Thursday, March 29, 2007

Been a bit quiet because...

I've got a lurgy...respiratory problems...all that turps gets to me about every 12 months...

Anyway, I'm working on a new body of work. I have been wanting to paint on a larger scale for sometime, as I really enjoy the physical act of painting. I have found much of my current subject matter just doesn't work on a larger scale and has had me thinking for at least 12 months now on how I might overcome this.

I'm really excited and trying out a couple of my ideas and entering them in art prizes and meanwhile stretching up a large series of works to paint in a coherant block. I'm also still painting some smaller works that make up a larger installation. Its all a lot of fun for me getting to explore new things.

Meanwhile, I've got three commissions to complete...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Swapping Art and the Collecting Bug

I've recently started to swap my art with other artists. I think its a great way to expand my collection and also get to know some artists better that might only otherwise be acquaintances. Some artists don't do this at all and obviously it has to be beneficial and equitable to both and the work is based on price and credibility of the artist.

I caught the collecting bug some years ago and I have purchased works by James Gleeson, Stewart McFarlane, Gary Baseman, Patricia Piccinini, Sharon Green, John Coburn, Rick Amor, Tom Alberts, Marcus Wills, Mark Ryden and many others but see the idea of a swap as something that also makes sense. All artists should try and do it!

I've always struggled to purchase art and have pleaded with dealers to let me pay things off, most of whom have been more than generous with time payments. There was the Peter Booth I missed out on because Chris Deutscher wouldn't let me pay it off! I still regret not having a Booth to this day.

I absolutely love Patricia Piccinini's work and particularly this image that I have of hers, "Waiting for Jennifer" it combines my love of cars, strange creatures and the bonus of a not too bad a looking male starring lead in the drivers seat. I met Patricia once and she explained to me who the person was in the car and how the photo came about...its great to know the history behind an artwork sometimes.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Its my great Aunts 86th Birthday and I went to visit her in her new rooms @ Helping Hand Aged Care Facility, whilst if you've got to be in one of the places, this is a really modern and dignified place to be and I'm glad she is being well cared for.

Whenever I visit ageing relatives it really hits home about where you are in your own life. What have you done? What is left to do? Which brings me to this years task for me. Because I've decided not to have a solo exhibition this year, I'm going to use this time to think about myself and what I paint about. I'm planning on entering a couple of art prizes ( I do with much in-trepidation), which will help me work through some of my ideas and also display my work in different contexts and environments.

Recently, I was approached by a post-grad student to be her mentor, it all has to be approved yet through the art school, so may or may not happen. Assuming it all does eventuate, I think this will be great for me as much as the student because I'll be able to put down and analyse my five year plan I have for my art career. (I am part way through my 10 year plan for my work career and that, I'm glad to say is going to plan). I find it really easy to apply these things in the workplace because there are set paths. However, in the art world, the goal posts are constantly changing and they are controlled by others i.e. your art dealer. Choosing the wrong art dealer can ruin your career, in the past I've been seduced by the so-called keen art dealer with a good reputation and I've been screwed over by non-eventuating promises (even if written down on paper!). These little interludes have cost me twice now and taken up about three years of showing in group shows leading up to solo shows, realising that they aren't going to happen, the back out and dumping the dealer. Now, whenever I discuss with a dealer who wants to represent me that it IS a two-way street and it is up to BOTH of us to perform...most of them don't like me saying it but you've got to make it crystal clear that its a business deal and it has to be in both people's interests.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Out with the camera again

Went into town for an opening of George Raftopolous's work last night.

After downing a few beverages I went into the centre of the city where all the fans from the Clipsal V8 Supercar Race were lurking....Anyway, I wasn't much interested in the crowd but the buildings against the twilight sky. I only had my small snapshot camera with me but still got an ok sort of a shot.

To Accept or not to Accept

I've recently taken on another commission and whenever I'm asked I always instinctively say yes, provided it is not something outside my normal genre of subject matter. Currently, I don't put a premium price on these works but that is about to change. I think a 10% charge is fair. The dilemma I am starting to face is, should I in fact accept them at all? The reason I say this is because it interrupts my work flow when I'm trying to get a body of paintings together. Although I take great pleasure in seeing people happy with my work and it having meaning something important to them, the benefits as I approach my mid-career are becoming less. Artists need to explore ideas and it is often detrimental to the forward development of their careers not to play these out. I have to work full-time which brings me to the second part of my post. I've just heard that Artbank will not be paying me for the work they've purchased until the end of the year, because they will not be able to get their hands on the work until then. I can understand this, but when they agreed to buy the work they knew this was the case but promised to pay me in March, so now I've got to wait until at least Christmas for payment. In a round about way, I'm explaining both why I need commissions and also why I work full-time because regular money into the artists’ pocket is almost impossible unless you are in blue-chip land. Whilst I sell a reasonable amount of works each year and for a reasonable price, I find it increasingly frustrating to obtain funds for what you are owed. Also, this is why I get frustrated with commissions because stopping to do them, stops me painting new works which I need to do to move my art career to the next stage...