Sunday, 27 September 2009

Old news...

'In 2001, English artist Jacqueline Crofton was banned for life from the Tate Galleries after she threw two eggs at an artwork in the Tate. The work, by Martin Creed, was an empty room in which the lights went on and off, and it was titled The Lights Going On and Off. Crofton egged the room at a moment when the lights were off. Later she told the BBC, "I have nothing against Creed. . . . What I object to fiercely is that we've got this cartel who control the top echelons of the Art World in this country and leave no access for painters and sculptors with real creative talent". '

Attacking Turner Prize entries with eggs would seem like a very good idea. if these modernist advocates consider art to be an artist eggpressing themself then they should really only encourage artists hatching these plots! Being banned from Tate Britain (as the gallery is now known), however, sounds like an henous price to pay for such an eggsemplary if eggcentric action against an eggregious eggshibiton of eggotism. It's am eggcessive punishment for such a poultry offence! They should lay off and give her a free range...

Saturday, 19 September 2009

On Not Sucking...

Two guidelines to remember as a professional artist, courtesy of the Ninja Mountain podcast:

Don't get distracted and don't suck!

On the subject of not sucking, artistically, a painter who sets the benchmark of brilliance is Doc Hammer. Someone was asking me for advice about improving as an artist, recently, and I could do no better than refer them to the tips that Doc Hammer posted on DA a few years ago, and which evidently stuck in my mind ...

Monday, 14 September 2009

Some Links

Good art sites and illustration resources online include:
Concept Art:
DeviantART: (gets some stick from some quarters but I love it)
Association of Illustrators:
Escape from Illustration Island:
Oil Painting Techniques:
Illustration Mundo:

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Manley Heart

Some motivational words from Jason Manley, originally posted on

...first, you are not trapped in your situation. You can get out of any situation you want if you are willing to take the pain of doing all the things you dont want to do..the long hard way. The fruitful way.At seventeen I was homeless and orphaned, taking care of my fourteen year old brother who I somehow managed to keep in school. I had dropped out of school. I did two years of wasting time eventually trying to get my head on straight. At nineteen I was homeless again. Scraped together enough money to get my ass to arizona to study art. Got a temp apt to get me through to the end of the month and took a job at subway (applied all over til I found something). The subway job paid enough money to sometimes eat and pay my small studio rental. I went back to school to get my graduation and was working full time (thought I needed to graduate from HS to get into a good college). Trust was fucking painful. I transferred to a community college the following year and slowly got better and better jobs. Worked telemarketing fundraising to afford a 1977 datsun and art supplies. Shittiest job ever but paid double what subway did. Worked three jobs during the summer to get caught up including going to alaska to work the salmon docks across the country. I did not give a shit what it was, if it paid for my goals to be met and didnt involve anything illegal, I did it. As time went on I realized I needed to arrange my priorities again. I took a night time job so I could exhaust all my energies in my art and studies. Eventually got a job at AT&T...Att this is Jason how may I help you?...I was still far behind those who had life handed to them their whole life. However, I was catching up. In time I realized it was not a chase against others but to only my own race to my goals. Kept the nose down. Chose friends who worked on art or learning always. Ignored the time wasting folk who never will amount to anything other than regular. Grew up around enough of those to realize the difference. After three and a half years I took my first art job and quit my shit job...have lived with and from art ever since. By the time I was 29 I had achieved every goal I had reached for when I first set out. That is when I realized it was time to set new goals...each time this happens it feels like starting over...get something done..start time your life becomes what you want it to be. Even those of money have to do this if their life involves learning, skill, and growth. It is not money that holds people just their own mind. The hard part about certain situations is not everyone is told they can do and reach their goals if they just work their ass off starting RIGHT NOW. Some know it and wont work for whatever reason. They listen to that voice that says I want to chill and watch tv or i dont feel like it. Others have addictions or mental issues keeping them from growing and learning. I didnt want to be any of that. I wanted to do cool have an interesting life...and to work in a creative way. Hard manual labor growing up taught me that my mind would rot if I chose that kind of path. I wanted something to use my mind. Bored if not...and with boredom comes making trouble or distraction. Gotta turn that into work choice. Carl Dobsky was telling me this about the atelier every day. It has to be just uncomfortable enough to make the coolest thing to do be art. If there is a blaring tv or anything else, than there are other options. Options that keep one from not working to reach their goals. Complacency is the womb of mediocrity. You clearly are not complacent. So do something about it in every free second of your day. All this wandering around doing not a whole lot but thinking isn't getting you much done. It is however, giving you a taste of life many others would never have the guts to explore. Just dont stay down there too long without coming up for air. Good luck,Jason

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Royal Academy

The Waterhouse exhibition was rather wonderful. Right up my street. Well put together, and deeply enchanting, all told. I thought it was ironic that the title of the exhibition is 'The Modern Pre-Raphaelite, though. He wasn't a pre-raphaelite, (more a Romantic Classicist) and isn't modern- and nothing could be less akin to 'Modernism'. If he were alive today and painting the same sort of stuff, I really wonder whether he could get a look in with the Royal Academy. The institution, like most art institutions, has been taken over by abstractionists and conceptualis. I mean, for example, Tracy Emin RA?! Credit to the RA for putting on the Waterhouse exhibition. It would be nice if they showed the work of any contemporaries painting in the same tradition.

Friday, 4 September 2009

It's all Academic.

I've just read the article 'Bouguereau and his American Students', on Mark Vallen's blog 'Art for a Change'.

I don't want to pick a fight over the things he said, figurative painters need to stick together in this world. I was sorry he'd disabled his comments. Maybe he'd provoked a lot responses along the following lines.
Several charges were made against the great painter Bouguereau that I thought unjustified. Firstly it seems unjust to say that tight, finely rendered painting is more 'conservative' than looser, more 'painterly' style. There were plenty of broad-stroke loving painters in earlier times, Titian, El Greco and Constable springing to mind. It's spurious to say one style is more traditional; rather there were always painters who preferred to paint one way or the other.
Secondly, it seems unjust to accuse Bouguereau and his ilk from wanting to retreat from 'modernity'. If this were a fault in 19th century academic painters, it would also be a fault found in Renaissance painters, who set their pictures in the antique world. Bouguereau's 'headlong flight from the pressing issues of his time' is no reason why he should not be appreciated today. People still read Jane Austen, even though little of the turbulence of her era comes through in her novels). Nymphs and satyrs were no more part of Titians or Poussin's worlds than they were of Bouguereau's, moreover. No curator sees fit to banish the works of these old masters from the galleries on account of this. What a travesty it would be if they did.
The charge that Bouguereau's paintings were somehow about hiding the poverty of the toiling masses borders on ridiculous- they weren't set up as screens in front of slums, for heaven's sake. Bonnard painted nothing but his wife in the bath throughout the Second World War. Should he be accused of masking the horrors of the German occupation of France? Is it every artist's duty to be a George Orwell? (Anyway, how does it improve the world producing images of suffering? May not visions of an ideal world promote aspirations - and inspire efforts - towards making a better society just as well as works reflecting the grit and grime of reality?) Bouguereau was right to ask 'why reproduce what is ugly?' I, for one, at any rate, would certainly rather live with the Haymaker than the Potato Eaters.

If Bouguereau hindered the success of the Impressionists (and I don't see how this can be- this allegation seems to stem more from jealousy on their part than anything else) then the 'modernists' have more than had their revenge. They have subjecting his legacy to undeserved scorn, denying his rightful place in art history. The final irony is that their 'rebellion' has become the new orthodoxy dominating schools and galleries- just as commercially driven, snobbish and elitist as anything that came before. The old academicians were no more or less supportive of the status-quo than supposedly avant-garde artists that exploit the system to this day. And they were probably more tolerant of alternative manifestations of art than these self-styled 'modernists'. At least they did not deride skill and knowledge, emotion and humanism.