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Wednesday 23rd November 2011The Art of Collecting Goes Digital

Image from s[edition]
If someone said that they would sell you a Damien Hirst for around £7.50 ($11.80) or a Tracy Emin for about the same price, you would be forgiven for claiming the idea to be preposterous, and not to trust whoever it was that you were talking to. 
Thanks to a new online platform called s[edition], the above price for a Hirst or an Emin, is about right. 
s[edition] is a new business venture, brought to us by Haunch of Venison founder, Harry Blain and Robert Norton, the former CEO of Saatchi Online.  They plan to revolutionise the way we think about collecting and the way that we consider the idea of art and ownership. 
Through s[edition], art lovers can buy and download digital art by some of the worlds leading artists. With prices ranging from £5 to £500 ($7.80 to $780), you can get your hands on works by the likes of Hirst, Emin, Matt Collishaw and Isaac Julian. The digital artwork has been released in editions of 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000, and have been created specifically for s[edition]. 
Anyone who purchases one of these works of art will receive a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and someone from s[edition], and will be able to enjoy their work of art on any device that can be connected to the internet. 
Beyond acting as a dealer of these digital artworks, s[edition] will also be a platform  for people to receive updates about the artists displayed on the site, including when new publications are available, and when new shows come round at museums and galleries. 

Posted on November 23rd 2011 on 03:33pm

Friday 18th November 2011Featured Photographers Website: Richard Seymour, Fine Art Prints

Fans of photography, contemporary design, flash cars and cityscapes from cool and edgy action movies, will love the work of Richard Seymour.
Working in the world of design and advertising ensures that Richard has access to some of the most spectacular and unique locations across the world. This fact lends itself to Richard being able to product some truly stunning photographs, which are now on sale on his new photography website.
In 2010, Richard entered the winning photograph at the Association of Photographers Open Awards, and was a finalist in the 4th Annual Photography Masters Cup for Bikes over Paris, in the advertising category. 
Split into categories of Metropolis, Shadow, White, Spaceport, Automotive and Special Collection, Richards work strikes a futuristic, and even dystopian chord at times. His juxtaposition of form, sensitivity to light, and colour and appreciation of symmetry make his images a truly rare pleasure.

Posted on November 18th 2011 on 08:45pm

Friday 18th November 2011Google Doodle Pays Homage to Louis Daguerre

If you're a photographer, then whether you know it or not, you owe a great deal to Frenchman Louis Daguerre, so it's a good job that Google have chosen to celebrate Daguerre's 224th birthday with this entertaining Google Doodle.
Daguerre was a French physicist who created the first successful form of permanent photography, in conjunction with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, back in 1826. Niépce had been experimenting with the fact that silver carbonate or silver chloride and a chalk mixture darkened under the exposure to light, with the pair refining the process to build towards using it to produce photographs.
Daguerre's experiments led him to expose silver-coated copper plates to iodine, producing silver iodide. He then exposed the plates to light for several minutes, then coated the plate with mercury vapour and heated to 75oC before finally fixing the image permanently to the plate with salt water. This was the first form of permanent photography, called a Daguerreotype. 
The Daguerreotype was presented to the French Academy of Sciences in 1839, following years of experimentation with the medium to perfect the process.  At this point however, the image on the plate was still in reverse from the image that it captured, the image needed to be viewed from an angle due to its shininess, and it had to be protected from destructive fingerprints and the air in a glass fronted box. 
Nevertheless, photography had its foundations, and generations of photographers would take this basis and build on the medium, making it, what it is today.

Posted on November 18th 2011 on 01:24pm
Labels: photography

Thursday 17th November 2011A New Museum to Boost the Dubai Art Scene

Perhaps Dubai isn't one of the first places that you would mention, if asked to list places with a strong art scene, but that looks like it is set to change in the very near future. 
With a rapidly developing art scene, Dubai will now see a brand new museum that is set to strengthen its place on the artworld map.
The Salsali Private Museum (SPM) will open to the public on the 13th November; the opening show, Show Off, being that of Mr. Ramin Salsali's own private collection. While museums that house the collections of individuals are not uncommon, this will be the first museum of its kind in Dubai. 
The museum is set to be a place where new and established collectors can gather to discuss their collections and how they are building up their own taste in art. The museum will also have a section that offers other art collectors the chance to showcase their own collections to the general public. 
Ramin Salsali's collection contains over 300 works of art by both artists rooted in the Middle East, like Sara Rahbar, Ala Dehgan, Ave Fereydoun, Mona Hatoum and Shirin Neshat, but also more internationally known artists such as Niki de Saint Phalle, Erwin Olaf, Meret Oppenheim and Daniel Richter.
Salsali hopes that the museum will act as a platform to educate people about the Middle Eastern art world and share his passion for art, something which is had already been honoured for by the the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Patrons of the Arts Awards.

Posted on November 17th 2011 on 11:30am

Wednesday 16th November 2011The Turner Prize 2011, Make Up Your Own Mind, We Certainly Did

This year, the coveted Turner Prize is being held at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and since it's on the door step, I took a couple of hours out of my Gallereo day to go an make up my own mind about the whole thing, before the winner is announced on the 5th December. 
Firstly, I would say that the Turner prize has come under a lot of criticism in the past about the nature of the art selected, and the fact that painting is often a neglected medium, even though the prize is named after perhaps one of the greatest painters of all time. This year, we can safely tick the painting box in terms of what is included in the show. 
George Shaw is one of the nominees of this years Turner Prize and is known for his urban paintings of rundown, neglected parts of the UK, and in particular Coventry, where he grew up. The collection of paintings on show as part of the Turner Prize are particularly dull and downtrodden in subject matter and rendering, but they have a certain draw and interest about them for the viewer. I could easily recognise and relate to the subject matter from local areas that were, and in some cases are, in the same state of disrepair and neglect as those in the paintings. 
The atmosphere of the paintings captures a certain feeling towards these areas around the outskirts of new housing developments, or of great older buildings that are set to be demolished. Then there's the familiar geometric repetitiveness of sets of garages on estates, and roads and pavements that have seen better days. This isn't grand subject matter that painting was once accustomed to, this is real life; documentary of the true state of the places around us. The places that we drive by and don't think too much about, or the places that we'll choose to forget once something else begins to dominate our local landscapes. 
While Shaw's paintings occupy the final room of the Turner Prize showcase, it is artist and sculptor Martin Boyce who is presented first to the touring public.  The room is sparsely filled at ground level, other than a large table construction at one end which looks like a cross between an Alexander Calder sculpture, something that David Smith might have started to piece together, and something that you would find on the set of Beatle Juice. I liked it, it would definitely make for a good conversation starter at the next dinner party if it had pride of place in the dinning room. 
Martin Boyce, Do Words Have Voices 2011
© BALTIC & the artist Photo: Colin Davison
The room was atmospherically lit, and a glance up to the ceiling revealed an interwoven grid of sculpted metal that gave the impression of a think overhead covering of leaves on a tree, with a dim light shining through. All in all it made the room incredibly cosy and a total experience of the space, rather then an experience of each individual item of work.  The paintings on the wall, surrounding the table, were very reminiscent of Frank Stella, in their geometrical construction, or even of Jasper Johns in his grey period.  The mix of Calder, Smith, Stella and Johns makes the room a very Americanised experience, like walking into a gallery at the Whitney Museum in New York City. 
Following on from Boyce was the video work of Hilary Lloyd, and while we've taken more and more to video art over the years, this room seemed unremarkable and quite forgettable in comparison. This was made worse having then been able to walk into the child-like sensory wonder world created in the next room by Karla Black. 
Lloyd seems to present the weakest entry for the Turner Prize, with the view out of the window of the 3rd floor of the Baltic seeming to win more spectators than the video installations themselves. Perhaps she was hard done to in terms of placement, or perhaps it's just each to their own in terms of what presses the right buttons in a show like this. 
Having seen the Karla Black installation on the news previously, there were seriously mixed feelings walking into the room. Would it make any sense, was it a justifiable creation, was it really just going to look like a Lush store had exploded in the gallery space. Thankfully, it was easy to connect with the work once in amongst it. The big paper accumulations were like secret dens made with bed sheets and the powder on the floor was like that 'accident' you had as a child grinding sticks of chalk into pretty much any surface because it looked nice, and you enjoyed it. Only this time, you could witness the whole thing and not be told off for the mess. 
Much like Boyce, the sensory appeal of the room overrode any individual aspect of the artwork. It was a true representation of art mimicking life and offering a play room of child-like feelings and experiences to everybody that walks through the door.  
Having gone into the Turner Prize show at Baltic with a fair bit of skepticism, as I'm sure many people do, it was possible to emerge at the other end pleased and relaxed about the whole thing. Maybe you wouldn't want to hang most of it on your wall, in fact you wouldn't even be able to try with most of it, but if you can walk into the gallery and go into any one of those rooms, and be able to say, 'that was great, it reminded me of when…' then you will perhaps be a step closer to experiencing the 2011 Turner Prize in the same way that I did. 
As for who should win the prize this year; before the show, Shaw was far ahead at the top of the list, for no other reason than it would be great to have a pure painter come out on top this year, but after visiting the show, it still goes to Shaw, but now, only just.

Posted on November 16th 2011 on 03:49pm

Friday 11th November 2011Featured Artist Website: Ray Campbell Art

It's been a few weeks since we had a Featured Friday, and not for a lack of excellent websites to showcase. This week, we are bringing it back, with the work and website of Ray Campbell. 
I met Ray for the first time very recently, although I had seen his beautifully rendered watercolour paintings in a local gallery before. I've chosen Ray for this weeks feature, both because he has a very nice looking website, if I do say so myself, but also a wonderful story to go with it. 
Ray will soon be 68 years old, and while this is of little consequence generally, you might be interested to hear that Ray has only been painting, and making art for the past 5 years. Hard to imagine considering the work. 
Ray is based in the North East of England, and studied at the Newcastle College of Art when he was just a youngster. Coming away qualified in Display and Exhibition Design, Ray began to work in a local art studio where he was able to indulge in his passion for art.  However, it was not long before the studio went out of business and Ray was left looking for work. 
After searching for similar positions across the country, and finding opportunities few and far between, Ray was forced to take up work elsewhere, eventually finding himself working in the coal mines of Northumberland. Now with a small family of his own, Ray put any ideas of art far behind him.
Ray didn't touch a pencil or paintbrush again until he was in his early 60's, and by now remarried, with grandchildren. One day, his grandson asked him to draw a car that could then be coloured in. Ray drew the car and, to the amazement of his family around him, it was pretty good.  His wife commented "I didn't know you could draw!", to which Ray responded, "You never asked."
Ray's family then bought him paints and other art materials to allow him to indulge in a skill that he had long forgotten he had. Over the past few years he has taken part in some art classes to get back into things, and now spends a great deal of time painting the local landscapes of his native North East. 
From drawing a small car for his grandson, Ray is now widely exhibited in the North East, and original works can sell for over £1,000. 
Please take the time to look through Ray's website at some of his tremendous water colour scenes. You can also see a news interview with Ray on the links page of his website. Enjoy.

Posted on November 11th 2011 on 12:31pm

Wednesday 09th November 2011A Special Editions Residency Program for Emerging American Artists

Whether you are a printmaker, have aspirations of being a printmaker, or just want to add a new dimension to your oeuvre as an artist, then the Special Editions Residency Program at the Lower East Side Printshop, in New York City, deserves some special consideration. 
The Special Editions Residency Program is a competitive award, aimed at emerging artists in America, whether they have printmaking skills, or not. The residency hopes to provide artists with the chance to explore printmaking in order to expand their creative output, and perhaps offer new ways of thinking about how they approach art making. 
At the end of the residency, it is hoped that the artists involved will have been able to produce a new, important body of work, having been helped along the way by experienced printers, and with full sponsorship from the Lower East Side Printshop. 
As well as coming away with a new body of work, artists will also be included in the Printshops annual catalogue, and have the chance to receive exposure through exhibitions at the Printshop, and further afield. 
Each awarded residency includes:
  • 12 day-long collaboration sessions with a master printer, over a period of three to six months, as well as a production / editioning service and independent studio access.
  • All materials and full access to tools and equipment
  • Up to a $4,000 stipend
  • Catalogue
  • Printed and internet publicity, and free slide documentation
  • Limited travel and accommodation stipends for artists who live outside of New York City
Applications for the residency must reach the Lower East Side Printshop by the 2nd December 2011 and the residencies will take place between February 2012 and February 2013.
Applications are only accepted currently from US residents and only emerging artists, who are defined as under-represented and at an early stage of their career.
For a full run down of the residency program, past residents and application guidelines, visit the Lower East Side Printshop website.

Posted on November 09th 2011 on 03:34pm
Labels: printmaking

Tuesday 08th November 2011Ed Ruscha's Photographs Find A Home at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles

From 'Twenty Six Gasoline Stations', 1962 Ed Ruscha
Ed Ruscha was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1937, and came to be one of the most famous American artists of the 20th century. His works often revolve around typography and language, placing his work in the contexts of American Pop and also Conceptual Art. 
While perhaps better known for his graphical works, photography played a large part in Ruscha's artistic output and in his explorations of the world around him. He particularly went to great lengths in documenting certain subjects in Los Angeles, such as LA Apartments, the entire of Sunset Strip and parking lots across the city. 
He self-published a number of photography books, documenting these subjects, and many of the photographs that he took became the basis for some of his more famous painted works, such as his gas station series. 
Recently, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute made a joint acquisition of over seventy photographs by Ruscha, as well as his entire Streets of Los Angeles archive which comprises thousands of negatives, hundreds of photographic contact sheets and documents related to his journeys, studies and photographic output. 
The acquisition now makes the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute the leading resource on the photography of Ruscha, and will also make this collection more accessible to the public than ever before. 

Posted on November 08th 2011 on 12:51pm
Labels: photography

Saturday 05th November 2011Websites for Art Students - Let Your Creativity Shine Online

Back in April we ran a brand new campaign that targeted students at a few universities around the UK. The aim of the campaign was to offer free artist websites to students, in order to encourage them into the online sphere to promote their work, and to build a portfolio that would serve them well when they left university. 
Due to the huge success of that campaign, we are running the same thing again for this new school year, only bigger and better!
If you are at university, college or art school and want to showcase your artwork, photography, illustration or designs, then hopefully your school is one that has taken us up on our offer. If not, don't worry, just contact us stating where you attend and we will sort you out with everything that you need to get started. 
Free websites for art students allows us to support young artists who may well grow to be the art stars of tomorrow.  Take a look at some of the websites that were created by students, earlier in the year:
Harry Atkinson and Alysia Anne from Northumbria University:
Chris Smith, Olivery Lindsay and Sarah Harrison from the university of Leeds:
Anna Welsh from the University of Sunderland:
Rebecca Dykes' from the University of Newcastle:

Posted on November 05th 2011 on 01:23pm

Thursday 03rd November 2011The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition

You may notice some kind of blog theme…maybe relating to photography competitions, but all that we can say is, the more opportunities available to people, the better, so if you didn't previously know about the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, but would have entered if you did, our work here is done. 
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year award is sponsored by Veolia Environment and hosted by the Natural History Museum in London, and the BBC Wildlife Magazine. 
Entries for the 2012 competition start on the 5th December so that leaves a month for you to get out there, capturing some amazing wildlife shots, if you would like to be in with a chance of winning. The closing date for entries is the 23rd Feburary 2012. 
This international competition is well renowned, and photographers throughout the world aspire to be included in the award. While there is a dominance of professional photographers, it's not unheard of for amateurs to also succeed. Making this a serious case of; if you don't try…
Each year tens of thousands of photographers enter the competition, and are judged by an international panel of photography experts. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year was established as an award in 1965, back when the BBC Wildlife magazine was just known as Animal, and there were a great deal fewer photographers on the scene. The competition really took offing the 1980's, when in 1984 the BBC Wildlife Magazine joined forces with the Natural History Museum to make the award what it is today. 
Let's take a look at some of the winners of the 2011 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition:
2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Winner: Daniel Beltrá, Still life in Oil.
2011 Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife - Winner:  Peter Chadwick,Taking off.
2011 Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife - Runner-up: Cyril Ruoso, Tiny warm-up.
2011 Eric Hosking Award - Winner: Bence Máté,Workers' Reflections.
2011 Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year - Winner: Daniel Beltrá, Beneath the Surface.

Posted on November 03rd 2011 on 11:26am
Labels: photography
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