I'm not backward in coming forward.
I recently sent an email to the Honorable Melanie Joly - Minister of Canadian Heritage offering her; or to be more accurate - the Canadian government, my painting "Vote for Us" for £ 54,000.00 GBP.
I'll be honest - I wasn't expecting a reply - but via the Canadian government's Ministerial Correspondence Directorate , I was given a polite and encouraging response.
My favourite part of the response was this...
I am then encouraged to approach the National Gallery of Canada regarding the sale.
As brush-offs go it's rather a nice one.
So the history behind this...
On a whim or something like it, I decided that I would try and sell one of my pieces well above and beyond my normal asking price to one of the Governments of the world's top 10 economies (or a national collection). I picked "Vote for Us" as it's broadly political (and I'm approaching politicians). I also felt it fits with the current global political instability and increasing polarisation.
I chose £ 54,000 as my asking price on the following basis.
I will be approaching the National Gallery of Canada as the next step, then - if I'm unsuccessful there- I'll move onto economy number 9.
So possibly - next stop Italy.
I'll be blogging on progress as I go. If you have any contacts or suggestions let me know by messaging me here or commenting on this blog.
I'd appreciate it if you could share this blog as well - and see where it gets
The slide show below is a brief illustration of the process I recently went through for a client.
The person concerned contacted me after seeing my work online - in particular my painting "Night or Day"
The difference was that they wanted a mural on the granite wall of their sun-room in their cottage near Liskeard in Cornwall.
So - my first step - come up with an idea...
I know Liskeard a little and having scanned through my client's facebook photos came across a view of Trethevy Quoit - not far from their house. It's a neolithic tomb dating to around 3500 BC. I found a reference photo and messed around with it digitally and sent some results (including the image in the featured slide show )
I sent the digital ideas - and luckily the comment came back "you must be some sort of mind-reader". That was a good start.
The next issue was the size (or rather the shape) of the proposed mural - a square of about 4' x 4' (120cm x 120cm) - so the use of a sun or moon in that format needed a rejig. That's the two square sketches. The second was a 1/3 wax and wash 'sketch' - after visiting the client at home we agreed on the design. One thing we agreed on was that the mural should have some semblance of a stained glass window. (hence the use of dark outlines on the main objects) and be a stylised representation.
We then had to leave things for about a month as I went off on holiday and it was convenient for everyone.
In the interim I produced full size cutouts for the main shapes and at the beginning of September set off for Liskeard for the first of six visits. I had researched mural painting in acrylic as well as I could and took advice from a few people.
The slide show gives a reasonable idea of the process. The most interesting challenge was the highly pitted nature of the granite wall. Some of the lumps and bumps are over an inch deep. The inherent bonus in that is the natural 3D effect that the rock surface gave to the overall painting - especially when seen in reality. The mottling gave interesting colour effects as well, as the light changes in the space - the colours seem to change and shift. I also used a new tool - a herring gull feather used like a quill pen to give the crazed effect.
The final coat of varnish was done on Day 6. The client is very happy with the work. From my viewpoint it was a great piece of work to do from planning to completion, it was quite hard work physically as I used muscles I had forgotten about.
From a calling card point of view it's brilliant as it's the first thing any caller to their house sees.
I'd do it again...
Just ask me here
It’s a simple word – and one to be found in abundance through the centre of Plymouth. In portrait format, the word “HOPE” printed on vinyl strips – black on white, is stuck on lamp-posts, underpass walls, bins and telecoms junction boxes.
The stickers immediately recall for me, the famous sticker art, poster and meme produced by Shepard Fairey for Obama’s 2008 election campaign. The design started off as ‘Progress’ when Fairey decided to put his weight behind the campaign as both private individual and artist. It proved so popular that he adapted it for the official campaign. ‘Hope’ became a thing. One million stickers and 500,000 posters were produced, endless copies made and shared online.
I digress about Obama – because in the days of steam powered internet (1998 to be precise) – I first became aware online of Fairey and his guerrilla stickers and poster art utilising an image of Andre the Giant, and the accompanying ‘Obey’ message. I fell in love with sticker art both as background visual imagery in an urban setting and as little acts of rebellion. It appeals to the ageing punk in me; annoys the hell out of local authorities.
In Plymouth sticker art is not really a big thing. It has small eruptions from time to time – but they don’t last long – that’s the nature of it. Sometimes you really have to search. Inspired by HOPE, I went to see what’s currently on offer.
It’s an eclectic range – from straight advertising, through graffiti style tags, political and personal messaging and on to highly individual little artworks.
Where will I find Lucianino’s Barbershop? Promoting themselves with barely concealed machismo - bearded man flanked by two open cut-throat razors; they have ‘a crew’. Another group who seen quite prolific on the lamp-posts of Plymouth are the ones who proudly proclaim “We fuck goats” – with a silhouette / rock-carving graphic showing the act. (Thanks for sharing)
At the top end of Union Street – clubland of old and once the scene of off-duty military antics the Royal Dutch Navy are competing for space with British submariners. The submariners win. A skull and crossbones with headphones announces – “You’ve been pillaged by The Scallywags”. The Dutch Navy are just very understated and laid back. As you would expect.
The repeated names, DJ stickers and casual drug references are an expected nod to club culture and – if you are looking, as I was – they become a repeated mantra…found poems.
Bomberman – Black Sheep - Nomad Life
Beat Bandit - Mr Skillmatic
Haacht – Jesper - Boo
At the end of my admittedly short quest I come upon my personal highlight. A screaming face in black and white, photocopied, cut out and stuck on a junction box. No words – just an image (with a graffiti tag afterthought) . Redolent of Berlin Dada – it brings my search to a nice conclusion.
‘Hope’ started a small journey from Obama through to the ‘here and now’ of Trumpworld, a frozen forlorn scream of despair- in inkjet and wheat-paste.
This is my very first blog, on this - my developing website. (I know there are gaps and I look on it as a work in progress - it will be there or thereabouts soon ) I've blogged before - on my original My Dog Ate Art blog, on other people's sites and the late lamented posterous.
I drew up a long list of topics - more along later - they will all be art related - however tenuously.
I struggled to decide what to put up here first. As luck would have it - a birthday reminder on facebook got me talking to someone. That someone is a Swedish artist based in Norway called David Sandum.
I go back (online) a long way with David. He was one of my first twitter followers and a supporter of my early artworks, which I was then posting on my old blogger site. It was David who encouraged me to take part in the global twitter art exhbition - which he started and has grown over the years into a small global phenomenon.
I remember the time that I first went on twitter. It was at a time when after effectively 8 years of call centre work, my brain had had enough. Being used as a verbal punchbag by angry clients left me anxious,stressed and suffering with mild depression.
I got to grips with twitter in the wee small hours - when not able to sleep through the night. I was going online and chatting with people - predominantly artists - all over the world. It was a help, and took my mind off the other stuff - especially the dread of possibly returning to the world of being abused down the phone.
Fast forward several years - and I now see that David has published a book. "I'll Run Till The Sun Goes Down" - about his own depression and how art saved him.
I am not going to claim that his experience mirrors mine. It doesn't. His was clearly far far worse. Everyone's experience of depression is different.
The introduction for his book explains far better than I can :
David Sandum appeared to have it all: a beautiful young family and a promising career ahead as a business consultant. But his life started veering off course, and upon returning to his native Scandinavia, he fell into an inexplicable, deep depression.
"I'll Run Till the Sun Goes Down" is a searingly honest account of David's struggle to overcome his crippling mental illness. After years of hopeless despair, bleak hospitalizations, and shattered dreams, he is finally saved by his art. The paintbrush becomes his lifeline.
Filled with the work of the artists who have inspired him as well as samples of his own drawings and paintings, this memoir offers both a compelling read and a visual story of David's courageous battle with depression.
I can't say art and creating work was my salvation - but it helped a great deal. My GP approved.
More than anything it made me think there was something else I could be doing with my life. It was with the help of David (and people like him) , who told me that my work was actually, really quite good - that my self-belief grew.
If you are self-taught that is a big deal.
So I have no hesitaion - in thanking David for that support and by way of thanks recommending that you go and check out his book on Amazon.