where do you sell your paintings?

“You won’t believe this but, I was reading an art exhibition review which is pretty damming, not only to the exhibition in question, but also to the artist who made it. This isn’t an anti-post modernist twentieth century rant, nor is it an intellectual twenty first century tirade of what Art should be or indeed what it actually is.

Not at all, this review is more like those angry comments one sometimes reads after an essay about Contemporary Art in a left leaning national newspaper. You know, those rants directed at some arts columnist who infuriates everyone with his almost myopic intellectualism  – the one that uses sentences filled with nine letter and twelve letter words that were lifted from a thesaurus the night before.

To be honest, at first I laughed and then I was taken aback at the ferocity of the attack and then I felt really pissed off….” (30 September – 19.07  sms from Spike to painters Tubes magazine Sweden article to follow).

Tubes magazine Spike Art Critic

…the newspaper reviewer started off with, “that he found the exhibition so boring… that he could hardly find anything [to write about]. So, what was this horrendous exhibition he was so incensed about? – Artists vomit ‘installed’ on the floor of a gallery perhaps? Or maybe a live performance of an artist asleep?  Maybe digital prints of someone else iPhone selfies? Or even a person standing and staring into space for an hour or two naked in the middle of a gallery whistling out of tune? Nope…  none of those, it was a visual art exhibition showing paintings hung on a wall. Paintings, the most ubiquitous of all art was what this supercilious art critic railed against. He announced that painting (as an art form) was dead if not buried. So what if the artist had mounted an on-line exhibition instead of a bricks and mortar gallery exhibition? Would he have had to encountered such negativity and venom against the artist and the work? I don’t think so. On-line etiquette is far too well enforced, as far as commenting (read criticising) art is concerned. If you do critic any art on line – well, you know what happens guys…you get a bad case of the International Troll Gang gunning for you, social media is vicious towards critics. It’s sort of reversed in real life.

Do you Sell on line?
Showing paintings on line, seems to be the main stream for the dissemination of an artists work. Even though real life exhibitions are still relevant for many artists, an on line presence is essential (if only for street cred). Perhaps this particular critic didn’t realise that the “painting is a dead art” conversation has faded away as fast as padded shoulders did in the middle 1980’s. There has been a major change in attitude to painting in the last decade or so. In part, this may be entirely due to the need for the high street galleries to survive the financial crisis, the one that started in earnest way back in 2008. High street galleries need to sell ‘stuff’ and earn a profit – And paintings sell much quicker than ‘cool’ installations that rely on high brow art academics to authenticate the cultural importance of something that most people wouldn’t actually install in their homes (even if they don’t say so publicly).  And the institutions are happy to underscore the ‘Art’ as a thank you for the generous support (financial donation) made by the mega white cubed gallery brigade, whose artist is the latest exhibition in the museum. ”

William Shakespeare - There is something rotten in Denmark - article in painters TUBES magazine
“there’s something rotten in Denmark, me thinks.”

Yet, the installation art marketplace is tiny compared to what the two dimensional art market is and I think the galleries have woken up to that as a fact – so now painting is the ‘thing’ again. Today the sheer size of the visual art market (because of the internet and the web) has outgrown all that ‘arty farty stuff’ by leaps and bounds – certainly as far as turnover is concerned. So the www has become the place to set up your stall. Major funded on-line art galleries and some not so well funded independent artists, all have a go at selling direct to art collectors and art lovers.  Many of these artists and the one man art galleries start-ups fail quickly- some have a sort of:- ‘in the third year we will make money plan’.  Most, in reality, loose much more money than they bargained for and are wrapped up prematurely by the investors that backed the idea in the first place.  It’s not a case of chasing huge profits for many galleries though, on the contrary, it’s survival we are talking about here. Many on-line galleries are simply losing too much money, year in and year out. Consumers are going direct to source these days, via instagram.

“there is no money in Art…
…a very wise man once said to me (back in1990). He may have been right but for the wrong reason. Should Art really be treated as a commodity and be sold as such? – ‘Stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap is not an effective strategy for art, unless of course your selling from a production line of ‘copy’ paintings, you know, technically good, but utterly soulless. The high street galleries are having some degree of success especially the well positioned bricks and mortar establishments. They really do use the web effectively. Many sell-out their latest exhibition on-line, even before they hold the opening night. A night which also serves a vital purpose for the prospective client to actually see the Artwork for real – then the deal is invariably clinched on the spot. Sounds good, but nothing has changed for the artist who hasn’t the right connections or a million+ followers on Instagram, he or she still don’t even get a foot through the door let alone a painting to sell.

But – and it’s a big but…
….will authentic original art win out in the end? Or will the major on-line galleries self appointed art selectors continue to advance those artists that fit the preferred ‘style’ of the month and advise their visitors of the artists who are the ‘ones to watch’ (read invest in) – thus employing the ‘stack em high sell em cheap (at first), then up the ‘anti’ later strategy – all with an ‘additional discount to buy’ of course, which the Artist who created the work in the first place has to ‘agree’ to accepting the higher percent they take off the top line. Will High street galleries continue to be flooded by the hopeful newbie or the forsaken mature painters ? To be honest they really don’t stand a chance of being let over the gallery threshold as a exhibited artist.  High Street galleries have more than they can handle on the books already – so they tell me. And then of course we have the the on-line educators come experts (anyone can be an art expert if they say they are, all you need in a minor degree in sociology).  They tell us – “How-to Sell Your Art On-Line” does this unquantified  advise make any difference –  or is that bull shit too? Only Time will tell.  Real artists have to keep painting and have to wait and see with their eyes wide open to all the possibilities – or maybe  and better still – perhaps artists should create their own ‘marketplace and stick two fingers up to the lot of them.

SPIKE is an independent art critic painters TUBES magazine and does not neccessarily represent the opinions of painters TUBES magazine – BUT WE DO LIKE HIM

  ©Spike2019

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abstract painting the formal and the free…

The danger of ‘Art on Web’, if there is one, is there is possibly too much Art to look at. And perhaps too many twee images…

painters TUBES magazine Abstract Formal and Free

Abstract Formal and Free

a new beginning for abstract painting in the twenty first century?

By the turn of the century there was a significant uneasy feeling among creatives, it was because the conceptual, come installation art form, had dominated contemporary art for decades [in Europe], it had reached the point where it had become ‘institutionally-approved art.’ – and therefore only represented the Art Establishments opinion of contemporary art and no-one or little else. The conventional medium [painting] had not only been ignored unfairly, but often ridiculed by many academics as a serious medium to create a new contemporary art form.

This was more apparent in Europe than it was in the USA. Which had, in the main, accepted and had retained ‘painting’ on the curriculum of universities and art academies. This wasn’t the case in Europe, especially the UK, where slowly but surely ‘painting’ was removed not only from Universities curriculums but also actively eradicated by discouraging students of including painting in their portfolios for year ending assessments (some made a threat of immediate failure if they did so). Talent, skill, colour understanding and artistic authenticity became a thing of the past and all these later day basic elements and knowledge for art creation was declared ‘obsolete’ in favour of a Post Modernistic approach to art where plagiarism was not only allowed but expected of the student.

Not every one agreed with the post-modernism dogma, and many Artists, in general, became tired of restricting themselves to the non-physical involvement of art creation, mixed with the re-making of someones else’s original idea from the recent past and where the actual process of the creation was secondary, or unimportant. Disillusioned with the philosophy of post modernism and conceptualism, where only the ‘idea’ of a work of Art was the thing that was worthy of consideration, traditional painting became more and more attractive to Artists once again. This was despite the uneven handed approach to painting in the Art Education system. Painting flourished, especially with the underground artists, mostly dogged painters from the 1980’s, also the graffiti artists and with help of small exhibitions by the commercial galleries on some high streets and in provisional towns, painting began to prove that it was very much alive and had not ‘died off’ as it was predicted it would in the later stages of the Twentieth century.

The catalyst for paintings resurrection may have come from a movement that became known (in Europe) as the ‘Transavantgarde.’ Achille Bonito Oliva, an Italian critic overseen the new, or more appropriate, renewed an art philosophy that rejected the left wing [political] thinking in art and its corresponding artistic psychoanalysis. They returned to encouraging the use of traditional materials and the creation of Art imbued with not only talent but the invention of new image communication forms or symbolic signs. They gained an international audience in 1982 with an exhibition that was mounted in Rome.

The leading Transavantgarde artists included Chia, Cucchi and Clemente with Baselitz and Keifer in Germany, who are often thrown into the mix of the artists in this re-engagement with painting. What was also significant, was that a few artists in the USA seemed closer to the European Transavantgarde mind set than they did to the ‘pop’ or the ‘hyper-realists’ practitioners (for example, Julian Schnabel).

This goes to illustrate how the Art in the public view (media coverage), the one sanctioned and approved by art institutions, can be misleading, with the implication that Art is binary or lineal. Most artists know that Art is and always has been, dynamic and multifaceted.

We are only in the 17th year of a new century, but these last seventeen years are proving to be milestones in painting development, albeit not to the same extent that Cubism changed how artists think about how they could create a work of art.

The neo-expressionism of the Transavantgarde of the 1980’s led to more and more figurative interest in art creation. And in certain ways figurative abstract painting has asserted itself as the popular choice of many artists. Today figurative abstraction appears at the forefront of recent painting. It can take the form of abstracted human forms, landscape, emotional or personal experiences. The resulting artworks all carry something ‘real’ as the key element in the work of the artist. Art for Art ‘s sake, or Art as the object itself is no longer the main concern.

Picasso once said that… “there is no such thing as abstract painting, everything comes from something..”

What is apparent today is that the visual art playing field has widened and levelled itself to be inclusive rather than exclusive, as it was once was not so long ago.

Realism, semi-realism, abstraction in all it’s forms, gestural, expression, geometric formal, and informal and combination abstraction (objectivity mixed with non-objectivity), photographic/painting montages, video, digital art and graffiti, all have an active role to play in the kaleidoscope of todays visual art world. The whole history of art and art ism’s seems to have merged into an array of visually stimulating and exciting art forms, but only new in the sense that they are created in the ‘here and now’ and reflect that ‘here and now’ – it’s perhaps a more short sighted view of culture that is held today than it was in the middle of the twentieth century.

CPH Art Space

it was a very cold Easter Saturday we visited the Copenhagen Art Space for an annual exhibition…

Denis Taylor Artist at CPH art spaceIt was a very cold Easter Saturday that both myself and Marianne (sub-editor of Tubes) visited the Copenhagen Art Space for an annual exhibition. The venue is situated in the developing Nordhavbn (North Harbour) part of the Danish Capital City. The venue known as ‘Docken’ is a space which is expansive and well appointed. Art Space 2018 is an Art and Culture event that is approaching ten years old. The show runs over three days which may bring to mind Art Fairs in the UK, however this exhibition has the feeling of    a Salon, rather than an Art Fair.

Denis Taylor Artist and Editor of painters Tubes magazine at Copenhagen Art SpaceThe warm laid back welcoming that you get when entering the show made up for the bitter cold wind outside and allowed you to really enjoy what’s on offer. It was a breath of fresh air to witness the space given to each artist who exhibited, of which their were Sixty, all showing high quality, original, authentic work that was diverse enough for everyone’s particular taste. I began thinking that the space and the way it was presented could be a guiding light for the UK and Artists  to organize themselves to mount this sort of exhibition in similar spaces in the UK of which there are plenty available.

For me it was an opportunity to catch up with an old artist friend, Preben Saxild, an artist I had exhibited with in Stockholm at the Heart 2 Art exhibition in 2002. And one who’s work I have been following since before 1998. Preben has developed as an artist from being a very talented abstract expressionist, through to creating his unique landscape phase, and now a new line of work which is montage based, but with his own unique ‘take’ on life, one tinged with ‘irony’ political comment and sheer luxurious image making.

CPH3
Preben Saxild (left) and Denis Taylor (Editor of Tubes) catching up on his new work

Besides some great paintings there were also fabulous ceramic and metal sculptures on show, again I wished that the UK artists and private art galleries could visit these type of exhibitions in Skandinavia and be inspired by the originality of the Art, which is far more adventurous, in style and subject matter, (in my opinion), than most of the UK visual art that I have viewed over the last four or five years (in commercial galleries).
Below are a selection of some photographs (©Tubes magazine) of the venue and the art.

Landscape – yesterday today

When it comes to visual art today, landscape is by far the most popular subject with the public.

excellent article on Landscape Painting – Contemporary Artists who are painting landscapes today.

extract from article on landscape published in TUBES #5….

When it comes to visual art today, landscape is, and by a huge margin, the most popular subject with the general public, that is according to the many independent data analysis reports available on the web. Landscape paintings, it seems, are the most sought after by all social levels of people in modern society. They are the most exhibited in galleries world wide and the subject of them, nature, is one which almost every contemporary painter has, at some time or another, turned their attention to, but it wasn’t always that way.

Landscape on its own, as a autonomous work of Art, was once was frowned upon and was not taken seriously by those who controlled the output of Artists. It was viewed as a non-educated (non-intellectual) form of art. During the fifteenth century and some to extent the sixteenth century, the ‘mode’ of painting that was to be given a high status especially by the powerful art Academics, was historical referenced painting. Ancient Greek myths, Biblical stories or Viking legends etc. It was these subjects were seen as the only serious form of art that an artist should select as subject matter. Landscapes were only necessary to create the ‘stage’ or as ‘support’ for the human figures within them, figures that acted out their part and help to illustrate the story of the chosen subject. These background landscapes were painted in a specific way or with predetermined exacting tonal values that laid themselves back on the painting, always subservient to the human figure.

The reasoning behind this ‘rule’ was deliberate and ensured that only the ‘highly educated’ could pick out the subtle placement of symbolic object references, or have an in-depth knowledge of the story told within the work. Subtle references that could be discussed at length by a higher social class of citizen to demonstrate their intellectual prowess and greater learning. Thus meaning the artists who created these works needed a high level of educated instruction themselves. This ensured (usually) that artists came from mostly affluent families, or those artists who were seen as gifted and then were educated by the establishment, perhaps from an early age. (note: much the same attitude applied to ‘neo-conceptualism’ towards the early or latter part of the Twentieth Century)….continued back copy available soon..