Friday, January 29, 2010

Australian Artists chosen for FIFA Exhibition

Image: Chris Wake, Flying Red Dog, Oil Painting, 1m x 1.2m
Artist Chris Wake has been commissioned to do a painting for the 2010 International Fine Art Project to celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa. It is one of the largest and most ambitious art collaborations in history. In a few months South Africa will host the FIFA world cup South Africa – the biggest and most-watched sporting event in the world. In the eighty years of the FIFA World Cup fine art has never been licensed by FIFA until now. Artists from each of the 32 countries that qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa have been invited to participate in this ground-breaking global exhibition. Brands United, a German art marketing company will publish limited edition signed prints from the paintings and the paintings will be exhibited in London, Munich, Tokyo, Barcelona and USA. The original paintings will then be Auctioned by FIFA later this year.
Do you think this work is representative of Australian Contemporary Art Today? How do you think she was chosen? can we do better? List some alternative artists for that FIFA should have considered. Post your comments here

Ten (well nine, actually) reasons to buy art in Anti Consumerism times

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Verge, 2008 Oil on Canvas 122x152cm

Some thoughts to get you past some objections your clients might have to buying your art - or just to motivate you to get out there!

1. During difficult economic times, art is more important than ever to bolster the human spirit. It makes you feel good in otherwise awful times, and repays you many times over. It fills an emotional gap and balances the stress and technology in our lives.
2. The support of art buyers, both financial and in the form of creative encouragement, has long lasting effects for our society by encouraging the creative spirit at its most vulnerable.
3. As an alternative to buying "stuff" which is obsolete quickly (think the latest computer games or phones) art has a long shelf life - at best, it can be a treasure for generations to come -and is thus, anti consumerist.
4. Buying art from local artists supports the livelihood of some of the lowest paid, but necessary workers in our society. Artists have a real face - you can see where your money goes and even meet the recipient.
5. If the times require thoughtful purchases, then art's your man (so to speak) - you are connected with the production, it's relevant to society beyond just brightening up a wall, and is not the victim of fashion (at it's best).
6. When the world around you is in a mess, people invest more deeply in their families. The home is the centre of that, and who wants a nest without art on the walls? Nurture the family with good art.
7. People who are employed are finding many things cheaper - travel, real estate, clothes etc. Those better off are willing to share their wealth with individuals they admire or choose to help, in those people and things they have had a personal interaction with. Spending their money more thoughtfully means they have a deeper commitment to others.
8. Australia is the "Lucky Country" - and never more so than now, with our relatively easy escape from the worst of the GFC. As a nation, we don't like "going without", or taking things too seriously, for long. Be there with great work when the tide changes, as it surely will. Use the time to create just for yourself and you may end up truly finding your life's work and its reason, and the quality will show and be rewarded
9. If you really want to live -spend the rest of your life -with a work of art, then you will buy it. Many people are haunted by the work they walked away from because they couldn't afford it right there and then, or hesitated to buy it for whatever reason. Make sure your clients don't have need to be haunted, by making sure the quality of your work produces a life long experience for your client.
10. Any other thoughts???? Post your comments here

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sold another painting

Just wanted to say...six paintings in six weeks! And then... it was over Christmas and January. So something's happened and I hope it keeps up!
Affirmations, Networking...whatever!

Image of painting sold (making it's way to New Zealand) at right

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Play of Light 2009, Oil on Canvas 90x 90cm

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Synchronicity Works Too

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Chasm 1, 11, 111, 2009, Oil on canvas, 110x 83cm each

You know that saying - one door closes and another opens?
Well, the other day, I received a phone call from a gallery that was supposedly interested in representing me. Here's the back story: They were all smiles and professionalism when I first met the Director, the Gallery manager and checked out their new premises (they have a good, if slightly "loner" reputation and I loved their Artists Stable). Anyway, I signed up for a three month contract covering Nov, Dec and January: hardly bumper sales months at the best of times and I'm not sure the gallery was even open for much of that time.

After signing the contract twice (it was lost once - I should have been warned!), during my association with them I was told one thing by the manager and another by the Director regarding a permanent Gallery space, my work was hung at the end of a corridor with little overhead light, they used my painting in an ad with out crediting me, and distorted and cropped it as well. And they accidentally stumbled into my solo exhibition that they'd been invited to on the last day and barely looked at the work even get the idea.
Well, you guessed it. The phone call was asking me to pick up my work as, although they'd had "a great response" to it, they couldn't sell it in this climate. AND they got the INTERN to make the call. How professional is that?
It was lucky for me, and I think the intern got a shock at how well I took the call - I was wondering how to handle it if they'd sold something and wanted more work, because I wasn't going to stay with a gallery like that!
So, with relief, I made the arrangements to pick up the work (at my cost, of course!) and then made a phone call to a dealer I'd been told about- who had just been looking at my work for a client. She was so excited she'd discovered me that she thinks I'll be their "artist of the year". That obviously remains to be seen, but it's a nice response, anyway. She said that every time she needs a new artist (because one of her existing artists doesn't fit the client's requirements) one rings within 24 hours. How's that for synchronicity.
Believe and ye shall prosper!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Affirmations - they work!

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Tree Lines V, 2009 Oil on Canvas, 101 x 101cm

Remember I posted about my new year's list of what was great about being an artist? Well, as a result, I decided to put a positive spin on my mindset and self talk regarding art and survival. I started saying an affirmation, that welcomes Creative Success, Money (No need to beat about the bush) , health and great love.
Well, this month has been a bumper. On top of a late December (but pre-affirmation) sale of a largish painting, I have now sold a very large painting, a small one and a mid -sized one (above)- a three bears, complete boxed set! (Only Joking!) Two sold at full price, but the middle sized one was discounted for personal reasons and to get sales going in a new venue. So I've netted in less than a month, more money than I made in a long while. In addition, I have another possible sale coming to the studio this week, and one in early February to look at buying the largest painting I have done, to date.
Go to it - Affirm!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Art in late 20th /21st century-by John Fowles

Image: Blue Interior, 2002. Oil on Ply

It's high summer here, and sweltering in the studio is not an option on some 30 degree + days. So I've been reading and, as often happens (chance? The Universe...) I came across these musings on art in The Ebony Tower by John Fowles, author of The "French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Daniel Martin"(two of my all-time favourite novels) - a book on a friend's shelf where i was staying for a few days.

Food for thought and a sign post to the pitfalls of art practice in 21st century...
Note: Best get a cuppa and a comfy chair... (The italics are mine).

Scene: David is a successful contemporary abstract, geometry-based artist and critic and is in Coet, France visiting Henry, a painter and contemporary of the mature Picasso, and a collector of Miro, Sersuier etc, to interview him for a Biography he is writing on Henry. After spending time with Henry and certain events, David reflects on what has just happened and the state of art in late 20th Century.
"Coet had been a mirror, and the existence he was returning to sat mercilessly reflected and dissected in its surface...and how shabby it looked, how insipid and anodyne, how safe. Riskless, that was the essence of it...One killed all risk. One refused all challenge, and so became an artificial man. The old Man's (Henry's) secret, was not to let anything stand between self and expression: which wasn't a question of outward artistic aims, mere styles and techniques and themes. But how you did it: how wholly, how bravely you faced up to the constant recasting of yourself.
...He had a dreadful vision of being in a dead end, born into a period of art history future generations would dismiss as a desert...Art had always gone in waves. Who knew if the late 20th Century might not be one of its most cavernous troughs? He knew the old man's answer: it was. Or it was unless you fought bloody tooth and nail against some of its cherished values and supposed victories.
Perhaps abstraction, the very word, gave the game away. You did not want how you lived to be reflected in your painting: or because it was so compromised, so settled-for-the-safe, you could only try to camouflage its hollow reality under craftsmanship and good taste. Geometry. Safety hid nothingness.
What the old man still had was an umbilical cord to the past: a step back, he stood by Pisanella's side. I n spirit, anyway. While David was encapsulated in book-knowledge, art as social institution, science, subject, matter for grants and discussion. ...David and his generation, and all those to come, could only look back, through bars, like caged animals, born in captivity, at the old green freedom.....One was mislead by the excess in vogue, the officially blessed indiscipline, the surface liberties of contemporary art: which all sprang from profound frustration, a buried but not yet quite extinguished awareness of non-freedom. It ran through the whole recent history of art education in Britain....One could not live by one's art, therefore one taught a travesty of its basic principles: pretending that genius, making it, is arrived at by overnight experiment, histrionics, instead of endless years of solitary obstinacy: that the production of the odd instant success, like a white rabbit out of a hat, excuses the viscious misleading of thousands of innocents; that the maw of the teaching cess-pit, the endless compounding of the whole charade, does not underpin the entire system.
Perhaps it was happening in the other arts - in writing, music. David did not know. All he felt was a distress, a nausea at his own. Castration. The triumph of the Eunuch....turning way from nature and reality had atriociuosly distorted the relationship between painter and audience: now one painted for intellects and theories. Not people; and worst of all, not for oneself. Of course it paid dividends, in economic and vogue terms, but what really had been set up by this jettisoning of the human body and its natural physical perceptions was a vicious spiral, a vortex, a drain to nothingness; to a painter and a critic agreed on only one thing: that only they exist and have value. A good gravestone; for all the scum who couldn't care a damn (about art).
...Underlying all this there stood the knowledge that he would not change; he would go on painting as before, he would forget this day, he would find reasons to interpret everything differently, as a transient losing his head, a self indulgent folly....He was crippled by common sense, he had no ultimate belief in chance and its exploitation, the missed opportunity would become the finally sensible decision, the decent thing...just one more unpursued idea kept among sketchbooks at the back of the studio cupboard".

Does this sound familiar? Do you agree? Does it change anything about how you will act in the studio?? I think it's scary that this book was published in 1974 and has as much, if not more, relevance to Art and artists today.

On Colour Part Three

Each color plays their part. Less is more. Each element is made to do more.

When working from life you take a fragment of the world then attempt to make it whole by making sense of the loose ends left when it was torn from the world. If you can not find the right color find an equivalent. Colors that have a similar relationship.

When painting from life before you use any color for a particular object compare it to any similar object. Ask which is more or less intense, lighter or darker, etc. Reserve the most intense or darkest to where it is really needed.

There is sometimes a place for out of the tube colors. At other times they are a bit like a naked person on stage. One sometimes needs to dress properly to fit in. (to the larger picture.) Sometimes the one object or color that attracts is the one thing that distracts from the whole. In this case a support needs to be found to anchor the color to the whole.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to Earth - and taking stock

Image: Gabrielle Jones, Primitive 2005 ; Oil on Ply, 120 x 90cm's all over. About to pack away the Christmas Tree decorations, clean up after the New Year's Celebration, tidy the guest room after departure, do the accounting I have left nearly all year until now...But first, I decided to do a little stock taking - and not the kind that means 40% off this week only!
I spent some time last night, counting my blessings - thinking about what I love about being an artist (and all the details); what is good in my life; what is good about me; and working out what I want to HAPPEN this year and what I want to DO this year. I refused to think of what I DIDN'T want to happen, or HOW my dreams were going to happen, just the WHAT. So I spent a happy hour contemplating how good everything was JUST as it IS, as well as the Dreams of what else could be. I recommend it!
Anyway,here's a few of the things I came up with, regarding being an artist:
Flexibility of hours and days work;
Creativity -it feeds my soul;
Engagement (and feeling energised by my work);
Kudos-being individual/unusual, taking the hard road and making it work;
It's different and and people find that interesting - the "path less travelled";
The people/artists I meet in the course of my work-interesting, soulful, positive people who are inspiring;
Having an effect on other people - if they enjoy my work, it can enrich their lives;
Inspiring others (especially to take a risk some time) and opening other worlds to them in teaching;
Exploring "otherness" or spirituality-the magic, the surprise, the "wow" factor.
Have you got any more things about being an artist that make you happy? Why are you an artist? Share your thoughts here


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