Monday, 10 June 2019

Prestidigitation

Frustratingly, I got two pictures shortlisted for this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but neither made it onto the wall. Philistines! It's doubly frustrating, as the final stage involves leaving your actual framed artwork in London, which then needs to be taken away when final decisions have been made. Not so bad for me – my work is portable, and the journey is only 1.5 hours each way – but the guy behind me in the queue had come all the way from Derby by train to collect an oil painting about the size of a dinner table.

To get back on the front foot, I decided to put together a portfolio book, partly to remind myself why I think any of this effort is worthwhile, but also as something I could use as a calling card. Call me a deluded idiot – join the queue – but I find I have the urge, at 65, and despite everything I have said and done heretofore about maintaining a low-profile, low-stress lifestyle, to put my work out there. Once, of course, I have figured out where "there" might be. Any World (That I'm Welcome To) and all that. It struck me that speculatively putting an attractive prospectus in the post would be a sight less expensive in both time and money than riding the rails or driving the highways with an actual portfolio of work.

I ended up producing a Blurb magazine which is, in effect, a sampler of my digital work since 2014. My intention was to make something that would both impress and intrigue the viewer – ideally some upscale gallerist with taste – to such an overwhelming degree that they would beg me to allow them to represent my work. Or, at any rate, give it some further consideration. I have called it Prestidigitation, and as a reader of this blog you may follow this link to give it a thorough preview and, should you feel so inclined buy a paper or PDF copy at cost price. I'd be very interested to hear your comments, positive or negative. Unless you're a member of the RA selection panel, in which case you can keep your ridiculous opinions to yourself.

6 comments:

old_bloke said...

Well, given the Guardian's review of this year's Summer Exhibition ("a moronic monument to British mediocrity"), perhaps you're better off not being associated with it . . .

Mike C. said...

old_bloke,

Heh, yes, I'd just read that myself and thought, hmm, maybe not, after all...

Mind you, the RA show is famous for its mediocrity; from my p-o-v it was the prospect of sales (the 2017 experience was amazing) and a bit of exposure in the capital that was the attraction.

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Very nice. Btw, the link on 'PRESTIDIGITATION' at the end doesn't work.

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Thanks -- yes, I don't know why they put it there (you cut and paste the HTML code for the preview from the Blurb website). I did remove various other bits, and will probably edit that, too, which I'd missed.

Mike

Thomas Rink said...

I bought the PDF on Blurb. It is nicely done and quite interesting for me to get an overview over your digital collages (may I call them that?) in a nutshell. I also liked the introductory text for each series - refreshingly free from Art English and very informative, with a good measure of humour. I'm doubtful whether this will resonate with your intended target audience (gatekeepers?), though.

By the way - did you know that the German Wikipedia has an article about the uncanny ("Unheimlich")? It turns out that none other than Sigmund Freud himself did some research on that matter.

Best, Thomas

Mike C. said...

Thomas,

Thanks for these thoughtful comments. You may well be right about the sense of humour of most "gatekeepers". The right one will be rolling about, though!

Yes, the uncanny / unheimlich is a well-established category in contemporary art, with its roots in Freud. It's a word that *would* resonate with those gatekeepers...

Mike