BgArt News Blog
Thursday, January 29, 2009
  Paris Street Painters Lose to Cheap Chinese Paintings
Painters working on the streets of Montmartre in Paris may soon become a thing of the past with the introduction of cheap, soulless Chinese paintings done by the painters equivalent of a battery hen in a small steal cage.

Many of the 300 officially registered artists working on the streets are now competing with souvenir shops selling mass produced Chinese oil paintings for a fraction of the cost that local Paris artists can afford to sell them for.

David Chazan wrote some more on this topic at the BBC here.. "When I visit some of the souvenir shops and question the owners about the origin of their pictures, at first they deny that they are imported. But after a few minutes, some admit that they do buy imported pictures or prints - and even touch them up themselves." Continue Reading..

My first opinion would usually be to let the fittest survive, but not in this case. Mass produced Chinese oil paintings are anti-art and any artist or art lover that supports them should hang their head in shame. Go buy an art poster if you must, but don't encourage the abuse of featherless battery hens that pop out countless empty blobs of colored mud parading as art.

If the uncreative junk that they turn out day after day isn't enough to change your mind, think of the working contemporary artists around the world that constantly have their images stolen by battery artists in China. Van Gogh may not mind having his sunflowers ripped off and reproduced thousands of times each year, but emerging and mid-career artists probably Do mind.

On a somewhat related note, this week I have tried to buy some shorts and shirts without a "Made in China" label on them and have been unsuccessful. I will keep trying, but at some point I have to buy clothes, which will mean that I will have to submit to buying products from the world's mega-factory (a factory that is hungry for coal fired power plants and has little time for silly things like an ecosystem).

End rant on China here. ;-)

Phew, sorry you had to hear that.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
  The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything
The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything by Banksy
After my recent anti-ad rant, I found these words by Banksy almost poetic. I sighed. It's perfect.
Friday, January 23, 2009
  Update on Janet Francis (Art Scammer)
I love it when artists write to me and thank me for helping them avoid being scammed. Just yesterday I mentioned the art scammer Janet Francis and today I received an email from an artist thanking me for it.

Janet Francis even has her movers contact artists by email to make the whole scam look so much more real. It's funny that the movers talk like Janet Francis too.

> From:
> Subject: Shipping Arrangement For Mrs. Janet Francis.
> To: +++++++
> Good day,
> I have received communication from Mrs. Janet Francis that we should work with you to ship some artworks with her other house decors to her new house in Johannesburg, South Africa when you two are through with the transaction,as she advise.
> I will like you to give me the kind and nature of the things she want to ship.I will like to have your studio address aswell,so i can make arrangement with any nearby Agent that will be coming for the pick up once you and Mrs.Francis are through with the transactions. Thanks.
> I will appreciate your earlier reply .
> Yours,
> James Carter.
> For: Expressmover.
> The atlantic House.
> 48 Caledonian Road,
> Kings's Cross.
> London D 4 7 BT
> UK.

So, even if the Cockroach post stops just one artist from being scammed by Janet Francis, I'm happy, but I'm sure it will help more artists as she seems quite active at the moment.

>> Art Scammers
Thursday, January 22, 2009
  Example of an Art Scammer (cockroach)
Here's an example of a cockroach at work. This particular cockroach calls herself Janet Francis ( ) See a list of cockroaches here.

Cockroach writes to artist..

Subject: Artworks Inquiry..
Happy New Year. Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creatives
works on your web site and i will like you to get back with more details
if they are still available for purchase.
"Palms at Sunset" and "Bella Vista"
I will appreciate an urgent reply.
Best Regards,

Artist writes back to the cockroach..

Hi Janet, Happy New Year to you, too. Yes, both of these paintings are still available. The "Palms at Sunset" is a 16 X 20 Gallery Wrap Oil painting. It is priced at $250 for a direct sale. The "Bella Vista" is also a 16 X 20 oil, done with a palette knife. This one is framed in a brushed gold frame. This is priced at $275 for a direct sale. I live in +++++, are you local?
Thanks for your interest in my work.

Cockroach writes back to the artist..

Hi +++++,

Good to hear back from you. Yes,i will like to proceed with the purchase of both works. I think they are lovely works that will add alot of colours to our new wall. I hope to give them a good home.

I am presently away in London for my twin sister's wedding even though it comes at a time when i was preparing for a big move and also expecting a baby but it means so much to her. I should be back in few days.

Meanwhile,i will like you to forward your mailing address and phone number so i can inform my husband still shutling between our home in New Jersey and Jo'burg, SA on where to forward the payment . He has just been transfer to head the IT section of their head Office in Jo'burg.

I can also forward your contact info to the local cartage company that will be moving all our house decors so they can get in touch with you to arrange shipping details. They can arrange pick up FedEx pick up of the artworks from your studio.

I will look forward to hearing from you so i can know how best to proceed. Cheers.

Best Regards,Janet.

Artist writes back to the cockroach..

HI Janet, I will accept payment through Paypal, I will have to add the shipping and handling to your total price for the two paintings since they have to be shipped, Let me know where they need to be sent so I can get the price for shipping. Thanks, +++++

Cockroach thinks she has done the deal now..

Dear +++++,

Hope this message finds you well. I am very sorry that i have been unable to get in touch with you for some days now. I was hospitalised in London immediately after my twin sister's wedding. I almost had miscarriage but thank God,i am now feeling better and can't wait to have my baby and settle down.

The paintings will be shipped to our address in NJ. Regarding the payment , my husband said he will prefer a bank transfer, so i will like you to get back with wire transfer details so we can proceed with the payment.

Meanwhile, i will like you to have our both addresses ,you can add it in your mailing list. I will like to hear about your future works and art shows. Our address in the states is...

2451,Dunlop Circle,Trenton ,New Jersey

While our new address in SA is....

Nelson Mandela Resolt,

Railway Housing Ave,
BLK 25,15,
405LA,South Africa.

Try and get back as soon as possible so i can knw how best to proceed. Cheers.

Best Regards,
Janet. (the cockroach)

Update: See more of Janet Francis at work.
>> Art Scammers
Monday, January 19, 2009
  S.H. Raza Exhibition of Fakes
Imagine coming towards the end of your career as an artist. You have achieved a lot of success and important galleries around the world regularly put together exhibitions of your life's work. The galleries invite you around and treat you like royalty so that you will say a few words at the openings. Sounds like a nice way to spend old age after a lot of hard work.

Imagine being at the point described above, but arriving at your exhibition to find that most of the paintings are fakes! It's the position that the famous Indian artist S.H. Raza found himself in recently.

The 85 year old Syed Haider Raza was invited to attend an exhibition of his work at the Dhoomimal Gallery in Connaught Place, New Delhi, India to find that most of the 35 works supposedly by him were fakes.

SH Raza told the Times of India "The gallery had my works on display and they invited me to visit the gallery on the opening evening. When I entered the gallery, I felt as if I had entered some other place since none of the works on display was mine. The fake makers should realise that creating fakes of someone’s works is like signing a cheque in someone else’s name."

The gallery closed the show immediately after Raza informed them of the fakes.

At 85, I would hope that I still had a sense of humor and could laugh about it as the only other alternative would be to cry.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
  Cloaca Shit to be Auctioned at Sotheby's
An item of interest in Sotheby's upcoming London auction on the 6th of February is a piece of shit, literally. It's called CLOACA FAECES (NEW YORK, 26.01.2002, 2.30 P.M.) by the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye. It was created by his shit making machine that I mentioned a while ago.

Wim Delvoye's Cloaca Shit Machine
There's an auction estimate of between 2,000—3,000 GBP for the piece of shit. It would be a good conversation piece, but I'm not sure if I could live with it.

>> Cloaca Machine, Weird News, Shit News, Sotheby's
Friday, January 16, 2009
  Andrew Wyeth Dies at 91
American painter Andrew Wyeth passed away on the 16th of January, 2009 at the age of 91. He had his fans and critics, with labels as varied as one of the greatest 20th century American painters, to a mere illustrator, and corny Americana painter placed on the artist.

I think the best of Andrew Wyeth is more than illustration or American regionalism, it is contemplative and spiritual. The emptiness and simplicity allows the viewer's mind to breathe, as much as a Rothko painting or a Brancusi sculpture can.

Andrew Wyeth Painting

Andrew Wyeth Christina's World

Andrew Wyeth Painting of Boats
>> Artist Deaths
Thursday, January 15, 2009
  The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
One of the more interesting Prado Museum paintings to explore with Google Earth is Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. It's a painting that lends itself to exploration as there's so much going on in it. Hieronymus Bosch either had a quirky sense of humor or he had a few gremlins running around inside his head.

Here's a couple doing some flower arranging..
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

I'm not sure what's going on here, but they seem to be having fun..
The Garden of Earthly Delights detail by Hieronymus Bosch

That's no way to play a flute..
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch painting

Ouch, that's an arrow in my bum.
The Garden of Earthly Delights painting by Hieronymus Bosch
So, it seems the Garden of Earthly Delights is really all about inserting things in our rear end.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
  Prado Museum on Google Earth
Google Earth is an amazing tool that just keeps getting better and it's still FREE. Over the years I have spent hours looking down on our fascinating little planet with Google Earth.

Now Google has made it even more compelling for artists to download as they're opening museums up and taking us inside. No longer content with looking down on art museums from above, they have zoomed in on paintings hanging on the walls. They have gone in armed with some amazing technology too, revealing every crack and brush stroke on each painting.

Here's a video of them capturing some of the 14 masterpieces from the The Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

To find the images I opened Google Earth and did a search for "The Prado Museum Spain" then clicked Fly To. The 14 current images that have been scanned at the Museo del Prado include..

So, if you haven't downloaded Google Earth yet you're missing out! I really hope this is just the start of things to come and more great art museums invite the Google guys around to photograph their paintings.

Google says "The paintings have been photographed in very high resolution and contain as many as 14,000 million pixels (14 gigapixels). With this high level resolution you are able to see fine details such as the tiny bee on a flower in The Three Graces (Las Tres Gracias), delicate tears on the faces of the figures in The Descent from the Cross (El Descendimiento ) and complex figures in The Garden of Earthly Delights (El Jardin de las Delicias)" on their Google Earth and Maps blog here.

Monday, January 12, 2009
  Saks Advertising Propaganda
I have been going through an anti-ads period lately, where I can't stand listening to commercial radio, free TV, pay TV or looking at billboards, magazines, websites, and newspapers filled with advertising. I have even contacted a few companies and complained about the crud that they're forcing on the public, which is strange for me as I'm usually anti-complaining too!

Hopefully it is just a phase I'm going through and I can get back to society's normal soon, otherwise I'll be forced to become a hermit in the hills, which could be a problem as I really do like people and the Internet (most caves in hills have neither).

I'm offended by the exaggerations, half truths, sneaky tactics, catchy jingles, TV ads that yell, the way that ads are louder than the program you are trying to watch, the way that advertisements are placed IN programs, the color red shoved in my face, small print for the truth, large print for the lies, repetitiveness, repetitiveness, repetitiveness, ads aimed at children, flashing Internet ads, pop ups, spam, and the crap that is sold on them ridiculous infomercials that are usually on television late at night.

The funny thing about this passionate dislike of advertising is that I make most of my income from ADVERTISING!! That probably makes me a hypocritical walking contradiction.

Saks Fifth Avenue's senior vice president for marketing Terron E. Schaefer recently said "What we do every day, really, is propaganda." I thought it was a refreshingly honest thing for a marketing man to say. He said the quote in a press release on a Saks marketing campaign where Shepard Fairey has designed some Soviet propaganda influenced promotional material, but it was still a brave thing to say.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
  Stealing Images Online
Robert Genn's latest Painter's Keys newsletter is discussing copyright online and mentions them awful copyright notices that artists put all over their work.

"Those imprints are called "watermarks," and while they give the copyright holder a feeling of security, they don't deter Chinese clone shops from helping themselves. They don't deter others, either, and it is photographers, particularly, who know all about it. Some pirates think we are living in the last days of copyright and they want to get to the New World. Using low-pixel images will certainly deter someone from making a direct giclee from your image, but no technology will stop somebody making a hand copy of anything you put out there." Continue Reading Article..

Photographers must have their work stolen more than painters online as they're much more protective than painters, but it's a challenge that all artists have to deal with. Most of the copyright lawsuits seem to come from photographers and their estates, so maybe they just don't like sharing as much as painters ;-)

I don't think the solution is to place copyright notices all over your work though. It's something that I dislike with a passion. If the notices are too big or obtrusive I quickly leave the site. I appreciate that the artist is just trying to protect their work, but what can a thief really do with a small, low resolution image on the Internet? A print shop certainly can't use a pixelated little Internet image to start producing posters to sell online.

The only real solution to the problem is to stay offline, which means missing out on a lot of opportunities. The next best solution is to use a reasonably low resolution image online, but not so low or small an image that it annoys a potential collector. If you must use a watermark or copyright notice, make sure it is hidden in a corner and does not contrast with the art in any way.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
  Funny Engrish Signs
funny engrish sign
I'm not sure which museum has this sign up. I could understand the no smoking part and the keep clear part, but tortoises and uncomfortable passages had me confused.

funny bad english
I certainly hope the liquor queen doesn't drive a car!

funny retard capsules
They must export capsules as I know a few people that have taken way too many retard pills.

I almost cried laughing at some of the funny things over at Engrish Funny. There's more over at too.
>> Funny News
Monday, January 05, 2009
  Online Tips for Artists
Brian Sherwin from MyArtSpace has created a list of tips for artists looking to be seen online. Some of his tips include..

Read the rest of Brian's artist tips over his My Art Space Blog. He's also involved with the online art galleries at My Art Space and New York Art Exchange.

If I could give just ONE tip to an artist looking to create an online presence it would be to create your own website, with your own domain name, on your own web host, built by yourself. If you're too cheap to have your own website, you probably aren't that serious about being an artist.

If you're only presence online is with a free service (Blogger, Geocities, etc..) or even an online art gallery that charges a monthly fee, you're cheap and you don't take your career as an artist seriously. I'm not saying don't use free services or online galleries as they're very useful networking tools for artists, but they should come after you have developed your own online portfolio

>> Being an Artist, Art Marketing

Saturday, January 03, 2009
  Typography Spam One Liners
Linzie Hunter's spam one linersUK illustrator Linzie Hunter has made spam useful and used it to create a quirky little Postcard Book
and a series of prints.

She uses spam titles or subjects from her junk mail folder to illustrate her hand lettered typographic designs.

Only an artist could turn something so repulsive into something of such beauty. Perhaps more artists should get involved in politics to use our alchemistic skills to change such an ugly trade into something more beautiful.

Linzie's Spam One Liners series can be seen on her Flickr page or her portfolio website here.

Thanks to Old Glutton for sharing the link. I also mentioned Janet Nelson's Innocent Spam series of cartoons earlier too.

>> Funny News, Illustration News
Friday, January 02, 2009
  Looking Back at BgArt News Blog 2008
Before I start 2009 I thought I might have a quick look back at 2008 on BgArt News Blog. It's not a comprehensive look at the art world happenings in 2008, it's just a few posts that I found interesting throughout the year.

Happy new year! I can't believe how quickly the year went.

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