Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Most Popular Art Programmes on Television in 2019

I've had a look back to see which are the most popular blog posts on Making A Mark in 2019. 
It didn't take long looking at Google Analytics to realise that very many of the posts which garnered the biggest audience related to programmes about art on television!

There'll be another post about top posts in 2019 tomorrow!

Top art programmes on television in 2019

Virtually ALL my really popular blog posts in 2019 related to art programmes on various channels - BBC, Sky/Now TV and Channel 4.

The top programmes were:
  • the Sky Artist of the Year Series - for both Portrait and Landscape 
  • The BBC's 'The Victorian Arts and Crafts House'
  • one episode of BBC's Fake or Fortune - which I only cover if it is really interesting

The painting under scrutiny by the Fake or Fortune team

1. William Nicholson: Lilian Browse vs Patricia Reed and my opinion on that glass jug (2018) 
This post was way out in front in 2019. I think this happened when the original programme was repeated and everybody started to do exactly the same searches online as I did!  Plus I think my blog post was coming up on the front page of Google after the first time the episode was aired - and you know what they say about the difference in traffic if you can get on the first page of a Google search!

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

2. The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1
This post was also a long way in front of the rest. Probably because it relates to my major coup of the year! In this post I lambasted the BBC for not naming the artisans - and did not mince words. By the end of the second episode, the artisans had their names added into the credits [see the end of this post]. 
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.

3. Duncan Shoosmith is Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 

a very popular winner but I got called out on Facebook by those who don't watch finals when they are first shown. To which my response is try keeping the winner of a major sporting event off the screen or out of the papers - after it has happened!
You do like to know the starting date! 
Interestingly I took the same line with Sky re the naming of artists and before the end of the series, the artists were all named in relation to their videos on the Sky Arts website. Now if this year they could manage to get the names on screen, they'll be remembering that nobody in the production company gets paid to work if the artists don't paint! 
Not quite sure why this cropped up again - except that this series did get shown in various places other than Sky in 2019. There again it might because it was held in London.

and the winner of Sky Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 is....
my post about this year's Call for Entries will be on Thursday. 
Visiting the venues for the heats seems to have become a favourite summer pastime of some artists. Hopefully based on this year everybody will be fully kitted out with wellies, waterproofs and souwesters for this summer's heats! 

9. Portrait Artist of the Year comes to Channel 4 

a big cheer came from all those who don't have Sky TV and haven't realised that you can get Artists of the Year series via a NOW TV stick - and occasionally and rather naughtily via YouTube!
I think the series gets a fall off after the first two episodes - until the final. It's certainly what happens to the blog posts. Or maybe the earlier ones get read more - because I list all preceding episodes at the end?
A view of two of the sets for the sitters and painters in Episode 2

[UPDATE: see also my other posts. I'm very pleased to tell you that the artisans wrote to the producers of the programme about the lack of name credit - quoting my blog post - and by the second episode, they'd got their name credit at the end of the programme!

(Left to right)
Rod Hughes, Ilsa Parry, Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox, Niamh Wimperis, and Abdollar Nafisi

Exposure for your art on television

In general, after more than a year of reviewing art on television, I think I'd now say that it's worthwhile endeavour so long as:

  • you make a point of watching previous series beforehand - which you can do via on demand television - and know what you;re letting yourself in for
  • you read my blog posts for the themes and the tips. (I've lost count of the number of participants who've told me how useful they found my analysis and tips!)
  • you make sure you are aware of how much time is involved - and how long the days are - this comes as something of a shock to many. Whichever programme you are involved with, you are painting/creating to a timetable - and if you can't then don't bother entering
  • you don't mess up your travel arrangements and make sure you are there in good time - and don't get stressed by a lengthy travelling time before lengthy painting for television.
  • you make sure that it's in your contract that your name will be in the credits! Otherwise what's the point. Exposure is one thing - but if nobody knows who you are - or can't verify what you say - then there is absolutely no benefit in career terms. Enough said! :) 
Landscape Artist of the Year Semi Final - with the Pods and oil derricks/platforms in the Cromarty Firth

You may wonder where BBC's "Home is Where the Art Is" - and the answer is it's not in the top 10. I'm guessing it didn't do fantastically well in terms of people reading blog posts reviewing each episode because it is a daytime programme and most working people would have to make a point of recording it or watching via iPlayer.

One the whole I think a format which is less "game oriented" and more "realistic commission" oriented could be helpful for both educating and entertaining the public. We really don't want to encourage people to think they can invite three to pitch, get two to make - and then only pay one within a budget which might be wholly unrealistic for what they've asked.

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