Monday, 31 December 2012

Flying high

World apart at Union Gallery
2012 will be finished in a little over three hours, as I start writing this. It's been quite a year. I began it by painting a new series of paintings, Worlds apart, to show in April at Union Gallery. That series worked out better than I could have hoped for and they looked great in the gallery, face to face with Kevin Low's imaginary world.

One wall of A place called home
While I was working on my series, Megan Chapman and I had a show of our joint work in Bentonville, Arkansas, which was followed a few months later by another joint show a few miles south in Springdale. We were not able to attend the first show, as we were both in Scotland at the time, however we were in Arkansas for the second show, A place called home, which we were very happy with.

Following my trip to Arkansas, I immersed myself in the politics of Scotland's quest for independence and began a long body of work, Elegy for the End of an Empire. Taking cues from the work preceding it, my paintings began to get darker and more dynamic. The series is ongoing and I hope to pick up were I left it later in the year, as the independence debate hots up.

'When we float' at the RSA
The end of the year saw a furry of exhibitions. Firstly I had a painting accepted for the Royal Scottish Academy 2012 Open! At the same time, I have to paintings showing in Philadelphia! And when the new year comes around, some of the Elegy paintings will be featured in Union Gallery's new year exhibition. All three of the exhibitions will run to the end of January.

This is just a snippet of my year in art. Over it, there have been many ups and many downs and a lot of hard work. In a week's time, I'll be heading back to Arkansas. After all of the hard work, I think it might be time to take a little break!

Thank you everyone who has supported me over the year. I would not have reached this stage without you!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

I feel fine

Mirk ceety sax, originally uploaded by stewartbremner
I've not done too well at keeping my blog regular this month. The winter is closing down now and daylight is in short supply. It has been a dark time and there has not been a great deal of action around my studio.

However, rather than dwell on what has not happened, instead here is what has being going on in the time when I've not been in the studio. Firstly, I've been getting reacquainted with analogue photography, shooting rolls of film and developing them in my kitchen sink. You can see the results in the video below. After that is a little something I wrote this morning.







I feel fine 

He is lying, half asleep in bed, when the sound wakes him. It is sudden and large and unexpected and shocks him into full wakefulness. His heart races. The window of his bedroom was rattled and there was a pulse through the the whole flat. The sound was as if a skip was dropped, breaking its chains and falling to the ground a few streets away, a full, metallic-edged 'tum'.

With open eyes he looks about his dimly-lit winter bedroom, while his heart slows down again. He is warm in his bed, several blankets and a few jumpers giving more insulation that his duvet alone. Did he imagine that sound, he wonders, was it some kind of hang over from a night of fitful sleep, of strange awakenings and twisted bed clothes? Pondering this, he gradually becomes aware of the slow decrease in the sounds of the city that his flat swims within.

The traffic sounds like it has ceased, its constant white noise gone as if it were the middle of the night. So too he can hear less sounds from his building. This further oddness gives him pause to wonder and he decides to risk a venture through the cold air to the window, to look out into the morning.

Outside, everything looks normal except the sky. The sky is gone. He has seen something a little like this before, often times when clouds blanket his city for days on end, reducing the sky to a monotone. This is something else again and a real shock. The sky is white, with not any tone at all, not even the slightest shadow. It is simply empty, a softly-glowing white void, neither warm nor cold, just white.

It is like a door opens in his mind. A dim and overlooked portal that seemingly has been within him always and yet until this moment had been overlooked, as if to focus on it were the equivalent of trying to grasp the last sliver of soap in a long and hot bath. And now it opens and knowledge slowly pours out.

He opens the curtains fully, crosses the room and gets back into his still-warm bed. So this is it, he realises, and he feels an acceptance that borders on joy. The REM song he had listened to the day before with something akin to irony comes back to him and repeats and repeats in his inner ear.

And I feel fine, he thinks.

From where he lies, he can see a few other tenements, dark and damp stone, that is oddly shadowless under the all-encompassing soft white glow. He catches in his peripheral vision a bright flash of pure light from one window and he knows, knowledge no doubt from that same unexpected stream, that someone has moved on and that he has only to wait for his turn and he will too.

It is comforting knowledge. There is nothing to fear here, he realises. This is the end and he has accepted it more easily than seems likely. In many ways, it is a relief – his fight is over and now he is simply waiting his turn, waiting for his flash of light.

The universal consciousness and 'we are all one', those appealing ideas that might be grasped intellectually yet as an island were always instinctually difficult, have come to pass. It all seems so obvious now. His loved ones, family and friends, all the people he has ever known, quite literally everyone, is returning to whence they came, to that single all-encompassing origin.

Further knowledge comes to him now. "Ye canny take it wi' ye," that phrase so often spoken about the dead. Here now is the point when everyone comes to understand that idea, to realise the utter finality of that statement. All the worldly possessions, all the accumulations of power no longer matter. If there is a judgement here, and while he knows there is not, at the same time he doubts all will share that belief, if there is a judgement here, it is that everyone is, unequivocally, equal.

For so many, the realisation dawns about the utter futility of years spent accumulating wealth and power and in those minds, acceptance and joy gain no foothold against hatred, terror, disbelief. So many people out there must be questioning their lives at this very moment, he thinks. At the same time, he thinks, the majority might be feeling that this is their reward for enduring and that the religious will perhaps be savouring their judgement days, valhallas, armageddons and raptures.

Back in his room, he is on his own and in the silent morning feels only a long-sought peace. He thinks back to his childhood, to the dark spectre of nuclear holocaust that haunted it, to the months, if not years, of nightmares and interrupted sleep and to that desperate desire to be near his mum and his sister at the end, when the bomb dropped, to not be separated and alone. A fear that when all the way back to his youngest days, when he first learned of death and dreamed of his mum, dad and sister all dying at once and drifting away into the sky on a big bed.

That desire not to be alone at a time of crisis, that quintessentially human need for companionship, has been washed away on this final morning, cleansed from his mind. He realises, in fact, that he is not alone and that where he is going, everyone will be together, every spark of life that has driven humanity will be reunited. While there is a diminishment in that final embrace of those things that make him specifically him, at the same time he knows that 'he' will not be lost, not entirely, that those identifiers that form part of who he is are eternal.

He closes his eyes for a moment, to breath. When he opens them the flash of light whites out the entire world.

And when he opens his eyes again, the morning is dim, barely passing enough light around his curtains to let him see the room. It sounds like it is raining outside. His stomach is empty and rumbling and there is a burning tension across his shoulders and up into his neck, which feels chilly outside the heap of blankets on his bed. He wonders again what that strange noise was and it if truly happened and then, with a sigh that feels like it came from decades hence, he swings his legs from out of the covers and reaches for some clothes. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Philadelphia, Fayetteville, Edinburgh


This week, I was invited to show at an exhibition in Philadelphia, PA! I submitted two of my Post Process paper paintings and they will soon be winging their way there, across the United States from Fayetteville, AR, where they were last seen in public. This will make for the third state of that union where I will have shown work, not to mention that it is the first major city!

You know your problems ain't exactly new
Mixed media on paper, 16x24cm
If you're in the area (and who knows, there might be someone who reads this that might be!), the exhibition is the Snowflake Salon: biennial invitation 2012 at the Art Bridge Club of Center City, 1616 Walnut Street, Fourteenth Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103. It runs from December 14th to February 8th 2013.




Next week sees both the second East Prospect exhibition in Fayetteville, Arkansas and the Out of the Blue Art Market in Edinburgh, Scotland. The East Prospect show looks like it is going to be very exciting indeed and I truly wish that I could be there. Sadly, that won't be possible. I will, however, be at the Art Market and am very much looking forward to that. It is going to be a very busy week of planning for these two shows!






Lastly, those of you lucky enough to make it along to this year's wonderfully diverse RSA Open Exhibition 2012 will see my painting 'When We Float' in the first room, where it is a-glowing in the corner opposite the entrance. The exhibition fills the lower galleries and I hope that once you have had a look around the whole show, you will vote for my painting to win the Visitor's Award. You know you want to! The exhibition runs until January 31st, so there is still plenty of time to have a look (and vote!).

Friday, 23 November 2012

Something for the holidays

Tomorrow morning the Royal Scottish Academy's Annual Open Exhibition 2012 will begin. I had a look in yesterday, at the artist's preview in the afternoon. With three hundred pieces on show in four rooms, this is a busy salon-style show. Naturally, there are a wide variety of styles represented, in both two and three dimensions, with enough to suit almost any tastes. I saw a few pieces that I was temped by myself, however I shall have to be patient and see what Santa brings! Repeat visits will help too, because there is simply so much to take in.

My painting 'When we float' is on the wall immediately opposite the entrance to the exhibition, which is on the lower ground floor galleries. I'm really pleased with how it looks under proper gallery light, the reds and oranges in particular really pop.

RSA Lower Galleries
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

24 November – 31 January, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm
Closed 25 & 26 December, open New Year's Day 12-5pm




Saturday 8 December is going to be a busy day. At home, I will be at Out of the Blue's Drill Hall for the second of their one-day Christmas Art Markets. Just like the last one I exhibited at, I will be bringing my smaller works, my illustrations and my card. I will also have a select few larger pieces, and maybe even a few of my new series, on the wall behind me. I hope that I'll see plenty friendly faces dropping by again. The Art Market is a great place to pick up locally-made art and crafts as ideal presents for the festivities.

The market runs from 11am-5pm, with a good variety of art and crafts, all being sold by their makers. The Drill Hall's café is also open during these times, selling tasty treats.




The second reason that Saturday 8 December is going to be a busy day is that it sees the second day of the second East Prospect Exhibition in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Once again, I am one of the artists featured in this unique show. Just like the last time, there will be a lovely variety of work on show, including paintings, photographs and wearable art, that have been created by local, national and international artists. It's a great opportunity to buy work directly from artists and also a great way to find presents for the holidays.

The exhibition is open for two dates: Thursday 6 December 5-8pm and Saturday 8 December 11am-4pm. Sadly I will be unable to attend, although given that matter transporters still cease to exist, that is hardly a surprise, given the Art Market finishes precisely when the second day of the East Prospect show opens! I really wish I could be there because the exhibition looks like it is going to be a really exciting. If you're in Northwest Arkansas, you really don't want to miss it!




If you can't make it to any of the above, or if you're just looking for something a bit more convenient, I also have new paintings (and other work) available in two art and craft oriented online shops. My biggest collection of work for sale online is on my Etsy store. I've had the store for over a year now and have a variety of pieces there, from my affordable paper paintings to illustration prints. Recently I opened a Folksy shop, which is very similar to Etsy although is based in the UK. There you will find a small selection of my newest paper paintings. I'm really pleased with these pieces and as with all of my paper works, I have priced them very affordably, because I really want everyone to have the opportunity to bring original art into their homes.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Selected!

With my new series off to a good start, I was planning to reveal here the first completed paintings, when events overtook me. I received this:

Dear Stewart,

The Royal Scottish Academy would like to thank you for submitting your work to the 2012 RSA Open Exhibition. The interest and support that artists continue to show for the exhibition is greatly appreciated.

I am happy to inform you that the selection committee have selected your work titled When We Float for this year’s exhibition. Congratulations!

Yours faithfully,
The RSA Team

Royal Scottish Academy Building
© 2011 Kim Traynor
I was talking to a friend when I received this email and I was pretty much rendered speechless. For hours afterwards I could not stop smiling and every so often just breaking into disbelieving laughter. This is the first time I've been accepted into a juried exhibition and, as far as they go, in Scotland there are none as prestigious.

The RSA, which was founded in 1826 and was granted a royal charter in 1838, has been holding an annual exhibition (I believe) for over a hundred years, in Royal Scottish Academy Building on The Mound at the very heart of Edinburgh.

When we float
Mixed media on panel
Selected for the 2012 RSA Open Exhibition

This year's annual exhibition received more than 1,200 entries, which is 20% more than last year. I am not sure how many pieces are in the show, but I would expect it to be less than 200.

To have been selected to be part of a such a prominent show, and to beat such odds is truly stunning. I do not think I will believe it, until I am standing in the gallery and see my piece on the wall. I might even believe it then!

The exhibition opens a week today and will run until January 31st. Can you imagine?! A painting of mine, probably my favourite piece from my Worlds Apart series, is going to be in the Royal Scottish Academy building in the very middle of Scotland's capital city for more than two months, on public show! How utterly brilliant is that?

I think I might need to go and have another wee lie down now!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Doing the do

I've tried to start this post countless times since Friday, when I was supposed to write it. Each time I got no further than around two sentences before grinding to a halt. Maybe I couldn't quite focus, or maybe every idea was a bit thin, a bit lacking in substance. Whatever it was did not matter, it simply kept on happening. At the same time, whenever I got to thinking about painting, I realised that I could in fact be painting. Which, in many cases, was what I ended up doing.

Now while painting may seem on the surface to be a good thing (remember, every day of painting is a day of victory), my unfocussed mind proved something of a hindrance. I painted, yes, however I painted oddly, as if I were someone else. With an unfocussed mind, I allowed older methods to direct my hand and they proved far to controlling and… reasoned. This has left me with the task of undoing a certain amount of my work, to try to push it to where it needs to be, not where it is.

All that aside, since Wednesday I have started three new paintings and totally reworked an earlier unsuccessful one that had been stagnating for months. I also varnished six more panel paintings and re-varnished all fourteen of the paper pieces I made last month.

It has been a curiously busy few days. The amazing thing in it all is that I have no reason for doing this. There is no exhibition or competition imminent that I am working towards. I am doing what I am doing because it is what I do.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Iteration/span

I have been involved in several collaborative projects in the past decade, working in music, painting and photography. The processes involved have always been rewarding, bringing together aspects of creativity and communication. In some ways the surrender of a portion of control in these projects is in some ways comparable to that which I have written about previously when experimenting with chaos and order.

This week, one of my recent collaborative projects has come back to life, with the publication of iteration/span. This attractively-designed square books collects for the first the entire project that Craig Munro and I worked on over the winter of 2010-11, which was subsequently exhibited in May 2011 at the Fayetteville Underground.

Blind conviction
© 2011 Bremner & Munro
In the book, you can see how our photography for the project developed. Everything is documented here, from the first trial films, through to our intense redscale images, via wide an assortment of films types. In all we shot twenty-nine films, producing 330 photos, with every film given two pages to show their progression.

As well as this array film, the photos chosen for the exhibition have been given whole pages to themselves, giving these curious and baffling images space to once again be properly considered. There is also a six-page essay at the back of the book, containing all the background information on the project anyone could wish for.

What I especially enjoy about this book, is how easy it makes turning the photos upside down. It has never been this easy to see both sides of every photo!


Each book is printed on demand and usually arrives within two weeks of your order being placed. I recommend searching for Blurb coupons before making your order, as often they offer percentage discounts or free shipping.

Enjoy!

Friday, 26 October 2012

A time for change

Change is the only constant. It is a cliché, yet as far as I can tell is nonetheless true. Certainly it is a true constant in my work, in as much as it is in my life and over the past few years, the changes in one have often been reflected in the other. In this respect my work has to an extent been quite inwards-looking. I believe there is nothing wrong with this, in many ways it can be seen as the starting point for any good work. Knowledge of self and the self portrait are both fine and long-standing traditions in many forms of art.

Here and no further
Mixed media on paper, 24x16cm
There comes a time, however, when looking inwards is not enough on its own and it becomes important to engage with the outside world. While I have done my best to always allow for the influence of the outside world in my abstract work, I have not as yet engaged with it directly. In recent weeks this has changed.

I have been working on a series of small paper paintings, that follow on from my recent panel paintings. Conceived, like all my small paper works, as both a means of building and conserving momentum and at the same time to create affordable pieces, these paintings went somewhere unexpected.

I realised, as I was working, that I was no longer simply commenting on and interpreting myself and my place in the world, I was also commenting on and interpreting my opinions and ideas about the world at large. There is a very good reason for this and it returns to the idea of change.

In the past I have touched on my political beliefs about the world at large and the need for change in our society, with particular regard to politics and the hoarding or power by a small percentile of our population. In Scotland, currently, there is real potential to begin to effect some of that change. This potential for change lies in the independence movement.

In two years time, a referendum will be held in Scotland to determine our future status. I believe the result of that referendum will see Scotland leave the United Kingdom and return to being an independent sovereign state for the first time in more than three hundred years.

As a smaller nation, without such cultural baggage of imperialistic world domination, or an entrenched, mendacious and jaundiced ruling elite and with a population that has repeatedly, over decades, demonstrated an overriding belief in social democracy, I believe we have a chance to create a just and fair society.

Send her victorious
Mixed media, 16x24cm
My interpretations of and reactions to the campaigns leading up to this uniquely and historically important referendum, are the opinions that have come to inform my recent work. While I passionately believe in independence for Scotland, I am equally, if oppositely, passionate about these campaigns. In particular, I am appalled by almost the entirety of the mainstream media, that has been utterly partial towards the unionist movement.

Not a day passes without publication of either a groundless scare story about a particular aspect of an independent Scotland, or a smear story against the independence movement and in particular the Scottish National Party or Alex Salmond. (For the record, I am not an SNP voter and no fan of Salmond.) First Minister Salmond is painted as the sole figure behind the 'separatist' movement and, among other things, has been likened to a host of mass-murdering dictators (even once by a respected BBC journalist). It is poisonous and despicable behaviour, whose only intent is to distill fear in a populace that might otherwise think for itself and not stand by its betters.

Being someone who in the past has been involved in the media, as well as someone who spends a lot of time reading and thinking, it really should have come as no surprise that the independence debate leached into my work. Nonetheless it was an unexpected event, although one that I have to admit that I am pleased by. It feels to me that there is a satisfyingly full weight in the debate as a source of material for my paintings.

There is of course a potential in making such work for alienating those who are disinterested and also creating divisions in those who are. It is a risk that I believe is work taking.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Art market!

Tomorrow is Out of the Blue's Arts market. I've been preparing for this for a while now, with almost all of today being devoted to making final tweaks, to bagging and tagging and making a mock up of my table. I'm very happy with how it is looking and am surprised by just how much colour there is. The table is full of lovely, affordable art, with something for every budget and I hope every taste too!

I'm taking a wide range of my abstract paintings:
  • Three of my small Worlds Apart abstract paintings on panel – these are the last three small ones left in this country from this popular series.
  • Four of my early abstract paintings on canvas – none of these have been seen in public before.
  • Seven Hidden messages abstract paintings on paper – this has been a very popular series, with almost all of it now sold out. This might be the last chance to snap one up!
  • Six Post process abstract paintings on paper – they're orange and they're on paper, what more could you want?!
  • Eight Mirror world abstract paintings on card – painted last year while I was visiting Arkansas, these have never been shown publicly on this side of the Atlantic.
I'm also going to be showing some of my illustrations:
  • Eight of my Fading glory cars – I love these so much that I don't really want to sell them. Don't look at them!
  • A whole bunch of my For the love of the lens camera illustration limited edition prints – these wee beauties are both very affordable and very colourful. You'd be a fool not to want one!
  • Many, many of my animal greetings cards and just about as many of my Edinburgh greetings cards. There are not a lot of these cards left and I won't be printing any more of them, so now is a good time to get your hands on them.
The market runs from 11am to 5pm. I'll be there for the whole day, so please do pop along and say hello and see if you can find some space in your life for some art!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Sales, a market and Picasso and the Modern British

See our joint pieces fly!

Last weekend, Megan had her yART sale, that featured all of her available work and our joint pieces, as well as the small selection of my work. Much like the summer's opening East Prospect exhibition, the turn out was not as high, however those who came very much appreciated and engaged with the work. This, truly, is the most important thing for any exhibition, from an artist's viewpoint. We want people to see our work and to think about it and to talk about it!

From four thousand miles
Mixed media on board, 12x12" / 30x30cm
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner.
Sold
Very excitingly two of Megan and my joint paintings sold! This means that from the fifteen paintings we created earlier in the summer, only four are now left for sale! This is brilliant news for us and great validation of the work we created. I know that I am not alone in wanting to thank everyone who has supported Megan and I throughout our adventures and especially those who have bought our work.

You can find out more about Megan and my joint paintings here. Currently four pieces from A place called home and six from A question of chemistry are still available to buy.



Coming soon to the Art Market

Silent reply
Mixed media on paper, 5.25" x 8.5"
Out of the Blue's quarterly Art Market grows closer, taking place on Saturday 20th – only eight days away! I have been preparing for it over the past week, working out which paintings and other work I will take with me. I am planning on taking a few of my smaller Worlds Apart paintings, my remaining small paper pieces (one shown left), my car illustrations, my camera prints and my pop art greetings cards. With all of that on show, I think I might well have quite a bright and diverse stall!

I have also decided to create some new paper paintings. These pieces, which are currently still inside my mind, will be in keeping with my most recent work. While some of those pieces (you can see most of them here) deal with some dark ideas and themes, I believe that in a simpler form and on paper, I will be able to create some dynamic and eye-catching work – expect to see a preview here next week!



The Britons are coming!

Last weekend I took a trip with a friend to visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, to see their Picasso and the Modern British exhibition. This is again one of the gallery's larger exhibitions, covering more than one floor and encompassing a multitude of works.

Picasso was, of course, the big name draw and, on a sunny Sunday, the gallery was surprisingly busy. Naturally he was well represented in the show, with a fine range of the work he produced before the Second World War. It was educational to see some of his early post-impressionist pieces, as well as be able to see his development as an artist over this period.

For me, however, it was the modern British work that was the most eye-opening. For a long time, little of this work has merited much attention, so it is very welcome to see this selection in a major museum. While I understand the reasoning behind tying all of the work to Picasso (it's the money, naturally), at the same time I felt that the exhibition could have easily, and perhaps more successfully, stood on its own without him. Of course, it would almost certainly have created a far quieter gallery last Sunday and there's no money in that and out galleries do have to be careful, now that the nasty bastards are in charge again.

Composition
Wyndham Lewis, 1913
Pen, watercolour and graphite on paper
© Wyndham Lewis and the estate
of Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis
The first of the British contingent I was struck by was Wyndham Lewis. I have been peripherally aware of his work since undertaking a series of Vortographs a few years ago. As the prime instigator of Vorticism (seen as a British offshoot of Cubism), I have to admit that there was some sense in showing his work along with Picasso's. I did not, however, confuse the two styles, finding something engagingly graphic in Lewis's approach that I'm not sure I've ever seen in Cubism. However, perhaps I am simply being patriotic (although this seems rather unlikely). 

Later in the show, a few rooms showed work that is seen as a reaction to a tour of the United Kingdom made by Picasso's Guernica, in the year's following that great painting's completion. (Apparently its last showing on this island was in a Manchester car showroom!) Here I found an artist I had not previously encountered, Graham Sutherland. The works of his shown, made in the years around the Second World War, were sinister pieces, sharp and angular and with hints of foreboding. They were reminiscent in some ways, of Francis Bacon's Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion‬, which was the splendid centre piece in the next room.

Green Tree Form
Graham Sutherland, 1940
Oil on canvas
British Council Collection
© The Estate of Graham Sutherland
By the time we reached the upper floor of the exhibition, I was beginning to suffer from art fatigue. There was so much to see in the show, that it became impossible to truly take it all in during one visit. This left me with the feeling that the exhibition was simply too big. Of course large public galleries regularly show more work than this, however in a curated exhibition such as this, there is more onus to pay attention to every artwork and read every wall card (there were a lot of wall cards). It made for an exhausting visit, not in any way helped by the unnecessarily dim rooms which made reading any wall card a strain on the eyes (not to mention the wayward shadows intruding across many of the paintings).

While I would certainly consider a second visit, to return to the pieces I enjoyed and pay attention to the areas I ended up bypassing, at £10 a ticket I really do not think that this is likely to happen. By all means, take this fantastic opportunity to see a unique collection of modern British paintings, just be sure to pace yourself (and take a head torch!).

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A market, a store, a studio

The most exciting news thing this week, was the email that let me know that I am going to have a booth at the Out of the Blue art market on October 20th! The art market is a quarterly event in the Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street, where local artists and crafters come together to sell their wonderful things. This is the first time that I will be there as a seller, so I am both very excited and not a little nervous too. Not elate because I've never had a booth on my own before (although I know Megan will be there with me in spirit).
I've got lots of lovely things for the booth, my paper paintings, camera prints, car illustrations and more. I really hope to see some of your friendly faces there!





This week also saw me launch a new range of prints, on the Society6 website. These prints are based on digital illustrations I made a few years ago and it is lovely to have them finally see the light of day – or at least the light of other people's monitors! These pieces share some similarities with the work that I created with and for Oddhero.

The interesting thing about Society6 is that they offer these illustrations not only as art prints, but also as skins for hand-held digital gadgets and laptops, as well as t-shirts and tote bags (although I have only made a few of mine available as the latter two). There may well be something for everyone.





The working week ended when I made a visit to look at some artist studios. It was an interesting experience and the first time I have looked studios in Edinburgh. I did so without really thinking deeply about it beforehand, viewing it as an experiment, perhaps a fact-finding mission.

Now having been on the visit, I find myself with more to think about than I had bargained for. There are as many good reason to work at home, as there are to work away from it. There is a lot to consider, although it occurs to me that jumping for the very first opportunity to come my way is probably not the best plan. More research would be a better idea.

There comes a point in all artist's careers, when one must make the leap out of the home studio. I need to consider whether I have reached that point.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Lovely new things and a long list


A few days ago I launched a new range of prints (and more) on the fantastic Society6 site. I'm really excited to finally be able to share this work, which are all digital illustrations from a few years ago. Most of them involve themes of travel and transportation. I really urge you to take a look, because not only are the site and the products quite lovely, Society6 is offering free worldwide shipping until Sunday! What more incentive do you need? I'm know that before tonight is through, I'll have indulged in a treat for myself. The iPhone cases alone are quite lovely and I don't even own such a device!

I also appeared on Hyperallergic this week, as part of their ongoing series that looks at the artist's studios across the world. With two new places to find me online arriving in one week, this got me to thinking about where else I can be found on the interwebs. I made a list. It's quite a bit longer that I expected!

For those of you who want more chances to buy something lovely that I've made (go on, treat yourself too!), there are plenty of opportunites:
  • Union Gallery sell my paintings.
  • On Etsy you'll find paper paintings, older abstract paintings, cards and prints.
  • I have two books on Blurb, one book of art and one of photography. (A book of Iteration/Span photography is imminent.)
  • There are t-shirts and prints at Oddhero. Many of their products were designed by me – see if you can spot which are mine!
  • Lastly, II have photos licensed on Getty and Alamy.

For those on a tighter budget, you can still see and hear plenty for free:

Is that enough? I didn't think so. You want me to really scrape the bottom of the barrel:

And finally, for those of you who find trying to keep up with all of the above a bother, I plan soon to launch a monthly email newsletter. You can sign up for it here, or using the box on the right of this page. Get my news direct to your inbox – nothing could be simpler!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

In contemplation of monochromatic work

There is a simplicity in viewing things in black and white that is appealing. It certainly seems a way of looking at the world that is becoming increasingly popular, as divisions widen and positions harden between the haves and have-nots. From inside have-not camp, that division seems all the more obvious, however the opposite perspective is hard to see from here.

It would therefore be an easy assumption to make that the recent turn in my work, towards a monochrome palette, is a reflection of this viewpoint. To a certain extent this is true. The difficult political and financial situation that most of us find ourselves in, is something that is never far from my mind. It impacts on my daily life.

However the monochrome palette (which, of course, features endless shades of grey) is more of a reflection of my state of mind and how I feel most comfortable expressing it or, rather, what seems the most effective way of expressing it. The outer world is an influence on that, to be sure, but there is so much more than that, a tangle of cause and effect.

I am left with a desire to almost entirely eschew colour and even though I have on occasion introduced some, especially the orange hues that have been so integral to my work over the last few years, it hardly lasts beyond the initial sketching stages, obliterated soon after by a storm of graphite and various other dark and black pigments. Each new painting becomes a hard environment, where those small moments of colour are hammered and scraped and gouged into submission, or else simply buried under a layer of darkness.

I wrote last week about the ideas behind a few of my new pieces. In the middle of this week, I sat down with six of them, to contemplate the ideas behind them and to think about where this work is going, about what I am trying to achieve with it. I wanted to find out if the ideas and thoughts behind each piece would cohere into something greater. 

It was an overwhelming experience, almost painful. Clearly, I am too close to these paintings right now and found them too raw to contemplate as a whole. Individually, I can look at these pieces and think about them. I can even look at them collectively, as long as I don't look below the surface, read between the lines. When I do that, it is just too much and I see no overall plan.

Instead it appears that I am expelling these paintings from my somewhere within psyche. As if rather than working to a plan of sorts, I am just letting this work go where it needs to. It appears as if it is simply something that needs to happen. When one is writing automatically, the results at times can be quite challenging.

Friday, 14 September 2012

A little bit of background

It has been an unusual week of painting. Right at the start of it, there was a revelation of sorts that led me to feeling somewhat more relaxed, perhaps even more philosophical, about my life as an artist. Acting on this feeling, I began three new paintings this week, which marks a definite increase in my recent productivity. I even took the time after the initial painting session for each piece, to sit down and write something about where the piece came from, my intentions for it and my initial feelings about it.

On the first day, I once again addressed the darkness that has been my shadow for the past month. Rather unexpectedly, colour made an appearance. After the initial session, I wrote this:

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
"The darkness has often times served as a pretty direct visual representation of the dark emotions within: doubt, fear, depression and so on. Today the darkness seems perhaps transmuted. Still, of course, it is the darkness within, yet somehow now it is also a gestalt, the body in which everything else rests. What does this say about my self image? It suggests that I view myself as an essentially dark person, with a warm, friendly (orange represented) public countenance, that is nonetheless covering dark things. Am I truly thus? In today's representation deep red mixes with, and breaks through, the darkness. It does not feel a red of anger, rather one of love and passion. It is hidden, well below the surface, yet it is clearly there, widespread and of undoubted importance."

Later, while reworking this painting, the red became somewhat submerged, too lessen its impact. I had realised that it was too jarring and while my intent for each painting it to describe a particular instant in my life, at the same time I have not become so obsessed with the idea that I am prepared to sacrifice aesthetics. There are elements of this painting that I am very happy with, as well as some that may require more work. It is resting currently. I will look again at it in a few days.

On the second day, an entirely different set of circumstances presented themselves for posterity. The painting that resulted was a surprise, being something of a departure from what could loosely be called my style. It is more organic in shape, less geometric, and overall feels looser. I wrote this:

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
"Overwhelmed. It is a common feeling these days. Too much information, too fast, too many choices. Today, however, it is the overwhelming size and complexity of visa/immigration issues. In particular, I feel small and insignificant, unable to cope with the vast cliff that needs to be negotiated. Today I gave that immense weight to a crushing wave, an avalanche grinding and drowning. Over run by it, I am forced to the ground, torn and battered. The mass of the problem is complex, aswirl, impenetrable. The remorseless, cold press of the world. It is an enormous stew that fills almost everything, there is no way to escape it, nowhere to turn, it is everywhere. It is the immensity of any overwhelming problem, where an objective viewpoint is hard to come by. Seen from below, there is no way out."

Unlike the previous day's painting, which I felt sure of and able to rework into something more suitable to my sensibilities, this piece has remained relatively static. Perhaps this is a reflection of the subject matter. Who, after all, is very good at coping with something overwhelming? I've made numerous tiny tweaks to this, yet there is something unsettling in it. Only time will tell whether or not I can live with this.

On the third day, things did not work out quite as well. 'Isolation' was the idea that was on my mind that day, both it its physical and mental manifestations. I had an idea that seemed an ideal way to represent the theme, however it was too concrete,  conceivably as a reaction to the overly-organic painting of the day before. It drew too heavily upon my graphic designer's eye and as a painting, it simply would not work. I spent a couple of days working at it, trying to resolve its blocky solidity, however as yet I have been unable to find resolution. Presently, there is almost nothing left of the painting and it has been demoted to non-painting status for the time being.

Each of these three paintings were conceived as ways of interpreting three seemingly quite separate feelings and moments, yet they are also quite clearly linked. The forms and colours (at least of these two) are only the most obvious link. Deeper inside both them, and inside myself, I can construct a conversation between the pieces, a web of common thoughts and ideas.

These three new paintings, more than ever seem almost journalistic. I do not know if I can always work like this – the self awareness and concentration needed is great – and even if I find the energy and the ability, spending so much time looking inwards may not be a very healthy way to spend my time.

It has been an unusual week, I wonder what the next one will hold.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The ballad of an artist

Today is a day that each year, traditionally, I do not lift a hand to do any work. This year marks a difference – I have spent time in the studio and I have painted. For all that it is my job, painting is also something greater. It means more to me than pretty much anything else, because it is all I have ever wanted to do.

Not that painting is some unachievable goal, some fantastically difficult to attain dream, unlike my boyhood ambition of going into outer space (blame Star Wars) which seems quite laughable now, not least in the face of my dislike of being in motion. No, painting is something that can and should be a part of my life, considering how long I have, well, longed for it to be so. Yet for a considerable time it was not a desire that I was willing to admit, for to admit such was to make a necessity of trying to make it real. Fear was then and, of course, still is a dominant force. (Is there anyone who can say otherwise?)

I had no intention when I walked into my studio this morning of spending time reminiscing, or reviewing my place in the world and yet here I am. As an abstract artist whose work relies upon self expression, events such as this are not uncommon. I'd go as far as to state that they are pretty much part of the job.

I have been calling myself an artist for some years now and I have tried to live up to that title. In many respects I believe I have succeeded, in others I know that I can and should do better. I try not to pressure myself, however I am my own boss and so there is often little choice. After all, I have quite a comfy and tempting sofa and someone needs to keep me from fully exploiting its potential. I recall a genuinely brilliant maths teacher I had at school, who was of the opinion that the best mathematicians were the laziest, for they always work to make the simplest and therefore best explanations. I am not certain that the same can be said of artists.

Today, standing in my studio, I looked at the paintings I have worked on in the past month. There are four that are mostly finished and one that I have just begun (my fingers are ingrained with pigments as I type). I realised that I am not painting 'for a reason', as was more often than not the self-imposed necessity of the past. For most of my life as an artist, I was always working for an exhibition, a gallery or a commission. Presently, I have none of those things to work towards or for. I am painting, simply, for me. This is who I am and this is what I do. Painting is not just part of my life, it is what I do. I am a painter. I do best when I remember this.

It might seem like a rather ordinary revelation, yet it is one nonetheless, at least to me. Painting is not just something I do when I need to, it is what I do and it seems there is really almost no reason that I can't do it every day.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Playing to type

Perhaps it is the deepening economic gloom permeating the island upon which I live, where forecasts for that elusive economic fiction of 'growth' tell of the end of an era, perhaps it is the escalation of a system based on fear filling the airwaves and news feeds, or perhaps it is something closer to home, more personal, an emptiness caused by immutable distance, yet whatever the cause, while it proves difficult uncertain, it is undoubtedly affecting something of a dark influence on my paintings presently.

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
Every time I lift a hand to work, colours seem somehow wrong, ill-fitting, and so instead I resort to graphite, charcoal, black oil pastel and, occasionally, even black paint. When a colour makes it past this subconscious barrier, it more often than not ends up subsumed within the darkness, chained, barred and covered in black.

While this degree of darkness pulls me increasingly towards the monochromatic, another dark influence makes itself felt, a powerless anger, stoked quietly, internally, that rages against the darknesses both ex- and internal. It flashes out when I work, carving into the working surfaces of each piece, at times frantic slashes that tear up the surface, ripping and shredding, at other times more measured cuts, gouging hard and deep and with a dark certainty.

Earlier this year, words such as "emotional", "intense" and "difficult" were used to describe my work. I was not particularly thrilled by this, feeling that this tied my work to a particular cultural expectation – that of the depressed and unstable artist. I would far rather that my paintings had been allowed to speak for themselves, because to my mind there is in them a transcendent beauty that speaks nothing about emotional intensity or darkness. To bind them in this manner did them a disservice and set a barrier between them and the viewer, allowing them to be neatly fitted into a particular artistic stereotype, without any need to genuinely engage with the work. Not only this, it also seemed potentially off-putting to patrons, few of whom one might expect would want difficult emotions expressed upon their walls.

It is therefore really quite ironic that the work I am presently engaged with is almost a textbook example of "emotional", "intense" and "difficult". I can only imagine how those that previously described my work in those terms might coil back in fear at my current paintings!

Working in this manner was not a conscious plan on my part. As I have touched on more than once, in my pieces I attempt to pin down moments in time, sets of feelings and ideas, using a technique similar to the Surrealist's automatic writing, their "dictation of thought without control of reason". It is therefore unsurprising that in these challenging times, I am making challenging work.

While I know better than to try to force a change upon myself, I dearly hope these challenging times are short, for I would very much like to rediscover colour.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Cough

Four weeks after returning – alone – I am still run down. Cough. Was it the horrible journey, or the virus I picked up just before it? I've been prescribed some antibiotics, to try to clear my lungs, so maybe a change is in sight. Cough. I read through stacks of comics and spend a lot of time on the sofa. Horizontal. The occasional stray breeze is the only thing to stir in the studio. The works in progress gather slowly dust to their oil and graphite surfaces. I watch.

Grumbles of thunder. In the middle of the week, in the middle of the loudest storm I've heard in Edinburgh, I begin a new piece. I am not well, exhausted and with aching lungs. I paint that exhaustion and my sore muscles. Cough. This new painting looks nothing like my recent work. The dark heaviness is not visible here, rather it is a skeleton of a painting. I do not know what to do with it. Struck motionless. I leave it, like the others, for the dust to gather on.

I wear painting clothes every day. I do not paint every day. I leave the door open. The rain falls again.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Where it will go

If I had a vague idea about what I would paint when I began to work on my own again, it probably was not what I have been painting for the past week or so. In fact I'm not even sure that I had planned to paint at all at this point, nonetheless I went through the motions of setting up my studio and priming some panels. Somehow, following that, I started to paint.

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
If I had any idea at all about what I would paint when I began painting on my own again, I thought it would be something perhaps softer that what I had previously painted on my own. Something with more defined shapes, translucent and organically geometric. This did not happen.

When I came to paint on my own again, I fairly attacked the panels, beginning three paintings that are hard and more uncompromising than any I have painted before. It has taken me by surprise, although perhaps only really the first of the three. After hacking away at that first piece, I approached the second and third with a small degree of premeditation. I knew, by then, where I was going with this work.

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
What I do not know at this point is whether these paintings will lead to a full series, or if they are simply something that I need to get off my chest, a small aberration, before I begin something with more longevity. Only time will tell.

Of the three pieces I have began, only these two are close to a finished shape. Next week, perhaps, I will have more. We shall see.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Great Painting Give Away

Since returning home, I have had time to reflect on my surroundings. One of the things I have realised is that I have an awful lot of art around my studio and in my store room. In total, I have realised that there are well over a hundred paintings, with pieces from every body of work I've produced, some of them going back as far as 1997!

Stacks of my older work. I'm giving away a lot of them!
Over the weekend I attempted to put that hoard into better order, however the sheer volume of the work was overwhelming. It led me to the realisation that I simply don't need all of it and that it was time to let a lot of it go.

With that in mind, I drew up a list of all of my paintings and then had a long think about which ones I would be happy to give away. In all, I found 43 that I could part with for free! With so many pieces on offer, I decided to use my Facebook artist page as the hub for organising my Great Painting Give Away.

Visitors to the page will find three albums. The oldest work is in pop art, with 13 pieces made between 2001-2004. The next body of work features figure and portrait paintings, with 25 pieces ranging from 2001-2009. Last of all are five fairly recent abstract pieces from 2010.

I have asked anyone interested owning any of these 43 paintings to leave a comment on what they like and, on August 28th, I will hold a draw, choosing one lucky winner for each painting that has more than one commenting name against it. Whilst I'm giving away the paintings for nothing, the winner will however be responsible for paying shipping costs (which I will keep to a minimum). The costs are below next to the painting details.

So far I have had lots of good feedback on the pieces I've posted and am very pleased that the five abstract pieces have proved by far the most popular. It looks like most of my pieces are going to find new homes soon! Is there one for you?

Friday, 10 August 2012

A rebuilding process

My studio re-awakens
For fear of repeating myself, I will try to avoid my usual opening statement regarding the unexpectedly hasty passage of time recently, with specific regard to that which occurred since my arrival in Edinburgh a little over a week ago. It would not do to become a cliché.

My first steps at re-finding my home-town artistic feet were taken yesterday, when I put my studio back together. In these financially constricted times, I have decided to keep my studio close to home. Very close. So close, in fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it is in my home. Which, to be fair, it is.
There are both positives and negatives to having a home studio. The primary positive is the easy and instant access to the studio, at all times of day and night. I have never had a daily working schedule as an artist, so around the clock easy access is greatly beneficial to my work. On the other hand, when one has a home studio one can never escape from work. As an artist who does a lot of work internally, I already have enough problems escaping from my work at the best of times. With a home studio, there is almost no escape. Other than to do outside, but that is a different matter entirely.

I've also been looking through my painting storeroom this week. There is a lot of work in it, some ranging back to my first tentative professional steps some twelve years ago. In the coming weeks, I am going to catalogue this work and decide upon its fate. Some I plan to place for sale on Etsy, a little I hope to keep hold of. For the rest, who can tell… sometimes one must simply let go and move on. We shall see.

Friday, 3 August 2012

That was the week that wasn't

Most weeks, even those when I'm not in any obvious way working on art, there are always a few thoughts that I want to share. This week, however, there simply aren't and for one very simply reason. This week, I returned home from Fayetteville to Edinburgh and the journey, which should have taken around twenty hours, took instead forty-five hours. I left Arkansas on Tuesday morning and did not sleep until I was back in my house just after 11am on Thursday. This morning, I woke at half past one and have been vaguely awake ever since. I thought I might write that art is the last thing on my mind right now, but in truth nothing is on my mind right now. I'm sure next week I'll have something to write about, until then I am going to yawn some more.

Friday, 27 July 2012

It is that time again

I've been in Arkansas for almost three months now and in a few days I'll be heading home to Edinburgh. It is hard to believe that time has again passed so quickly, even though it does seem like that is all time does these days.

Some other future
Mixed media on board, 12x12" / 30x30cm
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner.
During this visit, Megan and I created a body of work that we are both very happy with. We painted fifteen small panels, that reflect on our lives and our movements over the past year or so. The exhibition that they form, which comes down tomorrow, is also something we are happy with. In the space of a few months, we created the work, hung the show, lit it and did almost all of the promotion for it. We had always believed that we make a good team and the reception of this sold proves this.

I have had another enjoyable visit to Arkansas and even though I am ready to go home now, I also do not really want to. When I get home, I am going to have to a lot of very hard work to do, just to maintain my position on the ladder of the art world. I don't know if I have the energy for that fight just now.

I think I need a holiday!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Nothing to see here

In a period of time when Megan and I have an exciting new exhibition, I somehow don't seem to have the energy to write an entry for the week. Maybe it was the Arkansas heat, or maybe it was using all of my art-thinking brain up during an interview with a local journalist this morning. Please do come back next week!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

On the wall

On the evening of July 10th, the artist's reception for Megan Chapman and my new body of work, A place called home, took place at Springdale's Arts Center of the Ozarks. While the evening was a touch quieter than we had anticipated, we nonetheless had a really lovely night. Around forty to fifty friends, family and patrons came out on a random Tuesday night, to look at our art in person and to talk to us.

We both spent the two hours of the reception in countless conversations, both about life and more specifically about our art. I love sharing my (and our!) work and there is little that can compare to speaking with a patron about a painting I have made, or in this case we have made. It is particularly great when someone gets what we have been trying to do with the work and also when they have their own, equally valid ideas about what we have made.

Our show, named A place called home after the series of paintings, is in the Arts Center of the Ozarks until July 27th. We arranged and hung the show ourselves and are really pleased with how it looks on the wall. This will be the only time that the full series will ever be shown together in public. If you're in Northwest Arkansas, or even eastern Oklahoma or southern Missouri, make sure you don't miss it.

For those of you further afield, you might not be able to see it in person however you can see the full series here.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Uncharted territory

To most people, the art world appears as an exclusive clique, where one cannot simply enjoy a piece of work, one must exhaustively explain why, using the longest words available; a world where one must understand what the direct expressivity of artistic material is; a world where a seemingly discarded piece of everyday junk becomes art when placed on a plinth or a gallery floor. It is not a welcoming world and one must pass stringent entrance exams to gain admittance, or else as a visitor carry the fear of possible public mockery.

This preconception of the art world is one that appears to have gathered strength over the past century as art, or at least its cutting edge, has moved steadily away from strictly representational art.

Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway
Oil on canvas, 1844, JMW Turner
Bequest to the National Gallery, London
Through the history of art, paintings have been almost always representational, meaning that their subjects were of something identifiable – a flower, a nude, a landscape and so on. While the more cunning artists would at times bury meanings within their paintings, for the mass of viewers it was quite clear what the painting was of.

In the nineteenth century, when artists such as Joseph Mallord William Turner and the French Impressionists stepped away from strict representation, a degree of explanation was needed to educate viewers to a whole new way of not just painting, but of looking at the world. In the twentieth century, when representational art was overtaken by non-representational art, the radical ideas of the Impressionists were advanced ever more radically. In this new and non-representational art, there was no longer a clearly defined subject and so longer explanations were required. Or perhaps the artists, curators and other full-time denizens of the art world simply felt them necessary, in order to justify themselves.

Over the course of the previous century, those explanations became longer and longer. With time, art moved on again, from the non-representational with an explanation to, more or less, simply the explanation. This two-century move from what once may have been perceived as little more than a pretty picture, to something with almost no aesthetic appeal and a long explanation, has served to turn art into an intellectual pursuit. As such, its potential mass appeal has been considerably lessened. This may be why the popularity of artists such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh continues, since arguably they were among the last cutting edge artists to paint more or less representationally.

My bed
Mattress, pillows, linens, objcets
© 1998 Tracey Emin / Saatchi Gallery
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, as western affluence rose, so to did the disconnection between art and the public. Most people's experience of contemporary art became little more than reading in disbelief an article about the latest Turner Prize winner, or else about the escapades of a previous winners-turned celebratory millionaire.

Yet in the past few years, western affluence has been in a steady decline. This has helped reveal that many other institutions, most notably politics, banking and the media, seem to be reaching a similarly great point of disconnection with the public. For these institutions change has become not just something to be hoped for but something that would seemingly have become unavoidable. In the world of art, change appears already to be underway.

As the traditional methods for the dissemination of knowledge about art have lost either their credibility or their funding, and as with so much of our lives, the internet has taken over. Here is a quiet revolution, where much of the media and countless galleries who continue to peddle artistic alienation are being left for dead.

Dissolution chemistry
Mixed media on paper
© 2009 Megan Chapman
Through social media sites and online market places, the barriers that many saw between themselves and art are being pierced. So to in the real world, friendly faces are replacing stern and consequently, more and more people are becoming aware of the value of having art in their lives. It is a realisation that I experienced a few years ago, when I bought my first piece of art. I can vividly recall the experience.

I saw a painting I liked in an Etsy store, made by someone I knew only slightly (then) through a social media site. I liked it and realised that since it was a small paper piece, I could afford to buy it. This simple access to original art was a revelation. I saw how easy it was to own art and quite possibly always had been. For the life of me, I could not understand why I had never bought any before. So it was that with one or two mouse clicks, I became the owner of a piece of original art. In the time since then, I have bought (and traded) several more pieces of art and now have a collection that includes the work of more than ten artists. Buying art, I now realise, is like buying anything else. There is no great drama to it, no need for endless pondering or justification. If I see a piece that I like, I can simply buy it, or else negotiate payments or a trade. It is simple knowledge that I wish I had possessed for so much longer.

While most of these pieces in my collection are small, they are indistinguishably real and original art and they are on my walls. To sit among them is an indescribably pleasant feeling. I know each of the artists who made the work and so feel a personal connection to the pieces. I also feel that here, finally, is something permanent in my life, something that will with luck out last me and that perhaps some future generation will hold and enjoy and know that it was part of my life.

Uncharted territory
Mixed media on panel
© 2012 Megan Chapman
& Stewart Bremner
Paintings may still seem to many an unaffordable luxury, something only for those in the know. Happily this is an attitude that is changing. Although few of us might have the affluence we once did, we are now making our purchases armed with more knowledge and eager to shop ethically. Maybe now, rather than considering the next electronic gadget from a multinational corporation, a corporation that may well be both eroding your rights and employing semi-slaves, it is time to buy a painting from a real, live artist, an artist who will almost certainly be grateful because you have bought them more time to be an artist.