I am an Artist

Artist Interview: Hazel Dooney-Part One

This is an amazing interview!

I contacted Hazel through her Blog for an interview. She agreed instantly. I am overwhelmed by Hazel’s generosity, honesty, and savvy. She is a model for the new paradigm in the art world. The empowered artist and the empowered audience.
Also she demonstrates in this movement that the Internet is one of the keys.
Thank you! Hazel Dooney

Hazel Dooney has emerged as one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most controversial and outspoken young female artists. According to the Australian Financial Review, she “walks the razor’s edge between respect and celebrity in today’s artworld” (September, 2006). She has exhibited in solo and group shows in major cities all over Australia, as well as in the USA, Japan, and England. Nevertheless, in 2005, Dooney walked away from the traditional gallery system and now relies on ambitious, self-produced events and the web to reach collectors around the world.

How is the Internet affecting the Art World?

There are two powerful effects the web has had on every business. The first is that it has created in the audience a desire for instant gratification: you hear about something and you want to know more – or you want to buy it – you can, immediately, no matter where in the world you are. The second is that it has caused a revolutionary process of disintermediation – eliminating or lessening the power of the middle men who once used to hold sway over artists (in the broadest sense of the world) by claiming control of networks of distribution and promotion.

Now the audience is no longer ‘mass’ but individual – a million-fold audience of just one – and the artist has the means to open a direct dialogue with it, to transact with it, without any need for someone to act as their broker or gatekeeper.

What are the pros and cons? Do you feel it hurts or helps the World of Art? How and why?

There are no cons, other than the artist having to take some time to add to their skill sets: learning how to use online media to their advantage and staying up with technological developments. There are some rudimentary technical skills required, and we do have to get savvier about self-management and self-promotion but it’s not rocket science and creative minds engage naturally and well with the virtual environment.

As for whether it hurts or helps the world of art, I’m not sure what that world is. I recently read an interview in the New York Times in which it was claimed that curators and gallerists were the elemental core of the art world – in other words, the middlemen were claiming to be more important than either the artist or the audience. If the web can be used to turn that sort of fallacious thinking on its head, then it can only help.

As an artist what is your relationship to the Internet? How do you use it?

When I’m not working on my art, I am on the web. To a very large degree, I’ve stepped away from the traditional commercial and institutional gallery system so I use the web to promote wider awareness of my work and myself, to disseminate the conceptual thinking underlying my work, to initiate and maintain dialogue with those interested in what I’m doing, to identify and develop potential collectors, and even to manage my inventory and other general studio business. I also use it to lower the costs of doing business around the world, using email and low cost voice-over-internet applications such as Skype or iChat instead of the phone.

The web is also my archive. If anyone is interested in my work or me, they only have to visit my web site to source images, provenance material, a biography, bibliography, exhibition information, and so on.

What is its potential (of the internet) for an artist?

Leaving aside its potential as a medium for new types of art, its greatest potential is to give the artist, creative and economic independence. The latter shouldn’t be under-estimated. Since moving away from the gallery system, my income has increased a thousand-fold, to mid-six figures annually, allowing me to take greater risks with my work, as well as become involved in other media, such as book publishing and film-making.

To be continued..

Please check out Hazel Dooney’s provocative work link below


  • creedalias

    Whether you love her art or hate it, there’s no question that Dooney’s bold and committed. Those who were lucky enough to see her PORNO show in Melbourne saw work of someone artist who truly committed to a edgy concept and didn’t cop out even when it involved showing herself in sexually explicit photographs that danced a fine line between art and genuine porn. In person, from what little I’ve seen, she’s as full on in person as she is in her art.

  • Lauren Odell Usher

    WOW! What an insight. And what encouragement for up and coming artists to take it all one themselves. Ms. Dooney is the proof in the pudding that if one has to passion for their art they can survive without having to rely on getting “picked up” by a gallery. Thank you Hazel Dooney for your wonderful words and wisdom.