Monthly Archives: July 2007

Art for offices

Sunday 22 July 2007

Of the Harleston & Waveney Art Trail… a quieter weekend to the three week event, but one of the organisers of the Art Trail made a personal house call today – a delightful lady whose comments are always perceptive and insightful. She said that she envisioned my work in more corporate settings – the boardroom or executive suite – how very flattering; I always thought my work rather naturalistic and earthy in appeal and not at all urban contemporary art – perhaps it is the manner in which I have displayed them – a near perfect symmetry.

Perhaps it is also because my current paintings link to some form of primeval memory, a need for a more tranquil engagement – a microcosm of the natural(?) in the less than personal manmade environment. One of things I have learnt about success in business is firstly, know your market. Any prospective entrepreneur should know that their product should be unique, desirable and also meet a genuine need (I have been incubating some novel ideas for the BBC’s Dragon’s Den which, for copyright reasons, I cannot possibly reveal here!!). However, an artist who decides to function purely in this business-like way would most likely fashion their artwork to suit market tastes and trends but many I am uneasy with this concept – because I am quite introspective in the making of my work – and I also lack some business acumen, such as actively making and promoting my work to the right clients – the time spent deliberating on and creating them is sacred enough.

I was recently approached by an arts magazine to purchase a full page advertorial – quite costly but one has to do these things to make ripples in the art world. Although this site goes some way to developing my brand image or identity as a contemporary artist (always a work in progress), I really need an artist’s agent to do the bigger share of the arts marketing!

Smoke and mirrors

Friday 20 July 2007

Why smoke and mirrors?

My particpation in the Art Trail has made me verbalise more on the creation of my work, the ideas and inspiration behind it. I am developing a personal philosophy of painting which embraces its capacity for artifice – the visual trickery of base materials to magically transport a viewer to another place in their own mind – but I am merely holding up a mirror to a world that is already around us. Last weekend, I was thrilled to have sold two large paintings along with some little collages. When I unhooked the paintings from their supports all became clear – from the back a very straightforward construction of timber and board – the illusion revealed.

Anyhow, as artists often do, patronage calls for a small celebration. In fact, I had laid on light refreshments but my visitors were perhaps too polite to accept my hospitality. As Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote:
for art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
I wonder how many painters analyse their work with a drink in hand at the end of a long painting session, or open a bottle of wine when some important piece of work is selected or sold? For myself, the acknowledgement of a sale or success forms part of the act of closure on the work; an artwork departing for a new home creates the psychological (and physical!) space for new work to come into existence. So too, the private view would not be such a jolly and bustling affair without a glass or two to celebrate the unveiling of a new body of work in an exhibition.

However, I have to put on hold any celebrations as I am very near to completing around five new paintings in readiness for the final showdown this weekend.

One of my patrons commented how much they liked seeing my works suspended from curtain style rods rather than directly attached to the wall, which had me thinking back to some previous ideas regarding the physical space around work – ideas that are in perpetual incubation! Also, much of my recent works have coppery orange or deep red hues, the colours we associate with heat, action and possible danger. Today, I bought a lime green covered sketchbook and it made me think again about the psychological effects of colours. Perhaps it is time I ventured into an ecologically calm green period…

notes to self

Sunday 8 July 2007

It is now time to take stock of my first open weekend as part of the Harleston & Waveney Art Trail. I received lots of praise for my paintings and my visitors left some very nice comments in my guest book. I must admit I was not completely prepared on saturday morning – donning marigold gloves (last minute tidying), greeting my first guest on the dot of twelve noon (note to self: successful artists operate as a business, are always on amber alert, there are no sleep-ins or late starts). As a past buyer of my work, my first visitor said I that was an inspiration to her, and yet it is patrons such as her that make what I (try) to do so much more an uplifting and worthwhile venture. Today, I had two more guests arrive shortly after noon. I am deeply ashamed to admit that I was dressed in the usual sunday morning slumber wear, seated at the kitchen table bagging up and labelling my handmade cards unaware of the time – but one of my idols, the artist Antoni Tapies, painted in his carpet slippers using a house broom as a giant brush – and so I like to see my minor clothing oversight as one of my little artistic idiosyncracies.

Anyhow, as a means for my work to be accessible to more people over the duration of the Art Trail, I had decided to spend an evening creating some small handmade artist cards – the four seasons theme returns – and at £5 each surely they are a knockdown price for original artworks… I have made about twenty so far, here are just four of them..

spring - small collage card
Spring, new growth, a small shoot emerges from moss-laden undergrowth…

summer - small collage card
Summer (usually!) brings warmth and aridity, the golden sun, seed pods, a scorched earth…

autumn - small collage card
Autumn, ploughed fields, fallen leaves…

winter - small collage card
Winter, frost, ice and snow, proud pine trees…

I have quite enjoyed creating this series of small collages, creating within the confines of a small folded square of cream paper, but sometimes it seems too frivolous and easy an activity to be regarded as serious art – but if I sell them then I will be encouraged to make more handmade cards in my more whimsical moments (it saves on framing too). However, I feel I must finish off three more paintings for next weekend, since the main two walls downstairs were barren with only two large pieces on show with other smaller works dotted about – and the room in which I work, with all its artistic clutter, did not show the other works at their best. However, I have learnt three important things this weekend:

Make more time for preparation – cards, invites, labels, hanging pictures!

Provide visitors with as much related information as possible (as above) – they may be unsure what questions to ask and are greatly helped by knowing what they should be looking at.

It is not really necessary to make excuses for the apparent state of my house/studio/dress/hair – I am an artist after all!