Wednesday, 18 November 2009

It's only art...

... but I like it!

I was enthralled by a wonderful piece of television. No, it wasn't Jordan picking cockroaches out of her cleavage or Sam Fox balancing a large and very alive water spider on her tongue... It was culture darlings, of the kind that you can only trust the BBC to produce.

OK, I admit the 'I'm a Celebrity who needs a bit of publicity so I'll allow myself to get tortured on TV for three weeks' was rather tempting, because sometimes you do have to indulge in a little trash, just so you put things in perspective. However, 'Art on your walls' was just lovely!

Little Sue Perkins took us on a journey of nostalgia from the sitting rooms of our grandparents in the 1950s to IKEA just last weekend. This was a programme celebrating art for the masses, as interior design, escapism and joyful sentimentality. You might love looking at a sheep in formaldahyde in a gallery, but over the back of your sofa? I think not. We prefer the windswept branches of a silvered tree on a white beach or the hypnotic sunset over Ullswater.

This mass-produced art selling by the canvas-load is giving birth to a whole new breed of artist. What's so special about them? Well, they're still alive for one thing which is a novelty and making a tonne of money which is another!

The programme paints an evocative picture of our childhood visits to Nan's with a Tretchikoff exotic lady with a strange tinge to her face giving a bit of colour to the woodchip. Then it took me to student digs where our poster choice indicated our tribe. This put you very clearly into the camps of those you either had something in common with or, more likely, wanted to be a part of. Coming from small-town-in-the-Midlands-that-nobody-has-heard-of put me at a distinct disadvantage on day 1. Your choice of cheap art from Athena (or even cheaper knocked off from street traders) was a statement about YOU. Were you, like Sue a Betty Blue? Or did you favour the political statement perhaps? My romance was more traditional. I think I might still have this poster somewhere - a little tattered and frayed but I was too unwilling to part with it - a little episode of my history! Oh how I longed to be passionately kissed by a tall, dark & handsome man on the Champs D'Elysse!

So, what did I take from this programme? A reminder of my Nan's hallway. Memories of bug-eyed children looking sadly down at me from 1970s portraits. The reminder that to be cool, you really have to be French. And the lesson that what defines art is up to you. It's what gives meaning and pleasure to your soul and opens a window to another world.

Oh yes, and a new item for my 'to do' list. Create some very marketable art and sell it to The Art Group - these are the people that fill IKEA, Argos and B&Q with affordable art and make the artists a fortune in the process and guess what.... they are based about 2 miles away from my studio (aka dining room table)! Serendipity??


  1. What a fascinating post. Wish I'd seen that programme. I always love when the mind is challenged to think in new ways. I can just picture your Nan's hallway.

  2. I've just watched this programme and you have summed it up brilliantly - I never was one for prints myself - but my parents had a 'paint by numbers' picture of the Matterhorn done by my dad and a Peter Scott print of some ducks in flight, but these had gone by the early sixties (That's giving away my age). My grandparents had lots of photographs and two texts "Watch and pray" and "In Thee we Trust" although they weren't at all religious.

  3. Just wanted to stop by and thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment on my work. I'm glad I found your blog as well!! :)

  4. Great post and like you idea to work on marketable art. You go girl! Hope that one day (in the very very near future) I might find one of your artwork at Ikea Australia! :D

  5. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment. Oh how that Chinese lady picture took me back! I am from the era of flying ducks and pictures just like that!! A real trip down memory lane!!


  6. Thanks for the great info -- i would have loved to see that show -- very informative.

  7. Can't say I'm was a prints girl either but have become one due to all these VERY ALIVE artists! Remember though... once you spend a lot of time in France, you all of a sudden wipe the veneer finish off and you find real people, both cool - and some very not so! It's all about finding the beauty where you are!

  8. this is very beautiful
    i don,t know the programm, because i liove in the netherlands, but i like what i see

  9. Theres a really good post about this programme over at

    It is a superbly written blog too. Well worth a look.


Thank you for your comments - I always love to hear what you think :)

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