Artists’ Career Paths: Andrew Dalton
Case Study 1
Andrew Dalton, Printmaker: Thirsk
Where did you train and/or how did you begin your career as an artist?
I trained in Fine Art Printmaking at Central St Martins under Mike Peel, David Gluck, Norman Ackroyd, Sharon Avialotis and Tony Martina. This environment encouraged my interest in monochrome, black and white, intaglio and relief printing.
What was most helpful to you in the early days of establishing yourself as a successful practitioner?
Following college I lived and worked in London and found a small studio in East London with some friends. I found that it was other skills that enabled me to support my practice such as framing and exhibition work for other artists. I learnt a lot from working for other artists; preparing their shows, hanging, installing and editioning – it was a kind of professional apprenticeship.
What do you think have been the most important /pivotal events or moments which established you as a successful practitioner?
Getting a work into the RA Summer show and selling the whole edition paid off my student debts and made me realise that there could be an audience for my work. In 1993 I began working at Tate St Ives as an Art handling Technician and subsequently as a Curator. I learned a hell of a lot in this period of my life and it exposed me to the work of substantial professional artists such as Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, Sandra Blow, John Virtue, Anthony Gormley and many others – inspirational…
Is there anything you would have done differently or you wish you had avoided?
No, but it took a long time for me to realise that I have to make the art that I want and if nobody likes it tough. I’ve managed to build a professional economy that isn’t dependent on sales.
What advice would you give to someone starting out now who is working in your medium?
Take every opportunity and learn as many skills as possible – everything comes in handy at some point. It might take a long time but its possible to make a living from art.
Do you have any particular ambitions for the future?
In the next five years I will open my own print workshop and build a space for myself and other artists to make prints in North Yorkshire.
Anything else you would like to say about your career development?
I’ve never had a career plan but I’ve tried to keep my self open to opportunities as they’ve come along. I believe that professional networks are essential for artists to develop a critical community and to help each other to move forward. I only work with people I like and respect.