My Mother-In-Law was recently visiting Ireland and she was very impressed by the sights and sounds and smells of Ireland. Yes, it has some of those smells, especially in the countryside. Her verdict on Ireland can be summed up in one sentence...
"When can we come back here again...?"
Yes, I get that a helluva lot.
When Internet 2.0 came along, and the modern internet as we now it arrived (the one we use on laptops, PCs, smartphones and tablets) - with it came more delights and challenges. How does an artist or a writer, or any creative person sell what they create over the web? Amazon are making it work, moving beyond sales of books, to video, film, software apps, music and even more besides. We book our hotels now and even plane tickets and it has become standard to us. A habit in fact.
We can subscribe to things. We can go to Seven-Eleven and buy Google or Apple App Store vouchers, coupon credits and simply buy things on the Android or Apple platforms. We can opt for PayPal or Apple Pay, or just use our credit or debit cards. We have so many ways to buy. But how about selling?
When Online art Galleries began to appear in the mid and late 2000's, artists were jubilant. They were thrilled, because finally art could be shown, showcased, and finally sold online. All the artist needed was a laptop, some photo manipulating software to tidy up and resize images, and a way to receive money payment electronically.
Art galleries prospered. And the growth of interest in art boomed. It is still booming. But interestingly, some online galleries closed down and went out of business. Why?
Art galleries are business ventures, and online galleries are the same. They have costs and overheads. So the incoming flow in money must exceed the money that is outgoing. Alas, this was not always the case for some galleries, as people weren't ready to buy artwork by emerging South-east Asian artists online without further understanding the artists themselves, the art work and the region they came from. And to be honest, some galleries were unlucky to be just ahead of their time. Some parts of Asia for example suffer from chronic slow internet, and lag behind Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, who's fast internet is hitting Gigabit speeds.
One way that artists and galleries online could flourish is for online blogs and websites to focus on nurturing artists, curating informative exhibitions and having conversations with new collectors and bringing interested parties closer to one another. The internet is good at this. But some galleries that floundered in recent times may have suffered because they felt that personal interactions could not be replicated online. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Instagram and Pinterest... now they can.
The big keyword here is ENGAGEMENT. Bringing the conversation right into people's lives, so that people are not just passing by art, but living with art. There are so many online galleries on the net now, it has become better from the point of having choices, but tougher, as galleries have to compete more for space and getting attention. And the galleries that shout the loudest are the ones most visited, and so do the most business. (Of selling art.)
Galleries could be doing more in other ways. Forming partnerships and teaming up to show collective exhibitions has become the big trend in recent times, as the Affordable Art Expo and other shows are frequently reporting successful results. The love and allure of art galleries will prevail as long as we keep loving art and showing our love for it. We just have to learn, as artists and sellers of art to find and manage new ways to reach the audience. Telling the story of artists and their art works is something gallery owners and art sellers can do.
In a gallery, art literally sells itself. On the internet, the gallery must get the attention of the online visitor. Groups, lists and listings, art directories, collectives, club, organizations, societies, educational institutions all vy for attention. By using social media cleverly, we can leverage this and make online galleries not only succeed, but thrive. Authors are making use of WordPress and Weebly free or paid sites to engage with their readers and audiences. So too can artists. And they don't have to work in isolation from online galleries.
Some creative people think or feel the "middle man" is getting too much of a "cut" of the price. Really? So make deals, then. Agree on how to cut the cake, just as sellers online of other products use affiliates. There is more than one way to sell art online. Thanks to platforms like "Ecwid" and "Shopify", art galleries, artists and authors have moved their e-commerce and sales efforts on to Facebook pages - and with more than impressive results. Ecwid has no set-up fees and allows you to sell a small number of items for free, and they will only collect a small percentage of the sales price.
Art can be a success if artists and galleries work closer and partner up, and involve themselves in more joined-up thinking. The only boundaries to what can be done lies with us, and now, together - we can rise above them.
(Alan Mc Keogh)
Well, it's back. It seems like it was only a few months ago that the last Affordable Art Fair was held in Singapore. This time it's going to be even more ambitious.
The Affordable Art Fair has the aim of making art as enjoyable, accessible, and affordable as possible. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned collector, or a new art enthusiast, everyone is invited to bring large carry bags and to explore, ask questions, explore the many styles and forms of art in the enormous venue, fall in love, and take some beautiful art home with you.
In the November 2015 Affordable Art Fair, the venue was held in the F1 Pit Building for the sixth successful Autumn Edition with 15,150 visitors and S$3.9 million sales in art. Now it's going to be bigger and with even more incredible art. Join us!
Philippine Art and artists come to Singapore with the newest 6th Edition of the well known ART APART FAIR, which is again being held in the PARKROYAL in Pickering. If you are planning a weekend of art and culture in Singapore, may we humbly suggest you join us here?
The Art Apart Fair originally began in Singapore in January 2013. It showcases the works of emerging and mid-career artists. First staged in Conrad Centennial Singapore, then later to Parkroyal on Pickering - where there is more space, and more amenities, this promises to be a great weekend event. See rooms, lobbies and corridors transformed into a dreamscape of mesmerizing fine art - created in many mediums and sizes to excite and inspire both art lovers and discerning collectors of quality artwork.
Come along this weekend, and savor the ambiance and even meet artists.
Visit the Art Apart Fair on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, and check out their Blog. Visit the website here.
Life in Singapore is wonderful. There is so much to do.
But compared to life in Boracay, and staying close to the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, it's just no contest.
Mandy and I both agree that if there is one place that is special to us both, it's here at Boracay. It's just that the beach is a dream holiday place. And we have made some very happy memories here.
Now excuse us as we down these nice cool shakes.
Every now and then an aberration occurs in the world. And instead of getting one thing, we get something very different, unexpected and also very original. This happened when the gaming design team at "Ustwo" released on the Apple iPad (soon to be followed with a release on Android) the game "Monument Valley".
It's a game where a Princess named Ida has to navigate her way through a series of incredible and fantastic MC Escher like puzzles which are geometric and stunning to see.
While a lot of games love us to blow stuff up and kill maim and destroy whatever, this game does something different - it allows us to marvel at the clever artistic creations at work in this game, where every level could - if it was possible - be printed out and hung on a wall like in an art gallery.
Everything from the character of Ida, her design, the simple yet iconic design approach to visuals and music (best enjoyed on the iPad or iPhone with earphones) lend a new definition to the concept of gameplay. The added crows are a nice touch. The visual elements are made to work in a perfect graphical visual harmony. Instantly loved by the art, design and architecture world, it has been hailed as new and very innovative. I agree. The game cost $3.99 to buy on the Apple App store, which - given the degree of satisfaction given back - for the effort that has gone into its wonderful art and graphic design, it is easily worth it.
If you are an animation or design fan or a lover of the Pixar approach to everything, then check out this promising game. It is where art meets game design and something new and visually wonderful happens. MC Escher would have been proud.
How many people actually know what the great saint of Ireland actually looked like? It's good to clear the air and have a picture of him on this very special day. The most significant day in Ireland in some ways. This was the man who apparently drove all the serpents and snakes out of Ireland. He is credited with bringing Christianity to this small and very artistic nation of beer drinkers, artists, writers, and scribes, among others.
It was sad to see that Guiness have pulled out of the sponsoring of this years parade in New York over the decision to not allow gay parade floats appear and be part of the celebration. And other companies such as Heineken and Sam Adams also pulled out for the same reasons in other state parades. Oh dear. What is wrong with the world, people? It's s day to celebrate. So celebrate it and be proud of being Irish, and celebrate and be proud of who you are. They can't take that away from you. Life is about moving forward, and about being good to one another.. So from Mandy and myself - a Happy Saint Paddy's Day to you all! Slainte!
Alan & Mandy
There is and has been for a long time now a serious amount of incredible and talented artists emerging from the Philippines. Famous for being the land of smiles and incredible cuisine and holiday destinations for those who seek beauty and adventure or just the poetry of a sunset or the energy of a thriving creative art scene, and a thriving economy - the Philippines is a must-see country.
Its vibrant art scene is very active and growing. It's something I have noticed about Filipinos. (My wife is a Filipina) They are a busy people. They learn, they grow, they aspire... and they grow more and achieve greatness because of it. Now Filipino artists are becoming more well known abroad. Here in Singapore, some of these artists have seen their works go on view to an impressed and appreciative public, and more so, have also seen their paintings fetch some high prices. When Art auctions started reporting Filipino paintings by Philippine painters fetch six figure sums of money - it became necessary to announce that Filipino artists are now truly in the world.
The average Filipino art lover is torn between putting enough food on the table, and spending a large slice of that money on good art. We all know art is art. Art is also a great investment. And finding a great artist who produces great work, early in that artist's career - is a great boost for someone looking to collect art. For other art collectors, finding the art from these artists means having to travel beyond the shores of the Philippines. And it's little surprise that artists like Toro, a well known action painter can now expect prices for work to jump over USD$100,000. That will pay for a lot of Jollibee meals.
I have noticed lots of Filipino art collectors from Manila and beyond the capital arriving in Singapore to view exhibitions and buy art, all because artists are exhibiting new works here now. It means that everyone in the Philippines, including over half a million Filipinos already living and working here in Singapore now can enjoy the art from their home country in places like Artesan Gallery + Studio in Singapore. Here, Filipinos who live and work in Singapore are more likely to take a chance on buying art from their fellow countrymen and women artists. Pinoy creativity has always been something Filipinos are very proud of.
Manila-based galleries are used to seeing art work of high quality, even if some find art high priced. Bahala na. There was the time when not so long ago, people agreed that art is very special but the average Filipino salary just could not extend to include the buying of art. Things change, and happily for the better.
A rising economy, economic stability, a thriving art scene and artists with no restrictions or limitations placed upon them by a very accepting culture that is open to many influences has placed Philippine art in a great position, globally speaking. Creativity is nothing but good here. For that aspiring artist, art can now pay good money and earnings can be much better. And conversely, for lovers of art, more can now afford art. With art right now more popular than ever, paintings, surreal or abstract or traditional works are being truly appreciated at home and abroad. Creativity and self-expression is finding a wider audience. And it helps that the Philippines has the second largest art scene of any country in Asia.
Here in Singapore, the view looks promising. Art Stage Singapore gave glowing reports of good sales and big interest in Philippine art. The art market of the Philippines is growing and maturing. Back in 2009 when the Singapore Art Museum decided to showcase the rich and wide variety of Pinoy work, Filipino art gained a far wider appreciation among collectors here. Awareness has mushroomed. The secret was out.
It's worth remembering that, in 2008, Filipino artist Ronald Ventura's work was a creative centerpiece of the then Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, just before the financial crisis struck USA and beyond. Some joked that it was great art and lousy timing. No one could have predicted the affect of an economic downturn that followed and which still lingers, but it proved to be a seminal moment and attracted huge interest. Ventura's work was a major hit. That excitement and interest in Filipino art has not diminished.
In April, Taksu Gallery will showcase a group exhibition by its stable of Filipino artists: Raul Rodriguez, Nolet Soliven, Zean Cabangis, Ronald Achacoso, Jigger Cruz, Juni Salvador, and Jojo Serrano. These are a mix of veterans and emerging artist names in the Philippine art scene. It will be great to see yet more artists gaining exposure to art buyers and art lovers far beyond the shores of their home, as Filipinos compete with Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian and Malaysian artists. Exposure is the secret sauce of most successes. How artists can grow further is through art fairs. And February is here and now we have a large Art Fair starting February 20th to 23rd. It happens in the Link Park in Makati City. And with Christie's on board and with seminars planned, it is sure to attract interest.
Art Fair Philippines 2014 - A Must for Art Collectors & Art Lovers
With names like Ronald Ventura, Pio Abad, Rommel Joson, Bencab, Jose John Santos, Poklong Anading and Marina Cruz, it's going to be a fascinating art fair. The exhibitors are Altro Mondo, Archivo, Art Cube, Art Informal, Avellana Art Gallery, TAKSU, Blanc, Boston Gallery, CANVAS, Crucible, Equator Art Projects, Finale, Galleria Duemila, Light and Space Contemporary, Liongoren Gallery, Manila Contemporary, MO Space, NOVA, New Gallery, Pablo, Paseo Art Gallery, Richard Koh Fine Art, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Silverlens, The Drawing Room, Tin-Aw, West Gallery, and 1335 Mabini.
The art world and Filipino art prospects continue to grow to the point where you know your culture is growing when as Filipino, you can view your country's art in another country such as Hong Kong, USA, Canada, UK, France or here in Singapore.
This may explain why Manila art galleries such as Silverlens and the Drawing Room have come and set up "shop" right here in Singapore, with a serious focus on art of the Philippines.
Artesan Gallery was one such early adopter to the burgeoning Filipino art scene, and sensing an exciting new art scene coming their way, just as a surfer views a huge wave coming towards him, the urge was to explore and ride on its crest and experience that thrill of a great new sense of wonderment. Introducing new art is tough the first time around, but in a small and thriving country like Singapore, word gets around fast. Small can actually be a good thing in a country like this.
Artesan roadshows in recent years took Filipino artists on tour to clubs like Fort Canning Club, Tanglin Club and Raffles Town Club, where the exhibitions raised the profile of Filipino art. Soon after, that gallery partnered with Larasati auction house and successfully sold the works of 14 emerging and established artists. New names and amazing new art to see and enjoy, even buy and own. Singapore seems to be warming up to Filipino creative people because they contribute something important to Asian culture. It's art by Asians, and for Asians and beyond.
Another beauty to this is that as Philippine people settle and live in Singapore, so too are Filipino families of artists emerging here in Singapore. And here we get that wonderful exposure to Philippine culture in a whole new way. Cuisine and food, language and literature are all here. Language and music, most certainly. As an Irish artist, I come from a country who's people are so used to growing up with art and culture all around us. We live with art. Art lives with us. We co-exist and we are the better for it in so many ways.
When art grows and becomes a global export, it becomes necessary to learn how it works and how to succeed whether as an artist, a collector, buyer or participant on this growing art area. We can be involved in it in innumerable ways. For Filipino art, the only way is up.
Lectures are planned for the Art Fair in Makati this February, so its important to attend, as understanding this market can lead to many wonderful things down the road for art lovers everywhere. Artists need to know and understand the value of what they have. That knowledge brings its own rewards. And of course, art lovers get to enjoy Filipino art wherever they may be, wherever it may be - at home or abroad. For now, Philippine art has found newer audiences. And the prospects are looking good for art.
- Alan Mc Keogh
Alan Mc Keogh is an artist, designer and blogger who probably drinks too much coffee. He also has a thing for chicken adobo and all things art-like.
Alan Mc Keogh
I am an artist, web and blog designer, and I enjoy creating art, whether people, still life, or landscapes. I blog and write to grow the masses. Logos are a growing passion here. Come to me, brethren!