Reflections on art and leadership

I use my art to reflect an artist and a senior manager in the financial services industry. I notice that the deeper I understand myself the more I succeed to impact others; in both art and work.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Exhibition opening video at Agora Gallery

Was nice to see the video of the opening event Thursday 20 December at Agora Gallery.
As you will see it was a combination of 3 exhibitions and I was part of the Pathway to Abstraction exhibition.
The opening was a great event, and many people came. I want to thank all my friends for coming and all the support and enthusiastic reactions they gave; it was truly inspiring.
Curious to see what people think of the video and if it succeeds to transfer the positive vibe.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The trend of 'designification' explained

Art, its concepts and reflections are a great way to get a clearer view on oneself and on our society. The way we were raised and the role models we grew up with make us for a large part a product of our society. And  this influences our observations, behaviours and thoughts. An artist in his/her art works on many occasions peels the 'union' of the inner self, going deeper and deeper. Removing these layers of culture* bring us deeper to ourselves; our inner character, our deeper values, our structural challenges, our blue print and our dysfunctions. This process (among many other things) brings us the ability to better observe the outside world and our direct environment, more purely and independently.
Recently I have observed several trends and shared thoughts with many people and read some articles about trends and expectations for the coming decades. It is also interesting that these observations show a correlation in completely different areas; in my life and work as an artist and as a successful manager in the financial industry. I would describe the observation as a 'designification' of our work, art and life. Please allow me to provide some background to this.

1. Observations of behaviour

A. Observations from Art

In the art world we see that - even more now we are in a financial crisis - galleries focus on mainstream art; art that sells. When an artist is successful with one style, the gallery owner or agent will stimulate the artist to focus on that area, in a way blocking the exploration of new ideas, concepts and styles by the artist; blocking his journey into himself.  I observe artist making artworks that are more easily accessible to buyers, varying for years and years n the same it has proven to be successful  or variations on old themes...

Another observation is that the art world has become more 'popular' and accessible. It is much easier than years before to obtain materials, do a workshop, organise promotion and declare yourself as an artist. Where initially the primary drive for artists seems to have been a certain 'inner drive to express' and a desire to bridge the gap between now and eternity, I observe some new more prominent motivations to get involved in art. More and more it seems it is a form of self-realisation, and a way ( and sometimes a desire) to be noticed. Where the traditional artist is mainly introspective and would need some stimulation to present his/her art; now artists are publishing and exposing in the hope to be 'discovered soon' by a renowned gallery or collector. Recently for example an artist approached me: "I am now already 2 years active as an artist; and still I have not been discovered by a gallery". Or another artist "how come you have been discovered by this New York gallery; what are the steps to be discovered?".
Also I see frequently art works exhibited that show a struggle with the actual materials; and then clearly 'unskilled' art works being offered for 7.000 USD...Of course we are all following our path towards discovering our style and adopting new skills; and I am continuously following these paths too. At the same time the basic starting point of creating a successful art work is skill. As such the primary focus of an artist should be to explore new routes and continue exploring skills; getting (mentor) feedback and keep improving the expression and depth of the art works. Focus should not be to exhibit and sell before basic skills have been obtained. I read in an article recently that an average artist spends around 30.000 hours on art/painting before being discovered...

I would say this difference between artists being more focused on "design" than "artistic" elements is not new. In this light for example we see the more 'artistic' approach in Picasso; when reaching perfection in one style (like cubism), he would start exploring new directions.
I would say that this is different for Andy Warhol; when his prints became successful, he seems to have focused more on making 'more of the same' and 'marketing it' rather than truly re-inventing himself.

B. Observations from management and organisations

In management, although that might seem odd, I observe similar trends.
There are many books nowadays about 'good leadership', and everyone is really happy to tell me which books they have read. I am however not so sure that that automatically means that these new leadership concepts are internalised and digested until they are part of the managers DNA. People go to workshops and come back with nice stories, but often the lessons are forgotten within a week. It is also interesting that several management training sessions focus on practical skills, where a large part of the challenge is more at the level of personal values and self-realisation.

I also observe staff more focusing on 'selling' to their management all the positive aspects of what they do, rather than focusing on 'what is the right thing to do for the team/company'. We focus nowadays much on 'efficiency' and cost, such as Six Sigma, etc. We focus less on inspiring our people, and looking for those people that are able and willing to improve the way of working, to really invest in a better way of working. Is the key objective for example 'to be recognised as the person that came up with the brilliant idea' or is it more important to make others embrace the idea as if it is their own, and actually achieve that things get improved?

In addition there is a tendency to become more defensive; look more at what can be done with small investment of time and money rather than 'how could we innovate the way we play our role in the service chain'. As such we miss out on real innovations and pushing our companies forward as a consequence of  'sitting on our money'. Instead we tend to do small iterative changes that do not really help a lot. In the same context but more on a personal level we also tend to look too much at 'what could be wrong' and 'how would it affect me if this will not be successful , which results in behaviour where people will not really engage into projects that have less exposure or where there is a larger challenge/risk.

2. Why call it "Designification"

As an artist I am often faced with the difference between art and design. In short I would say that:
- the purpose of design is for other people to like/buy it
- for art the primary purpose is not aesthetic, but to scratch the soul of the artist; to touch oneself in an idealistic sense, and through that touch others. And the resulting artwork is the 'solidified' expression of that.

As a consequence true artworks touch the artist much deeper, they challenge the image of the artist himself. And the direction for the true artist primarily comes from a seeing within him/herself, rather than a focus to create for the outside. The result provides basically a more 'true' and deeper view of the world as observed by the artist, rather than the image provided by a designer that will more likely be closer to the 'accessible' outer (aesthetic) layers of the world. And as such the artist obtains a more and more deep insight into himself and his context.

If you want to compare these ideas to a philosophical context I would use the layers of motivation as identified by Danish philosopher Soeren Kierkegaard. Simply said I would explain his views about the different levels we can live our lives:
Layer 1 is the level of aesthetics;  we do things primarily because we like them, because they bring us pleasure or make us feel good.
Layer 2 is about the ethics - where we act in awareness that we live in a context where we need to respect certain rules to keep the balance of it all
Layer 3 is more spiritual - where we do things in the awareness that we are just a small part of something much bigger. Here we take decisions closer to our values and in the light of 'what is the right thing to do'.
I guess you can also compare this with parts of the body, like the Greeks used to do. Level one would be the stomach, two would be the head and three would be the heart.

Designification would therefore be a trend where people move focus more and more to the aesthetic elements of life; and as such could be seen as a part of the further individualisation.
For art this implies that it starts shifting its role from being more reflective and providing reflection on society, towards providing comfort and aesthetics. And the artists probably should be more aware in their actions of the purpose the art has for them; and when to reflect, and when to start thinking about selling.

For managers the challenge is to take an active decision on what their ambition is, and which meaning they want their work to have in their life and the life of team members and the company as a whole.
Managing like an artist would focus on meaningful topics, like how to strengthen the power of the team, how to ensure the team can better perform knowing each others weaknesses and using the different talents in the team.

Managing like a designer focuses on how to demonstrate to top management evidence of our talents, ability to quickly deliver changes that normally quire a longer process, getting your way in influencing company decisions, consider things implemented when explained to the staff without thinking/caring about the social/contextual change required to actually make it work, etc.

3. And now...

It is good to be aware of such potential trends. I have not provided a scientific proof of dynamics in our society, but just provided insights into my reflections. In the end everyone will take his/her more or less explicit decision in how to perform arts and how to work as a manager.

What is the true image of
myself as an artist

For myself this would be a choice about:
- do I primarily make art for myself or for others (what is the purpose of my art?)
- is this the moment to focus on my personal insight and development, or more on harvesting and obtaining recognition
- do I measure my life by achievements or by meaningful (shared) experiences and insights

Did you ask yourself these questions? And what would be your answers?

For me the conclusion is simple: I want to live all aspects of my life as an artist.
That is not as simple as it sounds, and requires permanent reflection, challenging oneself, and 'walking naked into the sea'. But I can not stand the idea of living without an ideological dream; Art is my muse!

And as a consequence of this all I appreciate that my view is incomplete and waiting for a better one; so feel free to share your views or observations, as they will help me to change and/or enrich these insights.

* This is a reference to culture, the way it is sometimes simply defined as "that what mankind has added to nature"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Giving away artworks, more smalldrawings

Working on the last preparations for my exposition Pathway to Abstraction, and the opening is getting closer... Thursday 20 december 6-8 PM at Agora Gallery, 530 West 25TH Street.
One of the promotional events is that I made smalldrawings in businesscard size.
This idea I had some years ago from artist and friend Carlos Quiterio. We even organised an exposition of around 35 artists each making their unique miniature artwork- business cards.
Positive aspects:
- people get to pick out their own drawing
- it proves they keep it longer, even after years telling me the still keep it at a nice place
- it is good to practice in small shapes. Expression is more free as you don't risk to ruin a large masterpiece, and it therefore helps exploring new ideas
- it helps building a vocabulary of shapes and colors, and
- the first drawings we make are often still quite safe, even sometimes cliche, and after many drawings you really get to the more interesting and authentic compositions.

Of course also negative sides:
- waste an artwork on people that might not be interested
- losing some of the drawings that are close to you.
In both cases I still feel this giving away of artworks fits with my essence in art; it s basically about sharing and giving, and this is just an explicit expression of that.

So, for the people visiting this Thursday, below some new designs that you can pick from. The first 30 visitors get one for free. Hope you like what you see.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Free smalldrawings at exhibition opening NYC

The key purpose of my art is to enrich my life, improve the way I live it and share it with others.
So, I thought to make smalldrawings for the people visiting my exhibition opening Thursday 20 December from 6 to 8 PM at Agora Gallery (530 West 25th Street, NYC).

Below some smalldrawings - disguised as business cards - that I recently made especially for the opening. The first 30 people that come to the opening will get such a drawing. Well, have a look and see if there is one you already like ;)

For more info regarding the exhibition Pathway to abstraction > see here

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reflections on a documentary on art in China

Documentary Project 798

You can see it on this site

I recently watched this documentary that is a sort of forum where several artists are expressing their views about art in China, the way to deal with the government, how to see the commercialisation of the artist site that has been embraced by the government and is coming more popular for visitors.

Interesting how Chinese government now supports the artists, but in return 'bans' the artists that make art about politics or religion. The artists however have a way around it:
- the shape itself does not create provocation
- but they create a reference to an observation or event they want to challenge, it becomes a symbol. Understanding the symbol can only be achieved when knowing the context around the object.

Example is where they make a statue of a woman in the air with her legs and arms up. It turns out to be an image of a woman that was arrested by the Chinese police.
You can see many artists actually being 'inspired' by the difficulties they face due to the communistic government. There are active taboos maintained by the government, and they provoke reaction by the artist. In a way that seems easy and difficult at the same time;
Difficult most obviously as it is clearly making the work of an artist a burdensome and dangerous journey, in order to challenge the governments behaviour it is required to be careful, accept setbacks and being hurt.
Easy in a way as it becomes the almost obvious 'direction' of artists, a natural way to go, and makes the artist very much focused on this outside 'enemy'. It is this shared enemy that unites the artists in 
their drive and goal. And it is the explicit taboo that creates focus on the subject, enlarges it and takes the attention away from other areas. In a way the struggle at some point even can become a 
cliche, an over-explored evident subject....

In western countries like where I live basically no real dangerous topics exist. Recently only expressions about Islam have raised some noise, but within countries often most topics can be explored and expressed by artists. There is no overall hostile force against artists or people that express their feelings. As a result you see artist more focusing on themselves, in several more or less positive ways.
First of all it is not a challenge to be an artist and everyone can call himself an artist...every person that throws some acrylic on a canvas can claim to have made a conceptual art piece...or not?
Next to this our taboos are implicit, and we are often less aware of the crazy situations around us. We are born in a world where we directly become part of the culture, and as a child we internalise the behaviours that fit with our examples and unwritten rules and taboos. As a way to find these taboos I would say from discussions with artists that the most common way is to reflect on oneself; by peeling off our layers we come deeper in understanding our self, and with it we reveal also the layers that have been added by our culture; the hidden rules, the priority of values, the invisible taboos. Another option is to work with other cultures and discover what in us is influenced by our own culture and different from other cultures.
Example of such taboos could be : the overvaluation of ratio and science, the 'problematisation' of nudity, the demystification of sexual intercourse, etc.

In the documentary it is nice to see also some artists in China that follow that same concept; they have left the direct and obvious themes, they do not make just what people want to buy, they focus on feeling and perception...which are symbols of our deeper self. It is not so much to create symbols representing the struggle with the government, but creating meaningful moments where we touch ourselves, and through these expression touching the viewers.

I recommend this documentary; it took me out of my patterns and inspired to continue focusing on meaningful art.

P.S. irony is that I watched the documentary on iTunes, maybe not the most pure way to experience such a deep documentary, but fortunately it was enough to be touched.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Endurance Exhibition New Century Artists

Last weekend I flew to NYC to collect my art works that had been framed, bring them for the exhibition in Chelsea and get everything installed, also for my next exhibition in December. Here you find a short summary of my experiences, challenges and the results.

New Century Artists
Exhibition Endurance
Maurice van Tilburg
Artworks framed at Pearl Paint (308 Canal Street)
In June I had brought some paintings to New York, all rolled up as they were large papers. I brought 3 of them to Pearl Paint. The others I needed for my contribution to the NYSE charity event where they were auctioned for charity, and framing at pearl Paint took at least 6 weeks.
his time I picked it up and my view on framing was:
- quality of framing is good. During the hanging one art work (with front cover of plexi glass) fell from the wall at a height of 5 ft, and the frame and plexiglass survived...that is quite impressive, and saved me lots of hassle
- one of the art works had hanging construction vertical, where it should be vertical, and they resolved that in a day.
- price of framing (for New York comparison) is quite okay
- as said before they are quite busy and framing takes at least 6 weeks, and could be more when it overlaps a holiday period
- shop service is okay, they help you think about solutions and advised me for the transport.
- small point is that each time I came early in the morning staff arrived late for work...making me wait.

The transport I did by Breakaway Courier ( as advised by Pearl Paint. Funny ride in a van that was a complete mess (full of garbage, blankets, old coffee cups, etc) but guy was friendly, told me all about his experiences since Hurricane Sandy, and dropped me off at the right place.

Setting up the exhibition
Arrived at the exhibition and other artists arrived one by one. Was interesting for the first time to hang my art in New York, and seeing the specific way of hanging. Some impressions below.
In the end I got a good spot. It turned out that the first hook I used in the wall to hang the painting was not strong enough. So when I stepped back the frame fell on the floor. As said before it was a miracle that it all stayed in one peace. And after hanging my art work and helping some others I left for a drink with a friend at W 49th Street. Big relief as I had been a bit nervous to see whether all plans would work out as planned...and they did.

Hosting at the gallery Tuesday 20 Nov
It was nice to arrive at the New Century Artists Gallery at 530 25th Street in Chelsea, taking the key from my pocket and opening the door. During the day I had company of Belgian sculpture Luc De Man and his wife. A key element of exhibiting is that it offers the opportunity to exchange of views with visitors and also get feedback. Also interesting is to meet other artists, where you naturally connect easier with one artist than another. I had a nice discussion with Luc and was great to see his artworks.
Also during the day another artist came to hang his artwork; he had been working the day before and couldn't make it to the hanging session. This New york based artist Rohan Baronette explained his view on art and what he was trying to achieve.
I will write in another article more about these artists, and the elements I found interesting.

First days were not too crowded, and several reasons can be found:
- seems in general less crowded now that NY is occupied with recovery of Sandy
- first days of the week are always more quiet
- these were the days just before Thanksgiving, where many people are getting ready for the family event, not really busy with a nice gallery-visit.
Well, curious how the rest of the exhibition goes, but will follow that from a distance.
Also nice was that friend Paul - when visiting - offered to be there at the exhibition closing and take artworks home, and restore the walls.

More updates to come...and thank you to all people that are supporting me!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What is it that really matters at work? A new art concept

For some time on this blog I have exchanged more purely on art works, less on leadership. Now that my exhibitions in New York are prepared I try to take a bit more distance, read more and reflect. This will help me at work and to develope further my current and furture concepts.

Sometimes it is good to be forced to reflect. To be stuck in a situation where there is nothing more to do than to think and reflect. To empty the mind, allow the echoes of latest experiences, emotions and tasks to fade away and achieve a certain intense awareness in your head.
This can be when making art, or when going for a run, or when biking for a long distance...
Recently I was taking care of our newborn son, who would only be satisfied when in the arms of his, I had some time where I could do nothing...only think and reflect.

Observations looking back at work experiences?
I realised that recently at work there are plenty of challenges. My team is doing well, at least making great efforts to get things delivered and improved. At the same time I see around us some other areas where basic mistakes are made and not addressed in an adequate way. And these directly impact the overall outcome of what we deliver...basically making it difficult for us to deliver.
Then I reflected on a few observations that lead to some insight:
- in general several managers solve issues from a distance; they stay at a high level and do not actually know what happens on the working floor. They focus on interesting strategic discussions before solving the operational dysfunctions, they fire the people that make the company run (but are maybe less visible), they assume that they can direct the cleanup without getting their feet dirty
- in several cases I have worked to lead teams to a better performance, and in general we would make it possible to objectively view the improvement. But after leaving it would only take a year (or sometimes a bit more) to break down all the mechanisms that have been built. And the net result of my efforts have disappeared.

What remained?
Then I realised when looking back that there are different ways of looking.
1. Achievements -
we can look back at what we have achieved, made improvements, delivered projects, made work more efficient, etc. This will give us possibly a sense of pride, a sense of satisfaction and maybe even an eagerness to start doing that again in other areas.
2. People that mattered -
another way is to look bakc at the people we worked with. Which memories do we have of exceptional experiences, where ahve we been able to help others, where have we allowed others to help and teach us. I observe that when looking back actually these type of things give us a sense of warmth. Now I realise more than at that time, how special the experience was and how great the collaboration with others.

Testing the idea
I shared with other people and basically everyone recognised that "what remains is the memory of the meaningful and nice people we worked with" and that "we mainly realise this afterwards, often insituations when we are in a new -less inspiring- work environment.

You are not able yourself to materially change things for it is better to focus on making the journey meaningful and fun

It is good to frequently take time to look back to understand, and then project understanding to the future

Art concept
To translate this into an art concept I need to make it personal, and rephrase: " what do I need to learn to bring this into practice"?

Elements that come to mind:
- stimulate reflection on how things are going and what really matters ( keeping focus on meaningful things, rather than achievements)
- actively appreciate and share the joyful collaboration, rather than focusing on issues only

Practical ideas
- making nice design drawings to mark nice and meaningful experiences
- make postcards or ThankYou cards for share with others
- integrate writings in terms of lessons/experiences and make them into a collage
- make a drawing a day on nice work experience, and combine these in a large artwork
- create a cv compised only of positive work collaboration experiences and then contact those people to relive and rediscover...although in some cases that might destroy the previous memories ;)

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Century Artists exhibition Chelsea - 20 Nov to 8 Dec

20 November starts a new exhibition at New Century Artists.
530 West 25th Street
Open: Tue-Sat 11 AM - 6 PM
I will be there on 20, 21 and 22 November, so let me know if you want to stop by, and I will make sure to be there.

The theme of the exhibition is ENDURANCE, and indeed that is a theme that is close to the heart many artists.
"It is all about inner strength, motivation, passion, survival skills and struggling. As Artists we have to stand strongly by our believes about what keeps us going and creating despite of difficulties in life."  

A celui qui sait attendre

I read in the ArtBusinessNews magazine (Mar/Apr edition) that in average a successful artist spends around 30.000 hours of drawing and painting on his art works before breaking through...

The New Century Artist is an artist collective, running a (relatively small0 gallery in Chelsea NYC. This time the curator is Basha Maryanska; and she is also the person that contacted me to take part early this year. She had seen an article on my art works using parchment, checked out all art works on my site and approached me, specifically aiming for my digital art works and the Subconscious Power series.

The link with hurricane Sandy and Endurance is also ironic...seems the gallery was out of power until a week ago, but now has recovered and the exhibition is still made.

Red Cross Donation
Just as a note I have decided for my art works to donate 30 % to the Red Cross for victims of hurricane Sandy. Seems the right thing to do...

Art shown
In this exhibition you can see at least 2 of my art works (that will also feature in the 20 December exhibition at Agora Gallery):
A Celui Qui Sait Attendre
Je Crois Que Non
The space I will cover is 8'x8' (2,5 m x 2,5 m). If the space turns out okay we might add a third one (Le Droit De Donner Des Dispenses)

I will be going to NYC to hang the art works on Monday 19 November, but will not be able to join the opening at 1 December. And fortunately found my friend Chuck willing to pick up the paintings at the end of the exhibition at 8 December.
Je Crois Que Non
Maybe: Le Droit De Donner Des Dispenses

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ARTisSpectrum magazine Nov 2012 - review of my art

I just received the new November edition of the ARTisSpectrum magazine; in general I find this a nice magazine and it was recently mentioned by CBS as an important and influential magazine regarding contemporary art. One of the elements that helped Agora Gallery get in the top 6 of contemporary art galleries.
I also like the look and feel on the web, where you can virtually flip through the magazine.

Then, even nicer to see that they included half a page for a review of my art. On the right top.

For people interested in the review I included a close up below, or you can go directly to the right page on the web.

I have seen now several galleries, agents and magazines. There is a lot of variety in approach, exposure and how it is designed and prepared. Until now quite happy with Agora as gallery and agent for NYC, and how they take care of organising adequate reviews, exposure and organisation of exhibition. And although this week I have been approached by another gallery in Chelsea, still feel that the whole look and feel at Agora fits better with my profile and is basically more professional.
While describing it as 'professional'I realised that this might be 'vague' for readers; so to be more explicitly it refers to:
- clarity in every detail of timelines, required preparation, sign off, insurance, and all very timely and well documented
- engagement what will be done in terms of exposure, and then delivering what has been committed
- professional texts, that show they actually fully reviewed my biography, artist statements and concepts as well as references. And coming with an original view on the right 'context' for myself as an artist,
- advice and guidance on how to connect their promotion with your personal audience
- provision of tools helping sending of invitations, uploading of art works and selling on the web;
- website that is adequately designed, gets updated frequently and gets corrected rapidly when mistakes are reported.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The latest creative spam - as prize this time

Yes, some weeks ago I asked people in an article on this blog to help select the key art work of my exhibition in NYC.
As a result Plapable Sense of Energy and Anticipation was chosen and decorated the invitations.

Many people gave their preference, but only one could win: John Merrell
As promised he can now select one of the original Creative Spam drawings; I listed them below.
I would say "John, let me hear which one you would like".
Just for ease of reference I numbered them and gave them names.

As a reminder: everyone is still welcome to join us for the opening at Agora Gallery 20 December.
By the way, it was quite shocking to see this week the enormous devastation that Sandy has created in and around NYC...realise that my exhibition is a modest event in all this chaos and disaster.
Anyway, hope John likes the art works I selected and finds something of his taste.

1. Where Everything Seems to Happen in Waves

2. Look into My Window

3. I looked up and down

4. At the close of a sweltering night

5. His stretching way down

6. Flags of All Nations

7. Faint Stairs

8. In one of the Dives

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What to know when looking at a modern art work

Je Plaiderais Ma Cause
For quite some time I have wondered how much to explain viewers about my art works. Should I explain every detail of the art work so they can see all depth in it...or should I completely let them free, not spoil the freedom to see what they want to see.

I also observed other artists/viewers taking several approaches:
- some will not even give a title to allow the viewer to completely discover his/her interpretation
- some explain a lot, provide detailed descriptions
- also sometimes you find critics that give a very detailed interpretation, about 'what the artist intended to do/say'

I went back to what I would like to achieve for my art, and how it would be viewed:

1. Understanding the context
The viewer should be able to understand the context of an art work.
Too many times I hear from many people that they have no clue about what modern art is, what it intends to do/bring, why abstraction can be a better way to express oneself than realism, why the artist might not go for very √°ccessible' art.

2. Freedom to interpret
I have observed that when people see art they have a direct preference; they can tell whether a specific artwork 'touches'them, or has a certain impact. It is important to allow people to make their own story with an art work. It helps them more appreciate the artwork, helps to further explore and keep seeing new aspects of the artwork.
Also I have seen cases where providing too much detail can be limiting:
We had an exhibition in our gallery where objects were exhibited of an artist that is very much into psycho analysis. We had one viewer being fascinated by a box; it was light, small, had a square opening in the cover and certain patterns. It was clear that he was exploring and approached us to buy. Then the artist joined. The man said he liked the shape and the carvings.
The artist said: "these are patterns of auto mutilation..."
The man put the object down and 'ran'out of the door.
For em that was an example where the artist limited the viewer to find the beauty in the art work and discover/explore its many dimensions.

3. The artist view is limited too
An artist, when working and expressing during his/her art largely relies on his/her feeling. The artist has developed normally a good level of skills; and the tools become part if his senses. While working preferences and state of mind will influence the artwork. Patterns, shapes and colors are chosen often in a highly intense process. The result is a complex work of art that contains expressions of the subconscious. This implies that some deeper elements of the art work are also hidden to the artist.
I have had cases where experienced viewers identified patterns that I had not (yet) discovered. Elements of suppressed pain, frustration and passion might appear without the artist actively injecting it in the art work.

So, from this it is easy to understand what not to do...but more difficult it is to find a way to actually provide sufficient context, but allow the viewer freedom to interpret.

I have chosen the following guidelines, but always p[en for better suggestions still:

A. I explain the concept, but never the art work
Every series of paintings is part of a concept; an experiment where I transform ideas, analysis and reflection into a new approach. Explaining the intention of the concept helps people to understand the art works, and helps to appreciate the materials, colors and patterns. And I never explain an art work, even when people ask. Sometimes I explain elements of what I see, or what others have seen, but always leave space for the viewer to have his/her own interpretation.

B. A title that is 'open'
Nowadays I take time to select and create the titles. Often they are taken from literature or books with a deeper meaning. I make sure that the title strikes the right tone and touches on the patterns and themes that are in the painting. Also it will often refer to the concept itself, and the intentions I have with the concept.

I am not saying I found the perfect solution here, and it could be that other people can help me refine my ideas. And I still have moments where people insist that I explain the details of a painting. And then I give them the explanation as described in this article.
But I did see several artists struggle with this topic. And most feedback I recieve is actually positive. Many people approach me after reading the concepts on my main site where I also explain the concepts. They like that I explain more about the context, and in several cases they have told me it was the first time that they have understood what modern art could be about.

The artwork in this article is the one I finished this week. It is from the Subconscious Power concept and has the title 'Je Plaiderais Ma Cause', which means 'I would plead my cause'... I leave you the space to look up the concept and explore what you see....
And of course I would be happy to have your view.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Agora Gallery top 6 contemporary galleries NYC

CBS published an article on the top galleries in NYC.
Great to see that my agent/gallery was identified (and on top of the article).
Really curious now for the exhibition

CBS writes:

Choosing a contemporary art gallery to visit from the city’s many offerings can be a daunting exercise. Here are five of the best choices available in New York City, chosen for their support of the arts community, variety of offerings and the exposure they provide to a wide range of artists. Also included is the Museum of Modern Art – one of the best museums for seeing modern and contemporary art in all its forms.
 NYCs 6 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 226-4151
Price: Free
Hours: Tues to Sat – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
More than a physical gallery, the Agora Gallery supports emerging, mid-level and established artists with ARTmine, a website for selling contemporary art. This gallery also supports the artistic community with ARTisSpectrum, a biannual magazine featuring artists of all talent levels. With such abounding support, Agora has some very deep relationships with appreciative artists, adding impressive variety to the collections on display. Receptions at the gallery often draw hundreds of guests and are ideal for social networking among artists.

Link to the web article: