Need Art Career Support? Artist Consultant, Curator, and Educator Pennylane Shen Is Here To Help
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
I was introduced to Pennylane Shen - artist consultant, curator, educator, and creator of Dazed and Confucius - by Jamie Smith, the artist and founder of Thrive Art Studio. I invited Pennylane to be on the show to talk about her work as an artist consultant and how she helps artists. A little background: Pennylane knows her stuff. She earned a Master’s Degree in Visual Culture Theory from New York University and has worked in major galleries. She saw so many artists making the same mistakes as they tried to get their work in a gallery that she started working with them to give them a few pointers. Those pointers have grown to become the seminars, consultations, and major talks that she has presented through Dazed and Confucius.
During our conversation, I was really struck by how "no-nonsense" Pennylane was. She has the ability to cut quickly to the heart of the issue and to help an artist work through it. After our conversation, I decided to hire Pennylane to help me. I have a confession to make: I love talking about other people's work, but when it comes to my own artist statement I will take all the help I can get. Yes, it's my story, but there are a million different ways to tell it and I needed someone who didn't know me to listen and respond and offer their honest advice.
During our meeting, I will also confess I was nervous! Asking for help felt awkward, especially in an area where I have experience. Then I thought of all the people in various fields at the top of their game, they are always looking to improve and get feedback. We get feedback on our work all the time! Critiques are the backbone of graduate school, so why not apply this to other areas of our practice? Get help! Be willing to be uncomfortable and know that when you come out on the other side you will have something valuable to show for it!
Pennylane was amazingly gracious and supportive as we worked through how to present my work, and she made a ton of great suggestions. I ended up rewriting my statement, reexamined how I presented my work and I definitely noticed improvements! The other amazing thing is that we did all of this in half an hour! I am so impressed that I will definitely be working with Pennylane again and I asked her to be our Fall Juror! Not only has she curated some killer shows but she agreed to give feedback to artists who do not get in the show by sharing a 35-minute mini-seminar from Pennylane’s company Dazed and Confucius covering the Artist Tool Kit: a brief overview of the various items needed to tackle the gallery world.