Friday, July 30, 2010

Strange New Ideas!

I was wandering in the mind this I often do. The topic I was wandering around was the idea of digital images and the lack of understanding of this new art form here in Oz.

The reason for me wandering off into a maze of thoughts and ideas around this topic was brought about by a conversation with the curator at the gallery in Canberra where I currently have a show. One of the offerings on hand is of course, a digital print otherwise known as a Giclee Reproduction. Now this seems perfectly obvious to me as an extension of my artworks but to the average punter, it is a frightening thing to think that someone can make a copy of a work and then print it in "how many" copies?

The curator was asked whether it was a lithograph? Does the print method make a difference? Lithographs can be reproduced ad-infinitum also and the artist rarely has a hand in making them either.....that is if they are as complicated as the painting I am rendering in a different format. The buyer still needs to trust that the edition is limited as the artist says.

But why are we so afraid of new printing methods here? I felt that perhaps there is a feeling that artists should be keepers of past technologies, masters of secrets long forgotten, the shamans who will bring forth those ideas when a society collapses......hmmm? Is that why here in Oz we are so afraid of the 'new media' or is it a completely philistine lack of knowledge.

When I went to Florence, the biennale had 2500 works there to ponder and amongst them were a great number of artists working in the new media. So prevalent was digital technology that there were works, not only on canvas, but reproduced on paper, aluminum sheets, glass, plastics and polyurethane surfaces and on and on. These were fascinating to look at! They challenged you to look further into the new.......

So for the life of me I can't understand why here we still think that working digitally is something of a fraud; not 'real art' is it?

I hope for the sake of all the artists out here in Oz pushing the boundaries and seeking out the new (which is what I thought artists did?) that the art voyeurs start to look in wonder at some of the wonderful pieces that new technologies are allowing us artists to pursue! They are artworks just the same as the old and true!

Anyway I feel better now, do you?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of Canberra Show

Sarina Locke from the ABC opened the show last Saturday night! Here's Bob (Director), Sarina and Joy (me!) All round a great success!

How to get FREE press!

Ever wondered how some people always seem to manage to get those good stories written about them? On the road to Canberra the other day, this question was brought home to me loudly and clearly!

I was able to drop in to see a little gallery in a tidy and friendly village where I regularly stop for decidedly yummy apricot slice and creamy coffee! Today, the gallery was open, so having a bit of time to spare and being the super sleuth that I imagine myself to be, I popped in.

A pleasant enough woman stood at the counter and engaged me in conversation. Bright with curiosity, she asked me where I came from, so with my writer's hat on, I whipped out my business card and told her I was in search of stories and would like to perhaps write the gallery up on my blog.

With hardly a glance at the card, the blinds came down and the shutters went up and in a stern voice, I was informed that the gallery didn't advertise and wasn't interested. No, I couldn't take a photo as I might steal someone's copyright, etc blah blah blah.....

After getting off my left foot which had mysteriously become glued to the floor, I managed to assure her that I wasn't there to sell her anything, that I really was trying to familiarise myself with the local arts goings on.

After a rather awkward and lengthy round of general questions about the gallery, I was finally allowed to take a photo and I beat a hasty retreat to the safety of my car. As I drove down the road, I composed a nice positive story about the gallery and the work I had seen but my gut instincts and over-riding emotions won out and this is the story that has demanded to come forth - so just a few words for those of you who have ever wondered "How come some people get all the press?"

When someone approaches your gallery, shop, studio and hands you a business card, do take some time to actually read the card and understand 'why' they are there. A friendly smile and co-operation on some level cannot hurt; a warm hand-shake, a cuppa offered, a question or two about the person all would lighten and brighten everyone's day and make a good impression of you and your space.

I for the life of me can't understand why someone can't see the difference between the words "editor" and "sales" - my business card clearly states "arts editor" - now in my world that means a person who writes stories - and that is an opportunity!

Taking me off at the knee just in case I ram an advertising schedule down your reluctant throat, doesn't help to advance your story.

Some people have a press ready file available with current stories, recent press clippings, photos that can be used in both digital and print format available at all times just in case an opportunity arises - think about putting one together today, duplicate x 3 or 4 copies, hand it out with a generous heart before you leap into aggressive and assertive action to oust the 'intruder'!

Now it may be that 'madam of the gallery' didn't like the look of me. I am quite an imposing woman at 6 feet tall. I can cut quite a ludicrous site to the more conservative of us with my colourful Zandra Rhodes hair and jeans that are worn at the hems, not quite right for a woman of my age I am sure some must exclaim! But I am who I am and as I am comfortable with that, then to meet with a disapproving stare and judgmental glance of 'madam director' was a clear indication to an artist and arts writer that indeed this was not a creative space.

For the most part, galleries are fun filled, laughter enclosed spaces where people are free to express themselves as they look at and are intrigued by the freedom of expression and abundant views of the artists represented.

My advice is, if you accidentally stumble into a conservative space and are met with the type of reception I got, then turn and run for yur life as quickly as you can.

The gallery will remain anonymous, the experience will never be forgotten. Unfortunately the artists represented, although on the safe and conservative side, were quite affordable and collectible but their stories are safely being guarded by 'madam director' - some people should never have made the 'tree-change'!