July 09, 2012

Contributor Notes: Renee Couture

This year we're posting "Contributor Notes": interviews and guest posts from the writers and artists of Versal 10. You may or may not know that Versal is closely linked to the mountain town of Missoula, Montana. Many of our contributors, past and present, also have ties to this "Paris of the West". This week we speak to artist Renee Couture, who has a show in Missoula this November.

Have you been to Amsterdam? What did you do while you were here? If you've not been yet, what do you think you'd do in our fair town? 

No, I’ve never been to Amsterdam. I’ve traveled a lot and lived abroad, and I love experiencing new places - people, architecture, food. I think I would do fine in town.

What is the first creative thing you ever did?

My father has this dough ball I made when I was perhaps five years old. I’d love to make a companion piece to it. It would be made from the same dough recipe, but it would be bigger. I would figure out the ratio between the size of the original dough ball to my weight as a five year old, and then use that same ratio and my current body weight to figure out the size of the new dough ball. I would make it look as similar as possible to the original.

What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you about being an artist?
Someone said, “what a neat hobby you have.” (Shaking my head and sighing as I write that.)

If you were an angle, what kind of angle would you be?

An obtuse angle. Obtuse angles are nice and open. I try to be a nice, open person.

If you could meet a visual artist from the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries, who would it be? And what would you talk about?

“Anonymous” or “Unknown Artist”. There’s a lot great work out there by artist’s whose names are not known. I’m curious about those artists. Would the artist be coming to my time, or would I be going to his time? I think the time period might dictate some of the content of the conversation. I hope we would be conversing over bourbon on the rocks, though.

Tell us something few people know about you.

I hate parsnips. I really want to like parsnips, but I just don’t. I want to like them because they make me think of the book about Banicula, the vampire bunny. I loved that book.

Other than Versal (which has clearly been awesome), what's one great place you've been published?

Versal is the first place I’ve been published. I hope to find other opportunities similar to Versal.

Why did you send work to Versal? Be honest.

One of my friends had work in Versal a couple years ago. I bought the publication and really enjoyed it. I also wanted to “get my work out there” and I thought this would be great opportunity to have my work along side that of other great artists and writers. Plus I love that Versal’s format is the square.

What has lasted you ten years?

I have a pair of hiking boots I bought before leaving for Peace Corps in 2001. I still have the boots; I keep replacing the insoles. Now that I write this, I feel like I really need to go hiking more, that clearly I don’t hike enough because the boots are still in good shape.

Tell us what you're working on right now.

I’m working on some conceptual photographs and sculptures that focus on bio-regional ethics for an exhibit I have in November at the Brink Gallery in Missoula, MT.

July 03, 2012

Fans! You're probably not seeing our posts on Facebook anymore.

By now you've probably heard that Facebook has made some changes to its page posting policies. In a nutshell, you're not seeing most of what pages post anymore. Why? Because pages now have to pay to ensure our content gets out to our fans. If we don't do that, we're lucky if 100 of our 1500 fans see our posts.

Before I opine about this new state of affairs, I want to share with you what I've read about reversing its effects. A simple first step is this:

1. Go to the Versal page
2. Under the cover photo on the right-hand side, click the "Liked" button
3. Check "Show in news feed" if it's not already

This will help, but if you can spare the time, set up an "interests list" that combines all of your favorite pages. This will really ensure you see exactly what you want to see -- not what Facebook wants you to see. Instructions can be found in this PDF here.

Though most of the burden here is on you, the "fan", there are things that we, the "page", can also do. And we're doing them. I'm a not-so-closet geek and follow Lifehacker and the like, so I'm educating myself. My goal? To optimize our use of social media so that we're interacting with you, our community. Feel free to feedback in the comments. We're always excited to hear from you.

As to my opinion about Facebook's latest move? It's douchey, but not surprising. Facebook is a business model, not a public park; if we didn't know that going in, then we weren't paying attention. Maybe Facebook becomes a house of advertisers, and maybe some people will enjoy spending their days liking Pepsi, Dior, and the occasional yet vague political outcry.

As for Versal? We'll continue to work to interact with you however we can. Join our e-newsletter to keep a monthly tab on us, or add this blog feed to your burner.

Meanwhile, check out ed Anna Arov in this photo series by Jaap van de Klomp: Face - Book