BgArt News Blog
Thursday, May 31, 2007
  Being a Professional Artist
Sylvia White has a good resource for artists starting out (or established artists that are not good with being organized) called Art Advice. One of her articles is like a checklist for an artist turning professional called The "Okay, I think I'm ready to be a professional artist," Checklist.

The most important thing an artist can take from the list is that you have to spend a percentage of your time on the business and marketing aspects of being an artist. She suggests thirty minutes a day or even thirty minutes a week if you're time poor.

It's a little bit like telling a fish that he has to spend time out of the water each week, but getting professional is absolutely essential if we want to survive as an artist.

Which reminds me.. I'm reading a book by the artist Sheila Reid, called "Art Without Rejection" which looks at some of the issues that a contemporary artist has to deal with. Where on one hand, we have to be sensitive and open while creating, but then we're thrown into the tough world of commercial art galleries when we want to pay the bills.

I have only just started reading the book, so I might mention it again some other time.
>> Being an Artist, Art Marketing
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
  Kate Moss Photo Transformation
I found a fun little tool online that converts your face into all kinds of different transformations. I used a photo of Kate Moss to transform as her head is a little more appealing than mine. Some faces work better than others.

Here's the photo of Kate Moss that I used to convert..
fashion model kate moss

Here's Kate Moss with the Modigliani transformation..
fashion model kate moss

And Kate Moss as an Asian person..
fashion model kate moss

Kate Moss by Botticelli..
fashion model kate moss

Here's the model Kate Moss as a Manga cartoon..
fashion model kate moss

Kate Moss as a big chinned guy..
fashion model kate moss

And, Kate Moss as an ape..
fashion model kate moss

The tool is called the Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer and can be found online here. It's a complete waste of time, but it's an interesting waste of time, which probably makes it a worthy use of time.
Here's what Lucian Freud and Banksy have done with Kate Moss too.
>> Internet, Celebrity News
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
  German Artist Jorg Immendorff Dies at 61

german expressionist painter

The German expressionist artist Jörg Immendorff passed away on Monday at the age of 61. The artist struggled with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which forced him to change painting hands (from left to right) and eventually forced him to stop painting in 2006.

Jorg Immendorff was born on the 14th of June, 1945 in Germany. He died on the 28th of May, 2007 in Düsseldorf.

The painting pictured above is called "Cafe Deutschland: Contemplating The Question - Where Do I Stand" and was painted by Jorg Immendorff in 1987. More Immendorff paintings and information can be found at the Saatchi Gallery website.
>> Art Obituaries
  ANB in the Sydney Morning Herald
BgArt News Blog in sydney morning heraldBgArt News Blog was mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday. I must admit that I still feel uncomfortable blowing my own horn and mentioning such things, but I'm getting over it.. slowly.

It was in the entertainment and TV Guide on the Webwatch page. Here's what they say..

If you live by the thousand words philosophy, this blog on the world of visual art may be more your style. Penned by an Australian painter, it is very much a global exploration of the art industry, from new works to auction news. This provides another fresh perspective from someone who knows the subject intimately.

The picture taken is of this post here about New York City Garbage.
>> Art Blog News
Monday, May 28, 2007
  Monday Art News
Here's some news and views from the past week..

>> Art News Mondays

Saturday, May 26, 2007
  Paul Ruiz Paintings
expressionist paintingsAnyone interested in expressive figurative paintings might find the work of Paul Ruiz interesting. His charcoal drawings are impressive too. Theyre very Frank Auerbach (filled with emotion and almost carved out of paper)

He also has a step by step guide of how he builds up a painting from start through to finish, which is also quite interesting.

Paul Ruiz is an Australian artist in Melbourne, Victoria.

>> Contemporary Artists
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
  Coffee Art in a Mug
I like it when my passions cross over. Like when art meets wine or when nature meets art. I have also recently discovered that art has also met coffee! I wouldn't say that coffee is a great passion of mine, but I can't ctop drinking the stuff, so I must have some kind of connection with it.

Anyway, here's some coffee art or latte art by these guys here..

And here's a Picasso-esque head in coffee..

There's also people out there creating coffee art to hang on the wall. I'm not sure how it would keep, but it's kind of interesting.
>> General Arts, Videos Online
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
  Art News Round Up
Here's what has been happening lately..

Have a great week!
>> Art News Mondays

Sunday, May 20, 2007
  New York City Rubbish Art
new york city rubbish artWhen I first saw Justin Gignac's New York City rubbish in a box for sale I thought it was funny. I thought some more about it and thought it was silly. But after doing even more thinking and after having a look around his website, I now think he's pretty smart.

Most artists could learn a lot from Justin's website and how he markets his art or rubbish, depending on which side of the fence you sit. Rubbish won't sell itself, just like most paintings won't sell themselves. They're products and people need to know why they should hand over their money for the product.

A big part of the value that Justin has created is of a gimmicky nature, and may not be very relevant to an artist painting portraits, but any artist can benefit from his Press Page online. Firstly he has a list of publications and television programs that he has appeared on, which is great for blowing your own horn and letting people know how famous you are (something a lot of artists have problems with). But he also has a pdf file Press Kit that can be downloaded. Just have a look at it here (pdf file) and ask yourself if yours is as creative and interesting as his!

I'm sure he probably contacts a lot of media organizations to let them know what he does, but even if they just turn up to his website while browsing the web, he has everything there for them on his Press Page to go forward with a story about him. He has given them the story behind his art, so the journalist doesn't even have to try to come up with an interesting story. Journalists can be lazy or they can have short deadlines to meet, so if you give them a story to make their life easier, they may just publish it.

A lot of artists leave their creativity at the easel, which is not a good way to sell paintings. Creativity should extend to the marketing of art too.

It doesn't surprise me to learn that when Justin Gignac isn't picking up New York rubbish, he is an art director in the advertising industry.
>> Contemporary Artists, Marketing for Artists
Friday, May 18, 2007
  Comments on BgArt News Blog
It may look like I don't like people commenting on BgArt News Blog as I seem to have a whine about them from time to time, but I really do enjoy reading most of them (the comments about viagra and personal finance don't do much for me). The comments that disagree with my opinion are even welcome (even though they may be wrong! ;-)

Here's some types of comments that are deleted..

BgArt News Blog commentsIt's easy to link to your site without getting your comment deleted. Just choose "Other" when you are leaving a comment, and add your name and website address (remember to include http:// at the beginning of your address or it won't link to your site properly.)

I don't have a problem with people linking to their websites, I just don't want the comments to look like a web directory.

You don't have to have a website or a blogger account to comment either, as there's an "Anonymous" option too. I find that controversial comments always seem to be made by "Anonymous", which is quite funny.

One more thing, if you have any news of interest that you think I should post on BgArt News Blog, send it to me here, rather than just posting your own press release on an unrelated post.
>> BgArt News Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
  Stock Ticker Symbol Paintings - WOW
woolworths ticker symbol wowI think it helps to know the subject that you paint. For example, if I was a farmer I would probably paint cows and chickens because it's what I would know best. But what would I paint if I was a stockbroker in a past life?... Stock ticker symbols!!

That's what the artist Anthony White has started doing. After the success of his Money series of paintings, he has started painting the stock symbols of companies listed on stock exchanges around the world. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I couldn't think of a more honest subject for a (former) stockbroker to paint. It kind of adds a layer of realness to it all for me.

Here's a blurb from his website.. "One thing I didn't anticipate when I did The Money Series is just how attached people are to certain numbers or what numbers meant to them. I thought The Money Series was about how money related to art. In stockbroking and life I have dealt with a lot of numbers and none of them ever meant much to me. However there are a lot of stock codes that mean a great deal to me. The first share I bought, my first two bagger, my first ten bagger, the one that got away, the one that paid for my first overseas holiday, the one that went belly up, the dogs, etc. If you buy a Stock Code Painting I am willing to publish your short story about why this codes means something to you." Anthony White

I'm the owner of the Woolworths ticker symbol (WOW), listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. It's kind of like the Australian version of Wal-Mart but it mostly focuses on groceries, and it's reputation isn't quite as bad as Wal-Mart's. I also thought it looked a bit Pop as it also says "Wow!".

I interviewed Anthony when he started painting his Money Series earlier.
>> Contemporary Artists, Australian Art
Monday, May 14, 2007
  Art News
Here's what has been happening in the world of art lately.

>> Art News Mondays

Friday, May 11, 2007
  Art Renewal Center and the Wonders of Clasical Realism
Marion Boddy-Evans of the painting blog on has posted a few links to some friendly debate about the truth of classical realism and the evils of contemporary art. She made a post last year about the Art Renewal Center that created some colorful discussion on her comments page.

I wish I liked to debate things more than I do, but conflict just bores me. I'm not sure if it's because everything I think is right (and I couldn't be bothered listening to the wrong opinions of others) or because I don't like to have my opinions proven wrong! :-P

Seriously though, who really cares if classical realism is the truth or if contemporary art is taking us all to hell?! I can appreciate both forms of art, but I get more out expressive painting than I do any other type of art. Yet I have no plans to make the world see the evils of any art that is not expressive.

To read more about it all, see the ARC philosophy by Fred Ross over at the Art Renewal Center, there's an open letter to the Art Renewal Center by John Nutt over here, and if you are really keen to delve into the whole realism/contemporary debate, see Greg Scheckler's in depth piece (pdf file) called "Questioning Classical Realism: a Critique of Ross’s "The Great 20th Century Art Scam" as Related to the Art Renewal Center".

I feel like hugging a realist painter after all that!
>> Painting News, Controversies
Thursday, May 10, 2007
  The Old Time by John Brack
most expensive australian paintingA painting by the Australian artist John Brack sold at auction for a record price this week, making "The Old Time" the most expensive Australian painting. The painting of a ballroom dancing couple sold for about $3.3 million dollars.

When compared to the prices paid for international artists, $3.3 million sounds like a laughable amount. But very few Australian artists ever make much of an impact on the world market, so it's an impressive price for such a small market (Australia has about 20 million people).

To be honest, I think it's an ugly painting and wouldn't like it hanging in my house. John Brack held the previous record of the most expensive Australian painting with "The Bar", which is a much better painting in my opinion. But being the most expensive painting does not mean that it is the best painting. It just means that somebody (with cash to burn) really wanted the painting on the day.

The painting that was meant to make a record at the Sotheby's auction in Sydney this week sold for $2.8 million. Brett Whiteley's big ugly "Opera House" was a gift to the QANTAS airline in exchange for free travel. It was a record price for the artist, beating the previous $2.04 million that another ugly Whiteley painting made in 2006. He is one of my favorite Australian artists, but he also produced a lot of crap that should have never made it out of his studio.

Here's a short video about the John Brack painting at Sotheby's.
>> Australian Art, Art Auctions, Brett Whiteley, Art Collecting
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
  Les Demoiselles d'Avignon after One Hundred Years
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon paintingThe Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is celebrating 100 years of Pablo Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" painting. The MoMA says..

"The exhibition reunites Les Demoiselles with a group of preparatory studies for the overall composition and for the individual figures, and also includes selected works created immediately before and after the iconic painting that highlight its generative role in the artist's oeuvre. Discoveries from recent conservation and archival materials tracing Les Demoiselles's journey to MoMA are also on view in the gallery and in the mezzanine of The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building."

ArtDaily also has more about the exhibition and the Picasso painting..
"In looking back over the past one hundred years, there has never been a work that so changed the course of modern or contemporary art ," says John Elderfield, The Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. "It became apparent to artists who had at first scoffed at it that this painting had changed everything, including the future progress of Picasso's art, which built on what the Demoiselles had achieved, and created what we now call Cubism." Art Daily

The Times art critic Robert Hughes once said this about Les Demoiselles d'Avignon..
"With its hacked contours, staring interrogatory eyes, and general feeling of instability, Les Demoiselles is still a disturbing painting after three quarters of a century, a refutation of the idea that the surprise of art, like the surprise of fashion, must necessarily wear off." RH

Here's an interpretation of Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon that I mentioned earlier.
>> Pablo Picasso, Museums Exhibitions
Monday, May 07, 2007
  Photographer Spencer Tunick in Mexico City
spencer tunick nudes in mexicoThe New York photographer Spencer Tunick recently broke his own record when he encouraged 17,000 Mexicans to take their clothes off and pose for him.

That's a lot of flesh in one place!

The volunteers posed for Tunick at the Zocalo square in Mexico City on Sunday. His previous record of 7000 nudes in Spain was broken by more than double.

Thousands of Mexicans strip for photo shoot
Not all Mexicans were impressed by the spectacle staged by Tunick, who was refused permission to hold his nude photo at the famed Teotihuacan pyramids outside the capital. "They're losing dignity as men and women," said 63-year-old Armando Pineda, leaning against the cathedral and watching the now-dressed models leave the plaza. "It's an offence against the church." SMH

105 Frida Kahlos!
On Monday, Spencer Tunick arranged a more intimate photo shoot in Mexico with a less impressive number of 105 naked people. But the unusual thing about these naked Mexicans was that they all looked like Frida Kahlo!

Here's some quotes by Spencer Tunick from a news conference that the artist gave..
Jonathan Jones of the Guardian newspaper in the UK has wrote a piece on the work of Spencer Tunick, called "The naked truth about Tunick"..
"But so what? Tunick's work isn't art, and no one who actually considered it for a moment would say it was. There's no interesting "thought" underlying his work nor is it a provocative challenge to what art is. His photograph-stunts are on the same level as a wacky advertising campaign. I find it contemptible the way Tunick is applauded for something so blatantly cynical." JJ
>> Spencer Tunick News
  Arts News Monday
Here's what has been happening this week. Remember to let me know if you're doing something interesting and I might link to you next Monday.

Here's last week's art news round up too.
>> Art News Monday

Friday, May 04, 2007
  Buddha Art Found in Caves
buddha paintings foundA team of researchers have found some impressive new Buddha art in a cave in Nepal. There are 55 panels depicting the life of Buddha and they date back to around the 12th century.

They were found with the help of a sheep herder from the region. He was taking shelter from the rain several years ago and saw the paintings.

'Stunning' Nepal Buddha art find
"The team has refused to divulge the exact location of the caves to prevent the possibility of visitors disturbing the centuries-old art. Mr Coburn said that there were other mounds which may hide further treasures.
He said the artifacts had remained unpillaged partly because the area north of Mount Annapurna has, until recently, been inaccessible."

Here's some famous Buddha quotes from the man himself..

There's more Buddha quotes here and here at Zaadz.
>> Art News

Thursday, May 03, 2007
  Private Viewing of a Modern Art Auction
Here's a private viewing of the May 8 Impressionist & Modern art auction in New York with David Norman of Sotheby's. Norman talks about a "resplendent" watercolor still-life by Paul Cezanne, a Rose period portrait of harlequin by Pablo Picasso, and a highly abstracted oil by Joan Miro, painted at the height of the Surrealist movement. See the video here.

You can view the rest of the catalogue online too (for free, but I think they make you register now).

I spend hours on these online art auction catalogues from Sotheby's and Christies. You would think that I'm a serious art collector or gallery owner, but I'm neither. I just like to fantasize way too much. Here's my wish list for May at Sotheby's..
I think it's called having champagne tastes with a beer budget.
>> Art Auctions, Videos Online
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
  Struggles of an Artist
Over at Art and Perception, Karl has asked a question that many artists probably ask themselves; Why is it so difficult to be an artist?

He talks about the uncertainties of purpose and income. Karl also points to moments in history where artists could be reasonably sure that they would make money from art. But now, even though people are generally much wealthier, and people seem to appreciate art more, there are very few artists that can be sure that the bills will be paid.

I think one of the reasons is supply and demand. If you counted the number of emerging artists graduating from art schools around the world today you would see a lot more competition. I don't have any numbers to refer to, but I'm pretty sure that most art graduates don't go on to become full time working artists. Which is a good thing as I'm also pretty sure that art collectors are not multiplying as fast as artists are.

With the introduction of the Internet, it has made it much easier for an artist to make enough to pay the rent. So things are still tough, but we're not completely helpless if an art gallery is not willing to exhibit our work.

And, we probably deserve to struggle a little with finances anyway, as I couldn't think of a better career path to take. It's the bankers, accountants, laborers, and factory workers that I pity.. not the artists. We have it too good.

See Karl's post here.
>> Being an Artist
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