Morning Coffee IV – Art UK

Good morning all and welcome to this week’s Morning Coffee.

It’s been a busy and productive week so far and I plan to continue that productivity well into the weekend, there’s a lot to be done and 24 hours in a day is just not enough. I’ve laid out the canvas for the final painting of my current project; Ruins. I also published a new insight post this week, about Artistic Inspiration and the Muses and I’ve begun work on a small commission which looks to have a promising outcome.

This week I thought I would share a new website that I’ve recently discovered via an article in the Guardian newspaper and it looks to be a very promising site indeed.

The website is called Art UK and is basically a huge database of public works of art and it aims to include every public artwork whether it’s a painting, drawing, sculpture and so on, making them all available in one place and in turn creating the greatest online gallery of public art in the UK.

Currently, Art UK is home to over 212,000 artworks of almost 40,000 artists, so it is already a large collection and I’m sure it will grow ten fold over the coming years. As said before, all public art in the UK being showcased is the intention, and that will come to include the 80% of public art that is in storage and rarely seen by the public, bringing something seemingly new and refreshing to the public eye; also next year work will begin to capture and store over 100,000 sculptures.

As us art fanatics are already aware, there are a fair few online galleries of public artworks available online but there is something very promising about Art UK, I think it’s the effort they’re going to to find and store all of the UK’s public art and the fact that every image of the artworks stored will be of a high quality, eventually competing and possibly beating the likes of Wikimedia.

Personally I think it’s a huge undertaking but the results are sure to be fruitful and I will more than happily trawl through the website’s content, hopefully they will continue to include a decent bit of information on each artwork as well, more than just the medium, surface and size of the piece, I like something I can get my teeth into and that’s a rarity with most online gallery spaces. 

Another great thing about this initiative is that for the first time, the public art collection will be able to be reached by any member of the public that has access to the internet, which requires no money whatsoever if you have a library card and use a computer there; it truly opens up the art world to the entire populace and that’s the way it should be, after all it is the public that owns all of this art even if it is in an indirect manner.

That’s it for this week’s Morning Coffee, I have included the links to the Art UK site throughout this post but if you missed them you can find it at – http://www.artuk.org – it’s definitely worth checking out and it will continue to grow, projects such as this one are inspirational to us all as art lovers and keep us informed of our artistic heritage.

Until next time, take care and keep the coffee flowing!

JGlover

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Change of Direction – New Paths

So many people in this world are scared of change, whether big or little; I see it as an opportunity to adapt, start anew and build up an empire, alas, don’t ever fear change but on the contrary, embrace it. – J Glover

I recently made a decision that was found to be shocking by the people around me, my friends and even my wife, who knows me better than anyone. That decision was that after 2 years of working hard in education in order to go to uni, I will no longer be going. This decision wasn’t an off the cuff spur of the moment change of heart about my future caused by being unsure of what I want from life; my end game is the same, my objective clear and concise, a set destination of immovable strength; it’s just the road that I’m taking to get there that is different.

This was incited by troubles in getting the funding that I needed, a lot of hassle and stress that isn’t needed at the best of times, but this minor tribulation set off a whirlwind of thoughts and deep contemplation, tropical brainstorms and meditating until my pulse stopped, weighing up and reasoning on every aspect of my decision to go to university and the course that was available to me.

I had chosen to take a Fine Art BA (Hons) Degree; now when I initially pictured Fine Art, I had a beautifully romanticized vision of a modern Verrocchio’s workshop. Tutors that would teach me to draw and paint like the masters of the Renaissance, Sculpt like Michelangelo and provide plenty of hours worth of figure studies each and every week. Research on different narratives, mythologies and a study of philosophy. Obviously my definition of Fine Art is very outdated and too far gone to even be sniffed at in a modern Fine Art degree. A Fine Art Atelier would probably be better suited to my needs, but due to lack of funding available for such a course and locality this isn’t an option either.

Instead of what I envisioned, the course has dropped figure studies from its curriculum and the rest is more Contemporary than I would like to be involved in, Conceptual art, challenging conventions and Installation work; whilst I have seen artworks from each category that I have liked, it’s not what I personally want to create or be a part of. From unmade beds to condensation cubes and glittered excrement I found myself questioning if it really was for me. The end result of my contemplation was that I don’t want to invest 3 years and so much debt into something that I’m not 100% dedicated to. I’m not suggesting that the course is worthless or that I wouldn’t have learned anything because that would be a ridiculous idea, it’s just not going to teach me what I want to learn and will involve me spending too much time away from what I do want to do and my personal studies.

My next step now is to self educate, with the power of books and the internet on top of spending every day in practical work I will learn to draw and paint in the way I want to, whether frowned upon or not to prefer the traditional methods, that is what I’m going to do, staying true to myself rather than going to university on a whim for the experience or conforming to the Contemporary art industry. It’s funny really that they spend so much time trying to find new ways to “challenge convention” that they’ve lost their way, it’s turned now to the point that I’m challenging convention more by wanting to draw and paint in the traditional manners and techniques.

Also underlying all of this is the fact that I would love to work as a concept artist, for film,TV or computer games and although a lot of this work would be done digitally through software such as Photoshop, it still offers opportunity to be traditional in the sense of creating a narrative using paint, drawing and sketching, research and practice; these are the things that appeal to me more than anything. The thing that would get me a job in the field of Conceptual Design will be my portfolio based around that area, not a degree and a portfolio full of glittered turds and “this is art because I say it is” pieces.

Time is a very important factor as well, by not attending university five days a week, I have the time to go to London regularly to visit galleries, places of interest, museums and draw inspiration from them; I’ll also be able to make more trips to my home away from home that is Italy. Trips to other places of interest and long walks through natural landscapes, sketching and painting as I go will also now be a part of my itinerary. In addition to these things, I’ll have more time to build up my blog and remain consistent with posts, not having to neglect neither this or my artwork due to having to write essays or dissertations and not running on fumes every day. My creativity will be nurtured and in full bloom due to my decision and inspiration comes from within as much as from without, if not more so.

I may have rambled a fair amount through this post but the point of me posting it is to show that change is not something to avoid, change of mind is not a sign of failure or fear to commit, it is something to embrace and use to your advantage wherever possible. We are human, adapting to new situations is part of our being and a skill that comes naturally, never having to be learned as long as you don’t fear to utilize it.

JG