Thursday, 16 December 2010

Facebook is sh*te !

I spend quite a while getting things the way I want.. and then without notice along come this prat called Mark Whatever and changes it without notice.

Cos he knows best what I want.

Control freakery of the first order !

It seems to me this guy is intent on spoiling a good idea..

Not impressed

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Monday, 15 November 2010

Featured at Whopple

Today I'm featured at a website called Whopple.

The site is run by Anne Marie a retired national media publicist that is currently donating her time to emerging and thriving artists.

"My goal is bring creative people into the limelight. This is the true meaning of Whopple where artists are highlighted through an interview." Art buyers and gallery owners love to see inside an artist’s life. So Whopple is the place to highlight artists, their art, their inspiration, and their lives."

Many thanks !

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

2nd Place award

I've received a few awards in my time but this one I think is worth noting..

The Solo group are a group of artists at Red Bubble who nomimate, exhibit and then make awards to art taken from the huge number of images on the Red Bubble site. I don't normally get that involved with competitions because art is a very subjective business and inevitably in most contests, politics are a major factor. So I was delighted to first be nominated without making a submission and then to recieve three awards from the Solo group of artists.

Intially I was very pleased when two of my works were selected for online exhibition from the many hundreds of thousands of art works on the Red Bubble site, but then to receive three awards including a second place in the Traditional Art category is very pleasing.

I think its worth recording that these awards are made by artists to their fellow artists.. so being acknowledged by your peers in this way is always special for me.

Many thanks to Fran and all those involved..

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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Galleries and Internet based artists.

To a large extent I'm an internet based artist. I create certain works with a view to selling them online.

I’ve come across a bias against artists/work on POD sites recently among galleries. It seems like many gallery owners have decided to take a common stance against anyone with a substantial presence on POD sites. I think this is short sighted. The whole online selling thing has developed so far and so fast.. my view is that in order to survive galleries really need to adapt to this changed world.

So here are some arguments I've developed to deal with this entrenched "head in the sand" position.

First if I sign works for a gallery.. then surely the work signed has a greater value than unsigned POD’s sold via Red Bubble ? It may not be the way many galleries have operated in the past but I would honestly expect a commercially savy organisation to grasp the basic idea... that signed works are more valuable.

I’m uncompromising when it comes to this argument.. I say “if a gallery can’t see the potential in selling signed works on the back of POD popularity then I don’t think they are the sort of organisation I will have confidence in”. My view is that many galleries still think they can turn their back on internet art sales.. and survive. They should be using internet popularity as a way of establishing which artists works are selling.. as part of their decision to sell an artists “signed” works.

I support this argument by pointing out, I have no control over the final quality on a POD site.. and this basically puts POD prints into the same bracket as unsigned “wholesale” prints sold through IKEA or any other national store. Would they reject signed prints of a work that became popular through high street sales.. no they wouldn’t. So why should it be any different with POD’s ?

I also argue strongly that sales of POD’s will ultimately increase the value of signed prints, and any gallery owner worth their salt should be able to grasp this. For example if a POD image sells tens of thousand (I wish).. and is found to be very popular online then surely a gallery is going to benefit from selling the same work signed on the back of this already established popularity ?

As an example I have a POD print based on Manchester that sells pretty well.. so I am actively seeking an outlet for signed prints in Manchester. Its not rocket science is it ?

I also tell them that my marketing efforts will continue (including online marketing) even if they agree to sell my signed works, and that I see my them benefiting from my marketing efforts. I will often include the following “this work consistently sells well online as a POD” in my communications with galleries.

I have and will agree deals to withdraw specific images from POD sites with galleries.. but will try and argue against it. (politely)

I’m genuinely surprised so many don’t get it.. I suspect there is “control freakery” in all this !

I have also made progress with galleries by offering to embellish prints that I sign for them.. this can often be an area of extra colour or a few more lines added to a work. I don’t find this very difficult because quite often I get further ideas after I have finished a work.

Part of the reason I’m posting this is in the hope that gallery owners monitor blogs like this, and it gives them something to think about. Gallery owners should be getting smart and cashing in on the success of artists selling via the Internet.

I want to build up trust with those galleries I sell to.. so its important artists maintain a consistent approach. I also think it sounds good to tell a prospective gallery.. “I’m sorry I can’t do as you ask because it would unfair to my buyers and other galleries to change my policy at this stage."

I had a heated discussion with a gallery owner about POD sales a month or so back.. I stuck to my guns and a couple of days later she rang back and said she’d thought abou it.. and we made a deal. My thinking is that many gallery owners want you all or largely to themselves.. which is fine and dandy if they can provide a good income but in these difficult times we all (galleries and artists) need to be adaptable and try different things.

Think of one or more USP’s (unique selling points) ! Things that make you and your work different from the rest.. and push that at them.

But if a gallery hasn’t got the basic confidence to point out to a potential buyer the differences between a POD and a signed, authenticated and numbered print. Then I really don’t think they know their business… and I’m not sure they are right for me.

As for internet based artists all we can do is keep chipping away at it. if gallery owners are going to make restrictive demands on artists, then artists really need to have a common response.

There really is no benefit at all to an artist in agreeing a bad deal… if you don’t like the deal move on.

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Saturday, 11 September 2010

Pet Hates

Nicolas Poussin.. what's all that about ?
Brian Sewell.. because he's a toff, and because he likes Poussin

Tony Blair
Margaret Thatcher
Almost all politicians to be honest. "Lie with a smile"

Buearocrats.. I hate em so much I can't bring myself to even press spell check.

Sunday Drivers. Please drive on Wednesdays

Cyclists.. we spend a fortune on cycle lanes and they ride on the pavements, ignore traffic lights. Introduce the death penalty for all law breaking cyclists

Caravans.. sheds on wheels.. enough said.

Greens. They maybe right but I wished they'd stop going on and on about it.

People who steal your ideas and claim they are their own. Get a life saddo's.

Facebook and Twitter. I don't care about the shrubs in your back garden. Never used either myself.

Talentless people who always manage to appear again and again on TV. I call them the Thames Valley mafia.

Alternative comedians.. they were never alternative and they generally weren't comedians. Thankfully they've almost become extinct.. but still manage to get on the TV almost every night.

Planning laws.. I'm convinced Britain would be better if we just scrapped all planning laws. You just know Venice couldn't happen now.. health and safety would take them to the cleaners.. building regs would fine them.. every tin pot official on the planet would be queueing up to issue a warrant against them and if by some miracle it got through the planning process some "quality assured" but basically dodgy builder would get the £3 billion contract and the city would have sunk into the mud within 3 years.

Suburbia..see above. (I think I might also have to include Suburbia in "MY INFLUENCES")

(to be continued)

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My influences

Someone said to me the other day.."your work reminds me of.." its not something I have ever seriously considered so it got me thinking that I should make a little list.

I am happy to receive suggestions

So in no particular order

B Movie Aliens.. especially the Blob. I think my brain has been absorbed by the Blob !

Paul Klee


Max Ernst


Jean Dubuffet : The best mess on the planet.


Velvet Underground & Nico. Musicians have been copying them for decades.. but they all miss the point. It was Andy Warhol that made the difference.

Marc Chagall

"Kids Art": They don't need to pontificate about art.. they just do it.


Theo Major.. I met him. The guy was totally extraordinary.

Andy Warhol (obviously)

Leonardi Da Vinci.. any guy who invents helicopters before there were Business Execs deserves respect.

Random Urban Scrawlers.. I like the folks who scrawl something like "u are a nob"
rather than the glitterati of Street Art. Just don't do it on my wall.

Wallace and Gromit (I have an accent like Wallace and also like a nice piece of cheese)

Gaudi (not sure why or how though..but I feel the need to "respond":) You know the worlds gone backwards try building a Cathedral today !

Tom Finney

My wife..

Max Ernst (again)

Cheap adverts on the TV. We have a cracker at present by a bird who thinks she's a stunner but isn't telling us to visit Accrington market.

Marcel Duchamp (I don't understand why)

The Queen.. (because she has always been there for me)

Marcel Duchamp (because I still don't understand why).


Richard Ashcroft.. it is a bitter sweet symphony

Bill Gates.. some folks just want more and more of everything. But Bill decided he had enough and before he popped his clogs wanted to do some good in the world. But I could be wrong.

Simon Cowell.. somebody who is hated by so many must be doing something right.

Youtube... the source of all wisdom,old music vids and frivolity.

Urban decay.. nature is boring.

Suburbia.. probably our most significant contribution to the world. The Renaissance produced Da Vinci.. Venice.. etc. 20th C produced Suburbia, Hiroshima and Henry Ford.

Soxy Fleming.. she threatened never to speak to me again if I didn't include her.


Anything Italian..
Venice for instance.. here's some mud why don't we build a beautiful city on it ?

(to be continued)
P.S. I'm actually quite surprised how few REAL artists I'm influenced by.
I find many "Artists" boring, self important and up their own backsides...

Thank you and goodnight !

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

US Open Tennis

I was contacted by a US artist saying he saw someone at the US Open Tennis wearing a T shirt with one of my designs on it. I've not really sold that many T shirts so I am curious about this.

If any of you folks regularly watch the tennis can you keep your eyes open.. apparently it was one of Stanislas Wawrinka's coaches.

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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Too much information

Everywhere we look we are surrounded by piles of useless information.. and small print.. should we read it all to make sure we don't leave ourselves ill informed or worse ? Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to the law.

You know if I don't fill in the paperwork and get my image copyrighted it might be stolen.. and if i don't get my vehicle licensed it might be towed away.

My meter is constantly turning.. how many units have been used today ? How many vitamins or calories do we need to be happy ? And the TV tells me everyday we need to know about events in Emerdale, Afghanistan, the Big Brother House, and Tibet ?

They released hostages in Columbia yesterday and it rained before the pound rose against the dollar. What's the score at the US Open ? In case I am asked ? I must recycle because the planet is dying. My interest rate has gone down ! The lovely female weather forecaster tells me I need to know there is high pressure over the Atlantic.. the traffic on the M25 is bad today and there are delays after an an accident involving a 71 yr old which is causing long delays for anyone waiting to use the bathroom.

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Monday, 19 July 2010

Just sold a 7ft x 4ft print..

To Gainesville in Florida...which is now officially my favorite US place (today). Its the largest POD print I've ever sold.. FAA are going to need one of those big US trucks to deliver it.

I reckon they've paid over $600 dollars for it.. amazing for an unsigned work. I figure it must be for restaurant.. or an office. I've sold quite a few of these to commercial clients. I think we can safely say its going to be a centre piece.. somewhere.

Thank you buyer from Gainesville.. for a similar amount I will fly over and sign it !
Sent a signed version of the same print to New York a couple of weeks back as well..

I can tell the kids they are eating tonight !

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Monday, 28 June 2010

Sold 4 prints last night

Last night I sold 4 prints to an Urban Planning Consultancy in Brisbane Downunder.

It would get a bit boring if I announced every sale but when a decent sale comes along I think it provides a decent opportunity to let folks know that I do sell works regularly around the world.

So if you live in Brisbane and you spot your local urban planning consultants office.. tell him you don't know anything about planning you've just come to admire his collection of "Andy's work" !

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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Rogue image search engines bypassing watermarks..

A few days ago I posted about a new type of image search engine effectively giving away artists images. There appear to be a number of sites involved... and the list is growing. These site appear to be deliberately avoiding the images that are watermarked on POD sites and picking up on thumbnails and sales pages where the images are not protected by watermarks. So this is not a case of a search engine accidentally finding our images.. it strikes me they are deliberately bypassing the copyrights and watermarks protecting our images.

It would seem they are basically using our images to generate Google advert income using a network of referring sites.. which don't make it all easy for anyone searching to get to the original site where your image was posted.

For more detailed information I've posted about this in some detail on the Red Bubble forum.

POD sites need to be reviewing their image security...

Please spread the word !

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Many thanks..

Thank you very much for all the Birthday best wishes.. (there have been literally dozens and dozens on forums, via Facebook and email). I am genuinely surprised and touched. I don't think I've even had previous communication with the majority of the people who have sent "best wishes". No disrespect.. but folks I've had contact with you sort of anticipate.. but how amazingly generous of so many folks who really hardly know me to make a point of sending their "best wishes". I must admit I am quite a business like person.. I try to avoid much of the personal internet stuff.. so I am left wondering what I've done to deserve it ?

There are many examples you see everyday of how humans generally do wrong in the world.. but I must say I feel like the recipient of some
simply sincere and positive intentions today. How wonderful that even though we don't always see eye to eye artistically.. that you can set that aside without reservation.

I spent most of the day at an "arts" conference which was interesting and quite rewarding.. on my return my family whisked me off to a local restaurant and we were treated well. So all in all.. its been a good day and I would like to thank you all for contributing to an enjoyable and uplifting birthday.

I'm sure you don't need reminding how solitary an artists path can be.. how we often walk alone in perusing this vision we have.. we make our art works in isolation often with little certainty of how the world will respond. So it is very gratifying for me that aside from family and friends, so many fellow artists of so many different persuasions.. disciplines.. known and unknown have made the effort to pass on their best wishes.

Thank you very much.. I sincerely hope all your good intentions are returned to you ten fold..


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Saturday, 12 June 2010

New marketing idea from Fine Art America

Great new feature on Fine Art America !

Its a type of link exchange - pick a search term that you have used to tag your art. On the first page of results, above the 3rd row of images, there is a link you can click to promote your work. Copy & paste the code somewhere else on the internet (like here). Type in the url where you placed the link & click Submit. In a matter of seconds, it verifies the link and your art appears on the 3rd row on the 1st page!

Here are a few examples..

urban prints
urban drawings
cityscape prints
city prints
graffiti prints
graffiti canvas prints
urban art prints
urban art digital art

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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Found my images being displayed on this site without any watermarks and without my permission. The thumbnails are irritating but when you click on the thumbnail a nice "grabable" image presents itself to anyone who wants it. They claim in their terms and conditions that all the images displayed are in the public domain. They certainly are not.

I checked out the GOOGLE forums about this site..

Apparently its a Russian site and they use your images to generate income via the Google adverts on their site. They have a "handy" linking code that encourages visitors to post your images on forums and blogs.. but then sends the resulting traffic back to them rather your personal site... which raises their Google ranking and in turn attracts more traffic to their sites.

No point in complaining to the site because they will ignore you.. but it is worth reporting it to Google and raising their awareness that they are actually paying for this. Spread the word..

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A double feature..

This week my work has been featured on the home page of two excellent art sites..

1. Artplanet is run by respected artist and writer on art; Jan Weiss. She creates and sell her own art as fine art prints and originals and also works with other artists to promote them through exposure on Art Planet.

2. Talent Network Alateia is a French website (I think ?) that features emerging and established artists from around the world.

Many thanks to Jan and the folks at TNA !

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Monday, 31 May 2010

Homage to Warhol

I'm currently participating in a extended conceptual work as my "Homage to Andy Warhol" for a show title Homage in San Diego organized by the Digital Art Guild.

The Director has agreed to print off this work at their end and to try and assemble the box for display in the exhibition.

I'm not overly concerned if the image distorts and pixelates its meant to look unpolished and grungy. Digital images often appear very precise, ultra controlled and dare I say "predictable" and so this is my response to these aspects of digital art. We Anglo Saxons do seem to have an obsession with precision, order and neatness. Personally I enjoy a bit of disorder. This ability to be precise provided by visual manipulation software my opinion is often equated with quality in art. More precision and control seems to mean higher quality of art for some. I want to challenge this perception.

But at the same time many people who don't know much about digital art think it "is" mechanistic and impersonal, so I also want to demonstrate that this does not need to be the case.

Industrial produced packaging is rarely 100% accurate.. registrations often slip, colors go unmonitored. I'm not 100% certain how it will work out and I like this uncertainty, it is the antithesis of industrial planning, but even with planning the outcomes are not completely predictable. I personally envisage something not much larger than a cigarette pack. So this work is a personal response to the systematization and standardization of every aspect of society. These days you can't place one brick on top of another without a whole raft of paperwork, plans and permissions to support it. Modern planning and industrial processes are hardly spontaneous.

In addition to this these industrial processes have become extended and this inevitably leads to a certain dislocation between the planning and the outcome. A coffee maker might be designed in Italy and the designs shipped to China, and several months later a container arrives full of "tea" makers. So Wendy (the Director) is my "out sourced industrial worker" struggling to interpret my design through her particular San Diegan goggles. I see her as very much a part of the process. If the finished BOX does not sit 100% flat on the plinth I will NOT be surprised or disappointed. I'm looking for one off unrepeatable impossible packaging.. a "parody of" and "and personal response to" those impersonal industrial processes that have created and maintain the modern world. I will be delighted if the end product is quirky.

I'm hoping Wendy will enjoy her participation and will feedback on the whole process... with pictures etc.

More to follow..

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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Painting is dead..

I've been reading on a number of artist forums how digital art "isn't real art".. painters especially seem threatened..

Do musicians don't get "their knickers in a twist" over music produced or enhanced digitally. So why all the fuss about digital fine art ?

Anyway I've decided to counter this by making an official declaration that "painting is dead".

Just think about all those nasty chemicals.. stop painting and save the planet !

(This declaration excludes "painting and decorating" of course.)

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Friday, 9 April 2010

FAA - the complete online service for artists ?

You'll notice the question mark in the title.. it does appear to be the direction Fine Art America is heading.

You've got to hand it to Brian at FAA the grass doesn't grow under his feet.. and he certainly seems to know his stuff.. he seems to be moving towards offering "the complete online professional service for artists". He is constantly looking for ways to improve the site.. and as a "techy" improvements get done fast and to a high standard.

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Friday, 2 April 2010

Busy..busy.. busy.. I like busy.

I'm in danger of meeting myself coming back at present..

BBC exhibition dates and times including live interview for your

Licensed 2 pictures to a Croatian Environmental Agency yesterday..

Solo Exhibition planned for May June in south Manchester... further details to follow.

A London based Licensing Agent has taken examples of my work to show to potential clients..

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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Fine Art America Developments

Brian McDunn at FAA has started offering independent artist websites as part of his POD operation. As someone who currently pays for a gallery template service I'm very interested to see how far he takes this.

The link is to a completely separate website developed and operated by FAA. Apparently anyone searching via this page.. will only search your works.. not the thousands on FAA. At present only limited customization is available but Brian says he is looking at developing this further.

I've wondered for awhile if the next stage for POD operations could well be to offer artists fully functioning websites with domain name integration as part of a complete online package for artists. I've never really understood the current division between gallery templates sites and POD operations. It always struck me that there was potential for POD expansion here.

I could never work out why Red Bubble have never developed their "bubblesite" concept further. Although I do understand that RB is "developing exciting new developments" to bring in this year.

There does seem to be some healthy competition developing to provide artists with the most complete service.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

BBC Lancashire Exhibition Dates

My proposed solo exhibition at BBC Lancashire's Gallery which had to be postponed last autumn due to a gallery refurbishment. has now been rearranged and the dates are Tuesday 13th April until Tuesday 11th May.

On Tues 13th PM on the John Gillmore show (this may be amended) they plan to do an on air interview. You should be able to listen to this anywhere in the world as it is also broadcast on the Internet.

Will post further info as I receive it..

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Saturday, 30 January 2010

A lack of creative thinking..

I don't think we learn much or grow by surrounding ourselves with sympathetic people. I prefer to be surrounded by a spectrum of opinions rather than by people who all like the same art and feel art is about the same things.

I think there is an artistic apartheid in the UK.. if you're not left of centre and have come through some academic institution you really don't get into the art debate in the UK.

In my view because artists pursue independently their vision of the world..this makes artists more likely to be independent thinkers.. because by the nature of our practice we have (or should have) the will to be independent of the political mainstream.. more so than any conviction that one grouping, establishment or a single philosophical position is correct. I have strong and probably quite unpopular views on the type of art receiving State subsidises in the UK and there really is no general platform for open discussion of this... rather like global warming (sorry I mean climate change). In my experience where the debate ends the creativity quickly dries up as well... that's probably why I find much contemporary art in the UK insular, self absorbed and frankly.. dull.

In my opinion artists generally deal with ideas.. and because we deal with visual ideas we are quite capable of bringing a "different perspective" to an established debate, not seen in the wider social context. We are less interested in the actual political application of these ideas and political loyalties but artists generally explore ideas. Free and open debate is the anvil on which new ideas are hammered into some form of coherent shape. In a healthy society artists should generally be challenging accepted ideas and truisms.. we explore visual ideas and therefore the idea of any rigid "truth" should be met with suspicion by artists. We are less likely to follow the debate we are generally more likely to create, renew or stimulate debate. I think its healthy that when the "truth is proclaimed".. artists eye this declaration with suspicion.

In European history over the last couple of centuries "creatives" have always been close to the heart of the evolving debate. But with the expansion of education the debate has been largely hijacked by educational establishments. It seems only right that the internet should create and sustain forums for the exchange of international ideas and theseart sites are probably the modern equivalent of the Parisian cafes in Picasso's day.

At this time I see society as in urgent need of fresh thinking and new vision.. the right/left thing is largely redundant.. society needs its "creative thinkers" now to find a way through the mess.

In fact I would go further and say the absence of genuinely creative rather than economic and political thinking across our society has lead to our present predicament. Of course there are many creative people out there in many walks of life but I do not believe their voice is being heard where it matters because of a media controlled by narrow economic interest on the one hand and politically entrenched people on the other.
Take the political establishment for example 50 years ago the party system in the UK was a mix of the brave, the out spoken and tenacious mavericks. These days our political classes tend to go to university directly from school and have little or no experience of life beyond, and yet these people are almost completely in control of our political system.

Andy Mercer

(Interesting that this is by far my most visited blog post)

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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

In defense of Abstraction

I equate abstraction in art with rhythm and harmony in music.. words in music are much like realism in art for me. Words in music can convey human emotions and create pictures in the mind etc.. but the "words" depend absolutely on an underpinning of rhythm and harmony. Likewise realism in art can convey direct human emotion.. but this emotive quality in realism is dependant on an abstract visual composition of basic shapes and colour.

Is instrumental music somehow less than music with words ? I doubt many orchestral conductors would agree with you on that.
Is abstract art somehow less than realistic art.. not at all.

They are simply different.

The relationship between realism and abstraction is a fascinating historical one.. "realism" as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon and arose in public consciousness after the Renaissance... with the emergence of engineering and the material sciences. IMO certain aspects of visual art practice somehow got mixed up with scientific thinking and practice..(probably due to the Royal Academy's) in the sense that accurate observation and description in art i.e. "Realism" became the artist equivalent of accuracy and precision of scientific experimentation. Its is not in my opinion co-incidence that the rise of realism has occurred at the same time as the rise of scientific thought and practice. Precision and accuracy of observation and delivers good science so the argument goes this must also be basically true in other areas of human activity... including art. This idea has certainly stuck in the public's mind in western cultures.. how many times have we heard someone equate accurate depiction with the quality of the art ?

But "abstraction" is not really concerned with accuracy or precision of depiction so abstraction in some quarters is somehow devalued in the same way that religion/spirituality has become devalued by the prevalence of our scientific based philosophy. As Darkest said at the start of this thread.. why do people "switch off to abstraction" ? I believe they "switch off" because of this basic taboo towards anything not quantifiable in culturally established scientific terms.

But artists have been using pattern, texture, colour, shapes and rhythm since time began.. every mark made by an artist is basically abstract.. a line or a splotch, a block of colour is basically abstract.. all art starts as abstraction.. abstraction is at the core of visual art. I think artists who are musical are more inclined to understand the true nature of abstraction as the building blocks of art... as rhythm, tempo and harmony are the building blocks of music. Here the comparison between music and art breaks down in a revealing way for me.. because there is (as far as I am aware) no similar comparison to the scientific method influencing music in recent centuries.. music in all its forms is still just music.. as art in all its forms should simply be the many varied and wonderful forms of visual art.

I have no problems with experimentation in art and visual perception.. I don't really like any artificial boundaries or restrictions.. that we ALL just do art will do for me.

But I do have more of a problem in this respect with contemporary conceptual art.. when Art deals less and less with the timeless basic constituents of visual art i.e. colour, shape, rhythm, pattern, texture.. and even accuracy.. for me it becomes less and less art. Its no surprise to me then that it has to rely more on context to be accepted as art at all.. place a bucket of rice with a light bulb in a field and its a bucket of rice with a light bulb in a field.. place a bucket of rice with a light bulb in a gallery and it becomes art. But I'm not sure that a devalued art.. is not ultimately devaluing the context.

I would never agree with the idea that art only exists in the gallery.

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