Art Tag

It’s the Bank Holiday and I’m feeling well-rested and stress free. Last week I was completely stressed out at work and had to take a day off otherwise I would’ve popped like a balloon. I haven’t been like that not in a long time, but I now know the signs when my body is tell me to STOP and pause. I’ve realised that you’ve got to put yourself first before anyone else (yes, I truly believe in that); your mental and emotional wellbeing is so important especially during these crazy times. My plan for the next two weeks are as follows: lots of cooking, looking after the garden, buy more houseplants, annoy the cats, make more art and to update my Etsy shop. Also, if you’re interested in donating artwork to our fundraiser please email me or drop a comment below. 👇

With that, the topic of conversation today is: NFTs. I’ve wanted to write a post about it for quite some time now since Beeple (Mike Winklemann) made a gazillion dollars via Christies about a month ago- and it really blew up on the Internet.

Just for clarification, my knowledge on NFTs are so-so, but from what I’ve read I sort of understand it. In fact, my main interest is that how it has simply changed the nature of how we consume art in a digital format (also, it seems to have this super rare aura around it- I will get round to that part later on). Bare with me here readers as I’ve not written a long post for ages, so my thoughts maybe quite sporadic!

 

So back to Beeple. When I read about it I was literally like ‘WTF’. Who the heck pays $5mill for a JPEG? Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of his work, to me it’s just another form of capitalism rebranded in a shiny way to entice people to buy into it. A lot of people would argue that it gives artists the opportunity to join the digital arts market with minimum risks and to make money from their art. Which, yes, we need to eat and pay the mortgage. I have nothing against artists choosing the NFT route because crypto art is something new. 

 

There are several things that interest me about it though: what does original artwork mean, what makes a piece of art ‘art’ in the eyes of a capitalist society dominated by new technology and social media, who gets the final say? The artist or the audience? 

 

What makes an original piece of artwork?

The idea that when something is original it cannot be replicated and that originality comes from the artist who made it in the first place (sounds like a marathon, doesn’t it?). The original is meant to represent the absolute truth and the final say. That in itself defines what ‘real art is’ and already sets the standards/hierarchy within the fine art world.

High culture has always adored and assigned true value to a piece of artwork that has been signed and dated by the artist, verified and classified by others who reaffirm the assumption that this is one is the real deal and nothing else can come close to it. It’s funny though because the idea of authenticating an object seems ridiculous because true value attached to (I call it art-object now) an art-object is defined by the collective audience who have similar values, class background, educational background etc. This process in itself will ramp up the monetary value of the art-object once it is presented in whatever format (in this current age). 

 

When an art-object is copied though, the original loses its high value in the art world. Once copies are made the original no longer has any meaning and it becomes self-referential. And in this day and age when art-objects are constantly duplicated, distributed, consumed and the whole process is repeated until there is nothing left of the ‘original’. By that the copies become so distant from the original that there is no meaning or value to it. 

 

Because in short, it’s that though. The whole ‘minting’ process to authentIcate a jpeg just reinforces this idea that it makes it seem like it’s even more special- a one of a kind original artwork. The value of the work becomes even more precious, thus belonging and justifying the capitalist system the art world belongs to.

 

What is art in the eyes of a technologically and social media driven world?

High art in our modern day visual culture has always been defined through the hierarchy of the art world. An artist’s name is like a form of branding whereby value, artistic merit and how collectable their works are all defined and shaped by a collective consciousness of thoughts over time.

 

Digital art though, it seems like it has changed the game to a certain extent. Why would an oil painting, for instance, would be more worthy than a 500 x 500 pixel meme? A meme is an instant consumable/gratification shared around hundreds of times over- a form of modern day pastiche. Whereas an oil painting stands the test of time in a gallery, somewhere permanent and fixed, or a private collectors collection. 

 

When you think about the idea about the value of art, it’s also about the process of how it is made which I think the reason why Beeple was a bit of a head turner in the sense that it turned the art world topsy turvy because how could a digital jpeg be seen as more worthy in comparison to the past forms of art which high culture has always admired? 

 

Who gets the final say: the artist, the audience or the creators of these NFT websites?

I would say that this part kind of splits off so do bear with me here.

 

The first division NFTS creates is that in order to sell your work you have to sign up with a website that’ll be able to sell your work via cryptocurrency. There’s a few out there so I suppose you would probably have to jump through the signing up process by giving them small details about yourself etc. There seems to be a certain style they’re going for at the moment (I don’t think my birds and flower images would do well, sad face). Because you have to be approved first which in itself means that already the definition of what is seen as ‘good art’ for these sites are determined by the people running it. I had a quick look on Foundation; they’re selling this brand new idea that what they’re doing is something visionary in this digital age, yeah I totally agree that our lives have dramatically shifted online but is it truly a game-changer?


The concept that anyone can be part of it and it’s not limited to your artistic talent, well, it kind of is if you have to be approved in the first place. I just see it like eBay but using cryptocurrency to make bids- or am I a complete simpleton here? Do let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below. 

 

So, who has the control or final say? There’s this idea that there are no boundaries within crypto art and that anyone can be part of it, Foundation call it ‘a cultural shift in paradigm’. The value of the artwork is determined by the audience NOT the artist, so if you made a GIF you might think it’s this much but of course the value is detached from the artist as it’s completely driven by the bidders (which is the whole point of NFTS). 

Foundation have written an article about why we should collect digital art, which you can read it here.  I would like to hear what others think about the future of art, where it’s heading, the role technology has to play etc.

Thanks for reading as always and enjoy the start to your week!

Hello lovely folks and happy October! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been updating my Etsy shop and I’m getting ready for Christmas (already…??!!), in the midst of Covid-19 life has been relatively normal to say the least. I’ve been reading the news about it pretty much everyday and it seems like the UK is heading for another lockdown… 2020 you’ve been an absolutely rubbish year you can do one! 😤

I have also been feeling demotivated about making new artwork, not sure if it’s the weather or that the days are getting shorter but I haven’t made anything new since August. Instead, I’ve been taking the time to read lots of books, listening to podcast, binging on Nigel Ng’s videos (Uncle Roger is HILARIOUS!) and we’ve been watching quite a lot of sci-fi films too.

In saying that though I’ve recently been looking at Tibetan artwork especially the representations of tigers. I love the exaggerated eyes and body sizes, there’s something quite magical in the portrayal of tigers. ‘Flying Tiger’ pays homage to Kenzo’s tiger print called ‘flying tiger’ (just look it up online and you’ll know what I mean). It’s one of my favourite prints from them and they did a different colour way a while ago.

‘Flying Tiger’ is available as an A4 and A3 in my Etsy and Folksy shop.

Update: I also made another artwork inspired by Tibetan tigers now available as a print in my Urban Makers shop:

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

*Edit: The raffle is now live! See link for more details: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/art-for-activism#start. Winner will be announced this week!*

Hi all, I hope you’ve all been okay and that you’re taking care of yourselves in whatever form that may look like. A lot has happened since my last post in terms of what’s happening in the US and here in the UK. I’m sure that everyone has been following the Black Lives Matter movement what with the murder of George Floyd and now Rayshard Brooks. I’m feeling a lot of emotions right now: just utter sadness, grief, anger and it comes in waves. I find it very difficult to express how I’m feeling at the moment, it’s easy verbally, but writing it’s hard for me to string words and sentences together about my thoughts on this.

The Black Lives Matter movement has never been so important especially what is currently happening right now. I have shared my thoughts on this over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and what gets me is that still there are people out there saying that the UK for instance is not a racist country and not to make those kinds of generalisations. You know, part of the issue is that people aren’t owning up to it and choose to live blissfully in ignorance. Racism is embedded in our society- fact.  Our whole history was and is built on racist ideologies and to exert violence and power over people of colour. I don’t know what it is but if you cannot see if for yourself then I recommend taking some time to educate yourselves and really take the blinkers off your eyes. Even casual racism, like racial slurs, some people say that ‘it’s of it times’ so therefore some words to dehumanise some ethnic minority groups are ok? That’s BS. Excusing racism is like saying, ‘Ooops, sorry that won’t ever happen again’ and putting a fake plaster over it. Then it just becomes this evil and vicious cycle of hate and normalisation of attitudes.

Myself and Ivy Mei, a good friend of mine, are raising money for two organisations which supports children and young people; Kids of Colour and The Literacy Pirates. We feel at this moment in time children and young people are the future of our society and by enabling them to have equal opportunities in life, they will succeed to reach their potential. I think these organisations are the lifeline not only for the young people using these services, but they also serve as a positive benefit to the wider community and beyond. I’ll be donating two prints; one A3 and one A4 print (see photo below).

If you are an artist maker and would like to contribute something please get in touch with us and we’ll send you some more information about the raffle. The deadline is at the end of this month, so that gives us time to organise it. Once we have more people on board we’ll then roll out the fundraising page for people to buy the raffle tickets, which will be in July. The money that we raise from the raffle will be 50/50 split between the two organisations.

 

 

Please feel free to share this post and if you know someone who’d be interesting in making a small donation, please share this post with them.

I’m going to leave it there and wishing you all a wonderful Monday wherever you are in the world.

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week. It’s been almost two months since we’ve been in lockdown and they’re now talking about easing the lockdown (STAY ALERT, WATCH OUT FOR THAT PESKY VIRUS). Like, don’t get me start with the Tories and the whole situation. Bloody clowns in disguise. The more I talk about it the more frustrated and angry I get. It’s become extremely political for me and I applaud those who voted for the Tories because we’ve now ended up in this dire situation whereby thousands have lost their lives to it. It’s absolutely appalling.

To overcome my anxiety about life in general, I’ve been really creative over the past couple of weeks and it’s been nice to have time to do my own thing. Apart from weaving (I do want to get my hands on punch needle at some point too) I have started taking up online life drawing. I want to improve my drawing and painting skills as I feel that it’s an area I’d like to get better at, so what better time to do it right? I’ve been using Line of Action which is a free online life drawing website where you can draw figures, portraits, hands/feet and animals. The cool thing about it is that you can adjust the time too so you can almost recreate a life drawing session.

The one thing I have always struggled with is adding colour. It’s totally different when I’m making art using Photoshop as I’m using a lot of different brush tools and most of my work is flat. I found a really good video on Love Life Drawing’s YouTube channel how to use colour (don’t need to be a colour expert, it’s more about looking at the subject and breaking it down). Once I watched it I began painting again, this time breaking down parts of what I could see and using yellows/greens for the skin. The more you pay attention to whats in front of you the easier I found it when it came to adding colour. The next step for me is to give drawing figures ago and I think I’ll buy some pastels and charcoal for this online.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the paintings as they’re more looser than what I’m used to. If you’d have seen my sketches from this week you’ll notice a significant difference to the way I approach colour, tones and mark making (see my Instagram for the sketches). Also, I feel far more comfortable with using watercolours than crayons. I’ll give crayons ago again but I’m getting pretty confident with using watercolour.

I’m going to carry on with practising drawing figures. Has there been anything you’ve picked up? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for reading and have a grand weekend!

 

Hello everyone, hope you’re all keeping safe and taking care of yourselves. The last couple of weeks since my last post has been, well, sort of strange. Since lockdown has extended, I have been trying to stick to some sort of routine as I’m finding myself getting a bit worked up not being able to go out. We’ve got a garden and I’ve spent a lot of my time gardening and hanging outside now that the weather has been proper beaut. I do want to buy some flowers and large planters so that I can get started with making the garden looking prettier for the summer time. 🌼🌸🌳 We’ve also been talking about getting another barbecue as a our current one is looking slightly sad and rusty! You can also get mini pizza ovens that go on top of your barbecue… I know, a game changer right?!

I finished reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood the other night and I have to say that although the book itself was pretty gripping, I found the narrative to be quite repetitive at times. Not like I’m giving anything away, but in my opinion I really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale more than The Testaments. I suppose I had pretty high hopes for it but unfortunately it doesn’t cut it for me. The next book on my reading list is In A Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donavan and Caren Zucker. The book looks at the history of the development of autism theories, with it comes other theorists who’ve studied autism so you read it from the pretext of the theorists for that time. Some of it is actually pretty challenging and controversial (for then and now), and I don’t mean it in a good way either e.g. everyone highly praises Leo Kanner but if you look into his later work its gets super weird and horrible. The book also examines our understanding and notions of autism, currently, we are getting better at diagnosing children (I will include adults) on the autism spectrum due to major advancements in technology as well as science. I started reading it a few years ago and then stopped so I’m going to start again and carry on with it.

Apart from talking about food all the time (when all this eventually blows over and we return to some sort of normality), I’ve also taken up weaving which I started a few weeks ago and I’ve not looked back since.

From left to right: my first weave and the second image is one I made two weaves later!

I’m planning on buying a bigger loom from Etsy as I would like to have a go at making a larger weave for our living room. There are lots of kits on Etsy (just have a search for it) and most of them include yarn so you can get cracking on it. I really enjoy being hands on and practical again, the act of making something with your hands is super rewarding. I also can’t stop buying yarn as well…. please stop me! I need help with my yarn obsession.

In between weaving I bought a lovely embroidery kit from Cotton Clara and I’m so happy with my little rainbow banner 🌈🌈. It brings me so much joy every time I see it! I also bought my mum a kit and she was overjoyed with it (will be being her another one…).

I also wanted to get my hands on clay and make some ornaments/presents for people. I bought some air-dry clay from Hobbycraft plus lots of other bits and bobs, I have to say, I’m really pleased with the results. I made some moon ornaments using two types of clay as I wanted a marble effect. You can YouTube tutorials for all these things (hurrah for this!), or ask folks on Twitter or Instagram. I varnished the ornaments using some Fimo gloss varnish, once they were dry I made a garland using some twine I already had.

 

I love working from our loft space. During the evenings when the sun is setting, the light is incredibly beautiful and our view overlooks other houses on our street. There’s this warm fuzzy glow just as the sun is about to set.

My desk space overlooking our street in the evenings.

I’m going to end my post here. Are there any other crafts/hobbies/books you’ve picked up since the lockdown? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

❤️❤️Thanks for reading as always! ❤️❤️