Friday, January 18, 2019

The Artisans #2 - Stephen Winstanley, Niamh Wimperis and Rod Hughes

It's the second episode of the Victorian House of Arts and Crafts tonight - and further to my last post - The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - I'm very pleased to say that since my last blog post:
  • the artists sent a link to it to that post to the Managing Director of the television company that makes the programme
  • he referred it to the BBC
  • the BBC have given permission to change the end credits so that ALL THE NAMES of the artisans/crafters will now be included.
I call that a RESULT!

[UPDATE: The second episode included the names of ALLl the crafters - right after the presenters - in the credits roll at the end of the programme]

The Artisans - (top row - Left to right) Abdollah Nafisi, Ilsa Parry, Niamh Wimperis,
(Bottom row - left to right) Rod Hughes,Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox

So here's the second tranche of artisans who are contributing to the series. They include the youngest and the oldest of the participants.  They are - in order of youth!
  • Stephen Winstanley - age 25
  • Niamh Wimperis age 27
  • Rod Hughes - age 62

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 starts on....

They're back - and finally we have an answer

The image in the Sky Arts Twitter Banner has changed....

For those who can't wait until the end of the video or can't access it

The new series of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of he Year 2019 starts on....

My reviews of each episode will start shortly thereafter

I'll be interested to see whether they credit the participating artists by written name in the credits of each episode... (see The Artists without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - which has now been sorted due to my post!)

You can follow updates on the Sky Arts Twitter account. I bet we see a few snippets of videos between now and 12 February 2019!

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House

This post is about introducing the six artisans appearing in a short series on BBC called "The Victorian Arts and Crafts House"
  • Today I'm doing the first three - Bryony Knox, Abdollah Nafisi and Ilsa Parry
  • Tomorrow I will introduce the other three - Rod Hughes,  Niamh Wimperis and Stephen Winstanley
(Left to right) Rod Hughes, Ilsa Parry, Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox, Niamh Wimperis, and Abdollar Nafisi

As I indicated yesterday in The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1 I'm pretty tired of seeing the various television companies make programmes involving people who have expertise without any credit whatsoever.

They don't need to include their websites and be accused of advertising.

However they do however need to respect them as adult human beings with skills and talents and NAME THEM - with surnames!

By way of making up for this very marked deficiency in respect and human rights I propose today to set out a brief summary (below) of each of the artisans - with their FULL NAMES and links to their websites and any other relevant/related sites including videos.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful William Morris
A common theme among the crafters is that the aspect of the project they found the most challenging - living with no power, no light when the sun went down, and no connection to normal life - was also the most rewarding. As Bryony points out, working with hand tools “links you back to craftspeople from hundreds and thousands of years ago”, while Abdollah adds “Very little access to tools and materials pushed me to the edge, which made me more creative.” The Telegraph

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1

I watched The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts on Friday night and was quite pleasantly surprised.  On the whole I'd recommend it as worth watching.

It was mostly about the reality of making arts and crafts objects for the parlour of "The Victorian House" used for the series (emphasis on the quotes - see below as to why) - and not too much about the clash of personalities (yet!).

There again let's see what happens in Episode 2 - on BBC2 at 9pm on Fridays.
Episode 1 is available to watch by all those who can get BBC iPlayer.
The Arts and Crafts House in the series - Wyndcliffe Court
see more below as to why this is a contradiction in terms
In this new, unique four-part series a late 1800s Victorian Arts & Crafts commune in the Welsh hills has been painstakingly brought back to life as a group of six 21st century crafters - three men and three women - move in to experience the highs and lows of living and working together as a creative commune.
Over their month-long stay the crafters are set to renovate four of the key spaces in the house. BBC

Why are the "makers" always kept anonymous?

Trying to work out who the artisans are was well nigh impossible - I finally found a photo with names.

Pictured: Rod Hughes, Niamh Wimperis, Patch Rogers, Ilsa Braniff, Anita Rani, Keith Brymer Jones, Abdollah Nafisa, Bryony Knox, Stephen Winstanley

I am getting very tired of the people who genuinely make the programme i.e. the people making things whether it's paintings or crafts - having their names left out of the press releases, the credits at the end of the programme and in general receiving very little formal recognition.

I can only assume one of two things
  • EITHER the union for people who appear on television must have an absolute stranglehold on the bosses and refuse to allow the participants to enjoy the same benefits as those who hold union cards
  • OR the bosses buying and/or making the programme are not prepared to pay the going rate for others who would normally appear on such programmes.  I gather from various people that the amounts they get paid are nominal in the extreme!
To me this is simply unacceptable.
  • It's treating artists and craftspeople as commodities and not as people or professionals.
  • Worse still, it treats them as anonymous nonentities who don't deserve a named credit when the credits roll at the end. Every other professional working on the programme is listed EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THINGS ON THE PROGRAMME!
The cook who appeared for 10 seconds gets a credit - but the artisans don't!

I feel very strongly this is wrong

I came across this website about freelance fees - and anybody appearing on television might want to take a look at what the television companies pay for expert comment in other areas of television

The people getting paid properly

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thoughts while hibernating - about new websites

This time of year I like to hibernate. It's the short days.  It also gives me time to think about what next...

In recent weeks I've been trying to work out what to do with respect to this blog and other things I want to do.  Hence the long gaps between very sporadic posts.

I operate by making use of (I hope) intelligent use of my gut reaction a lot of the time. This in turn is influenced by lots of bits of information picked up along the way, around and about. If my gut won't let me do something I have to listen to it.

Just recently it's been telling me to stop and think and to not be a slave to my regular blog posts and to think about what else I want to do.

Today I was advising somebody about a matter she was involved in where she could see she had opted for the short term least resistant option. I counselled that, in general, it's far better to think much longer term - and then match up your short term actions to steps to achieving where you want to be in the longer term - so that your short term actions match up and support your long term goals.

Which is not say you can't go off piste from time to time - but it can be risky - even terminal....!

Bottom line - I've been trying to get a couple of new "resources for artists" websites off the ground now for two years. They've been sat in draft and while they progress a little bit from time to time, they really need some concerted work to get them sorted enough to publish.

One of them is below.

The Home Page of my Tips for Artists website - a work in progress
The websites are informed by the fact that

  • lots of visits to my blog are visiting old blog posts
  • this blog has been very diverse in its nature whereas there's a trend to become increasingly focused around specific topics - and the development of niche websites.

A lot of visits to this blog are accessing past blog posts

By past I mean ones I wrote years ago when I used to do a major blog project each year.

I used to have a strategy for making archived blog posts relating to past projects or long term topics of interest - like Composition and Colour - more accessible which worked well. 

However that got scuppered some time ago when Seth Godin sold out of an enterprise I was involved in which gave me scope to provide individual websites for individual topics - at no cost to me.

Niche websites work

So now - in order to make the information collected over the years writing this blog more accessible, I have to pay for the websites to develop the topic areas - and it's really stupid paying for websites which are not published!

My first two websites - Botanical Art and Artists  and Art Business Info for Artists - have had different levels of success - but are both now being increasingly referenced by a wider audience, many of whom did not know about Making A Mark.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that my first new website (about botanical art - a favourite topic of mine) is now MORE successful than Making A Mark.
  • it took 5.5 years to get to one million visitors on Making A Mark (see
    Making A Mark notches up 1 million visits
  • and I learned a lot while working on the blog which is why..... 
  • it took me just 3.5 years to get to one million visits to Botanical Artists. It also has a low bounce rate because it is a niche audience and once found the devoted fans of botanical art tend to keep visiting!
So demand for the back catalogue + topic websites looking for a new home = a new niche website

It took a while to work out what these should be. They've also been through a few name changes

However, my consensus (after considerable internal debate - I give myself a hard time sometimes) is that they will be:

Saturday, January 05, 2019

RA sends out hundreds of repeat emails to Summer Exhibition applicants

If today you tried to buy an application form to enter the 2019 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, you've doubtless been facing down by a barrage of hundreds of repeat emails for a significant part of the day.

It's not you - IT'S THEM!

Below is the small message on the Summer Exhibition 2019 - Call for Entries Page - which indicates they had a problem.

The RA Admission they had a bit of a problem with sending their emails
The first I knew of the problem was when an artist contacted me to ask if I could put up a message on my Facebook Page to see if it was happening to anyone else
Help! Can you please ask if anyone else who has purchased an entry for the summer exhibition has been getting the same email titled “summer exhibition 2019- submission deadline reminder” every minute or so for the last hour??? No idea how to stop them!!
I tried a few numbers but it’s Saturday! If you can think of any number please let me know! Still coming in thick and fast, I’m not on twitter but i might see if there’s anything about it. Must have deleted 150 emails since 11.30! Could be my server too but it’s only one email continuously coming in.
Conversation from my FB Page Inbox

The message went up on my Making A Mark Facebook Page and lo and behold the messages came back that this was NOT an isolated incident

Multiple people were affected - including Jen Gash, the winner of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018!

People were having to delete HUNDREDS OF EMAILS from the RA!!!

Comments on my FB Post

So - in case you didn't know and you applied for a form today and then went off to do other things, you might find a bit of a surprise when you open your inbox! 

The notice indicates the problem has now finished. Let's hope it doesn't happen again!

As my correspondent noted.....
I just spoke to them- they’ve finally fixed it. After 150 emails in 20 minutes of the final flurry!!
For those of you who diverted all emails from the RA to your spam box, don't forget to undo the filter so they can write to tell you that you've got selected for the second stage! :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

RA Summer Exhibition 2019: Call for 12,000 entries

Digital entries for the 2019 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts can start being submitted online from tomorrow - 3rd January 2018.

This post is about how to enter the world's largest open submission art competition showcasing painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
  • for those who have not submitted before - and
  • for those who have just forgotten how and need a reminder!
The Summer Exhibition 2019 this year runs from Monday June 10 2019 - Monday August 12 2019.

View of Summer Exhibition 2018 (c) David Parry.jpg      
The Summer Exhibition 2018 generated more than £5 million in artwork sales, many of which were made online, and attracted 300,000 visitors.

10 things you need to know about entering the RA's Summer Exhibition 2019

Artists wishing to enter the 2019 Summer Exhibition need to know six things up front and four more things which help them understand what the chances are of getting selected
  • Entry to the RA Summer Exhibition opens on 3rd January 2019 (tomorrow)
  • If your entry is not one of the first 12,000 entries received you won't be exhibited. The RA only accept 12,000 entries for the first round of screening digital entries. Leave it too late to buy an entry and you will not be entering.
  • ALL entries - for the initial screening - are digital
  • You must buy an online entry form to be able to enter and 
    • you can't get a form until you have Summer Exhibition Account
    • you MUST decide whether you want an entry form for one work or two works BEFORE you make your purchase (i.e. you can't buy a second form for one work later)
  • You must have an Summer Exhibition Online Account to enter:
    • If you have submitted before you already have one of these  - you just need to remember how to access it!
    • If you've not submitted before you need to register and they will then send you a link to your new account. See FAQ: How to create an account 
    • Having an account does not mean you can submit work - but it does mean you can buy an entry form
    • The price per entry is £35 per work. (Note: Complaining about the fee is really boring - and ignorant. This exhibitions raises funds for students to get a FREE education at the RA Schools. Plus nobody makes you enter and if you think the RA is totally obnoxious don't even bother contemplating an entry - you can stop reading here!)
    • No payment = no entry. 
    • No refunds if you don't use the form
  • The deadline for entries is midnight on Wednesday 13 February 2019 (i.e. you have six weeks!)
    • You can edit and save your artwork details - and then wait to submit - until you submit your Entry Form - but once submitted there can be no changes
  • Stage 1: Digital Image Screening
    • Shortlisted works from the first round of selection will be announced on Friday 15 March 2019
    • Only one third (c.4,000) will be shortlisted for the second round of selection. 
  • Stage 2: Screening by the Selection Panel 
    • You must deliver unwrapped artwork on specific days at specific times - depending on what it is (see Instructions - para 2) between 30 April and 2nd May
    • If you get through to the second stage you will then have between 15 - 20% chance of getting your work included in the exhibition - something like 700 exhibits by non-RA members.
    • The final list of exhibitors for the Summer Exhibition will be announced on Saturday 18 May 2019
  • Lots of people are just like you! 
    • Lots of people enter and do not get selected. Probably best to assume you won't and hope you will.
    • Lots of people enter and don't tell anyone - unless their work gets selected for the exhibition! 
    • So if you want to keep quiet you've got lots of good company 
  • Lots of people don't read all the instructions
    • Typically they're the ones who don't get selected either.
    • Often they make out they meant to enter but forgot. That's often because they put off reading the instruction. Often because they really don't like reading lots of extremely long instructions.
    • They should have read this post!!
The deadline for registering to enter the Summer Exhibition and submitting the digital photographs of your work online is 23:59 (GMT) on Wednesday 13 February 2019. Entries cannot be submitted after this deadline.