A few good reasons why Cosmetic surgeons and plumbers should not go to parties

writing
Painting oil on canvas with threads. K_Van

Painting oil on canvas with threads. K_Van

He stood near the table, fishing out the honey roasted almonds. A housewarming party. Three people were in his vicinity, the owner of the house and a couple he did not know, they were talking about plastic and cosmetic surgeons.
‘Darrick he is just such a great cosmetic surgeon, he is called into Berlin  more that once a week. And making a killing at that.’, then they laughed
‘Oh Ginny,’ the hostess had looked at him and pulled him into the conversation, ‘is a cosmetic surgeon too.’
He grimaced and cast his gaze down into the bowl, the last almond.
The man said ‘Oh really! What kind?’ with such intent curiosity and the ladies gazed at him, that he dropped his guard and took their cue and made a small step in their direction.
‘What is your field of expertise then. The neck, face or breasts perhaps. Or laser peel and Botox?’
‘It is within the head, face, and neck,’ he said, adding ‘it is cosmetic and reconstructive, so a bit of abstract and figurative so to say.’
There was silence.
‘Ahhh’, the man broke in, ‘Well me and Darrick. You know Darrick right?’
Ginny nodded.
‘Great bloke, and getting better and better. His work is regarded as very precise. We were thinking to rent this great big office place, bang in the middle of the city and rent it out to the surgeons, especially those in the line of cosmetic, so that people can see their work. I think it is a great opportunity for the public to see our real work of art so to say. You could have a few square meters to showcase your work, we will have people coming in and out all the time’, he paused and  looked at Ginny, waiting for the ‘like’,
‘I already have a practice.’
‘Yes, people like to see the surgeons at work, talk to them, make it real. We’ll have different types of cosmetic surgeons so that people walk around and enjoy. It’s a great opportunity and you might also sell some of your work.’
‘I am not too sure if this will add anything to my practice.’
‘So how long have you been busy in the field?’
’25 years.’
‘I’ve been busy for 4 years now. I’m not as good as Darrick. But anyway, he puts a lot more time into it, doesn’t have the kids at home anymore. Well actually I will start next month full time. I go on an early retirement.
‘I am happy for you.’
‘Yes, finally I can travel and focus on cosmetics. I am really looking forward to it. Say, what kind of scalpels do you use?
‘We tend to go for the coagulation instruments.’
‘Hmm, interesting, and I like what you are telling me. Once a month I meet colleagues at the club, do you want to do a Masterclass for us?’

‘Sounds great, do you have a budget? ‘
‘We always provide great wine.’

He stood near the table, fishing out the honey roasted almonds. A housewarming party. Three people were in his vicinity, the owner of the house and a couple he did not know, they were talking about plasticsurgrons art.

‘Darrick he is just such a great cosmetic surgeon artist, he is called into Berlin  more that once a week. And making a killing at that.’, then they laughed
‘Oh Ginny,’ the hostess had looked at him and pulled him into the conversation, ‘is a cosmetic surgeon an artist too.’
He grimaced and cast his gaze down into the bowl, the last almond.
The man said ‘Oh really! What kind?’ with such intent curiosity and the ladies gazed at him, that he dropped his guard and took their cue and made a small step in their direction.
‘What is your field of expertise then. The neck, face or breasts,  or laser peel and Botox?‘ Sculpure, painting, or performance perhaps. Or video and sound?’
‘It is within the head, face, and neck, drawing and painting’ he said, adding ‘it is cosmetic and reconstructive, so a bit of abstract and figurative so to say.’
There was silence.
‘Ahhh’, the man broke in, ‘Well me and Darrick. You know Darrick right?’
Ginny nodded
‘Great bloke, and getting better and better. His work is regarded as very precise. We were thinking to rent this great big office place, bang in the middle of the city and rent it out to the surgeons, artists, especially those in the line of cosmetic, so that people can see their work. I think it is a great opportunity for the public to see our real work of art so to say. You could have a few square meters to showcase your work, we will have people coming in and out all the time’, he paused and  looked at Ginny, waiting for the ‘like’,
‘I already have a practice studio.’
‘Yes, people like to see the surgeons artists at work, talk to them, make it real. We’ll have different types of cosmetic surgeons visual artists so that people walk around and enjoy. It’s a great opportunity and you might also sell some of your work.’
‘I am not too sure if this will add anything to my practice.’
‘So how long have you been busy in the field?’
’25 years.’
‘I’ve been busy for 4 years now. I’m not as good as Darrick. But anyway, he puts a lot more time into it, doesn’t have the kids at home anymore. Well actually I will start next month full time. I go on an early retirement.
‘I am happy for you.’
‘Yes, finally I can travel and focus on cosmetic art. I am really looking forward to it. Say, what kind of scalpels brushes do you use?
‘We tend to go for the coagulation instruments. normal ones’
‘Hmm, interesting, and I like what you are telling me. Once a month I meet colleagues at the club, do you want to do a Masterclass for us?

‘Sounds great, do you have a budget? ‘
‘We always provide great wine.’

detail painting 2017

detail of an oil painting (K_Van)

low polygon oil paintings

Art processing, writing

Low polygons are hot.

Nowadays you can DIY your own polygon art online. Google for ‘low polygon art generator’ and let the web turn any digital image into a techy triangulated image, select from 100 palettes or brew up some of your own colours, tweak the triangulation and before you know it you are ordering an online poster print of your very own polygon art.
I feel that I am a bit of an expert on the subject having 5 years experience making paintings of low polygon object. On my onepage website http://k-van.nl/ you can see my artistic development. (For full enjoyment of the site use a smartphone or a tablet so that you can swipe or pinch at the screen.)

New oil paintings of the low polygon.

Only recently have I gone for the large canvases 200 x 200 cm (almost 80 inches) stretched on aluminum frames.  With a larger canvas size I have also changed my painting approach. Now it is out of the box, out of the lines.

Active learning

writing

[Future projection 2024 ] Sarah walks out of the FAB-lab, she has just had an prosthetic replacement hip printed on a 3d printer. It is her own design and her final assignment for the Institute for prosthesis and orthesen. The Fab lab is situated in 34 countries and the small workshops provide a high-tech computerised tools ‘to make just about anything’. For Sarah the concept of the Fab-lab is not new. 10 years earlier in primary school her brothers introduced her to the local open art studio. Volunteers helped small groups of kids materialize their own creations. The basic tools where provided for; paper, pencils, scissors, glue, clay, saws, hammers, screwdrivers, sandpaper and varnish. The volunteers instructed the children how to use the tools safely and correctly, and would coach/guide them in their project.
My brothers would conjure up all sorts of invention,’ Sarah recalls, ‘some times we would sit up all night watching YouTube clips on how to make plastic rockets. As long as you had an idea and a drive the volunteers could guide you along. Of coarse we did all the work our self. Sometimes we would have a retired carpenter, a local artist or I remember a banker that was an expert on model making. At home we did not have the art supplies, the space nor the tools, but at the open studio we materialized our fantasy. In fact we made all our own toys.’

gas_regulator Painting: Oil on Canvas.

gas_regulator Painting: Oil on Canvas.


assessment

The Open Studio for children provides an environment where children can work on their creative(art) talents.
or the problem: [Develop a system and/or place where children can evolve their creative(art) talents]

There are 3 main reasons having a Open Studio for children.
·         Encourage the creative driving force by helping the creator to create.
·         10.000 hours (Malcom Gladwell  decribles in Outliers http://gladwell.com/outliers/  how talent surfaces with hours of practice).
·         Participation of the children and adults.

Clients: Children, volunteers and sponsors.
Time and Money: the pilot project for the duration of 3months can be run on current resources. After an evaluation we will need to look for sponsors to finance the coordination of the project.
Expertise: from the coordination and volunteers.

Artistic and personal growth part II

writing

The Artist’s success lies in joining peer groups with a common artistic goal.

When I read Mervyn Peake’s fantasy works Titus Groan (1946), I was obsessed and almost shocked by his description of the Bright Carvers:

“whose only purpose is to carve elaborate objects out of wood and present them to the Earl..”,
“..three of which are chosen to be placed into the castle museum ‐ a place where hardly anyone ever goes apart from the curator, who sleeps through the days amid a thick layer of protective dust. All the rest of the carvings are burned.”

I was stunned back then some twenty odd years ago by the vanity; the efforts and the waist. Yet now I see that the Bright Carvers might have been quite content. They could carve elaborate objects as they desired, they have the prestige of being a Bright Carver, and they seem to have a support group and a creative environment from which they could tap
inspiration for personal and artistic growth. In 2015 the world of the artist is more sinister. Creative industry, ego driven art curators, needless to say the sham in the art market. All these keep me as an artist well away from my chosen vocation.

In part I of Artistic and personal growth, I have identified that my personal artistic growth can be greatly increased by making/joining a peer group with a common artistic goal. The common artist’s goal could be for example: the representation of technical and mechanical principles in the fine arts.
{personal note: Would this help me? Do other artists also feel they could gain from interacting with peers from their profession? And can I pin point its failure or success.}


A brief formulation

Using an adaptation from Hart, R. (1992) the ladder of participation, I want to see if it is possible to activate artists’ own participation from tokenism to full citizenship in
the art world and develop a peer group in the field of ‘the representation of technical and mechanical principles in the fine arts’ whereby there is a potential for
artistic growth.

 Hart's adapted ladder of participation

 

full citizenship

  1. We the artists initiate a project and invite curators to co-run it. [peer groups with a common artistic goal]
  2. We the artists organize and direct our own exhibitions and shows.
  3. The curator-initiates the exhibition and shares the decision with us the artists.
  4. I am informed and consulted by the curator about the exhibition or show.
  5. My artwork is sold as a product, I am not consulted, but receive my money.
  6. The curator shows my art work to decorate an event.
  7. My artwork is used for someone’s political, financial or social gain.

tokenism


this pole was published in Dec 8, 2013

There are areas where [peer groups with a common artistic goal] are successful. Like the Bridges Organization (art and mathematics). They hold annual conferences, where practicing mathematicians, scientists and artists come together in mutual exchange and encouragement. What makes them successful participants?
Many questions will need to be addressed:
Is it possible in theory to set up a functioning artist peer group?
Why are visual artists especially reluctant with the idea of gaining full citizenship in their own field?
What are the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and are they found in an peer group?

In the part III, I will set out a 2 year plan to answer if an Artist’s success lies in joining peer groups with a common artistic goal.

Artistic and personal growth part I

Not all efforts succeed., writing

Paintings, drawings, animations, graphical prints and sculptures are the outcome of my artistic work. For 25 years an intrinsic creative energy powers me to look, mark and remark on my existence. Prodding in the darkness from different angles I try to determine the shape of my being. In South Africa, where I spent a large part of my youth, I attended a technical high school where we were taught the skills of technical drawing. From the first moment I saw the cross section of some unknown machine part drawn out on paper I was gob smacked by the intense clear facts that the drawing revealed. After high school I joined the mining engineering faculty of the University of the Witwatersrand and spend some time in the dark gold mines of Johannesburg. One year after enrolling at the university I quit my studies, left Africa and left part of my life incomplete.

Old people, they say, connect to their childhood, slowly moving their existence to the extremities of their life line. Now somewhere in the middle of my lifeline I seemed to have found reason to reconnect to machines and spaces devoid of sunlight. In my notebook I jotted down the following words:
[inclusion, inner silence, achievement, expansion, brain stimulant, belonging, desertion, fulfilment, learning and teaching].
I feel that these words connect me to my personal and artistic growth. On canvas I paint technical and mechanical objects in empty spaces and I feel that these paintings also connect me to those words. But an artist must also test and prod other areas to confirm the fabric of their existence. These other areas, as I will develop in the next paragraphs, are external motivators to accelerate artistic growth.

In my day, after leaving art school, one would approach the galleries with smart portfolios or for those living in the Netherlands apply for the subsidies. If those fragile self ‐ reference fields dried up, you became an artist in isolation. In my final year at de Vrije kunst academie, the Hague I was involved with Gaidaro, a group of artists that aimed to move the attention away from the entertainment aspect of art towards a more direct and raw form.
So far I have identified 3 external areas that can confirm the existence of the artist, namely: [the art school], [the art market/subsidies] and [peer groups with a common artistic goal].
Other areas are [projects], [artists in residence], [international call for participation] and [social media].

Last April I presented my art works at the Kölner liste art fair. My goal: sure enough was to sell. I wanted someone to exchange their money for my artistic efforts. For someone to go home and call their friends: “I’ve just bought this amazing painting from K_Van, you must come by the house for cocktails.”
During a slack moment of the day I got out my notepad and drew out each area that [confirms me as an artist]-> and connected them with the words that connect me to my ->[artistic growth].   This resulted in a great spaghetti of lines across the page. Then I regrouped the words using the Bartle test of Gamer Psychology according to the keywords Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killer.

 

my personal and artistic growth
confirm the existence of the artist
Bartel
inclusion
inner silence
achievement
expansion
brain stimulant
belonging
desertion
fulfilment
learning
teaching
[the art school]
[the art market/subsidies]
[peer groups with a common artistic goal]
[projects]
[artists in residence]
[international call for participation]
[social media]

Explorer
[the art school]
[peer groups with a common artistic goal]

Socializer
[projects]
[artists in residence]
[international call for participation]
[social media]

Achiever and Killer
[the art market/subsidies]

 

 

After tallying up the result I came to the following:

  1.  peer groups with a common artistic goal
  2. continue with education.

Resulting in: my artistic growth can be greatly increased by making or joining a peer group with a common artistic goal.

 

more to follow

Laugh and bow paintings

writing

3 large paintings 150x100cm
The paintings are a mixed media using traditional painting combined with embroidery. The lines making the figures are embroidered using coloured threads. The brown and white surfaces are painted using oil colours.
Each combination tells a different stories.
Panel 1 condescending
Panel 2 announcements
Panel 3 help
condescending

announcements

help

Berlin 1989

exhibitions, writing

1 January 1990, Berlin

Somewhere near Hanover, I stood at a petrol-station, hitch-hiking, my cardboard sign reading ‘BERLIN’. To be more precise, Sunday the 31 of December 1989 . Strangely, it had been the bright idea of my mother to send me to Berlin for New Year’s eve. She gave me money for the return fair by train, I would hitch a ride from the Netherlands to the city that had captured our imagination when the Iron wall cracked a month earlier.
A family car drove up to the station, stopped, the doors opened. A woman behind the steering wheel, a basket with drinking cups, sandwiches, towels spread out on the passenger seat next to her, a man holding a baby swaddled in a blanket sat in the back seat. They hastily filled up the petrol tank, paid and reorganised themselves in a calculated nervous manner ensuring their baby would not be disturbed. The woman called to me, ‘do you have a driving license?’.
Before I could even show my license, she asked if I could drive them to Berlin.

1 January 1990, Berlin, life as normal

My small bag containing a sleeping bag, my 35mm camera, a water proof liner and dried fruits were put in the boot. We shifted seats, the man came to sit next to me, the woman and baby moved to the back seat to nurse. And I set the car into motion towards Berlin with the young parents and their baby. At checkpoint Alpha, the Helmstedt-Marienborn station some 170km from Berlin I gave our passports to the guards for inspection and then drove the last hours on the corridor like autobahn, the grey DDR on either side. At each bridge that we passed under we were greeted by waving children and adults in the fading light. The woman remarked, ‘a few months ago they would be taken to jail for waving at us.’ We followed the road to Berlin that had changed its way.
Close to the Großer Tiergarten of Berlin I stopped the car, I thanked my family for the lift and they thanked me for the drive, ending a most remarkable exchange of trust.

 

Summarizing the events in Harare

exhibitions, writing, Zimbabwe

object03

solar The airport  being the obvious place where airplanes land and take off, is also an important physical location where some serious thinking is done. It marks a moment when I project my self into the future, and on a returning journey I spend time reliving and summarizing the events during my travels. This time after my exhibition in Harare with rotating objects and drawings I tried to question myself with 6 key evaluation questions such as:
”What art processes were planned and what was actually put in place for the project?….”, but found the answers something short sighted and for the economist. So I page through notes and recall conversations.
The most remarkable moment of the exhibition would have to be that the audience  interacted with the artwork by means of a torch, light, solar panels and an electrical motor turning the objects. During the opening for example, people took their time to go from object to object and examine the reaction that the light had on the artworks. In fact what they were doing was examining the effects that the light had on the surface of the object, and this is precisely how I question and observe the small art works.  How does the light reflect, what texture does it reveal, what shadows does it cast, what tonal difference in the shadows tell me that the object is three dimensional and finally if I turn the beam of light to an other angle what happens to the image and why? This information I use as an artist to make painting or more sketches. But to come back to the opening, I felt that the audience was captivated, they talked about the objects, the mechanism, the show.

bw_prints_Page_22
‘So what comes first, the object or the drawing, or the painting?’, guests would ask.
None, I would answer. The exhibition shows the precise evolving process of an artist. The origins of the idea is so far and faint in the past that they no longer have any influence to the present physical form, be it the drawings, paintings or objects. By observing, unfolding and questioning these three forms,  I answer with new artworks, that in turn will be observed and questioned again forming a continuous evolving spiral. [action reaction]

‘What are they? What does it symbolize?’ Each person will see what it is, what it symbolizes and how much power it has. Option, a sculptor tells me how ”the bull” triggered his youth memories. One of the objects, a small bull (approximately 2cm high)  made of dark brown earthenware clay, glued on the inclination of a triangular piece of wood, spins in the light. ‘When I was living in the rural area,’ Option tells me with excitement, ‘with my parents and grandparents on a small farm, we had a big black bull. It was a kind of crazy bull and on some occasions the bull would escape from its pen.  We would always find the beast on top of a hill, feet locked like a mountain goat on the steep rocks and head pointing proudly up, nostrils flared and grunting at the far horizon.’  Later Option wrote in my guest book ”I like that BULL!!”

The airplane took me from Harare to Lusaka and in the early hours of the morning we landed in Dubai international airport where I would catch my connecting flight to Amsterdam. Having some time on my hands, a twenty dollar bill and a wish for a cup of coffee I set off to find one of the coffee chains. When the lady at the counter saw the dollar bill, she immediately said  she could not take it, ”It’s too old”.
‘Yeah but’, I protested, ‘I’ve been using dollar bills like this for weeks, dollars can’t get old; it’s money.’
The next place told me my money was too dirty, and they would also not accept it. This encounter put a whole new spin on money laundering. However this left me without a coffee, a worthless 20 dollar bill and I felt like a sitting duck, a target for unscrupulous bank CEOs. It made me link the arts and money, how some art was worth money and other art works as worthless as my dirty money. And yet for the artist, each art piece that is expressed in physical form is a step in the artist’s personal development and so his culture. At the next coffee place I ordered an expensive cappuccino from Harkaman hiding my old and dirty money until Florence proceeded to whizz the machines. Ha! My money was no longer old nor soiled, because Harkaman saw the agreement between himself, the cappuccino and me. [Back in the game].

speaker_connector
Bringing art works to Zimbabwe for an exhibition  is an exceptional process. Not so much the logistics which consists of making the art works look worthless in a messy suitcase, and thus avoid having to pay import taxes. But an exceptional reversal process as art flows out of the country not in. I have had three solo exhibitions in Harare starting in 1994, 2012 and now 2014 and each time I bring something, it surprises to the brink of ungraspable. Not because the work is indecipherable, rather there are hardly any international exhibitions let alone African art exchanges. In fact there is not much of an contemporary art interest or market amongst the local population, the players are few and the road to any form of success (economical or spiritual) is to Europe or North America. This causes a general unease in the arts, besides the education system is not strong enough to educate about contemporary African art. As the local artists tell me all the ‘important’ art has been sold over eagerly to collectors outside of Africa and what cultural documentation remains is hardly contemporary and is written by former colonists three decades ago. Needless to say there is great awareness amongst artists to educate their fellow man, they know, road is long.

moon northern hemisphere

moon southern hemisphere

In Zimbabwe the moon is upside down. After a few days in Harare you change your point of view, and some time later you see it like all people living in Zimbabwe, bright and surrounded by dozens of nebulae and other star clusters. The way I observed the art and the maker also changes with time. I have noticed that art is made in a different way. One way that European artists may start making their art work is from the art supplies and tools at hand (canvas, paint and brushes). In Zimbabwe I found that the artists starts from a different point. There is hardly any art material to work with.  Creative survivalist know the challenge ”How to open a can without a can opener”. Creative kids know what to do when there is no TV and they have gnawed through their boredom. So the starting point of the artist is from nothing, and that makes the work so very challenging. It is almost like a training, a school of thought, a style like minimalism, but then the ”starting from nothing” style. The Zimbabwean artist starts painting with nothing, then finds household paint, continues to paints mixing colours with offset printers ink, or starts with yellow and finding other colours in the form of plastic bottle tops, sweet wrappers or broken shoes. Or consider this simplification; an artist drawing a silhouette of a rabbit, in Africa they may draw the abstract forms from the space around the rabbit (from nothing), and not from the ears or eyes or fur. When I look at their work the opposite happens, I first see the bottle tops, the electronic print plates, the bicycle pedal and then as if by magic, I see the creation.

analyzing the inside shapes, or look at the outside shapes

analyzing the inside shapes, or look at the outside shapes

During last  three days in Harare I freed myself up from the exhibition to spend some time in the botanical gardens and to explore the clouds using a video camera. The clouds form low and rapid in the skies after eleven o’clock in the morning. By leaving the camera on the ground and pointing up towards the sky I recording five minutes at the time. Playing the video fast forward made me realize that the rolling motion of the clouds was similar to the the rotating objects. It is something I want to work with.

But what impact did your art work have?
In 1999 I left the USA after doing a collection of paintings on shadows of basket ballplayers and hotel paintings in Mexico. I thought they had little impact on any one but my self, but I was wrong, Kelsay Myers wrote in 2013:
“But this one looks like spirits,” I said, and it did. What I didn’t say was that the spirits made me want to write. Their shapes and colors haunted me. The sky captured my imagination.”

http://www.kelsayelizabethmyers.com/2013/02/24/an-emphasis-on-reality/

A N    E M P H A S I S   O N   R E A L I T Y

A N E M P H A S I S O N R E A L I T Y

next: 3rd Ruhr Biennial – Townshipwise different 2015 http://ruhrbiennale.de/