Side Hustle: Alternative Art as Social Practice

Project: Create a side-hustle as artwork.

Proposals due for discussion: Monday Jan. 23rd

Final works documented on blog for critique: Monday March 22nd

GOAL: Bring art into a non-art place

You can work in groups of 2 or 3.

Artists often bring art into places where it has never been before.

Many contemporary practices are formed from a combination of collaborative ventures that may or may not be commercially successful. While for many, this is a means of survival, for others there is no clear divide. They have found ways in which to incorporate these projects into their overall practice.

Artists are often pressured to brand themselves, particularly within various spheres of social media and to develop a strong public following. For this project, I challenge you to look critically at strategies of branding and the methods in which artists generate content for social media and work online in general. Your project may be a “real” or “fake” side-hustle.


  • If working in a collaboration, work with students/artists you have not worked with in the past.
  • Each project must have a social media component

Questions to keep in mind:

  • Does your project benefit anyone?
  • Anonymity?
  • Where does your project exist?
  • What are the politics of your project?
  • Who are your consumers?
  • What are you “selling”?…a product, an action, a service, information?
  • What are your means of promotion?
  • What are your methods of branding?…consistency vs. anti-branding
  • What are the limitations and possibilities of various social media?

Strategies you may consider, but are not limited to:

  • publishing
  • advertising
  • fashion
  • consultancy group
  • geography
  • design
  • artist-run centres/commercial galleries
  • pedagogy
  • party/DJ
  • fundraising
  • promotions
  • restaurant/catering
  • activism
  • public-programming (talks/online discussion/workshops)

For your short proposal prepare to discuss:

  • A title, and a 1-2 paragraph description of the piece.
  • Discuss your means and methods of production (where will your project exist? solely in virtual space or a combination of physical and virtual space?
  • Discuss the aims of your project (social/political disruption, community building, pedagog etc…
  • How you will document the work.

Artists/collaborations to consider:

  • Reena Spaulings
  • Paloma Powers
  • Tough Guy Mountain
  • N.E. Thing Co.
  • Pussy Riot
  • Gorilla Girls
  • Instant Coffee
  • General Idea
  • Parker Branch
  • Food (run by artists Carol Goodden, Tina Girouard, and Gordon Matta-Clark, among others)
  • Currency Exchange Cafe

*Reminder: Always create works that are safe for you and others at all times. Discuss your ideas with instructor.

Further Resources:

Social Practice Degrees Take Art to a Communal Level By

9 Artist Run Restaurants You Need to Know – Artsy

Millennials are obsessed with side hustles because they’re all we’ve got – Quartz