Mitch Griffiths at Halcyon Gallery

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I could have written about any single one of the things/people/creatures/sticks ( I love a good stick), I have seen over the past month, but Mitch Griffiths is my chosen one. Interestingly, I haven’t even decided why specifically. He went and painted Keira Knightley and if you knew me, you’d know, I wouldn’t paint her. It pains me to even use her name in this. You get the picture. But before we all get swept up in Mitch Griffiths as already many young collectors and art worldians have and will, (he’s just that type of artist), I’d like to discuss what this artist has done, and why, to me, he sort of glitters.

I was informed by the dashing and genetically superior male humanoids that were assisting in the halls of New Bond Street’s Halcyon Gallery last Friday, that this guy only ever presents his work to the world every 3 years max and each piece is a labour of such serious ‘love’ that even when they requested he did so, Halcyon were surprised he produced enough for a show this year.

I entered the space.

Wearing a sly smile.

Bit of an anti-climax there.  My lofty apologies.  ‘Oh-ho-ho yeh, let’s see what this Brit’s got ey?’ I thought to my innately suspicious little self.

I searched for ages for the image on my picture producing device that would convey what I am trying to here, the precious allure of his work in situ. But I don’t seem to have been able to capture it. Maybe it was the space the paintings and photographs were in. Or maybe I am just being overzealous.  I doubt it; art is either about liking/disliking something and, failing that, at least attempting to appreciate something for what it is, on some level, however trace in nature.

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What I can’t understand is how and why such little justice his website and indeed Halcyon’s does the artwork and by default the artist. In life these works actually breath.  Some elements of the screen based photographic works actually do. He makes both paintings and photographic works. Take the lovely lady below; I can’t show you here as this is a mere still but in life her auburn hair wafts ever so detectably in an invisible breeze. The rest of her remains totally still. I don’t know how the artist has achieved this; video art is not my department. But by gum is it stunning. Quieting and haunting and just exquisite.

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I’m not even going to say what Griffiths thinks his work is about at this point; I kinda didn’t want to know at the time, and was not best pleased that he chose to map out celebrities along the way, but I think the non-celeb tableaus are nicer to behold than the other works any which way. I guess I am just intrigued as to where this guy will go, what he’ll do and who’ll take him on. Both proverbially, (another artist of perhaps similar aesthetic) and market-wise, via gallery, dealer or collector.

I aggressively recommend you go and see this exhibition. Mitch really wants you to too. I read that somewhere.

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http://www.halcyongallery.com/

http://www.halcyongallery.com/exhibitions/iconostasis

 

 

We Used to Wait

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We did used to wait. And wait and wait and wait. For letters to arrive, for people to return from the war, from the rigs, for invites in the post, for telegrams.

Now, we don’t wait. Because we know we shouldn’t have to. If you haven’t received that email it probably either means one person’s incompetence or it just isn’t going to come through. You haven’t got that job son. Move on.

I bring all this to the proverbial fore because I have been away, far far away actually; Amsterdam, Japan, Korea, Paris (enforced and briefly and it was Charles de Gaul and I NEVER want to go back). I had a lot on my mind and ample time to dwell. End of.

Back in the land of the the poor and the free I sit down to write about what it is that makes waiting almost a non existent state of being in the contemporary. Complacency really isn’t an option. You have access to the web on your phone and you must use it; you must know equal amounts or more about the goings on in your sector and maybe all others too if you really want to impress and you must be prepared to be someone’s and your own dogsbody 24-7. If not more (I canny do that kind of maths).

This is by way of an apology/excuse/shameful admission for not being here. Because I have been very much elsewhere where I kid you not, there often was no wifi. 

Ok I’m lying, I just didn’t want to be here. So I made sure I wasn’t.

WATCH THIS SPACE. You’ll only know less if you don’t. And that’s a contemporary failing.

 

 

 

 

KEVIN THREESAUDS| K3 @ Ben Oakley Gallery| Urban | Street | Grafitti Art

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KEVIN THREESAUDS

Ray Richardson| David Bray| Ben Oakley

Preview Evening: Friday 15th February 7-9.30pm

Exhibition Dates: February 16th – 24th

www.benoakleygallery.com | info@benoakleygallery.com | Telephone: 07976 692 751 | Twitter: @thebenoakley |  Facebook: benoakleygallery

Ben Oakley Gallery presents an exhibition idea born from a bed of laughter conversation and friendship, one that is able to take whatever flight path its participants see fit. Once again Ben’s team morphs the gallery’s interior into a daring and engaging environment. Though the title and gallery presentation of this exhibition is light hearted, the work is well considered. There will be five superb 10” x 10” Portraits by Ray Richardson, David Bray & Ben Oakley signed and finished in their inimitable styles, plus single additional paintings by special guest artists Johnny Davens, Garnett Lyons and Carlin Ferdy.

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All work will be for sale and will be displayed on the walls above Ben Oakley’s traditional wooden wall panelling. The bar will be fully stocked, the dart board and piano area await the punters and a roaring open fire will add to the welcoming nature and uplifting feel of the show.  

This evening and exhibition will knock your socks off and offers collectors old, new and established, the chance to make a seriously worthwhile art and ultimately, a cultural investment in the finest example of an Urban Art Gallery with serious amounts to say.

Full Cockney Tapas will be provided at the Preview Evening.

VISITOR INFORMATION

BEN OAKLEY GALLERY

9 Turnpin Lane, Greenwich, London SE10 9JA

DLR: Cutty Sark Greenwich (2 minutes walk)

Overground Train: Greenwich Station (5 minutes walk)

Opening Times: Thursdays –Sundays 11-6pm | Monday –Wednesday by appointment.

All media enquiries /invitations: please email Ben Oakley

So who’d like to be our expert today?

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Do you ever flick onto a TV channel and think, right, art program, check, presenter, check, but who is this and why do they not look like, well, an expert? To illustrate my point, check out this clip of contemporary football icon Joey Barton discussing his views on Lucien Freud and Art as a commodity.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/video/2012/apr/15/joey-barton-lucian-freud-art-video

 

So what is it about today that means non-specialists get the airtime or the job even if others have the specific qualifications?

Watch The One show, though not strictly the most artsy choice, and you may or may not rejoice in its perfectly in tune ‘all round cheesy family all huddled together on the sofa’ appeal but you will notice that the demographic of its feature presenters is varied to say the least. We have the ex-England cricket captain Phil Tufnell musing on the art of Christianity and the oldest sculpted hedges in Scotland, Gyles Brandreth on well, everything vaguely related to Britain and then to throw you back into classic taste of John Sergeant. So what is it about the non-arts specialist journalist footballer, the quintessential British top man and the cricketing superstar’s reports on art that seems to really be in vogue today?

What I think it shows is a diversification in hiring techniques not just in TV but in all industries. Whereas, way back when, specialists were commandeered for a specific TV role or job, like Robert Hughes, today we like to see things from the non-specialist’s perspective now and again. There is a book called ‘Imagine – How Creativity Works’ by John Lehrer that suggests that there are not ‘creative’ or arty ‘types’ but that ‘the outsider’s perspective’ is actually the most valuable, making our industries/companies/programs/articles more vibrant, and therefore productive and successful in the end.

So what does this mean for current or budding specialists out there? It means first and foremost, read the book. Beyond that, it means that this may be why there is so much competition for roles in the creative or media industries. Whatever you have studied at college or university or in life, you’d be surprised at how much of it you can apply to other specific roles or projects.  Just listen to Joey Barton – he’s got the approach down to a ‘t’. He comes from football but this means he sees and appreciates art quite profoundly because it is so different; it has such a different ‘energy’. As a result, he ‘scores’ highly in the commentary stakes, because he speaks with refreshing frankness and with unpolluted, intuitive angles on what he is seeing. My engineering other half does the same. Take him to an art gallery and he is the one spending an hour pouring over a Kusama, making the insightful, totally lateral comment on the Man Ray.

So before you beat yourself up in the midst of the application process or indeed, think you’ve got the degree so it will be a doddle, consider your unique approach to the role or project, because everyone does see things very differently and creativity is not exclusive to one select group of people. It comes in many untapped forms.

Tim Walker does Somerset House : Story Teller

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So, as a fully papered museums and galleries specialist I would be being ignorant and foolish to assume photographs were allowed at a multi-nationally renowned, severely high profile and very very fashionable light box expose of fashion photographer Tim Walker at Somerset House. Naturally, that day I was feeling especially ignorant and foolish, right up until the valuable moment that reassured me the gallery assistants were of the highest caliber, having eventually been reprimanded.

This exhibition, if you haven’t yet popped down to the river today, is outstanding. Totally cheeky and at times, sickeningly clever and pretty, this guy does something breaks aesthetic and photographic moulds with clean lines but multifaceted subtexts. Beautiful women run riot amongst creatures large and small; insects creepy and human sized, try to join your party, and invade the surreal and ghostly spaces of the model protagonists in the framed photographs on the walls. What is fact, what is fiction? Who or what is where and how is it possible that all of this fancy can be so intelligent and compelling yet silly and overt?

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Oh! Well. How fiesty. How debonair. What this exhibition tells me is that with a very strong, very pernickety installation team, great ideas that are always held up to the team on proverbial billboards throughout the entire process, fairytales are made relevant all over again. Nothing is lost here. Millions will disagree as art as with life partners as with shoes, are subjective but I know I am not alone in my appreciation of the strength of idea, of the competency of design and the skill of photography and scene selection , skills which Tim Walker, research tells me, has held true and worked on painstakingly, since his own creative beginnings. His technical guise is clear to see. Karlie Kloss is a bit of a star here and gains kudos in my eyes as a model for emerging a little nifty story teller herself. She is hauntingly striking.

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Walker describes that he wants his protagonists, the models, to be the actors in his snapshots for silent films. They certainly appear fully immersed.At times I considered too much of the space perhaps; certain corners seemed empty, but not in an intended sense. A little scratch or peel here and there threw me right off, but these are just public exhibition and general spatial upkeep occupational hazards. The giant bugs are contrived, playhouse-ey and childish. One blogger recommends no better place for a day out with the kids. Pfft. I slightly resent this. This exhibition struts some pretty risque stuff.

I may be one of very few highly regarded remaining fans of Surrealism but despite Story Teller’s  similiarities with the installations of these artists, i was neither won over by the random objects thus swaying my entire opinion, nor was i seeing any truly direct parallels. What struck me between the eyes was the quality and lustre of the photographs themselves, that brought the objects and creatures alive, not the other way round.

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The quote below muses, is self indulgent and philosophical but is also powerful despite itself; childish fancy is often frowned upon, made a mockery of in later life if dwelled upon too heavily by a lonely individual, for example. The true power of art (it is argued) lies in wait in the imagined, not so easily is it conceived and then, once it physically exist given its critical dues. Maker and made struggle, tussle with the former’s concept and the latter’s fruition.

Perhaps, in the end, it is about growing up and knowing too much

For me, the sheer joy that I experienced during this exhibition came from the idea of Walker and his team squeezing giant bees and planes through doors of stately homes, of adjusting the props and the lighting and the sets to make the just that bit more of a snap from a story, just that bit more grandiose, ridiculous, enigmatic, memorable, iconic. His images are said to be as you see them. They are unmanipulated, ‘shopped, edited in any way. So there is a lot to be said for Walker’s skill and his practical and physical groundwork.

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Well done Jessica Stam. I believe that is you yes. Hats off to Stam there.

So don’t let this guy see you off – he doesn’t work there. I took my photographs…and then I checked.

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The exhibition runs until January 27th, 10 – 6 pm daily and until 9 pm Thursdays, at Somerset House on The Strand.

Journalists – Do they Still Exist in the Digital?

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Journalists discover news and report it – so what or who is a journalist in 2013?

Journalism is, I genuinely think, a defunct term in the here and the now. I can’t see it coming back into full use any time soon either. I can’t even think of the last time I used it; maybe at school when I was asked to fill in my UCAS at school in the late 90s.

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Sensible published books on Theory and Practice suggest that true journalism is founded in many central aspects of an individual’s solo-production of words in paragraphs made into article… such as:

Do I make interesting stories out of events?

Now that I do, do. I can make a table sound like something that you must have, or at the very least, must see housed in a warehouse as part of an exhibition outside London, even if that means in Korea. Oh you’ll go. You’ll want to go. Because I’m telling you it’s worth the trip. I am tooting my own abrasive and blindingly bright gold sparkly horn here, but that’s because writing is the one thing I got.  (I meant to talk like a toddler there) After only a day to two weeks in employment as anything but a writer throughout my years of work, all written material has mysteriously ended up being ‘Chrissy’s department’ and on my desk by the end of the month. Chrissy will do it, she’ll know, give it to Chrissy.

Do I understand the basic vocab of news and journalism?

Well, yes, I would have thought so, if my schooling has done even a small bit of its job. But then also, AS IF! There is one thing that strikes me about our age, the digital, and that is a) that some people don’t place as much emphasis on technically grammatically accurate writing (like with the slang that has accompanied speech since the dawn of time) properly. But then language itself has changed; a great deal of what was assumed blasphemy then, is now just another term or expression that has been added to the dictionary, and not even a joke dictionary. The real Oxford Classic!

B) Kudos is not accrued in certain circles, from knowing HOW to write a structured, balanced, grammatically astute piece of reporting, not anymore. Hell, if it’s gona be a good read why don’t we just write like we talk, thereby endowing character and personality, outbursts and obscure quotes from box sets (streamed on watchseries fittingly) that we and only we watch with our closest pals? If you understand the basics though, then those are the tools that you use to subvert the basics, the rules. I guess that therein lies the knack to writing well, and being a good ‘journalist’. Damn.  Ok so yes is the answer to that one then.

Do I use rational analysis and argument?

Right, at this point I can see this becoming a bland academic thesis on theory rather than what I really want it to be – a ‘let’s pin this thing down’ type investigation into the here and now and what journalists really do with what they know and what they are. I.e. what makes them one?

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Just because you upload an image you have taken to instagram and you have one of the effects that others don’t that makes you look as if you re in a fish tank with a head torch, or whatever, does that mean you are a journalist, a reporter, a marketing rep for the power of instagram or does it simply mean you are using the resources that contemporary digital media offers you to demonstrate that you exist online. We don’t now need sub-editors or printers to fine tune and colour insert our work, we simply edit and upload ourselves! Job done. Self-publishing is where it’s at. Now who’s the journalist ey?!

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Essentially is the World Wide Web that has changed it all. Time scales are different, expectations are different, newspapers are different; it is all very very…different.

We are the citizen journalists, the luminaries, those who have it all to give and at the touch of a keyboard from home, with our favourite mug. Journalism is now not one thing; it is many. But it is certainly not about managing a newspaper or being employed by it. It is something entirely different. Only time will tell what journalism really is or what the term means. I find it all pretty exciting really. I guess that’s why I keep writing. There’s just so much to get stuck into!

 

 

Might I suggest an interlude?

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Just a little plug in the time warp that has robbed me of a laptop and therefore writing capacity of the highest caliber almost entire – I shall be on top blog posting form in the new year. That means 4/01/13 (!) onwards.

I thank you all for your kind and mistletoey patience.

Here is a dragon from Lichfield Cathedral; one of the most beautiful in England:Image

 

 A HAPPIEST NEW YEAR TO ALL

                                 

Street | Urban Art – #URBANBARRIER And The Art Stars That #BenOakley Made

Dec 7th 2012 | South | VERY SOUTH

Urban Barrier, the urban art event to remember, was the offspring of a Mr Ben Oakley, artist, savvy business man and art star of his own.

And the PV for this event was nothing short of competent, expertly produced and the great success I had hoped it would be. The space at No Format Galleries was stunning – roomy – well painted (no one likes a bad finish for a space) and with all of the wall and floor space that a Visual Arts exhibition of this calibre could really get to grips with.

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Out in the south of London, 20 mins from London Bridge, the evening kicked off nicely, with a friendly alt-bar atmosphere that felt fresh and new, a vibe that you could feel really matched and maximised the canvasses and sculptures impact, playful, jazzy and more-ish. Once myself, the press, the magazine swathes and the odd collector had settled in, the beats of Soft Wax kicked in and as if by magic, we were surrounded by tens and tens and then hundreds of folk getting into the groove, lapping up the works for sale and admiring the plentiful but by no means over-busy installations. 

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Designed to expose those at the forefront of their practice, as well as those emerging creatives who don’t even know how big they are set to hit the big time, this evening ushered in not only Rooms Magazines outstandingly produced 10th issue, but gave artists such as Lisa Lan (see lovely Lisa below) and Ben Murphy (creator of the floor beneath Ben’s feet in the snap below – all from electrical tape) the chance to meet each other, and London’s press natives. 

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As the beats got louder the artwork, by the very nature of everyone getting into the groove, they got into the art, got into the tipples and got into buying. And buy they did, buy jove.

The joyous tones of ‘Fantastic Show!’ ‘Great night’ and ‘absolutely stunning’ wound their way past my little ears, amongst ‘Raffle? Raffle! I want to do the Raffle! Gimme!’, and I can genuinely say that the event could have gone off with a greater smash. Total full house.

I will leave it to my readers to go see this now. There are some great great works, affordable, collectable and some serious contenders for contemporary urban art prizes. #onestowatch.

Go figure. 

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East as South East and the West

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East as South East and the West

Singapore Art Museum

I have to state the obvious here, because sometimes some things are just so true.

Living abroad changes you. It can’t not. Hate it, love or feel indifferent to the whole experience, something just sticks in you like an unintentional veritable Velcro-effect.

Reading this interview/article by Dazed & Confused, which asks fashion’s young-uns what they think, why they think it, and what the all important Asian family thinks of them! In my experience in Singapore over the last year, I have experienced up close and in 5D, how important, how much MORE important in many ways, family is to the aspiring young individual. For my Muslim pals back in S.E Asia, living at home and spending plenty of spare time at home was highly regarded and enjoyed, i should add. I couldn’t possibly feel more different. As for my Chinese and one Chinese/Indian/Singaporean nearest and dearest, living at home was valued and due tot he price of housing on the island, I became very used to the notion that young man or woman, would abide at the Mothership until the age of 30 minimum. I was therefore very interested to read that the fashy folks being grilled by D&C, gave off this similar aura.

 

http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/gallery/15148/1/east-asias-new-wave-day-5

These are people that the world thinks it knows; the east is coming, China and the Japanese are coming! Look, they are here! They have been for years now, slowly emerging from the select few at the forefront of the art market, art collateral itself, technology, fashion and culture. I will always remember a particularly avante garde friend of mine in my halls of my BA degree seamlessly inducting me into the aesthetic of anime,the joys of the fashion of japanese youth and their obsession with blue eyes and blonde hair. When i did eventually grace Singapore with my expectant presence, i realised i was amongst one of the greatest contingents of coloured contact lense wearing people i had ever seen and would likely never live amongst again. It was insane. And totally compelling.

They don’t ‘study’ art; it is innate in them. They have always been way beyond us.

‘ Maybe 15 years ago they thought it was a joke’

Says Philip Chu of Ground Zero Hong Kong referring to East Asian Culture. He also says that in Hong Kong, as in Singapore, it is a Chinese/western culture mix and for so long the locals gravitated towards the West, but also were greatly founded in their own culture. The result is both wonderful and sad. Both sides have no real perception of what they, intrinsically, have got that is so valuable. So they look to each other.

I really have never met such a modest set of people as the Singaporeans (I’m generalising here as there were many backgrounds here) and I think that after my big move, I then realised how magical the East of Asia is.

Cheers; I’ll drink to that. (Thanks Rhi Rhi)

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