Friday, December 05, 2008

Tektika Tango

At the moment I am working on a number of projects for 2009, both collective and solo exhibitions. The solo exhibitions that will take place both in Malta and Rome, will occupy me for most of 2009 whilst a number of collective exhibitions will keep me occupied even further. Details of these events will be announced at a later date.

One of these events is Tektika Tango, a collective exhibition with works by a selected number of local and foreign artists working in different media on a common topic, Tango. The event should be on by the end of the first quarter of 2009, more details will be also announced at a later stage.

for more information please visit www.tektikatango.com

(original photo by Bernard Bonnici)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Prints and Calendar 2009

Those of you who asked if I have prints of my works for sale, please note that a number of my works are available for sale at RedBubble. Over at my RedBubble page you can also find a Calendar for 2009 featuring a number of my most recent works. You can see the calendar HERE

Most of my works from my latest collection Narratives in Light are also available as limited numbered and signed prints. Those Interested please have a look at the Artworks section. Beneath every artwork there is a note describing what reproductions are available. Matting and framing are also available on request

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Roman Experience

The last few months were just a rollercoaster ride. So many things have changed in my life, some for the better others not, both on a personal and professional level. The personal will definitely remain personal, but will try to make an extra effort to keep up with the professional realm here on this blog.

As you might already know, last month I had an exhibition at the Chiesa Degli Artisti, in Piazza del Popolo, Rome. The experience was incredible, not just for the fact that I was exhibiting in Rome, the eternal city, but also for the people I met, the friends I made (esp. Gabi, Roberta, Alex, Daniela and Gianni) and the valuable contacts I made.

A big thanks goes Stefania and Alberto, for their hospitality and valuable help without which the exhibition would have never taken place. Words are not enough to thank them for all they’ve done for me during my stay in Rome. Wish to thank also Ms. Stefania Severi, the curator for the exhibition at the Chiesa Degli Artisti, for all her help and patience. All in all I think the Roman experience was quite a success. Now starts the real work, hopefully in the next couple of years I will be there again.

Now its time to work on future projects. In the first weeks of March 2009 I shall be participating in a collective exhibition organised by the Tango community here in Malta. I am also working on a solo exhibition of works in Ink which shall be sometime next year. There is also the possibility that in May and December 2009 I shall involve myself in exhibitions in Rome. Will obviously keep you posted.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life Happens

Its been over a month since my last blog. I hate when this happens, usually I try to be more regular in my posts but lately I seem to have lost focus when it comes to blogging. Well, so here is a mini post post to set the ball rolling again. For those of you wandering why I had this month long sabbatical, there are two reasons, firstly sometimes you just have to catch up with life which is not always easy and secondly I am extremely busy when it comes to painting. The preparations for the October exhibition at the Chiesa Degli Artisti in Rome are underway. Still have a number of paintings I need to finish but I am quite happy with the work so far.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Legalise it!

I have been sent this video from Parisa at Current.com.
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This video raises an important question, is graffiti vandalism or art? How can our perception of graffiti change based on the context where it is placed? Legalizing Graffiti in Washington DC has changed the situation 180 degrees in the last year, from spending $800,000 in 2007 to clean it up to spending $100,000 in 2008 to help graffiti artists produce murals. It is an attempt to give artists a legal way to display their art and also incorporate art into the cities public landscape. This is not only keeping kids out of trouble, but creating jobs and exposure for artists. This video explores the philosophies of a few of the key players who are revolutionizing the public's opinion of graffiti in Washington DC. It would really be a good thing if we also did something similar here in Malta.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Big is Beautiful


And who said that you cannot make a living out of being an artist? And more importantly a painter? All you need is one good painting of a super-sized model and there you are, you made it. Or rather, Lucian Freud has made it. He has become the most expensive living artist at auction with his "Big Sue" painting. The painting, a large naked woman on a couch, called "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" was sold for $33.6m or £17.2m at Christies last week.

The buyer? None other than Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Apparently he also bought Francis Bacon’s Triptych, 1976, which sold at Sotheby’s New York this week for $86.3m.



With an estimated fortune of £11.7Bn (The Sunday Times's Rich List) Mr Abramovich could definitely afford these paintings. If anyone reading this blog knows him, please tell him to pop by. I would be happy with much less for a couple of my paintings

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Art In Schools

Just came across this advert of Americans for the Arts over at the ArtInterview online magazine and decided to post it here. Not that I am being paid for it but it hit me that in Malta we have the same situation. Do we have enough Art in our schools? Do we give too much importance to schooling but not enough to personal development through Arts? Does anybody know of any national program to encourage the use of artistic expression in our kids?

We have a tendency to look at art, in all its forms, as a past time; Artists are hobbyists. But it shouldn't be so. Art could also be a profession and/or a vehicle to learn other things. Why not use paints to learn chemistry and chemical reactions? Why not use film and theatre to learn languages? Why not use installations to learn about technology? The list could go on.

I know that there are schools or maybe teachers that do these things, but this is not enough. What we lack is a national drive to put artistic expression at the forefront of our educational system. Children would surely gain from such a drive.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More on Banksy

Parisa, from Current, which happens to be quite an interesting site, sent me this feature on Banksy which I found interesting and decided to post it here.


Over at Currnet I also found a link for this video on the Cans Festival which i am also posting here.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Death

German artist Gregor Schneider is planning the ultimate performance piece: showing a person dying as part of an exhibition.

“I want to display a person dying naturally in the piece or somebody who has just died,” he told The Art Newspaper. “My aim is to show the beauty of death.”


I always thought of art as a reinterpretation of life, whatever that may mean. I cannot see the 'reinterpretation' in this though.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What is Art?

A few days ago, I received an email with a link to Sotheby's which showed estimate bids of some pieces of art valued at exorbitant prices. Here is the LINK. I have always been fascinated by what people are ready to pay (or not) for the sake of owning a piece of art. Most people would not even consider these works as art let alone pay those prices. Personally I am not ready to spend hundreds of thousands for an art piece for one simple reason, I do not have that kind of money. But what is exactly art? What qualifies as art and what not? This video might help to find the answer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

CoE 2008 Malta Workshop

This past week there was the Council of Europe teacher training workshop held in Malta. Being the European year of Intercultural Dialogue, this year's workshop focused on the topic. A number of local and other European teachers attended the workshop which started on Tuesday and ended last Friday. As a memento for the occasion, the participants received a signed print of one of my studies of the Grand Harbour Valletta (above). The image was also used as a backdrop on stage and for the cover of the official program.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jeni Caruana @ Heritage Malta

An exhibition of paintings by Jeni Caruana entitled “Treescapes……..Lifescapes” will be open to the public from Monday 21st April until Friday 16th May at the Heritage Malta Head Office, Merchants Street Valletta. The collection includes ink studies, watercolours and acrylics, ranging from the purely anecdotal to semi-abstract, expressing the artists’ emotional reaction to and feelings about recent events in her life, using trees as her motif. The venue is open weekdays from 9am to 4pm.


more info at www.jenicaruana.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mr. Big

Earlier today, someone said to me.."but your paintings are big". Now, most of my works measure 70x70cm to1.2x1.2m. It's not really small I know but not what I would consider big.

David Hockney has just donated to the TATE his biggest painting, Bigger Trees near Warter. The oil painting, which was executed en plaine air, was made on fifty canvas panels measuring in total 12.2x4.6m. Now that is what I call BIG!

Monday, April 14, 2008

How much?!?!

How to price a painting? That's the million dollar question! Pricing has always been a nightmare. What's the right price? How the hell would I know. But lets not get too depressed. Apparently, it has been scientifically proven that we like expensive things more.

In an experiment conducted by Antonio Rangel at the California Institute of Technology, the brains of 20 volunteers were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging while they tasted five different wines costing $5 to $90 a bottle. But Rangel fibbed, telling them that the cheap wine was the most expensive, or giving the same price to two different wines. The scanner showed consistently that the flow of blood to the part of the brain that registers pleasure, the medial orbitofrontal cortex, increased when the price was declared to be high, not according to the quality of the wine. In case this got attributed simply to the ignorant palates of the volunteers, Rangel repeated the experiment with members of the Stanford University wine club and got widely similar results.

I have similar experiences when it comes to the female members of my family (especially my sister and to a lesser degree my wife) but unfortunately not my clients. So, next time i will try to price something i will keep this in mind. The more expensive it is, the more it will be liked and appreciated.


Friday, April 04, 2008

100

This is my 100th post. Being such an important number i wanted to make some sort of important announcement and here it is.....in a few days a few of my friend and myself are going to open a new blog/website called il-manocca. The idea is to have a general blog where a number of individuals can post on various topics from a progressive perspective. Apart from general commentary my involvement will also include two other main contributions.

Firstly, articles that up till now were being published on The Politics of Art will now be posted on il-manocca. The Politics of Art did not have the following and participation i had hoped for. Now i hope that il-manocca, being targeted to a larger audience, will be a more appropriate forum where to discuss the political issues concerning the artistic community. There are other plans for the future, hopefully il-manocca can help us realise them.

Secondly, I shall be posting a regular cartoon strip entitled Zagza's Wit. Zagza, (his real name is Zagzagel), was once the angel of wisdom. Rumours have it that he was planning a revolution to change the kingdom into a democratic republic and the authorities did not like it. Some say he left, others say he was thrown out; what is certain is that he is now living amongst us. He has become a truly Maltese and like all Maltese he has something to say about everything.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bertu - My Alter Ego

Let me introduce you to Bertu! Bertu is my alter ego. Bertu is also a political cartonist. He shares a body with me and is what you might call a political animal. He lives, strives and feeds on politicians' and public figures' misfortunes. Although Bertu and I have the same political inclinations and even opinions, Bertu has the nerve and guts that most of the time I lack. Lately, we found ourselves at loggerheads with each other. During the last general election, Bertu somewhat took over and started publishing some cartoons (he actually calls them Bertoons). So far so good. The problem is that he now wants to take over this blog too; and that is out of the question. So we have come to an agreement, Bertu should also have his own blog. His Bertoons will from now on be found at http://bertoons.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Post Election


This last month i have not blogged at all. I was busy over at Jacques' discussing the election and its outcome. I cannot say that i am happy with the result but that's life. Now that a little bit of normality is taking over and election fever is beginning to subside the intention is to write here more. A number of things happened this last month that i wanted to blog about but did not, one of them was the art exhibition by AD's Core Green. I had a couple of paintings there, here I am reproducing one of them, Kaxxi Kaxxi, Kullimkien Kaxxi. Quite happy of this piece.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Kenneth Zammit Tabona at b'art

Yesterday I managed to pop by to the opening of Kenneth Zammit Tabona's latest exhibition of watercolours. The exhibition, which is being held at ‘b’art’- Art Gallery and Wine bar is a collection of works painted 'al fresco', and fresh it is indeed. The childlike simplicity found in Kenneth's paintings has always intrigued me. The awkward relationship between perspective and colour in Kenneth’s work results in a delightful and refreshing vision; he manages to combine simplicity and complexity (such as in Trees at San Anton Gardens (left)) on the same piece of paper in a way no other Maltese artist can. My Favourite piece is definitely ‘The Road to Nowhere’ (right), just fell in love with the piece.


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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Royal Dilemma

A few months ago I was telling my wife that one of the tell tale signs that the general election is looming is the fact that, again, our political parties started talk about that big ugly site at the entrance of our capital city; that big hole in the ground where once stood the Royal Opera House. The site that housed the theater designed by Barry was bombed to the ground in 1942, that's over 65 years ago. That's 65 years of governments incapable of doing something about 0NE single building. I can understand why nothing was done during the immediate years after the war, but how can any one justify the fact that after all these years we are still with a big hole in the ground at the entrance of Valletta. Past and present Governments were incapable of giving to the Maltese people what the second world war had taken away.

Each and every election that I can remember, the same promises and false hopes resurfaced. I have a vague recollection of the 1981 election, I was only ten then, but all subsequent general elections I remember quite clearly; from 1987 to today the issue of what to do with those ruins in Valletta was raised at least every 5 years. We heard all sorts of things, from rebuilding the opera house to having an arts center and even building a new edifice housing the parliament. We had a competition in 1953 for a theater and another one during the early 90's for an arts center but nothing came out of them. What's even worse is the fact that we came to accept the derelict site as part of our heritage. It-Teatru L-imwaqqa, has become a place at par with Castille or the President's Palace, an accepted landmark.

From what has been written and said lately by leading figures in both leading political parties it seems that at least there seems to be an agreement on two very important issues, namely that (1) something needs to be done and (2) building the opera house as it was is out of the question. And I cannot but agree more. If we truly want to project these Islands as a leading tourist destination, we cannot accept that such an important site remains in this state. As an artist, I would love to see the site, or part of it, dedicated to a much needed contemporary Arts Museum but what to do with the site we will have time to discuss and debate. At the moment I just wish that our politicians keep their promises and build the site. A well designed building, whatever it houses, will surely be an added element to our cultural heritage.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Colour

It is very difficult to describe the relationship an artist has with his colours. You love them for what they give you but you also hate them for the limitations they impose on you. Gradually throughout my career i found myself treating my colours as if they were humans, or at least as if they were alive. You start talking to them, arguing with them and thanking them for loyally serving you.

This weekend I started reading Bright Earth by Philip Ball. Anyone with a slight interest in the history of colour should read it. The book opens with the following quote:

"Then the man in the blue suit reaches into his pocket and takes out a large sheet of paper, which he carefully unfolds and hands to me. It is covered with Picasso's handwriting -- less spasmodic, more studied than usual. At first sight, it resembles a poem. Twenty or so verses are assembled in a column, surrounded by broad white margins. Each verse is prolonged with a dash, occasionally a very long one. But it is not a poem; it is Picasso's most recent order for colors ....

"For once, all the anonymous heroes of Picasso's palette trooped forth from the shadows, with Permanent White at their head. Each had distinguished himself in some great battle -- the blue period, the rose period, cubism, 'Guernica' ... Each could say: 'I too, I was there ...' And Picasso, reviewing his old comrades-in-arms, gives to each of them a sweep of his pen, a long dash that seems a fraternal salute: 'Welcome Persian red! Welcome emerald green! Cerulean blue, ivory black, cobalt violet, clear and deep, welcome! Welcome!'" -- Brassai (1964), Picasso and Company

Just beautiful.



Monday, January 28, 2008

Studio plato exhibition @ Artitude Gallery

Hidden in the streets of Sliema is Studio Plato. Studio Plato consists of Robert Howley and the studio assistant Deborah Attard. For the exhibition at Artitude Gallery, Studio Plato invites a cameo appearance of Lucia Suquia Quintana from Madrid.

Most important of all is the work. Studio Plato is divided between two ideologies. One, the classical roots in Art and two, post Modern deconstruction. The studio has a vast library on art with the inclusion of rare books; and a collection of art from Marcel Duchamp, Pierre and Giles, and rare film posters.

What is the viewer expecting to see at Artitude Gallery? Studio Plato will be playing to the gallery, for the month of February. This period includes Valentines Day; a time to remember love and one’s loved ones after the Christmas festivities. So the studio has drawn a series of hearts. Some of the drawings are on Indian Cotton paper with paint , while one will view a triptych of pencil drawings on Ira Losco’s heart, the local band the Characters and without fail, a tribute to the King Elvis.

Deborah Attard has added gloss to the show, with a collection of photo montages. Colour being the message and post modern deconstruction the practice. These images are idealValentines Gifts .While being photographic reproductions, they are a limited edition of twelve from a series of nine. Painting of the flaming heart, butterflies and even an anatomical heart with reference to man ie. Man United will be on show.

So the conclusion is Artitude Gallery has gathered an eclectic show from the workers of Studio Plato for the month of love; not from Plato’s cave where we cast a shadow of our fine image.



The exhibition is being held at Artitude Gallery, Tigne Str, Sliema, between 1st and 29th February. Opening hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-1pm, and 4pm-7pm . For more info, please call 21316708 or email christinex180@hotmail.com.

text provided by Artitude Gallery

Friday, January 25, 2008

My First Milonga

For those of you who think that a Milonga is some form of strange animal, like I did, its not. All my worries that this milonga thing would need cleaning, feeding, regular exercise etc. were wrong. It turned out that a milonga is just the term for a place or an event where tango is danced. Yesterday evening, at the l'Isle Adam Band Club in Rabat I attended my first milonga. And so there i was, doing my first tango steps...... it was my equivalent of Disney's Fantasia, where hippos are dancing ballet. My wife was much better though. She was really good, especially when dancing with others. The only problem she had was psychological, she was finding it difficult to accept that i had to lead!!!!

But it was an enjoyable experience and will go again for sure.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The 16 billion pixels of the Last Supper

Today I came across this site, Haltadefinizione, and found it quite amusing. According to il-Gurdun, (a friend of mine), they are doing to art what Google did to your neighbourhood with Google Earth. The definition is impressive, more detail than this and we could be counting atoms. They created an image of the Last Supper, the fresco by Leonardo da Vinci, in 16 billion pixels. I wonder what Mr. da Vinci would think.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Exhibition at Vee Gee Bee - 5th April 2008

As announced in an earlier blog, in April i shall be holding an exhibition of small works in ink and acrylics at the Vee Gee Bee Art Gallery in Valletta. The Dates have now been confirmed too, the opening shall be on Saturday 5th April 2008 (and not 12th April as earlier announced). It will be a interesting exhibition since i shall be exhibiting a number of studies in ink or a mixture of inks and acrylics on paper and cardboard. I am still working on most of the exhibits but above is a taste of things to come.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chiesa Degli Artisti - Rome

And finally the dates are confirmed too!!! 4th October 2008 will be the opening day of my exhibition in Rome. The exhibition, which i still have to find a name for, will stay open for two weeks i.e. until Sunday 19th October 2008. Obviously for most of the works that will be exhibited there i haven't even bought the canvas yet. Still lots of work to do...... and in April I will be exhibiting at Vee Gee Bee in Valletta. Well a few sleepless nights should help.

In the meantime if anyone has any suggestions for a name for the exhibition.............
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This is a sketch i did last July of the Chiese Gemelle, at the Piazza Del Popolo. The Chiesa Degli Artisti is the one on the left.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Prints at Vee Gee Bee

Four of my works in Ink are now also available as prints at Vee Gee Bee Art Gallery in Valletta. The four drawings are studies in ink I did of different parts of Valletta and the Grand Harbour area. There are two series of prints, one A3 and one A4, each signed and limited to a run of 50.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Torri Ta Lappija

Its been over a week since my last blog. This is what happens when I try and take a couple of days off. As soon as I am back to work, it takes me a few days to catch up with life. Its been quite a good holiday season, but these last couple of days just after the holidays.....well lets stop complaining. One of my new year's resolutions was to try and be quite regular with my blog, so let's start.

Last Saturday i joined a group of artists for a plein air session in Gnejna. Unfortunately it was cold so no nudists :( but the scenery was magnificent. The group, led by artist Andrew Borg, meet every Saturday and go to different places around the island. This is another resolution of mine to try and spend Saturday mornings painting outside. The group is quite a diverse lot, both in style, techniques and age. From the impression I got, the only thing that binds this group together is the love of painting. I really enjoyed it, it reminded me when i was still a student, eh those where the times...or were they? Though I will be 37 years soon, too close to 40 for comfort, artistically I feel much better today than when I was say 20. Partly its the experience and knowledge accumulated throughout the years and partly is the fact that i know that i am still young...artistically ie.

Back to last Saturday, Gnejna Bay is a beautiful place, i found a place just underneath the Torri ta' Lappija. And below is the result in Indian Ink, charcoal and white acrylic paint.

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