Art Byte Critique

Art Byte Critique
Japan Profiles

Address: Based in Tokyo and its outlying areas
Contact: Arthur Huang, Director/Facilitator
Email: [email protected]

How is the project operated?
Art Byte Critique is an artist-run collective.

How long has it been in existence?
Art Byte Critique was established in the spring of 2012.

What was your motivation?
Art Byte Critique focuses on creating a network of working artists interested in constructive dialogues about studio work and the discovery of new ideas and resources. Art Byte Critique originally started out on social media in the spring of 2012. Since then, the collective has evolved as a stand alone collective that has grown through artist introductions and the collective’s activities and programming. Monthly discussions about studio work, gallery and museum visits, sharing of artist resources and supporting each other’s creative efforts are at the core of our motivations.

Artists spend most of their time alone in the studio in dialogue just with their work. We continually develop ideas and create works on our own. Despite all the ideas and images that inspire our creativity, sometimes it feels like something is lacking. Art Byte Critique seeks to fill that gap by providing regular discussions for working artists to have an exchange of ideas with other artists in real life and through online interactions.

Installation view of “Reading Between the Lines.”

Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
Art Byte Critique is facilitated by Director, Arthur Huang, however, at any given time, there are between four to ten different artists who organize various activities and programming for Art Byte Critique. You can find a list of active artists over the span of the collective’s life at our website.

How are programs funded?
Currently, Art Byte Critique events and activities are self-funded by individual artists through collective funding. However, as the collective has grown and matured, we are open to seeking and receiving outside funding through grants or sponsorships.

Who is responsible for the programming?
Art Byte Critique programming is determined by what artists see as unmet needs that come up for discussion at the monthly studio work meetings and through individual conversations. From there, individual artists take the lead in following through on the planning and execution of the desired programming.

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year
We hold monthly studio work discussion meetings for artists to share works in progress, new ideas, and resources. We also organize workshops/laboratories to share resources and knowledge about four times a year. Group exhibitions are organized about once a year. Art Byte Critique participants have taken part in the annual Tokyo Art Book Fair since 2014 where we utilized the creation of artist books/zines as a way to bring participants together to develop new skills and ideas.

Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Project proposals usually come from within discussions among active Art Byte Critique participants.

We are also open to developing collaborations with other artist collectives within Japan and around the world. While exhibitions and events tend to the natural endpoint of these collaborations, we are equally, if not more interested in the exchanges and relationships that develop through these collaborations.

For example, in 2014 we were invited into dialogue with artists located in St. Helens/Northwest England with the aim of developing an exchange of ideas and works. The exchanges took place regularly and always with an eye of moving the collaboration forward. In 2018, the ongoing dialogues happily bore fruit. Art Byte Critique artists and St. Helens/Northwest England artists organized a collaborative exhibition of artists’ books and zines at the Eccleston Community Library in St. Helens and the World of Glass in St. Helens as part of “World Book Day” in the spring of 2018. These works were also on display at Paper Gallery in Manchester, England as part of another collaborative exhibition entitled “Turning the Page” in the fall of 2018. And finally Art Byte Critique organized “Reading Between the Lines” at Launch Pad Gallery in Yokohama as the first collaborative artists’ books and zines exhibition for Art Byte Critique and the St. Helens/Northwest England artists in Japan also in the fall of 2018 These collaborative activities have strengthened our relationship with the St. Helens/Northwest England artists and we are looking forward to continued collaborations and dialogues with those artists.

Installation view of “Reading Between the Lines.”

What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
One of the most important aspects of Art Byte Critique is maintaining a constant and regular presence in the community. Understanding the demands of daily life and individual artistic activities, we have an open door approach to participation in Art Byte Critique. The monthly studio work discussions are the bedrock of Art Byte Critique. The regular meetings give artists the structure and motivation to develop their work with an eye towards constructive dialogues. For artists who cannot make the meetings on a regular basis, the knowledge that these meetings happen on a regular basis assures artists have a space to share their ideas and get feedback.

What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Speaking from my own perspective as the facilitator of the collective, I started Art Byte Critique in 2012 as a way for me to step out of the solitary world of my studio and seek a community of artists to exchange ideas and inspirations. What I discovered was a rich diversity of artists working in a range of genres who were equally interested in engaging with other artists. The diversity of artistic processes and interests has provided an array of perspectives and experiences to share that enhances the studio practice for each artist. More than six years later, it has been rewarding to see that Art Byte Critique continues to be a vibrant and dynamic community. I am most excited about following the development of each artist and how their involvement in Art Byte Critique has played a role in their work, their ideas, and their motivations. I hope that the energy and passion that each artist puts into their work and Art Byte Critique continues well on into the future, not just in Tokyo, but wherever their lives may take them.

Images courtesy of Arthur Huang. This profile has been published in partnership with Temporary Art Review