Twitter Art Exhibit 2016

There’s a show on in New York at the moment over at the Trygve Lie Gallery on East 52nd that you really need to see to believe. It’s called the Twitter Art Exhibit and it is showing art from across the globe. All artists have a Twitter account and have donated their artworks to assist in raising funds for Foster Pride‘s Handmade Program. The idea is that these Twitter artists assist in promoting the show and spreading the word. The exhibition opened last week and has already raised $7000 through sales and is well on its way to meeting the target of $12000.

This is an amazing way to see and be seen. Everybody wins, even the artist. I knew when I entered this show that my tiny 6″ x 4″ postcard would be seen by thousands of people. it only cost me pennies to make and because it’s so light the postage was tiny. It’s a far cry from entering large framed pieces into New York shows but it makes the logistics a lot easier for me.

Meanwhile, viewers to the gallery can pick a piece they love and for a few dollars get to take it home there and then. They know that they’re supporting a great charity and they have the chance to get in contact with their selected artist to commission more works if they like the style.

At the heart of it all is the funds raised for Foster Pride which has been helping kids in care express themselves through mentoring and the arts since 1993. The Hand Made program teaches young people new skills which they can then use to create quality goods. You can see more on this on the Today Show article on Youtube. Click here!

So yeah, everyone wins. So you’re not in NYC at the moment? Then see what it’s all about over on Facebook… or Twitter! The exhibition runs until April 21st.

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Picture courtesy of Twitter Art Exhibit. My artwork is the yellow and orange piece mid shot

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Promises, Promises…

The only way to motivate myself is to set myself goals and rewards. It’s not hard in principle and it sometimes takes a lot of mental discipline to make things happen in the right order.

I promised myself that I would make more progress with my Automata series but only once I’ve completed a massive upload of stock to my Artfinder store and a whole heap of paperwork. So here I am, eleven days after I finished The Message finally looking at the next artwork in this series. Although I buy the wooden pieces ready-cut, there’s still the job of sanding shafts and spindles and engineering the gearing so that the next automaton will work according to my own design.

I have an idea brewing which has been floating round my brain since before The Message. It never materialised then due to a few logistical hurdles which I couldn’t quite overcome but I reckon I’ve got it sorted this time around. I’m keeping to my promise and giving myself the next day or so to tinker with the mechanics so that this next art can be more than just an empty promise to myself. I deserve this making time after all the workshops and administration tasks I’ve been doing lately.

I have to keep this promise and make this next piece a reality. More progress tomorrow… promise!

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The Video

Making three dimensional stuff is a wonderful business but sharing it in a photograph is tricky stuff. I tried sharing a photograph of The Message  on Monday and although it has been well received a photograph is no substitute for the real thing. A sculptural, mixed-media artwork needs to be seen from multiple directions. Multiple moving parts need to be experienced and a photograph fails to do the job. Taking something three dimensional and flattening it into a two dimensional representation is a futile exercise.

I’m very lucky that my creative partner Ben Honebone is also a music and video specialist. The moment he saw The Message he was inspired to create a video to accompany the automaton. He understood that The Message needed an appropriate platform on which to be viewed. The music in the video is a response by Ben to the artwork itself.

He tells me, “The mechanical parts suggested a steady electronic beat. The doll, the body parts, I felt were a contemporary deformation in the things we find beautiful and I wanted to reflect that in the style of music I created. This video is a response to the dark, odd, uncanny feelings I had when interacting with The Message.”

You can read more about how Ben responds to art (and how art responds to Ben) at his website: http://www.benhonebone.com/

The video of The Message can be seen by clicking here.

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The Message

 

Don’t buy my Art this Christmas

There’s a massive difference between need and want. A lot of holiday experiences are not at all what people need in their lives and are based on pure want.

A conversation with a mum of two and she’s telling me the hundreds of pounds of debt she’ll be getting into this Christmas to give her family “the best presents” she can. A lot of what she listed seemed to be throwaway items that will be forgotten by New Year, or expensive technological goods which are what her family “needs”. Meanwhile, buying art is very much a mysterious thing and definitely not on her list.

A different discussion with a friend who said he’d spent £110 on a mad night out in the pubs and clubs around town for a friend’s birthday. He seemed to think that the hangover he’d gained from it made it money well spent. I asked him whether he thought that the money could be better spent on buying some art instead and he said “Hell no!” Again, top on the celebrations list isn’t anything tangible.

It’s a strange society that means people will spend their money on a short lived drunken experience or a mountain of cheap throwaway goods rather than supporting a local craftsperson and getting a present with more longevity. Yes my art is a luxury item to most but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a worthwhile gift to get somebody. I have a shop. My prices are reasonable and cover my time and materials and not a lot else. I’m not sure who visits it and I haven’t had any sales yet. But nevertheless it’s there and it’s open 24 hours. Click here to have a look and please share if you know someone who would like my stuff. Someone who wants my stuff.

But then, what is the difference between want and need? I want your money and you want to have nice presents this Christmas, but what do either of us need? I have enough coming in through my education work to provide a roof over my head and food in my belly and that should be enough. Yes, I’d love for you to own one of my artworks and get pleasure from it but my world isn’t going to fall apart if you don’t.

There are many people out there who aren’t as lucky and who are struggling to get even the basics (food, housing, bills) sorted. If it’s a choice between buying my art or supporting a local homeless shelter this Christmas, I know which one I’d prefer you do. In fact screw it! Don’t buy my art! Instead click on one of the numerous links below and give to somebody who needs a roof over their head.

UK:  Shelter            Centrepoint          Crisis           The Wallich

USA: Homeless Shelters             NCH           Stand Up for Kids

 

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Venez m’aider (2012)

Idea Formation

It’s always a challenge to start a new piece of work. Sometimes the shape takes form in my head long before I start cutting. Sometimes it’s more of an organic experience. With Robot in Disguise, it’s more of a hybrid of the two. I’ve known roughly where I’m going on the cuts but haven’t convinced myself of the overall shape and assembly.

Such is the nature of the Structured Chaos series of work. If there is too much structure in the preliminary ideas then that undermines the chaos, and vice versa.

Each artwork is informed by Ben‘s photograph but isn’t controlled by it since all the cuts I’m making are on the reverse of his pictures. Nevertheless I have ideas on architecture and machinery forming in my head whilst cutting Robot in Disguise. The very nature of the title I’ve been given means the shapes are far less natural and more technological in nature.

WE’re planning on this being more of a mixed media piece eventually although there are no concrete plans formed yet on the exact nature of this assemblage. Whilst these inaugural layers are being cut there is much discussion and debate.

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‘Robot in Disguise’ work in progress Melanie Ezra and Ben Honebone

Protocol Shift

So here we go again, another Structured Chaos is evolving and we’ll be sharing the progress of this piece a little differently this time.

Usually I just share the view from the back of the artwork and reveal nothing of the front photograph until nearer completion. This is because I work only on the back of the photograph so until completion this is the only side which is of any relevance to me. As a result, most people believe this series consists of lots of white layers and are surprised to find out that I’m working with a photograph.

The photograph itself is the brain child of my partner Ben Honebone so as a shift in protocol we’ll be sharing excerpts of the progress on this work from his perspective. All pictures of emerging layers will slowly reveal the subject matter of his original source photograph.

This new artwork has the working title Robot in Disguise and I’m finding myself cutting shapes inspired by architecture and industry. There are also elements of agriculture towards the lower half of this picture. All these motifs are deliberate and refer directly to the subject matter of the photograph itself. Although I cut these shapes on the reverse of the picture I am always aware of Ben’s photograph in the back of my mind and the influence this is having on my responses.

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Making Sense of Clydach

Another Thursday and another excellent little photography group in Graigfelen, Clydach. This time we were considering the landscape around the centre and getting in touch with how we feel on a day to day basis.

Often our local environment is overlooked as a place to relax and make sense of it all. We rush from one situation to another without giving ourselves time to relax. Sometimes the only time off we have is a structured holiday getting away from it all. Today we looked at how we can relax and enjoy what’s available locally and how to feel calm and happy even on a dull November day.