Once you become an artist– in any capacity– I can guarantee you that someone, somewhere is going to ask you to work for free. It might be a doodle, a drawing, a "quick" design, a piece that comes along with "tons of exposure for you," or a "great addition to your portfolio," and the person asking for it would like to use it without paying for it.
So you probably want a little background about why the heck I’m talking about Rhinos.
Last year it was announced to the general public of southampton(and the world beyond it) that rhinos would be taking over the city next summer!
“In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Marwell Wildlife is bringing Go! Rhinos, a world class mass public art event, to the streets and parks of Southampton.
For 10 weeks throughout the summer of 2013, rhino sculptures will inhabit the streets of Southampton, showcasing the wealth of artistic talent in the area, while highlighting the significant conservation threat facing wild rhinos and how the Southampton business community can make a difference.”
And they needed some artists to design these rhinos, and help drum up more sponsors and interest in the event itself. Unfortunately I found out a few days ago I did not get a rhino. There is a slim chance of this being remedied as some sponsors have yet to choose their Rhino artists but either way I’m still a little bit in love with the event itself!
My Cub Scout group even spent a night making up our own designs.
The final rhinos won’t be up and around Southampton until this summer but it’s well worth liking their facebook page or following them on twitter for updates and checking out their photos! And maybe come join me on an art date to find them all once they’ve been installed? GoRhino bingo?
Oh and in case you were interested here’s a few of the designs I submitted as I can share them now
I promise later this week I’ll be back to sharing my own artwork, maybe even a dragon or two Until then TOODLEYPIP!
So at the moment there are a lot of limitations on what artwork I can show you guys due to contractual elements of my latest commissions (hopefully they should be worth it though-at the very least they will be BIG!) But some of those restrictions have started to be lifted so that I can start building hype and such for the projects: just in time to tie in with my first ever participation in Sketchbook Sunday!
So without further ado here are some pages from my ‘Shirley Urban Regeneration Project’ sketchbook. I hope you like them or are at the very least intruged. I can’t wait to show you more and fill you in!
Some massacred pages lifted straight from my sketchbook. By next Sunday I should have something more definite biult from this imagery for you. So it’s a teaser of a teaser really!
If you like sneak peeks and work in progress updates check out my Instagram and Facebook pages (both under Arsonette Artworks) where I update all week not just on Sundays!
The art world is wonderful. There is no denying that. But it can also SUCK. No matter what you personally count or view as art, and ignoring the difficulties in making it in the art world and as an artist in general there is one major thing which I count as the worst part of the art world. Critique.
I said critique not hate!
There is a HUGE difference between critique and hatred. For one thing hatred is just a personal opinion and although all critique is rooted in personal opinion there is a lot more to it. This is something which I learned quite early on during my artistic studies in university, but not nearly early enough. I remember weeks of going home in tears at the thought that everyone who had a learned opinion of art hated my work that I was never going to create something that would be well received. It took my first after convenor drinking session with older students to truly understand the difference. Critique is constructive, or at least supposed to be. Since then despite my personal opinion on an artwork I always try and point out at least one thing I like about a work and always suggest something that I think would help the work when making my opinions known. Trust me when I say most of the public will not share that courtesy. And even if they don’t there is nothing to stop you from ignoring their intended message and taking it in a constructive way.
I have a very specific opinion on art.
If an artwork doesn’t hold some proof of skill, effort or time chances are I won’t like it. That isn’t to say I don’t like conceptual work or work which is almost purely conceptual but that is honestly normally the exception to the rule.
You probably won’t agree with this opinion. One of my old lecturers used to describe me as a: “close minded Marxist.” Hey, if the shoe fits I’ll wear it!
But that is one of the greatest freedoms of the art world; you don’t have to agree with me! Anyone and everyone can and will have a different opinion, perhaps because of its inclusivity and the variety of the audience who view it. I can guarantee that there will ALWAYS be someone who dislike your work no matter how famous an artist you are, or how well off. Unfortunately they can be the more vocal bunch.
But at the end of the day who cares what other people think? As long as you are involved with the art world people are going to judge your work and sometimes they’ll write it down and publicize those judgments. Especially as legally photographs of work can be taken and used for review purposes as long as they are credited, due to fair use copyright laws.
“If you are commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work — for instance, writing a book review — fair use principles allow you to reproduce some of the work to achieve your purposes
The underlying rationale of this rule is that the public reaps benefits from your review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted material. “
Hence the art world can be a b*tch. Because it can so easily chew you up and spit you out. But don’t stoop to it’s level because you’ll just draw more attention to it and generate masses of lovely lovely web traffic. Instead why not take a leaf out of artist Carne Griffiths’ book “You can’t win ‘em all!”
However this doesn’t mean as someone trying to make it in the art world you shouldn’t try and cultivate the skin of a rhinoceros. Because at the end of the day;
Haters gonna Hate
(My personal best and worst picks from the show), Art, art rage, art review, art students, arts, exhibition, illustration, It was the best of art it was the worst of art, rage, review, southampton, southampton solent, video art, walking dead, wonderful
It was the best of art it was the worst of art (My personal best and worst picks from the show)
Chapter 3 of my Review of Southampton Solent’s Mid-Year show for the first two chapters check out my previous blog post!
If I credit the wrong artist or title to a work I am deeply sorry and let me know and I will change it straight away. It’s hard to keep track when so many works were untitled.
From Worst to Best:
Although titled I am still confused by this work. As an artist and employee at a comic book shop with a personal and professional interest in human anatomy and the Walking Dead comic and TV show, what exactly is this a study of? Incorrectness? How not to draw a person? No person, or zombie, has a torso that long or misaligned, especially in scale with that small head and disturbingly high pectoral muscles and why is Michonne’s (the woman in the centre of the image) arm so short and malformed? But mainly the arm holding the sword. The other arm, for that is what I am assuming that line is representing on the right side of the body, is almost full length, although you can’t really tell what with the disturbingly high crotch line. Also why are none of the characters in scale with each other? There is no excuse for so much to be wrong with such a simple drawing. Especially with so many reference images available (just type Walking Dead Michonne into google and you will see what I mean)this is one of the most iconic scenes from the Walking Dead recognised by even the most casual of fan and used very publically. With so many references available I have no idea why this is drawn so badly. Although I suppose the artist should get points for the fact I can at least recognise what it is meant to be without the title? Actually no I’m sorry I just can’t. Words cannot accurately convey the rage I have for this piece especially when the zombies drawn SHOULD NOT HAVE JAWS! There is NO reason for them to have them. Michonne as a character on the TV show AND in the comic removed the zombie’s jaws and arms so they could not harm her whilst she had them chained to her to hide her scent to other zombies. Art rage and comic book rage in one! I would like to know in what world this is a study and what the ‘artist’ was trying to study. WRONG!
“Purging Femininity” by Louisa Hamidi
From talking to people at the show I know this is a self-portrait but that still doesn’t explain the motion blur. If you are doing a self-portrait that you were going to print so large surely you would want it of the highest quality and use a tripod. Why was it printed on canvas and then not stretched onto a frame? I can see no reason that this would be an artistic choice and when there is an art technician in a workshop just round the corner willing to help or even do it for you, what is your excuse? This photograph doesn’t do justice to the sheer imbalance of colour due to the artist’s ineptitude in setting the white balance, in this image. I repeat, when working in the photographic medium you need to actually learn to use a camera. There is never an excuse for white balance issues. Even my Everyman knew that something was wrong with the image and realised why by themselves and they never touch cameras. The public isn’t stupid. Don’t treat them as such with your laziness.
Overheard quotes describing what the work looked like;
“the end of a good night out!”
“like someone just jizzed pink cum all over her face”
“make up explosion”
Was this the reaction you were looking for?
“Untitled” by Jessica Poole
This ‘artist’s’ work unfortunately insults me on so many layers as an artist. If I was a lecturer this would be an instant fail. It has absolutely no redeeming features that I can find. Not even a title to clarify a meaning to its rubbishness.
Untitled. CHECK. Poster paint used instead of higher quality paint for no discernible reason. CHECK. No artistic skill or effort at all. CHECK. Not put up properly (Blue tack AND pins, not even one or the other) CHECK. Pencil lines left on the wall because they didn’t bother to clean it off. CHECK. Lack of any discernable perspective (What is this supposed to be? I don’t know!) CHECK.
“Self and Others” by Jenna Norton
Although not an artwork I actively dislike it was another artwork let down in its presentation. The work in itself is interesting in its aesthetic. Or at least it would be if all the mystery and intrigue wasn’t stripped away so brazenly by the hulking piece of machinery in front of it.
“Fit for Purpose?” by Matthew Wardell
I HATE video art, I’m sorry I do. There are exceptions to the rule, I really liked Emma.W.Harris’s “FoxRabbit” which was playing on the entrance TV screen to the show but as I rule I don’t like it which is why I am limiting myself to one comment on this work. Simply because my personal opinion on video art colours all reviews of it and my companions were simply confused by the piece and didn’t get it. Why wasn’t the keystoning lined up. I am truly terrible with technology and even I can line up the keystone on a projector.
“Orpheus & Eurydice” by Grace Travis
Another work I am going to limit my opinion on simply because one of my companions was very vocal with his opinion on the work in front of the artist and I was quite embarrassed and run away rather than stay in the awkward zone to watch the work fully. I had tried earlier in the evening to watch the video but at the time the headphone splitter meant no sound was coming out into the headphones and when I went back (before the awkward moment) I was too distracted by the background noise where the sound was not recorded properly.
“Untitled” by Alice Dummons
Although intrigued by Isabella Rinaldi’s Untitled board game I want to know why exactly it was untitled and if I was meant to play it why was it on a podium with the board game instructions and pieces on the floor beside it. Wouldn’t a table with chairs (or as another artist used, cushions) to sit on make more sense. I’m quite a fan of interactive art but this wasn’t set up to be comfortably interactive and the use of a podium gave it sculpture connotations rather than interactive art. Also as someone who has made her own board game I know how easy it is to double side print on cardboard to make board game cards so sticking two pieces of paper back to back is unforgiveable. Especially when the board itself (and some of the playing pieces) was made so nicely and etched into acrylic. An interesting piece I was disappointed with the execution of.
I was initially awestruck by this piece, simply from the novel presentation and overall appeal. Every aspect of this work impressed and pleased me…until I went around the back. Why go to all the effort of hanging a work in the centre of a gallery space and having nothing on the back? Although I think if my expectations had been met and the work had continued on the other side my mind might literally have been blown so maybe the slight disappointment saved my life, we’ll never know. Although next time I see a work displayed in this manner I at least expect a clear back!
“Untitled” by Josh Bryan
My Everymen companions spent 5 minutes simply staring and trying to work out the story behind this piece. They eventually settled on the opinion that they liked it and it was some artistic rendition of a brain and they liked it. I was unsure. Until the work was explained to me: Training his right arm and left arm to perform the same actions the artist stands close up to the centre of a large piece of paper and holding a pen in each hand simply draws to his arms reach. Fascinating to hear about and to view. Although I wish this piece had a title or some other way of explaining this element of the work. Or even a live art element? Even though I hate live art! Also the masking tape doesn’t do much for me in the presentation element.
“Untitled” by Esther Dominguez
I really liked this work, until I got close enough to see the pixilation in the printing. Such a shame after the lovely layout and mounting of the work.
“Untitled” by Wendy White
And this is a work I actually like. Simply on its aesthetic value and how it was hung. How you have hung your work shouldn’t impact your piece, which is why I hate pinned work, far too intrusive, and this work I could simply enjoy. It was something I wouldn’t deem amiss seeing it at a proper gallery on the wall of an art collectors house.
And to finish on a high note my four favourite works!
“Untitled” by Tracey Drew
Definitely not what you would call traditionally displayed but I absolutely LOVED these, as did everyone I talk to. Slightly kitsch but it was just so intriguing and aesthetically pleasing. The urge to roll them out to see more was almost overwhelming. Maybe I’m just a sucker for patterns and weaving and interesting displays? My favourite is definitely the burnt pattern. The one person I found who wasn’t over the moon about this work at least respected it and was impressed by the amount of thought and time which went into it. A respect I hope to convey in my work!
“Breast Surgery” by Keniikki Lymch
Another work which I can respect and love simply from the skill an technique of it’s execution. This work probably fascinated me the most out of all the work in the show. Images of her personal surgery were laser etched into wood and displayed in a series. A great example of the importance of titling and technically impressive as well as thought provoking and aesthetically intriguing.
“Surgical Party” by Gemma Bowie
Another work I actually liked (shock, horror I know!) The attention to detail, titling and general ambience of the piece appealed to me in so many ways. Breaking from traditional framed prints and paintings in the wall can definitely work. I just wish I had more photographs showing the aforementioned attention to detail, such as the hearts and livers in jars on well sized and spaced shelves around the room, the spilled wine oozing like blood from the cake ‘body; on the table. My only regret is that I didn’t work up the courage to try some of the delicious looking cake in case we weren’t supposed to.
And I have saved the best for last, or at least my personal favourite. I loved this work so much I had to hunt out the artist to tell her, and ended up commissioning a work for my personal art collection. I loved the style so much I could even ignore the intrusion of the pins and the way it hurt my artistic soul knowing the pictures would be forever scarred with pinholes. It was also quite refreshing to find another artist consistently accused of her work being too illustrative; an issue I will be addressing in a later blog post.
*If I had time and photos enough I would have reviewed all 67 plus works in the mid year show but I don’t think my inbox could take that amount of hate mail. Remember it’s part of the artistic process to deal with critics, and be gentle.*
!, Art, art review, Chapter One, Chapter Two, exhibition, exhibition opening, gallery, If you can’t mount your work I should be legally allowed to rip it down, mid-year show, review, southampton, southampton solent, university, Untitled isn’t a title!
So this post departs quite a bit from the norm of what I usually post about but it was requested that I try it out and I do like to keep my public happy! Although seeing as how the request was for me to write down one of my ‘art rages’ in regards to the exhibitions I go to, I am going to stray from the request a little and turn it into a fully-fledged review. And seeing as how the Mid-Year show of my alma mater, Southampton Solent University, opened last night it seemed like the perfect place to start.
As the review is quite long I’ve divided it up into three easily managed chapters released in two posts. Starting with;
Chapter One. If you can’t mount your work I should be legally allowed to rip it down.
Chapter Two: Untitled isn’t a title!
Chapter Three: It was the best of art it was the worst of art (My personal best and worst picks from the show)
The mid-year show is an untitled exhibition where Solent’s budding crop of artist’s exhibit choice pieces of their work to the public halfway through the academic year every year (hence the term mid-year show duh!) and is a great place to scope out new talent, and old talent and as you’ve probably guessed a catalyst for ‘art rages’ aplenty.
It isn’t what you would call a good sign when the first thing you see when walking into an exhibit is an unfinished work slap bang in the middle of the gallery space. I’m sure it will be impressive when it is finished but why was it the first thing on display to the public entering the show?
That isn’t to say I wasn’t pleasantly surprised by the art on show in general. Although to quote one of the artists present at the opening;
“You can tell who here isn’t going to make it in the art world.” -anonymous for the artist’s own safety!
It probably didn’t help that the students had been woefully and obviously abandoned by their lecturers during the setup of the show. At least that is the only reason I can see for the lack of professional presentation in an exhibition full of degree level art students hoping to work in the art world in some way.
“Untitled” by Jessica Poole
Tacked on top and blue tack on the bottom? Really?!
If you can’t mount your work I should be legally allowed to rip it down.
For some students this will have been the first time they have exhibited their own work, and depend on the advice and wisdom of the lecturers and tutors available but when talking to the students displaying I found so few who were happy with the work that had been chosen for them to present and less who liked the way in which it was displayed. This though is realistically the creator of the art’s fault, if you won’t fight for your work no one else will.
What IS the lecturer/tutors fault though is the sheer volume of un-mounted, blue tacked and pinned work on show. I could count on one hand the art that was displayed to its best advantage. Not all work needs to be framed and mounted but no large scale photograph or print should EVER be printed on glossy paper. Even in the studio in question’s lighting which isn’t unfortunately in the same league of traditional gallery lighting you can barely see the work from most angles due to light reflecting off the finish. This is also why most framed work in galleries has an anti-reflective coating.
“Untitled” by Georgy Sandom
Beautiful high quality photographs let down by the un equal spacing between the photographs. Which just bugs me after setting up so many series at shows ,and a lack of mounting.
Also there is NO EXCUSE for tacked up un-mounted work. And this thought isn’t just shared by me. To try and create a just and fair review I took two impartial ‘everymen’ to the exhibition opening, one who has a personal interest in art and the other who had never been to an art opening before: hoping to balance out my opinions as a working artist and my other companion who was part of the exhibition itself. They (the ‘everymen’) were in fact the ones to point out the bowing and bending of most of the photographs and paper work on display. This is why mounting your work is important. And if you use blue tack I should be allowed to rip down your work because it will just fall down by itself at some point anyway. There are always exceptions to the rule but this is a rule! Especially in collage work
“Memory Lane” by Sophie Reynard
An exception to the rule, the power and dynamic of this piece would not have been possible without the use of blue tack and pins due to its collage aspect and obviously it wasn’t a piece that would be served well by framing.
When everyone involved in the show put so much effort into making sure everything used the same midpoint for hanging why was the same amount of care not given to presenting the work itself. One artist hadn’t even rubbed out the pencil lines on the wall from where they were working out the measurements.
“Skulls” by Binny Ewan
One of my favourite works of the show was ‘Skulls’ by Binny Ewan. As beautiful and intriguing as the skulls themselves were as objects (the photographs above don’t unfortunately do them justice) they were let down a hundred percent by their presentation, recommended and endorsed by the tutors and lecturers who were supposed to advise the students in this capacity. Why were the skulls displayed both on a podium as sculptural work and photographically in large prints nearby? It made it seem like the artist had no confidence in her work and felt the need to back it up, totally undermining the ‘professional’ element the show was supposed to be geared towards. It doesn’t help that the photographs themselves didn’t depict a very flattering view of the skulls, especially as they were simply pinned and unmounted on large glossy paper meaning it was actually hard to look at them from some angles. Especially when coupled with a horrible and incorrect white balance. When working in the photographic medium you must actually learn to use a camera. I would have much rather the skulls had simply been hung on the wall like any other fine art work, taking the connotations away from that of sculptural objects. It detracted from my genuine enjoyment of this work.
Untitled isn’t a title!
Out of 67 works on show last night 24 were untitled. That’s over a third. And while I am sure some of the work has good reason for being untitled a lot of it seemed, to quote;
“Untitled due to laziness on behalf of the artist” –Overheard from a member of the public
It’s just lazy and unprofessional, especially in that quantity.
I personally find the titling of an artwork is integral in conveying the artist’s intention to the audience, or at least hinting towards it. If I like a work the first thing I do is check out the title looking for more information. Although in all honesty some of the work wasn’t what you would call deserving of a title…
Which brings us neatly round to the last chapter of my review! See you tomorrow and artists please forgive me.
So for the last few days I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather but it wasn’t until yesterday (The first snow day of the year here I might add!) that I became truly indisposed. So trying to make the most of it I thought I’d make a start on my commissions list. Although it became apparent very quickly that the amount of detail required in my dragons was not going to happen whilst I was having to run away to the bathroom every few minutes. Lovely I know!
I did manage to sketch up a draft cover for a comic concept my boss is interested in creating though. A bit different from my dragons wouldn’t you say?
I still want to work on the alley background: The placeholder background is a photo of a Soho alley taken from The World of HDR website whilst I draw up my own, but I like how the alleyway debris illustrates the abnormal size of the rat. *More hints! ;P*
I can’t wait to work more on this and stylise the whole thing! Even though it was commissioned to be a rough sketch it’s just such a fun thing to work on! Probably because it means I get to let my rats run around me on the bed. No matter how ill you are two pet rats running around you trying to steal your tablet pen and get in your dressing gown will cheer you right up!
Now back to the dragons!
Exactly what it says; there are new additions to my Society6 shop and Free International Shipping until Midnight (Pacific Time) just follow the link; http://society6.com/ArsonetteArtworks?promo=4d10bf
I have to admit I always find the final work in a series the hardest. It’s probably why I still don’t consider my ‘Dragons of the Subconscious Mind’ series truly finished yet, just postponed due to actual paid artwork and commissions. But that doesn’t excuse me not showing you my latest dragon tiles…which aren’t really dragons…
More of a quetzalcoatl than a dragon but I still thinks her works with the ‘Year of the Dragon’ theme of the coaster set. What do you think?
Originally this dragon was going to have legs but after putting it to a vote on my facebook page and instagram (Another reason you lovelies should go follow me on those!) people preferred it without the legs. So it stayed a sea serpent…not a dragon…again!
What do you think? One more to go! I’ve started digitising the dragons for a greater print quality already, to help speed up the process of getting the set to the printers as soon as possible but also for another reason and that reason is: Society6.
I am IN LOVE with this site. Half of my bookmarks on my computer are of prints and artworks I want from here and the best thing is, it’s just so affordable! It also helps that you aren’t limited to a simple framed print (although I have to admit that’s my favourite format for most of the works on there) Most of the artworks are also available as anything from iphone covers, tote bags or even clothing. And as of earlier this week, my art is available on there! Well one dragon at the moment but WATCH THIS SPACE!
It’s only one dragon so far but hey it’s a good place to start and I personally can’t wait to have them all up there. My dragon tile esigns as throw cushions on my sofa? I THINK SO! And I definitely need a tote bag with one of my dragons for taking my lunch to work. I think I may end up my best customer…
And there’s never been a better time than the beginning off the New Year!
So what have I been up to in my months of silence I’ve heard you ask? Actually quite a lot, and most of it is even art related! So prepare to be inundated with blog posts over the next few day while I update you in more detail. You deserve that after so long in silence I think!
What Arsonette Artworks accomplished over 2012;
-I graduated! (October)
-Accepted as one of the artists for the Shirley Urban Regeneration Project. This means; murals, murals and more MURALS!
-Started work on the aforesaid murals and had more commissioned based on the first design. (December) Sneaky peak tomorrow maybe?
-Finished all but one of my coaster tile designs and edited them ready for printing. But unfortunatley did not get the last one finished in time for Christmas
-Got epicaly lost on the way to the GoRhino! artist event but still managed to get some artists entry packs. Yay!
-Introduced my Cub Scout Pack to ART! Via Movember and the GoRhinos art event.
-Started making connections in the local art community with the possibility of starting a Creatives Collective.
-Sorted out the foundation blocks for a possible dual show for next year where I collaborate with another artist. But until then hush hush
Quite a succesful year when I look back on it. Despite all the stress.
If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.
And look what I’ve already acheived this year! I’m feeling cautiously optimistic
-Made a profile up over at Society6 where you can now buy; framed prints, stationary cards, iphone cases and ipod skins, t-shirts, hoodies, throw pillows and tote bags with my designs on! Wahoo! http://society6.com/ArsonetteArtworks
-Received 3 commissions!
-Got back on the blogging horse!
What Arsonette Artworks will acheive over 2013;
-Upload lots more designs to Society6
-Work on opening up my own online art shop full of prints and goodies!
-Finish my dragon tiles and get them printed!
-Design and paint the murals up in Shirley for the Shirley Urban Regeneration Project. And maybe make some of the murals into a book. You’ll see why later
-Make the Dragon Floor Mark 2 and get it into a gallery!
-Complete my commissions and trawl for more!
FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!