Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Snobbery, my subconscious says............

Good morning, I woke up with this thought and unless I write it down, I'll toss and turn all night. So I apologise in advance for inflicting it upon you. If you think that you suffer from snobbery, this may offend your sensibilities and I request that you turn back now and read no more.

My subconscious says:

Snobbery is born of: Ignorance, ineptitude & isolation.


Ignorance of the people or philosophy which is disdained.

Ineptitude towards the culture.

Isolation from the culture.

In effect a snobbish person is a crippled person, incapable of making contact with others on a purely human level. It is born of isolation, often from birth, by cultural norms which make no reference to the root causes of the norms.

So their point of reference becomes narrow in certain areas. Their brains never have the opportunity to fully develop reference points for certain actions and motivations, which are normal in a human being.

Their behaviour becomes modeled by the mature cultural structures which already exist within their artificial peer group. Like a crutch.

Imagine a child which never plays with other children but who is surrounded by adults.

With no reference to the root motivations which the adult culture is based upon, the person simply follows the preexisting rules and finds it difficult to step outside of the social bounderies within which they are constrained, because they do not have the points of reference necessary, emotionally/mentally/at a primitive level.

Points of reference which the brain requires, in order to fully develope. Hence, they are crippled, unless they can acquire the mental reference points, born of experience. This may be done through imaginatively reliving an experience. Such as reimagining their childhood while in a deeply suggestive mental state, or spending a lot of time with young children of a dramatically different culture.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Dignité" at l'hotel de Ville de Paris

The vernissage of "Dignité" at l'hotel de Ville de Paris. These rooms are only used on special occassions and they are incredibly beautiful.

The exhibition is well worth visiting. Take your time, read the descriptions, put them in context and put yourself in the place of the people there.

The exhibition of photos runs until the 3rd of July.

Another view of the impressive architecture & decoration.
The walls are covered in magnificent paintings.

The artist who invited me, Guillaume Herbaut. His subject was Mexico. Shocking what is happening there. He risks his life to get the stories and photos. Some of the people he has interviewed made great sacrifices to communicate with us, to anyone outside of their environment.

Lack of education is one of the biggest hurdles there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

La Cafeotheque

You are invited to an informal exhibition of paintings of Paris and surreal paintings from the dreams of the artist, Tom J. Byrne.

The exhibition runs from the 17th of April and continues untill the 12th of May, 2010.

The venue is the best coffee shop in Paris. It's an informal atmosphere and the staff are friendly and happy to discuss the art. Occassionally Tom J. Byrne can be found there drawing the people who come to visit the exhibition and sample the coffee.

For more information on the venue, read Oliver Strand's recent piece in the NY times, here,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Art competitions

I'm running the Greenlane gallery, on the ile saint Louis, in Paris. Following some comments by artists regarding competitions I made the following response:

I've looked into the idea of promoting the gallery and finding new artists by opening up a competition where the winner (only one) gets a two week solo show.

I have to say that having looked into the process, with the intention of doing it well, that the amount of work involved is daunting. The costs are not negligible and that is on top of the normal costs of running a gallery.

In the normal course of things, running a gallery, even badly, is expensive. To run a gallery well you need a team of people, someone manning the gallery, someone looking for collectors and dealing with journalists and someone marketing the gallery online and in real life. You need to know and be on good terms with a lot of journalists, collectors and artists.

Having been an artist for over 25 years, when I took over the management I was shocked by how much work it demanded. Since then I've produced a dribble of art rather than the flow I had before. However I've learnt a great deal and it has changed my mind entirely about what it is that a gallery is and what it does.

Too many people who have gone through art school and artists in general are educated to think, that it's simply a shop where they sell art. That's an incredibly inaccurate description. If that were the case, people would just open their own shop.

In fact, I recommend that. An artists collective which runs a gallery would be a very healthy experience.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Savvy art article-NY, How to collect art

NYC magazine, Savvy, published a piece which I wrote this morning (east coast time). It's about how to colect art. Have a read of it here.

Here's the original article I wrote:

Art is driven like the clothes business, by fashion. But art, whether it be paintings, film, photography or sculpture, outlasts fashion. Fashion is a churning beast which survives by consuming itself. It's a bad guide for art. Ignore what's popular because it won't be tomorrow. If you are buying art for investment you are always thinking with regard to the future. The best way to understand the future is to relate to the past.

The art that lasts, is the art that touches the human in us. The art that makes us reflect or vibrate. The art that can transfer it's vibration to us. It's the existence of the human in the work that vibrates with us. That vibration is of extraordinary value. The primitive. The human touch. Even Leonardos Mona Lisa is a primitive combination of earth pigments ground and mixed with mediums such as egg, oils and water.

All of that sounds pretentious. How can you relate that to the, day to day and find art of value? Well in short, buy the art that appeals to you. The art which you like, which does not require a story to prop it up. If the story is lost then the work looses it's connection to you and others, so don't let yourself be convinced by a smooth talking gallery owner. Allow yourself to see, not just with your eyes but with your heart, your lungs. Allow yourself to drink in the art.

Then apply your intellect. Start to calculate. Ask yourself about the artist. Ask about their history. It doesn't really matter if they have been to art college. Especially now, when they don't usually teach anything of substance. Your guide to the value of the work is whether the artist is driven. That's what will tell you whether they will continue to be driven. Will this artist continue to experiment. Will they make a mark. Will they inspire other artists. Are they a chapter in the history of art. Are they even a page? Are they sincere?

And if the answer to all these questions is no, yet the work appeals to you, you have still found a piece of art. Not an investment of course but art and art has a value in your life which goes beyond the surplus of coins that flow from the slot machine on the last day of your life.

Some people might remember us by that mass of coin. That slush fund they can cash in on or measure us by. None of that matters to us when we have finished living. The only thing that matters, ultimately, is the vibration of life we attune ourselves to while alive. Live like that and buy art like that and you'll find art that has value and will have value in the future.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Naughty or nice

Happy new year
Hope all went well over the holidays and that the dreaded grip didn't get ya.

A cold got me but I'm using it to great benefit. Time for reflection and contemplation. I'm bed bound, plus my voice has gone all husky, which has a nice effect on my wife :)