So. I went for an interview yesterday.

A nice girl by the name of Nel turned out to be also very beautiful. The interview took 10 minutes, and the first thing they asked me to do was NOT to twit, facebook or blog about it until the actual broadcast. That’s it. Sorry, folks!

But!

I went to the exhibition of David Hockney’s work at the Royal Academy, and that’s what I am going to twit, facebook and blog about. Heed!

First: it’s very impressive. It impresses by:

  •  the scale of the exhibit
  • the scale of many paintings themselves
  • the thoroughness of David’s research of any subject (if the man goes after something, he really goes after something)
  • the mastery of the gadgets the old man displays
  • the gift shop.

We know he loves big. He is also good at small. He’s got the range sorted.

When working in a small scale, he still thinks big and finds a way to make a collection of small things into a big issue. Mostly by grid method. Also, sticking to the subject matter and looking at it from different angles, creating a time line, making a performance.

In the audio (£3.50 extra), he reveals that his ancestors were agricultural labourers (as if anyone is any  different here… Although, some of us might be descendants of aliens and on other planets there may be no agriculture at all…) who followed the pace of seasons, watched the nature. He is thrilled to find himeself following in their footsteps now, albeit in a different capacity. He says, he learned to plan ahead, just like they had to, anticipating the seasons and planning and pacing accordingly. The show displays that spectacularly. The landscapes of the same places at different times of year, dressed up in colours of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and executed in a variety of media and sizes is a triumph of forward thinking.

I was most taken by the digital media – iPad pictures and videos.

Yesterday, I intended to visit the exhibition, but later changed my mind in favour of going to the Apple store to play with the gadgets and ask questions. The idea was to see if I need any. Well, I soon got bored, because I couldn’t see how to apply them to my create processes. And as there was still time to kill, went to David’s exhibition after all. And he showed me!..

How to paint with an iPad in a most spectacular way! Not the technicalities, of course, but the end result. And that’s all one needs to get inspired and to want to learn more. I think, Apple people should pay him for brilliant  marketing job. I personally am buying an Ipad!

David Hockney iPad art

Hockney's iPad artDavid Hockney iPad art

I would also like to buy several video cameras, 18 huge flat screens, computers to process it all, a team of technicians to do the filming and editing and a dance company to throw in as well. Because what he did with all of that is: amazing, beautiful, mesmerising, innovative, spectacular, fascinating (in spite of my dislike of this word), impressive, meditative, fun, logical, playful, and so on… I recommend.

And finally, the gift shop.

There are books. A number of them. By him and about him, but mostly by. Which indicates that every now and then he swipes aside his doodling and gets down to (a lot of!) researching and writing about the things he thinks about.

I think about things. But did I write about them? No. Did I research the subjects in depth? No.

The gift whop was my biggest inspiration. One day, I want to have a show which would display the breadth and the depth of my work and my persona, AND at the exit I want to have a gift whop full of stuff, and people would be buying it all like creasy. Like I did buy “Secret Knowledge” by David Hockney and it is brilliant! So, that’s my wish.

The exhibition runs at the Royal Academy 21 January – 9 April 2012. You must go.

English is no my first language and I really find it difficult to comprehend artists talking about art. Or art critics writing about art. Or artists statements – those are at the top of the chart on the creative abuse use of “vocabulary” words. That’s why I loved this article in HuffingtonPost Art section! So refreshing.

“HuffPost Arts: You talk a lot about the role of an artist’s identity in becoming successful. How important do you think identity is in terms of ‘making it in the art world’ and do you consider this when you make your art (Art Thoughtz)?

Hennessy Youngman: This art shit is niche market. And whether or not artists want to admit it, they all carry a brand within their work. There might be some sincere artist reading this saying “My work isn’t a brand, shithead!” Well you know what? Sincerity is that artist’s brand. And yes, I’m a shithead. You must’ve been talking to my mother earlier…”

I bet you want to read more of it now! I was going to link up to the full text, but am so tempted to just post it right here for the unique brilliance of it and the “transcendental truth”:

“HuffPost Arts: You spend a lot of time translating art world terminology into real world terminology. Why do you think there is such a divide in the first place? What’s the point?

Hennessy Youngman: Ha, “art” versus the “real”, that’s a big fucking polemic son! I guess the divide exists because many many decades ago, art became less about simple mirror reflection of the physical world, and more about it’s own materiality, about the processes specific to its production, ideas took precedence over product, questions, critique, provocations and research became staples of art production while audiences held onto the notion they were supposed to be entertained by art, but art isn’t a pop song. Don’t get me wrong, art doesn’t always have to be this dense bramble of graduate school buzz words, intellectually impenetrable (boring) work, but audiences shouldn’t always assume that if they don’t “get” a work, that the work they’re experiencing is bullshit. Maybe artists and audience can meet in the middle and agree they’re both idiots and listen to Tyga’s Rack City until transcendental truth rains down on them all like someone set the Tree of Life on fire… I don’t even know what that means…”

Love the guy!

HuffPost Arts: As someone passionate about both hip-hop and fine art, what can the art world learn from hip-hop culture? 

Hennessy Youngman: Loosen the fuck up.”

Oh, just go and read the whole thing!

Found a brilliant article on a… technology blog. But that is a brilliant technology blog!

“Facebook has already changed the way we communicate, creating virtual extensions of our real lives. Social networks are a microcosm of users’ social worlds and a continuation of offline behaviors. But that’s just for the regular folk – what about artists? How do artists use Facebook to augment their existing work, discuss ideas related to the work and think about the idea of online community?

To find out, I asked three artists who are rather active on Facebook: BRAVO art-reality TV star Young-Sun Han, San Francisco-based artist and GAP Storyteller Jason Hanasik and international artist Martha Rosler…”

The article is long and packed. Most intriguing I found an artist Young-Sun Han, whose website is an inspiration in itself. As well as the art, of course! Chimera

Mezzotint copper plate

The Matrix

A friend of mine, Lesley Samms, sent me a link at the end of December to apply for the “Show Me The Monet” BBC series on art which I did. And forgot about it.

Last week nice voice by the name of Nel phoned and we had a great chat – that was the second stage of selection. So, from 3000 it went down to 300, and after the telephone conversation another 150 of the applicants went in a puff of smoke. But I survived. And that’s why…

Tomorrow I am going to Shepherds Bush for an interview. After that only a quater of the remaining 150 artists will make it to the final exhibition. Wish me luck!

Mezzotint plate for the portrait of Eve Delf.

Me and The Matrix

I’ll have to produce a proof of my identity and a proof of my authorship for the artwork I submitted. I thought I’d do the latter in a blog form to save myself lagging stuff around London and also illuminate briefly on my way of working on a mezzotint portrait.

It started last Autumn. I was again thinking about a getting a new model on my quest for a remarkable face, and remembered Eve – a pretty girl of about 14-15. I contacted her mom Angela, asking if Eve would be interested to sit for me and if Angela herself wouldn’t mind. “Yes” was the answer and one day after that they came to the gallery.

Sketch drawing of Eve Delf

Sketch drawing of Eve Delf

Eve was 15, slim, nearly 6 foot tall and beautiful beyond words. I didn’t expect all this when I was asking and certainly got more than I bargained for. It turned out as well, that Eve has just been signed up by a modelling agency after an unexpected turn of events.

We had a couple of sessions in my studio with Eve. I was photographing and drawing. We talked about this and that. And so, at the end I had about 800 photos, a few video clips and several quick sketches.

The next stage is brooding. Brooding, brooding. Looking through the materials: photos and clips. (I am still to figure out how to make use of videos…)

Fibonacci spiral

Fibonacci spiral

During that time, I re-visited the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci spiral ideas and thought about composition.

A few photos emerged as possibilities. Then I photoshopped them into something I wanted the mezzotints look like. Trying them with bands of colour, cropping etc.

Eve

Eve

So, here is the photo of Eve which was the base for the print. What attracted me to this particular one out of the 800 others is the geometry of the lines formed by the hair on the forehead, outline of the face, hand and arm.

The face is peaceful, at the same time there is a subtle smile. It hints towards thoughts which cannot be seen, cannot be known, but they are the most important element. They create the dynamics of the whole picture. So, the picture is very static here, but there is motion created by the underlying geometry of the composition and by the subtle expression f the face.

Eve Delf - 2

Eve Delf - 2

Next stage – cropping. I decided to take the Golden Ratio proportions and Fibonacci spiral to base the composition on. Why? To tie together proven classical references and rules (one way or another they run a lot of human programming in terms of how we perceive art) in order  to create an iconic image.

In a way, I am after something as iconic as Mona Lisa, and some references to that portrait are also incorporated into Eve’s mezzotint. All that laid on the powerful chiaro-scuro effect of the technique itself is bound to create a remarkable image.

Eve Delf - 1

Eve Delf - 1

The road is marked. Now, all that is left to do is to actually make it. Simple 🙂

I ordered two large plates to Martin Maywood. Not long before that we talked and he said he was able to rock much bigger plates now. That’s why I could plan a more ambitious project – size-wise as well as in other ways. 75-46cm plate is quite large for a mezzotint. Got the plates some time in February or March. The next 4-5 months were spent in burnishing. And that’s it.

Many hundreds of hours and several stage proofs later I had two beautiful portraits of Eve Delf. Well, also a series of hands with an apple and a trio of smaller plates picturing fragments of Eve’s beautiful face.

PS. I’ve never watched the program itself, as we haven’t got a television in the house. I might leave it that way to make it more exciting 🙂

Framed portrait of Eve Delf and the matrix plate

Matrix and the framed print

I can’t see art channel becoming anywhere near as popular as cute kittens and funny accidents, but getting art on Youtube is definitely a must. An article about such plans on New York Times blog.

By RANDY KENNEDY

Joining its hometown industry and betting on the success of YouTube’s new initiative to promote original content, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles announced that it would start an online video channel in July featuring news and talk-show programming, among other art-focused shows.

Frank Kern

Frank Kern

One thing lead to another, as usual, and I found myself a new beacon, icon, head-figure, an example to learn from – Frank Kern. Beats Will Smith in MiB, Piers Brosnan as James Bond and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow any day.

“To be a successful leader, you must always be yourself. Be intentional about shaping your life according to your values and priorities. Trust yourself, believe in yourself, and be honest with yourself. Others will then trust, believe, and be honest with you. It is this foundation which enhances personal power. Excellent team leaders establish healthy open relationships with others. They foster mutual commitment in the pursuit of shared goals. Effective leadership is founded on cooperation never coercion…” (Pinched from a dedicated fan (!!!) site)

Through my wandering to” I don’t know where, searching for I don’t know what” I found a great distraction (yet another one!) – GhostWriterDad blog. Actually, I am going through Sean’s free ebook (you can find it on his blog), which is refreshingly different from tons of BS abundant on the Net.

Well, I hope to accumulate enough of the information through all those distraction to kick-start me on some grand path of my own. That’s the idea. Meanwhile, it is such a pleasure to read about the struggles and victories of the others!

I am an excellent writer!

Because last year I devoted myself to thinking about life, and one thought amongst many that visited me was this one: The art is not important. And I became a writer.

The art is not as important, as I forced myself to believe, signing up to the stereotype that one succeeds by being focused, hard-working and disciplined, doing one thing at a time. I stuck to that in a focused and disciplined way and it didn’t work.

Now I do whatever I am pleased to do and I am more productive than ever!

If previously I’d delete an email such as this (well, actually, I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place) as a waste of time, today I am allowing myself to embark on a totally useless ramble, a certain dead-end of an activity, allowing for an adventure to happen, for the sincronicity to occur. Pourquoi not?

When did I last time go on an adventure?

It’s been so long ago – I can’t remember. What stops me? Responsibilities. No, wait, not that. It is the fear of smearing the carefully painted image of demi-respectability by doing something out of place, out of order, inappropriate for my age or whatever. Blast it!

Blast it! I shall not be a slave to the communal stupidity. I’d rather be a victim of my own.

There it is, my declaration of intent, my manifesto: Freedom to write, to create, to cry; in paint, in words, in code, in notes – is all mine! Heed!

It Is Not About Art!

January 24, 2012

Having a gallery on a High Street for 10 years gives one some experience, even if that particular one is a lazy bum. Artists! Those of you who had a misfortune opportunity to invigilate exhibitions or be a proud owner of a gallery – you know what I mean. One wouldn’t want to spend more time sitting in a gallery than is vitally necessary. Because it is boring.

But I diverge.

The experience. The experience I couldn’t help but get during these last 10 years brings me to a number of conclusions, and one of them is:

It Is Not About Art!

Apart from those obsessed individuals who make it big in art, there are hordes of artists or “artists” and wanna-be-artists who never will make anything out of it, neither they want to make it big. What DO they want then?

Freedom and Creativity.

Freedom is essential to health and sanity.

Unfortunately, civilised society replaced freedom with formulas designed to achieve security, because civilised society puts security above freedom. More – it is actively and aggressively promotes those formulas to the effect that freedom long seized to be a norm, but became a luxury. It is exclusive to those who are extremely rich and/or rather mad.

What about general public?

My definition of general public: A large segment of society operating based on the current stereotypes of thought.

And so, general public believes, that:

  1. Freedom is expensive
  2. Freedom is unattainable
  3. When you retire you’ll have it
  4. Artists have freedom
  5. You pay for freedom by being poor
  6. Artists are mad, take drugs, irresponsible, but most importantly
  7. …majority of them cannot make ends meet.

Given that, and the fact that freedom is essential to human health and sanity, are you still wandering why the humanity is not OK?

And then there is Creativity. Creativity is essential to health and sanity.
But general public is led to believe that Creativity is:

  1. A luxury
  2. Limited to a few talanted people
  3. Who rarely make a living through it
  4. It is a re-creational activity and you can do it when retire.

Are you still wandering why humanity is not OK?

How did I come to these conclusions while minding a gallery?

I talked to visitors. You are probably aware, that independent art galleries don’t normally charge for entry. They hardly can. They are not exactly crowded to be able to do that. And among those scares numbers of visitors there is a big percentage of those who are

  • “artists”
  • wanna-be-artists
  • thinking-about-becoming-an-artist
  • retired and want to attend an art club
  • looking for an art class

and who want to know about how to be An Artist.
That a hint enough to realise, that creativity is essential and people are starved for it. But I think many of us assign a very few obvious activities to the vast field of human creativity.

My definition of creativity: Anything you do, as long as you do it by making it up as you go rather than following formulas.

A person who invents a wheel is being creative. A person who produces wheels is industrious. At the same time the industrious one can be very creative in making up ways of distributing his wheels. A person who paints a beautiful representation of a wheel is creative, as well as someone who creates an event to sell that painting. As long as they al make their own way of doing it, they are creative. Which in turn is based on a combination of someones formulas and their own application and interpretation of them, plus divine insights here and there.

Life is creative. Living is a creative act. We are all being creative all the time, actually! Why do we define SOME part of life as Art then?

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