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Guy of Gisborne Taking off his Armour.

Originally posted on Middle England Earth Art:
My very first foray into digital painting back in May 2009. I scanned my pencil sketch and brought it up in Corel 3, and then used a Wacom tablet and stylus and about a thousand layers to paint it…About 35 or so, anyway. ūüėČ Armour is so much…

Arty Farty Friday: Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favour

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I’ve done quite a few Arty Farty Friday posts in the past few months, loosely interpreting what art is.

I’ve tried to cover a variety of topics, from artists and their paintings and origami¬†to fashion and documentary films.

Today I’d like to suggest a documentary film about Ai Weiwei, one of China’s¬†best knows¬†artist,¬†who is¬†also regarded as the one of the most dangerous public figures.

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His work don’t reach the highest prices at auction, but he has become the face of human rights struggles in China.

  His criticism of the authoritarian regime has resulted in prison time and a ban on traveling without official permission.

The Chinese officials certainly have a problem with Weiwei.

On the one hand he is kept under house arrest, on the other he is the most noticeable artists of his generation that cannot be erased so easily, if nothing else he’s¬†the architect who designed the Beijing Bird’s Nest¬†stadium.

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If you’d like to read more about Weiwei, I suggest a brilliant article at Smithsonian.com.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Without Fear or Favour and remember that art isn’t only about beauty or subjective emotions.

Arty Farty Friday: What could you do with a sheet of paper?

Have you heard about The RA Silent Auction?

The response has been amazing, but we’re still looking for items that can be auctioned off, so if you would like to do so please leave info in comments and I shall email you!

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Last week I missed Arty Farty Friday, but I will certainly make it up to you today.

What could you do with a sheet of paper?

I’d either write a list on it (shopping, books, post ideas) or I’d use it as a wrapper for my old chewing gum.

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The documentary Between the Folds shows what amazing things others can create using a single sheet and a gift of folding.

This is not merely a documentary about origami, believe me, I made that mistake and was discouraged until I had nothing better to watch.

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This beautiful documentary shows folding paper as a means to create art, solve mathematical puzzles, but also as means to making scientific breakthroughs that can influence the way we live our lives.

I dare you to watch it and not be compelled to at least learn how to fold the most basic origami shapes!

Here’s an instruction on how to fold an origami crane:

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Arty Farty Friday: A Guide on how to spend your Millions

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I’ve got something simple but useful for you today.

Instead of stuffing your mattress with all those banknotes, or wallpapering your room with them, how about investing in a little art?

For some¬†it’s mere pocket¬†change, but would you give $100¬†million for a Picasso (if you had it)?

I sympathise with museums who are unable to compete at auction with major corporations looking to get the greatest return on their investment.

Many paintings will disappear completely only to resurface in fifty years on the selling block.

How can we possibly price art anyway?

Does the price make it more accomplished, as Soames Forsyte would say?

You can check out the list of the world’s most expensive paintings with their prices adjusted here.

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Turns out my least favourite painters, Willem de Kooning’s and his Woman III takes second place.

Seriously, no offence but there’s something about his work that turns my stomach and not in a good way.

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The painting I would have taken a loan out for is¬†Tamara Lempicka’s Adam and Eve, which sold at auction in New York for $1.98 million in 1994.

I would have paid off¬†0,0000001%¬†by now ūüėČ

Anyway, here’s a documentary shedding light on the world’s most expensive paintings, but also proof that Jeffrey Archer is indeed a pompous tw*t.

Arty Farty Friday: The Art of the Steal

During the summer I spent a lot of time learning more about art.

Apart from reading and watching stuff connected to artists and their works, I also delve into the functioning of the art work, museums, forgery and such.

One of the patterns you see repeated is how museums will do anything to get their hands on a valuable collection.

An owner works sought after by museums promise to keep the collection together, never sell off individual pieces, to display them together in their own separate wing etc.

The museum holds up their part of the bargain… till a better collection comes their way, but by then no one really cares about the benefactors wishes and all contracts and promises are broken.

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I encourage you to check out Rogues’ Gallery: The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art written by Michael Gross.

It’s a fascinating read about how one of the most influential¬†museums was founded, but also takes a peek behind the glamour to reveal secrets that I bet the MET would want kept in the shadows.

Gross sums up what he learned when he was researching and writing about the MET:

‚ÄúBehind almost every painting is a fortune and behind that a sin or a crime.‚ÄĚ

Before you start thinking that only the MET has shady practises, think again.

The 2009 documentary The Art of the Steal follows the story of  The Barnes Foundation, a $25-billion collection(conservative estimate) of mostly Modernist and post-Impressionist artworks.

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It is the most valuable collection of art from the period ever to be accumulated by one man and includes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 60 Matisses, 44 Picassos, and 14 Modiglianis.

The collection, created by Dr Albert C. Barnes, operated its gallery in a residential neighbourhood with restrictions on access, in Merion, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.

The main aim of The Barnes Foundation was to be a school for artists and the artwork was supposed to inspire students and serve as teaching tools.

Barnes loathed the establishment at the time and was adamant that his art collection would never be taken over by Philadelphia’s art museums.

As long as Barnes was alive, the foundation could function in the capacity he had intended, but on his death there was a  mad dash to acquire the collection by any means necessary.

Dr Barnes was so adamant that the art establishment wouldn’t get their hands on his beloved art works that he drew up a seemingly iron-clad will that would protect the foundation.

What happens next defies belief and is a painful reminder that where there’s a will (in this case Dr Barnes’ last will and testament), there’s nevertheless a way to break it with just enough money, power and politics.

This story is particularly painful because the theft of paintings from the Barnes Foundation happened in broad daylight and was engineered by the powers that be.

This documentary is a must-see!

The YT link is inactive but you can watch it on Vimeo HERE

Arty Farty Friday: Exit Through the Gift Shop

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I think I’ve already mentioned my love for Banksy, the notorious graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.

He’s also published a few books which featured photos of his graffiti work as well as a hilarious commentary on art, life and politics.

He also shares anecdotes about how the works were created.

Nothing is known of his identity, however he has become the symbol of street art, his art works are a political and social commentary and have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

He is one prolific artist, and a cheeky bugger to boot!

One of his most daring stunts was to graffiti¬†Israel’s 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, separating Israel from the Palestinian territories.

The images are thought-provoking and I urge you to google them.

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Banksy has made some interesting statements regarding museum, galleries and the art work in general.

Although they are meant to be places for the common folk, the decision about what gets to hang on the walls, therefore what is deemed high art, is made by a chosen few.

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Apart from that, only a percentage of the public actually go to museums, therefore the access to art is limited.

That’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of street art.

It enriches the cities, with walls serving as a platform, a canvas to express ideas to the passers-by and Banksy is the loudest and most recognisable voice among graffiti artists.

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Banksy backed up his statements regarding museums  when he pulled his infamous museum prank.

He would go disguised to places like The Tate or The British Museum and hang up his own work among the exhibits.

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He pulled the same prank in New York museums‚ÄĒthe Metropolitan Museum, MoMA, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Less said about museum security, the better…

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Some of Banksy’s pieces were removed a few hours later, other lingered for weeks, other still were added to the museum collection as a valuable piece.

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I could go on about how important and revolutionary Banksy’s approach to art is, but this post is really about his 2010 documentary Exit Though The Gift Shop.

The project started out as a bunch of footage of street artists taken by an amateur filmmaker Thierry Guetta who managed to document this elusive and short-lived art form.

What the film ended up being is a head scratching account of how the art world will embrace, and spend a fortune on, anything that is deemed the next best thing.

The documentary is hilarious and you will fall for the array of mad characters.

I can’t help thinking that perhaps this documentary is one of the greatest pranks the elusive Banksy has even played.

You’ll see what I mean when you give it a try ūüôā

Even if neither graffiti or art is your thing, this is perhaps one of the most interesting and entertaining¬†documentaries you’ll ever see.

And here’s a funny little thing I made as¬†homage¬†to Mister Brainwash, Magzy really liked it, so this ones for her ūüėČ

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Arty Farty Friday: Herb and Dorothy

I’ve been meaning¬†to clean up my blogging habits¬†and trying get some kind of rhythm going, but I’ve been also¬†wanted to share with you some of the great finds of this summer, especially ones connected to art.

That’s why I hereby announce the¬†start of Arty Farty Friday, a series of posts devoted to artists, their works, and the art¬†world in general.

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Today I’d like to share with you the extraordinary story of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, a middle-class couple living in New York, who amassed the largest and most important¬†collection of contemporary¬†art despite being on a limited budget.
Their collection consisted of over 4,782 works, which they kept displayed, but also stored in closets and under the bed, in their one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

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The couple would lived on Dorothy’s librarian salary, while Herb’s postal¬†clerk¬†income¬†was spent acquiring art from relatively unknown New York¬†artists.

They’d spend all their free time visiting artists in studios, attending exhibitions, and expanding on their enormous art stash.

Their collection, which was donated to The National Gallery in Washington in 1991, focuses on minimalist and conceptual art because, by their own admittion, other types of art were just too expensive for their meagre budget.

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Although they¬†were regarded as¬†the mascots of the NY art scene, and became authorities in “the next big thing”, it wasn’t until the 2008 documentary titled Herb and Dorothy that the extent of their passion for art was revealed to¬†a wider audience.

This is a story about the love for art, a love that is all-consuming but ultimately incredibly rewarding.

You can watch the whole documentary here.

In a time when artworks go for astronomical sums and have become the safest way to invest money therefore pricing it out of the market for mere mortals, this pair redefined what it meant to be an art collector.

The Vogels collected works by Chuck Close, Pat Steir, Robert Mangold, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Sol Lewitt, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Richard Long, Julian Schnabel, Jeff Koons, and Richard Tuttle, just to name a few.

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All of these artists works are worth a fortune at auction, but I don’t think it ever even crossed Herb and Dorothy’s mind to actually sell of any pieces from their stash.

When their collection was turned over to The National Gallery and the couple received an annuity to keep them financially secure, they just continued to buy more art.

Herb and Dorothy was so successful that a follow-up documentary was created which continued the remarkable story of the Vogals.

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Herb and Dorothy: 50×50 follows the launch of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a¬†program donated 2,500 works to 50 institutions across 50 states.

To watch the whole documentary go here.

I really do urge you to check the documentaries out, even if you’re not all that interested in art.

This is a touching tale of what happens when an art lover is also a hoarder exhibiting compulsive behaviour, of how ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things with enough commitment and quite a bit sacrifice to their own personal comfort.

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Ultimately, it’s a love story about two kindred spirits who share a passion and allow it to consume their life and it’ll warm your heart.

Word of warming, before you rush off and start buying art in a Vogel-inspired haze, I think it’s important to mention that Herb had an incredibly eye for spotting artists who would go on to become acclaimed and sought after.

He would acquire works by an artist that especially moved him at an alarming pace, revealing his compulsive nature and, luckily, many of these pieces turned out to be a sound investment.

Secondly, by their own admission, not all the artwork the Vogals bought for their collection stood the test of time and is valuable now.

You can take The Collector Challenge to test your eye for art by trying to pick out works from the Vogel collection.

Let me tell you, I’ve never gotten so many wrong answers in one go before, but it’s so much fun.

A Vogal I am not!
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Have a Heart on Valentine’s Day

First things first, THANK YOU to all of you who have already¬†sent in your cropped features ūüôā
I still need more of your face/body parts for my FanstRA4 project, so please send them my way!

Keep them coming please, and I WILL start cold calling (or emailing, as the case may be) to fill my needed quota of a hundred billion (more or less…).

Valenite's Day Pin Up

Scrolling down at the post published at¬†I Want to be a Pin Up, I really do look like a total Armitage creep/weirdo/call the police and get a restraining order, because it’s been RAining Armitage over here for months.

Just call me Miss Pervy Armitage (no, really, I’m planning on officially changing it…).

As part of¬†Valentine’s Day I’ve decided to separate¬†my posts into those that refer more to the official¬†name of my blog, and those that are connected to the Armi-loony in me, which will be posted tomorrow.

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Time for the Valentine’s Day Pin Up Girls ūüôā

Some people are surprised I embrace Valentine’s Day so much, seeing that I’m single and jaded to the extreme, but I can’t help but support a day that’s all about love, in whatever shape or form it happens to be present in your life.

I wish you true romance  on the 14th of February, chocolates and long-stemmed roses from a passionate lover, champagne and some extra vigorous chandelier sex.

Then again, if you happen to be like me and you don’t even have a proper chandelier¬†to hang from, I wish you the feeling of being loved by friends and family ūüôā

Pin Up red robe Valentines Day

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Romantic Pin Up roses Valentine's Day

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I hope you have a steaming Valentine’s Day and remember, in the words of RuPaul:

If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?!?!?

More Hilarious Hilda!

A while back a very special Pin Up Girl won our hearts.

It’s time for some more Hilda, created by Duane Bryers.

Today’s theme is one of my most favorite activities reading.

So happy to see that Hilda loves reading too ūüôā

It’s not just about reading, Hilda also likes writing ūüôā

Hilda is the funniest when she gets into trouble.

Oh, Hilda!

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Have a day worthy of Hilda ūüôā

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Walt Otto’s Pin Up Girls

Autumn is slowly slipping away from us, but I found these beautiful illustrations by Walt Otto that are reminiscent of harvest season.

They are very wholesome indeed ūüôā

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Walt Otto pin up

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