Saturday, July 31, 2010

Charlatan Ink Prize 2011

I am pleased to announce I have recently been selected to be an Honorary Member of the Advisory Board  for the 2011 Charlatan Ink Prize to be held in New York later this year. I join six other members in the advisory role from several different continents including the multi talented artist Phillip Brooker, American contemporary figurative artist Richard T scott, fellow Australian contemporary artist Hazel Dooney and the amazing German painter Michael Hutter.

For further information on each click {here}.

The $25000 prize will be judged by Anthony Lister (AUS); Peter Gric (CZ/AU); Bing Dawe (NZ); Winston Smith (USA); Marleen Antico (AUS); Joanne Berkoe (USA) and Ed McCormack (USA)


Grab your fly swatter and click here to visit the Charlatan Ink site.

The CHARLATAN INK ART PRIZE for the VISUAL ARTS will be the gateway for the Charlatan Ink Art Project to connect worldwide with artists, galleries and art organizations, facilitating cross pollination and creation of fertile soils to establish new and exciting means to present art to a wider public.

Once the Charlatan Ink Art Project has established itself within the New York art establishment and with time on a global stage, Charlatan Ink LLC New York will pledge itself to metamorphose into an art-entity, that will not only search for new inventive art and art practitioners, but will commit itself to nurture new talents through its facilities of publishing and art management. Charlatan Ink LLC New York will create an innovative new model in artist representation, allowing artists to be free of commercial conformity and limiting art market policies.

THE CHARLATAN INK ART PRIZE for the Visual Arts is open to all artists practicing VISUAL ART : painters (in any medium & stylistic expression from classical painting to collages to illustrations to graffiti to drawing to print); photographers (film/digital); sculptors (3D works/jewellery); film-makers (video/film-camera/animation film); conceptual artists (working in all mediums mentioned above); crafts (from pottery to weaving to carpet-looming)

For more information: visit the Charlatan Ink site.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Change Is As Good As..

First it was America.
An African American President. Who would have thought?
Things change.

Now it’s Australia’s turn.
A female Prime Minister? In a country steeped in bloke’dom?
Yes, things do change.  

So it is with change in the air and another election in the wind, I present my (and in the case of  most Australians) our new Prime Minister, “Julia Gillard” (click on image to view larger).
But I’ll get back to her in a moment.

I like to jump between mediums. I adore the freedom of drawing.
I love the physical act of painting on canvas.
I am seduced equally by charcoal, brush, pencil and scalpel.

I also love new media.
I love drawing with a digital tablet, painting with a digital palette.

Here’s the rub.
In my correspondence with other artists this comes as a surprise to most traditional, natural media artists or illustrators who hold fast to the belief that real artists use real media.
There is no argument here. I encounter my work in both mediums day in and day out in the studio, and a freshly painted oil on canvas is hard to beat next to a 600dpi print, no matter how large it is or what archival ink properties it has for longevity.

I’m keeping the Prime Minister waiting though..
This picture is a digital drawing. It was created using a Wacom Intuos tablet and the software programs Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.
It looks painted you say? Well yes it is. In a manner of speaking.
It looks painted but the processes to get there are worlds apart. No cleaning of brushes in turpentine for this baby.
No, not you Prime Minister, I’m referring to the painting.. I mean drawing.. no I mean.. oh never mind.

Frankly, I’m over the disparities, debates and the politics (sorry Julia) of natural media versus digital. Of tradition versus modernity.  I make art for arts sake. Work bound for galleries, work bound for publication, work bound for sketch books.. even work bound for the dust bin. I don’t have any hang up about it whatsoever. It is just about exploring and creating work in a different media for me.

I don’t pretend to be a master of any of this, and using an electronic tablet for a drawing seems no different to picking up pastels, pen and ink or doing some collage work. It’s another way of mark making, any way you look at it and for me, another way in.

So this blog piece comes with a little more rhetoric than usual, and I had better remind myself to stick to the purpose and that is my latest distraction, Julia.

She took about five hours to complete and came about whilst waiting for the (real) paint to dry on a commissioned canvas I have been working on in my studio for some time now (more on that in our next chat).
Quite frankly, I enjoyed it. Putting down a brush and picking up the Wacom pen and tablet that is.

With an election just around the corner, I have Miss G here giving Australia a “womans touch” with a metaphoric make over and wielding her trusty Australian Labour Party brush. She’s also wearing an Australian Diggers uniform by the way.
There you have it, a picture with no sign of Dorian Gray and not a single drop of paint was shed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and I’m convinced my warmth towards this new medium is because I simply love the act of creating.. of drawing and painting no matter what the medium. What ever road gets me there, and whatever medium I choose to realize the image in.

So, would I ever choose one over the other? Digital or traditional?
I doubt it but who knows.

Things change.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Mercedes Garcia Project

I have finally completed the CD cover and booklet artwork for the soon to be released "Cross My Heart" album by Queensland based vocalist Mercedes Garcia.
A few months ago whilst discussing the music, ideas and imagery for the project and browsing some of my portfolio images, Mercedes was taken by the image of a girl not unlike that used in my "Red Dust Girl" series, hanging or levitated in chocks. It was a drawing I had produced digitally (Wacom tablet/ Painter/ PhotoShop) and using that imagery as a basis for the work, I decided to make some significant changes. During all of this I had been finishing off a large oil on canvas commissioned work called "Red Dust Senorita". I decided to use the dress from that painting and add yellow in the stripes. Mercedes is Spanish herself so this was an ideal way to emphasise this. In fact, Mercedes really wanted the artwork throughout the booklet and jewel case to be representative of herself and her music so it was important that I capture not only her heritage (Spain) but also her life in Australia and the area of South Australia where she grew up and started to perform music. Hence the symbolism of  a deserted Australian landscape and  isolation throughout the CD artwork, as well as references to the freedom that a love of music can provide.

Carmen Wells of Larry Tyler Management  was overseeing this project and provided me with the details of the brief along with working with graphic artist Tony Drew who did the text and photo layouts. Carmens help in putting this all together has been tremendous. Her concept of having the landscape follow through on the back of the jewel case was a winner!

The CD itself mimics the front cover of course.

Booklet page preview: I created a winding barbwire stem for two roses here which wound themselves around the microphone stand. The collaged, background textures and the coloured streams of light that run throughout the booklet were also part of the concept I envisaged for the finished art.

Inside: Some of the booklet inserts I created using a combination of electronic collage, digital image editing, text layout and hand colouring/drawing.

One half of a booklet page spread. The booklet imagery, themes and colour were very important components in marrying an Australian/Spanish feel throughout.

It was such a pleasure to be a part of this project and I highly recommend that you visit and listen for yourself to the amazing voice of Mercedes Garcia at the myspace page address above. Her "Cross My Heart" release is a cutting edge album of soulful beats and grooves, and the production is a credit to its producer Ken Sheppard. Nice work guys and I'm glad to be a part of it!