Artist of the Year Competition 2015

by Aileen Mitchell 10. October 2015 17:43

We are delighted to announce the launch of the 2015 ArtGallery.co.uk Artist of the Year competition.

Artists will qualify for the qualifying phase of the competition on the basis of the number of website visitors who click on the "Make Favourite" button on their gallery page. A £1,000 prize is available to the winner, £250 to the two Highly Commended entries and of course the successful artists will be recognised on on the ArtGallery.co.uk website.

Please do click on the “ Make Favourite” button on as many of your favourite artists as you wish.

The qualifying competition tables will be updated on the Competition Page in real time - so keep an eye on the progress of your favourite artists.

Artist of the Year Competition 2015

Use the Make Favourite button to vote for an artist

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Shining A Spotlight On Juan Sly

by Christie Cluett 8. October 2015 10:57

 

Juan Sly is an artist that mainly works with spray stencils and oils. His art channels a wide spectrum of themes from sex to surreal                                             to humour to anti-war. He has exhibited at the Saatchi alongside the likes of Banksy and has permanent collections at the Cut-Up                                             in Germany and Outside the Square, opposite the Tate, London. Here’s what he had to say when we interviewed him:

Describe a typical day in your life as an artist

Juan Sly: It typically starts in the bar of some hotel somewhere; I spill my drink on some hawt chick in a tight, black dress. Usually, I find out she is in trouble somehow, her brother has disappeared which "just isn't like him", and the police won't help. Anyway, I can never refuse a hawt chick in distress so I help her and....well, things move on from there...

Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork? 

JS: I mainly just copy other people's paintings and do them much cheaper. Luckily, I'm rubbish and nobody notices the similarities.

 

Above: ‘Bollard Bombas by Juan Sly

What was the first piece of art you created and the first piece of art you sold?

JS: I was a child prodigy and painted some lupins. The school didn't believe me, saying my parents had done it. This was totally unfair as they were out at the time. I wised up and just painted simplistic nonsense like the other children and haven't looked back since. 

I once kicked my football in a neighbour's garden and he wouldn't give it back. I was going through my surrealistic period at the time, so I sprayed a huge phallus coming out of a stick man's head on his side wall. He eventually sold his house and moved, so I guess that was the first painting that was sold.

Take your pick out of those.

What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist’s tool box?

JS: I don't think I can answer that question without coming up with a script for a new ‘Carry on’ film?!

How has ArtGallery.co.uk helped you progress your artistic career?

JS: I met one of the girls from ArtGallery.co.uk in a hotel bar in a small town in Gloucestershire. She bumped into me and I spilled my drink down her tight, black dress. Her brother had gone missing and the police were no help. She asked me to help – she was hawt and I can never resist a hawt chick...

 

Above: ‘What! Zebra. On The Daily Telegraph’ by Juan Sly

If you’re interested of owning a slice of the mad world inhabited this unique artist, then take a look at Juan Sly’s ArtGallery.co.uk profile today.

 

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5 Brilliant Holiday Destinations For Street Art Lovers

by Christie Cluett 23. September 2015 11:52

When visiting many cities, it’s easy to think that the municipal government must have got a bargain price on boring grey paint. Consequently, street artists from around the world have taken it upon themselves to introduce a splash of colour to urban areas in dire need of a facelift.

Yet alongside an appetite for vibrancy, urban art also seeks to reflect the socio-economic factors that shape any city. For this reason, street art offers the ideal prism from which to view the issues and concerns that truly affect and concern the local populace.

So if you’re a traveller looking for an authentic taste of city life, here, in no particular order, are five brilliant holiday destinations for street art lovers.


Lisbon


Above: Street art that formed part of the Crono Project curated by Vhils. Image by Bosc d'Anjou

 The Portuguese capital’s street art scene is world famous. And the main man responsible for this is Alexandre Farto, who is known internationally as Vhils. He has played a key role in transforming the city’s most rundown neighbourhoods, by inviting internationally renowned street artists to create huge murals across Lisbon.

The most impressive examples borne from this project live in the area that surrounds Picoas Metro Station. However, the spiralling streets of Alfama and the Lisbon waterfront are also home to some of the finest street art that Europe has to offer.

 

Berlin

Above: Part of the East Side Gallery, which covers the old Berlin Wall. Image by SarahTz

Arguably, Berlin is the street art capital of Europe. Throughout the city, you will find examples of striking urban art everywhere – from doorways and walls to the sides of houses. However, there are a handful of areas within the city where street artists have essentially ‘taken over’.

Kreuzberg is Berlin’s unofficial centre point for all things bohemian, and boasts a veritable bounty of street art masterpieces. Meanwhile, Berlin’s legendary East Wall Gallery covers around half a mile of what was once the Berlin Wall. Here you will find a myriad of politically-driven paintings that represent freedom and hope, at the same time as providing a reminder of Germany’s turbulent past.

 

London

Above: Three murals from Brick Lane, London. Image by Loco Steve

You don’t need a passport in order to experience the world’s best metropolitan murals. This is because a simple jaunt to our capital city can provide all the graffiti-based gratification you’ll need.

A great place to start is next to Waterloo station, where there’s an authorised art tunnel that provides an ideal appetiser to the street art movement that has engulfed the city.  After that, you should check out Brick Lane, where some of the planet’s best purveyors of urban art – such as Banksy and Ben Eine – have left their mark.

 

New York

 

Above: Eduardo Kobra street art on the west side of Manhattan, New York City. Image by Nan Palmero

For street art, the Big Apple is where it all began. Thus, every self-respecting street artist that has ever held a can of spray paint in anger has, at some point, left their mark in the city that never sleeps. However, the more free-spirited areas of Greenpoint and Bushwicke are where you will find the most surreal designs.

As the popularity of street art has grown, city planners have generally become more accommodating of guerrilla artists. Therefore, New York is now home to a huge number of tours that will ensure you won’t miss the best urban murals the city has to offer.


Bogota

 

Above: Urban art at Calle Del Embudo - Bogota, Colombia. Image by Ricardo Quintero

Columbia and Bogota’s tumultuous history and current state of political unrest provides inspiration for some of the world’s most vibrant and diverse street art. Conveying messages of civil war and institutionalised corruption, the city’s most remarkable murals are as volatile as they are beautiful.

Without a doubt, the best way to experience and understand the work of Bogota’s various artists is to take the free graffiti walking tour. This starts at the heart of the city, at 10am, every day.

However, Bogota’s biggest breakthrough artist is StinkFish, who now sells canvases of his work for huge amounts of money and produces commissioned pieces around the world.

Fancy owning a piece of street art-inspired artwork to hang in your home or office? Then simply visit the ArtGallery.co.uk homepage and use the search tool on the right to find urban art to match your taste and budget.

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The Autumn Exhibition in Malvern Theatres

by Humph Hack 13. September 2015 15:21

One of the joys of curating exhibitions at Malvern Theatres, is discovering new talent and giving those artists exposure to a much wider audience than before. This doesn’t have to be artists who are just starting out on their creative journey.

 A good case in point is Jill Lloyd. Her first successes in Art were whilst she was still at School. However, her art fell onto the 'back burner' as she led a busy and active life which involved a great deal of travelling.

 Some years ago, a chance meeting re-kindled Jill's interest, making her turn to painting once again. Now she paints avidly and with a passion and says she feels 'driven to paint'.

 This liveliness is very apparent in her work and she uses brush and palette knife to produce her pictures. She has a great love of colour and whilst she likes to paint traditionally, finds herself drawn to abstracting her work and painting in an Impressionistic style.

Similarly, colour and vitality epitomise the work of David Stevens.

He is mostly self-taught, having always loved art from childhood, it is only in the last few years he has devoted more time to his passion.

David uses acrylics in an abstract style, attempting to conjure something which has vibrancy and intrigue. He aims to draw the viewer into the piece. Preferring to suggest rather than show a realistic representation, his aim is to trigger your imagination, drawing inspiration from the beauty of nature and its many forms. His work often depicts a sense of movement capturing something wholly original.

Whereas Jill and David have not shown in Malvern before, Gill Stokes has shown her work there several times. She studied Fine Art after leaving school, but then decided to train as a primary school teacher, still painting and drawing in what little spare time she could find. She now paints full time. She is fascinated by the natural world and by the effects of changing light. She likes to draw and sketch outside whenever possible, but it is often more practical to make sketches and photographs and complete the painting in the studio.

She has exhibited in many galleries across the country including The Kings Place Gallery, London; Weston Park Gallery, Staffordshire; The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery, Birmingham; The Shirehall Gallery, Stafford; Keele University Gallery; The Octagon Centre, Sheffield; and The Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead.

This show runs every day from 13th August until 25th October.

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Shining A Spotlight On Paul Burgess

by Christie Cluett 7. September 2015 13:59

Paul Burgess was born and bought up in the Wye Valley, near the market town of Chepstow. Having spent the eighties and nineties working mainly in pastels, after a chance meeting with two Buddhist nuns in 2003, he decided to spend several years in meditative retreat at a Buddhist monastery. And this experience has been influencing his art ever since. Here’s what Paul had to say to ArtGallery.co.uk about his work:  

 

Describe a typical day in your life as an artist

Paul Burgess: I don’t really have a typical day, each day is different. I usually have several paintings on the go at any one time, so my day is determined by which one I`m working on and the stage it`s at.

I have to be in the right frame of mind to paint, it`s not something I can do mechanically, and if I don`t feel the connection with the piece, I won`t touch it. I`ll go and do something else until it feels right to start painting. It does lead to my working day being unpredictable, but I like that, it stops me from taking things for granted and keeps me interested.

 

Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork? 

PB: I draw my inspiration from the landscape I find myself in and the connection I feel with it. I love exploring woodland in particular because it’s where I feel the connection the most. I can often be found out and about at dawn, searching for those spectacular early morning scenes with beautiful strong natural light.

 

Above: ‘Muted Blues & Dappled Light’ by Paul Burgess

 

What was the first piece of artwork you created and the first piece you sold?

PB: Is there every really a first piece of artwork? Most of us are making marks at a very early age, so personally I see it as more of a natural progression rather than a definitive beginning.

The first piece of artwork I sold was a 3D painting of a local church, which was painted on glass in enamels with a separate watercolour background. Everything was outlined and there wasn’t a straight line anywhere. I seem to remember selling it for £25 back in the 70s.

What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist`s toolbox?

PB: There isn’t one thing in my artist’s toolbox that is more important than anything else. Everything is equally important as I need it all to do what I do.

 

Above: ‘Wentwood Limited Edition’ Print by Paul Burgess


If you could own any piece of artwork what would it be?

PB: It would be virtually impossible to choose just one piece from all the amazing artworks in the world. One that has always stood out for me though is ‘Fumee d`Ambre Gris’ by John Singer Sargent. I love Sargent`s work, and this is one of my favourites because of its beautifully subtle elegance. I could imagine staring at it for hours on end if it was hanging on my wall.

How has ArtGallery.co.uk helped you progress your artistic career?

PB: ArtGallery.co.uk have been instrumental in the development of my work, by giving me the support I`ve needed to allow my work to evolve naturally. They have tirelessly promoted my work since I joined them in 2011, which has brought my style of painting to the attention of many more private buyers and collectors.

Are you interested in hanging an artwork by this amazing artist on your own wall? Then take a look at Paul Burgess’ ArtGallery.co.uk profile now.

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Art and Morality: Exposing the Most Evil Artists Ever

by Christie Cluett 26. August 2015 14:32

For many, the ultimate purpose of art is to create joy by producing beauty. However, masked behind the striking façade of many artworks there lies a darkness. With this thought in mind, here is the tale of five artists whose propensity for evil is as great as their undoubted creative talent.

 

Caravaggio

 ‘David with the Head of Goliath’ by Caravaggio

Above: ‘David with the Head of Goliath’. Note that the painting depicts a young Caravaggio holding the head of an older Caravaggio. Image by Katexic Publications

Caravaggio’s work had a profound influence on many generations of painters because of its innovative use of Chiaroscuro tones, which provide a strong contrast between light and dark. However, the light and dark shades that characterised Caravaggio's paintings also perfectly mirrored his personality.

On one hand, you had the man that became the protégé of a cardinal, who could comfortably mix with the highest echelons of Italian society. On the other, you had a man that would often keep company with vagrants and roam the streets armed with a sword and dagger. 

As his fame and ego grew in tandem, the darker side of Caravaggio’s personality started to become prominent. And as a result of his trigger-hair temper, he was repeatedly arrested for various misdemeanours – from slashing the cloak of a rival to throwing a plate of artichokes at a waiter.

Inevitably, during one such altercation, Caravaggio ended up killing another man during a fight in a Piazza. While on the run, he painted a series of works that seemed to reflect his guilt, including his famed self-portrait as the severed head of Goliath.

  

Richard Dadd

‘The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke’ by Richard Dadd

Above: ‘The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke’ by Richard Dadd, which is currently on loan to Watts Gallery, Compton. Image by The Public Domain Review

Born in 1817, Richard Dadd was an English painter of the Victorian era, who won acclaim for his depictions of fairies and other supernatural objects. During his time studying at the Royal Academy of Arts, Dadd founded The Clique – a group of British artists that included William Powell Frith, Augustus Egg and others.

In July of 1842, Dadd accompanied a crew led by Sir Thomas Phillips as a draftsman on an expedition through Europe to Greece, Turkey, Southern Syria and finally Egypt. Towards the end of the trip, Dadd underwent a dramatic personality change. After his condition was originally diagnosed as sunstroke, Dadd started to become violent and declared himself under the direct influence of the Egyptian God Osiris.    

Upon his return to England in the spring of 1843, Dadd was, unsurprisingly, diagnosed to be of unsound mind and body. In a bid to help Dadd get better, his family took him to the village of Cobham to recuperate. However, after becoming convinced that his father was the devil in disguise, Dadd killed him and fled for France.

While trying to reach Paris, Dadd attempted to kill a tourist with a razor, but was fortunately overpowered by the police. After confessing to killing his father, the authorities returned Dadd to England, where he was committed to the criminal department of Bethlem psychiatric hospital and later Broadmoor hospital.

 

Walter Sickert

‘Jack the Ripper's Bedroom’ by Walter Richard Sickert

Above: ‘Jack the Ripper's Bedroom’ by Walter Richard Sickert. Image from Wikipedia

Born in Munich, Germany, Walter Richard Sickert was a painter and printmaker, who spent a long spell working in Victorian London as a member of the Camden Town Group. During this time, he became an important influencer of British styles of avant-garde and a prominent figure in the transition from Impressionism to Modernism.

Seen as an eccentric, Sickert’s work included portraits of renowned personalities. However, during his time in London, his favourite subjects became ordinary people, and he often braved the censure of the Victorian period to paint nudes and seedy nightlife scenes. 

Another of Sickert’s keen interests were the crimes of Jack the Ripper, who was terrorising London during the period of his stay. He is even believed to have lodged in a room reputedly frequented by the serial killer, where he painted a picture entitled ‘Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom’.

Years after Sickert’s death however, three books have been written and published that claim Sickert was Jack the Ripper or his accomplice. It is important to note there was no mention of Sickert being a suspect in the Ripper crimes while he was alive, and many historians have been quick to rubbish these claims. Nonetheless, the books and the theory behind Sickert’s potential double identity remain fascinating.

 

Benvenuto Cellini

 Metalwork by Benvenuto Cellini

Above: Metalwork by Benvenuto Cellini. Image by Fabio Venni

For many, Benvenuto Cellini is one of the best artists in precious and base metals of all time. In fact, his contemporary and fellow Florence-based artist, Michelangelo, once wrote to Cellini to tell him that he was the greatest goldsmith ever.

However, Cellini’s talent did not stop him from being a man that killed repeatedly and without remorse. First of all, he killed his brother’s murderer by driving a long and twisted dagger through the man’s shoulder. Then, after forming a taste for bloodshed, he also killed a rival goldsmith and shot dead an innkeeper in the city of Florence.

Despite this long list of offences, Cellini escaped being executed for his crimes because of the simple fact that his work was so admired throughout the city. Furthermore, Cellini has a statue erected in his honour, on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge that crosses the River Arno in the heart of Florence.

 

Charles Bronson   

Charles Bronson, prisoner and artist

Above: The movie ‘Bronson’ is about the famous prisoner and artist Charles Bronson (real name Michael Gordon Peterson). Image by Mikey

Thanks to a mammoth rap sheet that includes brutal attacks on prison officers and fellow inmates, Charles Bronson has earned his reputation as ‘the most violent prisoner in Britain’. His fearsome status has even spawned a film based on his life, entitled ‘Bronson’ and starring Tom Hardy.

Yet despite his dark character, Bronson, who is currently serving a life sentence at Wakefield Prison, likes to show off his artistic side. To this end, he has produced a huge number of paintings, drawings and poetry while serving time at her Majesty’s pleasure. Moreover, his work has won countless awards, been exhibited around the world and, on occasion, has fetched thousands when sold under the hammer at auction.

Would you like to own a piece of art by an up-and-coming artist? Then simply visit the ArtGallery.co.uk homepage and use the search tool on the right to find a piece that matches your taste and budget.

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Malvern Theatres New Exhibition - August - September

by Humph Hack 9. August 2015 15:29

Sunday mornings are a quiet time in the theatre complex, but there is always a group of "fans" who come in especially to see the new offerings. The selection of artists made includes newcomers and old favourites, intended to support new talent and celebrate established artists.

Alexandra Grashion-Cowley has been artistically gifted all her life; an inheritance from both her parents.

Her varied career began with commissioned artworks before progressing to produce original clothing and working in professional musical theatre as a set and costume designer. She has taught every form of art and enjoys the use of different media, attaining international recognition and 
receiving numerous awards. Her paintings have been published and featured on many occasions and in a variety of media. She is recognised as an artist with supreme technical skill. Her work is owned by collectors across the World. 

Jenny Schrag is a self-taught artist, who for the last 20 years lived abroad. 

She has exhibited in Oman, Cyprus, Geneva and in the South of France where she had her own gallery. Living and working in these countries and experiencing their different cultures was a constant inspiration. Her artwork often depicts scenes of everyday life using a vibrant palette of oils, inks or watercolour. The clarity of her vision, and technical skill, lifts what may initially seem to be mundane events to another level.

She now lives in Worcestershire and continues to seek out new and exciting subjects. Her work is owned by collectors across Europe.

My selection of some of my own recent work reflects my interest in architecture and in dramatic landscapes.
Artists interested in showing their work in the theatre should contact me at humphhack@artgallery.co.uk

 

The exhibition is open every day - Sunday 9 August until Saturday 12th September.

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A Woman’s World: 5 Of the Best Female Street Artists Working Now

by Christie Cluett 7. August 2015 11:39

Sneaking into private land under the cover of darkness or being chased by the police are both occupational hazards for the most dedicated street artists. Stereotypically macho activities such as these have led many to view the world of street art as male dominated. At the very least, they don’t fit the conventional perception of what many deem as ‘lady like’.

However, there is a group of exceptionally talented women that are determined to prove urban artistry is not the exclusive domain of men. To illustrate this fact, here are five of the best female artists, who have each swapped canvas for concrete to produce some of the world’s most exceptional examples of street art.




Kashink

 

Image by Lord Jim

Kashink is a Paris-based artist, who is rarely seen in public without a pencilled on moustache. This persona is reflected in her work, which seeks to examine the absurdity of traditional gender roles in a bright, bold and often comical fashion. On request, she has revitalised the walls of many cities across the world, including London, Vienna, Ibiza, Bristol and Paris. As you can see from her work above, Kashink likes to paint a huge range of characters, which are often recognisable by their numerous eyes and huge skulls. 





Miss Van

 

Image by KylaBorg

Born in 1973, this French-born, Barcelona-based artist is one of the first women ever to work within the street art scene. Miss Van started painting graffiti murals in the streets of Toulouse when she was just 18 years-old, and by the time she was 20, she had totally revolutionised the city’s street art scene. Over two decades later, Miss Van has achieved universal acclaim for her work and exhibited in many galleries across the world. Her most iconic pieces feature renderings of Baroque-era ladies donning pearls and furs.

 

 

 Maya Hayuk

 

Image by Lord Jim

Maya Hayuk is a Brooklyn-based artist that is best known for effortlessly blending Ukrainian crafts into her large-scale psychedelic and geometric visions. Hayuk has spent most of her career crafting pieces for exhibitions. However, the ever-increasing scale of Hayuk’s work has led to her painting some murals on the outside of large buildings across the US. Thus, a lot more people have now become familiar with the spoils of her intoxicating designs.

 

 

 Faith47

 

Image by HelenSTB

Faith47’s street art career already spans the best part of two decades. In that time, she has created art in most of the world’s major cities. To bring her pictures to life, Faith47 uses a wider range of media than most other street artists, including graphite, oil paint, photography as well as spray paint. For many, Faith47’s art resembles storybook illustrations that seek to bring nature to the centre stage of urban environments.

 

 

 Olek

 

Image by See-ming Lee

Born in Poland, Olek is an artist whose work is based on covering people and objects in ultra-vibrant crocheted cozies. One can often spot her work in New York, where she has covered everything from cars to bicycles, monuments and buildings in her iconic knitting. In her own words, Olek describes her work as “my madness becomes my crochet”. And it’s this outlook that allows her to blend passion with politics to produce street art which engages both the eye and the mind.

Fancy owning a piece of street art-inspired artwork to hang in your home or office? Visit our Urban Gallery to browse our extensive collection.

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Shining A Spotlight On Andrew McNeile Jones

by Christie Cluett 17. July 2015 14:39

 

In the 1980s, Andrew McNeile Jones graduated with a first in Fine Art from Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art. Despite this, he then trained as a filmmaker before going on to produce and direct many dramas, documentaries and commercials.

However, in 2002, he decided to leave the filmmaking industry to concentrate on his art. Here’s what he had to say to ArtGallery.co.uk about his work:

 

 Describe a typical day in your life as an artist

Andrew McNeile Jones: I like to start the day early, because, with three children, I know there are going be interruptions later. I often get up around 6, and sit at my easel with a first cup of tea. I can usually get an hour or two in before the breakfast and school run chaos. Then I settle down again just after 9.

I usually have several paintings on the go at any one time, and I try and do a block of three or four hours on each painting, before moving on. This will depend on how much wet paint there is, and how much I just need to let it dry. 

If a painting is in its early stages, I block in the main shapes and masses, and it will be fairly quickly covered in paint; soon I’m in danger of smudging part of it, so I move on. Also, over-working wet paint can lead to muddy colours, so it’s best to put a painting at this stage on one side to dry. However, if I’m working on a smaller, detailed area, I can keep going if the surrounding paint is dry. 

Hours just mysteriously disappear; I often have Radio 4 for company, and the news bulletins are a good way to keep track of the time. But I alternate the radio with audio books, and then there’s no clue; if it’s a good book, I can easily miss lunch and be in danger of forgetting to pick the kids up.

The later afternoon is often when I will deal with emails and some of the necessary admin – updating websites, photographing new work, and so on. I really should be better at the social media thing, but it just takes up too much time, so I try to ignore it.

When all is quiet again in the evening, I can ponder new ideas and maybe pop back into my studio to plan what I’m going to tackle first thing tomorrow.

Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork? 

AMJ: Inspiration sometimes comes just from moments around the house – a shaft of light coming through the window, a jacket tossed over the back of a chair makes me think “I could do something with that.”

It could be an exhibition or a picture in a magazine or a website that just gives me the germ of an idea that I can chew over. And sometimes it is not even pictorial: it could be an idea in a novel, or a piece of music – on occasion, these can all set me scribbling.  I have notebooks and lists of thoughts and possibilities, and just never enough time.

   

Above: ‘The Hour Of Meeting, The Hour Of Parting (II) by Andrew McNeile Jones

What was the first piece of art you created and the first piece of art you sold?

AMJ: I returned to painting after a first career in the film and television business. Around the time that I was working out my new direction, I went to an exhibition of William Nicholson’s paintings at the Royal Academy, and I was absolutely inspired by it.

I then decided to see if I could make a fair copy of one of his pieces – a silver bowl with pea pods on a tablecloth. This was the first piece in my burgeoning new career; I was satisfied with it, but never showed it, and it still hangs in one of our bedrooms.

I then started on my own small still lives and interior paintings, and my first sale was a painting of a wooden box full of home-grown tomatoes. There were all sorts of varieties and shades from green to deep red. What amazes me now is not the painting but the fact that I had the time to do the gardening, in order to grow all those tomatoes!

What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist’s tool box?

AMJ: Over and above the obvious essentials – the paint, the brushes and the canvas – the next most useful item I have is a mahl stick. It is nothing more than a bamboo cane with a pad of chamois leather tied over one end.  The pad rests on the top of the canvas or on the easel, and my painting hand can rest on the stick. This gives steadiness for fine work, and also the ability to hold my hand away from areas of wet paint. It cost pence to make, but I can’t imagine working without it.

 

Above: ‘Rice Bowl & Spring Blossom’ by Andrew Mcneile Jones

If you could own any piece of art, which would it be?

AMJ: It is tantalising to be told you can have any – but only one – work of art.  It would probably be an old master, and there are Titians and Velasquez’s that I would kill for, but right here and now I would choose Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels’. She was his mistress, or more correctly, common law wife, after his first wife died. She stares out at us – at him – with such tenderness and yearning, and the brushwork is absolutely magical.

How has ArtGallery.co.uk helped you progress your artistic career?

AMJ:  I first met Mike and Aileen of ArtGallery.co.uk several years ago, when I was first exploring the idea of trying to sell my work online. I had my own website of course, but that does little more than provide an online ‘presence’ and point of contact. I knew that selling online was a lot more than that, and ArtGallery.co.uk have taken that on magnificently.

The site is simple to use, and they have built up an enormous database, which means new paintings can be targeted at potential customers very rapidly. I think the personal contact Aileen develops with clients means that relationships can be forged, which is invaluable, not only for sales, but for helping build the artist’s reputation – which can only be a good thing!

Are you interested in hanging an artwork by this wonderful artist on your own wall? Then take a look at Andrew McNeile Jones’ ArtGallery.co.uk profile now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Machine Picks The Most Creative Paintings Ever – Do You Agree With Its Choices?

by Christie Cluett 9. July 2015 15:17

 

Image by Jan Vašek

To an outsider looking in, the disciplines of art and science might seem like polar opposites. Art is driven by emotion and the desire to create something of beauty from instinct. On the other hand, science is fuelled by intellect and is relentlessly systematic in its approach.

However, on closer inspection, there is a clear symmetry that exists between science and art. For example, be it philosophically or empirically, both are dedicated to trying to find answers to some of life’s biggest questions. Plus, both the laboratory and the artist’s studio are environments where failure is openly accepted as part of the learning process.

Thanks to two computer scientists, however, the line between art and science is now closer than ever. That’s because Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh from Rutgers University in New Jersey have created a visual algorithm that ranks historical art works according to the creativity they display. What’s more, they believe their machine can do this better than any art critic or historian alive.

Here Comes the Science Bit

Two technological advances have converged at once to make this feat possible. The first of these is the advance in the capabilities of machine vision – where a computer can classify images by the visual concepts they contain.

Ahmed Elgammal and Saleh’s machine can now easily distinguish between high level features such as how a painting looks and low-level features, such as colour. In fact, when analysing every painting, the machine can reference up to 2,559 different visual concepts.

The second major advancement is big data. Huge databases of art now exist online, which computers such as the one in question can use to hone their virtual eye. The largest of these is housed on the WikiArt website, which contains images of over 62,000 of the most important art works from throughout history.

The Virtual Network

So that their machine could choose the most creative artworks ever from the WikiArt database, Elgammal and Saleh created an algorithm that viewed the history of art as a network. This allowed their machine to compare every artwork in the database based on age and the visual concepts that they displayed.

The machine was then able to decide which artworks were the most creative by discovering when visual concepts were used for the first time. By this method, ground-breaking paintings were classified as artworks that had spawned a huge number of derivatives. While paintings that had no peers in terms of style and form were considered as truly original.

The Computer Says

As it turns out, art history is jam-packed with examples of paintings that were unlike anything that appeared before them. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci’s 1469 ‘Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate’, Goya’s 1780 ‘Christ Crucified’ and Edvard Munch’s 1893 ‘The Scream’ are three influential works that had a massive influence on paintings that were to follow.

 

 

 Above:  Although Edvard Munch exhibited creativity when he painted ‘The Scream’, his painting is one of the most imitated art works of all time. Image by Mike Licht

By looking at art in chronological order, the machine was also able to determine several spikes in creativity throughout art history. The two biggest corresponded with the High Renaissance period around the turn of the 16th century and also the late 19th and early 20th century. Therefore, the machine rated works by Michelangelo, as well Picasso and Salvador Dali highly for their creativity.

 

 

 Above: Many of Picasso’s paintings scored highly for creativity and originality. Image by Rian Castillo

Other instantly recognisable paintings the machine decided were exceptional in terms of creativity included Claude Monet’s ‘Haystacks at Chailly at Sunrise’, Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art masterpiece ‘Yellow Still Life’,  and Vermeer’s ‘View of Delft’.

 

Above: ‘Haystacks at Chailly at Sunrise’ by Claude Monet – one of the most creative and influential paintings ever created. Image from WikiArt

 While most of the paintings listed thus far are already darlings of the art fraternity, interestingly, the machine also downgraded a number of artworks that are widely considered great. 

For example, some artworks by old masters, Ingres and Rodin, are considered by the machine to lack originality. Similarly, despite being considered as one of the 20th century’s most seminal artworks, Paul Cezanne’s ‘Garden at les Lauves’ was also ranked poorly by the machine in terms of creativity.

And the Winner Is…

Despite being a relative unknown, certainly in comparison to the more illustrious names listed, the machine deems history’s most creative artist ever to be Fernando Calhau.

Due to rights around publishing images, we are unable to show you pictures of any of his work here – however, you can check out his portfolio at the WikiArt Database. There’s no doubt that this abstract artist has created some truly unique pieces, but is he the most creative artist in history?

A Machine has proved it’s got a fantastic eye for art, but have you? The ArtGallery.co.uk collection includes a huge range of affordable art from some of the most creative artists working today. So why not check it out to see what you think?

 

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