Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Worlds Apart". {a postcard from Down Under}

“I love irony and that is evident in your work - but in the irony is also sadness and reflection which is born from deep thought” - Jennifer Groome.

Breathe out.
It arrived.

It’s always a bit of a worry, sending original art overseas.
Particularly when the work is winging its way from Southern Australia to Verona, Italy.

Such was the case with a recently completed canvas I had titled “Worlds Apart”, a literal reference to it’s destination in some respects, although the title had its origins in a more metaphorical analogy of choice, difference and balance.
Did I say metaphorical analogy? I think I’m just about ready to write that new artist statement hehe..

It’s a long story but this painting was a commissioned work for someone who has taken great interest in my art practice during the last few years, and I was keen for it to arrive safe and sound. After some initial postal tracking confusion, I’m happy to say the work now hangs safely in the home of its new owner Jennifer, her husband Tarcisio and daughter Sophia.

I have known Jennifer for some time now. I originally created the gig poster for a band she was in called “Doppio Malto” and in recent times she has done a cracking job of recording some prose of mine, a side project I am still working on.
Some months ago her husband Tarcisio granted her a birthday wish of purchasing one of my oil on canvas works.

It’s kind of a small world you know.
I mean, this whole networking and friendship forming phenomena reminds me so much of a time when I was about thirteen years old receiving pen friend postcards in the mail from Europe.
This time the picture on the postcard becomes a link to many more pictures from an image gallery and the scribbled text on the reverse side of the postcard has metamorphosed into globe trotting short messages or email.
It’s fascinating and at once astonishing how we can now communicate with people across the country and around the globe, and although I now take it for granted, it still amazes me how far we have come.
But I digress.

I wanted to post this painting earlier but needed to wait until it was in the hands of it’s new owner.. why spoil the surprise right?

The best thing about this private commission was that there were no conditions. Jen made it clear early on to “paint it for yourself, don’t email me any work in progress images.. and then post the painting to me” so that’s precisely what happened and it became a joy to complete.
That’s not always the case with commissioned work and it brings me to another point about the difference between selling artwork as a private commission versus gallery sales from an exhibition of your own work.

In my experience there is quite a lot of anonymity involved in who is buying your work from a gallery. I don’t include all galleries in this but the buyers identity are kept at arms length it seems.
I suspect the gallery does this to protect themselves from artists approaching these people outside of the gallery (for further or future sales avoiding gallery percentage on sale fees). I can understand that. They are a business and I respect that also, but I still like to know who is buying my work and why.

Believe it or not this infatuation with creating art isn’t about money. I’m not selling time, effort and materials in my work.. it’s not craft… I’d like to think people are not only buying something of aesthetic resonance or investment value but also a real creative component. Something of me.

In a response to the arrival of her new painting Jennifer wrote “I have a piece of your imagination in my home Leith, that is how I feel about it" and further it contains so many references to your other work which I have always admired”.

Unless you are speaking to buyers or art enthusiasts on exhibition opening night, feedback is few and far between once your work is sold. I’m not talking about ego stroking but genuine feedback and an interest in what it is that people like in your work enough to purchase it.

Maybe it says more about the person buying an artists work but it really means so much more when you know the buyer connects to your work, and in this case the buyer clearly has.

The Jack in the Box has a very sad face Leith, almost as if the two worlds he is holding up are a burden to him. He doesnt want to go back into his box actually. He could have been a smiling person, but he isn’t and this makes him even more interesting. 

The little bird - his alter-ego, or his friend, wants to fly away and could but chooses not to because he wants to simply stick around. Seeing that bird really made my heart jump because I knew then that your heart had gone into this painting - I love it when that bird pops up in your work. And the allusion to the music - to the piano. Which is where he now lives in my music room, so that is just perfect of cours”.

 “Sophia says the Jack in the Box is sad because of the two worlds he is holding he does not know which one to chose and his eyes are fixing the beholder almost desperately trying to find an answer to that question. Which world does he want - the coloured one or the greyscale one”.

I’ll take this opportunity to explain a little about those two worlds.
Around the time I was painting this Jack in the Box image I was also working on some digital logo work. It was all greyscale stuff and the decision making was more to do with font choice, dimension and form.
It was so liberating to leave that work every now and again and work on the painting. Pushing actual paint around a canvas with a brush and being seduced by so much colour. It was like respite from that other stuff. Worlds apart.

That is the genesis of where the two dangling temptuous worlds of colour, tone and choice come from.. me working on other mediums and it then feeding itself back into the piece I was painting.
Whether it’s colour or greyscale, I’ll always waltz between the two. Painting and drawing, charcoal and brush, computer and canvas, love and insanity.

Elaborating on her new painting Jen continues:

Much art that I admire, and maybe this is because I am a simple little soul, contains wonderful colour. I love Paul Klee for example - just like I also admire other types of art, Bauhaus, post expressionism, pop art - and I find modern art more fascinating than old Rembrandt or Constable, or even Joseph Wright from Derby - who painted light like no one else.
Paul Klee loved colour too. But even more than that, like you and me he was a musician at heart and his musicality, in my opinion, comes out in his work - as it does yours. It is not easy to describe how it does, it just does. I suppose it is a certain feeling of liberation and exploration.
But I am not going to rabbit on about Paul Klee now...although I will just say that he abandoned his music because he found the music around him, the so called successful music of his particular time, banal and uninteresting. He could be living in todays society with our modern bland music - he would hate it. Art libertated him, music trapped his creativy.

Henri Matisse said that to me this evening Leith - he came round for a beer bless him, Picasso, his mate had just left..

Thankyou Jennifer. Thankyou for reminding me of the value in what lies beneath the paint and the recognition by some of what has been woven within it.

It’s a pity I missed Henri and Pablo you know. We could have painted the town red.

It’s a good day for art..
Breathe in.


Blogger Tarcisio said...

Worlds Apart was so far the best birthday-gift Jenny ever had.

This present will be the memory of few great moments.

The first the one, was already the thought of it. When Jenny expressed the wish to have an original painting from Leith, she was enthusiastic about the idea to have a unique piece of Leith, tailor-made for her, to place in her music room. The idea, that an artist will create something for her, filled her already with joy.

Then the period of its creation. Jenny knew that Leith started his work, but she didn't have any idea what the painting was going to be based one. The imagination of the birth of the painting was a great time. Thinking o Leith, visualize him in his studio, at the other part of the world, making his creativity and imagination go for her, was really exiting for all of us at home.

The teaser. Once I had a picture of the painting, I ordered a tea cup and a mouse-pad with the print of the painting on them. I had them delivered the UK, directly where Jenny celebrated her birthday-party (parties actually).
I know, talking about a real piece of art, maybe not everybody might like the idea to diffuse in this way the creativity of an artist, but I had to make it possible that Jenny would see, on her birthday, what was on its way from Down Under to Verona. She loved it and couldn't wait anymore to get the original painting. In italian the word for this is moment could be called “la gioia dell'attesa” .

The unwrapping. Yes, once the painting was delivered, the big moment arrived. Leith protected his piece of art so well, that it took Jenny quiete a while until she was through all the layers of paper and bubble film. She enjoyed every single second of the long unwrapping, it was fun and she got so exited, like opening her first Christmas present in her whole livetime.

Finally it got in its place, above the piano, in Jennifer's favorite corner of the house, her place of music and creativity.

The story of the painting. As you can see from Leith's blog, the story which brought to this painting is very fascinating and I am sure it will always be something to remember about.

Last but not least, the friendship. This painting and its story are another very big step for great friendship Jenny has made with Leith over the past. If one day the will meet in live, I am sure, it will be another great moment....

7:30 AM  
Blogger Wayne Michael Reich said...

Wonderfully said....darn you.

1:45 AM  

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