mArt Lab

Logo for Multiples in art labHow can artists use successful strategies found in entrepreneurship, design, and commercialization as a way to advance creative practice and research?  The answer is here at UMaine, in the Intermedia MFA Program.  Intermedia is a field in the arts that blends modes of artistic practice with research strategies from fields as diverse as sociology, engineering, or economics to seek innovative solutions to complex problems.  In our line of grounded research we explore creativity, design and commercialization through the production of artists’ multiples.  In order to move this research forward we have created a research focus called the Multiples in Art Lab, or the mART Lab, in the IMRC Center that combines design and research with business practices and social consciousness. This project seeks to apply modes of commercial production to fine art practice, exploring and researching the artists’ multiple format as a means for creative expression as well as for its possible economic impact.

The four specific goals of the mART Lab are as follows:

  1. To research and apply low cost, mass-production DIY processes in the context of artistic and creative work;
  2. Experiment with specific localized production technologies such as silk screen, Xerox printing, die cutting etc. to determine best practices for translating creative ideas into low cost marketable multiples and editioned works;
  3. Working in collaboration with artists and graduate students to research and develop best practices for small-scale multiples production;
  4. Research and explore history of artists’ use of mass-production technologies and apply said information to current digital and analogue small scale-production technologies. This last goal is grounded in the Director’s past years of research on the theory and history of the artists’ multiple and is the basis for the new direction of the applied research central to this project.

image of artists books and multiples
Artist books cover a table in the mART lab.

This project established a research/production lab in which we explore the intersections between the fine arts, design, creativity and commercialization.  In addition to the individually focused research on the form of the artists’ multiple conducted by the labs director, Owen F. Smith, the lab is seeking to to develop digital media technologies and DIY aesthetics in an attempt to “prototype” a small scale production facility for Multiples. The mART Lab also works collaboratively with other artists, designers and graduate students on their own multiples as well. If you are an artist who is interested in working in artists the form of the multiple please contact us to discuss possibilities.