I was over in London last weekend, on an invitation by a friend to go and see The Stranglers. I was an ardent fan around the late seventies so I was dubious about going to see them now, especially as Hugh Cornwell left the band some years ago. Cornwell, with his sinister vocal sound, seems to me to be irreplaceable. Sure enough, their new lead singer [Let’s call him Nugh Cornwell] crashed through songs that should only be sung by Cornwell himself, and moved the group into the territory usually occupied by tribute bands. No more heroes indeed.
On another note, I learned a new word, ‘testiculation’. A friend of mine explained, during a mouth-melting curry engagement, that it means ‘talking bollocks while waving your arms around’.
So that’s the end of my solo show in Harold’s Cross. Feeling very wistful today -I liked being in the space and having friends and randomers strolling in, talking about art, Brexit and football.
A fellow artist arrived in last night to collect something from me just before I closed and as I talked, I could feel the energy draining from me (nothing to do with him!) it’s just that as it finished, all my alertness and tension fell away. By tomorrow I’ll be comatose!
Hopefully, the space won’t have been occupied by then -but there are no guarantees. In the pics I took over the week or so, I felt that the gallery looked just right in that spot. It had a kind of Continental look to it, tucked away in that corner; un petit coin du paradis…
What do you think all of you out there in Dublin6land? Please ‘LIKE’ the 6 Pack project FB page at the above link.
Joe and Steve Wall (The Walls and formerly of The Stunning) dropped in to see my exhibition in la Galerie Impromptu, Harold’s Cross and to play the Peacock Guitar.
I received the unadorned guitar about eight months ago from Chris Maher of The Musical Youth Foundation and although I began work on it almost immediately, I ran into a couple of difficulties, mostly at the finishing end (there’s nothing clear about lacquer!) However, I eventually made it through.
I made a short video recording the process by which I decorated it -and then the lads give it a blast of, ‘Are you Lonesome Tonight’ at the end.
For anybody who likes to paint; I used Golden Artist Colours ‘Fluid’ paint to keep the strokes flat but still intense. In the Golden range are also some iridescent paints which were ideal for some of the bright plumage. The edges and other gold areas are gilded.
You can still see this artwork at la Galerie Impromptuuntil Sunday June 26, when the gallery closes and reverts to a disused laundry. The proceeds from the sale of this guitar will go to the Musical Youth Foundation who provide access to an education in music for ALL children in Ireland.
Only 3 days left. *Gulp!* Almost there. To update you all on the ‘Flights’ project: The venue has been cleared as the Harold’s Cross Festival used it as an office and gallery space over the weekend. As always, the Fundit page is here: http://fundit.ie/project/flights-of-fancy-art-exhibition and every little bit helps and will be rewarded.
I’m going to have to do quite a bit of work to level the floor (it’s very rough in places), fill in gaps and holes in the wall and do something with the ceiling. A few bags of levelling compound and buckets of elbow grease will do it.
To celebrate the imminent closing of the crowdfunding campaign, I’ve put together a bit of music on the flight theme:
Since I upgraded my Mac last year, I’ve had to come up with an alternative to Photoshop and InDesign and believe me, there’s not much choice out there.
I’ve been using a combination of Pixelmator (€29.99) for the image editing and iStudio Publisher (Just €20.99!) for creation of printed documents. Compare that with the €120 per year for ever of just Photoshop alone. PS is great but bloody hell.
The interface of both these substitutes are clunky (with Pixelmator being the slickest) but I’m getting used to them and I haven’t found much functionality that I’ve missed – neither have anything like the sophistication of Adobe’s products. But; they work perfectly well for most of anyone’s needs. Scanning, image preparation, a small amount of digital illustration and putting together a perfectly good, professional catalogue.
So the above image is the result of that combination: The cover for my 16 page catalogue for my upcoming exhibition Flights of Fancy.
La Galerie Impromptu (286c Harold’s Cross Road -right beside The Brick House Café).
Opening at 6.30pm Thursday June 16. By invitation only. Exhibition runs until June 26.
About the exhibition
Each year, I hold an exhibition that is completely independent of the gallery system to focus on exploring what’s essential in my work, free of external pressures. This is my annual Special Show where you can see me as I am. This time, It’s going to be a popup gallery! The owner of Rosie O’Grady’s bar in Harold’s Cross has very generously offered out one of his adjacent units; a shop that fronts onto the main street. It will be over this unit that I will hang the ‘La Galerie Impromptu banner.
As an artist, I’m not only interested in the imaginative and conceptual nature of my art; I’m dedicated to the craft side too. For me they’re indivisible. I have always wanted to create things with mind AND my hands. My influences are broad: Hopper, definitely; classical painters for their level of craft but also the surrealists. More strongly though, by so-called Pop Culture. I just love great illustration work. The imagination and highly accomplished artistry.
So this is my one-man Cultural Event. These are my Flights of Fancy. This is my own personal Milan and Paris fashion show.
The work in this show is an eclectic mix -works completed in the last year or so. Although there’s no common theme, one thing that re-occurs is that of flight. Flying racing fish; dirigible cricketers; gilded birds and flighty notions.
So, feathered friends; I’m offering you the opportunity to become an integral part of this show: Proceeds from this crowd-funding campaign will cover the costs of framing, refreshments for the opening and talks, publicity and printing of a catalogue and other printed material. In return, my flock, I shall reserve a special place for you in my heart and in the lush pastures, fragrant forests and cool mountains of this benevolent and expanding land, AND what’s more you’ll even receive something real, that you can hold in your hands änd hang on your wall, in return. Please look at the schedule of the rewards that await supporters and patrons of the arts below. Take wing, citizens! For when we flock together, we are strong!
I’ve been working for some time on a series of illustrations to be produced as prints. It’s an avenue that I’ve been exploring as a way out of the drudgery of ‘jobbing’ illustration. This is how I’ve been feeling for more than a year, now. Working for those who either lack the imagination to extrapolate from a simple sketch or who see artists’ skills as merely a way to realise their own ideas has palled. None of this is their fault, since they’re paying for a start and I’ve colluded in this state of affairs myself [I’ve willingly bought the snake oil salesman’s promises] but it is a strong indication that I’m really in the wrong end of the business.
Producing my own art for my own products is also fun, which is the bit that has been missing, of late. All art has to have a LARGE amount of the artist invested in it, if it is to be any good. If it doesn’t, it enters the world still-born; a lifeless conjoined monster of conflicting personas, likely to be shunned. You can’t, as many people seem to believe, micro-manage an artist’s work and expect it to shine. This is absolutely the very worst aspect of being an illustrator. I suspect that the same applies for designers and advertising creatives, copywriters or any ‘applied artist’.
So, this way if the idea fails, then it will have failed on my terms -because of my imagination, my drawing skill, my own efforts. So be it. If the idea succeeds, then I’ll reap the benefit -on levels much more important than the mere accrual of money. For me, illustration has been like a bottle of balm sold by the credible-sounding man in the white suit -just buy this and all your art troubles will be over! Become an illustrator and be an artist who actually gets paid! Strangle that snake oil salesman who lives inside your head -he’s full of empty bottles and unkeepable promises. Here’s my advice to any young artist thinking of becoming an illustrator: Think very very carefully -do you really want to make your much-loved hobby into your job? Perhaps, before embarking on your career, read ‘The E-Myth Revisited’ by Michael E. Gerber, then at least you might approach it with a plan in mind.
This wasn’t meant to depress -I’m excited about my art these days -but only art that is truly, or even largely, mine. I get more joy out of a small sale from my little still life studies than I ever did from a big illustration project because I know that a beautiful, personal connection has been made and that the love invested in the small painting generated love in return. As Paul McCartney wrote; In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
After working with many students of illustration in mock interviews and role-plays, I’ve compiled this useful guide to meetings. It’s aimed squarely at those who are just starting out, to give them a good grounding in what they should know BEFORE meeting -and hints on how to present themselves when they do get face to face with a client. It will help in wasting less time and seeing the incredible value in illustration for your client AND you. This explains all the business stuff that we really don’t like as artists.
Just under 40 pages, It’s written in a witty and engaging way that’s more like a conversation in a pub than a textbook. I sincerely hope that this will fill in some of the blanks that face all of us when we embark on our careers in applied art.
Best of luck!
Next weekend sees another annual ‘Towers and Tales’ literary festival in Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford. There is lots to do and loads of fun activities for children.
I’m very proud to have been invited to show in a group exhibition of Illustrators Guild of Ireland and some other artists, called, ‘Meet the Family’. Here’s my artwork in it’s new (read ‘Old’) frame. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the paintings in place.