Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Street art in Shoreditch ; out and about in East London

Street art by Stik 
more about Stik

Today was a day for graffiti and street art. Ladies that lunch mixed with students and tourists on a walking tour of East London; from Liverpool Street to Brick Lane, Shoreditch and back, guided by none other than Ben Slow, a street artist with a background in fine art. Ben guided us around the streets, pointing out art where we might never have found it; on the top of lamp-posts, round dark corners and tucked into alley-ways.

East London, where the likes of Tracy Emin and Keira Knightley are allegedly gentrifying one of the oldest parts of the city around the corner from the curry houses of Brick Lane. Where modern flats are replacing the old brick houses and warehouses. Where Boris is not high in the popularity stakes.

a house in Fournier street, a few yards away from the Brick Lane mosque and Bangla City supermarket
So what did I learn about street art?

That street art is respected where graffiti may not be. That it lasts until someone overlays it, which may be a few hours, weeks or days. That money can be made and that many artists also sell work in galleries.  That permission is often given to create it by the owners of properties on which it is created. But that it is often created covertly. That it may be planned laboriously and executed very quickly. That a hard hat and a high-vis jacket can make you invisible while you create a work of art.

That if you look up, you may see sculptures in unexpected places.

work by Dal; a chinese artist

That DAL east is a highly regarded artist with an international reputation, and that the fact that an artist called 'Sea Puppy' thought fit to paint over one of his works just off brick Lane has enraged some of the artistic community.

detail from another work by Dal; two cats fighting

Ben discusses the merits of Sea Puppy's work. Personally I was not impressed.

We saw the work of Belgian artist , Roa, who is 'the most prolific street artist in the world'.

Roa's bird was created in just 10 hours.

 Roa on Tumblr

Apparently the local council covered him up with a giant curry advert for the duration of the Olympic Games 2012.

Shame on them; his animals are really impressive, and fun.

another work by Roa in Shoreditch

by Invader, a French artist; work created with coloured tiles. 

Invader has works all over europe based on the space invader game.

portrait by Elmac, created with spray paint

Elmac is from Los Angeles and apparently chills his spray paints to reduce the pressure from the can.

And just around the corner from this we found the incredible work of Vhils.

chiselled plaster work by Vhils
Vhils  is a Portugese artist whose real name is Alexandre Farto. He works with multiple media, including plaster, paper and wood, using chisels and explosives amongst other tools.

Vhils signs his work in the drilled plaster

We saw a lot of other art too, and graffiti. Some of which I thought was just as good as the art pointed out on the tour, but hey, what do I know?

Ben is worried about the new building in the area  destroying the character of the East end ............ and I was worried that the bricks on the new buildings aren't real bricks at all; just a facade.

most new builds are glass, but even the bricks aren't real on this one

You will notice that I haven't told you where all of the art is. I don't want to steal the thunder of the guys who run the alternative walking tours. Nor do I wish to do Ben out of a job.

He is an artist too, and therefore he needs the money. His rent has just gone up..............

work by Ben Slow

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

multiple exposure photography and how to improve your commercial representation as an artist

red hut, rye harbour, green sky © Caroline Fraser 2013

I went to a seminar last week about how to improve my commercial profile. It was enlightening and useful.................. but.............

ever since I have been feeling somewhat overwhelmed.



Should I visit galleries and talk nicely to gallery owners?

Galleries apparently look for 

● solo exhibitions

● publications ( including brochures, art books)

● critical writing e.g. reviews in magazine, newspapers. 

● biennials and festivals; consider satellites eg Edinburgh Art festival, Whitstable

● awards

● being in significant collections.

Well that's me out then.

My only claim to fame is having one of my images in the bedroom of the US ambassador's residence in Tokyo.

And the other day one of my images made it onto Canadian TV ( but they forgot to mention my name)

So I have to work hard at getting accepted in biennials..........expensive and likely to lead to a sense of failure if you don't remember that acceptance is for the chosen and fairly random few. You need a tough skin and healthy bank account to cope with regular rejections.

I should visit art fairs and find out which galleries I need to visit.

I shouldn't visit art fairs and talk to gallery owners there............. on pain of death should that be a strategy............

Read  what not to do at an art fair   for a serious and amusing guide to what NOT to art fairs.

I should join various websites such as Axis and re-title to raise my profile. Now both of these are by application, and for Axis I probably need to do an MSc before I will be accepted.............. so that's at least another £10,000 and 2 years of hard labour...............

So I have done nothing.

And concentrated on making sure I earn some money doing my day job after I have retired from my current day job. By applying for work in New Zealand and the Hebrides, which seem so much more appealing than suburban south east London.

Meanwhile I have continued to work on my current passion for multiple exposure photography in the hope that I will create something different and fun.

All of the images below were taken at Camber Sands and Rye harbour (after George Clooney had gone back home)

multiple exposure using camera rotation for a totally wacky effect

multiple exposure using horizontal movement for repetition

triple exposure of a girl in the dunes

5 in camera exposures of Dungeness from Camber Sands

What I enjoy about this one is the bird flying across the picture.

red hut, rye harbour, pink sunset

For this one, which is one of my favourites, I have superimposed the red hut at Rye harbour onto the sunset over the nature reserve at Rye harbour, turning it pink.

All of these images are experimental, and are fun to make.

Which is what keeps me sane when faced with the fact that increasing my commercial representation is unlikely to come to fruition in the immediate future!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Just another Wednesday.............. George Clooney and his crew invades Camber Sands

Just another Wednesday............ I woke in Camber Sands this morning frustratingly early for a non work day.

I had a cup of tea.

I read the Camber newsletter from which I discovered that '20,000 potholes have been filled in on the roads around Camber and Rye' and that the Camber christmas tree is likely to be 'much more exciting in 2013'.

I wait with bated breath.

Not exactly world class news.

But the sun was shining and the sky blue.

I had my breakfast, cleaned some windows as you can when you get up far too early, and then set off for a walk to the beach.

Off I traipsed to the dunes. It was quiet in the village. The bus stop was deserted.

The shellfish stall was closed.

 I no longer have a dog to keep me company or to read the dog information, so I was free to wander over towards the main path to the beach.

But it was cordoned off by men in security jackets and police. The car park was full of caravans, jeeps and trucks.

Behind them gathered men in second world war uniforms.

I asked one of the security men what was going on.

"They are filming on the dunes"

What is the film?

"It's a war film".........

Ah yes.

"You just missed George Clooney"

Not really what I wanted to hear.

Firstly I had no idea whether he was serious, and secondly, it seemed that I was too late to catch a glimpse of the man himself.

So I ran home and collected my camera which I had left behind in the knowledge that I would be going out later with a friend to do some photography.

On my way back to the beach I bumped into two girls in jogging gear.

"Do you know that George Clooney is on the beach"?  I asked them.

"We certainly do; the whole of Rye seems to know............we told our husbands that we are going for a jog.............on the beach of course.........."

So we all climbed the dunes in the hope of a glimpse of some famous people.

And when we got to the top we could see George..............

He's the one in the middle.

They are filming  Monuments Men and George is acting and directing. I am told he has a rather unattractive moustache for the part.

The local policeman stuck up in the dunes to keep the riff-raff away was finding it all rather tedious and disappointing; he also had failed to get up close and personal.

The joggers jogged off up the beach, and I went back home to sit in the sun.

Later I went to Rye harbour to do some proper photograohy, unhampered by security men and cordons.