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Creativity Art Blog

Art & Crafting Hints, Tips & Discussion

  • Our easy and comprehensive guide to varnishes!

    All the things you need to know about varnishing your work

    Feeling confused about the endless array of different varnishing options available in art shops?

    Well don’t worry, we’re here to clarify things! Below you’ll find a comprehensive list that we’ve compiled which explains which varnish is best for which medium, what it does and what it can be used for.

    The main reasons to varnish a picture are to a) protect its surface from dust, dirt and any imperfections that may result on the picture surface and b) to leave your image with a glossy or matt sheen. What in fact you are doing by varnishing paint is closing the surface off to oxygen, thereby preventing it from oxidising and discolouring over time. In theory therefore, your paint should remain in the same condition it was when you varnished it.

    You can even mix matt and glossy varnishes to give lots of structure., but make sure you use the spray form though if you don't want to influence the painting, as a spray varnish does not influence the painting, the same way a brush on varnish does.

    We stock most of our varnishes in bottles of 75ml, 250ml and 1000ml, and also in a 400ml spray can. Glossy and matt finishes are fairly self explanatory, and a satin finish is somewhere in between the two. Whether you prefer a gloss, matt or satin finish is very much down to individual preferences, whilst remembering that a high gloss finish can end up quite reflective, and a matt finish won’t boost your colours like a gloss varnish will.

    We’ll go step-by-step through each medium that you’re looking to varnish over, starting with acrylics.

    ACRYLICS VARNISHESAcrylic Varnish

    If you’re working with acrylic paint, you’ll want an acrylic varnish! It’s important that you give yourself a flexible layer of varnish on top of your acrylics, otherwise you’ll find that the paint might begin to crack off if it adheres to a non-flexible varnish. We stock matt, satin, gloss and high gloss in our Amsterdam range for acrylic paintings. We also sell a varnish for our Amsterdam Deco paints, which are used for textiles, glass and porcelain. It’s worth noting that if you might want to remove your varnish later on, you can use a gel medium to form what’s known as an isolation coat – a permanent, protective barrier between the painting and the varnish.

    As the acrylic varnish has a "flexible" surface, they are also suitable for use on oil paintings

    PicVarnishOIL VARNISHES

    If you’re working with oil based products, we have several options depending on your preferences. Varnishes should technically only be used if the painting is completely dry. We have a standard synthetic picture varnish, dammar varnish, retouching varnish and our Cobra (solvent free ) varnish.

    • Our standard picture varnish is a synthetic form of a traditional varnish, and should only be applied when completely dry
    • Made from dammar resin, by dissolving resin in turpentine, dammar varnish is a traditional varnish used for hundreds of years. Watch out though as it can be prone to yellowing. cobra
    • Retouching varnish is used to bring out dull colours where the paint has sunk in, and provides temporary protection for paintings that are still drying.
    • Finally, our Cobra range of varnishes is more environmentally friendly, and less toxic to use as they correspond to our solvent-free range of Cobra products.

    All the oil varnishes have an "inflexible" surface and for that reason should only be used on top of oil paint.

    Why do I need to wait at least 6 months to a year before varnishing my oil painting?

    When your oil paintings is no longer wet on the outside and the inside, the drying process then transforms to an ageing one as the oxygen continues to combine with the oil paint.

    As varnish effectively closes the surface to the oxygen in the air,  the ageing process almost stops altogether. If the varnish was not present, this is process would eventually cause cracks in the surface of the paint (known as ageing). So you see, if you varnish too soon, it will never dry!

    OIL PASTEL, WATERCOLOUR, GOUACHE & OTHERS            wcvARNISH

    We have a specific varnish which is made for and named after each of these mediums. We also stock a clear lacquer which provides a durable and scratch-resistant layer for painted surfaces, but is for objects and furniture rather than paintings or pictures. Gum Arabic makes gouache more transparent and increases gloss and elasticity. GArabicOx gall prevents beading and improves the adhesion of water-based paints to their support.

    We also stock varnish removers which remove varnish from the brushes you are using. If you have any further questions, just pop in to us on Perth Road and we’ll do our best to help!

     

  • Artist Profile: Ginny Elston

    Artist Profile on DJCAD Masters of Fine Art Graduate

    This month's Artist Profile is with Ginny Elston, who's studying for her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at DJCAD and works part-time at iartsupplies - say hello next time you're in! Originally from Edinburgh, she studied History of Art and French at the University of Manchester, and then studied Fine Art at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh for 3 years. Ginny tells us a little more about her practice and thoughts on art in the following interview...

    SneakyPeaky_Richtone(HDR)

    What was the first work of art you remember seeing?

    My family moved to Spain for 3 years when I was a child, and so I was fortunate enough to go to the Prado Museum, which then was home to Picasso’s Guernica. I must have been about 6 years old, and I can just remember standing aghast in front of it. It was the horse which seemed to particularly horrify me, with what looked like a bullet or bomb in its mouth. I just remember being so confused and feeling dreadfully scared by it.

     

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?

    I feel I produce many different types of art. My tastes and interests frequently change and I feel this is reflected in my changing methods of working. I took art as a subject all the way through school and loved it. It was always the most complex, surprising and interesting of subjects… with the most peculiar teachers.

     

    20160808_121628_Richtone(HDR)What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work in different media depending on what I’m doing. I’d describe myself predominantly as a draughtswoman, a painter and a printmaker.

     

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work? 

    I’ve started exploding out from the confines of my paintings into the surrounding space, by painting on the walls and introducing objects into the surrounding space. So I guess I’ve taken a few steps into the realm of sculpture and installation, which I’m finding new and exciting at the moment. I always love trying out new printing methods – I’ve never done lithography and I’d love to have a go at that.

     

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    Since my tastes are often in a state of flux, I find myself drawn to many different things at once. I’m very interested in history, language and sites of particular human interest, as well as both Eastern and Western philosophies and scientific associations with art. I’ve made previous works about the planets and our solar system, about the Nuremberg Trials that happened in Germany after the Second World War and about arcade and gaming spaces… so quite an eclectic bunch of topics!

     

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

    I’m not associated with a Gallery or art collective.

    20160629_174155

    If from traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice?

    I think the institutions one studies in are always formative to your practice, whether they end up affirming your current beliefs on art or whether you end up rebelling against the institutional grain. Being in an intensive, educational environment which pushes you and challenges you enables you to critically question and reflect upon your own work and that of your peers, which is mostly always a good thing. However this can sometimes overwhelm you and often undermine your confidence in your own work, and you need to be aware of when you increasingly rely on the advice of those in the position of ‘teacher/ tutor’ to know what steps to take next. Everything in moderation.

     

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    There are many, many, many inspirational people in the art world. They range from past and current tutors, peers, and both celebrated and non-celebrated artists, living and dead. Specifically at the moment I find the sculptural works of Jessica Stockholder, Judy Pfaff and Katherina Grosse very inspiring, and the paintings of Tomory Dodge, David Schnell and Tonye Moe very exciting. Artists like Marina Abramovich and Ai Wei Wei are also incredibly inspirational, calling for an awakening of the collective consciousness.

     

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    I’m currently finding a whole world of visual inspiration from just the colours and shapes in my immediate environment. Buildings, windows, the colour of the sky and trees in different lights, hi-vis jackets, bright window displays…

     

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?20160726_145112_Richtone(HDR)

    I’m lucky to be working in a very bright and spacious studio that will eventually turn into my Masters exhibition space.

     

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

    Art can bring up a surprising array of emotions. It's a deep, mystical and sometimes murky journey to travel through... But it’s also clearly the best way to spend your time here on planet Earth.

     

    What do you think is the importance of art in society?

    At its best, art is of the utmost importance to society, it’s life-changing, eternally profound. Imagination is a most basic necessity which we need in order to survive.

     

    You can see Ginny's work alongside other Masters students at the DJCAD Masters Show 2016, which runs from 20th August - 28th August, 10am - 4pm weekends and 10am - 8pm weekdays, with the opening night on Friday 19th August from 6pm - 9pm.

  • D’Arcy Wentworth Thomspon – The Man Behind the Museum

    A multi-disciplined man with a passion for nature

    Dundee artist Suzanne Scott, A.K.A Whimsical Lush, has recently designed 10 bronze plaques commemorating a whole host of Dundonians, whose lives have significantly impacted both their respective fields of expertise and the city. The plaques have since been installed in the new Discovery Walk waterfront, set into the paved area of the Green Space. One man in particular stood out for our very own Paul Wallace, who's company (Trinity Arts ~ iartsupplies) championed D’Arcy Thomson’s plaque. Here we find out a little more about the famous biologist, and how Suzanne was influenced by his work in creating his plaque.

    D'arcy Thomson

    Born in Edinburgh in 1860 to Irish parents, D’Arcy Thomspon was schooled at the Edinburgh Academy and studied medicine and zoology at the University of Edinburgh and Cambridge respectively. He became the first Professor of Biology at the University of Dundee at the age of only 24, staying in the role for over 32 years.

    img_5573Known as a ‘pioneer’ of Life Sciences, Thompson was known as an interdisciplinary thinker. He was well versed in maths and classics, and translated German texts on biology on the side to earn money whilst at University. He displayed an obvious passion for nature in all of its fascinating, mysterious guises, and was dedicated to preserving and conserving wildlife, lobbying for legislation to be introduced that protected endangered species. In 1917, he authored ‘On Growth and Form’, which demonstrated the links between the growth of organisms and their forms and mathematical principles. He wrote extensively on ideas surrounding ‘Morphogenisis’, the pattern formation in plants and animals, and ‘phyllotaxis’, the botanical study of leaf formation. It is said that his work even influenced eminent thinkers such as Alan Turing and Claude Lévi –Strauss, and artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Jackson Pollock.


    img_5823 - CopySuzanne Scott took great interest in his drawings, which are available to see in the D’Arcy Thompson Museum, in the University of Dundee’s campus. Both a space for teaching and research, as well as housing many different species of animals and plants, the museum is open regularly to the public on Friday throughout the summer vacation, so be sure to make a trip out there! Suzanne immersed herself in a method of researching his botanical studies, in a manner appropriate to Thompson himself. Through dedicated and meticulous studies, the artist successfully managed to convery the intricacies and subtleties of these exquisite forms. She picked out particularly organic and delicate creatures, such as the jellyfish, and picked out bulkier shapes, such as the rock roses, in order to balance out her compositions, allowing for a flowing arrangement of shapes and lines.

    D'Arcy Thompson was also on the committee of the Dundee Private Hospital for Women, and also a founding member of the Dundee Social Union. He was knighted in 1937, and won the Darwin Medal in 1946. After he left his post at the University of Dundee, he spent another 31 years at the University of St Andrews as Chair of Natural History. He died in 1948 aged 88, survived by his wife and three children.


    DarcyThompson

    Amongst the other Dundonians celebrated in Suzanne's plaques are Mary Ann Baxter, Professor Margaret Fairlie, Dr James Riley and R.D Low, all of whom have made progressive scientific, medical or cultural discoveries. The commemorations fit accordingly with Dundee's motto, 'One City, Many Discoveries', and form an integral part of the the up and coming new waterfront development area. Imbedded into the fabric of our city, they call to us to know our past, understand our present and inspire us in the future.

  • Enough Excuses – Get Creative! Keeping an Artist’s Journal

    jenndalyn

    Get creative anytime, anywhere!

    Do you feel that you would love to be more creative, but never seem to be able to find the time to set it aside for artistic endeavours? Why not try keeping an artist’s journal with you whenever you’re on the move, to record some of your day-to-day activities?

    CharlotteAliceMurrayEven keeping just an A5 or A6 slim-line sketchbook with you, and some fine-liners, colouring pencils or coloured gel pens is enough to start you off, and can keep you artistically engaged in the world around you. Even better, you don’t have to carry lots of materials around, nor do you have to set aside special time after a long day to do it – just keep your drawing gear in your bag!

    Seize and capture any moment!

    Whilst you’re on the bus, waiting for a train or in the airport, in a queue at the post-office or even on a lunch break, taking out a sketchbook and drawing/ doodling/ writing can really calm you down, help you to relax and allow some small moments of creativity into your day-to-day. Whether it’s a peculiar architectural detail, a quick interaction between two strangers or simply a colourful window display that captures your attention, try to note it down in whatever way comes to you. Drawing has been proven to relieve stress and engages your brain in a different kind of mental stimulation - and it’ll help you to put down your phone and be with yourself a little more.AndreaJoseph

    Our Hahnemülle journals and booklets have lined pages alternating between blank pages, allowing you to note down ideas, thoughts and bits of poetry, or even funny comments overheard at a supermarket. All these minor moments that you capture eventually build into something much bigger, which you can look back on in your visual diary. Small ideas or colour studies quickly noted down can also be the germinations of bigger ideas, such as a series of prints, paintings, a poem – or even all three.

    Pen, pencil, watercolour, pastel... use anything you like!

    MissWearer

    If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, and love the idea of noting the wonderful changing colours of spring, for example, you could always keep a Van Gogh watercolour pocket box, a travel-size bottle of water and some Fabriano A6 postcards with you. Equally, carrying a handy small pack of Rembrandt pastels with an A5 or A6 kraft paper sketchbook means you’re always prepared to embrace the surprising, moving or intriguing moments of your day. You could also collage onto some pages in advance, with newspaper, magazine cuttings or tissue paper which can give you something to work on, instead of the (sometimes frightening!) blank white page. As you become more accustomed to carrying a sketchbook around with you, your observation and drawing skills will also develop.

    Remember – you’re not setting out to make a phenomenal ‘work of art’ here, nothing needs to be judged. If a drawing doesn’t work out, don’t worry, just move onto the next page, and you can always make it into something else at a later date. You are making personal observations that relate to you and the quiet moments you encounter throughout the day, and no one needs to see what you do - unless you want them to!

    Images courtesy (top - bottom):

    Jenndalyn, Charlotte Alice Murray, Miss Wearer, Andrea Joseph

  • Artist's Profile: Amanda Adam

    Artists Profile with painter Amanda Adam

    Amanda Adam is a Scottish painter, printmaker and draughtswoman. Born in Dunfermline, she now resides in Crossford, Fife and is currently undertaking her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee. The artist studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh, before going on to complete her BA Degree at DJCAD. Here, we ask Amanda about her processes as an artist, her inspirations and thoughts on the role of art in society.

    AmandaInstal

     

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved in making work?

    I am predominantly a painter. My practice is based on landscape, our responses to place and how we function spatially within it. Recently my work has started to come off the wall, taking a more sculptural form. When I started painting at the Leith School of Art, I felt if I could specialise in painting I could expand into any other medium.  However, I always come back to painting as it is my passion, the area in which I lose myself.

    What was the first work of art you remember seeing?

    I don’t remember the first work of art I ever saw but I cried the first time I saw a small Van Gogh paining, a portrait of Alexander Reid in The Kelvingrove art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow. The sitter was an art dealer who built up a collection of French 19th Century paintings which now reside in Glasgow Art Gallery. Van Gogh and Reid shared lodgings in Paris at the time when the portrait was painted 1887. I just felt really humbled and in awe.Van Gogh

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work with canvas using a traditional oil paint/ linseed oil/ dammar varnish mix. However I have recently started working in gouache as well. Oil paint does what I need it to do, running, spreading, dripping. I can layer, scratch and cut into it easily.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    Moving forward I would like to work with stone and ceramics, but in the more immediate future probably photography, film and sound.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    While humans are absent from my landscape-based work, a presence of the viewer suggests itself, making it understood that the terrain is not ‘empty’, but rather filled with the same elements that sustain all life. The chaotic myriad of colours is derived from intangible feelings to which I subconsciously respond; it is that ‘spirit’ of place contrasted with the punctuated presence of line. Lines provide structure to our lives; within the work it is the contours of the land contrasted with man made objects, which offers stability and dynamism. The paintings become installations and sculptures on the very land that I paint, creating their own sets of lines and movements.

    Amanda

     

    If from a traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice? 

    There are advantages and disadvantages to higher education within art.  If you are unsure about your work you can very easily be pushed or swayed into making work which you are uncomfortable with or which you don’t feel is your own natural response. You can feel confined and if you spend too many years in ‘the system’ you can also get too comfortable. The advantages are that you have so many opportunities to practice so many areas of material exploration, through workshops, tutorials and artist’s talks all at your finger tips. Plus a formal art education can open other doors for you in the way of scholarships and awards etc. if that’s what interests you. It has definitely helped me to hone my ideas, allowing me to recognise the subject matter which drives my practice.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    Those who work with sincerity, intensity and passion, no matter what their subject matter or medium; artists whose work comes from the heart.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    I am influenced by everything around me, every journey I make in a car, a bus, a train, as the land races past me - I find that very exciting. Walking in the landscape, just being, sitting, feeling, being at one within it.  I like to go to remote places. Residencies are great as they allow you the time in one place to really ‘feel’ your surroundings. The Bothy Project in Scotland and the Clipperton Project are two residencies which I have taken up recently, but there are so many available.

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    My MFA studio is a small office space where I make water based works and more experimental pieces. It’s really a place where I do a lot of small work, make applications, etc. My home-based studio is the top floor of a golf Club, based in a small castle-type building. The scenery, the golf course is beautiful and serene. From the windows I look from Fife right over to the Lothians. But actually my studio is really out on the land where I make site-specific work.

     

    Amanda1

     

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art? 

    Trust your instinct, collect, experiment, ignore your anxieties and be prepared to feel all emotions at the same time whilst making work.

     

    What do you think is the importance of art in society?

    Art has been part of man since the dawn of time.  It allows us to dream dreams and our souls to dance. Art is life-enhancing, entertaining and defines our personal and national identities, and is the ultimate freedom in expression.

  • Artist's Profile: Nicola Blakemore

    This month’s Artist Profile is Nicola Blakemore

    Originally trained as a graphic artist, Nicola has had a varied career working in public relations, the media and the travel industry. She returned to her artistic roots, becoming involved in interior design, specialised painting techniques and mural work both at home in the UK and internationally. Now living in the Languedoc region of Southern France, Nicola’s work has featured in Country Living magazine, BBC Radio 4 and Central TV. We’re going to hear from Nicola about how she works in the following interview.

    Nicola

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?

     Personally I love painting still lifes, but I also paint commissions, and have produced portraits, people, pets and houses. I create murals and also teach at college level, with students with special needs and with private groups on painting holidays.

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work in all media but I’m exploring more with the potential of watercolour, which is what I’m teaching at the moment.

    Art education background (if any):

    A-level art at school.

    Gallery/ Professional Affiliations (if any):

    I have exhibited in both the UK and France.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    I want to get back into oils. I’m also going to use the new Cobra range, which are water-based oil paints. My friend Libby Page loves them.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    I’m a big fan of colour, so anything colourful which can evoke a mood or a feeling.

    Nicola3

     

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

    I am not affiliated to any galleries or collectives at the moment.

    If from other type of background (i.e. no formal art education) what were the reasons for not pursuing this route and how do you feel this has influenced your art?

    I am a self taught artist.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    I love the vivid colours used by Shirley Trevena and many of the great masters and the Dutch still life painters.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Anywhere and everywhere!

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    A spare room.

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

    Just do it. Give yourself permission to ‘play’ and don’t have too high expectations. You can find a friendly group or even learn via the internet, which is where I do some teaching. There is a saying that you should ‘know what you are good at and stick to it.’ I say, ‘discover what you might be even better at and go for it.’

    Nicola2

  • Did you miss the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Degree Show 2016?

    Some highlights of the DJCAD Art, Architecture and Design Degree Show this year

    _RichtoneHDR

    When Degree Show time of year rolls around, a peculiar mix of emotions seem to linger within the walls of University art buildings. The sense of release is almost palpable; an enormous bubble of built-up tension and stress over the last few months having finally burst, leaving the products of true inspiration, hard graft, creative problem-solving and sheer drudgery spread throughout the exhibition. The pieces which really stood out tended to show an ability to skilfully address the universal through the specific, an innate, sensitive and personal relationship with their chosen material, and a skilled, crafted aspect to the resolution of their work. The following works are ones that continue to resonate long after their initially compelling visual impact.

    Excellent drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and installation works

    Summertonsmall Jasmine Summerton

    Some of the highlights in Fine Art were Jasmine Summerton’s multi-disciplined work, focusing on simply being in the Cairngorms National Park. "Enter, observe, notice, perceive, behold" is her self-styled motto for her project. A collection of prints, a hand-made compass and observatory, and artist’s books collectively indicate a deep, slow methodology. The observatory, made in silver, lightfast and reversible material stands quiet in the room, majestic and mute yet looking like a curious intergalactic vessel. Intimate photographic prints on aluminium afford us small, obscured glimpses into the mystery of the natural wilderness, whilst a series of nine lithographic prints feature the observatory in nine different places across the National Park. Meditative and thoughtful, Summerton’s work speaks of the magnificent and sublime aspects of a dramatic, evolving landscape to which we are humbled to bear witness: the stark isolation of the observatory amidst dramatic scenery highlights our alien-ness, our desire to belong but also not belonging, and also the ambivalence of the human presence in the landscape.

    Donaldson Gavin Donaldson

    In the gallery space below, Gavin Donaldson’s four large canvases command considerable attention and contemplation, bringing painting back into the spotlight once again. The artist’s bold compositional decisions and muted palette is reminiscent of Nathan Ford’s portraits; they measure over 1.75m wide by 2m high. Two particularly successful close-up paintings manage to strike a perfect tension between two and three dimensions, whilst keeping within the integrity of their canvases' four corners. Donaldson has loosened, pulled and puckered his canvas, manipulating these folds so as to integrate with the contours and planes of the pictured face. As one moves in front of the paintings, a crease across the cheek bone, a protruding lip, a receding eye all virtually fragment and distort these intense portraits. Donaldson's clear technical ability, combined with a loose handling of paint and subtly refined use of mixed media all point to a clear finesse with his materials. The crumpled quality of the paintings evokes encountering a lost, creased image on a street; their stillness resonates as the images slowly take shape before you.

    Bititci Melissa Bititchi

    Another highly notable mention are the sculptures by Melissa Bititci. The artist’s concentric splices of wood, suspended from the ceiling and splattered in a frenzy of colours made from melted children’s crayons are a sensual delight to behold. The shapesvoke East Asian temple adornments and the sparsity of their curation, with each being presented in a totally different way, works well. Also in the same room, don't miss Alexander Allan’s comprehensive, performative and political works and Laura Brown’s photography; both are of interest and show great potential.

    Innovative and expertly crafted textiles, jewellery and more

    AbbieNeave_work_web Abbie Neave

    Both Textile and Metal and Jewellery Design departments boast incredible collections of highly sophisticated, exotic and innovative works. Morag Taylor weaves beautiful tones of orange and blue into her fabrics, creating garments and a textile-based sculpture, and Abbie Neave’s brightly-coloured, jazzy textiles are a visual treat. On the floor below, Hayley Brook pushes the potential of aluminium, silicone and laser-cutting to another level through her explorations of the Scottish landscape; whilst April Black crafts exquisite wooden, hand-carved bowls incorporating tiny specks of silver and copper.

    Overall, the whole exhibition shows a general curatorial strength that includes well-devised thematic links between works, for example transitions between pieces linking the city, nature and the body as a performative arena. Sadly, there are far too many works to be able to comment upon here, including fantastic work in the Animation, Graphic Design and Architecture departments. What is most important is the time and attitude you bring in getting to know and understand the purposes, ideas, materials and complexities of the works in front of you when you enter DJCAD. The works on display have been well thought-out and passionately handled, and it is a privilege to able to engage with them.

    The DJCAD Degree Show is on from the 20th May till the 29th May, at the University of Dundee on Perth Road.

     

  • The Mesmerizing Installations of Katharina Grosse

    Grosse

    Where art seeps into life

    Katharina Grosse is a German artist and writer, born in Freiburg in 1961 and lives and works in Berlin. The artist uses acrylic spray paint fired through industrial spray guns to create immersive, colour experiences. Creating her works on an enormous scale, the works make the viewer aware of their own size in comparison. Grosses’s rainbow-like installations appear to be simultaneously concerned with the nature of observation and the fact of simply being in the space. The artist paints across whole stretches of chosen sites or gallery walls, swallowing up architectural details, or objects that she incorporates into the painting. We realise that the boundaries between where the ‘painting’ begins and where the gallery space or building ends begins to blur, encouraging us to view the whole space as an artistic experience.

    Grosse 2

    Joyful, bold colour

    As she paints, layers of paint build upon one another, creating a patchwork of colours that connect and respond with each other. Textures of rock, sand, bookshelves and even beds appear otherworldly after she has passed her paint over them, and contrast with dripping or cloudy spray gun marks that cover the flat walls. Due to the use of spray paint, her works have a graffiti-like style that evokes a certain tag or signature quality to the works. Through this manner of working, we also feel that these paintings are done quickly and decisively, almost like a performance yet with no audience bearing witness to it.

    Katharina Grosse’s work strikes me as truly joyful. She incorporates a whole range of materials into her work, and challenges us to rethink the nature of a painting, and how we might frame such a concept. Her brilliant, saturated hues spreading across enormous spaces appear to me as a celebration of colour, illustrating that the medium of paint seems more alive than ever today.

  • Artists Profile: Angel Perdomo

    This month's artist's profile is with Angel Perdomo

    Originally from the Canary Islands of Spain but currently living and working in Poland.  A mainly self-taught artist, Angel produces beautiful, if sometimes disturbing portraiture and figurative work which explores states of mind and being.  We asked him to talk a bit about himself and his background.

    angel1

    When did you first get involved with art?

    Ever since I can remember I have always drawn and painted.  These activities were always something natural and necessary for me from a young age.  At the same time I have grown as a person and this is reflected in my growth as an artist.

    How would you describe your work?

    I would define it as figurative poetic art, combining experimental concepts with a strong fantastic character through which I create images with open meanings.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work? 

    In my painting I usually use a mixed technique on wood. I begin by laying down a layer of acrylic to obtain different textures and at the same time begin to block in something of the basic colour scheme.  Next, on top of this acrylic base, I carry out the more complex work with oil paint.

    In my drawing work I used mixed media on paper.  I use many different techniques, depending on the result I am trying to achieve.

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

     I currently don’t have a fixed affiliation with any of these type of spaces.  At the moment I am looking to establish just this type of connection on a permanent basis, either in the Poland where I am currently resident or abroad.

    If from traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice?

     The closest thing to a formal art education which I have undertaken was my time at the Escuela de Arte Feranado Estevez de Tenerife, where I took my certificate in art, and la Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Granada where I took the Ciclo Superior in Illustration.  Despite this I consider that my true artistic formation in self-taught.

     If from other type of background (i.e. no formal art education) what were the reasons for not pursuing this route and how do you feel this has influenced your art?

     My art education has been mainly self- taught. I have learnt techniques and artistic language through practice and experimentation.  I believe that personal, individual practice is essential for the development of an independent artistic personality even if and when this is accompanied by traditional academic training.

     angel2

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

     I am inspired by all artists who use the human form, but who are not realists, but who instead work in reinterpretation.  Above all I am inspired by those artists who are independent and work outside of established fashions and movements.  For example Francisco de Goya, Edvard Munch, Oskar Kokoschka or Francis Bacon.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

     The inspiration behind my work comes from different emotional states, unconscious thoughts and anthropology.

     What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

     I work in a space which is both my home and my studio.

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

     I would advise them to be deeply passionate about what they do, to the point of being capable and willing to make all the sacrifices which an artistic life involves.  I would also advise that they develop a critical stance in relation to their own work, in order to be able to continually improve.

    What do you think is the importance of art to society?

     I believe that art and culture in general are two of the defining characteristics of the human race.  As a consequence, to deny the importance of art is to deny our own humanity.  For this reason, art should be far more present and visible in society than it currently is.

    Culture should be something which we prize, because culture helps in the development and growth of all people, which in its turn helps to improve society in general.

    angel3

    If you would like to see more of Angel's work or contact the artist you can follow him on facebook  on his website angelperdomo.com or contact him directly through his email, perdomo_art@hotmail.com.

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