On the 14th July 2017 the Malta Arts Festival hosted an amazing performance at Fort St.Elmo. Ultima Vez gave us 'In Spite of Wishing and Wanting', a world acclaimed piece by chroeographer Wim Vandekeybus. Powerful in its sheer energy and drama, the all-male troupe explored "fear, the desire for security and the dreadful magic of sleep". The music of David Byrne underpinned it all, and two short films added to the surreal atmosphere.
It's impossible to describe in words though - so here is a short YouTube clip to give you an idea...
I had asked to paint the performance because it sounded so unusual and dramatic, with some nudity and what seemed to be men flying in showers of feathers. I wasn't disappointed; the sheer physical energy and total focus took their bodies beyond human limits. I caught as much as I could - I was spellbound!
Besides imagery we self-express through music, dance and the written word. The wonder of a sunset, the sorrow of loss, the joy and hope of a new birth, life often touches us deeply and we are moved to find ways to share it with others. We smile, hug, cry, give gifts. We celebrate and commiserate. It’s what makes us human.
There are plenty of painters out there who can reproduce reality and churn out commercially popular works, but many of them communicate absolutely nothing other than ‘here’s another one, buy me!’
We are all individuals; we all have different approaches to life.
Let’s enjoy being ourselves!
It’s not common for a creative person to excel at business and marketing. One skill usually outweighs the other. Marketing the Arts is best done by those who are not directly involved in creating it. You can’t be over sensitive if you are good in business, and you can’t be insensitive if you are going to create meaningful pieces of art. Business people know how their world works; it is built on things that have worked in the past, proven methods and safe approaches. A good business model is a sound, logical left-brained piece of thinking, with steps to take to reach the goal.
One of the last things we may think of is a happy customer. Putting that into the mix often stifles the flow. That’s not good business, but it’s certainly good for us. We are feeding our own soul, helping it to grow and express itself in its own unique way.
There are many innovative ways of running businesses now, of course, with the internet so easy to access and use. Creative people, like me, can really enjoy making websites and skimming through hundreds of inspirational images online. I like playing around with the way the pages on my website look, and editing my own paintings. But I know that I fall down when it comes to the promotional and marketing side of it all. I start and then retreat. It doesn’t feel right for me to put ‘BUY ME NOW!’ buttons under my pictures. Feeling isn’t part of most businesses though, is it. What to do??
There’s only one you, only one me. You can’t really copy me, and I can’t copy you either, but together we can move forward by inspiring and supporting each other. We can’t really be in competition with each other if we are both following our hearts. That goes against most business models of course, but creativity can’t be contained or restricted, otherwise it withers and dies.
Copied ideas don’t have the original inspiration or fire behind them, and although art forgers can make big bucks, most people make art because it gives them pleasure and a sense of personal achievement. Essentially we are all unique even if we ‘borrow’ every now and then. When you translate someone else’s idea through your own talents and processes, it becomes your own. That’s different to copying.
For this reason I am happy to share everything I have ever learnt or discovered. All the years that I have spent teaching and encouraging others to discover the joys of drawing have probably helped me as much as my students. Trying to describe the process of drawing in words has clarified and distilled it for me. It has also shown me the simplest ways to teach drawing to anyone who wants to learn.
Perhaps it’s too easy. There are endless books, YouTube films, DVD’s and online courses about art; some are really helpful, others not at all. The temptation is to read or watch the demonstrations and step-by-steps and not actually DO them. There’s no-one there to guide us by saying ‘just look again at that shape, that curve, that form’.
We try to be our own tutor and our own student too, and it can be hard inspiring ourselves and keeping ourselves going. It's difficult to even notice your own mistakes and shortcomings, let alone what to DO about them! Bit like life, really......
I will be forever grateful for my own college tutors and for every artist I have had the pleasure of working with. I think it’s always a good idea to join a group and/or take classes or workshops to keep you inspired and moving forward. There's nothing wrong at all with being 'self taught', but we all learn and grow by looking at other artist's work that we admire, and learning from their experience and knowledge.
Creativity and inspiration are like lighting candles – once you have lit your own you can spread the light far and wide by lighting others. If you keep it to yourself you’ll have no-one to relight your flame if you lose your way!
Here's to a CREATIVE 2015!
The only way I can paint or draw really quickly and accurately at live events is to have complete confidence in my knowledge of the human form and how it moves. My years of studying in life classes have given me a solid feeling for anatomy and a connection to the way we humans fill space. I love working with models, male and female. Human beings are all beautiful, miraculous and unique. It’s a privilege to be able to spend time studying someone’s unique body shape and simply be allowed to stare at them without embarrassment or misinterpretation.
For the last year or so I have been working on a collection of drawings and paintings called ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Nudes’. To see the works so far please visit my Fifty Shades of Grey Nudes site. Here are some of the latest works, which have not been added to the website yet. I would like to exhibit them to coincide with the premier of the film in Malta, but we’ll see what happens.
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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