Being in the middle of a studio move, I’ve not had time to post anything about the New Artist Fair, in which I showed some work earlier this month. This was the first time I have taken part in an art fair, and it was quite an education. After observing how the crowds interacted with the works, and seeing how the more experienced exhibitors displayed their work, I soon learned some valuable lessons about presentation and “product placement”.
As for this particular fair, I found it to be very well organised – the organisers are very friendly and obviously interested in Art. The pricing is reasonable, and at no stage did i feel that I was being ripped off – there were no hidden extras to surprise you on the day. The fair was very well attended on each of the three days, which shows just how well the organisers promote the event.
Despite all my praise, I am not sure if I would take part in it again. When I booked, I was told there were only 2m spaces left, which is more suited to smaller works. The biggest problem with having such a small space was that I couldn’t sit or stand in front of my work without obstructing the view of half my paintings. The fair enjoyed a healthy number of sales over the three days, but most of them will have been for lower value items under £250. The only piece I sold was a smaller portrait at under £200 – I feel that the £400-£500 prices of most of my work are not that attractive to impulse buyers. I would only consider taking part again if I had a larger selection of smaller works that I could offer at more affordable prices, and perhaps some prints and drawings.
My lasting impression from this event was the pleasure of meeting such a nice group of artists, who were all so friendly and helpful, and helped make the fair such an enjoyable experience. A special thanks to Sam Gare,Precious Murphy, Pete Fraser, Frances Bloomfield, Tolu Magbagbeola and Ruby Lewis, who have restored my faith in the artistic fraternity.
I will be exhibiting three paintings at the upcoming “Figure & Portrait” exhibition at BAR gallery, from 12th-25th September.
The gallery says “This exhibition is dedicated to figure and portraiture. Showcasing work in a variety of mediums including painting, print, photography and sculpture. All work is for sale and affordably priced.”
More information about Brent Artist Resource and the events that they organise can be found on their website here.
I’ve been working on a few different hanging arrangements for the forthcoming New Artist Fair. The organisers had mentioned that they prefer the displays not to be too crowded. Well, if they had any of their larger spaces still available, I would gladly have left more white space around each canvas. As it is, I’m trying to fit the bare minimum number of works in 2m of wall space, that will fairly represent the range of my work.
Last night I delivered my “Relationships Series No.3” painting to the Espacio Gallery on Bethnal Green Road, for the upcoming “Punch” exhibition – part of Sweet ‘Art’s Summer Art Festival.
I’ve only shown this piece once before, in an unfinished state, at the first Cork Street Open exhibition. My reluctance to show it since has largely been because I became uncomfortable with the personal nature of this piece; it was just too stark a reminder of a very difficult time in my life.
I have a space at the New Artist Fair Summer Exhibition, held at the Old Truman Brewery 4th-6th September. I shall be attending the event on each day, and so will be available to answer any questions you may have about my work.
I shall be taking part in the Estuary Fringe festival this year. Their website is estuaryfringe.weebly.com and their Facebook page can be found here, where they have the following description of the event:
The Estuary Fringe was created with the aim of taking art back from the pretentious art elites who have somehow insinuated themselves into the borough and hand it back to the local community, to everyone, where it belongs. Dreamt up by four fools from Southend and under the direction of the fringes creative director John Bulley, hold on “creative director”, that’s art bollocks, the fringe is about anarchic fun without the guilt. The first festival in June 2013 was incredibly successful. Organised in just 7 weeks with no money and no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, we were blown away by just how well it all went, so we have decided to do it all again this year. Over 9 days in August this year’s festival will be bigger and better with even more artist, local, national and international from all genres, painters and musicians, graffiti artists, poets, performance artists, the festival really will have it all as this year we are pleased to announce that we will have theatrical productions and independent films as well. The Estuary Fringe Festival, from Saturday 2nd August until Sunday 10th August. Come see what’s on and enjoy. No need to pay £10 + booking fee for tickets, its free… just turn up, join in and have fun… The Estuary Fringe Production Team….
I have had a number of life drawing sittings with the same model, Kaya, over the past few weeks. It’s strange how my original plans for what I wanted to achieve from these sittings were abandoned one by one, and new ideas have slowly evolved from the results of each sitting. Here’s Kaya standing next to some of the drawings from these sessions, along with the newly started painting, which will (if ever finished) be the end product of these past four sittings.
The top most drawings in the photo above are preparatory sketches for another composition. I had discussed with Kaya how I wanted to paint figures wearing masks, to explore to what extent the masks affect how we perceive the model’s identity or personality. Having recently studied on a course in physical theatre, Kaya was helpfully able to bring along a wonderful white mask for the past couple of sittings, and so this vague idea for a painting is now taking shape.
I commenced this series of sittings working with Kaya, with what I thought was a very clear idea of my objectives. None of those original goals has been achieved, either because of failures on my part, or by happy accidents occurring in the meantime. Instead, this process has taken me in a completely different, and unexpected direction. And I have no idea yet if the end product will have made it all worthwhile.
This is a pastel drawing I made during yesterday’s sitting with the life model Kaya. It has been years since I have used pastels, and I must admit to finding them quite a challenge, requiring a very different approach. From the drawings I was left with at the end of the session, I was most pleased with this one – probably on account of the lovely pose. I’m considering using the same pose in my next painting; a possible layout is shown in the quick sketch below.
Last week I paid a visit to my local art gallery, WOA, to see local Southend artist Becky Walker putting up her multimedia art installation. It seemed to involve the use of a couple of projectors, what seemed to be miles and miles of clingfilm, and possibly beer cans.
I thought it brave of the gallery to give free rein to the artist to put on this event, which included rearranging the displayed artwork to suit her installation. The gallery was open all the time, and it was interesting viewing the reaction of a couple of visitors while I was there. This particular gallery puts a great importance on the active involvement of their participating artists; it positively encourages it. As such it is a great opportunity for emerging and local artists. Especially those who work in the multimedia field, who might otherwise have difficulty finding suitable venues for their offerings. And to be able to put on a show in an open gallery along quite a busy road.., well, that’s priceless.
The WOA gallery currently has openings for artists. The fee they charge, £20/month, really only covers costs, and as I said, they are always looking to host events. Any enquiries should be directed to Jon or Carra at the address below. More details can be found on their website.
You can visit the WOA gallery @
28 Hamlet Court Rd, Westcliff-on-Sea,
Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, SS0 7LX,
With the New Year looming, I’m already planning the composition of some paintings for next year. One of the compositions will have a crucified male figure in background, with a female figure in foreground. I’ve already worked on preliminary poses for the female figure with my regular model, so I’m just in need of a male model for the crucified figure. I will be looking for someone of slim/athletic build under thirty, who is prepared to work for very low artist rates. I may have to avoid mentioning the crucified bit in any advert.
This past couple of weeks I have been working on some old, unfinished or abandoned paintings. One of them dating from 2010. Although I try to be methodical in my approach to work, it’s always a mystery how a painting will evolve. I might labour without success on what I thought was a straightforward composition, while more ambitious works might just emerge on the canvas, seemingly under their own volition.
Sometimes I just lose my nerve. I might have worked on a painting over a period of a couple of months, which will be the culmination of work started months earlier with a model posing in my studio; so I often feel quite nervous when applying the final glazes to a piece. I am aware that if I get it seriously wrong, I could ruin the painting. That is why I found it so relaxing working on these “abandoned” pieces. I had already given up on them, and had expected to paint over most of them. Although I haven’t finished them, I’m generally pleased with the results.
I have just received notification that my piece “Relationships Series – Kirsty and Beth” has been accepted for the Sweet’Art show “Guilty Pleasures”, to be held at Juno, in Shoreditch, from the 6th November.
It poses an interesting dilemma, as the private view happens to be on the 6th November – the same night as the official opening of Street Corner Gallery (edit: re-named Project Space). Well, it’s a nice problem to have.
Founded in 2012, Sweet ’Art’s mission is dedicated to the promotion of artists at all levels of their career through the delivery of thought provoking, engaging and fun site specific exhibitions and live art events with a difference.
Alongside the planned program of events, artists are invited to join Sweet ’Art and be part of a growing network of artists enabling them to showcase work online and be in touch with other members of Sweet ‘Art.
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Sweet ‘Art embraces all disciplines of work and encourages artists in a process of exploration, challenge and debate when considering their own practice and that of others.