Likeness Farm (2016)


Our vision is to provide a fast, reliable and fairly traded critical feedback and testing service for emerging and established artists that enhances their career prospects, builds cultural value in the UK and makes new international connections.

Art requires the existence of an audience (after all a tree falling alone in a forest makes no sound) – the challenge for all artists is how to show their work to these audiences and find out the reaction, especially when the art world is now global. Exeter City Likeness Farm will be a new business which takes advantage of social media to allow artists to test their work with global audiences and the knowledge economy, potentially growing their reach and proving their appeal to galleries and other key sector groups. Finding critical feedback can be a challenge and knowing what the public thinks of your work is part of any strategy for an artist to progress in their field. Equally exhibitions are costly to put on and a website with no follow up is useless. Imagine instead for little cost being able to prove that your work can engage with international audiences to a curator, commissioner or potential grant provider in a matter of weeks, able to show that you can cross boundaries of taste and culture on a world stage…

Evidence shows that it remains difficult for fine art graduates to enter into the art world in their chosen sphere. In 2008 10.7% of fine art graduates were unemployed after leaving university, only 19% entered into the sphere of arts and culture and 23.4% ended up in the retail and catering sector. Of those that do enter arts and culture 60% pursue a career in fine art. Whilst their education provides them with a portfolio and critical skills the problem of obtaining feedback on work after leaving the peer group at college remains a barrier to progression. Artists equally miss opportunities to promote and engage as part of their own PR, or feel critical feedback is not necessary:

“Ironically, despite having had plenty to blog about over the last few months, I felt “too busy” to post about things. In other words, I missed out on tons of perfect opportunities to promote, discuss, and get critical feedback on my work… impact is often very brief and fleeting – a few extra hits on your website ahead of the private view…then very little traffic for the duration of the show.”- Ian Kirkpatrick – AN blog

Exeter City Likeness Farm will be delivered through a straightforward website where artists can post images of their work for a small fee. Like and Dislike buttons will enable simple feedback on works, comment sections will provide the opportunity for more in depth critical responses. Responses will be guaranteed by Exeter City Likeness Farm’s team of outsourced workers. The pilot for the project will employ subsistence farming communities in Bangladesh who will be paid a “fair trade” wage for their critical reflection. Further communities will be employed as the scheme develops to ensure global coverage of audiences.

“The biggest benefit of asking for feedback ultimately is to improve yourself as an artist or designer and raise the quality of your work. No matter what level you are at, a mature artist knows there is always room for improvement.” – Pluralsight design training

Exhibited at Topos Space 6th Feb – 1st Apr 2016 as part of The Plantation. With Volkhardt Muller