people grow up in secret or are late bloomers who lack a reflection or validation. Many Cis people never have to question who or what they are. I create a lens of the marginalized mirror to examine the reflected gender. I explore the idea that Gender and sex are always in motion, casting mirrors upon the world and creating reflections.
I am interested in manipulating the use of assumptions and tropes. Allowing for everyone at times to feel uncomfortable with their gender, to question it. So I take my reality and visually translate it, tease it, mock it, and flip it back. So you were born a girl and just stayed that way? How do you know you’re not trans? Why?
I am currently working on taking the dysphoria, discomfort, and humiliation Trans people are often made to feel about their bodies and harnessing it through sculptural installation to create a sense of validation, value, strength, and power for Trans bodies and viewers. I explore the intersection between taboo, curiosity, obscene, and inappropriate and elevate Trans realities.
That's amazing. In terms of reaching people, what methods do you use to connect with your audience?
I currently connect with my audience through my website, social media, and via word of mouth.
How exactly do you use the internet and social media to support your artistic practice?
I grew up with technology. Some people who grew up alongside tech are brilliant at social media and all the apps. I am not in that group, late bloomer that I am. The learning curve is real, but I am getting there. I try to use the internet and social media to constantly keep my artist website updated on my new/featured work, future shows, press, and to link to my website.
Have you received direct financial support from your audience online and/or sold works via the internet? What was this experience like for you?
I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota for eight years. I was making art and living the dream there, but at some point that dream was no longer mine, so I applied to grad school, got accepted, and quit my job. I had eight years worth of art that was well-documented that I was unable to bring to my new life in New York City. I decided to do an online auction to raise the funds needed to travel and live, while allowing my audience to lovingly vie for their favorite pieces that they had swooned over in years past. I tend to chill and lay the ground work for epic Rube Goldberg type schemes — Operation Artaway and Away was brilliant. I found an online auction platform, linked it to my social media, and away I went! I used this platform called 32auctions and it was free and simple. The platform allows you to make a link and a goal meter. It's free to some money to auction different amounts of items. You can make updates and there's more interactive, intuitive good stuff on there. I ran my own silent auction for a month and raised all the money I needed to travel! It was beautiful to see and feel all of the support and love around following my dream. In addition to creating visual art, I build lofts, shelves, and elevated living aids. I also make wallets, bags, bow ties, and other queer accoutrements. I am currently looking into the best way to sell/showcase these things online.
Is there anything you've learned about the business of art that you wish you knew when you first got started?
Have artist business cards! Have business cards with your website and contact info on them. Business cards that are a normal, fit-in-a-wallet size. People forget names…quickly, despite how much they like what you do. A business card keeps you relevant in a pocket.
If there was a course you could take right now, what might it be about?
"Artistic mingling and contact-creating interactions for introverts 1.0," would be my ideal course presently. I think the name says it all.
Do you have any favorite artist websites, mailers, crowdfunding campaigns, or social media accounts that you recommend we follow? What do you like about them?
Yes! My Buddy Rhys makes ahhmazingly badass shirts over at lowwbones. They are gender non-conforming inclusive and affirming/FemmePositivity/Intersectional Feminism/Anti-Catcalling...You know, change the world kinda stuff.
Ivoire Foreman is an Artist of Color playing in queer puddles under the Trans umbrella. They are a builder, manipulator of mediums. Re-appropriating re-appropriation, cultivating Validation through Visibility, while creating Art that is contemporary to them and the many communities they move within. They are a recent MFA Graduate of the School Of Visual Arts in New York City and are currently living in Brooklyn. For more information please visit ivoireforemanart.com.
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