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.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Would You Like To Be A Guest Writer On My Blog?

Sharon James

Today I am putting my money where my mouth is! I said I would happily publish someone else writing about their work on my blog. Are you up to the challenge?

You can send it to me via email as a Word doc preferably with pics. I can copy and paste it in here. Got an exhibition you want to talk about? Working on a an exciting new project that you want to share with the world?
I have thrown down the gauntlet, if you feel like getting in touch then drop me an email at lartishegallery@mail.com

Come and have ago if you think you are literate enough! (A bastardised football chant).

Why thank you kind readers. You smashed me through my 80,000 page views yesterday. Had some lovely comments and feedback too.

It is really disheartening when people are really negative about the things you write. My faith has been redeemed.

I am more than happy to help anyone who might want it with getting to grips with blogging, and social media in general. I do workshops at the gallery.
I can also open up a whole new world of art via your tablet should you have one.
You know where I am and my prices are designed to make it affordable to everyone.

I have so many new projects underway at the moment I could happily spend all day every day doing my own work.
I went to my special place (art wise) on Thursday. I went and bought some new watercolour paintbrushes in the following sizes 0,00,000 and a 1. For those of you who may not know what this means. It means I am painting tiny things and loving every minute of it.
It has been many years since I worked quite this small but I have the neck ache and tired eyes that I shall wear as a badge of honour.

I keep taking rubbish photographs of my efforts so I am going to desist and wait until I have finished and get them scanned so they look good. (That's what I hope anyway).

Here's s sneaky peek!

Sharon James

Friday, 27 June 2014

If You Ever Plan To Exhibit Anywhere...Read This! Or Don't You Choose!

It's been a while since I wrote a top tips blog as the last few were less than well received, largely due to stating the obvious apparently. If it is so obvious, one can only speculate about why people are still unable to do it.

Moving swiftly on!

I have written many a blog about planning an exhibition and publicising an exhibition. Today I am going to add a few more hopefully helpful hints and pointers.

1. Social Media IS FREE! New School, Hi Tech

I know it's hard to believe but it is. Why not not take advantage of it? I do all the time and I don't just mean Faceache as I like to call it.

Linked In
Google +

These should all be weapons in your publicity armoury. I would happily post a guest written blog about their work. Especially if it helped to promote a current exhibition here or somewhere else.
Linked In a professional networking site, a great way to promote exhibitions to a target audience especially if you join the art forums.

I can now post my blog on Pinterest it takes me about two seconds. I have to add that I have also uploaded images of my own work and have a few followers too.

I haven't quite sussed Google + but I do post my blog on it on there every time I write one.

2. Old School - Low Tech

Put up locally, in libraries, other art galleries, cafes, craft shops, art shops.

Listings are often free in local publications and Evolver will list your show if you are lucky and the
wind is blowing in the right direction.

3. Before the show is up how can you get people interested?

Some of the most popular pages that I see have studio shots, and regular updates of works in progress. This can be done via a blog, Facebook, Twitter. People are really interested in seeing the place the work is made. Smart phones make this super easy to do. Guess what it is FREE!

Invite EVERYONE to your exhibition, don't worry they won't all come. Do not put the distance barrier in the equation of who to invite. Let people decide for themselves whether they want to come or not. Not inviting them is a big mistake.
If you were really clever about it you could add a link to your website, or the gallery website, or Facebook Page etc and say there will be an opportunity to see photographs of the show for those of you who can't make it. Makes everyone feel included.
I get invites to exhibitions from all over the country I am happy to be invited.

3. What can you do when your show is up and running?

This is often a tricky one, I am very familiar with the dump and run approach. Once the show is up there's a big sigh of relief and a swift disappearance into the sunset.
The truth is that you can nurture interest in your show by being interested yourself. If you aren't talking about it why should anyone else? That isn't to say that there should be wall to wall bragging about your fantastic new exhibition.
You can do this.

A gentle reminder to your mailing list that didn't make the PV that it is still on and you'd really appreciate their feedback as they have bought work from you in the past.
Share updates from the gallery with your friends via social media.
If you know an artist friend is going to visit ask them if they would mind doing a ten line review of the exhibition.
How about an Artist Talk or a demo of your particular skill? People love to hear what drives the work. It's a really simple way to get people to engage with the work. They also like to see how things are done.

4. Interactivity

How can you include a visitor to your exhibition with your process?

Sketchbooks are by far the most straightforward way to do this. There is a real feeling that sketchbooks on display are relegated to degree shows. Why? I have no idea, I regularly show mine and people love to look at them. Being able to touch elevates the whole experience for people.
I know artists are fiercely protective of their inner most thoughts and drawings but.....

I also have the means to show video/photographs on a screen, most galleries do these days. A show reel of past work could contextualise your current work?

You could also include an inspirational object/photograph, poem, story. There usually is something.

Have great weekend!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

John Gooch, Suzette Knight, Sharon James and Cecca Whetnall @ L'Artishe.

My gallery assistant Shirley has been super busy taking some fantastic photographs of the current work on show at the gallery.

If you need a cool reprieve from the sun then the gallery is a chilled cultural space that you would be more than welcome to relax in.

 I have been sharing the pictures all over the place so now I am going to share them here.

The gallery has a really nice feel at the moment as there is a nice variety of work on display. There is definitely something here for everybody. I hope that you get a chance to see it, although I have to say that Nicola Dennis's exhibition is so vibrant and bright that there will be no doubt about the summer being well and truly at the gallery.

A few people have been enquiring about whether or not I am teaching over the summer. I most definitely as so if you can let me know if you fancy a workshop sooner rather than later. I will be taking some holiday in August but I plan to be here most of the summer.

John Gooch & Suzette Knight

Suzette Knight

Sharon James

Sharon James & Cecca Whetnall

I am here why not pop in and say hi, if you haven't been in for a while it is always nice to see a familiar face.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

I Curate Therefore I Am A Curator!

I do like a dictionary definition. It is becoming increasingly important to ensure people understand what my actual role is at the gallery. I have had people who think that if they supply me with their work that that makes them the curator. Sorry folks you are still the artist, that's as it should be. That is what you pay me for after all.

I hang exhibitions with two words in my mind 'cohesion and flow'. That is what I am thinking about I am not thinking 'put the two green ones together'. I am also not thinking about the narrative behind the work particularly. I am consciously thinking about hanging a visually cohesive show that works. It has taken me twenty years of hanging exhibitions to get where I am now and I hope that I will continue to improve as time goes on. 
When I write twenty years a part of me feels old and sad.

If I was allowed to (I am sort of allowed) I would be even more experimental with hanging but artists generally prefer a more traditional approach.

When I hire the gallery I take many factors into consideration. It isn't just about making sure it is fully booked. It also about making sure the right thing comes at the right time of year. 
This is more important than people realise. 
Swanage is a hive of activity during the summer which is fantastic. Is it the right time to put on a really conceptual abstract exhibition? Nope! 
It took me two years to learn that lesson. Keep it light for the summer. Spring, autumn and winter are the reserve of the more challenging art.

I am also now reducing the amount of solo exhibitions that I have as they don't pull in the people. I have taken several steps to address this and so far (touch wood) it is working. I now have a variety of work on show that has a wider appeal.
Anything to keep my head above water.

I am sure that the Tate never has to deliberate that much about times of year. They have a much deeper pocket than me. We won't even talk about the names that they can attract.

I think both of the definitions fit what I do at the gallery. I'd happily be an art museum if I could afford to be one. Sadly, I cannot.

Ok so the second definition 'gallerist' is starting be used more frequently now. I think it has come over from the States. This blog has put a squiggly red line underneath the word which means it is not in the built in dictionary. 
I think this is also my job title too. 

I can also chuck the word artist into the mix. But the truth is I am happiest with artist/curator. It seems honest and the most straightforward. One does inform the other in both directions.

All I need now is for the Sunday Papers to do a little article about the arty coastal town that is Swanage and include some info about the gallery and I might finally get on the national map.
Here's hoping!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Down To One Blog A Week? I Think Not

June @ the gallery.

I have another new exhibition so it's no wonder that I am totally exhausted. I am running a very tightly schedule of events this year and that means that there is only about 36 hours max between exhibitions. If it has been a while since you last visited then rest assured there will be some thing brand new for you to see.

John Gooch has some beautiful and thought provoking paintings in this exhibition. It is well work a look. I think it is the perfect balance between contemplative and simply beautiful.

I am pleased to announce that the gallery will be running it's first ever live demo of any kind. Nicola Dennis who is exhibiting in July will be demonstrating how to produce a silk painting.
Here's the kind of thing that she does.

Follow the link for further details. Do come along it is free and should be worth a look.

Nicola Dennis

She will be using one of my underwater photographs as inspiration for her work. How exciting is that? I love the idea of seeing an image transformed into a silk painting.
Her exhibition promises to be the perfect summer exhibition. It is light hearted, vibrant and lively a real crowd pleaser.

Tomorrow I will be tackling the interesting subject of what does a curator actually do all day. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Post DAW/PAW Snore! Let's Have Some More.

View from the gallery up Swanage High Street by Me today.

Hi my name is Sharon its been 17 days since my last blog. I have been tempted to write one and the overwhelming sense of impending doom stopped me.

I recently underwent possibly the worst two weeks in my working career. No details here, although I would love to fill you in. (Should mention that I've been through 4 Oftsed inspections historically, that should contextualise it for you a little)

(Whispers quietly to myself 'I must remain professional')

Suffice to say I have completely lacked the impetus to write my blog. I didn't want be a big written mass of negativity as that is not my style.

I hope that all of you that took part in the open studios had an enjoyable time and made some much needed income. I have heard largely really positive reviews. Now it's time to take a well earned break.

I only wish that I could have a break but straight after DAW I have had the PAW Draw. It is a great little project that takes place during Purbeck Arts Weeks. Artists go and draw the various events that take place and then I exhibit their outcomes in a pop style exhibition.
A peek at what's on display in the PAW DRAW

Sadly, this time it is only up for 4 days but that said it is well worth a visit.

I have been busy myself making some new pieces and now my work is a permanent feature in the gallery. There is a need to keep it fresh. If you want to see what I do then that's another reason to visit.

I have signed up to the Big Draw and I will be revealing the activity and date etc here on my blog. You already know that I am passionate about drawing and this year I am hoping to spread the 'love of drawing a bit further.
I have recently joined another drawing a day challenge and the drawing that illustrates todays blog was my theme for the day.
Do check out drawing challenges they are a great way to get you drawing again or regularly.

Lastly, I have another new exhibition starting on Saturday, you might get along to see it if you are in the area. John Gooch, a really talented painter with a nice diverse range of subject matter.

John Gooch