Friday, October 16, 2015

Mud glorious mud

Our local paper, the Stirling Observer, carried this photo I took ( or rather a member of staff at the Macrobert took it for me on my iPhone).
After getting no coverage in this paper of my solo exhibition in Dunblane museum last month I was beginning to think it would be impossible to get any arts coverage, something I know most artists are forever comaplaining about.
So, what's the secret? to be honest I don't know. What I do know that in this age of massive cutbacks in newsrooms throughout the land
you have to send stories and photos in to the paper literally "ready to go". They have neither the staff nor time to do re-writes.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Censorship of the arts

Political correctness gone mad! I’ve been asked by the Macrobert arts centre in Stirling to remove a hashtag because it might reflect badly on them. It refers to a cartoon drawn by a member of my mud workshop of Cameron and a pig.

Are they devoid of a sense of humour? Whatever happened to artistic freedom of expression?  

What’s more this workshop forms part of Luminate Scotland’s festival for Creative Ageing- not that you would know that in the Macrobert arts centre.

I asked if they might give our workshop, which was highly successful, some publicity- and was told to do it myself!


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Mud workshop - part of Luminate Festival

We had  a very successful mud workshop yesterday in the Macrobert Arts centre, part of the annual Luminate- Scotland's Creative Ageing Festival.

I must sdmit that I was very worried that nobody would turn up because the day before the event only two people had registered! however I knew several had said they were coming.

We created a scroll and a mass of mud paintings- everyone loved the freedom that mud gave them to be expressive and not to worry about making "correct" marks.

I briefed them with the words:"Anything goes."

And they came up with some surprising results, including a cartoon in homage to our Prime Minister, David Cameron and his "pig" .

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Of the Earth"

Well, I have been so busy with my exhibition, "Of the Earth" in Dunblane museum that I have not had time to update this diary.

We had a very good launch night with lots of people including the dancers who took part in my video:
"Time Passing".
(link to YouTube)

At one stage someone said there were more dancers than artists there!

Having this solo exhibition has been a steep leanring curve - you ge to see first hand what the public lke or dont like about your work.  I am in the gallery part of the time and if  I manage to engage peoplei n conversation then its great, especially when you discover that so many are visitors, often from abroad, seeking out their roots.
In the grand scale of things ( three month world tour) its understanable tht they are not going to spend much time with my exhibition therefore I was really chuffed to find in the Visitors Book a comment from an Australian visitor who had enjoyged the diversity of my work- it rnges from mud paintings to mobile art ( created on my iPhone).

How do you judge a success of an exhibition? by media coverage? -apart from a single column in local freesheet, nothing. By works sold? - two. Or by interaction with the public?  - in which case good.
My installation and inter-active text/box :"Getting Older....what does it mean to you?" has resulted in a flurry of contributions which I will turn into a text piece, maybe a small booklet.

This ties in with an article I read in the latest Tate magazine that says museums/galleries in the future will be multi-purpose spaces where all kinds of events would take place.
They would no longer be places where you walked in to stare at objects.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Poster for exhibition

"The Journey"
digital print

Busy getting ready for my solo exhibition in Dunblane museum next week. Decided to use this image for the poster. Thankfully so much can be done online these days. How on earth did we manage without the internet.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Cuba and Tania Bruguera

Photo: Hemingway and Castro in Cuba*

I was interested to receive from David Harding the book, which he wrote in collaboration with Ross Birrell and Douglas Gordon “You like this garden?”

It was a gift in return for my giving him a copy of PaolozziRevealed.

His work in Cuba brought back my own experience of the country.  On a brief visit I shot some video footage, which resulted in a couple of videos now up, on my YouTubechannel.

Only one am I pleased with -Guests from the Future-
but it has got the least hits on YouTube. Not sure what that tells you about (a) public taste) or (b) artistic merit.

More importantly though it reminded me of the time I worked with Cuban performance artist TaniaBruguera now an internationally acclaimed artist and political activist.

We were in the same class at the School of the Art Institute Chicago and she was in the throes of developing Burden of Guilt, an epic performance piece and she needed recordings of sheep. Well, I come from Wales and would be going home for Christmas so I did some recordings of sheep on the family farm. These were later used in her performance though after they had been manipulated in the sound studio I hardly recognized them!

There was one surreal morning in the School of the Art Institute when the building was filled with the sound of hundreds of sheep being moved from one field to another.  It brought folk scurrying out of their offices to find the source of the commotion.

These memories came flooding back yesterday after reading David’s book.

* I took this photo of a photograph in Ernest Hemingway's house in Havana.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book launch- Paolozzi Revealed

Such a lot has happened since I last posted that I don't

 know where to start.
Well,  here goes.
My book , Paolozzi Revealed, has been published by Kennedy & Boyd, a highly respected Scottish publishing company.
 The launch party was held in the &Collective gallery in Bridge of Allan, something I am very grateful for.

To my surprise and delight Geraldine Prince and George Donald, organisers of the Masterclass course  at Edinburgh  College of Art turned up. And Geraldine gave a very witty, off-the-cuff speech on what it was like trying to  organise Paolozzi.

Here is a link to the launch party on Youtube

Paolozzi Revealed byAnn Shaw, price £12.95, available from &Collective gallery, some bookshops and Amazon.

Friday, April 03, 2015

SelfiesHad my hair cut today so I thought I would take a selfie using Apple’s Photo Booth. Here is a sample. It raises the hoary old question : what is real and what isn’t. Talking of selfies did you know there is a museum in the Philippines dedicated to selfies? And here is a Twitter stream all about selfies in museums.

I had my hair cut today so I thought I would take a selfie  using Apple’s Photo Booth.

Here is a sample.

It raises the hoary old question : what is real and what isn’t.

Talking of selfies did you know there is a museum in the Philippines dedicated to selfies?

After Andy Warhol
And here is a Twitter stream all about selfies in museums.
and now for something...original

Over to Delta Studios for three hours Life Drawing.

We had a male model, John, with a suntan  you could die for- result of  six weeks in Australia. 

As a mature model now retired from his professional life he has discovered there is a great demand in Scotland for models so he has got himself a new career modelling for colleges ( those that still teach it), art clubs and studios.

I am not surprised he is in demand. He has an amazing body.

Life Drawing is no longer taught in most art colleges, or if it is then its minimal (I got two weeks at Glasgow School of Art) yet the demand from artists for drawing from life continues.
There is something very fundamental for an artist when you are confronted by a nude model. Mistakes are instantly recognizable. You can’t fudge lack of observation.

I would argue there is still a role for Life Drawing . What do you think?

New currency for Scotland-Queen Nicola the First

The Bank of Scotland issued yesterday a limited edition of the new currency, the merk, along with the smaller coin, the bawbee.

Professor Gavin McTaggart, a former chief economist at the Scotland Office, welcomes the re-introduction of the merk and the bawbee saying it helps to re-establish Scottish identity by reverting to the original coinage used in the 16th century.

 In fact the bawbee, Scotland’s best-known coin, was first issued in 1539 and continued to be struck until 1697, but it died finally with the Union of the Parliaments in 1707.

The re-introduction of these ancient Scottish coinages is yet another symbol of the growing confidence of Scotland as a country prepared for the 21st century.

Already the merk has become a valuable collectors item retailing well above its market value of £1 on e-Bay.

Get one while you can. Be sure to check though that you have the genuine article and it bears the correct date: 32nd March 2015.