I had a bit of a flash back the other day...
I once had a shop at the Piece Hall in Halifax. We made canvas prints and framed them gallery wrap style to order. One of our customers was a lady who did oil painting commissions. She woould call in with an image on a USB and would want us to print it on canvas, but not as dense as a normal print - a kind of faded version. She would then use that image as a guide for her oil painting skills.
They must have worked as she was always placing orders!
This got me thinking. All printers like to be used, otherwise the inkjet nozzles clog up, and I'm not always using it for my own artworks, so I did a little research, and although there is a little debate around the subject, I thought maybe I would make a web-site and promote them in the hope of filling a little gap both in the market and in my situation here.
At first I feared that the pigment inks would smudge, but I got some linseed oil, some water, some Damar retouching varnish, some B&Q gloss varnish!! and I rubbed and rubbed, and no I don't think the pigments are likely to leach into the oils or acrylics.
So here it is .. please take a look and comment!
I panicked and pulled the plug. They are gone..
I fret that someone will contact me and say ..hey I was saving up for one of those! That was part of the problem. To make it worth while you have to charge more money than anyone is ever likely to pay. A lot of time is wasted by creative types being sold a dream that never quite takes form.
Top left .. I was worried this one looked a little dirty. It got ten times the twitter exposure than I'm used to but I worried was it the word "dirty" in the description?
I worried that someone would buy a garment and it wouldn't fit. I'd have to stand the cost and I'd be pissed off. Part of my brain is more interested in the failures. They get to me. What would I do with the returns? Maybe an extra layer under my jeans on a freezing cold day?
I worried they'd detract from my art generally. People would think me commercial. Don't you feel sorry for artist's that have found a formula and then are obliged to stick with it. Like a Johnny Mathis who has to sing Misty for the rest of his life.
I needn't have worried.
No one bought anything
I recall seeing some Rolf Harris prints in the gallery at Redbrick Mills in Batley Carr. They were mass produced giclee prints, with a huge edition size. I wondered if he had even seen them. Did they match the originals in colour and vibrance? Were they as detailed. Was anything lost? They were expensive!!!
I've taken a bold step. I'm getting out of limited editions. Instead I'm going to sign and date my self-made prints on the back. They are ALL artist's proofs from now. Some of the ones I have sold must obviously remain limited (which is a shame) but the rest can be sold in:
any image tweaked version
What swung it for me was an article I read that asked the question why would you want to limit your ability as an artist to produce the best possible print of your work. What if some new technology is just around the corner enabling prints to be made with a huge gamut or broader range of colours that leave your old editions looking like mono in a stereo world? Why do this when the value of limited editions is a bit of a perceptual trick anyway. Some artists have editions of thousands and are hardly limited.
I'm free to do whatever I want.
I have been threatening to do this for some time now, and I have jumped in at the very deep end. Oils with a painting knife. I've made a fundamental mistake .. there is no under-painting, but the paint is so thick that I guess I have got away with it on this occasion. Oh, and getting an edge against another colour is a tricky business, I find myself longing for serendipitous things to happen, but I lack the courage to just throw it all together in a likely mess!!
Thankfully I have lost the shape that resembles a doofer on the preliminary sketch to the left. I can see why those who labour for hours with traditional media look down on the digital artist. How you achieve spontaneity though with this oily stuff is another thing..
I feel like I'm in exile, but I hope that good things will develop !!!
M. A. D. Gallery Milano milan biennial of art 2017/18
Milan biennial of art 2017/18
Artists are vulnerable to a greater or lesser degree to the various vanity projects that exist largely thanks to www. I received an email saying that a gallery in Milan had spotted my work, and inviting me to exhibit there.
The place looks very impressive, and the concept – to exhibit digital art and to have some criticism/promotion is attractive. The new 4K amoled HDR displays must make for some fantastic display media assuming a large enough file size to begin with.
“Imagine an historical court from the XVII century, located in the beating heart of a multi-cultural, dynamic and lively city such as Milan”
I imagined it and was quite up for it. First thought was the catch would be that they would want up front payments. I guess there is nothing per se wrong with that, but it’s a gamble. How much exposure would my work get / How many others would I be competing with / am I going to see any return on my investment / How can I verify sales?
I emailed back and said I was interested
Anyway the pdf I received was a bit of a shock..
Costs. The gallery requires a participation fee equal to 180,00 Euro for each piece exhibited on-screen. The fee is a mere membership quote, necessary to join M.A.D. Gallery Milano MODA ARTE E DESIGN: it will be used to cover all the organizational and operational expenses. Eventual bank and paypal commissions or additional extra-costs are not included in the fee, therefore they shall be covered by the artists.
I wish them well, but not many among us would pay such a sum to take part. Guess I will never know what I have missed out on!
Here’s an unframed proof that is for sale. No gallery commissions. No taxes. What a bargain!!
We have a forthcoming studio holders exhibition at the Hub in Mirfield, and I volunteered to design the poster for it. Design isn't one of my best abilities, and I'm a bit limited in my abilities with Photoshop, but I thought I'd just give it a go. Loosely, the idea was to display a sample of each artist's work on a TV set, as if in a store, as an alternative to standard TV fodder, and with studio director Mark Milnes controlling the output in a semi sinister manner with a remote. This does NOT reflect reality, but it was meant to be ambivalent and to perhaps create thoughts. We are swamped with imagery, and it's a bit of a struggle to be seen in artistic terms. Much of the imagery is excellent, and you have to shine to be seen.
These are the contributers to the exhibition (Creative Arts Hub in Mirfield Mid November to Mid January with a bit of a gap for Xmas):
John Paul Richards
Juko Designs (also attached here, as I've photographed a piece of theirs)
Andrew Stone/Black Orchard
My design was rejected as being not easy to read, which is fair comment, and at least it gives me chance to include Marina Poppa whom I criminally left out...
I started by visiting PC World at Birstall and aroused a bit of suspicion as I photographed television sets.
Then I got Mark to pose from behind. I drew round his outline with the Magnetic Lasso Tool, and painted him black. The TVs I stacked three or four images and then crudely overlapped them by cutting out sections with the Polygon Lasso Tool:
Replacing the TV images was fairly straight forward, if a little time consuming. I dragged the image over the TV, adjusted it to fit using edit / transform / skew and then I made the art image appear semi-transparent using the opacity slider in the layer. The TV screen outline was then visible, and so it was just a case of selecting it as close as possible (Zoom in) using the Polygonal Lasso Tool. Then select inverse / cut gets rid of the extraneous stuff, restore the opacity to 100% and repeat repeat repeat ....
The text I considered secondary to the image, and so I wanted it to be readable but not intrusive. This arguably was the wrong call, and so I'm revising it later this evening. Meanwhile .. here is my original version:
I have promised to produce a design for the flyer for the next Creative Arts Hub exhibition at Mirfield. This is going to be a challenge for me! Whatever skills I possess in art, they definitely don't extend to design. I have an image in mind of a bank of flat screen TVs with our artistic director Mark Milnes in silhouette operating a remote control. Each artist will be represented on a different TV. I must chase up some of the artists who have not yet given me their jpegs. Will probably pick the TV spots at random, and hope that by chance my own work DOES NOT take centre stage. It might work, but the idea is landscape and flyers are mostly portrait. Early eighties David Bowie videos come to mind. It'll be ambiguous because you will be guessing if he is turning the artworks on or off. I hope I'm up to it. If it looks crap they won't ask me again ...
The exhibition starts Mid November and lasts a couple of months.
In the interests of print quality I've been searching for RIP (Raster Image Processor). They re not cheap, and I spent weeks looking at a lot of them, and in the end opted for Posterjet based on a positive FLAAR report.
My printer is a supported model, and the installation went fairly well, but I couldn't see my various papers listed there. So, I called support and the recommendation was that I print out test charts and purchase printer profiles for 30 euros per paper (the first three being free). In my studio there are a dozen rolls of canvas or of paper, and I'm looking up at them with trepidation!
The team in Germany have been very supportive, in fact they phoned me and talked me through the options and settings. and now I'm looking for a decent photospectrometer with a view to making my own profiles. I want to experiment with different media, and I can't stand to be restricted to just a few brands.
Quality is everything. I've seen some really terrible exhibited prints, and I'm determined to make the best...
£80 Soak Stain (Oct 2017). Quite a large print supplied without a frame. It's a very imposing 24" x 34" Signed on the front, signed and titled on the back. Laughably small edition of just 20 prints...
I get by.. that's about the limit of it. I can spend months struggling with code and brushes and layers, and then somehow the penny drops, and I realise there was a much easier way. I worry about it for half a second and then move on. I'm always on the edge of something, but never quite there!
A few years ago I was working in an operating theatre, and the guy in charge there - an ODA - got wind that I was interested in photography. He said to me what would you do if your camera meter failed. How would you estimate your exposure? I struggled a bit with the answer, and after heckling me for a while he said, just take a reading from the back of your hand. I'd sold thousands and thousands of pictures up to this point, but he had me beat..
If you corner me with questions about Photoshop, or Illustrator I'll most likely be just as lost, but I can get where I want to be, and I enjoy the unpredictable. Now and then I see an image in my mind, and work towards it, but more often than not the image comes to me.
Here's someone who knows what he's on about, and he says it so well too. Stumbled on this blog, and I like the kind of wonder that he portrays. Check it out: https://www.ctrlpaint.com/blog/
How amazing is this? I'd lost the link but I found it by googling:
photoshop granparents didnt exist layers blog
This is Glass Bike (Oct 2017) ... Only 20 copies !!
Physics is a fascinating topic, and this book about the safe breaking, practical joker and maverick physicist Richard Feynman is my coffee-time read at the moment.
If you are ever despondent about where your art is heading, have a read of this. In the book he was talking about physics, but here I've substituted the word ART.
"Then I had another thought: Art disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing art. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing - it didn't have to do with whether it was important for the development of art, but whether it was interesting or amusing for me to play with. When I was in high school, I'd see water running out of a faucet growing narrower, and wonder if I could figure out what determines that curve. I found it was rather easy to do it. I didn't have to do it; It wasn't important for the future of art; somebody else had already done it. That didn't make any difference: I'd invent things and play with things for my own entertainment.
I like to play with it too !!