Archive for February, 2008

How to light an art show

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2008 by artbizness

A lot of people have commented to me how good the show looks, and how great the paintings look in their space. One of the great things about the SW1 Gallery where Beyond The Wilderness is showing is that it is properly kitted out with lighting track.

If you’re showing work, then lighting can make all the difference. There’s nothing worse than having a piece of work on the wall that’s stuck in a dingy corner. The piece doesn’t get seen, and the artist gets offended.

The joy of the lighting track is how versatile it is. In this case, the track is made by ERCO. If the piece of art on the wall is not directly under the light, you can slide the button round on the side at the top of the light fitting, pull it out of the track, and move it somewhere better.

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Of course, the fitting itself pivots and tilts, so you can point it right at the work. It can be quite dramatic if you do that, but it does make the work look good.

At the SW1 Gallery, there are two types of light – spots and floods. The floodlighting (in this case the square ones) will light up the whole area that you are pointing it at. It diffuses the light over quite a wide area, so whilst the light is not intensely bright, you can give it a general flood of light that helps.

Spotlights concentrate the light in one particular place, which draws the eye to the work nicely.

If you look at the photo below, you can see how the spotlights light up the work nicely. For bigger works, you would probably want to put a few spotlights on different parts of the work, to make sure it is well lit-up, rather than just have one spot right on the middle.

The other thing about lighting track is that inside the track, there are 3 separate circuits. What this means is that you can basically have some lights on separately to others – and turn them on and off as you please. If you want to light up one side of the gallery one day and turn it off another day and light up the rest, then you can do so. Certain lights can be made to come on when you switch on Track 1, others on Track 2, and the rest on Track 3. You get the idea. To select the light to come on with a certain track, you have to twist the round button near the top which is mark “1”, “2” and “3”. Easy-peasy.

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In practise, every time I come to do one of these (it doesn’t seem to matter what gallery I work in), the switches seem to bear little or no relation to what tracks light up with which light switches, so you end up experimenting until you work it out!

The only thing you need to be careful of is that you don’t put all the lights on one track, which will overload the circuit.

It took me just over half a day to get it all looking how I wanted – up and down a very tall ladder. Make sure you allow enough time at the end when you’re hanging. Get someone else to sweep the floor/write labels/touch up the wall while you’re doing it.

Have fun!

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How to curate an art show

Posted in art with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2008 by artbizness

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OK, It’s been a couple of days since the start of Beyond The Wilderness, and so the dust has settled somewhat.

We’ve started a Flickr pool of photos from the weeks activities here.

The workload in the run-up to any show’s opening is always stressful, and exhausting, resulting in late nights, arguments, and last-minute emergencies. That’s the nature of this job. If anyone else is reading this who sets up art shows, or has set one up for the first time, then take heart – it’s not just you.

It culminates in the opening night, which is when you have to be nice to people, when you have the least energy to do so. If you don’t sell any work, it can be very dis-heartening. But that’s life. Keep going. You need to do more of these, and eventually it will start to work for you.

I’m now in the eye if the storm. Everything is pretty much up and running. And needs very little to maintain the day-to-day running of the place. The SW1 Gallery has it’s own staff in the form of the lovely Heidi, so I don’t need to be there every day. And because this is a team effort, there are some wonderful people willing to sit in on the show every day, and be a smiling friendly face.

The bulk of the sales of work tends to happen on the opening night, so we’re now relying on a certain amount of passing trade, to sell more.

I have to say, that there is a great deal of satisfaction from just showing work, aside from any sales being made. If I could do it for free, I would. The opening night was a great success, in terms of the lovely comments I got from people about how good they thought my work was, and how impressive the show is as a whole. The other artists were honoured to be asked, and had a lot of fun inviting their friends, and being complimented on their work.

Aside from that, people get to stand in front of works and think new things, and go new places. As an artist you can have people listen to what you’re saying (in the form of art) with undivided attention. People get to have a new experience that you have provided. You get the chance to meet new people.. The list of benefits for you the creator, or you the viewer is endless.

Earlier, I said I was in the eye of the storm. The other end of the storm is the set-down next Friday (the day after the Cabaret). Basically its set-up in reverse, but a lot faster. We had 3 days to set up. We have 1 day to set down.

Set down is generally a lot faster anyway – you’re not hanging stuff on the wall, and carefully judging where it goes, lining it up, making sure it’s level, lighting it accurately etc. You’re just taking it off the wall, wrapping it, ripping the screws out of the wall, sanding, filling and painting the remaining holes, and taking home the works that you haven’t sold.

It’s also the saddest time, as the show that you have put your heart and soul into is at an end. Until next time.

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Beyond The Wilderness. It’s up and on.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2008 by artbizness

I just got back from my own private view, and I am absolutely exhausted.
The night was a triumph, and I was very happy with how it went.

However, although I am too tired to blog it myself, the venerable Jonny Baker has blogged about it already. So (for now) I’ll just send you there:

Lenten journeys

Also – he took some great photos which you can also have a look at here.

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Beyond The Wilderness. Setting Up. Day 2.

Posted in art with tags , , , , , on February 12, 2008 by artbizness

Well, today went a lot better than yesterday. I’m still absolutely wiped out though.

I was thinking of posting a photo of the works, as we managed to finish hanging the show (pretty much) today. But if I did that, you wouldn’t come to the Private View tomorrow night. Ha!

So, I just have to line up the lighting track so that the works are well lit up, and drop Jonny Baker’s photo down by about 5 cms. And then we’re done.

Oh yes – and label all the works. And tidy up this lot:

Fortunately, I’ve had the help of the lovely Doerthe Rosenow. She doesn’t normally look like this, but I think I’ve broken her spirit:

If you’re thinking of coming, then I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.

The address is:

12 Cardinal Place,
Cardinal Walk,
Victoria St.
London

Basically come out of Victoria Station, head for Victoria Street. Look for the big glass building with the roof that drops down into a point at ground level. Go in past the shops, and up the escalator. The gallery is the SW1 Gallery, next to Wagamamas.

Private View is from 6 – 9pm. drinks are free. Readers of this blog are most welcome.

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Beyond The Wilderness. Setting Up. Day 1.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2008 by artbizness

aaaaaaaargh….

And so it begins. I started hanging the show today.

I forgot what this is like, as its been so long since I last hung a show.

I swear to God, I think sometimes people think the art just sprouts legs, runs to the gallery and leaps on the wall itself, all level and flush with ready-written labels next to each piece.

And they probably think that the works will shuffle themselves about into the right order so that everything can be seen, nothing gets hidden in a dingey corner of the gallery, and wherever you stand in the place, none of the works jar against each other, are too close together or make the other works look bad by comparison.

So, despite a nice start to the day, its been a day of people telling me they can help out, and then not doing so on the day.. People throwing extra work at me last minute, when we we’ve had months to sort it out.. Sorry Mike, I need that now, rather than sometime over the next 3 days like we already agreed… Sorry Mike, I’m not around tomorrow after all.

It would be nice to be able to get to a Private View with energy to spare, and able to talk to all the nice people ready to push the artists and the various events involved with a smile on my face, but HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL no.

I will be flush faced, sweaty, and un-able to string sentences together, whilst floating around opened bottles of wine, that I won’t be able to partake in because if I do, I will nose-dive after 2 sips. Even though alcohol will be exactly what I need by that point.

No wonder half the artists I know are on the Colombian Marching Powder.

More of the same tomorrow, no doubt…

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Beyond The Wilderness. Work-in-Progress. I call this progress.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2008 by artbizness

I have made this part of the work by projecting a photo I took up onto the white canvas I was made earlier this week.

I had to work on the photo image a little bit first – I put it on the laptop, and worked on it with Photoshop to get it to three shades of grey. This gave it the strong graphic image, almost a bit like a screenprint. I then made up the different shades of paint using acrylic paint mixed with cigarette ash and soil.

The soil and ash have added to the tone of the paint, but have also made it really lumpy, making it impossible to paint a straight line, giving it a more organic feel, which is quite nice. You’ll have to see it in the flesh at the private view next week.

I can’t believe it’s only 5 days away!

Here’s the finished painting part:

Stuck in a traffic jam..

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The Big Bang Circus

Posted in art, general with tags , , , , , , , on February 6, 2008 by artbizness

I caught up with a friend of mine today, called Michael Teasdale.

Michael is a fellow artist who has been working away on a massive project for about ten years.

Well, it finally has a web presence. It’s called the Big Bang Circus. It’s still very much a work under construction, but I couldn’t resist telling you about it, as he deserves more recognition than he actually gets.

It’s an absolutely awesome work that threatens to take over his life (and more importantly yours) very soon. There are intentions to make a book/film/cartoon/universe/etc. The hook is that there’s a bit of a maze-like story to it, with hidden depths that you don’t find out about until you’re well and truly lost in it.

You can also see his other work at michaelteasdale.com (also under construction), which I’ve not seen before. Don’t be put off by the mugshot of Mike, though. He’s really very nice…

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