Banksy or Wanky

“There must be an assigned proprietor for a trademark to be endorsed. Whether your pseudonym is Banksy or Wanky, indeed no one knows if you are a groupie, an institution or a delusional whacko. But since you can craft your fame holding onto a mysterious identity, then, you’d surely know how to wiggle your trademark across in other ways.

If the British can glamorise Spice Girls, James Bond and Jaime Oliver, surely you are of no sweat to them. “

Meeting Personalities

There wasn’t any objection from the rest of the committee members after the matter was raised up by someone who merely exercises his rights to his opinions. If there were, I am sure the presiding secretary who controls the meeting would have put it to a vote beit a secret ballot or by show of hands.

In every committee there are bound to be sitting ducks. Types of committee members most frequently encountered are:

1. Those compelled by higher authority to be their eyes and ears

2. Those who exploit or abuses their own authority riding on the position

3. Those with vested or self interest and talks only when their personal interest is ignored or infringed

4. Those who wants to milk the institution

5. Those who wants first hand information on the going-ons so they could plan their on-goings

6. Those who uses this channel as a backdoor for political mileages , recognition, awards and rewards. The so-called megalomaniacs

7. Those who are real sitting ducks not ready to take on any responsibility or be of service to the institution they sometimes even forget their own name when called

8. Those programmed to gain. By selling. Beit their own collection, artists, artworks, shows, information, backside or to curry favor.

To get those who are genuinely there to look after the objective, interest and correct running of the institution and contribute to their progress are rare.

Self sacrificing individuals such as these are few and far in between. The question that beckons now is which individual or party controls the vetting process and what are their set vetting standards? And why are the presiding secretary so submissive to individual complaints which should by right after the artworks are installed and exhibited, be sent in through a suggestion/feedback form stating the grounds for complaint rather than be raised as a matter in meeting agendas or in ‘Any Other Business?’ Was it raised in ‘Any Other Business?’ And are there suggestion/feedback forms?

No one knows. No one thought it important.

Sharing Groups

I am an appraiser. You can look me up in the international society of appraisers profile. My forte is Asian. My advise is this.

Sharing groups are an impetus of your own growth as a collector- learning, discovering and growing together with like minded individuals with a common interest. Enjoy it. And have a good laugh with opinions that doesn’t agree with yours. But sharing images in the public domain subject your postings to public scrutiny which may sometimes be unpleasant to your ears for the fact that opinions can vary and differ. Everyone has high expectations towards their own property thus, trained specialists has a hoard of well designed statements to cushion the impact it may have on your ears so as not to risks offending you.

In this case, my advise is to heed only opinions by specialists that are accurately concluded once your property is physically and meticulously inspected and tested and not purely by pictures alone.

Apart from material justification which most tests results can accurately reveal, handling is as important and so is an in depth knowledge about the crafting of the object with some grounded philosophy in this case Buddhism. But if an expectant bronze figure turns out to be a big conglomerate of assorted metals, don’t you think that authentication is already established rendering the visual assessment and physical handling useless? And for what good does it bring forth if visual ascertainment and handling results no matter how convincing does not pass the material test?

One glaring feature a lot of collectors neglect is the philosophy part. Ask yourself if the face of the Buddha exudes enough tranquility and is the workmanship too frisky for sacred objects made for reverence. This of course comes with experience and specialists looks for signs such as this. And of course the obvious signs of wear and tear and aging.

Trained specialists are especially careful in dispensing negative remarks like fake or forgery quite commonly used in the public by those not in the know because at the end of the day, it is about their reputation more than anything else.

Peace be with you.

Knowledgeable Collectors

“Knowledgeable collectors collect with their eyes, and not their ears. They collect quality works, not names. They seek narratives, not only aesthetics because contemporary art is about narratives. They give artists hope by supporting their artistic journey when they are alive, not only after they are dead. And they look beyond monetary rewards and cheap bargains, allowing the art scene to flourish, instead of attempting to influence or dictate its directions.

Knowledgeable collectors understand that every auction record beit higher or lower becomes a new price benchmark for the same series of any particular artist because auction results are the only publicly available source of reference. They understand that discounts and bargains can only happen backdoor where transactions are discreet so that the artists highest auction record remains but not fluctuate at its whim.

Knowledgeable collectors continually support a high record with another higher record each time an artists work of the same series appear at the auctions. They understand that comparable price records beyond three years are off limit to appraisers whom may risk losing their license for breaking the rules.

Art Fairs

“An art fair is a device to promote Western art to a wider audience at the expense of Eastern galleries who thought it glamorous to get into the bandwagon without understanding the basics of the market which the Western galleries literally dominate because every important artist is inside their pocket whose one painting easily offsets the cost of one booth, and they control and own every important magazine, app, museum, auction houses, curator and putrefy every art news to their advantage leaving the Eastern galleries with nothing short of disposing all their hard earn monies into one silly fair and still make a loss.

And if the prices of their Eastern artist escalates more or less at par with the Western artist’s which is a one in a million chance, most collectors if given a choice will hop over and collect Western art without a second thought because of the ready market and the fame of these artists created by the West the same way financially more well off people will dump their local cars for foreign makes.

This is the unfortunate circumstance right minded Eastern galleries has to bear with whilst the naive galleries continues to mimick the Western galleries thus many went high and dry and got bananas to go home with and a load of sponsorship obligations to repay instead of happily going home with fat sales to content with.

Prove me wrong for no right minded Western galleries will join an Eastern set up Art Fair for all its worth simply because they are first and foremost very discriminatory, second, it doesn’t support their umbrella Western dominion objective and third, if it is not a Westerner who controls or set up the fair, then, it is not a Western control art fair and they won’t join so that you will gradually cease to exist to prove to you it is a business model not worth pursuing which in short, is theirs to do and control.

A booth at prestigious art fairs cost about USD100k. Do you realize how many works a gallery has to sell if the artworks are only worth USD1K each within that 4 days spread but the only time you do some selling is only the first 3 hours of vernissage? Still that can only offset your booth cost but not your shipping, insurance, set up, manpower, and whatever else.

In short, an Eastern Art Fair has got to be contented and survive on its own depending on Eastern booths alone or perhaps third world booths from Africa, Middle East or South America. And the only reason one sees Western galleries appearing in China Art Fairs is because of one reason only. it is a big market. Guess what they are selling? Western Art of course.

And that’s the sad truth about art fairs.”

Making a Classic

“What you don’t like now, you will love later. What you love now, you won’t like later.”

(That is the classic ingredient crucial to the making of a classic where design is concern. Simply said, a handsome man displays no character as compared to a wrinkled old man on oil, paper or print. The initial insignificance you rejected and it’s ugliness would eventually grow on you, if you allow it time to sink in.)

Sacred

“A statue or figurine is only considered sacred after it has been consecrated by a religious or priest beit in a rite or proper religious ceremony thus to determine if a statue is sacred or not, will never be known because the action of consecration may only involve the laying of hands and the recitation of certain appropriate text whilst others may involve stippling the statue/figurine with ink, the adornment with a chasuble, stole or a garment of some kind including fresh flowers or in other cases, the insertion of certain pulverized ashes inside a carved hole which was then plugged in. Thus without such obvious evidence present on a statue or figurine, one can only guess if a statue or figurine is sacred. Herein provenance becomes an important criteria because if that particular statue was proven to have sat inside a temple before, one can almost be certain that the figurine mentioned is indeed sacred. Anyhow in a way, it does enhance the value but put you into trouble if the origin is an important sacred site, if that is what you are interested in.”

A New Language

“Contemporary art cannot be built on the foundations of the modern. It speaks a totally different language. Just like one can’t tear down an old house and build a newer, bigger, taller house sitting on the old foundation. The older foundations are restrictive towards the extra size and weight thus it stunts one’s creativity. If you want to build bigger, taller houses, one needs to forgo the older footings and build newer foundations for the new house one is building. Contemporary art is a new language. Narrative, not just skill is required. I’m sorry if you think otherwise.”

Preference

“Everyone has a preference and that preference makes you identifiable. I

t is that preference that separates you from other collectors that no patron,

architect, designer, curator, style, trend, interest, hobbyists or other collectors

can influence you on, when it comes to setting your own taste. Everyone has

a preference of form, subject, style, medium, shapes, colors, composition,

texture etc. All these shapes your taste.

A good friend will accept your preference whereas a bad one will consider

your preference inferior to his or hers. A preference makes you true to your

liking instead of goose hunting other people’s opinion and taste. Do not be

unduly influenced. That only happens to freshies.”

Need of Focal Point?

“Art always emphasizes on the focal point of a picture. It is that spot where your eye fixes and the whole composition grows and revolves around it. That interpreted, if art then is nature, the focal point would be the crater atop the volcano as seen on plan where everything caves in. And everything that revolves around it are just bleak terrains. Of hardened lava perhaps? Where then is the garden where a child hops around splattering their feet in the stream? Where then are the decayed logs where the mushrooms sprout? And the spiders spin their webs? Where then does the rabbit burrows? Does such formality always apply on every subject matter in art? For someone who has been dabbling in art for four decades and growing, I would say no.

If someone painted humor, that humor would be constrained if the composition is symmetrical. That turns the painting into a whimper of giggles instead of listening to a big loud roar. Why is that so? Because where the focal points are, there, symmetry would be also. Symmetry draws stiffness unless that is what is intended in your composition.

The conclusion is, subject matters will decide your composition. A good composition is about balance, not symmetry. Good artist will know when to emphasize on focal points and when it needs to disintegrate into a landscape garden. Paintings with a focal point may draw attentions better initially, but given that if you are going to live with it and face it all day long for the next five years or more, it is those without a focal point that won’t bore you. Perhaps it may also be because men are all born hunters, their affinity to nature and garden is natural indeed. That said, paintings without focal points are not necessarily bad compositions. All in all, it still depends on the context. Especially in larger sized paintings, try to compose a garden. There are lots of stories to tell in a garden and people’s eyes wander around when in a garden. That’s what makes larger paintings come alive. The experienced aficionados of art has got to agree even when the conventional audience disagree.”

Challenging Viewers

Some simple robotics does not make an artwork be. For visual art is not rocket science neither is it magic, neither is it a stage set designed to fascinate. It is the encrusting of a submerged consciousness subtly emerging in layers. It is an inconclusive maze. It is a mixture of alchemism and personal philosophy tied to your identity and your thoughts and that is what gives it the classical flavor. It is in all sense an autobiography. Without all these, they are but picture making. Not one bit can be regarded as paintings.

From high hopes to a depressive preponderance, one does wonder if the majority pushes hard enough to challenge the viewers thoughts with a larger dosage of pragmatism and well-meaning crits and whatever that encapsulates inside the artist’s mind, can they be contextually articulated into meaningful content without the inference of showmanship, quaint theories or be set free from the wand of prying opinions. Also, will they foremost gets sucked in by the preferences and whims of the lobbyists?

Kinetic art as well as Sound art sounds fascinating but being hindered by a lack of understanding of mobility and utter reliance on the robotics knowledge of the fitter isn’t. Just as being placed side by side to an overage contestant who should be disqualified isn’t. And being stashed inside a mouse hole when directional signs are lacking isn’t. Or cramped to an awkward corner when others have miles of space isn’t. The second question then arises if some curators are sensitized to the space given, are they also trained to handle criticisms constructively?

Competition under a new government, very much like ‘old wine in new skin’ is a springboard for which many freshies tried to catwalk for the first time. Sadly, many are left with sprained ankles. Just like being cramped into shows where the obvious superstars wasn’t you. And you work is only there to enhance the superstars status. Unless you don’t mine being the casualty, that is the price one pays for being adamant to stupidity.

But did the majority push hard enough to challenge the viewers thoughts?

Question of Ethics

“There are things too personal to be disposed of, not unless one is in dire straits. If an auction house values its integrity, they should be more stringent in accepting consignments, otherwise they’ll suffer the risk of being labeled a dumping ground. Sketches, prints of all types, posters, studies, generally they cluster into a special category called ephemera or paraphernalia acceptably but separately categorized inside the same catalogue. There are cases where consignors needs to force sell, and cases where auction houses are coerced to sell, but there too are situations whereby collectors scale down or inherited properties disposed of because the heir is not keen about art. But even-though so, it is the duty of responsible auction houses to advise the courts in the case of force-sell or in other cases, the would-be consignor, the fair market value of the property consigned. Fair market value is determined by the art appraiser using approved formulas. Not by the whims and calls of the consignor nor the auction house. That said, malice becomes the glaring motive when an auction house especially an experienced one being aware of the fair market value, agrees to an undervalued consignment from an experienced consignor.

Going back to the first point, the consignment is more a case of ethics than anything else but it could be better handled by the auction house otherwise misunderstanding will occur.

As for the undervalued estimates of other properties under consignment, force selling, selling off an old investment and disposing inherited properties are all acceptable reasons, very frequent appearing as ‘No Reserve’ lots, but they need to be investigated on a case by case basis by the auction house concern. Galleries and living artists are frequent victims of such irresponsible estimates.

But if a collector insists that he can do whatever he wants since he owns the artwork, or the auction house insist that they can call whatever price they want despite the resources available for reference, then it is perfectly correct to imply that their motives are intended. For the fact that every action is a manifestation of one’s intention.”

Matrix versus Print

“It is ironical for a self proclaimed printmaker to sell the matrixes separately from the prints in an arts show not unless the print edition is classified ‘unique’ and it came accompanied with the matrix. If the matrix is sold separately as a work of art beit or not at a reduced price, then the purchaser of the prints should be informed and those matrixes shall then by right be regarded as ‘wood carvings’ which in this case is not since the artist did not regard himself as a ‘wood carver’. This wood carving is by right a tool, medium or mode the printmaker uses to create his art and at most times is kept by the printmaker or dispose of since it no longer has meaning after the ‘unique’ copy is sold. The question then arises that if both prints and matrixes are up for sale, which then should a collector collect in this case and which has more value? The logical answer would be the print since that is the ‘end result’ of the printmakers craft and the matrix is but the ‘medium’. But preferably, the collector of the ‘unique’ print should own the matrix also if the printmaker wishes not to keep it. And it is not ethical for the printmaker to sell both the positive and negative separately, each as an artwork by itself. Moreover whoever owns the matrix could summon for multiple re-edition of prints made without the knowledge and consent of the printmaker or the owner of the unique print. And this, the ignorant collector should by right be informed as it lends concerns towards authentication issues.

If one looks back at the history of printmaking, the craftsmen doesn’t sell their matrixes. And in each artwork, there are as many matrixes as there are colors encountered.The key point to know about matrixes is that it is technically not ‘the’ work of art although many may admire its reverse intricacy and it will not appreciate in value or have a value equivalent to the print from which it is printed from provided in due course, the unique print is unintentionally or intentionally destroyed, went missing or disposed of for whatever reasons. In the last case the matrix can acquire antique value with collectors of matrixes which is rare or museums of printmaking provided the printmaker is highly regarded in the printing world.

The next question that beckons interest is can collectors add value to a series of prints that he deliberately purchased and then have them destroyed to reduce the edition number? The answer is yes. Scarcity adds value to the print concern provided the matrix held by the artist is also destroyed. But that act should preferably be staged as a public performance known to the art community. It must also be remembered that the act of destroying cannot be constituted as an element or trajectory of the print provided the artist is physically involved in the process. That act itself also does not lend new meaning to the original intention it was meant as a print neither does that act transforms it into conceptual art or makes the collector the artist of that print.

There is a tendency for collectors to want to add value to his collection by this act. But generally not unless he is the sole owner of that print, and provided it is a work from a notable printmaker.”

Fiveloaf 2014/2019

Size as yardstick

If size is the yardstick used to gauge the prices of artworks, then I guess I’m worth no different than the other 1.76m tall baboon of similar weight standing next to me. That also means that everything else I am capable of to outwit that baboon is redundant. And that includes even when I am more handsome or intelligent. Does that answer your question?

Monopoly

“Market forces and demand varies the world over. Thus, to market a fair

that claims to cut across the continents is amusing, if not to continuously

keep the pecan pie to yourself by killing two birds with one stone,

1) by depleting the coffers of smaller galleries by inducing them to pay

exorbitant fair charges which stumps their cash flow and stunt their growth;

and

2) using those gains to boost and sustain the star status of bigger galleries

and their artists thus deflating the prospect of smaller galleries, all in the

name of western monopoly.”

Sun Dried

“Once wilt sets in, lift yourself off that branch and drift to the ground. Let your decaying self nourish the soil so that budding leaves may once again bloom on the same branch that once held you. Of course you may also hung on tightly and remain. Wrinkled and browning as compared to the rest. Being repeatedly sun-dried.”

I Rather They Suffer Than We Suffer

“If one keeps on neglecting creativity but works in a context of acceptability as according to that school of thought which nurtures them, then we unconsciously stunt our inner Easternmost expressions by paying homage to Western literal ideas, subconsciously elevating them to iconic towkay status to make them relevant and in turn, reduces our own chance of making our way to the top.
Schools of music till today still stresses on Brahm and Bach. Schools of writing still pays homage to Shakespeare and Wilde, not Tagore or Han Suyin. Schools of visual art history conveniently branded us as offshoots of abstract expressionism. We have been suppressed if not, being denied our own identity. And until we assert a language of our own, we can’t flourish as unique individuals. Our arts and literal history should thus be rewritten and pushed further back to the time where our ancestors began it all. Maybe back to the aborigines. They are unique individuals that did not arise feeding from Western classicals as we have always been, and that’s the reason we are conveniently placed into neat identifiable parcels ready for the slaughterhouse or be labeled as ‘aliens’.
Western ideas propound that without education one will fail. I beg to differ. My very own forefather, the uneducated rich, has proven them wrong. The Westerners also has an uncanny habit to device all sorts of courses and tailored them to suit their own ideals while we in turn, enrolled ourselves into their classes to earn a degree studying about our own culture, tradition and way of life. Seriously??? The profoundness of a language is also not important as our forefathers again has proven. Living with different ethnicities, we never have trouble understanding each other and getting our messages across despite the littlest we knew about someone else’s language.
If I may stress further, Eastern writings, performances, and visual expressionism should not be assessed by comparing them to Western standards and principles or being lumped into pattern moulds set for us, otherwise we’d forever be regarded as an off track or an off shoot of the Western system. Orientalism too, has no place in today’s contemporary society. To get rid of being stereotyped, we should all rise to the occasion and be ourselves. We should write as how we write according to how our natural senses evoke us, and be as distinct as how our ancestors are, swaying to their own wayang, and painting with the scurried soul of an Easterner. Our works should overwhelm them with just that tinge of ourselves and we should all live as how we are, being accorded a rightful place on the map of the world. What I just lamented may sound discomforting to the Westerners but I rather they suffer than we suffer, the earful .”

My Writing Style

“I don’t write to please anybody but myself. If and when I write, my choice of words are mine. That’s what makes it distinct from others. That’s called style. My writing style. Not yours. Not others. Every writer has their own style of writing. If you find that hard to chew, you are probably never a writer. Thus, if you don’t like my style of writing , I am not compelling you to read what I write. If I publish a book, don’t buy my book. Because you need to possess an expanded brain up to that level of consciousness to understand why a writer writes the way they write. My choice of words are sacred to me. It probably doesn’t mean anything to you. So be it. A good artist would have told you the same thing if you try to change his style.”