The Art Biz ep. 134: Focusing on the Art, Not the Art Business with Rebecca Welz

I’ve had all kinds of guests on The Art Biz podcast. I’ve welcomed artists who talked about their collaborations, social media accounts, goals, vulnerable situations like rejections or grief, legacy projects, and much more.

But today’s episode is a first.

Steel wire sculptures of house outlines on a light wood floor with white wall behind | on Art Biz success
©2021 Rebecca Welz, Steel houses. Welded steel, paint, powder coating, various sizes. Photo by Nick Knight.

In this episode I talk with Rebecca Welz, who, when I asked what aspect of her art business she might be interested in discussing, said, “I’m not so interested in the art business.”

Any other host would have taken that as a sign and cut short any possibilities of having a discussion for the program. The title of the show is, after all, The Art Biz. We kinda need to talk about art business.

But I was certain that Rebecca, with her many accomplishments, had something to share. I was right.

And so this is the first episode with a guest who admits to not being interested in the art business. But don’t leave!

Our conversation centers around how she sees her art as part of the continuum, and how she encourages her students at Pratt Institute to think holistically about their careers.

We discuss meditation, biomimicry (which I’d never heard of but makes tons of sense), her projects in Guyana and Guatemala with her students, and why she’s uninterested in the art business.

Shoutout to Laura Petrovich-Cheney for the introduction to Rebecca. Thank you, Laura!

Listen

📄 This Week's Assignment

Your art biz assignment this week, thanks to inspiration from my guest, Rebecca Welz, is to consider how your work is connected to forces outside of itself. How is it connected to art history? to other artists?

And then, and this might blow your mind, think of all the people who make your art possible. Who made your supplies? Not the companies, but the people behind the companies. 

Who gathered natural pigments or precious materials? Who mixed the paints, spun the yarn, stretched the canvas, stocked the paper, or assembled the camera?

Who are the people supporting your efforts?

New for 2023: the Art Biz Accelerator

for busy artists who like knowing there is someone nearby to help

OPENING SOON

Highlights

  • “It’s like drawing in space.” Rebecca’s sculpture and gallery representation. (2:44)
  • Teaching art students and exploring the unknown through meditation. (6:22)
  • Thinking is the most important part of the creative process. (11:15)
  • Finding art inspiration in Guyana and Guatemala. (17:04)
  • Biomimicry—innovation inspired by nature. (22:10)
  • The importance of experiencing inspiration from cultures outside your own. (25:35)
  • Taking a holistic approach to your art. (31:13)
  • Rebecca isn’t all that interested in the art business. Here’s why. (36:24)

Mentioned

Steel wire sculptures of vine outlines on a light wood floor with white wall behind | on Art Biz success
©2021 Rebecca Welz, Vines. Steel and blackening, various sizes. Photo by Nick Knight.

Rebecca Welz Quotes

“Meditation gives me a lot of peace and equanimity and helps me deal with being a human on the planet.”

“Good artwork comes from that place of the unknown.”

“I can’t just focus on my art career because there are so many other things that I’m interested in.”

“How are you tapping into your own continuum and how’s that working for you?”

Related Episodes

Art gallery director Jeremy Tessmer talks about what he looks for in artists.

Geoffrey Gorman philosophizes on living the life of an artist.

Willie Cole collaborates with name brands and insists on enjoying life and work.

I discuss seeking validation and earning credibility.

About My Guest

woman with shoulder length blonde hair and black shirt smilingRebecca Welz makes steel sculptures inspired by natural wonders and ecological processes that combine to give us biodiversity.

She is represented by June Kelly Gallery in New York City, where she has had numerous solo exhibitions. She has also shown at Grace Borgenicht Gallery and Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, also in New York.

Rebecca’s sculptures have been in solo and group exhibitions in venues such as the Oakland Museum of California, the Heckscher Museum of Art (Huntington, NY), Butters Gallery (Portland, OR), the SciArt Center (Easton, PA), the Cherrystone Gallery (Wellfleet, MA), and Sculpturesite Gallery (San Francisco, CA). Her work can also be found in private and corporate collections, including those of Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Merck, Prudential Life Insurance Corporation, and Sabre Corporation.

Follow her on Instagram @RebeccaWelzSculpture

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2 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 134: Focusing on the Art, Not the Art Business with Rebecca Welz”

  1. Rebecca is certainly a gifted artist and educator. My comment is not meant to demean or shade her, but instead call attention to a problem with the way artists are trained school. The reason Rebecca doesn’t want to talk/think about art as a business is because she doesn’t have to. Her work as an art professor can sustain her so that she can make work for art’s sake. Most of my art professors thought similarly during my time in school. That’s the reason so many artists come out of art school with great talent but no business acumen. Though I do think things have changed in art school since I was there in the late 90’s, there’s a reason there’s so many art business mentors out there. Thank goodness for people like you Allison.

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. Yes, understood. You’re exactly right, and I think Rebecca would agree with you, though I wouldn’t dare speak for her. It’s not unlike any artist in a comfy situation. For example, in episode 133 Alexandra Squire talked about her privilege of not having to make money, which allowed her space to be more intentional. Ironically, for her, this meant the time to focus more on the business. Isn’t it interesting how different our paths are? I appreciate your comments.

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