woensdag 18 december 2013
The first one is an exhibition of work from Grayson Perry. A few years back he made tapestries to describe differences between the classes in the UK and his research was made into a documentary. A documentary about the classes would have been interesting by itself for me not being British, but adding the work of Grayson Perry made it extra cool! I love his work in which he uses old traditional media to express modern things, mainly to describe different people. You can see his work in Manchester Art Gallery till 2nd of February.
The second exhibition is of artwork from the Chapman brothers. They have created some amazing scenes of small figures and they are quite grim!
This exhibition is held in the Serpentine Gallery in London. Bit far away for me, but would otherwise have definitely be planning to go there!
maandag 2 december 2013
Small adjustment to the art world of a quote from the film Pulp Fiction by the character Marcellus:
This profession is filled to the brim with pretentious motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would determine what is art and what is not. If you mean their subjective opinion leads them to pick boring conceptual crap nobody understands, you're right. If you mean choosing visual pleasing works that will have impact on the years to come, you're wrong.
And yet there are people that don't place themselves above someone else and don't feel the need to lift themselves or an artwork with complicated language. They just pick what they like and I love that! Even if they don't like my work, it is honest and fair.
There are only very few people in the art world that actually have skills in judging art without being caught in a spiral of hyping work to sell or to climb on a higher rank. They can tell the difference between innovative challenging work from random weirdness.
I can't I can only judge what I know. I find it very hard to judge an abstract painting for instance and just fall back by saying whether I like it or not.
dinsdag 26 november 2013
So far so good, but this is where it stops with my knowledge of my audience. I can't tell by reading someone's age, I seem to have a massive range and can't rule out any age group. I also can't tell by what people wear. There are lots of people that like different and weird stuff, but don't dress like that. When I think about it, this applies to me as well!
What I often hear people saying is that they know someone that would really like my sculptures. Yes, I have noticed that my work ticks a lot of boxes for some people and they just spend quite some time staring at my stall. So my work isn't mainstream or appealing to everybody.
Last weekend I had a stall at a comic book festival in Leeds; Thought Bubble. I thought this crowd would love my Urban Scoundrels for their strong cartoon/comic elements. I even presented them with a speech bubble to explain their characters. Surprisingly, people were less enthusiastic than at other 'normal' fairs. Got it all wrong again.
I also did an experiment, like proper doctors are supposed to do, by analysing the response to my table from people with skull prints on their clothes or accessories. So I counted the amount of people that had a skull somewhere on their clothes and counted the proportion of people that would stop walking and take a look at my table. Even if it was for 5 seconds. Yes, I had about 5 real skulls on the table in plain sight. I counted about 12 and only 2 stopped at my table and they were a couple. The rest just ignored what I had and passed. They did briefly look, but kept walking. So, this trend of skulls in fashion has nothing to do with loving skulls….it is just fashion and no indicator that this person likes skulls.
So again peoples clothes don't tell much about them. Conclusion: don't judge a book by its cover!
woensdag 13 november 2013
I have often gone about the difficulty in being different, behaving different and thinking different among big groups of people. Generally, big groups want you to act in the same way as the rest of the group. Unless, you gain status. We have things to make sure people behave in a predictable and desirable way, one of those things is the law.
The law can prevent an individual of doing what it wants to do and can go against their individual development or even potential. In this case I used the style and them of the American prohibition era as a symbol for this individualism and law. Off course I could have chosen something different, but as my main goal is to create something cool and visual pleasing, I choose this era that has those cool gangster elements.
As it was around the Day of the Dead, I used a paint style, although not too obvious, Mexicans often use for celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead or Dias de los Muertos.
To make it all visual more cool, I reshaped the front of the skull a bit into the front of a car around that time and because in the 50's the started to use cars from that era to create Hot Rods, I decided to paint flames on it. OK, in this case one could argue I used the symbol of a Hot Rod to further emphasise the individualism, but no, this is a coincidence.
One of the cooler elements of that time is that gangster would often 'hang' on the side of the car with their Tommy guns ready for action, or to escape quickly. I wanted to create the same effect by letting this skeleton gangster hang out of the eye socket with his Tommy gun. The skeleton referring to the Day of the Dead.
So the title is: 'What drives you'? Mainly referring to the car and the individualism of the viewer and asking them the question, but also for them wondering what is holding them back.
So here it is:
dinsdag 15 oktober 2013
But I am also tempted to do some street work as well. For me that fits with the time of the year because I like grim corners for it. Either nature taking over urban objects, which is often in abandoned places or grim corners in general. But Christmas will be taking a lot of my time till January, so I think the effect of this mode of thinking will be next year. It gives me time to think about what to do. I have already got some ideas and will try to make them simple so I that I am able to show them before the new year. Fingers crossed!
donderdag 3 oktober 2013
I have been wanting to make one or two skulls in this style again for a year. I made two skulls inspired by the traditional Sugar Skulls, but wanted to make some again this year. You may have come across some the vibrant colours and detailed drawings on this blog or my Facebook fanpage:
zaterdag 21 september 2013
I am also making key rings and the first prototypes are finished. The definite versions will have proper rings attached:
maandag 9 september 2013
The above was the 'Ghost of Christmas Future' card with an Easter chick left for dead in the streets of Manchester.
A few weeks ago I was testing a new paint style for some new decorated skulls and ended up with this:
After making a skull with that, I decided to use the same style to create Christmas cards:
donderdag 22 augustus 2013
zondag 18 augustus 2013
But I come from far as in, not from the UK and not from an art background in every sense. So I needed to get used to a different language and culture, although the last thing was probably the easiest. I also needed to learn EVERYTHING there is to learn about art.
So a couple of years down the road and I get the feeling people take me serious when it comes to making art and I can say again that I have pretty much learned a new profession AGAIN! Yes, I have done that a couple of times before. This gives me the feeling I can almost do anything without any experience, that I can take on the world with a lot of skills and the most important one being' to be able to adapt and learn, learn, learn...
Yet, the more I seem to get confident in everything, the less chance I seem to have of actually getting a job. So I am know pushed in doing this full time. I still can't believe that people won't hire me. It sounds a bit arrogant, but I would be a better than average employee and it frustrates me to see people 'working' and actually doing a crap job.
I have had a lot of practice saying; 'I am an artist and I make sculptures'. I guess not having a job, there is no doubt that this would be the way to describe me. Describe me? Huh? Yes, it seems that whatever you do, it is THE thing to ask to get to know somebody, but I think in my case they would mis something, because I am just as much a sport enthusiast. Ok, it now feels a bit strange to say 'I am an athlete'.
Ok ok ok, I am an artist.....
zondag 4 augustus 2013
Here is a link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/william-turner-painter-who-emerged-from-lowrys-shadow-when-he-was-in-his-eighties-8708172.html
Why I feel this connection? Well, he is a self taught artist. His teacher actually advised him not to go to art school, because of lack of talent. I am self taught as well.
Just like him, I live and started my art in the North West of the UK. Also, just like him I like cycling.
I just hope I get the recognition earlier than him, but he did get it while still breathing and making art and eventually see his work being sold for 5-figure sums! That would be amazing to experience!
vrijdag 2 augustus 2013
woensdag 24 juli 2013
The Traffic Cone Terrorist:
This is an urban hermit crab that likes to traffic cones to serve as a home and mess with traffic control to cause havoc.
Vinnie 'The Drill' Molini:
He is the preferred hitman for underground areas. He is a bit of a rough character and you won't see him using a silencer!
I will soon have the first Money Moth finished and I am working on an urban meat eating plant adaptation. All the characters that I am able to finish, will be on show during the Summer Arts Market in Liverpool this weekend (27th and 28th of July).
zaterdag 29 juni 2013
I have also been busy setting up 3 different 'lines' of small sculptures, these are:
- Small fossils
- Celebrities made from bone and clay, like the Christmas characters I made last year
- Urban Scoundrels
The last type of sculpture I started with and these will be limited edition casts, painted by hand and big chance they all will have a different paint style. The Urban Scoundrels are small sculptures based on wild life that has adjusted to urban life. The characters I am now developing are:
- Pablo Escobike, a slug
- The Golf Ball Snatcher, a bird
- Squatter, a bird
- no name yet, a moth
- Vinnie Molini, a mol
Two characters are more or less finished:
Pablo Escobike: The slow and under influence, council worker that has the responsibility to draw the lines for the British cycle paths. It goes slow, random and intermitted. Pretty pointless, but Pablo is having fun because he is addicted to white paint and seriously needs to go to a rehab!
The Golf Ball Snatcher: a very unamused character that likes to mess with someones game. His character is best described as the Joker from the Batman films.
donderdag 20 juni 2013
You often see words as: explore, discuss, conversation. Words that are actually meaningless in art. So you are exploring a theme? Pfff, have now idea how that looks like and I don't care. I care about what you have discovered, not how you hopped on a boat to sail the vast oceans of complicated words. They often use these words to avoid being precise, direct and clear. You often see that they are exploring A, B, C while 'having a conversation with 1,2,3 and being influenced by X, Y, Z, creating a matrix of almost endless options. If that is what your work is about, then you haven't decided yet what your work is about and if this is a statement for a finished piece of art, than you failed to reach your goal and are now covering it up by extending the meaning of it so it will always hit something. They basically try to hit the moon with a Gatling Gun.
One of the reasons why you have an art statement in my opinion is to add to the work. 1. Sometimes to explain, but that shouldn't be too much otherwise you haven't done your job as an artist properly. 2. To add to the message you are expressing.
Any way, you are communicating to an audience and it is pointless to try and do that if; 1. People stop reading halfway through the first sentence, 2. Read it all, but understand nothing. If this is the case, then you are not communicating, you are just sending or better, trying to show of. I have said it before, it seems that for a lot of artists and apparently people that teach them, the art statement is to try to show how intelligent the artist is by using language that makes the viewer feel less intelligent than the artist. Oh, and sometimes the statements are a bit long as if they couldn't decide which was the key message and then decided to add them all and confuse their audience.
These statements have the opposite effect on me, it makes me think the artist is less intelligent, because it is a lot harder to write a statement everybody can understand and still manage to excite people to look at your work more after they have read it. I know I haven't mastered it. I write in understandable English, but so far only managed to describe what I made and why I made it.
If you want to get the feeling of what kind of art statements I am talking about, check this link and press the 'generate bollocks' button. So every time you read something like that, you have a pretty good chance that the artist is a bit insecure about his or her work.
dinsdag 11 juni 2013
donderdag 30 mei 2013
I have the impression that the people who came there are more than average interested in what I make and might be more open for alternative things. Might, might....it makes sense that they are! Again, my work didn't appeal to a certain age group. Like always, I got a lot of attention from children, but also from everybody else. It is really nice to here positive comments on my work and seeing people smiling or being genuinely surprised!
I always leave a fair like that with an energy boost to create more based on the feedback I got, but I don't want to make a lot of new things, because I haven't explored some areas enough. For example, the fossil making, fridge magnet sculptures, road kill based sculptures etc. So I decided to focus on these ...... and soon realised I didn't have enough material to work on either one of them. It is a slow process to get bones and with my back injury it isn't easy to source big stones for the fossils.
So today I couldn't resist the urge and started something new. Well, it is also a bit old, because for these new sculptures I am going back to the sculptures I used to make two years ago:
donderdag 23 mei 2013
I got this commission to give myself time to make art I normally wouldn't make. In my case it was making something big. The nice thing of commissions in general is that it throws up boundaries which I have to overcome and normally I learn valuable things from it. I often use these experiences in other artworks. So it has been the same with this sculpture.
The main experience is how to work with plaster. Plaster is a strong and stiff material, but breaks easily if it moves. I think I'll use it more often to fill bigger volumes in new work.
I have also used a new texture on the sculpture; the mountain biker has dead leaves as a finish layer and I am already busy with a sculpture in which I have used the same thing.
It all took a lot of time and I think half of it was thinking and staring at it to make it strong enough while retaining the visual effects. I wanted to have the shapes and the mechanical character of the bones in 'Steady Eddy'...
....and the movement of 'Flow Joe'
The more I progressed with the sculpture, the more limited I got in flexibility in the choice of bones and bike parts and ended up asking 5 different bike shops if they had a old handlebar and to drive an hour to the only place where I knew there would be leg bones of the right size. I made the head from a skull that came from Grizedale forest.
This and many other sculptures can be seen from now in Grizedale forest cafe in the Lake District. Here is a link to the exhibition information: http://www.breweryarts.co.uk/art/current-exhibitions/exhibitions-at-grizedale-forest/
maandag 13 mei 2013
Could it be that I am AGAIN battling the same prejudice as a jobseeker as I am battling as an artist? As an artist I have a strong feeling that there are a bunch of pretentious curators out there that are lacking self confidence and therefor don't dare to select non-art-background artists for their exhibitions. Could also be pure jealousy that I manage to make good stuff without going through the system for 3 or 4 years. Then again, once I have found a curator that doesn't select artists on that bases, my background is actually an interesting asset.
With jobs it is the same and different. Again, my background consisting of several very different, but solid, jobs in which I have done well. I am now wondering if the diversity on my CV confuses potential employers. But to be honest, if you have any knowledge you would see I have a wide range of skills and serious about what I do.
I have applied for very basic jobs in administration and wasn't even invited. If they would read my CV well, they could see that I can actually create an administration and not just maintaining it! They could also tell that I am not this pain-in-the-arse-smart-guy that will question everything; my CV also contains basic jobs in which I have done well.
Knowing I can do loads of jobs, I read these adverts for basic jobs where it sometimes seems they are looking for a CEO or Superman. I wonder how people would respond in an interview to a question like this: 'Do you have a passion for administration'? Passion? Passion? There might be a few autistic people out there that would describe it as a passion, but don't you mean 'like'? 'Do you thrive in a target driven environment?' You mean scoring points by harassing people on the phone? No thanks.
If I get a job I am not passionate about, but like and if the job has targets, I'll probably do well anyway. I am a hard working individual and my base mentality towards work is better than average. Did I say I am self confident? Seems to be clear that I am also quite independent..... Anyway, this is the crap I daily read when looking for a job:
vrijdag 26 april 2013
Off course I immediately started digging! I soon found the tail and discovered it was completely entangled in a piece of a fishnet. This happens a lot; Dolphins getting caught up in fishnets and the fishermen cut them out of the net and throw them overboard as pointless collateral damage.