Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Art Space Talk: Padraic Moore

I recently interviewed Padraic Moore of the Defastenist art movement. Mr. Moore co-wrote the Defastenist manifesto with Gary Farrelly and Alexander Reilly. Defastenism was founded in May 2004 by Dublin National College of Art and Design undergraduates Gary Farrelly, Ben Mullen, Alex Reilly, Seanan Oliver, Manfred Kerr and Jane McGovern. Their membership includes artists, film makers, musicians, architects, writers, and designers.

I became interested in this movement upon reading the following statement. "We The Defastenist artists and other creative practitioners are making art about the only things we know to be truly original. WHICH ARE: The fetishes, obsessions and eccentricities which define our creative personalities.". Thus, I contacted Padraic for an interview.

(The examples of Defastenist art are by Gary Farrelly)

Q. Defastenism was founded in Dublin. Can you tell our blog readers about Defastenism?

A. "The Defastenist Party is a self styled "Movement " which is preoccupied with the legacy of the Modernist Project. The movement enables all those involved to realise their maximum potential by operating as a milieu in which the production of art and the apparatuses surrounding art is fully supported and utilised in a communal manner. Aside from the ideological framework the communal approach provides a plethora of advantages, which are hugely advantageous in this increasingly competitive world. The term comes specifically from the idea of unbuckling the metaphorical seatbelt. The concept that one must "Defasten" from the Jetzeit.The aeroplane- a constant motif in Defastenist art- is one of the symbols, which we believe defines our zeitgeist. It seems painfully ironic that the high hopes envisaged for the miracle of air travel have been undermined not only by the threadbare and shabby reality of cut cost travel, but also the horror of plane hijackings and air rage. The ongoing ills of our age in which men crash planes into buildings now seem as quotidian and vaguely unpleasant as the colour of the upholstery and the tragic loss of the complimentary in flight meal served by an elegant air hostess. The inundation of bad news and the saturation of media coverage have led to a numbing of our consciousness. The anaesthetics, which enable us to endure, diminish the significance of events. The time has come to reclaim control. This reclamation of control is manifested through cultural production/productivism, which constitutes a means of active escape from the reality, which we inhabit. From the enduring trauma of politically motivated air catastrophes such as Lockerbie and 9/11 to the excesses of cut cost flights we are in the age of the air disaster. We cannot simply unfasten-To make any progress we must first make a major modification-we must Defasten.

The Party also operates as a life raft in that it proliferates optimism and propagates an end to apathy, boredom and idleness."

Q. Can you characterize the Defastenist as a group? What generation do they belong to?

A. "Many generations but predominantly the A.D.D Generation who grew up at the tale end of Irelands depression and during Irelands period of accelerated affluence."

Q. You co-wrote The Defastenist Manifesto with Gary Farrelly and Alexander Reilly. Was there ever a conflict in ideas during the creation of the manifesto?

A. "Since it’s inception the collective has grown consistently more cohesive and concise in its philosophy and approach. The manifesto, which you have obviously read, was formulated at a moment when our ideologies were somewhat less polished. When it was necessary to be somewhat more vague then what we have become in order to forge a functioning sense of community. As the manifesto attached reveals our remit has since been significantly crystallised. We launch this manifesto to coincide with the Second Phase of the Defastenist Movement. We have ascended to on schedule.

I believe that when formulating a manifesto or statement there should always be some light degree of dispute. The presence of a level of debate usually ensures that thought and imagination is stimulated. This is important."

The Rationalized Defastenist Manifesto.

September 2006

1.We believe that Art is a mission demanding complete fanaticism.
2.We ally ourselves to the Mothers and Fathers of Modernism. We share their fervent faith in progress and dynamism.
3.The meticulous process of production, which distinguishes our approach to any and all media, is coupled with a fundamental faith in the Utopian function of art.
4.We regard it as our duty to excavate fully our fetishes, obsessions and desires through material forms of cultural production.
5.Defastenism proposes an art that is all encompassing. Our practice is a union of conscious and unconscious thought. Our practice is inflected with borrowed nostalgia; our practice is of the present and for the future.
7. We recognise the obsolescence of the ‘us-and-them’ paradigm and aspire to be both an Institution and an Establishment.
8.At all times there exists a physical headquarters from which we conduct our ventures and campaigns.
9.The Defastenist Party and its members are compelled to assume an actively auto propulsive role in the actualisation of personal and professional ambitions whilst maintaining complete loyalty to the party.
10.We oppose aesthetic dematerialisation and are dedicated to the art object, the obsessive generation of which is manifested in all aspects of Defastenist activity.

- The Defastenist Party, Dublin 2006

Q. The original manifesto reads, "We The Defastenist artists and other creative practitioners are making art about the only things we know to be truly original. WHICH ARE: The fetishes, obsessions and eccentricities which define our creative personalities." can you further enlighten us about this statement?

A. "This was an early statement, which relates to several major aspects of Defastenist practice, which are sustained. The notion of constructing a world in which we can indulge ourselves totally in the production of culture by focusing directly and unselfconsciously upon "the fetishes, obsessions and eccentricities, which define our creative personalities" is one of the central functions, which drives the movement. We believe that through the production of artwork states of temporary utopia can be achieved. We produce work, which is the manifestation of an excavation of our personal fixations, desires and preoccupations. By persistently allowing ourselves to focus upon these things they can become somehow more real, more tangible…"

Q. Does Defastenist art focus on the vices of the human condition in order to convey a form of 'pure truth'?

"Defastenist Art Does Not Focus upon the Vices of the Human Condition per se. Defastenist Culture is an expression and a statement of and on many things. It is likely that Vice may occasionally be integral to Defastenist Artwork, but we do not focus upon vice as a subject solely. I’m extremely reluctant to use words such as truth or purity because I believe that we are all so mediated and conditioned that both the possibility of both these ideas are always going to be rather dubious."

Q. Do you think 'truth' is missing in the current art world?

A. "What is Truth?
Is truth Expressionism? Is truth Abstraction? Is truth Realism?
I wouldn’t like to say that the endeavours of the group are motivated by a desire toward the proliferation of Truth.However; it is true that we try and be true to ourselves. In the manoeuvrings of a collective honesty and directness are vital to sustained existence, and truth can be considered part of this.

I believe that Art is Ultimately a combination of Truth and Artifice,
Art is inherently a statement of something, and will always reveal information of some sort. The information imparted to the viewer may not be that intended by the artists but the information is still a truth. Financial capability, intellectual capital, stylistic references and cultural quotations are all instructive in what they can tell us about an artist.
What I do believe is missing from the Art World of today-in Dublin at least- is a lack of confidence. This lack of confidence is often difficult detect but is always exposed when an artist is asked whether or not they refer to themselves as an Irish artist. That’s an issue that I’m interested in exploring-how Irish ness is still problematic. This is the result of there being very very few internationally Irish artists and the fact that people fear that they may be pigeonholed as exclusively Irish artists."

Q. This statement has been declared by Defastenists concerning the direction they do not want to go with their art, "BOILING INSPIRATION AND IDEAS DOWN TO THEIR BARE ESSENTIALS, RESULTING IN BORING, AESTHETICALLY UNINTERESTING WORKS OF ART IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF POSTMODERNISM THAT THE DEFASTENISTS INTEND TO REMEDY.", can your further explain the intention of this ideology?

A. "Actually I myself am most certainly guilty of over examining ideas down to bare essentials…I thrive on analysis and detailed dissections of art and life. What I am opposed to is artwork that is visually or conceptually anorexic. In most cases Defastenist art is unified by it’s emphatically object based approach. Paradoxically however there is an element to the work that it wholly dialogic and conceptual-and that is the attempt to occupy a constructed reality. There is certainly a huge quantity of contemporary art, which lacks vitality and vigour. There is also an excess of art, which is continually validated purely by its existence. There is a surplus of cultural producers making work that says very little about anything. We believe that art has a function and that it should be useful, if not for society than at least for the artist."

Q. Are there any Defastenist exhibits of art planned for the near future? If so, where and when.

A. "Obsessive Territories

(Terra Firma from 10m² 100,000km²)
Artworks by Gary Farrelly
Curated by Donna-Marie O’Donovan and Padraic E.Moore

17th-27th November 2006
Benburb Street
Dublin City.
(This exhibition space is situated a short distance from the "Museum" tram station)

"Unreal City"
Defastenist Publication by Padraic E.Moore
Issued Late November-Early December 2006

Don’t Cry-Work!
An exhibition of objects and occurrences including the work of selected Defastenist artists.
Curated by Padraic E.Moore

7th-21st February 2007.
The Back Loft
St.Augustine Street.
Dublin City 8

Please feel free to Contact Padraic E.Moore at boybright1982@yahoo.com for details on any of the above."
Q. Do you think that the current art world is 'dead'? How do the Defastenist plan to bring life and energy back to the world of art?

A. "The Art world cannot die. It is a parallel world that fluctuates and alters in accordance with the changes that occur within the greater society. Our campaigns may impact upon and be acknowledged by the Art world of which we are a component.

However, while revolutionisation and modification of art and society may be something that we focus upon frequently we will do this only on our own terms. We bring life and energy into the world of art simply by declaring ourselves as audaciously active.

While we may occasionally critique and comment upon the world of art it is not our aim or duty to eradicate or interfere with any aspects of this world. Our propaganda may suggest that we desire a level of totalitarian control over the art world, but this is itself an expression of playful and libidinous caprice. Everybody who wishes to be so deserves to be creative, but one is aware that being an artist, curator, critic etc. should never be taken lightly. There is not enough time or space for people who are not serious about their aims or ideas. One must create knowing that to do entails responsibility and self-awareness."

Q. It has been noted that the Defastenist expression of an inner world has some parallels with the surrealist. Can you explain this connection?

A. "The connection is a little tenuous but is also quite accurate in a number of ways. Though we do ally ourselves to the Mothers and Fathers of Modernism I don’t think that we have the same absolute faith in the future. Our Utopian dream results from a sense of desperation and despair with the reality that the present is constantly under threat of extinction. We live in an age that is scarred by the disasters of the past and blind to the fact that nothing has evolved despite the catastrophes of the various Holocausts, atomic warfare, and the countless wars.

Our aspirations to be international \certainly connect us with the Surrealists, as does our proclivity toward the issuing of manifestoes, declarations and statements. Similarly, we recognise the necessity to be accepting and unafraid of the concept of art as commodity. In order to sustain ourselves we must continue to be economically successful."

Q. Defastenism has been connected with Stuckism. How are they the same? Are there any differences?

A. "Many, many differences. Some similarities. Stuckism was very important in the early phases of Defastenism for sure. However this has become less and less the case. While the infatuation with the Modernist Project has united the two movements the Defastenist party borrows much more heavily from political, beureaucratic and economic methodologies. We have also developed a much more theoretical approach which results in the production of many histories and mythologies which use art history as a material from which Defastenist Art can be constructed…"

Q. Is there a risk that a return to figurative art (and other art strongly supported by the Defastenist) will be under-stimulating mentally? Does accessibility mean dumbing down?

A. "Whether or not the work produced by Defastenist artists is predominantly figurative or not is a cause for constant debate. I would argue that much of the work produced relies solely upon formal qualities of colour and line to produce an impact. I think It’s an over simplification to correlate Figurative Art as somehow simpler or easier to understand.

I believe that often art, which is perceived as "under stimulating", is the responsibility of the viewer as opposed to the artist. However, I do believe that currently there is an excess of art dealing with social and political issues in a quasi- corrective manner. I abhor art that is lauded purely for that fact that it deals with problematic issues or sectors of society. Art is not social work and Art should not be utilised as some sort of therapeutic tool, which is "given" in a condescending way to communities (such as the homeless or indigent) by the priveliged. This process seems to suggest that people still believe that art it might somehow enlighten and improve the lives of those who have been unfortunate.

Accessibility does not mean dumbing down. Those who find Defastenist ideologies and tautologies excessively complex are not obliged to engage with this aspect of our practice in order to understand or enjoy our produce. The work produced by Defastenists functions on a variety of levels and is generally comprehensible to anybody willing to engage. While there is incredible scope for misinterpretation of our methodologies and philosophies the artworks generally speak for themselves as autonomously successful entities."

Q. How many members are involved with the movement at this time?

A. "There are currently 5 core members of the group in Dublin .It is the Dublin group which is the principal corps of the party. This number excludes the Defastenist Youth Party, the Royal Family of Defastena, The Friends Association, the Anonymous Members and the factions we have in Galway, Berlin, London and Paris."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about Defastenism or art in general?


I hope you have enjoyed this interview with Padraic Moore of the Defastenist. Feel free to contact him for further information.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Art In The News: The Controversial Art of Xiao Yu

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Xiao Yu, an artist from China, received harsh criticism after exhibiting one of his pieces in a Swiss gallery exhibit. Xiao named the piece "Ruan", a name he invented by combining Chinese letters that come from the names of a variety of animals. The piece was constructed with animal and human parts including: the eyes of a rabbit, the body of a bird, and the head of a human baby. Due to public outcry the piece was pulled from the galleries collection of Chinese art which was on display at the Bern Fine Art Museum.

The work was pulled after several museum visitors filed complaints with Bern's District Attorney. Visitors questioned the ethics of the piece and wanted to know where the head had come from. The concern was due in part to the problem of late-term abortions in China. Visitors feared that the head was acquired specifically to be used in Xiao's art. Many were also upset because they felt the work showed great disrespect for the dead. Legal action against Xiao is pending.

Xiao Yu has defended "Ruan" and has attempted to answer any questions that the public may have about it. He has stated, "It's precisely because I respect all life that I did this. The bird and the fetus both died because there was something wrong with them. I thought putting them together like this was a way for them to have another life." Xiao observes his work as a warning against abortion in China where newborns can be killed by family planning officials when it is discovered the baby was born without a license.

However, people are still offended by "Ruan" and it has yet to be displayed since being censored. "I want it to be displayed," he said.Xiao claims he bought the head in 1999 for a few hundred yuan from a man who was cleaning out a scientific exhibition hall. The head, which had been stored in a glass bottle, came with a handwritten sticker identifying it as a female specimen from the 1960s.

According to Xiao, the bottle had no name or cause of death written upon it, but did have a date of birth that had meaning for him as an artist. Xiao has since lost the paper, but knows that the date of birth was close to his. He stated, "It was close to my birthdate though, I remember that because I thought it was coincidental,". So he decided to use the specimen in order to convey a message against a practice that he does not agree with.

Xiao feels that if children are considered no better than animals by the Chinese government it is perfectly acceptable to use them as objects. In a sense, Xiao observes it as no worse than mounting an animals severed head upon a wall. Xiao feels that "Ruan" reveals the hypocrisy over the abortion issue and the staggering Chinese abortion rate.

Xiao assumed the fetus was miscarried, based on the condition of the remains and the stage of development of the head. It is unlikely that it was an aborted fetus because the assumed birt date predated China's "one child" birth control policy. However, Xiao has failed to remember the exact birthdate of the remains nor does he have any other physical proof of where he obtained the head.

Xiao is no stranger to controversy. He is known for his shocking material. For another installation, he paid an assistant 10,000 yuan (US$1,200; euro1,000) to sew pairs of living lab mice together at the hip and displayed them in glass bowls. However, Xiao has been adamant about stating that his work is not about shock. He claims to create in order to convey a message about the issues he believes in.

What do you think about Xiao Yu and his creations? Do you think his work goes against ethics when he creates to attack issues that he feels are not ethical?

Take care, Stay true

Brian Sherwin

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Art Space Talk: Terry Marks

I recently interviewed Terry Marks, a narrative painter from New York. Terry, under the guidance of Charles Thomson, started the New York Stuckist group. She was one of the US artists in the landmark show The Stuckists Punk Victorian at the Walker Art Gallery during the 2004 Liverpool Biennial.

In my opinion, her surrealistic images reveal her prowess for story-telling with visual art. In my opinion, the expressive quality of her work symbolizes the realm of our collective dreams. A place where anything can happen (and most likely does.). Her work provokes me to think about Jungian psychology.

I hope you enjoy my interview with artist Terry Marks:

Q. Can you tell our blog readers about Stuckism? Who founded it, why, and how did you get involved with the movement?

A. "Stuckism is a controversial art group that was co-founded in 1999 by Charles Thomson and Billy Childish. The name was derived from an insult to Childish from his ex-girlfriend, Brit artist Tracey Emin, who had told him that his art was 'Stuck' in the past. Stuckism has since grown to an international art movement with over eighty groups around the world. I became involved in spring of 2001 when I heard a radio piece on NPR. I emailed Charles Thomson and asked if there was a local chapter in New York City I could join. There was none, so I started one myself. That was back before 9/11 of course; since then the city's economy has not been too rosy for jobs and I haven't had much time to devote to organizing art events."

Q. Can you characterize the New York Stuckists as a group?

A. "Stuckists worldwide work without a universal theme or technique; the thing that binds us together is that we are (mostly) painters who work figuratively, although not necessarily realistically."

Q. Why do you, as an artist, oppose conceptual art?

A. "I don’t oppose conceptual art. I simply feel there is an overabundance of it in our current gallery system to the exclusion of other types of art. All art begins with a concept, but in order for the concept to become art something additional must happen to give it a physical manifestation in addition to the idea. And by physical manifestation, I don’t mean taking the contents of a bathroom cabinet & rearranging them in a gallery, I mean something made and edited by the hands of an artist using thought processes and actual art-making skills. Skills beyond finding some random stuff around the house and putting it on a pedestal or in a frame and displaying it in a gallery. Skills like drawing and painting."

Q. Explain how the New York Stuckists focus on figurative art conveys a message about the human condition that could never be captured by a conceptual artist?

A. "Each individual artist has his or her own message, conceptual artists included. Art that contains representations of the human figure, however, is easier for most people to relate to, and so is a more direct way of conveying a story or message. Movies, for example, are not abstract or purely conceptual, they have people in them for a good reason: to help tell a story. Conceptual art often has long accompanying texts, which must be read before the artist's meaning is revealed, and this is alienating for many people, myself included."

Q. It has been stated that Stuckists paint their life, mind and soul with no excuses or pretensions. How is this true for you personally?

A. "My work is story-telling through painting. It’s pretty much right out there with what it is. It’s not pretending to be anything else. It’s not a pair of underpants pinned to a gallery wall, claiming to be about something other than what it is, other than underwear."

Q. Some people have stated that Stuckism is like 'taking a step back' in the future direction of art and that it is just a repeat of past art movements. What would you say to people who view Stuckism in this manner?

A. "Sometimes you take a fork in the road and it turns out you’re headed in the wrong direction, so you need to double back to the fork and go the other way, to see where that leads. It's not going back, it's taking a different route forward. I’m not painting like the 20th century never happened. I may be using an old technique, but my paintings are all about the world I see today and stuff that is in my imagination now."

Q. In August 2005 Stuckist artists were represented in a Remodernist show at CB's313 gallery in New York. Did the general public embrace the show? Did any New York Stuckists take part in the show?

A. "I myself took part in the show, as well as Stuckists from other US cities and overseas. The show was very popular and well attended, in part because CBGBs, the legendary punk music venue, was closing down, so the show was visited by many tourists wanting to have a last look at the place, as well as people interested in the artwork."

Q. It has been stated that conceptual art is stagnate. Do you think that the current art world is 'dead'?

A. "It’s not dead but its pulse is very low. In my opinion it needs a jolt of something new to revive and become interesting and lively again."

Q. How has the New York Stuckists fit into the New York art scene? Are your members accepted or are they seen as some form of threat by artists not involved with the movement?

A. " I can't speak for anybody else, but nobody sees me as a threat because nobody sees me. I am invisible as far as the New York art world is concerned."

Q. Can you give us links to your art?

A. "Terry Marks http://www.artgalny.com/"

How can one become involved with The New York Stuckists?

"contact: terry@artgalny.com "

Thanks for reading this interview with Terry Marks of the New York Stukists. Feel free to critique Terry's art.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

Friday, October 27, 2006

Art Space Talk: Charles Thomson

I recently interviewed Charles Thomson about his work with the Stuckists. Mr. Thomson is a founder of The Medway Poets and co-founder of the Stuckists art group.

The views of Stuckism has spread throughout the world since the early days of its conception. Members worldwide convey the need for a focus on figurative painting and have a pro-painting mentality with their work.

Many of the Stuckists I've met (There will be other interviews.)strive to redirect the direction that the current artworld is heading. In other words, they oppose conceptual art. Mr. Thomson's vision paved the way for this movement.

Mr. Thomson creates paintings that reflect the energy of his personality. In my opinion, he uses the figure to give insight into the world around him. A few of his paintings seem to reflect his opinion of the current 'artworld'. I see them as a warning to young artists who may become influenced to the point of 'creative imprisonment' by conceptual art.

Now for the interview...

Interview with Charles Thomson
by Brian Sherwin on 10/23/06

Q. You are a co-founder of Stuckism. Can you tell our blog readers about the original Stuckists? Who founded it and why? What part did you play?

A. "The Stuckists started in 1999 with 13 artists, no backing and no resources, just an idea (and paintings). It is pro-figurative painting with ideas and anti-conceptual art. It was formed to promote our work and our ideas. It aims to replace Britart in this country and change art worldwide (it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it). The core of the group had worked together on and off from 1979, when we had a performance group called The Medway Poets. It was my idea and I asked Billy Childish to co-found it with me. He left after two years and now calls me the founder. I coined the name after Billy told me that his ex girlfriend Tracey Emin (who was part of our entourage in the mid 1980s) had said that he was "stuck"."

Q. Can you characterize the Stuckists as a group? What generation do they belong to? What is their message?

A. "They are an individualist, honest group of people, mostly "outsiders" to mainstream society, as a lot of artists are. There’s a bit of an influence from punk and some from 1960s counter culture. Age range is early thirties to mid fifty. However, there are now 153 allied groups in 37 countries, the youngest member being 15 years old. Their basic message is painting pictures."

Q. In your opinion, what is wrong with conceptual art?

A. "Its lack of concepts. It has one main concept, which is Marcel Duchamp’s idea, namely to take something which people do not think can possibly be art, put it in an art gallery and call it art. This, of course, is guaranteed to create an immediate furore, is very easy to achieve, and has no lasting value. It is an art of mundane materialism, which is why it is described so fully in terms of its materials. It is then dressed up with significance which it does not intrinsically possess. If it did, then there would be no need to dress it up. A dead shark is not a comment on death and does not address the issue of death: it is simply the result of death, which Damien Hirst has exhibited. To make a comment, you have to use a medium capable of manipulation in an expressive manner. Paint is such a medium. A fish corpse is not such a medium."

Q. Is the British art scene watered down with conceptual art? Do you think it will harm the next generation’s view about what is art and what is not?

A. "It is completely debilitated by conceptual art, and this affects even painters, who are ashamed of simply painting pictures and have to create something conceptual. So Chris Ofili attaches lumps of elephant dung, and Jenny Saville draws pretentious marks on her impressively painted bodies (and calls her paintings "pieces"). This detracts from, not enhances, the communication. It’s harmed the current generation, let alone the next. It’s harmed my view of art. We can’t escape from its pervasive effect. However, there will be a reaction, as there always is. Something which is empty will be discarded by time."

Q. Does the popularity of the Young British Artists reflect the aesthetic tastes of the public? Or are they being 'forced down the publics throat'?

A. "The YBAs aren’t popular and their work isn’t popular. It’s just got a lot of media attention, because it’s a novelty and makes good copy. It’s had the benefit of some supremely effective PR from some very talented people in that department, primarily Charles Saatchi, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin."

Q. Stuckism has received a great deal of criticism. Is it stressful for you or do you just laugh it off?

A. "It is an accolade. It shows that people recognise its existence. It also demonstrates how much of a challenge it is. Study history: this is nothing new. The Impressionists are a classic case. I think I would feel very worried if the people that criticise it, didn’t. I don’t have much respect for them."
Q. Damien Hirst is greatly opposed by the Stuckists. Do you think he will ever break away from conceptual art? Or is he locked-in, so to speak?

A. "I don’t know what he’ll do, but it’s highly unlikely to be anything other than academic formalism. He is the contemporary equivalent of the leading 19th century salon artists."

Q. What do you think about former Stuckists, such as Stella Vine, who now reject the group? She now expresses hostility toward the group, but it seems she had no problem exhibiting in the Vote Stuckist show in 2001. Do you take said rejection personal?

A. "Stella had just started painting and was overjoyed to be exhibited in the Stuckist show. She was exposed to a lot of artists there, who have subsequently had an influence on her (see http://www.stuckism.com/Vine1/Index.html ). Her painting of Princess Diana was based on the same idea as my painting "Sir Nicholas Serota Makes an Acquisitions Decision" – namely to imagine what a famous person is thinking and write the words next to a portrait of them. She has made an intelligent, innovative and personal interpretation of influences to form her own identity, which is what all artists do. It is only fair and honest to acknowledge there was this help and there has been an influence, but she doesn’t do this, and I think it’s because she can’t see it, even though it’s obvious to others.

There is a strong personal element with Stella as we were (briefly) married. I don’t take it personally, as she seems to reject everyone. I don’t take it personally with other artists either. I can see why people want to change circumstances in their life, to explore a new route. I’ve felt like that myself very strongly at times.

It doesn’t matter if people reject the group. Historically they still have to be evaluated in terms of it. Monet left the Impressionists group, but that fact is of minimal significance: he is still the leading Impressionist. Stella is a Stuckist artist, as is Billy Childish for that matter and other "ex Stuckists". The group is a means to an end, which is the art. The incredible thing is that there is still a core group after 7 years. That period has defined Stuckism, regardless of what happens next."

Q. What do you think of Charles Saatchi. Is he doing more harm than good as to the advancement of art?

A. "He has made art a major mainstream media subject and I think that’s a good thing. He has also been very instrumental in boosting a lot of artists’ careers (Stella Vine being one example). With his Your Gallery space on the Saatchi Gallery web site, he has created a level playing field, where anyone can show their work. (See http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/yourgallery/ ) All in all, an amazing and unique character. The downside is that he is a self-confessed neophiliac and his obsession with "newness" results in a lot of superficiality, as well as taking the limelight away from older, more established artists."

Q. The original 20-point Stuckist manifesto states, "Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists.". There seems to be some confusion over the meaning of this statement. Care to elaborate?

A. "Our manifestos are not dormant intellectual documents. They are designed to have an effect and work for their living. They are a collage of different approaches. The text you quote is a direct riposte to the statement "painting is dead". If people want to say that, then we can equally say our statement. It is deliberately provocative. It asserts the importance of painting, or at least appears to, but it is also a nonsensical statement from a logical point of view, as it is self-contradictory. People can make of it what they want. It is both serious and an act of buffoonery. It seems to have got attention at any rate, and most people seem to think we wrote "If you don’t paint, you’re not an artist", which is fine by me."

Q. How have art schools threatened the advancement of painting? Do you think attending art school (in the current art school system) is a waste of money for people who are serious about their work?

A. "Art schools on the whole are complete disaster zones, full of blinkered prejudice from egocentric tutors imbued with fashion (which is now conceptualism and new media), at the expense of the students whose growth they are meant to be fostering. Like all disasters, some people are damaged and others emerge with a strengthened vision. The Stuckists are in the latter camp. It’s a good training ground for the wider art world, and, if you’re prepared to fit in, it can be a helpful career step. It’s also a place to meet people, and the trouble is that there’s nowhere else to go at that stage in your art development. Some of the Stuckists have never been to art college, but they’ve had the benefit of working with a group of artists, most of whom have been to art college."

Q. In your opinion, what kind of artists are coming out of academic settings?

A. "Academic settings are production lines and encourage conformity in order to achieve institutional success. If it’s a good production line, then people emerge with the benefits of learning and the inheritance of knowledge. Today the production line is geared up to junk culture, so that’s what emerges – lost souls. I keep on meeting them. Some are lost because they believed everything they were told, and some because they couldn’t relate to it at all."

Q. Art schools today seem to be very much against figurative work (I can think of a few that told me, "That is not done here." Would you agree?

A. "I keep on meeting those as well. It is a widespread (thought not universal) phenomenon in my experience. That’s not a situation of education; it is one of indoctrination and duplicity, posing as freedom and liberalism."

Q. Many people find conceptual art intellectually stimulating. Is there a risk that a return to figurative art will be under-stimulating mentally? Does accessibility mean dumbing down?

A. "Conceptual art is intellectually stimulating in the same way that a crossword puzzle is – i.e. ultimately producing nothing of greater value beyond itself. You have to have a very limited application of intellect in the first place to find that intellectually stimulating. Figurative painting – at least the form of it advocated and practised by Stuckists – is far more intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and experientially demanding and testing. It also needs an equivalent capacity in the viewer to understand it properly, which is why a lot of people write it off easily: they are only capable of looking at it superficially. It’s easy to apply intellect to the limited arena of art innovation, but a far greater achievement to interpret life experience (at all levels) and give it a convincing and powerful symbolic form, i.e. to make an accurate picture of it. The result is revealing, and, if done properly, evocative and compelling in a unique way, which found objects can never attain, because their mundanity is always apparent."

Q. Do Stuckists focus on the human condition in order to convey a form of 'pure truth'?

A. "I don’t think so. That seems to be an over-grand statement. Just "truth" is good enough – truth about what is really going on in us with certain experiences and states of mind, when that is often hidden behind what we’d like to think is going on in us."

Q. Do you think this 'truth' is missing in the current art world?

A. "Of course. There is endless bullshit and self-deception. This is encouraged in all sorts of ways, not least economic and social pressure to conform."

Q. It has been said that the current 'art world' is dead due to works that lack any sense of emotion. Do you think so?

A. "Conceptual art by definition is thought-based and of necessity devalues emotion. Any art predicated on that is bound to be dead. That’s fine for the sciences, but art is the area of the psyche and emotion is fundamental. The simple test of art is whether it enhances or depletes your emotional being. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes you happy, but that it makes you feel more whole, which often means accepting the negative aspects rather than denying them. Conceptual art is a form of denial, i.e. deadness."

Q. Do the Stuckists seek to bring life and energy back to the 'art world'?

A. "We already have with all our activities. It’s there for anyone that wants it."

Q. In August 2005 Stuckists were represented in a Remodernist show at CB's313 gallery in New York, along with Defastenist artists, and Remodernist film makers and photographers. Did the general public embrace the show? Did you take part in the show?

A. "I didn’t organise it. It was done by Jesse Richards and Tony Juliano. I don’t know much about it. I did have a painting in it. I was co-curator of The Stuckists Punk Victorian show at the Walker Art Gallery, a national museum, in Liverpool in 2004. That got a fantastic public response. There was no need for the art to be interpreted. It spoke for itself directly. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stuckists_Punk_Victorian"

Q. Do you think people once again have faith in the revolutionary power of art due to groups like Stuckism? If so, was this a goal of Stuckism?

A. "Revolution for its own sake is a bad thing. Revolution is only valid if there is a situation that needs to be changed, which happens to be the case at the moment. A lot of people have found Stuckism inspiring, because it shows that artists can assert themselves without any backing or establishment approval. That is a very good thing because it is empowering and affirms people’s trust in themselves. Stuckism has very clear about its agenda from the outset to effect a change. However, I’ve always seen Stuckism as the establishment, which has to be the attitude of any responsible revolution."

Q. How did you feel when Billy Childish left the group 2001?

A. "Slightly disappointed, but mainly relieved. He made a great contribution and helped to get the whole thing going, but, as he admits, he’s not very good at working with groups, unless he’s in charge and they are done his way. Things needed to be done to promote the group that he would have been increasingly uncomfortable about (he didn’t even like a lot of the art). We have continued to collaborate privately."

Q. How many members are involved with the movement at this time? Is there a great deal of networking involved?

A. "There are 153 Stuckist groups in 37 countries. They are all independent and self-directed. Some are probably defunct and others have staged solo, group or international shows. The people involved are artists, not impresarios. There have been some strong connections made. The German Stuckists have collaborated on two shows recently. The Triumph of Stuckism show and international symposium at Liverpool art college and university included international work and speakers from the UK, Germany, Greece and Australia."

Q. How can one become involved with the Stuckists?

A. "Simple – join or found a group: http://www.stuckism.com/Enquiries.html#Artists - then what people do is entirely up to them. Or come along to our Turner Prize demo at Tate Britain (NB not Tate Modern), Monday 4 December, 10 am – 2 pm and 6 – 8 pm. It will be the seventh year."

Q. Do you think the ideology of Stuckism will continue to grow? Can you foresee future generations of Stuckists?

A. "It is growing all the time. That’s because it’s got a valuable message – be true to yourself. It’s also got a good product, paintings. Would you rather have a picture in your living room or a dead sheep? Effectively there are already future generations. Recent graduates and even people still at school (as with the Underage Stuckists http://www.myspace.com/underagestuckists ) are identifying with the Stuckists. It will presumably go the way of all art (and other) movements, reaching a pinnacle of influence and being absorbed into the wider culture. It is still at the beginning stage of that process."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about Stuckism or art in general?

A. "When Stuckism started in 1999, I was on BBC2 Newsnight, and the presenter, Jeremy Paxman, was very worried in case the whole thing was a joke. This year Sir Nicholas Serota said on BBC Radio 4 that the Stuckists "have acted in the public interest" and was forced to change Tate policy as a result. That transition is something nobody could have predicted. Edward Lucie-Smith commented, "Saatchi "has begun to rely on the intuitions of… the Stuckism movement." Stuckism is now studied in schools, colleges and universities. We have already had a telling effect on art in the UK, but one that has not been acknowledged. That effect is growing and in time the acknowledgement will come. People respond to Stuckism because it is an art made by human beings for human beings, and not, as with the current dominant mode of art, an emotionally and spiritually sterile commercial exercise."

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about Charles Thomson and the Stuckists. Be sure to visit the Stukist website to learn more: http://www.stuckism.com/

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Be Your Own Rockstar: My Thoughts on the Need for Style Specialization

Have you ever went to a gallery only to find out that half of the various styles of work exhibited were created by a single artist? If so, what did you think? Did you think the artist was good since he or she exhibited skill in various styles of artistic creation? Or did you feel that it would have been better had the artist focused on one style? Is it better to have twenty exhibited pieces that display various styles or twenty that push the limits of a single style? Personally, I find that it is better if an artist exhibits work that share a common connection or style. Thus, I ask the question, "Should artists specialize In a certain style of art?

(Before anyone is insulted by the idea of 'style specialization' I want to make clear that I think it is good for every artist to experiment with different styles. Style experimentation can be the most efficient way to learn different techniques. I'm not suggesting that artists should only create one style of work in their studios. However, I think it is wise to exhibit only one style of work as far as a career in art is concerned. Especially if the artist is seeking recognition for his or her work.)

It has been said that much can be learned from history. I think 'style specialization' is a perfect example of this. For example, open up any art history book and you will probably recognize a painting by Vincent Van Gogh without bothering to look at the name under the image. The same goes for Picasso, Dali, and many MANY others. You know the styles. Thus, you know the artists.

It seems that many famous artists focused on one style even though they tried various ways to express themselves visually throughout their careers. Others tried many forms of self-expression, but are famous for one period of consistent work (Normally created in their early years as artists.). In my opinion, history holds the facts. The fact for artists (in my opinion) is that it is better to specialize on one style as far as exhibiting is concerned.

Think of it this way... the images an artist creates is often seen as a representation of who the artist is. Thus, it is important to find a unique style of expressing yourself and to stick with it. You will stand a better chance of gaining recognition for who you are and what you do. After all, if an artist creates several styles of work the viewing public may find it hard to form a connection with the images and the artist who has created them. This is why the artist seeking recognition must strive to form a connection with those who observe his or her art. The best way to accomplish this is style specialization.

I think about rock bands when I ponder the need for 'style specialization'. Would you enjoy listening to a cd if every other track sounded totally different from the next? Would you go to see the band perform live? I will assume that most people would say "no". After all, who wants to become a fan of a band that is not consistent?

The variety of music may come off as an inability to form a connection from one song to the next. It may also be seen as a lack of talent or authenticity. Do you see many people lining up to watch a garage band performing cover-songs? In the same light, I don't see that many people rushing to an art exhibit to view the work of an artist who does not utilize 'style specialization'.

The most popular bands have had a certain 'sound'. As a painter, I think there is much to learn from that. This is why I think artists should strive to create a certain 'look' with the art they exhibit. A 'look' that people will recognize even if their name is not upon the piece. This does not mean that the art has to be beautiful or ugly. It just has to be you. It has to be a representation of who you are and what you believe in. By conveying that visually (and exhibiting what you create) you will be one step further than artists who are still working with a 'garage band' mentality.

True, there are bands that become 'tired' after so many years of performing and releasing albums. More often than not, they find something that works and abuse it to the point that their music mirrors everything that they have done before. Only the most die-hard fans will take delight in listening to that sort of noise! The same goes for visual artists. One must be wary not to repeat him or herself.

Focusing on 'style specialization' does not mean that an artist should be locked within a comfort zone. One should strive to expand his or her style specialization (this is where the studio experimentation with other styles comes into play.) so as to not become stagnate.

Keep in mind that working with a certain style should not be like sitting in a cell. Just like the best musical groups a visual artist should work with his or her style in order to advance it in new directions and to reach anyone who is willing to 'listen'. The visual artist must bust through the bars! Remember, creative expression imprisoned is no expression at all... be consistent with what you exhibit, find your 'style specialization', and become a visual rockstar!

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Art In The News: Top Twenty Most Powerful People In The Art World.

The ArtReview magazine has released its annual list of one hundred powerful people. Here are the top twenty on the list:

1: François Pinault, owner of Gucci and Christies, also owns around 2,000 pieces of contemporary art which he displays in his private gallery in a Venetian palace

2: Larry Gagosian, dealer, five galleries around the world

3: Sir Nicholas Serota, director, Tate Modern

4: Glenn D Lowry, director, Museum of Modern Art, New York

5: Samuel Keller, director of the Art Basel art fair

6: Eli Broad, Los Angeles-based collector and philanthropist

7: Charles Saatchi, collector and gallery owner

8: Matthew Slotover & Amanda Sharp, co-publishers of Frieze magazine and co-directors of Frieze art fair

9: Bruce Nauman, American artist

10: Jeff Koons, American artist

11: Damien Hirst, British artist

12: Brett Gorvy & Amy Cappellazzo, international co-heads of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's, New York

13: Robert Storr, American curator

14: Iwan Wirth, Swiss dealer, part of Zwirner & Wirth

15: Marian Goodman, New York-based gallerist

16: David Zwirner, New York gallerist

17: Gerhard Richter, German artist

18: Marc Glimcher, New York gallerist

19: Jay Jopling, owner, White Cube gallery, London

20: Mike Kelley, American artist

Art Space Talk: Renato Klieger Gennari

I recently interviewed artist Renato Klieger Gennari. Mr. Gennari is currently living in Brazil. He is very aware of the plight of children torn by the struggles of war and he uses this passion to create works that he hopes will change the world for the better. His experiences influence his work. By utilizing technology he hopes to create a style of art that will speak to the masses. His message is one of peace.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I have always had an important relationship with arts. Since I was a child I have lived surrounded by paintings that my mother used to create. It has always been my dream, but it came true when I won the Philips Art’s contest for young talents in 2001. The prize gave me strength to believe in the artistic potential of my work."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are their any social implications in your art?

A. "Society in general always influences an artist. I have always enjoyed observing people and the environment as characters. Very often I impress social interests in my works, because they are over there and cannot be ignored. But I do not treat the personal and existential problems with less interest or attention, what can be perceived in a lot of my works."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "My mother has inspired me a lot since I was a child. As I went growing old, I started searching for my own range of artists. I am enthusiastic about the Futurism and Renaissance. Those were two ages that have always impressed me."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?
A. "When I was a child I left São Paulo City in order to live inland. I had wonderful experiences in direct contact with nature. When I went back to the city in order to attend college I had a very big impact. That has influenced a lot the work I started developing since then.Living in Brazil is to know realities completely discordant of yours all the time. The function of my work ends up being to put the differences outward without prejudices and question them."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "I hope they are people who believe that art can help to build a better world to live in."

Q. Do you have an upcoming exhibit? If so, where and when?

A. "At first not, but I accept invitations."

Q. Where do you see your art in 10 years? What are your plans?

A. "My plans for my artistic career are to be able to integrate graphic animation once and for all as main media of my works. I have been working little by little, and I have already obtained good results in the past 2 years. I have always been enthusiastic about technology. I have always been investing in Computer Graphics. I do not imagine another type of media that is more favorable to my work than the digital media."
Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

A. "When I created that image I thought about the suffering children lived in a postwar territory. Which those children's acceptance limits were, which the motivation to continue living was and up to where human being is capable to accept such brutality exhibition in the media or in the entertainment area. I think it is the synthesis of what the media market is capable to produce in human beings; a public acceptance of violence."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "My creation process never follows a very linear reasoning. I usually try to draw a lot and observe my creation with critical look. Then I change to the digital process, either in a 3D or 2D software, depending on my objective."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "Mainly due to the practicality and reply promptitude that computer can offer. I remember when I bought my first digital camera and used to take photos of everything I saw. As the reply is fast, you train your photographic look with a much higher speed than you did in the past. The same happens with illustration and animation. The experimentation field is immeasurable."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art?

A. "I am graduated in social communication in Brazil by Universidade Católica de São Paulo, but I am going to take a post graduation course in Computer Graphics."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "In my website http://www.renatokg.com/"

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? If not, do you want to be?

A. "No, but it is a subject that I am opened to discuss."

Q. Why do you create art?

A. "Because I believe that art is capable to build up a better world."

Q. Where can we find you on myartspace.com?

A. "You can look for Renatokg than you will find me."

I hope you have enjoyed this interview with artist Renato Klieger Gennari. Critiques are welcome.
Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

Monday, October 23, 2006

Art Space Talk: Lupse Alexandru

Lupse Alexandru is an artist from Romania. In my opinion, his work is a mix of beauty and brutality.

Broken figures caught in a surrealistic background come together in a sense of urgency.In their solitude they stand as a symbol of our collective frustrations.

They truly capture the raw emotion that some of us experience in times of doubt. Mr. Alexandru combines these aspects of the human condition with great skill.

In my opinion, Mr. Alexandru's figurative paintings seem to be full of rage. One feels a sense of loss upon viewing them. However, behind these tortured figures there is a sense of hope.

I hope that you enjoy this interview with artist Lupse Alexandru.
Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I was born in an artistic enviroment, my father is an art teacher and a painter and my brother is a film maker, so i could say that art runs in the family. What really got me started to follow this path was H.R.Giger and the vision in his works. I was impressed by the characters and the way he was depicting the moments in his life."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "Art is some kind of buffer zone for me, that filters my life and my dreams."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "My art is really personal and although society influences my life, i like to think that my artistic vision remains somehow untouched by it. I try to depict primal feelings like love, hate, pain, sorrow and loneliness. I feel that those are the "creatures" that survive until the end of our lifes."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "There are many and I will start with my father who even though has never pushed me to paint and follow his footstepts, gaved me the basics from wich everything emerged. Other major influences :Vermer, Rembrandt,Manet, Monet, Degas, Munch, Bacon, Klimt, Beksinski, H.R. Giger and the list can go on."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "Verry much so , everything i feel is reflected in my art. All my past experiences, wishes and dreams make up a "canvas",I just add a bit of colour to it."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "That's an interesting question. Usually, i think a lot of people that relate to my art style , have some deep influences from Rock music, and like to dress in black. But that's just my ideea. I have to admit that 90 % of my works are made on rock or ambiental Metal music. It depends a lot to the customer's previous life experience."
Q. Do you have an upcoming exhibit? If so, where and when?

A. "Next month I might have one, with some fellow artists, other than that, nothing for the moment."

Q. Where do you see your art in 10 years? What are your plans?

A. "I don't know, and I don't think I can answer this, because i never make plans for more than two weeks ahead. I like to be surprised by life. So maybe we will talk again in 10 years so that i can give you the answer for this."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

A. "This is a question i won't answer because i never like explain my paintings, and i think no artist should. It's important what the viewer can see and can understand from it. A lot of times i realised that explaining a painting to the viewer can inhibit his perception to understand it in his own way."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "I never have a plan or a final ideea of the finished work. It evolves from the first brushstroke until the end. Sometime i even start with some random lines that may help or ruin the work in the end. I sometimes use flaws like wrong brushstrokes, drops, dirt, dust and if there isn't a flaw, I might create one. I think that makes it unique and with that it gets more complex.

Another important part of the process is the ambiance and the sound of the place I work in."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "i don't think I'm limited to only one medium, but oil painting suits me for the time being."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art?

A. "I graduated the University of Fine Arts in Cluj Napoca, and I have a Masters Degree in Fine Art at The National University of Arts - Bucharest."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "I have some works displayed on http://lupsealexandru.deviantart.com/ and soon on my official website www.lupsealexandru.ro"

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? If not, do you want to be?

A. "I have paintings in private colections on online galleries but i can't say I am represented by any of them. Sure , who wouldn't?"

Q. How many pieces have you sold in your career?

A. "Not as many as I thought i would, but i'm still optimistic about it."

Q. Why do you create art?

A. "I can't see me not doing it. I feel that this is the only way I can really express myself to the world, and make a statement for any subject. Somebody said "Impression without expression results depression".

Q. Where can we find you on myartspace.com?

A. "My id is soulripper5 or u can search my gallery Nocturnal Emission."

Check out Mr. Alexandru's myartspace.com gallery by doing a search for soulripper5 on the main site: http://myartspace.com/ Feel free to critique his work.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

Art Space Talk: Nikita Brinev

I recently interviewed artist Nikita Brinev. In my opinion, Mr. Brinev's work is very 'raw'. He seems to cut down to the bare essence of what it is to be human in his paintings.

Mr. Brinev's crude figures come together in order to form a complicated work of art. This expressive style of painting seems to convey a message that cuts to the core of the human condition. I see the majority of his paintings as a 'gut-shot of thought' in that they provoke me to as questions about society. I hope that they provoke you as well.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I started drawing in my childhood. My parents used to be artists and art was always part of the family atmosphere. Though I always liked the art I did not choose to make it part of my career. I’m a professional in international and comparative education, but still art is an integral part of my life. Since recently I felt art as a part of my professional art as well. There can be various definitions of professional art, but I consider myself to be a professional artist."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "Every other minute when I feel like contributing to my professional sphere with my art, I do so. It is expressed differently – by hanging my paintings in the office to make it look better as well as by developing web-sites which requires skills in web design. Personally, art gives me everything else that I cannot find in my professional life: self-expression, satisfaction, opportunity to spend my leisure time with creativity, and a dialogue with inner world."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "Of course, there are! During the era of post-modernism, it is difficult to avoid being unengaged with the society. Though during all times art was interconnected with reality so that it gained its specific character according to these relations. Though my artworks are different in medium, plot, and ideas, a number of them express some relationship with society, but it is pretty vague. Russian epos is one of the things that is interesting to me and that is reflected in some of the artworks."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "There are so many great artists that I cannot remember a certain name at the moment. I would say, there is no influence in terms of medium, techniques, or ideas. I just get inspired by what I see and it fuels me a lot to work more. At the same time, I cannot emphasize one or more artists here, and leave the others; every other artist has at least one artwork which I find impressive and which influences me to some extent."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "No, every other artwork is a reflection of inner feelings and experiences, not directly related to what and who I am in reality. I also think that it is not always important to find parallels between the works of an artist and his life. My "artistic character", if I can put it so, differs a lot from my character as a personality. It is a mixture of veiled emotions and thoughts, and I myself sometimes try to find parallels between the "taste" of them and my life. Moreover, I am antagonist of the idea that an artist should cherish "his own view upon this life, his unique vision". I consider that an artist should try to deliver ideas which are universal to all human beings, and those that are alive for thousands of years amongst peoples around the world."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "At the moment the majority of them are just my friends and acquaintances who just would like to see my works in their places. I do not sell a lot since taking part in exhibitions is more interesting to me because I have a deficit of just talking with other artists. I’m better represented in the Internet with my artworks than in exhibition halls and galleries, and this will change soon, I guess)"

Q. Do you have an upcoming exhibit? If so, where and when?

A. "Yes, I have initiated an art project "Contextual Art In Diverse Settings: Combating Conflict Through Visual Arts" at the CAMAC (CENTRE D’ART. MARNAY ART CENTRE) in France next summer. This project is affiliated with the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists Program. I’m also invited to have an exhibition in Germany after that."

Q. Where do you see your art in 10 years? What are your plans?

A. "I have very ambitious plans regarding my artistic future! The best plan is to work more and develop my artistic skills. Also, it would be great to obtain education in art which I’m missing a lot now. Another plan of mine is to "inculcate" love to arts to my little daughter since I think that art is one of the things that helps people become better in character and attitude towards the outer world."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

A. "For instance, two artworks represented at myartspace.com "fresco" – it is easy to trace my love towards indirect objects, which do not tell their "story" as it is, but conceal it a bit far from the viewers. But the trick is that there is not much story in all my artworks as it might sometimes look). Color, dab, stroke characters are more important for me than some subreptive essence. I do not simplify it, I feel the power of visual impact in these things. Perhaps, this is a temporary state till I’m still in search of my dimensions. I assume this can change soon."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "Feeling the power in color, dab, stroke characters, and other parts of visual presentation, I also believe in the artist’s emotional and spiritual state. I would not discuss my artistic process, but will just give you a hint that my ideal is the work of Russian orthodox icon-painters, who related art very close to spirituality. There is a mechanism of reciprocal influence between the viewer and the painting, and I think it is a responsibility of an artist to put as much good energy in it as possible!"

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I tried many mediums and still create many artworks using all of them. I like mixed media a lot since it give unexpected results. I like this unexpectedness in creating art, and I never plan what I’m going to depict before I start working. This resembles the "Stream of consciousness" which came from literature, but truly reflects the same mechanism of a dialogue between artist’s consciousness and inner concealed emotions. At the moment I’m taking a class in Pottery – another medium to express myself)"

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art?

A. "This December I’m finishing my MA program at Columbia University, and I’m close to defending my PhD back in Russia. Unfortunately I do not have a degree in arts, which is my desirable plan for the nearest future /hopefully/!"

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "Here are some of the web-sites where my artworks are represented: - http://hiero.ru/Nbrinyov - http://nb-art.blogspot.com/ - http://www.myartspace.com/ Here you can find some of my photographs: http://otherwise-photo.livejournal.com/ "

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? If not, do you want to be?

A. "No, I’m not. I would like to be represented by a gallery in the future."

Q. Why do you create art?

A. "I think I have answered this question in previous questions. Art is a requirement of my personality for self-expression and development."

Q. Where can we find you on myartspace.com?

A. "I’m registered as Nikita Brinev and posted my first gallery there called "NB-ART"

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Mr. Nikita Brinev. You can find his myartspace.com gallery by doing a search for nbrinyov on the main site.

Feel free to critique his art.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin