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.
Making your own brand as an artist is weird. It sounds like some alien spiel that we hear from some marketing exec who is highly caffeinated and highly strung and woven around a sense that we cannot possibly survive without him. Well, to paraphrase a certain president of a certain country - Yes We Can!
We can learn to brand ourselves as artists and as creative folks. But it takes time, effort and a whole lot of reading. Branding is something that few artists understand and yet it can have a transformational effect on a career of an artist.
Dali, Frida Kahlo, Picasso, Damien Hirst, Thomas Kincade - they either all knew or still know how branding works. Like the pop stars of yesteryear, they are about a statement or a thing that defines them or which makes them stand out in some way. And the more they differentiate themselves from the crowd, the more recognizable they seem to us. But how does that work? What are they doing?
Read the main front page of the blog to see how Steve Jobs broke new ground and broke some rules to turn Apple into the revered and valuable brand it is today. The statement in the photo is mine but the sentiment is very much his way of thinking. Decades before him, Picasso was doing it as he also understood the value of what he was creating. Van Gogh may not have had a brand, but his brushwork and his legacy is undeniable. His art is instantly recognizable. Even Toulouse Le Trec had a distinctive thing or quality that made him stand out. They became more identifiable somehow to their audiences. It lent some more value to their work, somehow - and their stock in the public eye rose as a consequence. Those who see a value in their work have value, and so a brand. Those who don't are less seen.
Alan Mc Keogh is a painter, artist, writer, blogger and occasional coffee drinker.
Enjoy a new feature stared this week on my blog. It's all about Logos. Designing logos can be hard unless you know what you are doing. Luckily I have some good knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and a variety of other graphics packages.
I am probably going over ground covered by other designers on other blogs, but knowing how to make good logs can be a good income provider for any budding freelance designer or artist. Visit the new page on Logos and enjoy. All the artwork is my own,
The art scene in Singapore is constantly amazing me. The climate is hot enough and the opportunities to spend time to create are everywhere. What recently put me in a great mood was reading a local book by a local group of writers about my locality here where I live.
The artwork in the book was wonderful and very informative for both Mandy and myself. We live here and we can recognise the scenes in the artwork of the book and we have even eaten in some of the famous places. I wish I could include parts of the artwork but for copyright reasons - alas no.
There are nice places to set up paints and sketching equipment here but really all you need is a pad and some pencils, and away you go! Someone suggested updating my picture on LinkedIn and so I did! It is an improvement on the previous picture and I love to advertise and showcase my art to the world.
And finally I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and doing some good art work or writing. If anyone is in need to some book covers created for them at good rates, just email me here at my email, at email@example.com.
On TV people can get down and dirty. On TV people can see horror and violence. On TV everyone can be exposed to the news, the good and the bad. But how often do we get a healthy exposure to the Arts on TV? How often do we get to see interviews and analysis of Art, painting, sculpture, writing, dance, digital art, photography and all the creative arts?
The arts need more representation on TV. How often have WordPress websites, Joomla, Java or Van Gogh been exposed and glorified in all their power and glory? is It possible to have all things creative be brought into the public domain in such a way that it can be accessible and mainstream? Who would benefit? Advertisers and Marketing companies could answer this. Writers and Artists could tell you. Schools and colleges of the creative arts could point you to the answer.
We need more creative arts represented on TV and bring them into the mainstream. We need to make them more universal. We need our youth and everyone around us to truly grow up with art and be more exposed to Art. When we grow up with art, we become more receptive to it. We understand the message more in art. And since creative and artistic people are behind more and more things in our life, we owe it to each other to make it happen.
As more and more of us are turning online and to mobile devices to access everything - and since TV is now available on mobile devices, so too should the arts. Even traditional TV as it currently exists needs to show more art content, and make it a peak time endeavor. Art is for everyone, and it can be accessed and enjoyed 24 hours a day. It should not be something we just attend in a gallery, or museum on a weekend.
Alan Mc Keogh
"Don't give up that day job..."
Recently a 13 page letter and an undiscovered poem titled "The new Remorse" were discovered in a dusty old wardrobe. The letter (written around 1890) was a hand written advisory to an up and coming writer, who sought advice on literary success from Wilde. It seems Wilde was direct and to the point. He basically saw much wisdom is pursuing one's creative life in one's spare time, and advised the writer not to give up a life of work and salary for art or creativity.
"The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer."
Strangely, most poets would agree that writing poetry is not a path to financial wealth and happiness. It has been repeated many times, and I even heard it said by the poet Seamus Heaney. In the material world we have today, most of what goes on and most of what we do, comes down to material things. It is simply a statement of factuality. We cannot exist without first having the financial means of supporting ourselves. But can art and creativity, independent from debt and bills and a dependence on money - be truly pursued? So was Wilde's words of wisdom true or out of step with modern times?
Wilde also added in his letter: "Make some sacrifice for your art and you will be repaid but ask of art to sacrifice herself for you and a bitter disappointment may come to you."As the letter and poem come up for auction, many people in the creative and art world will debate this matter, just as Oscar Wilde did, all those 120 odd years ago.
A warm (because it is actually very warm) St. Patrick's Day celebration to you all, and thank you for supporting the blog and everything! Best wishes for the weekend and the next week from my Missus Mandy and myself.
If by some strange chance you see any little people wandering around, or funny little guys with beards and green hats, don't worry. That's a different festival day, because those critters work for Santa! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
Enjoy the weekend and the holiday! - from Alan & Mandy!
A recent feature on art in a blog caught my attention. It was about showing or exhibiting original art on blogs or websites. The blogger said it was basically a waste of time and energy putting original art anywhere on the web in public as it would be scraped, copied, stolen, or somehow duplicated somewhere else. The point was well made. But for an artist to decide to undo the process of showing one's art to the world runs against the artistic temperament. As artists, we all need to show our creations to the world. One thing we can also do is watermark our art and make it so that if it appears anywhere else, we know it is our original work because of that tag or attached security created for it. Adobe Photoshop would be one such place to start, as this software has watermark creation technology. Let's face it. There is a lot of stolen content on the web. But that should not stop us making original art.
"Conversation" by Kadar Bela
In the world of art and great paintings, we are used to certain typical great names standing out. Degas, Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh, and so on. Their names instantly transport us to a frame of mind of their artwork. What comes from their eyes, from within their imagination - is the sum of their dreams, vision, emotions, memories and talent. What usually results, is whatever influences them, no matter how amazing or unusual, or dark that imagination.
In this painting Kadar Bela's "Conversation" is a classic painting, but much less well known when compared to some great artists. He lived from 1877 to 1956, and his art is quite revolutionary. He is one of the reasons that Hungary is famous for great paintings and painters.
Some artists paint something safe and pleasing and reassuring, while others choose a more darker subject or theme. Edward Munch chose some dark subjects to paint, as his painting "The Scream" eloquently shows.
Bela was not afraid to depict his subjects, in this case, 2 nude ladies sitting in apparent conversation, seemingly oblivious to the artist who sat painting them, just feet away. The immediate sense one gets from looking at how it is created and framed makes us think of many modern precepts in art and design, even logos of MTV, and modern art of the 2000's. The arrangement of the seated women, the odd yet amazing framing of one woman inside a blue frame, the unusual object that divides colours in the center of the work, but which somehow harmonizes the painting, and the rendering of the women - so much like the abstract style of Picasso and other figure painters. Bela's art is so revolutionary, that the consequences of just how transformational his style is - still rings true today in many kinds of art and across many creative mediums, from advertising to TV to motion pictures and more still...
In art, we begin learning by painting what we see. but when we have practiced this for long enough, and hopefully become bored with it, we progress beyond formal drawing and painting by rote, or rule - and we venture into the unknown. That place is the dark and strange recesses of our own imaginations. It can be a scary place. it can be confusing, having to ditch all those rules on how to draw and compose. But when we see art that stops us in our tracks and makes us confront a different kind of thinking, that is because that artist is revealing that imagination to us and we have to work to decrypt its meaning or massage. The potential rewards of this are endless, for a true lover of art.
The courage to paint well, and transform our work from the mere "usual" we produce - into something more - requires a change from us. That change consists of a conversation we have with ourselves, where we decide that we have to migrate to another plane as artists. That other place is the base from which we forge that new "self". Art is an amazing medium. It is hugely forgiving, and accommodates this transition, provided we understand the few conditions of having to produce works of some kind of value. We can study the Greats in art, like Kadar Bela, and become more than we thought we could be.
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads. ~ Erica Jong
I could have put any great painting or image by any of the usual great artists in this blog. I chose Bela because he doesn't get the credit he richly deserves. By studying the thinking and the techniques and works of masters such as Bela, we become better at appreciating quality art, and as artists, we can grow and be inspired enough to follow in those footsteps. We can emulate their way of creating and enable them to inform us as to how we can evolve as they did. Learning the rules of art - and then bending them. Or even breaking them.
Alan Mc Keogh - March 2013, Singapore.
Book covers are an artist's voyage of literary discovery from every way you look at it. Books that we illustrate and create art for on their covers means delving into the book characters, plots and details at a great level. And there is plenty to find, not just in the art, but in ourselves. Creating Art for books is a journey of Exploration and joy for the artist who wants to express what he or she finds inside the book, bringing nuggets of gold that others did not probably see there...
Getting the chance to create artwork for books is a thrill for an artist. And for that writer to see the book on either the book shelves finally or on the website being sold, with its "clothes on" so-to-speak is a great moment for a writer. Read the new page on Book covers and find out more...
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! New projects coming soon.