Archives for category: art

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. Andy Warhol

I love this quote from one of my favourite artists. Lately I haven’t been doing any art, and I’ve been thinking about that elusive thing ‘inspiration’.

Pablo Picasso said, and I agree:

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

He was a very prolific artist, constantly drawing and painting, and I think this is a great artistic method. But what if you don’t ‘feel like’ doing art?

In my second year of art school I realised that some of my fellow students were too scared to actually start a painting. That blank canvas or sheet of paper is intimidating. And we rarely, if ever, make a painting that is as good as we imagine.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath
We have to allow ourselves to make bad paintings, terrible drawings, stifle our inner critics, and keep going.

Sometimes, just going to the studio, ‘showing up’, and starting to play around with colour, scribbling something, flicking through books and images I’ve collected, will give me an idea for a painting. And sometimes I will just start painting without have a clear idea of where I’m going. This can lead to an unexpectedly good painting, and also to a shit painting that I’ll turn to the wall, to maybe paint over another day.

I believe Charles Baudelaire was right when he said Inspiration comes of working every day. Unfortunately, there’s no quick or magical solution to not being inspired. I think you just have to keep working.

And I love this quote from Banksy: Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a f**king sharp knife to it.

Postscript

I came across a wonderful commencement speech that talks about gaps in your resumé, fallow periods in creativity, and life not going according to plan.

How can we learn not to panic as future ministers or scholars or mothers when we are “not getting any work done” or when we lose direction altogether, when there is no plan, when the manuscript is delayed or the child is ill, when the love affair sours and there is no point in getting up, … Or when the sheer cruelty, racism, and blindness of the world can be kept at bay no longer, but storm our inner barriers, making normal productive life impossible? Yet in these … career detours, lie gestation and receptivity, what the Japanese call “hollowness” to the divine. In these nonproductive times, new things are hatching, being born in the darkness…

The full text is here.

I visited the Bendigo Art Gallery last week to see the Ben Quilty show. I’ve been a fan of his painting since I saw one of his car crash paintings and a documentary about him where he spoke about Australian masculinity and what inspired him. European settlement and the plight of Indigenous Australians are ongoing themes in his work.

What fascinates me is the amount of paint he uses! When I look closely I always wonder how long his work must take to dry. I love his dramatically rough painterly style.

Kuta Rorschach No. 2, 2014, oil on canvas (detail)Kuta_Rorshach_detail

Three of his Rorschach series of large landscapes are almost symmetrical mirror images, reflected from a central vertical axis.
Fairy Bower Rorschach, 2012, oil on linen (detail)Fairy_bower_rorshach Read the rest of this entry »

I will show the worldUntitled (I will show the world how brilliant I am), 2014, David Shrigley

David Shrigley’s black humour is on display at NGV International until 1 March and I highly recommend the show for those who like a bit of absurdity in art. You will LOL (I did). His crude cartoon-y drawings comment on the everyday banality of modern life.

I particularly enjoyed the ‘general store’ and merchandise, including several wonderful books explaining his dystopian world view. Just reading the titles was amusing. Unfortunately, the tshirts were not for sale.

IMG_2685

I did, however, buy a postcard:

your artwork is terrible
© David Shrigley 2013

Twenty-two of Tony Tuckson’s beautiful abstract paintings have been bequeathed to our public art galleries by his widow Margaret, who passed away in September.

Tuckson was deputy director at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1957 until his death in 1973, and the conflict he perceived between this position and his art practice made him reticent about exhibiting his work.

Untitled – yellow 1970–73

Untitled – yellow 1970–73


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2_art_show_sign4A couple of weeks ago, I approached a local real estate agent about some empty shops in my local area. I’d been thinking they would be great for a pop-up art show. I was thrilled when he agreed to let me use the space for a reduced rent.

I called my artist friends and said ‘We’re having a show! in Yarraville!!’ One friend immediately asked ‘What’s the theme?’ to which I replied ‘We’re not from the VCA*! We don’t need a theme! We’re having a show! Bring your work!!

The show is opening on Friday night, and about one third of the work is at the space. Now comes the challenge of curating – deciding which works to put together in which rooms. The space is large and there are 18 artists involved, most of whom I met while studying Visual Art at Victoria University. It’s difficult to get a show when you’re an emerging (unknown) artist, so this is a great opportunity to show our work. It’s so exciting!

Lo-fi: new art collective is at 130 Gamon Street, Yarraville from 1–4 August, opening 6pm on Friday 1 August. Everyone is welcome to come and have a glass of wine and celebrate with us at the opening!

*VCA = Victorian College of the Arts

mona selfie warhol styleYou don’t know me, but I recently visited MONA for the first time.

Everything I’ve read and heard made me very curious to see this ‘maverick’ gambling millionaire’s folly/art extravanganza.

I spent Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday wandering around in awe (with breaks for food and drink, obvs) and I’m writing to offer my services to MONA. I’m an artist, graphic designer, proofreader/writer, and I’m convinced that working at MONA is my dream job! I’m happy to relocate to Hobart.

I feel we would get on well; the thing is most admire about you is the way you’ve got up the noses of the Art Establishment. Yay! I think art should be for the people, not the elite. And I agree that you don’t need a degree or specialist knowledge to appreciate art.

Love your work!

Yours sincerely
Keryn

p.s. I loved the Ultimate Suicide Machine.
p.s. I hated the poo machine. I know humans are sophisticated poo machines. But we also have souls. Some of us are looking at the stars…
egyptian tablet

infinite

lights installation

Niki de Saint PhalleBorn at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1930, the painter and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle grew up in New York. At 18 she eloped with writer and childhood friend Harry Matthews, and they had two children together. Niki didn’t fit the domesticated wife mould, and after a nervous breakdown she started painting as therapy. In 1960 Niki left her husband and children to devote herself to her art. She lived with sculptor Jean Tinguely, and became a member of the Paris group of artists the ‘Nouveaux Réalistes’.
shooting_painting
In their group exhibition Niki presented her “shooting” paintings for the first time. She filled polythene bags with paint and enclosed them within plaster on a board backing. She, or spectators, then shot at the painting, releasing the paint in random explosions of colour.
I Shot Against
From 1964 came her monumental goddess sculptures, the Nanas (‘nana’ is French for ‘chick’). The buxom, colorful female figures, inspired by a friend’s pregnancy, and first made of yarn, paper-maché and wire and later made of polyester, represent happy, freed women and harbingers of a new matriarchic age.
She_a_cathedral_1966
Read the rest of this entry »

I was excited to attend the opening of the Substation Contemporary Art Prize last month because my friend David Thomson was one of 50 finalists in the exhibition.

Overall I was disappointed with the exhibition. The three prizes awarded were all for video works. There were about 13 videos in the show. The SCAP is intended to ‘recognise and encourage innovation in contemporary art practice’.

A video work has to grab my attention or entertain me in the first minute or I turn off. We are so bombarded by video, TV, advertising,  movies, music clips, youtube, that video art has to be really clever or beautiful to stand out (and preferably short!) I dislike work with an obscure conceptual artist statement full of big words that I can’t understand, that I suspect is actually meaningless art wank.

You shouldn’t have to study art theory or have specialist knowledge to appreciate an artwork. I love art, and have studied it for four years, so if I can’t understand the concept behind an artwork, how is the average viewer supposed to understand it?

In the project, by Eric Bridgeman, was a video diary filmed during a artist residency in Canada in 2011. Bridgeman dressed up as a golliwog character and cavorted around his studio in front of a camera. I thought it was self-indulgent narcissism, and I couldn’t believe it when it won first prize and the judge described it as a ‘layered work’ about being an outsider. I don’t understand how this work has any more artistic merit than, say, reality TV footage or an amateur video diary on Youtube. I couldn’t watch the whole thing, I found it repetitive and boring.

bridgeman_in-the-project-005
Still from In the project, Eric Bridgeman, video/DVD, 2012

I think that in 100 years time, video art may be seen as a fad in modern art from the 1960s until now, especially popular since the 1990s. After several decades, the medium is hardly ‘innovative’. The art world is cyclical. It depends on what the art schools are encouraging students to do, and critics and curators are promoting, and it seems they are still pushing video and multi-media work rather than traditional painting, drawing and printmaking. Read the rest of this entry »

Watching the documentary Never Sorry about Ai Weiwei recently inspired me to write about this brave and provocative artist.

Ai Weiwei is Chinese, born in Beijing in 1957. He is an artist, designer, architect, political activist, sculptor, curator, publisher and blogger, described as a ‘cultural compass for an entire generation of Beijing artists’.

Ai Weiwei’s father was Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Cultural Revolution and in 1958 sent to a labour camp in Xinjiang with his wife and son. Ai Weiwei was one year old at the time and the family lived in Shihezi for 16 years and in 1975 returned to Beijing.

Weiwei studied at the Beijing Film Academy in the late 1970s, and from 1981 to 1993 he lived in the US, mostly in New York, making conceptual art and using readymade objects in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys.

In 1993 he returned to China when his father became ill, and asked him to come home to China.

In December 2008, he supported an investigation, started by another Chinese artist, into student casualties in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Because only schools were destroyed by the quake, questions were raised about the safety and construction of the buildings. A list of 5,385 children killed in the earthquake was compiled by April 2009, and Weiwei published the collected names, as well as articles documenting the investigation, on his blog, which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009. The blog became a memorial for the dead, with the names of the victims scrolling in long lists, and later their names spoken in Chinese as a voiceover.

Weiwei also made a moving installation using children’s backpacks, shown at Haus der Kunst in Munich in 2009. Coloured backpacks spelled out in Chinese a quote from one of the bereaved mothers about her daughter killed in the earthquake: ‘She lived happily in this world for seven years’.

Remembering, Ai Weiwei, installation, 2009

The Chinese authorities were unhappy about this public exposure of the deaths of thousands of children, whose identity was supposed to be a secret.

Ai Weiwei was beaten by the police in August 2009 for testifying for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. Subsequently he suffered headaches and had difficulty concentrating on his work. In September 2009, he was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding and had to have emergency brain surgery. The cerebral hemorrhage is believed to be caused by the beating.

In April 2011, Weiwei was secretly detained by the police for 81 days at the Beijing Capital International Airport while on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong. He was released on bail on fabricated tax charges. Although the bail was lifted after a year, the authorities have not returned his passport and he remains prohibited from travelling outside China.

I admire and applaud his bravery in witnessing and exposing these events in his blog and art, and calling the Chinese regime to account.

At long last I’ve opened a shop on Etsy, prompted by a lack of cash flow at the moment.

Please take the time to have a look. I’ll be adding more work in the next few days…

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