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Category archive: Art

Monday April 22 2019

An excellent Mick Hartley photo, using the single-bright-colour-with-black-and-white-everywhere else trick.

Here.

Saturday April 13 2019

After I photoed those metal men beside the river; outside the old Woolwich Arsenal, I then walked up river towards the Dome, photoing photos like this:

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However, just before photoing that photo; I photoed this next photo, of a painter, hard at work:

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And here is the photo I photoed of how he was making this scene look:

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The painting above had yet to say this, but that is the Tate & Lyle factory just south of London City Airport.

I asked this artist’s permission to photo his painting, which he graciously gave, but I did not ask him who he was.  The polite way of asking that would have been to say: Do you have a website?  But, alas, I forgot to ask this:  So, no link to any website, Apologies to him if he does have a website, and apologies to you.

Saturday April 06 2019

The designated starting point of my walk beside the river last Monday was Assembly (that being a photo of Assembly being assembled), the sculpture assembly outside the Woolwich Arsenal next to the river:

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Those are some of the photos I photoed, and they are pretty much the photos everyone else photos of these metal men, and pretty much the same as the photos I photoed when last I visited these men.  That was in April 2011.  It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, which I think is because these metal men, once seen, are not soon forgotten.

Assembly is the work of Peter Burke.  My googling skills are such that I often have to have several goes at a subject before I find my way to the stuff that I find the most informative and interesting.  I can just about remember visiting the Peter Burke website, but I don’t recall ever reading this biography of Peter Burke before.  Nor do I recall learning that this Assembly assembly began life somewhere else.  Or maybe he did an Assembly for that rural setting, and then did another Assembly for outside the Woolwich Arsenal.  Yes, probably that.  Burke is big on mass production, like his contemporary and mate (apparently) Gormley.

And, I certainly never watched this video of Peter Burke speaking until now.  As with all artists talking about their work, I see rather little connection between what he says about his work and what the work says to me.  But at least what he says is mostly accurate, in that he mostly describes how he made it.  There is hardly any pretentious art-speak bollocks of the sort that would get him sneered at at Mick Hartley‘s.

A key to why I like Peter Burke is that before he started doing art he was a Rolls Royce engineer, working on aero-engines.  He liked and still likes how stuff like that looks.  Snap.  Unlike me, from then on, he knew how to make it.

But someone could do all the things Peter Burke describes himself doing when he does his art and produce art that says nothing to me at all.  Insofar as he does describe what he thinks his art actually means, he pretty much loses me.  Which might explain why I only like some of his art, such as Assembly.

What I get from Assembly, as well as the obvious military vibes I wrote about in that 2011 posting, is something to do with stoicism, emotional self-control, being a man, being a man under extreme pressure while keeping your manly cool.  Even to the point of looking rather comical while doing all this.

Friday March 22 2019

One of the things explained in the article linked to in the previous posting is that product placement often happens in a quite subtle way, without the brand being spelt out clearly, for everyone to see.  Street art adverts can be part of a campaign, and the street art bit only makes sense if you also notice the rest of that campaign.

So, for instance, is this, also spied in Bermondsey by me the day before yesterday, also some kind of advert?:

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Maybe.

I googled “red chameleon” and found two books both called that, but no other products.  No beer.  No deodorant.  No dating site for psycho-communists.

So, maybe it’s just a painting, of a red chameleon.

LATER: And it would appear that these are just flamingos:

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I also saw them on my Stoke Newingtonian travels.

Both the flamingos and the red chameleon are, it would seem, the work of Frankie Strand.  That she signed the chameleon was a clue.  And a little googling got me to her particular fondness also for flamingos.

Christine Macdonald complains, in an article recently linked to by Arts and Letters Daily that:

Street Art Used To Be the Voice of the People. Now It’s the Voice of Advertisers.

Given what Ms MacDonald means by “the People” (the people who ruin all the places they get control of), this development is to be welcomed.  Compared to ruination by a diverse array of people, all with the same ruinous opinions, advertisers trying only to sell you stuff are a breath of fresh air.

Here is an example of this process at work, spotted by me in Stoke Newington, the day before yesterday:

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And here is another van from the same stable, which I spotted and photoed on the same day that I spotted and photoed these other exercises in profit seeking and actual people helping, nearer to the middle of London, while out and about a while back:

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Vans like this are different, and thus attract attention.  They certainly got mine.  Many beer drinkers will surely have been persuaded to wonder what this particular beer tastes like.  If it tastes like crap, advertising won’t save your product.  But if the product is good but is being ignored, advertising is just what you want.

But, all you graffitists who have sold out or who would like to, be warned.  Soon, this style will look rather ordinary, once lots of others have started doing it.  At which point people like me won’t photo it any more, and commerce that is trying to attract attention will be on to the next aesthetic fad.

Wednesday March 13 2019

Some close- and closer-ups of the Optic Cloak:

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What these photos, photoed just after I’d photoed these photos, only show a few glimpses of is how different the OC looks, depending on the light’s strength, its direction, and its colour.  All of the above photos were photoed from the western, upstream side of the OC, as I moved from north to south, and all on the same day.  There’s a whole different set to be taken from the east, or from the West on a different day.

This is something that all the best London Things, Big or, as in this case, not so Big, have in common.  (I’m thinking in particular of the Shard and of the Walkie Talkie and, more recently, of the Scalpel (which is only very small in that photo, but which does wonderful things with the light).)

Thursday March 07 2019

My expedition to check out the Optic Cloak got me appreciating the new version of the Greenwich Peninsula, the post-Dome version, that is now taking shape.

Here is a picture of it, one of those computer fake photo things:

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The Optic Cloak is an invisible smudge of grey, just after the C of OPTIC and just above the K of CLOAK.  That’s because this picture is not about the truth as such, but about new tall buildings, and the Optic Cloak, although quite tall, is not a building, so, in this picture, it is ignored.

However, what the above photo does show is the big double-barrelled road which takes traffic into and from the Blackwall Tunnel.  And you get a great look at this mighty traffic artery if you climb up onto a footbridge that takes you over it.  Over it if, for instance, you are walking south from North Greenwich tube station, in order to get a closer-up view, from the West, across the big road, than you’d get otherwise, of the Optic Cloak, as I was when I went there, however many weeks ago it was.

You can just about make out this footbridge in the picture above, just above and to the right of the C of COPTIC.

Here are a couple of photos that I photoed of this footbridge:

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And here are a couple of views from it, of the Optic Cloak:

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But I especially liked the sort of views you get from this footbridge, looking north, towards the Blackwall Tunnel:

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Most of the towers in the distance there are across the river, in Docklands, and already that view, as you approach the Blackwall Tunnel is quite something.  As the Greenwich Peninsula itself fills up with more towers, it will look even more mini-Manhattan-ish.

Here are photos I took from the bridge of a couple of interesting vehicles, going north (left) and south (right):

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Plus, here is a close-up of that roof clutter, in the left hand of the two looking north photos, above:

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This roof clutter makes a point, as do those two views looking north, and the traffic.  This new Greenwich Peninsula has the feeling of old-school work getting done, just as I presume the old one had.  Stuff that really hurts if you drop it on your foot is being made, modified, bought and sold, in this particular part of London, just as it always was.  Noxious gasses and fluids are being propelled hither and thither, in pipes and cans and lorries.  You get the feeling that this isn’t going to stop any time soon, the way it has in Docklands.

It could just be all that Blackwall Tunnel traffic thundering by which gives off that feeling.  However, I don’t think so, if only because the thundering traffic creates the sort of place where the Financial Services Industry wouldn’t want to be.

Here, finally, is the kind of close-up of the Optic Cloak that I had come for …:

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.. with a lorry roaring by, full of noxious fluid.

There can be no higher praise for the Optic Cloak than to say that it fits right in with all this hustle and bustle and noise.  Indeed, it dominates it.  It presides contentedly over it.  Most “Art” in such a place would look ridiculous.

Saturday March 02 2019

Genius.  That, I respect very much.

And:

Almost a Friday cat post.  Almost.

It would be in keeping with this to backdate this posting here to last night.  That way, I’d have linked to his posting today, yesterday.

Thursday February 28 2019

I don’t hate paintings that look like this, as so many paintings of a certain vintage do.  Hatred is for things you can’t avoid and mere paintings can usually be avoided with ease.  But I don’t respect paintings that look like this:

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But that isn’t a painting.  It looks like a painting.  But, it’s a photo.  And I really like it.

It was photoed by Real Photographer Charlie Waite.  Read his tweet about it here.

Sunday February 17 2019

Last Thursday afternoon, I emerged from North Greenwich tube/DLR station, and started getting my bearings.  Dome right here, there, so that’s north, so south is the other way, and somewhere around there ought to be the Big Thing itself, called (it has to be called something) The Optic Cloak.  (If it has a local nickname, I am unaware of it.) Because it’s a Big Thing vaguely shaped like a domino, and because it takes itself very seriously and because it’s not for people to live it, it reminds me of the Big Thing at the beginning of 2001 A Space Odyssey, despite its ziggy zaggy surface.

And very quickly, after hardly any walking south at all, I got my first sightings of the OC.

Here are nine of the first lot of photos I took of the OC:

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All of these photos have something else in them besides the Optic Cloak itself, and this is deliberate.

Real Photographers are very clever at screening out all irrelevancies, when they photo a Thing like this.  They go for the special effects that the Thing itself contrives, with no lampposts or surveillance cameras or cars or general crap inserting themselves into the final photo.  The results often (a) are very beautiful (provided the Thing itself has something beautiful going for it), but (b) in no way prepare you for how the Thing actually looks, in its actual setting, when you actually get there.  Real Photographers, to generalise, are better at lying with their cameras than snappers like me are, which means that snapper-photos are often superior, as actual guides to what Things really look like.

I especially like the trees, through which Things may now, at this time of the year, be seen, unlike in the boring old summer.

And I especially like all that blue sky.

Saturday February 16 2019

On Thursday, perfet weather was perfectly prophesied by our brilliant short-term weather forecasters, and I journeyed to the Dome and places south, to take a closer look at The Optic Cloak:

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And then yesterday afternoon, following a similarly prescient forecast, forecasting similarly perfect weather, GodDaughter2 and I, as recounted yesterday, walked through Hyde Park:

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That being one of the accompanying sculptural collections next to the Albert Memorial, which at the moment I think I prefer to the Memorial itself.

I basically spent today recovering from all this self-propelled travel.  You, like me, are not getting any younger, no matter how young you may now be.  But this expression is only used by people of my kind of age to describe how I felt after two such days of exertion.

Monday February 04 2019

6k: (I know someone who will like this picture …) Who can he mean?

He’s talking about this picture:

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I like it.  And like I say, the Age of the Smartphone will be with us for quite a while yet.

I can remember when places like the Louvre used to forbid photoing.  But they can hardly complain if students … take notes.

Friday November 16 2018

It’s friday, so you want cats and/or other creatures.  So, what sort of other creature is this?:

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It’s quite a puzzle isn’t it.  I’m describing my question, but I’m also answering my question.

It was one of these.

It is rare that I categorise a posting as this and that.  But this defies ordinary classification.

Monday October 29 2018

Today, I was meeting a friend in the area of Angel tube, and then, because the weather was so good, I decided to walk a little, to the canal nearby, and then south, towards the City.  I took many photos.  But as often happens when I photo ordinary things but in better than ordinary light, one of the best photos I photoed was something of a surprise.  It happened right near the end.  It was getting dark before I reached the City, and a signpost sent me along that strange tunnel near Barbican tube, to Barbican tube.

This is the tunnel I’m talking about:

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I googled “Barbican tunnel” when I got home, and soon learned that this is apparently the Beech Street tunnel, although all it said on google maps was “B100”.  Earlier this year, there was a apparently some sort of light show on show in this tunnel.  But this evening what got my attention was the light at the end of the tunnel, which looked like this:

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The natural pink and yellow of the sunset is what makes this, but I also like the non-natural green of the traffic lights, and the green reflections in the tunnel roof, joining in with those green roofs beyond.

In the distance, a crane.  In London, cranes are hard to avoid.  Not that I’d want to.

Tuesday October 16 2018

I’ve asked it before and I’ll ask it again.  Why do I regard most of Modern Art as silly, yet relish real world objects which resemble Modern Art?  Objects like this:

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The above photo was taken on The last really fine day of 2018, just minutes after I had taken the one in that earlier posting.

You don’t need to go to an exhibition of sloppily painted abstract art, when the regular world contains wondrous looking objects like that.  And what is more, they are wondrous looking objects which have worthwhile purposes.  This wondrous object is for supporting and protecting workers as they work on a building.

Here is how that same scaffolding looked, unwrapped, about a month earlier:

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I particular enjoy how the sky changes colour, in my camera, when a big white Thing is inserted into the picture.  (This afternoon, I encountered this, by Real Photographer Charlie Waite.  Same effect.)

Thank you to the (to me) invaluable PhotoCat, for enabling me to crop both of the above photos in a way that makes them more alike in their scope and which thereby points up the differences.  I’m talking about the invaluable Crop But Keep Proportions function that PhotoCat has, but which PhotoStudio (my regular Photoshop(clone)) 5.5 seems not to offer.  (I would love to be contradicted on that subject.)

Despite all my grumblings about how silly most Modern Art is, I do nevertheless greatly like the way that this Big Thing (the Reichstag) looks in the pride-of-place photo featured in this BBC report, an effect which presumably makes use of the same sort of technology as we see in my photo, but on a vastly grander scale:

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I have to admit that this is several orders of magnitude more impressive than my scaffolding.  (Maybe that was the last really fine day of 1994.) My scaffolding looks lots better than some badly painted little abstract rectangle in an Art gallery, but it’s not nearly as effective as the Reichstag, as wrapped by Christo and Partner.

Because this Big Wrapped Thing was so very big, and because it is such a very interesting shape, it really does look like it added greatly to Berlin, in that summer of 1994.  I entirely understand why all those people assembled to gaze at it.  Had I been anywhere in the vicinity, I would have too.  And had there been digital cameras then, I would have taken numerous photos, as would thousands of others.  Thus giving permanence to this vast piece of temporariness.

Because, what I also like about this Reichstag wrapping is that, just like my scaffolding, and just like all the other wrapping done by Wrapper Christo and his Lady Sidekick, it is temporary.  That BBC report calls it Pop-Up Art, and it is of the essence of its non-annoyingness that any particular piece of Pop-Up Art by Christo will soon be popping down again.

This Reichstag wrapping happened in 1994, but is now long gone.  Did you disapprove of what Christo and his lady did to the Reichstag?  You just had to wait it out.  Soon, it would be be gone.

Do you think scaffolding, especially when wrapped, is ugly?  Ditto.