Thursday, March 29, 2012

Film Showing in Vancouver


quotation
'MAGNIFICENT AND EVOCATIVE! As close as cinema gets to
tracking the impulses and paradoxes of a gifted imagination.'
—Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
quotation
'THRILLING! Akin to being in a museum that's come alive.'
—Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment
GERHARD RICHTER PAINTING

April 6 - 12 VANCITY THEATRE (Seymour and Davie Streets)
Directed by: Corinna Belz
(Germany, 2011, 97 min.)
Norwegian Wood

 

 

Corrina Belz's Gerhard Richter Painting is a fascinating documentary about Germany's Gerhard Richter– one of the world's most important contemporary artists–and the creative process behind his famous abstracts.
Gerhard Richter, who turned 80 earlier this year, is usually media shy. But in spring 2009, he invited Belz into his Cologne studio, telling her that he was about to start a new series of paintings. Over the next six months, Belz captured Richter at work, providing a fly-on-the wall look at his method.
The colors Richter prefers are classics like titanium white, ivory black, cadmium shades, red, ultramarine and lemon yellow. Beginning with a brush, he swishes paint over a giant canvas. Next he wields an oversized squeegee, scraping the paint on (and off), creating surprising layers. Every day brings a change. We see Richter wait, reject, rework and sometimes destroy, only to begin anew. He says the paintings "do what they want."
Richter works in a high-ceiling white studio, all alone except for his two assistants, whose jobs include straining the paint, so it doesn't lump. Working to a 1:50 scale, his assistants also hang miniature photos of the paintings in 3-D floor plans of London's Tate Modern or Paris's Centre Pompidou, so Richter can see exactly how his work will be exhibited.
The documentary shows Richter in contemporary situations, such as a meeting with his legendary New York gallerist Marian Goodman, as well as in archival material, including an interview Richter did in 1966, five years after fleeing as a political refugee from East to West Germany.
The film is written and directed by Germany's Corinna Belz, who first met Richter when she made Das Kölner Domfenster (2007), a documentary about the artist's stained glass window for the Cologne Cathedral.
The film is in German with English subtitles. Gerhard Richter Painting is being released in Canada by Mongrel Media.

Screening Information
Friday, April 6, 4:15pm + 7:45pm
Saturday, April 7, 9:00pm
Sunday, April 8, 6:45pm
Monday, April 9, 6:30pm
Tuesday, April 10, 8:10pm
Thursday, April 12, 3:00pm

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Alyson B. Stanfield has an art business blog that is great. As I am averse to Facebook, readers of this blog might value four of her posts:

Wishing I Were American

Artspire in an amazing initiative for artists and arts organizations in the US makes me jealous.
Launched last fall by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Artspire.org is a new community website that empowers individual artists and organizations anywhere in the country to support their work with tax-deductiblecontributions while building entrepreneurship and creating a robust social network of supporters. 
With Artspire, artists can leverage the power of crowdsourced funding to galvanize and expand their roster of followers, thus building sustained financial backing for their work.
Artists connecting with Artspire will find a virtual home that combines innovative technology with hands-on personal support to provide a critical suite of resources and services that are easily accessible throughout the fundraising process. 
“Artspire is one of NYFA’s most important digital initiatives and the most significant change in the program’s history,” said Royce.  “By giving artists the tools they need to expand their audience and find new funding sources, the site positions them to fully actualize their entrepreneurial potential and enables them to create an inter-connected online community that is invested in their long term success.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Name Change


There’s nothing like a good story, and the story about the change of my name at the top of this page is a great one. Why I have done this is now a script that is to be produced in Vancouver’s PAL Studio Theatre in April of 2013.
I have kept my name Chris(topher) Tyrell and added Loranger (that’s “lor-on-zhay” and not “lor-an-jere.”). Loranger was my name for almost the first two full years of my life, and my initial time with my birth mother left me with a profound love of the French language and all things French. The Tyrells adopted me but my new adopted mother soon became depressed and paralyzed; she was eventually institutionalized so much of my life was spent alone or only with my father.
In mid-life, I was reunited with my glorious and flamboyant Quebecoise birth mother. Our reunion was overpowering and it included the goodwill of my adopted father. Both of them are deceased now, but the change in my name keeps them both with me and all feels right in the world. Although it is a bit strange in some ways to change my name so late in my life, it also absolutely thrills me to have my French name back. I am very proud of my true heritage.
Originally, I expected to keep teaching and writing as just Chris Tyrell, but I want a simple life and a single identity; I have decided only to use my new name (but all three names professionally because the “Chris Tyrell” brand is so strong in my field of visual art professional development).
I did not bond with my adopted family, although that would come as my father and I aged together. However, the sudden loss of my birth mother one day and the abrupt change to a new life followed by the collapse of my adopted mother’s health became how I defined myself. Although I was adopted, I was still feeling and thinking like an orphan. I was a stranger in a strange land and that feeling never left me.
I became obsessed with the concept of identity and about orphans. Orphans are western literature’s dominant literary personality after gods; our most super comic heroes and some of literature’s most iconic characters (Harry Potter to Quasimodo) are orphans. I read a lot of those stories and about identity. I read academic papers about twins and twins separated at birth and my dreams and many of my interests, such as plant grafting and acting, were all driven by my obsession with identity.
The disruptions of my early life left me with a permanent legacy of sadness and a sense of not belonging, but these emotions have fueled a lifetime of creative work that has richly fulfilled me. My sense of being “outside” so much of life informs every single creative endeavor of my career. Consequently, the discourse of my career has been rich with imagery derived from my research and my dreams. My statements and interviews, my explanations and insights have always been well received because my story is passionately told, emotional and interesting.  
As I have so often said, the narrative attached to our artworks is as important as the artwork itself. The public wants narrative: that is why there are curatorial and artist statements and why we have critics. They all help the public understand what we do and why we do it; they link stories to our creations and the more compelling the story, the more we value the work to which it is attached.
The importance of narrative is a strong component of my teaching and although I have confidence in my teaching and I get good feedback from my students, one always finds the reassurance of objective voices very reassuring. Consequently, I was thrilled to discover the website, Significant Objects (SO) that I wrote about here in July 2010. SO was an experiment that proved just how valuable stories can be when we sell sacred objects like our artwork.
You may remember that people involved with SO conscripted an impressive roster of writers and asked them to create narrative to add value to items selected from a second hand store. Then they sold the items on eBay and the combined resale prices were between 2,700% and 2,860% higher than the combined cost prices; this is very dramatic proof of the power and value of narrative.
We are storytellers, so when we buy art we get a great deal of our satisfaction from our art purchases when we have a great story to tell when visitors to our home admire the piece. Everything we display in our homes has a story attached to it; test my theory for yourself by going home and looking at what you display. Ask yourself, “Why have I put this object on display in my home?” I think that you will find that each object you have on view provokes a story that you really like to tell.
Art buyers attach narrative to every piece in their collection. There is a compelling reason for each choice they make and that reason comes from the buyers experience or the artists. When the artist’s story is vital and interesting, their art becomes an artifact of the narrative for the buyer; the more interesting the story, the happier the buyer is.
And when the story of your life not only is manifest in your art, but also in your personality, behavior, dreams and often in your conscious thoughts like my obsession with identity, you will develop a cohesive body of work over time that gets more and more interesting as your career progresses. Over time, obsessives like me develop a rich language of symbols and an expertise in the telling of our story and that makes for great art making, a compelling experience for your audience and great sales.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Damien Hirst: On Money and Art

Newsweek Magazine has an interesting article by Blake Gopnik about Damien Hirst and his relationship with money/the market.
     What has happened in the last five years or so, however, is that each of those [early] single pieces has been incorporated into a vast, overarching work of art that could be titled “Damien Hirst, Inc.” His true medium is no longer flies or sharks or spots. His medium is the tabloid press, and the auction market, and his collectors, and his art’s peculiar reception.      “I’ve always been aware that the art somehow lies between the Mona Lisa and the postcards of the Mona Lisa. I think Warhol made it fine for artists to deal with all that?...?You’ve got to look at the world the way it is, and just reflect it back to the people who haven’t been born yet. The more you look at the world, the crazier it seems.”      In 2007, Hirst created a platinum skull covered in diamonds that he priced at $100 million, and that therefore stood as the perfect symbol of the lunacy of art’s current status... (In fact, when the diamond skull was announced as having fetched its record price, it turned out that Hirst and some pals were the buyers. The giant price tag was a kind of final touch that Hirst added to his own work.)      Warhol proposed that the business of art could also be great art. Hirst is Warhol updated for our freewheeling, free-market times.
Link.

Damien Hirst: On Money and Art

Newsweek Magazine has an interesting article by Blake Gopnik about Damien Hirst and his relationship with money/the market.
     What has happened in the last five years or so, however, is that each of those [early] single pieces has been incorporated into a vast, overarching work of art that could be titled “Damien Hirst, Inc.” His true medium is no longer flies or sharks or spots. His medium is the tabloid press, and the auction market, and his collectors, and his art’s peculiar reception.      “I’ve always been aware that the art somehow lies between the Mona Lisa and the postcards of the Mona Lisa. I think Warhol made it fine for artists to deal with all that?...?You’ve got to look at the world the way it is, and just reflect it back to the people who haven’t been born yet. The more you look at the world, the crazier it seems.”      In 2007, Hirst created a platinum skull covered in diamonds that he priced at $100 million, and that therefore stood as the perfect symbol of the lunacy of art’s current status... (In fact, when the diamond skull was announced as having fetched its record price, it turned out that Hirst and some pals were the buyers. The giant price tag was a kind of final touch that Hirst added to his own work.)      Warhol proposed that the business of art could also be great art. Hirst is Warhol updated for our freewheeling, free-market times.
Link.

KIckStarter Success Story

I've posted about KickStarter before, but my student, Alexander, sent me this link to a BoingBoing post about a visual artist who uses KickStarter to fund her projects and works outside the gallery/grant methodology.

What I wanted to figure out was a way to create work that was funded neither by rich collectors, nor by grant committees, nor by someone's supportive sugar daddy. I wanted to make giant, fancy, glittering art, paid for by small donors, all of whom, even if they couldn't afford the pieces I was making, got something of value in exchange. I wanted to make and fund art with the democracy and speed of the internet.

I decided to turn to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, where I had done three other successful projects.
Here is a link to her post about the show she wanted to do on KickStarter.
Here is a link to the article on BoingBoing sent by Alexander.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Website Design

The Globe and Mail has a great article online for artists (small businesses) wishing to establish a website:

It’s not uncommon for clients to approach Paul Bellows wanting to build their own Facebook-style website. But it doesn’t take him long to convince them otherwise.

After all, website design and development isn't an assembly-line process —you can’t point at a pre-existing platform or design and say, “I want one of those.”

More here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Copyright Resource

One of my student's sent me this link to a resource on copyright. It is the website of Artists Legal Outreach based in Vancouver:
We are a group of volunteer lawyers and law students committed to working with artists and arts organizations. We offer resources, workshops and clinics where artists across BC can meet confidentially with an experienced lawyer. Every artistic discipline is welcome, all for the price of a donation.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Selling Emotions, Not Art

A great way to become a better seller of artwork is to go through a challenging purchase in full consciousness, so I like to assign my students the hypothetical challenge of selecting a domestic product that they have never owned and know nothing about. The point of the assignment is to make my students hyper-aware of how they buy; what criteria they use to make their selection; what triggers their purchase; what they are seeking when they make their decision.

In many cases, my students will realize that what they want from their purchase is an emotion—often, that emotion is confidence or fulfillment. They want to feel happy with their decision; that they paid a fair price and that their product will last.

It is very rewarding when my students reveal a certain joy/surprise in the revelation that what appears to be a search for a product is actually a search for a positive emotional experience. Whether you have to buy something essential or something optional, it is valuable for us to understand what we are truly seeking when we shop. By becoming a conscious buyer, we can be much better sellers because we can address the emotional needs of our buyers when we are talking with them.

Many of us know this to be true when we think about it. If you have used the term “retail therapy,” whether you realize it or not, you have referenced the emotional drive behind many purchases. “Retail therapy” refers to the action of shopping as a methodology for feeling better emotionally, and whereas feeling better is part of many purchases, it is of vital importance when we make non-essential purchases like art.

Art is bought for many reasons: to add beauty to an environment, to create an impression of sophistication, to create atmosphere, as an investment, to match a sofa, to fill blank space, as a gift, etcetera. But behind a desire to create a lovely environment, is a desire for pride; behind a desire to impress is often a feeling of insecurity and a desire for recognition. When we understand these things, we can subtly address them when we are talking about our art.

When my furnace broke down. I used the magazine Consumer Reports to help me choose what furnace to buy. By buying a furnace that they recommended as a result of the objective testing and evaluation of both the product and its warranties, I gained confidence in my decision. When I bought a car, I did the same thing, plus I asked my friends who know a lot about cars for advice.

A car is a good example because it delivers the other desirable better than a furnace: satisfaction. A car is an object from which we can easily derive satisfaction because we are often in it ,or with it, when our friends first see it. And when they do, they either politely or enthusiastically express their admiration for your new car. Other people are our richest resource for satisfaction; the compliments and approval of our friends are a very fulfilling part of life. When people purchase art, they are taking a huge risk so the approval of friends is very important.

Buying art is risky for people because they cannot do research like we can when we buy a furnace or a car. That is why they are often so insecure when purchasing art. They do not know what is “good,” and they do not know what criteria to use to give them the confidence they need to buy your art. That is why they want to know what it is “about;” they want a narrative, something they understand about your work so that they can get satisfaction from their purchase.

The art they buy will go in their homes and all the people who see it will like it because they have to. Because they are friends or polite strangers, and because they have been invited into a home, their compliments do not bring the art buyer satisfaction because he or she knows that the guests must be polite. It is only when someone objective loves a purchased work that the owner gets satisfaction; and were a respected curator to see and highly praise the work, the owner would get immense satisfaction.

For most of your buyers, the confidence they need to purchase your work comes from you—your sales history, your reviews, your testimonials—or it comes from their friends who shop with them and share a love of your work. But the satisfaction sought by most of our buyers comes from the narrative attached to your artwork.

Because they know their friends have to be polite, they get their fulfillment from being knowledgeable about the work and you and sharing that knowledge with their guests. That is why narrative beyond the formality and distance of an artist statement is so important; you must give your buyers the anecdotes they need to achieve their fulfillment. That is why I advocate that artist blogs should be very focused on the customer and their needs. If you make posts titled with the names of your work that reveal your inspirations, motivations, perspiration, etc. in making the work, your buyers will derive all the narrative they need from it.

You have to give your customers confidence and satisfaction. That is what they really want. When you are talking to them, when you are blogging, on your websites, in your advertising and in your newsletters remember this: give your customers the stories they need; be generous of thought. It's the stories about your work, its inspiration, process, techniques and the stories of your life that owners want. By repeating your stories to their friends and guests, they appear knowledgeable and sophisticated and that gives them pride.