Home Is Where The Art Is

If you are an artist, a lover of art then I hope that I can inspire you to do what you love.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

About Stephen Powell and His Work.



The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts.

Today we are multi-skilled and often multi-task. Many of us have more than one type of work in order to make ends meet.
We are a complicated generation who increasingly rely on the latest technology, but somehow retain an underlying spirituality.
These thoughts were a starting point for this work, in the way that these titles are only a starting point for the viewer.
Art can't help but reflect the times in which it is made, but I use the medium of paint and canvas, which in this day and age is sometimes considered outdated. I believe the visual language of painting is just as relevant now as the use of traditional instruments to make contemporary music.
It is what you say through the medium that is important.
The fascinating challenge for me is balancing the language of colour with the vocabulary of mark making and the struggle with composition in order to produce something visually interesting.

Stephen Powell
Born in County Durham 1955
Studied  Art and Design at Hartlepool College of Art and Leicester polytechnic
Fine Art at Hornsey College of Art, London.

Has exhibited throughout Europe and is included in many public and private collections.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

You Are A Bunch of Collectors, I Knew It!

A lot of you outed yourselves as obsessive hoarders. I thought it would be the case. I have collected in large numbers the following. I am talking over the years.

Pencil sharpeners
Pencil Toppers
Fountain Pens
Scooby Doos
Key Rings
Silver necklaces
Bird Skulls
Fish related objects
Seahorse related objects
Tin Robots
Vinyl Toys
Black Pens
Lego mini figures
Blue glass
Found objects
Sweet wrappers

Those are just the things I can remember and I am still collecting at least 6 of the things on the list. I'll let you try and work out what they are.

It has been a busy week at the gallery with the last few days of the Words Works Exhibition. I have to say that it was a hugely successful exhibition on many levels not just sales. I have made some great new contacts and friends. It was very encouraging to see such audience interaction. The books were carefully handled but definitely look at.

I am already wondering what I can do next April that might have a similar appeal. If you have any ideas then feel free to let me know I am always open to ideas.

My studio gallery is up and ready for business. All of my work will be available at the gallery all year round in the studio and as soon as I finish a new piece it will be on display and for sale.
If you didn't manage to make it my Naked Birds exhibition then you can see some of it (the bits that didn't sell). I have got so many new pieces to make i can't wait for my admin to abate so that I can fully concentrate on my own work.

Stephen Powell's exhibition starts today and I have to say it is another great exhibition. If you like abstract art with texture, colour and crosses. This show is for you. I am half joking, my personal favourites are actually the works on paper. Their multilayered surfaces keep giving as you notice even more each time you look at them.
As I always say don't take my word for it come and see it for yourself.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Are You An Agglomerator!

I often think about what it is exactly that makes me creative. I see infinite potential in so many otherwise mundane subjects or objects come to that.

I am a notorious collector of things, I am not a hoarder though. I have been a collector my whole life. I like to possess multiples of things. I am a displayer of my collections if you are familiar with my work you will know this to be true. Tomorrow I will share with you what I actually collect, might even show you some pics.

Is it something that is innate within all artists/craftspeople? I have a feeling that it is.

I think Cornelia Parker is a great example of how artists view the world. I would encourage you to try and watch the BBC 3 programme 'What do artists do all day?'. When you see the way that she sees the world you will truly understand something about the way an artists mind works.

She sees beauty in the most obscure of places and then she photographs it. The results are beautiful, and if you didn't know better you would think that she had photographed a painting. They are difficult to find on line but they show plenty in the documentary.

Cornelia Parker
I use her as she is a big user of collections of objects in her work. I find the way in which she displays them fascinating.
Another one of my personal favourites is Joseph Cornell who puts his collections in boxes.

Joseph Cornell

I have spoken to many artists and the majority of them admit to collecting things. To get back to my original point though is what is it that artists see in the objects that others don't see?
What makes artists different? I have just thought of another artist whose work is quite collection driven. 

Jim Dine

I think there is something about seeing multiples of mundane objects. I should mention Andy Warhol although I am not a fan. 

What do you collect and why?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A New Day Is DAWning!

My absence has been noted and I can only say that I have been busy.

It was really good to see the amateur vs professional debate really get going. Just to clarify I am Switzerland when it comes to it. I think it's up to the individual to live up to any label they give themselves, not those that are given to them by others.

I enjoyed a bus mans holiday to Lyme Regis yesterday. I say that because wherever I go, I make sure that I visit all the local galleries. Not for any other reason than to look at what they are doing, and I am genuinely  interested in art. There are some really good little galleries there, yes they are really commercial but so what. They have some really interesting stuff on display. Good art is good art no matter what drives it.

I have to say mostly I am relieved to see them still open. It has been a hard winter for everyone, and we are feeling blessed with this up turn in the weather. It has had the desired effect and bought people back out and through the gallery doors.
Don't forget it is important to support all small independent galleries as they really are providing an invaluable service to your towns and villages.

On another note the Dorset Art Weeks Brochure is now out and looking pretty darn good. I am so pleased with the great job they have done with my advert and the Synchronicity show which will take place at the gallery.

You must pick up a copy as soon as you see one and check out the absolute plethora of artists/craftspeople/sculptors etc who are taking part this year. I really would love to visit some of the open studios. If any of you are doing any evening openings then let me know as you know I will be tied up with curating and looking after the Synchronicity exhibition during the day.

Finally, the Words Works Exhibition is still on and I hope that if you haven't already seen it that you will e able to get along and see it. I promise you it will not disappoint. Great exhibitors and great works who could ask for more?

Shirley is being me for the next few days whilst I go away and recharge my batteries. Just as well as I have a cold looming and feel a bit knackered. Please feel free to ask her anything should you visit she is well versed in the running of the gallery and the exhibition.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

An Independent Art Gallery?

Can you imagine that sometimes I have no idea what I am going to write until I actually write it? Today is the day and it is the hour.

Words Works still on for another two weeks.
I have the pleasure of leading many different lives at the gallery. I am gallery owner, curator, artist, teacher and probably a few more things I don't need to mention.
The variety of my days is what keeps it interesting and me interested.

This year it has been about trying to do as many charitable acts via the gallery as possible and I am pleased to say that has been very rewarding.

It has also been a time to reflect on successes and failures at the gallery. I have spent 3 years focussing my energies on getting the gallery up and running. It is doing just that and I am grateful for it. 
The thing that has been neglected has been my own work. I have decided to address this and create my own gallery at the gallery. To this end my studio will be a permanent exhibition of my work and there will be a permanent display of my work in the gallery itself.

The reasons for this are due to the fact that it is crucial for the turnover at the gallery to improve. I do not want to become an art shop that sells art. ( I will not be selling cards, books etc other than artists books and their postcards). I want to keep the gallery true to my original ethos but I have to move with the times and do everything possible to get more people through the doors and stay afloat.

Solo exhibitions have such great visual impact in the gallery but they don't have such a big impact on my bank balance. I think people need more choice, and that's what I intend to give them. I plan to do this in a stylish and subtle way. 
I hope that it will bring new visitors to the gallery and broaden its appeal to a wider audience.

I wish that I had the funding of the big named galleries but I don't and whilst they can have exhibitions of work that are made up from private collections and are not for sale. I cannot. 
If it is in my gallery, with a very few exceptions then it has to be for sale and priced to sell I hasten to add.

I take curation very seriously and when hiring the gallery I will be making sure that people realise that they are paying me to curate their exhibition. Whilst I think it's right that artists should have some say about what they want included. I know my space, I know how to fill it, I know when enough is enough. I am objective and detached from the work. That is why I can hang a good exhibition. My only goal is to hang a cohesive exhibition that shows the artists work to its best advantage. This in turn makes the gallery look good.

I feel like this is some kind of mission statement and maybe it is. But it helps to get it out in the world so that people know where I am coming from and can decide whether they want to exhibit with me in the future.

I am grateful for everyones support over the last three years and I hope that you will continue to visit the gallery in the future. Do not underestimate the role that you play in helping the gallery survive. It's not all about money. Every time you tell someone about the gallery you are playing a part in the future of the gallery. So spread the word L'Artishe Gallery is here to stay.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Are You An Amateur Artist Or A Professional One?

WORDS WORKS - Photograph courtesy of Shirley Walker

This is so contentious as it has many people not quite knowing where they fit.

Is a professional artist, someone whose sole income is from their art? That is what they do each and every day?

Is it someone who has shown works in London or another one of the big cities?

Is it someone who has professional qualifications in the arts? I'm keeping it deliberately broad.

I think in years gone by it was much easier to classify who is a professional and who isn't. I know a plethora of people with Fine Art Degrees who haven't produced any art since they graduated. I also know many that have.

When I graduated my Masters, I was intent on becoming a full time artist, that was back in 1994. It was probably easier then. After touting my wares to local and London galleries (art shops) and being turned away from everyone of them locally, a bit more luck in London. I realised fairly early on that I may not be up to the challenge. Remember the internet was in its infancy. The only way your work could be seen is if it was exhibited.

I trudged down the well worn path that so many art graduates do. I thought in my naivety that if I found a part time teaching job that it would finance 'my art'. Walked into a teacher/demonstrator role fairly easily. Oh the exploitation! Sound familiar? My part time role ended up taking full time hours to keep on top of.
My art quickly became a bit of a distant memory, I produced just enough to satisfy my need to create but not close to as much as I would have liked.

ALL of the lecturers I worked with were also artists and had to work super hard to ensure that they still exhibited and produced work. They all saw themselves as professional artists that taught. I should add here that I was employed by the people who taught me on my Art Foundation at 16. Eight years later they gave me my first job.

I moved on and became a lecturer in the South and there was a shift. I worked in a team of 20ish, very few of them practised what they preached. I would say 1/4 of the team were regularly producing work and exhibiting. The rest mainly identified themselves as educators. Why the huge difference?

I know that now many Universities want their staff to be practising artists and I do think that is as it should be. This in itself will keep it real for both the students and the lecturers.

Now the hobbyist/amateur/gifted amateur/not formally trained blah blah blah, who mostly paint/make etc in their spare time and have full time jobs usually in unrelated fields. But they exhibit regularly and make sales and take part in Arts Weeks/Open Studios importantly I should add here and visit galleries.
What about them? They dot all the i's and cross all the t's. But they are not 'professionals' are they?

Or are they?


When I opened the gallery a few 'rude' (some lovely people too, it's all about the inflection and the way the question is asked) people questioned my qualifications and wanted to know where I trained. What experience I had that made me qualified to open a gallery. The irony was that I was more qualified than many of the people that asked. I was allowed to call myself a 'professional'. Thank you very much.

I have taken to calling myself an artist/curator as that is what I am. I was an artist way before I was a gallery owner. Ask me what my profession is. No go on ask me.

Please get involved in the debate, I welcome your insights.

Are you a professional? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

I Wandered Lonely.....Nope Words Works Not Wordsworth

Photograph courtesy of Shirley Walker

I will make a pact with you. I promise not bang on about how incredibly busy I have been and that my blog has taken a back seat, if you promise to help me spread the word about the current exhibition 'Words Works'.

We had a fantastic opening event on Saturday a bumper crop of people attended. Some really good feedback and there were sales. Yes, you heard me sales. I know scrape me up off the floor but we had sales!

This exhibition is wonderfully eclectic with such a rich and vibrant variety of work there really is something for everyone. I know I say that quite often but it is really true.

There are books, paintings, prints, drawings and collages. So many techniques explored and great outcomes produced.

I think that is enough waxing lyrical about how good it is. You know the proof is in the viewing. Come and see it for yourself.

I hope to continue with some debate blogs this week so please feel free to get involved and let me know your opinions.

Here's question for you to ponder.

What is the difference between a professional artist and an amateur artist?

That ought to get you thinking.