HUGE THANK YOU to all who came along to our Fibromyalgia Awareness Event on 18 March 2016, bought raffle tickets, and participated by playing, performing or joining in the raffle. The night was a great success! Over £400 raised for Fibromyalgia Action UK.
When: Friday March 18 2016, Trisha Richardson is holding an event to raise funds for Fibromyalgia Action UK (registered Charity number: 1042582).
What is Fibromyalgia? This debilitating condition causes pain all over the body. Other symptoms of Fibromyalgia include sensitivity to pain, fatigue (extreme tiredness), muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping, problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”), headaches and stomach pain and bloating.
Where: The Bullet Coffee house, 38 Robertson Street, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1HT. The evening’s entertainment will feature local artists and performers.
Why: Very little is known about the causes of this disease. As of now, no cure is known. We would like to help Fibromyalgia Action UKsupport the thousands of people who suffer this pain every day.
Howyou can help: BUY A RAFFLE TICKET or ten or 20, TONIGHT 18 March at the event.
The raffle will be drawn at the fundraising event on 18 March, which also will feature much local talent . We will be updating this page as raffle prizes and acts are added to the bill.
I’m delighted to be involved with this project, put together by Gravesend painter Duncan Grant. It’s two packs of artists’ playing cards. Not Tarot but playing cards. Each of 52 cards designed by a different artist. I had the 10 of clubs, which would be the equivalent of the 10 of Batons in Tarot. Interesting to do this project just after finishing my Major Arcana.
Anyway, it’s a worthy and charitable project. Please click the link below for more information and to help. At £20 for two full decks (they are doing 2 decks because 104 artists wanted to participate! How exciting. And ambitious! 22 Stuckists were more than enough when Elsa Dax and I did the Stuckist Tarot a few years ago) these cards are a bargain. And proceeds go to charity.
The charities are:
Headway: a charity that assists people with brain injuries…they do art therapy as part of their program to help peoples recovery. They need a new kiln at their Welling facility which we wish to provide.
Artrack: Artrack-support-centre.aspx, a project that is part of the National autistic society that provides art facilties to allow autistic/aspergers people to have a space and facilities to create art. They need funds for materials, exhibiting and facilities and they have a workshop studio unit in Gravesend.
Art Inclusive: an exciting programme to encourage people at risk of social exclusion including disabled people, young persons at risk of offending, and others who are isolated from society such as the elderly and those being home schooled, to take up motivational and creative art workshops.
(To publish or not? Not sure. How honest can I be?)
Sunday 1 March 2015
Last night I met a Danish painter, in the UK for her first London solo exhibition. She got me thinking about a few things. Which is always a good thing. Thinking.
First, she seemed slightly ashamed of being a painter. She said being a painter was “boring”. Now, I’m not one to argue with strangers, or friends of acquaintances as this woman was. But I had to disagree. I don’t find it ‘boring’ at all being a painter. She clarified that she herself is not bored with being a painter, but that other people roll their eyes and yawn when she tells them of her medium of choice. Again I disagreed. She explained that it was other artists in the Art World who find her choice of materials boring. People who aren’t in the art world are, of course, still impressed by painting. I guess I hang around mostly non-art world people then. I don’t think I could take being frowned at because of my passion.
The reason that this conversation was so significant was that I’ve been in a bit of a lull the last few months. I finished my latest Czech commissions at the end of last year. The Tarot exhibition before Christmas was successful. I had my painting in SELFRIDGES! I’m working on an exciting new portrait for a rapidly rising, very talented fabric artist who is going to make me the most fabulous frock coat ever. And yet… because I don’t have any major commissions or shows coming up, I feel like I’m not going anywhere.
I know that is completely ridiculous. Being an artist, or any kind of freelance worker, one has periods of being busy and periods of being less busy. There is no reason to panic or get low about… about my lack of ability to push and promote myself.
Can I admit that? Even the Danish painter was on my page there. The younger artists are so skilled in marketing, it doesn’t matter if their art is shit. They succeed on pure self-grandiousity.
So, from feeling down about my lack of prospects (and dwindling financial resources), I’ve taken another look at what’s going on. The ‘Art World’? Still frowning at painters? So much so that even while basking in the aftermath of an international solo show, this painter is looking down on herself for her choice of medium?
“A painting will only ever be a painting,” she says. Um… so what? I say. Why should alleged “new” conceptual art completely take the place of an authentic means of self expression that has been around for centuries?
This painter also thought Hirst’s Shark (at the time it was ‘made’) was “new”. I tried to argue that one but realised we would have to agree to disagree. I know I’ve been questioning my pent up anger, and I have never actually punched anyone in the face, but this wasn’t the time to start. And not in a stuffy white walled gallery (we were at private view of some rather excellent analogue black and while photography). Anyway she didn’t anger me at all, just made me think.
It brought home what is, in my Stuckist opinion, still wrong with the art world. That painters are made to feel inferior, after the self-proclaimed ‘innovators.’
I don’t hate all conceptual art. But it has to have content. It has to say something. The way we got on to Hirst was that I was raving about the Kiefer show at the Royal Academy. Now there is someone who pushes ‘paint’ beyond its limits. I also talked about the TV documentary and how Kiefer must have so much money to be able to create the huge work he does. And then the Danish painter brought up Hirst, who has also made shitpiles of cash. And I couldn’t stand to have that snake-oil salesman in the same conversation as one of the few living masters in the world.
I berate myself for not having the marketing skills and confidence to try to get into proper galleries. And yet, do I want to be part of the “art world”?
As a final stab at my disgust with art, it turned out that this poor painter was exhausted from commuting back and forth between London and Hastings during her short stay in the UK, and she was also very hungry. Her host, however, was re-filling his wine glass and still chatting to people, which I found quite rude. Booze taking priority? Another thing that disgusts me about some artists. I’d been introduced to the Danish painter as her host said they were about to go round someone’s house for dinner. The painter had more commuting to do, and a flight back to Denmark coming up. A bit of consideration for her needs would have been nice. She and I were talking for the good part of an hour, before I said goodbye to her host, and couldn’t help pointing out that the painter was starving. The host was well on his way to wine overload, and just grinned and nodded.
Not sure if I can publish this blog as I don’t want to cut off my nose to spite my face… but I don’t know about sucking up to an art world that gets pissed and frowns on painters.
So maybe a simple part time admin job really is the way forward. I can’t see myself vainly trying to push into that world. Like Angela Edwards, I feel that I don’t fit in anywhere. The content of my work is fairly ‘low brow’ and yet the method, oil painting, is not very low bro, nor affordable for collectors of that genre. I appeal to the common people, cleaners and taxi drivers and good, honest working-class folk… who have no money to buy art.
Rather than subject myself to further humiliation in the face of such adversary – snobbery and drunkenness – perhaps I should look elsewhere to earn a living, and content myself to paint as merely an outlet of expression, with no pressure to ‘succeed’.
Prices include postage and packing. Buy the Ella Guru Major Arcana here.
NOTE: Anyone in East Sussex – Hastings or nearby – should get their decks directly from Susan Diamond‘s shop. You can view the actual paintings, and save yourself postage. And pick up some fabulous affordable Christmas presents in the shop! It’s well worth a visit.
The show is open NOW at Susan Diamond: After 2 1/2 years on these canvases, I am finally exhibiting my Tarot paintings. Limited-edition, signed, numbered and boxed sets of the 22 Major Arcana are available at the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition which runs until 5 January 2015. See details below.
I am a trained artist with a degree, so in that sense I don’t fit the bill of ‘Outsider.’ However, I also don’t seem to fit in anywhere in the art world. I am not a conceptual artist. Nor am I a completely traditional painter. I am a Stuckist, which encompasses a huge variety of styles but is more of an attitude than a specific method of working. Some Stuckists can be outsiders; others have PhDs and successful careers.
When I met Sue (about 8 years ago, though it feels like I’ve known her longer), I felt a kindred spirit, another American who had been away so long we are more trans-Atlantic that a true citizen of either of our two countries, the UK and US. She was warm and welcoming and has been a steady and supportive friend throughout the years. Even though I don’t fit the “outsider” tag, Sue has included me in many shows, seeing that I have the spirit of the outsider, and just a bit of the madness.
I work mainly from photographs that I take myself. I also paint objects from life, though most people in my paintings are from photos. I took a departure in this painting of Sue and Anne Sophie: at times, I threw down my reference photos and painted purely from my imagination. The main people and objects in this painting are real; but there are places where I changed the dolls’ and memory jugs’ faces and accessories, drawing from deep recess of my subconscious. I exorcised demons. And not all of it is pretty.
Even with all the bright colours, I’ve been able to see a dark side to Sue’s work. She is not just making pretty objects – oh yes, they are pretty, and yes they are bold and colourful. But they are far from superficial. In my painting, I took the darkness and ran with it. There are some painful therapeutic moments in this piece that Sue herself is aware of. And yet the main point shines through: Sue is passing the baton to Anne Sophie, her young protégé. She is saying, be bold, be free, and be true to yourself. Express who you are, and don’t hold back. And whatever you do, “Don’t wear beige. It might kill you,” as Sue says.
The figures of Sue and Anne Sophie are emerging from a dark background, the cluttered shadows, where a Medusa sheds a tattooed tear. The work of another of Sue’s young protégés, John William, sneaks onto the canvas in several places, although the work was not in Sue’s house at the time; much of it was on display at the St Pancras Hospital Conference Centre, where Sue and many others have – and still are – displaying their brightly coloured art works.
On the right side of the canvas, I have included a portrait of the ladies from the television documentary Fabulous Fashionistas. Although this was only an online image at the time of the painting, it would not surprise me if the photograph was later printed and framed, the way it is in the painting.
The dog in the foreground was present at the first photo shoot I did for my first portrait of Sue, about 4 years ago. The much loved pet, Sue’s son’s dog, passed on. I had never put the dog in the original painting, so I added him here, as memento. Another painful memory is the crowned wooden figure in the bottom left of the canvas. This was a sculpture damaged in the tragic fire at Sue’s other home, in Cambridge. At the time I photographed Sue and Anne Sophie for this painting, the fire was recent. Sue was still sorting through the charred remnants of that fire, and salvaging what she could.
Including sadness in art is a way to move on from such sadness. As artists we have this gift that people in the beige world don’t have. We can express ourselves, and turn pain into beauty. And if we can communicate, and others can feel something from our work, then that is all the better.
I intended to make the entire right side of the canvas light. But in the bottom right corner, some monsters sneaked in. This was my moment of feeling like a true Outsider. I didn’t know where these were coming from, but the feeling of raw expression took me to a place that I had never been with merely copying photographs.
Spot the tiny self-portrait.. ok I’ll tell you. I’m the Medusa with the mermaid tail and the paint palette, scuttling away from the telephone. At the time I painted this, I wanted to avoid the phone, due to some very dull bureaucratic nonsense to do with Council Tax – I won’t bore you with the details, just want to say that painting is a glorious escape from real life.
Stuck in a Jewel – Chris Yates’ pv at Nucleus Gallery Chatham. Chris put on a stellar show. I was happy to be a guest artist in this exhibition. Much wine was consumed, so, for now, all I can say is great work, Chris. And to the rest of the public – the show is on until 14 August. Go and see it!
Stuck in a Jewel
Group show curated by Chris Yates, Bury Stuckist
1-14 August 2014
Following on from the success of the Stuckist Major Arcana Tarot Deck in 2012, Elsa Dax has done a project on Astrology and Chinese birth signs. The show is finally happening on Saturday 19 November 2016 from 6-8 pm at St Paul’s Church, Camden Square, Camden High St, NW1 0J.
Being a Gemini, I have done the Gemini card.
Flower symbols are for forgiveness and reconciliation. I have battled too long with Gemini duality. This painting is about making peace between the two halves.
And in my own tradition, I have reversed sides : the “wild” me pictured against the wild nature of Hastings which is actually my peaceful new home. And the “civilised” working me, in London, in front of the National Gallery.. when in reality it is in London that I have been the wild me, and in Hastings I wear the painting apron most days.
Special thanks to Gemini sister Eileen Meegan who helped with modelling.