Saturday, May 12, 2012

Art of the Real

I'm always interested in the different ways in which artists work together to market their art.

Art of the Real (which also has an art blog also called Art of the Real) is an artistic collaboration between four watercolour artists - two members of the Royal Watercolour Society plus two members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour.  Together they have developed what I think is a unique project to take realism in watercolour to exhibitions in reputable art galleries around the world.

Art of the Real - the Artists

The artists are
David Poxon RI's vivid paintings of metal and rust have incredible saturation and create interesting pictures out of the most unlikely subject matter. 200th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 14 Mar 2012
A New Day by David Poxon
watercolour, 12" x 12"
Philadelphia Neon, NYC by Denis Ryan
16 x 22" acrylic and watercolour
  • Sandra Walker RI - Sandra is an American artist who now has a permanent home in the UK.  If you've admired a painting involving brickwork and a New York fire escape at a watercolour exhibition there's a pretty good chance it's been painted by Sandra!  This page on her website explains her process - Bring realism to your watercolours with photographs
Quaker Oats by Sandra Walker
14" x 16", watercolor
Art of the Real - The International Tour

The four artists have organised an international touring exhibition at seven venues in the USA, England, Scotland and China. Their exhibitions comprise around 40 pieces with 10 artworks by each artist.

They've just completed the first two exhibitions at
Each artist responds in a quiet & sensitive way to the often-overlooked corners of everyday life. They exhibit enviable technical skills, where realism is exploited to reveal an intrinsic beauty in decay.
These are the remaining exhibitions - recommended for those who enjoy both realism and watercolour and fantastic attention to interpreting the textures found in buildings.
Art of the Real - Lessons for Other Artists

I'm featuring this group for a number of reasons.

First off I have been consistently impressed by their art in various exhibitions over the last few years.  These are people who all have a track record in producing high quality watercolour paintings within the genre of realism.

Second - there are a number of lessons arising out of this collaboration which can be shared with other artists who may wish to do something similar.

The following are the lessons which occurred to me having reviewed their catelogue for the exhibition
  1. Four artists who have developed skills and techniques to an advanced and similar level can present themselves to galleries as a coherent group - with no weak links
  2. Four artists with a common interest in terms of subject matter - which might be termed textured surfaces, cityscapes and abandoned objects - enables galleries to tell a story and to pitch their art at the type of client who is most likely to enjoy it
  3. When four experienced and skilled artists - who all enjoy signature status of a prestigious art society - collaborate together, it's very likely to result in them all "raising their game" so as to present their best work for exhibition
  4. Four artists collaborating together provides lots of scope for a sizeable exhibition without individual artists having to create a sizeable stock of work prior to being able to exhibit.  
  5. A rolling programme of exhibitions also enables a small group of artists to create new stock for new exhibitions as works sell - and to collaborate in shipping artwork overseas
  6. Sharing a series of shows between four artists presumably means that the pressures of putting on a show and liaising with galleries can also be shared around.
  7. The nature of the collaboration is also one which is likely to generate interest amongst the art press and art materials/supplies people.  To date, the group has enjoyed articles in:
A Real Coup - Angus McEwan, Scottish Artist

I guess it's the art world equivalent of forming a band, touring the world and breaking America! They describe themselves as a collective.  It looks like a very constructive collaboration from my perspective.

Have any of you ever thought of doing something similar?


  1. Always wanted to be in a seriously this is THE way to go. Well done them and plenty to think about here.

    1. cheers Sophie ..and the band played on....X

  2. haha, love your parallel, Sophie.
    Check out two similar shows currently in London that are of similar type - Repre at St. Martin in the Fields and ArtHaus , although the latter is curated by a gallery. This topic has been on my mind as well lately..

  3. Yes, I have done something similar on several occasions. One collabroation was with other German artists (I'm originally from Berlin, now living in the U.S.), arranging for showings in the U.S. and Germany. Our styles, mediums, and subject matter and experience level were completely different, the only factor in common was the fact that we were all women from Germany. Maybe a common theme or subject matter would have been better! I also collaborated with another painter for a jazz/blues exhibit. He painted portraits of jazz greats in acrylics and pastel while I tackled the blues genre in pastel. We had plans for a traveling exhibit, but never followed through after the first show, being short on money for shipping and other expenses and sidetracked by other projects.
    The biggest hurdle was the expense of exhibiting in far locales. I did love the inspiration and comraderie between the artists.


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