MONUMENT VALLEY - a game that became more than a game. How a design company based across three continents fell in love with artist MC Escher and turned impossible puzzles of art into possible puzzles and gaming to enjoy on the Apple iPad.
Oh and the music score is pretty good too ... (more here)
The Art Of Branding & The Brand Of Art (main feature)
Do artists know their own brand? Do artists even know an art brand at all? How can an artist or creative person tell if they have a brand?
As an artist, I have to be honest and say that lots of artists tend to "live in the moment". Some artists will always be just people who are creating art to just see it viewed by others, and even then a small number of people. Other artists only create art for themselves, as a way to examine or investigate something or explore a subject or theme in a great way. Surprisingly, some artists don't put a monetary value to what they create. Which in this 21st century, well, it's kind of weird to come across that - even today. Yes, you know what this is. This is art for art's sake.
So some artists are making excuses for their art, and others are wanting to know the value of their work. The art "world" is like a local disco, some go to attend and join in, but others don't because they don't dance. Those who never attend, will of course never network, date, mix and mingle and move forward, unless other unfortold events intervene.
Some artists are just happy to earn enough to pay those pesky bills, and keep that other boring thing they do... that full time job, probably.
Writers have it made. If they find a publisher, then the marketing department can work to create a brand around that writer, as Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, and JK Rowling have all been through the mill. Artists are a bit different, it seems.
Some artists don't consider themselves either in the same league as some top selling authors or else they just don't see the point to branding, or they don't see any value in it. The artists are missing out on some major pointers that writers, actors, singers and public figures have already picked up on the road to success. They have learned to appreciate and embrace and learn to love branding.
Creative People Can Brand Better
Some creative types out there have discovered that talent is not enough, that selling oneself short, and ignoring the elephant in the room is a good way to lose out to other similar minded folks.
Apple's genius co-founder Steve Jobs was a clever man when it came to branding. He knew that having a great end product (art or creative matter that can be substituted here for us) and having some kind of back-story or legacy behind it helped an awful lot. Apple's number of groundbreaking products such as the ipad, iMac and iPhone are all products that have legacies behind them that competitors would kill for. Ironically, most of their competitors have none of this, just a lot of lawsuits for infringements of Apple products!
He also brilliantly understood the power of the media, the influence of PR - Public Relations - as a branding application. Jobs was a lover of art and aesthetics, and learned early in life that successful public relations has to be the knack of engaging audiences and users though the media to tell his story probably better than he himself, though he increasingly became an almost rock star like figure in the media. Whether it applies to Steve Jobs, or Lady Gaga, Miley Cirus, or Madonna, the simple fact is that artists can follow suit - the "message" starts with some kind of "narrative". Again, borrowing from Apple, it would be the simple equivalent of a company mission statement or the "about us" page on a blog or website. As long as everyone can identify what it is, and this is where the art dealer can help the artist. Just as a writer would have an agent or publisher, the artist has the dealer to help promote his or her art or brand.
Look below at the article on Frida Kahlo, and how the art became her story, and about her story is inextricably interwoven in her art. The two are almost indistinguishable. This was before artists would discover branding or Facebook or Twitter.
Every artist has a story, a narrative, some kind of message or direction that simply explains or shows what they are about, without actually being too showy. The more distinctive the artist's work is, the more his or her brand will stand out. Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook and the use of blogs can only enhance an artists or a writer's brand even more. With the right tools - any creative person can develop their brand. Remember that a brand cannot be created in a bubble that separates the artist from the audience. Brand and marketing is 90% about you, the artist, and you the individual.
Frida Kahlo - Tragic Life of a Great Painter
One of my favorite artists - the amazing woman Frida Kahlo - is discussed in some details in this interview on the Irish Radio Station Newstalk 106-108. Her life, her art, her marriage, her interesting private life which she made public and biographed that "reality" into painting which essentially made her so famous. Her art was bought by the world's biggest galleries such as the Louvre, and singer Madonna owns some of her work. Madonna famously said that the work of Kahlo helped her survive her early music career start in new York. Many other artists and art aficionados could strongly relate to the suffering she endured as a result of a traffic accident from a young age, which overshadowed her health for most of her life. She superimposed and transcribed her experiences and life events into her canvases, and bared her soul to the world. The result is a stunning narrative by the artist of and about her own life... She placed herself at the center of much of her art, and inspired many other artists to follow suit... have a listen to Parts 1 & 2 below.
Note: players open in a separate new window.
Art and how it gains value
What makes art rise in value? How does art gain in value? What turns an artist into a celebrity artist in the art world? How does the world of Art enable Artists to monetize their work, and earn from it?
These are questions that get the attention of every artist and painter. The mere mention of the name Thomas Kincade to anyone nowadays or the name Damien Hirst or David Hockney will turn heads. They all "made it". They are all famous painters because of their art. Their artwork is truly established. But how did they do it? What can other artists learn from them. What can we learn from artists and painters who have turned their creative passion into a successful business, and which has earned them millions in return? Read on...
Growth of the Asian Art Market
The well known magazine "Newsweek" recently raved about the imminent bursting of the U.S. art bubble, as pricing of art is concerned. Yes we heard it all. But while some are talking down the market there, other developments are taking place in Asia. Just what does the Asian Art Market have that other markets either lack or struggle to match? Answer - "Diversity". True, but Asia will soon have a Financial Art Center or two. Is the West listening, I wonder?
As more and more existing and newer artists come to the fore with new ways of seeing Asian culture and exposing us to that culture - Asian artists and creative people can fold their experiences into their work and unleash it on us. Books, Art, Music, Theater, Dance, Sculpture or Movies... Asia is a rich melting pot of cultural change. Nowhere is culture more fascinating and begging to be understood by the masses, and if need be - copied.
Art has long been the way of allowing us to see inside the heart of those that witness change in the world. Some good change, other times bad change. We all saw the problems of the financial downturn, right? But art sees it and records and captures it. Art lends interpretation to everything. In light, form, shape, texture, color or sound... art sees it all. And as art sees all, it evolves - and so we evolve with it. Now it is about to evolve again and bring a new twist with it.
Hong Kong and another Asian Xiamen (in China) have announced the development of revolutionary art centers with a difference - a $260 million Art center for Xiamen that will become a location and space for many art services - art appraisal services, art auctions, galleries, and other art-centric professional initiatives. This is nothing of a full-on walk-in-and-experience-it-all center for all aspects of art.
This is the birth of a world class "Financial center for Art". These clever folks have done the math and realized that this can be a highly profitable venture. And not to be outdone, Hong Kong is planning a similar center which may cost $3 billion and serve as an "integrated arts and cultural district." So like a Financial Business Center that meets a kind of Internet Hub or retail mall or Universal Studios Theme Park, the many strands of business, practice and art of Art itself all thread and weave together into a new innovation. It's easy to see why Asia leads the world in so many endeavors. Here, they don't talk down the market or its circumcision. They innovate and reinvent it, bring it to a wider audience. Asian people are willing to speculate in order for Art to accumulate. The place where the action is hotting up for art is here, so If you want to be at the center of new developments in Art, Asia is that place.
(Alan Mc Keogh is an artist and blogger )
The Irish - Did You Know...?
Back in 1906, as the story goes, these three Irishmen scooted off to Athens, Greece in order to compete in the Olympics as an Irish team independent of Britain. This was during the British occupation of Ireland. The three Irish athletes had, shall we say - "distinct clothing" that would single them out from the rest of the athletes, and intended to compete for the first time as representatives of their own country. Sure wouldn't you want to be part of the Olympics if ye could?
Once in Athens, the British committee took a dim view, and decided that the Irish would instead compete under the British flag. Intending on winning no matter what the circumstances, one of the men, Peter O'Connor won the silver medal for the long jump. As he was about to receive his medal he rushed towards the flag pole, made the longest long jump of his life for himself and fellow Irish folk - climbed the pole as nimble as a monkey so he did, and flew the "Erin Go Brach" flag, ( a gold harp on a green background ) because the modern Irish Tri-colour had not yet been chosen or invented.
The other Irish athletes were somehow helped by many Irish-American athletes and fended off (okay then, beat off) security for a brief few minutes, just long enough for the world to catch a sight of the Irish arrive in style at the World Olympics. That was the first time an Irish flag or a significant emblem of Ireland had been flown and shown at a big sporting event. The rest as we like to chuckle and say - as we nurse a pint in our hand... is history.
Eireann Go Brach.
Art Facts about China
Did you know -
China is home to a Million Millionaires and even more incredible, it is home to 115 Billionaires. That makes China the second biggest collection of Super Rich people in the World after the USA! They love to buy properties, luxury goods, and ART.
Art collection and art buying is one of the new pet loves of Chinese business people. Art is not just for pleasure, it's also a way of investing and hedging against being poor in the future. Any news that art is falling in value doesn't seem to apply here.
Art is one of the many ways that Chinese people can now create wealth. Monetizing art into hard cash and profits is a real prospect for the most determined art lovers. While art is not the reason why those 115 Billionaires exist, owning art is one of their aims.
For galleries setting up in China, there is no such legal entity as a tax-exempt private museum or gallery, and there are no tax benefits for donations to museums. So the founder pays for everything. In Hong Kong, not-for-profits are allowed - unlike in mainland China. Some food for thought here.