Thursday, 4 November 2010

Art & Photography 1

This is the first of what I hope will be many blogs dealing with Art & Photography both as separate topics and in tandem to give my opinion on when different mediums work together and when they don't. The idea is to inspire and challenge both artists and photographers and hopefully culminate in an exhibition where works of art and photographs (although these are art too!) are displayed side by side and not in a separate room as so often is the case. Firstly:-

Some limitations of photography

Mirrors: As an artist, I can paint what I see in a mirror or use a mirror in a work of art. Equally I can use metallic or shiny materials that have very reflective properties. As I see it, this is impossible in photography unless the images are printed directly on to such reflective surfaces, and the reflected image of the photographic equipment used is somehow edited out of the photograph. If viewed on a computer monitor then you can never achieve any of these effects! Photographers have to be very aware of this and look out for reflective materials in there shots (Have you ever seen those photos put on ebay where a naked photographer can be seen in a mirror behind the object for sale?!) especially when using a flash(!).

Here's a photo of one of my paintings 'Everything is made of Stardust' which uses metallic paint to draw in surrounding light and thus is constantly changing. You will appreciate now that there is no way a photographer can capture this property.

If you're very accomplished you can make stunning photos of reflective objects like this one by Shez Hanley.

Size: For most people the cost of producing very large photographs is prohibitive. Therefore photographs are often limited to A1 size but A4 being the norm. This greatly reduces the impact a photo can have and you probably don't need any more than 3 Megapixals for such small prints.  So a photographer whose aim is to produce prints should always think about the end size at the outset of any photo shoot. Having too many things in a photo is not going to work. However if your an artist and want to study fine detail then more megapixals are better, you can then zoom in and out of an image on your PC. I find this very useful for doing pet portraits for example. Note that if most of your photos are viewed on a computer then the full image is going to be limited to the size of your monitor's screen. Therefore applications such a flikr can be a dead loss to showcase anything that's intended to be viewed on a lager scale - and don't even bother viewing anything on a mobile phone! The above painting ('..stardust') is 2ft x 2ft in real life - how many people have a computer screen that big?!

PC Monitors: Apart from size, your computers screen is very different to a print or painting, being essentially a lot of tiny bright lights, rather than reflected light. This has several effects on the end result. The most obvious is that of editing, and especially editing brightness and contrast. How many times have you printed out a photo and found it looks darker than you expected? Also one monitor could be set up differently to another and even the viewing angle can make a photo look darker/lighter. The other week I sent some 'demo' self-portraits photos to a photographer friend of my partner and she said they were all over exposed (and I don't think that she meant just the naked ones!). Now was it that her monitor is brighter than mine or that my editing tastes are different to hers or did I edit them with my laptop monitor at an unusually acute/obtuse angle to normal? - Or were they over exposed?! I didn't think they were.

Photoshop: Editing software is all well and good, but just about everybody nowadays knows when a photograph has been 'doctored' and just knowing that makes the image worthless, in my view, as you've failed in the illusion. I think people want 'natural' shots or offbeat creative special effects. Take these two fantastic examples:
The first one 'Lobster' by the highly talented Shez Hanley couldn't look more natural and, apart from the obvious crop, I don't think has had any major editing, if any at all. It has impact, vibrant colour and an added curiosity value in its subject - its weirdly simple and complex at the same time! A lot of Shez's work, like this, has the power to draw people in, and leave a lasting impression. The second by a friend of mine, Jennie Cole, who has had photos printed in 'The Guardian', is so obviously (wo)man-made she has turned an 'ordinary' photo into a work of art with a good choice of artificial colours used to great effect. It kind of reminds me of those images put at the beginning of the BBC's coverage of the 'Chelsea Flower Show' for the past few years, nice. But even these need to be viewed on a larger scale to be appreciated in all their glory.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Hello and Welcome

Yorkshire Artist: Ian Bostock

 I am artist Ian Bostock, currently based in Methley, Leeds, West Yorkshire. Back in 1974 I completed a two year Arts Foundation course at Chester Art College and I have  returned to my painting passion relatively recently. At last I have enough hours to dedicate to art because of the seasonal nature of my 'other' job and I have found that there is a lot of interest in my paintings, both locally and from friends. As a result a new career has started to take shape.

I paint portraits, pets, landscapes and modern designs. I supplement my art income by gardening, and my love of plants and flowers has heavily influenced many of my paintings, especially my 'modern' pieces. I try to give an artistic edge to my people and pet portraits by using composition and posture to depict their 'character and traits' sometimes deleting or adding bits but somehow retaining a realistic perception of the subject. 

Similarly I change things in my more 'traditional' landscape paintings to give them more impact and interest to the viewer. In my 'modern' designs, as I call them, I often use the reflective powers of metalic paint to achieve two things: 1. To bring the colours already in a room into the painting and thus it 'fits in well with a variety of decor. 2. To keep a constantly changing atmosphere in each painting as the light changes from dull to bright and from natural to artificial, etc. This latter effect, especially, draws fresh interest each time the painting is viewed.

Please enjoy looking at the original art on my website I hope that I can share my passion with you.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Public want real Art for their money

In Association with

The campaign against arts cuts is gearing up, and the techniques are tried and tested. If you want to get a high-profile message across, sign up some celebrities. That accounts for the starry artist cast, including Damien Hirst, that have joined a campaign against the coalition government’s attack on arts funding.

Interestingly a poll by the organisers of the Threadneedle prize, reported by the BBC, found that two-thirds of its sample thought there should be a change in arts funding with the emphasis moving away from the public purse. Infact 66% said the majority of visual art funding should come from corporate sponsorship and private donations and one fifth thought that visual art should get no state funding at all.

It appears that the majority of voters have so far accepted the inevitability of cuts in public funding across the board in principle, even before any details have been revealed. The coalition has put across its view of the deficit and the urgency of severe measures well. If people are not yet on the streets to protest cuts in welfare, why would they be agitated about the fate of art?

The high cultural place given to art and artists during the New Labour years may ultimately work against the campaign opposing cuts. Partly because there would seem to be an obvious problem in using the likes of Damien Hirst to protest against reducing public funding when he has made such a lot of money in the name of public art. Some may argue that it is the likes of Hirst who should be investing and re-investing not the tax payer. It seems unlikely that anyone outside the art world, is going to see him as a plausible voice against arts cuts?

Sadly, this success of contemporary British artists is a major reason many people will support cuts to visual art funding. If there is one thing the public seems to believe about art it is that artists make piles of money out of what isn’t perceived as proper art. What many people want to see is skillful drawing, painting and sculpting not abstract ideas. However it's no use the art community complaining about this image when it has spent the last few years extravagantly flaunting connections with big money. Museums have deferred to commerce to a much greater extent in the last decade than ever seemed possible before.