July 22, 2015

Art Blogger of the Week: Mark Sheerin in Brighton, UK


There're many things to love about Mark Sheerin's blog Criticismism. First of all, its title makes you stutter and you can never really get it right. And wouldn't it be great if criticism was the -ism of today?  All we need is a manifesto to get the ball rolling. But Mark Sheerin doesn't write manifestoes. And that's the other thing to love about his blog. It has its very own style and voice that one can recognise out of many. The lay-out is staccato: Mark writes mostly in short, two-sentence paragraphs. But then the style and content makes you linger because Mark thinks about art philosophically with a sense of humour and in a down-to-earth kind of way. If you want to know what inspires Mark to do so, you can follow what he reads here and what he tweets there.

Art scene 
"I live in Brighton, UK, which is full of artists but lacking a gallery commensurate with the size and cultural reputation of the place. There have been some terrific grassroots spaces before now, such as Grey Area, CAC and Neuefroth Kunsthalle. But it still feels we need a visual arts hub, showing work year round. Yet I won’t hold my breath. The city has so much music, theatre, cinema and comedy that bemoaning a lack of gallery space seems a bit greedy."

Blog 
"I began criticismism shortly after training as a journalist in 2009. For about twelve months, it ran as an online portfolio and then I began producing original material. Those first posts all began with the question to myself, What makes this art? Well, fools rush in, etc. Even so, the blog has given me a reason to think through my responses to the most stimulating works that I’ve come across as an art writer. It still gives me the confidence to ask difficult questions, but the answers have only got more provisional over time."

Expertise 
"Besides blogging I write about art for a number of online publications and each one has its own set of challenges and house style. At the same time I do a bit of copywriting, which gives me a bit more financial security. A background in advertising has given me a way with ideas and writing for people who don’t necessarily don’t want to read what I have to say. For two years I also wrote about music for popular Sunday tabloid News of the World. This also helped me consolidate a concise and well-argued style, at least on a good day."

Money
"Like I say, there’s a day job in the picture. But I do get paid for art journalism and it’s quite probable that some of my business, as it were, comes from editors who have also checked out my blog. Like most bloggers I’ve been offered my share of guest posts and adverts, but my attitude is that I want to remain independent. I’ll probably get a major sponsorship deal now and have to eat my words. But in the meantime, there seems no need to monetise the blog. My fluctuating audience is worth plenty to me."

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