Luna London Art Fair

Colour, Exhibitions, Galleries, Publications

We have been ‘Moon’ spotting over the last weeks as it has been noticeably spectacular. One evening last week when driving back from swimming lessons the moon appeared to be sat on the horizon with just the smallest of slithers glowing around the edge and yet you could still see the full outline of the full circle. It was magic.

When we were in Egypt we saw a huge reddish moon, large and low but it is tricky to get a good image of the moon. In the news this week apparently the Chinese have managed to grow a shoot on the moon. Not sure how true that is! Linking to the Chinese, the character for ‘moon’ is above and so is a three-dimensional sculptural version which is currently being exhibited with AN gallery, a Korean gallery at London Art Fair. Whilst the lines of the brush strokes almost correspond exactly to the coloured piping at this angle, the beauty of a sculptural form is that it can be viewed at many angles and creates a whole new perspective.

The colour positioning in this piece creates a pictorial view. A red moon, I think I questioned this before I saw the real deal by the red sea. Perhaps also representing the Japanese flag which also uses this moon character. A pink sky, a green tree, black earth. These colours are also deemed to be lucky colours in Chinese culture.

 

In the early hours of Tuesday morning or more like the middle of the night, the sculptor was up with his aches and pains and setting off with van and sculpture down to London Art Fair. This meant I had to take youngest child (who usually sleeps in) with me, to drop of eldest child, so to make it easier for breakfast, I put weetabix in a jar and we poured over the milk whilst we sat in the car park. One of my first jobs was to remember to pay for congestion charges for their drive through London.

By mid-morning I got a very quick snatched call from a panicked sculptor who said they had chipped sculpture on the way in and that the gallery who he is exhibiting with wasn’t on the ground floor.  So the sculptor was stressed and then he had to dash. So I couldn’t concentrate on my invoice inputting…

The next call was to say he couldn’t check in to the hotel until 3pm and he was tripping and dripping and really wanted to sleep but had to look around the other stands.

I don’t often think ‘we’ titled a sculpture wrongly (the emphasis on the ‘we’ here) but I am starting to wonder whether we should have named this piece ‘Luna’, the Roman personification of the divine embodiment of the moon would link nicely with this still being seen as the outline of a figure.

The sculptor headed home yesterday on the train with lots of stories to tell me. An interesting meeting  which I’m trying not to get too excited about as it’s early days and sometimes these things don’t happen. But positive thinking. London Art Fair continues until Sunday, if you are in London why not head to the business Centre (52 Upper Street, London) to check it out.

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An interview with…

Publications

 

…the art book guy, please find the original on link below and body of text in post. Not sure how to do this a better way.

http://artbookguy.com/sam-shendi-body-as-vessel_1173.html

the sculptor

SAM SHENDI: BODY AS VESSEL
Sam Shendi is a brilliant sculptor who lives in the English countryside. Even though he resides in England which is rich in tradition, his work http://www.samshendi.co.uk/ is really a fun and fresh reinvention of his neoclassical training. In short, his work rocks. Take a look and enjoy our cool chat too …

“… As an artist, I am not searching for fame … I am not made for the contemporary art world. I am an artist for the people. It is important for me that my work lasts with people for the value of beauty instead of shock value …”

MICHAEL: Sam, I’m delighted to be chatting with you. Your work is so inventive and fun. First off, how did you get the idea to create this type of sculpture as opposed to traditional, neoclassical works?

SAM: Hi Michael, Thank you for the interview and my answer to the first question is – I think it’s a natural order. I was classically trained at University; we thoroughly studied the figure and human anatomy. After graduation, I tried to find my style and the purpose behind my sculptures. Moving from realism slowly over the past few years has made me see the human body as a vessel, not just as muscles, bones and skin, but beyond that. Since 2008, I started to experiment with focusing on the idea of the vessel and with less figurative details. What I achieve now is a combination of my background in classical sculptures and my point of view and philosophy towards my sculptures.

MICHAEL: Your work really centers on three elements for me: Form, color and delight. Let’s work our way through these. Which comes first in your mind? Form, color or delight?

SAM: Form is really important for me. Colour is an element I use to describe the emotion within the piece. For all of my sculptures, it is necessary to engage with the public beyond our differences in colour, education, class or even religion. So it is important for me to use my sculptures in a way that allows the majority of the people to connect to my sculpture and I think beauty in form and harmony in colours somehow brightens your soul. I guess this is what you are calling delight.

MICHAEL: Yes indeed. I notice that a good bit of your work seems shiny like a new car. It’s very contemporary. Is this part of your effort to appeal to people or is the shine part of the narrative of your works?

SAM: When I created my first collection, there were no colours, just bare stainless steel. Then I experimented with different types of paint. I felt every colour I experimented with didn’t give the satisfaction of the concept. That’s until I started to use wet paint with high gloss. This technique takes more work, but the result is always impressive to the viewer, especially since it has been done by hand. The high-gloss colour is as though I am adding life to my still sculptures. Without it, for me, it’s an object. The high gloss, the shine and the vibrancy of the colour for me, I feel as though they come alive.

MICHAEL: You know, we’re living during a time when people expect objects to do more than just “sit there.” They want things to move on their own or light up or make sounds. Do you feel pressure to make your sculptures more than just glossy, inanimate objects? Or is sculpture more about making people stand still and be in the moment?

SAM: To be totally honest, I don’t feel pressure of any kind. I create because I can. I don’t create for money, for pleasure or for the viewer even. Think of me like somebody writing a diary. Not for somebody to read it. But someone who writes well can make his diary become a sellable book even if that wasn’t the intention. I create because my ideas need to come out. I create because it reflects and records my own experience. The colour is not the main subject.

Sometimes, I paint the same sculpture a few times and I don’t know why. It’s a gut feeling. When I create something, it’s a feeling that fills me with satisfaction and I stick to that. Not what I think the people will be attracted to. I do think the high gloss is a signature of my work, but not just the colour, the paint but the high-quality finish overall. It’s used in a calculated way, but not with the intention to attract. I only think about the colour after the form is created, the colour is the completion. I am not using the colour to turn the heads of the viewer, but I deliberately select the colour because I can’t see it any other way.

People notice that the colour on my sculpture is not just an attraction, they can tell that there is a reason – that each colour has been chosen carefully for that location. I think this is what makes my work different from other sculptors who use colour.

MICHAEL: When did you first become aware of yourself as an artist? Do you come from an artistic family?

SAM: Since a young age, I was known to my family and the school by the high level of creativity I had. As a child, really you don’t know what being an artist is, but I was aware of the level of talent I had compared to others. Going to art school, I was planning to learn about art, but I never thought I would be an artist. Only recently, maybe in the last ten years, I found myself more involved in my practice. Suddenly, your memories start to make sense, from the past until now. I haven’t chosen to be an artist, but I have been chosen somehow.

MICHAEL: I understand.

SAM: I remember when I was younger being surrounded by paintings, flowers and birds. My dad painted them and he considered fine art, but I think in his time it was more important to secure a job and the talent faded with less practice and now he can’t paint anymore.

MICHAEL: So many people have artistic talent that they ignore and then find again later in life. How do you actually access or harness your talent? Do you meditate? Do you plan, write or sketch before you start something new? What’s your process?

SAM: Of course, many of us have an artistic talent, but being an artist is when the talent takes over your life and becomes the way of living. Nobody tells you that you are an artist, but sooner or later everything you see or you touch or that you think about is somehow different from the majority surrounding you.

I don’t need to harness my talent. Combining the vision and imagination that I have, there are no words which can describe what it is. I feel like I am a fish in an ocean, endless amounts of imagination to explore and so freely I can swim through it. Sometimes I sketch an idea, but the majority of the time, I start a sculpture without sketches – like my recent collection. Over the last 12 months, I have made 10 sculptures – none of which started by a sketch. They are all spontaneous, like the sculpture has been there in the medium I am using, I am just freeing it, releasing it if you like, from the material I am using.

MICHAEL: I love the way you play with the human form and pair it with other things. It’s really fresh and fun. What’s the inspiration behind this?

SAM: At the time of University, there were two main subjects I focused on during the five-year course: Realism and Architecture. A few years ago, I was affected by Minimalism and geometric design, but I always felt that it was empty of emotion. Perhaps I connected with it visually, but not emotionally. In this particular collection you are asking about, I tried to combine two movements together, marrying architectural and minimalistic design with realistic human parts. It’s really important for combining these two movements together that there is harmony between the two objects that you use. I think I’m trying to combine old and new with a futuristic and contemporary visual. There are endless ideas that can come from this.

MICHAEL: Your work is indeed very architectural. Aren’t you in London? How does the architecture there inspire you?

SAM: I don’t live in London. I live in the north of England in the Yorkshire Dales, surrounded by green fields and hills. Houses go back 200 even 600 years old. Architecture for me is the harmony between vertical and horizontal. I’m more fascinated by the contemporary modern design of architecture which isn’t what I see on a daily basis. So the architecture isn’t what inspires me. It’s the person who made it and his vision.

MICHAEL: Sam, most poor and middle class people don’t buy art. Are there enough well-to-do people out there buying sculpture? Most people don’t have the physical space for sculpture, let alone the money. What can we do to make sculpture more accessible and affordable to everyone?

SAM: Looking to the past, art has always been not affordable for everyone. This is why having museums and art galleries allow the majority of people to engage with art. I don’t create thinking about how much I can get for my sculpture or which collector will get my piece. I consider myself a public artist/sculptor and I work toward my work being in public places for everyone to enjoy and more people can see it. Instead of an individual that has a piece as a part of the interior design of a house, hence I create large pieces, not thinking about the constriction of where the piece will be located afterward.

If you speak about commercial art, nearly every house in this world, even the poorest will have some sort of artistic object within it as part of the house furniture. Art that has changed the face of humanity, that’s been on display in museums and that’s part of history – this is the type of art that can’t and shouldn’t be affordable for anybody. It’s educational. It should be exposed to everybody beyond class or education.

MICHAEL: Very interesting. Lots of people are suspicious of contemporary art because they see things like gold-plated human waste and it’s called art. What do you think about this? Do people need to see other things as art or is art sometimes a scam?

SAM: You can’t blame the person who created this kind of art, but you can blame the society that praises it. At the end of the day, good, quality art will always be remembered by many. People need to understand that if you see human waste in a glass cube with dead fly on a white plinth in a museum, I will guarantee for you many people will talk about it. I am certain the museum wouldn’t put a piece without a philosophical background to it.

However, when you say “Art,” the first thing we think of should be beauty. But what we see now is the unlimited, unrestricted freedom of expression in our modern society. If you talk to the ordinary person in the street, one who has lost faith in contemporary art because everywhere he looks, he finds no emotion, no engagement and no depth, they still have an understanding of scale. If I bring two pieces of art works by two different artists together for a portrait for example, the viewer will always be able to tell who has the greater skill.

MICHAEL: Yes.

SAM: This tells you that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder when it comes to art, but that talent and skill are recognizable, built within us. This value which we are born with is not going to change.

Contemporary art is chosen by people in the art world. Art today is a reflection of everything around us. What is around us, hatred, war, greed, money, fame and I guess human waste. So perhaps it is a perfect way to present it.

My own opinion, if you are asking is … In 2006, I recognized that only un-formed art and shock value art are taking the art scene’s attention at the moment. As an artist, I am not searching for fame or to follow the contemporary art world to achieve something quick. I am not made for the contemporary art world. I am an artist for the people. It is important for me that my work lasts with people for the value of beauty instead of shock value. Since that day, I stopped going to museums, exhibitions or meeting other artists if I can help it, giving opinions or even reading books about art, because at the moment, there’s a new generation born that believes that a whistle and a fluorescent light are art.

MICHAEL: Wow. Very interesting. What is it about sculpture that makes people always want to touch it? I often want to touch the works I see, but obviously I never do. Needless to say, if everyone touches sculptural works, they’ll be destroyed in no time.

SAM: Sculpture because of the three-dimensional form, it’s the touch that enables you to recognize it, blindfolded, if that makes sense. Human beings are in need of touch, this is what makes the connection more than just visual. You can’t ask a child, why do you want to hug your dad? And I doubt that you would want to touch a sculpture that’s not visually appealing to you.

I don’t mind people touching my sculptures gently. If it disappeared over the years from that, I’d be happy that many people engaged with it. You need to understand that people make art valuable, not the art itself. Without people there is no art.

MICHAEL: Indeed.

SAM: Art work is not valuable to a true artist, the viewer is what is important, however the viewer does needs respect the art.

MICHAEL: Do you work every day? What’s a typical day like for you?

SAM: I work all the time! I am not a full-time artist. I work as a designer through the day which funds my sculptures. I work in the studio from the afternoon until early evening. This is my usual six days a week. On Sunday, I don’t work as a designer, but I’m in the studio from lunch time until late afternoon.

MICHAEL: Wow. What’s the difference between design and artistry? Of course, design is more about products, but what’s the difference for you?

SAM: Working as a designer, you are limited by the client’s wishes and the material you are using. Plus it’s a job, to earn money. In art, design is part of the process from imagining it to bringing it into fruition. However, when you think of art there are no boundaries, no limits and you don’t create it for money or for a client.

MICHAEL: What do you think about the contemporary art world and art market and how they function? Do you feel part of them or separate from them? Do you understand how they work?

SAM: When you use the phrase, “contemporary art world,” it’s exactly like using the phrases stock market and Wall Street. It’s a business. Collectors shape the movement of contemporary art and like any business, they sometimes succeed, sometimes they go bankrupt. The existence of this market and this world labeled “contemporary art” doesn’t exist and would never exist without artists.

I’m not part of anything. I’m part of my time and like any artist before me, you work, you get exposed, you get discovered and somehow they may speak of you in books etc., and then you are part of this contemporary art world. But a true artist creates for no more purpose than the idea of creativity and expressing themselves. This is the way that I live my life.
I don’t need to try to understand contemporary art, but I believe that every idea out there based on good presentation deserves respect whatever shape it takes.

MICHAEL: Finally Sam, what do you want people to take away when they’ve seen your work? Does your work have a message?

SAM: Every sculpture of mine has some sort of hidden message – more for adults than children. I don’t know really what I want people to take away from my work, but perhaps visual engagement or discovering the message within. I think the most important thing is that I need to be remembered in a way that I reflected the time that I lived in and to be an inspiration to others. My work is all inspired by people, I guess I want people to be able to see themselves in my work or maybe that they like it, but they don’t know why.

MICHAEL: Excellent. Thanks Sam. I think I see the secret messages in your works. Best wishes.

SAM: Thanks Michael for this opportunity.

Check out Sam Shendi at http://www.samshendi.co.uk/.

ArtBookGuy™ – ART FOR ALL PEOPLE® – A COLLECTOR’S JOURNAL® – WE TALK CONTEMPORARY ART™

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“Discover tomorrow’s art stars today”

Publications

‘Discover tomorrow’s art stars today’ is the tag line of Saatchi art’s feature on 7 artists they suggest you invest in this year. My husband is one of them. Yippeee!!! I have put this link up on my Facebook page so sorry for the repetition but for those of you on word press it was a little update of news.

You can see the feature on:

Invest in art the feature by Rebecca Wilson, curator and also on Creative Pool a magazine which has covered it.

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Image used for the Saatchi feature. ‘The Bench’ outside Cartwright Hall Art Gallery.

 

Ego, I go, grammar goes…

Publications, Steel

I don’t know if  ‘Ego, I go, grammar goes’ makes any sense, but as a title it sounded good to me. Spelling and grammar have never been my strong point. Perhaps I just keep telling myself that in order to remain lazy and nonchalant about it. Methodological thinking is not how my brain seems to work. I need to start making a conscious attempt to self correct and proof read a little more. It  annoys me when I see, ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ and ‘their’ and ‘there’ misused. So it’s quite worrying that I myself am doing it. There is obviously, therefore a handful of readers browsing my posts and pulling the grimace on their faces that I sometimes do. I guess it is a lesson in placing judgment. We should never judge others or criticise others of  behaviours or actions when we ourselves are not perfect. “When we think we’re perfect, we expect perfection from others. When we start to recognize our own weaknesses, we begin to be more forgiving of the weaknesses in others”. Yasmin Mogahed. So I apologies for my grammatical mistakes and that the grammar goes.. out of the window sometimes in my writing.

So in keeping with bad grammar…’I go’ everywhere yesterday looking for a magazine. Supermarkets, newsagent, shops and none of them have it. I then had an idea of going into a coffee shop and seeing if they have a copy. They have a stack and kindly give me three. As I walk back to the car flicking through it, I can’t find what I am looking for. I look back at the front cover. June 2014. It is June but perhaps I am needing the July issue. I give up and return home. All of this because that morning I bumped into a friend who tells me what really good coverage and images of my husband’s work.  I am not sure what she is talking about and then she explains he is in a local magazine. At home, I  casually tell my husband over brunch forgetting the ‘artist ego’ and so then he phones a friend to find out where we can get a copy, texts the photographer who writes back “it’s really good, I’ll drop a copy to you this week”. “This week” the sculptor can’t wait a moment longer. So I offer, I must make clear and I go on a hunt even though for me I only half understand the urgency. The artist ego has fully kicked in. “Ego might seem self centred but artists and writers need buoyant egos to go on working” Elizabeth Baines. 

I wrote the above this morning whilst my husband stood outside our business and two ladies boldly walked past with a ream of magazines distributing them to local business. I then had to wait until this evening to see it and read it.  Entitled “Body Art, a West Yorkshire sculptor is making a name for himself with head-turning works”.It’s an amazing three page spread with great images and lots of details and promotion. Even with a strip line on the front cover “Man of Steel” talk about massaging the ego and reinforcing the boys opinion of Baba! A few facts not quite right but ultimately a great piece. It even gives this site a little promotion, “Sam is married to a writer, who he says is “wholly supportive of my work” Her lively blog ‘The Sculptor’s Wife’ shares news about his work, as well as family life with Sam and their two sons”. In reading that it definitely buoyed up my ego though seeing the words ‘married to a writer” in black and white print feels a bit fraudulent. At what point do you become a writer? Can a writer own up to having have bad grammar? So, perhaps the ‘Ego’ is not a bad thing. Bad grammar, maybe.

 

Yorkshire Living, complimentary magazine (July 2014 edition) :

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Sam Shendi and Aleatoric Art in the 21st Century

Publications

I will be honest, I had to look up Aleatoric. I can’t even pronounce it properly.

Aleatoricism is the incorporation of chance into the process of creation, especially the creation of art or media. The word derives from the Latin word alea, the rolling of dice. Isn’t that all creation though that there will be a bit of chance that it works out alright?

Ray Cabarga writes, “Sam Shendi is an Egyptian sculptor, educated at Cairo University, his work has been exhibited in numerous countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. Sam’s modern approach to his Dadaist influences demonstrates an old-school philosopy with a futuristic feel. In a recent interview, Shendi reminds us to keep in mind that Dadaism spawned in the time of war and war still exists in our time, adding how this has had an impact on his work.” I think some of my husbands conceptual pieces are in tune with this but I am not so sure about the geometric, minimalistic human figures. 

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‘The words’

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‘Patience’

” A small group of international artists have formed a group called MAMA or the Movement of Aleatoric Modern Artists, a worldwide collaboration of chance-based artists who promote the principles and techniques of aleatoric methods in the execution of contemporary art in modern times.

The movement pays tribute to the DADAists of the early 20th century among the many other artists throughout history who have bravely chosen to relinquish partial control of their creative processes to the hands of fate, the laws of physics and the continuum of perpetual chaos which prevails over our universe by design. By learning to value and preserve that which we can never own, to respond and yield to that which we can never predict and to respect and trust that which we can never control, the aleatoric artist inherits the divine principle of acceptance, the creative process becomes a cooperative collaboration with the forces that govern the universe, and thus the aleatoric artist transcends the limitations of the mind
and body to reach artistic plateaus previously unattainable.”

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The book itself is impressive in volume, size and collection of artists, to look at the book click here. Whilst I am proud of my husband’s inclusion I feel it is a bit misplaced. His methods aren’t aleatoric, he isn’t rolling paint and seeing what happens. To see him in the creative process I am not sure that his work is a product of chance and that “they appear to be accidental by products of some elaborate process undertaken to produce a thing wholly unrelated to the art he is presenting”. Sounds great but in some ways the opposite is true. It is not such an elaborate process it is almost quite industrial and highly precise with the finished result exactly what he was aiming for , perhaps some will be “compelled to ask ‘what is it’?” however, I may be biased but I think they are very obvious. “Sam Shendi makes an audacious statement” simply put is, I think more accurate. After all, as I have written before nothing in the Shendi’s life is chance. It all has meaning. It is ‘Maktub’.