Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Digital art/collage: Label Off

}digital art, collage, art print, vispo{

Label Off, RTomens, 2018

I press 'Print', the machine screeches as if in agony. Serves it right for eating the paper I fed in the other day. It has indigestion but refuses to spew up what's causing it so much pain. Chance in art, a familiar phenomenon, although not one welcomed or even considered by studious painters of pootraits, landscapes etc - of course not! 'Pootraits', a typo. Chance again! Not that I think all portraits are poo. The best are those which capture the person rather than their precise likeness. Or don't both with any kind of likeness. Or weird babies in 16C portraits...they're great...so alien.

Label Off
Labels off: portraiture, Fine Art, oil painting, How To Make Money From Your Art and all the others that don't apply...

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Digital Art/Collage: Art from within

From Within, RTomens, 2018
Art comes from within, so it is said, or must have been said, or thought many times. It does. Yet it also comes from 'without' - outside - naturally, since what we make consists of internal 'influences' and external life, both being different, yet joined by personalities which perceive one and project the other.

The extent to which my art reflects 'me' is...questionable, especially to me. Such a matter is for psychologists to study. Even they may struggle in my case since I'm not one to 'bare my soul' in the form of images. Taste preferences, aesthetic preferences are obvious. Deeper still, on the various sub-strata of 'meaning', reflections on both aspects of society, our relationship to culture, control and 'the word virus'. Yes. All there in some works.


Friday, 19 January 2018

Art Exhibiton: Survival - Robin Tomens

'Don't show everything' is advice given to artists using the social network. Whilst I don't show everything, unlike artists who may get meatspace gallery shows I have no reason not to show everything. The only reason I don't is reluctance to overload viewers. This is ironic in the age of overload most of us live in, but there it is. 

I have shown in galleries and bookshops but the gallery without walls is my most commonly-used exhibition space. As I said to a friend over a beer just the other night whilst he bemoaned the lack of venues or labels for bands, the works of independent artists utilising the internet will probably be seen/heard by more people than was previously likely in pre-PC days.

The idea of an online 'exhibition' came whilst I contemplated the issues above. Having run two sites for a few years I'm aware of the phenomenon that is bottomless digital pit and the accompanying capacity for viewers to unwittingly demand/consume as much as the creator gives. Sometimes this is exhausting for the creator. She/he will, on the one hand, enjoy the attention, but also put pressure on themselves to maintain the supply.

The old adage 'less is more' is applicable. So to is the idea of maximising content in the hope that 'more' creates a greater chance of being seen. It's true that through greater input of online content some artists have gained recognition by those in a position to publish them. Others publish themselves. Loving books as much as I do, the latter can only be viewed as a great achievement. So too is being able to afford a more lavish physical representation of one's work in book form.

The Survival series also contains works called The Swimmers but for convenience I have used the one title since all images derive from the use of one core image. The texts are from Guy Debord's Society Of The Spectacle. All works can be made available as high quality C-type prints on fine art paper should you desire one. 

(third person) 'Robin Tomens lives in London where he spends a lot of time consuming strong coffee and making art to a soundtrack of Jazz, Electronic music (old and new), Dub and 20th century Classical. He was a DJ for over 30 years, created the fanzine, EGO, wrote the book on Jazz, Points Of Departure, has exhibited with The Tunnel collective and is published by Timglaset (Sweden) as well as self-publishing. He lives with fellow artist, Jane Pearrett.'

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Art print/Vispo: FlâneuR / Walking In The City

FlâneuR, RTomens, 2018

To walk in the city is to be consumed by the city. It's often said in the negative sense that cities 'consume' people. The multitude of people, traffic, noise and buildings can all overwhelm and increase feelings of isolation and that ironic form of loneliness. 

Yet the flâneur represents the opposite idea; a wanderer, free from prescribed directions, simply exploring for the pleasures that the city's labyrinth provides. As cyclists, LJ and I have remarked on how much more than motorists we see, usually in relation to countryside trips, but the same applies to the urban environment. Walking naturally takes this idea further. 

The irony of the city and all it's architectural wonders is that most of its inhabitants walk without seeing them. Sucked at speed as if caught in the wake of the traffic we hurry through the streets. It takes a conscious effort not to get caught up in the pace of life in London and, presumably, most major cities. That said, tourists idly wandering in your path prove an irritant. 

The city is unknowable for the majority of it's inhabitants. Our tendency and that of many others, I suspect, is to do most of the walking on our patch (Camden). Yet even one borough would take many days to fully explore. Have we been down this street before? No? Then let's go look. Sure enough, London's architecture being as diverse as it is, a newly-discovered house will prove interesting. It may be an ivy-coated, drably-painted, cracked gothic mansion (by city standards), or a new spin on 60s modernism squashed between rows of Victorian houses. 

Occasionally, when the city becomes too much, I may dream of a quiet life in the country. Yet every time I do so I remind myself of all the as yet unknown pleasures the city streets can offer. That and the obvious benefits of the art galleries, music event etc. 

So, FlâneuR began like this...

...which I found pleasing enough. The idea of an 'R' travelling along blocks of colour. But then I imagined it travelling through the city and added the appropriate imagery by printing it as back and foreground in two colours. The first version may be likened to a country walk; the second, a more frantic urban version. 


Monday, 15 January 2018

A Successful Art Blog - How Not To Build One

Hello, good evening/afternoon/night (no, not 'goodnight'!). I'm an artist. I don't have super-clean teeth, perfect complexion or great success. Please stay with me. I don't think you need all those to succeed, but it certainly helps when promoting yourself because people like healthy-looking people. It seems. Mostly. Although Shane McGowan has a considerable fan base, doesn't he? Mark E. Smith too. Cults, the pair of them.

How does one become successful? Like most bloggers I sometimes, in my hour of desperation, read those blogger tips about how to attract a zillion readers in one hour. Also like most bloggers, I swear to do as I'm told, go away, work at it a bit and give up. You too? You're not alone. 

Creating a successful art blog almost seems contradictory, most artists being so wrapped up in their art-making as to have little time for blogging never mind building a zippy, handsome site then filling it with fascinating (written) content. Images we can get any and everywhere, right? But can that artist make themselves interesting/appealing? That's the hard part.

'Build it and they will come' some fool once said and it's become a kind of mantra for pro-plus positive thinkers, as if you building that thing is eventually bound to attract the right audience. Others would say 'Don't bother' but I'm not interested in the pro-negative types right now, or ever, actually, because the easiest thing in the world is not bothering due to an assumed air of superiority through inaction which guarantees no chance of failure because you didn't try, right?

Building the damned thing is only half the battle as described by blogger tips. Maybe a third. The rest is SEO optimisation, tagging, social networking, pinging etc. Successful art bloggers presumably all do the right thing. The blog part of an art site should be where you learn about the artist; get to know and probably quite like them (without going so far as to buy from them). I've not yet found a Successful Art Site run by an interesting/original-thinking/literary artist. If you think you have, do let me know. 

Apparent contradiction time: is it possible to create 'different' art, write in other than the plainest prose whilst expounding loved-up Positive Vibes, have no Great Advice to give and yet be successful? In other words, if you're a natural outsider (ie, inherently non-mainstream) that surely negates success, doesn't it? Of course. So as an outsider you have to accept that your place is outside. Idiotically, some of us still look at The Successful Ones in the hope of getting some tips (I said I do have moments/hours of desperation) if only by looking at how they go about things. All in vain. A donkey may as well go study a race horse in the hope of becoming one.

I've nothing against healthy/nice/ well-balanced people. After all, without them (or those who manage at least one of those attributes) societies might collapse into anarchic cesspits filled with psychotics; or, to be pro-anarchic, societies in which we all take care of each other with no State interference - take your pick. It's just that the most original/creative/interesting art frequently stems from the wayward, the outsiders, those with some darkness in their soul. Right? Of my cultural lights, off the top of my head, I cite Lee Perry, Sun Ra, William Burroughs, Mark E. Smith...each slightly deranged/ original-minded and rebellious (apply to whichever you think right).

Apologies for what might be stating the obvious to you. Yes, truly creative sparks fly from 'hot' minds, as opposed to luke-warm ones. Perhaps that fiery aspect is what most people shy away from, preferring to cosy up around a nice, comfortable glow. If you get my drift.

If you visit this site regularly, well done. I mean - thank you. Yes you. I built it for people like you. We may be few in number but so what? 

Here's something I made over the week-end. TTFN

RTomens, 2018

Friday, 12 January 2018

Constructivist vispo: Spatio-constructive x 3

Somebody emailed me last year and mentioned the apparent influence of  El Lissitzky on my work. To be honest, although I love what he did, he's rarely even in the back of my mind when I'm creating. But that's how it goes, some 'influences' being unconscious, I suppose. In the Spatio-constructive pieces above the influence is obvious and was there whilst I worked. I try not to be too imitative in any art I make but I would be kidding myself if that wasn't the case sometimes. No claims for originality shall pass my lips. You might have spotted several guiding lights shining, sometimes distantly, in what I do. The name for these three came from this book (pub 1975, written and in this copy signed by Andrei B. Nakov), a recent purchase...

}constructivist, vispo, digital art, collage, concrete poetry{

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Concrete poetry: Erm (two versions)

Vispo/Concrete poetry - call it what you like. I no longer (never did) care about such distinctions. letters unbound. 'Erm' may be a common reaction to the art of ...erm...letter art, or 'word art'. After all, words is words an' art is art - right? Somewhere, someone right now is still trying to get their head 'round abstract art of the 20s, probably. So it goes...

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Collage/Vispo: The 650 series

The So What? series...

Hung on a wall. It's not a real wall. It's a photo of a wall. It's not real art? It's a trio of visual images which do not exist in any world except the computer one. Just like most of your Facebook friends. 

}concrete poetry, Vispo, digital art, collage{