Category: Editorial

Universal Credit

ROB HILKEN OUTLINES THE CHALLENGES OF THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT SYSTEM FOR ARTISTS IN NORTHERN IRELAND. 

Artists in Northern Ireland are being challenged by a range of uncertainties. Brexit is casting a looming shadow, but with so many unknowns about the nature of any withdrawal agreement, it is very hard to put plans in place that will mitigate against potentially negative impacts. But even before Brexit comes into effect, there is another issue that is already having a significant impact on the livelihoods of artists in Northern Ireland – that of the United Kingdom’s new benefits scheme, called Universal Credit.

Universal … Read the rest

IVARO Column: Good Exposure?

IVARO’S ADRIAN COLWELL OFFERS ADVICE FOR ARTISTS ON NAVIGATING COPYRIGHT AND LICENSING ISSUES.

The transition from studying in art college to working as a professional in the art world is always a difficult one. Sustaining an arts practice and making a living as an artist involves many challenges, both conceptual and practical, that aren’t given much attention across college curriculums. One of the most pressing things to learn is how to attribute monetary value to a newly created artwork. Despite all the ambition you may have as a young artist, the concept of actually making money from your work may, … Read the rest

VAI Column: The Help-Desk

SHELLY MCDONNELL TALKS ABOUT THE VARIOUS SUPPORTS AND ADVICE OFFERED TO EMERGING ARTISTS THROUGH THE VAI HELP-DESK.

I deal with professional queries through VAI’s Help-Desk – a free and confidential service available to all artists, by phone, email, through the website and in clinics nationwide. If you have a question, an idea or a problem, I’ll usually be able to offer advice or at least point you in the right direction. Every artist faces their own challenges, but a few regular queries are touched on below. These themes are expanded upon in the ‘How To Manual: A Survival Guide for … Read the rest

VAI Column: Graduate Supports

ROB HILKEN OUTLINES OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE TO EMERGING ARTISTS THROUGH VAI’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME.

Visual Artists Ireland offers a range of supports and opportunities to artists at all stages of their careers, including emerging artists. We recognise that recent graduates have different needs to those with more established practices, but also that it is important to share new developments that affect everyone. We value peer support and encourage artists to discuss their experiences and learn from each other. Many of our events and seminars are free, while those that do have a booking fee are heavily discounted for VAI members.

The … Read the rest

Valuing Artistic Legacy

JOANNE LAWS REPORTS ON IVARO’S ARTISTS’ ESTATES CONFERENCE.1

A conference on the theme of managing artists’ estates was held at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin, on 23 November 2017. The genuinely fascinating and pragmatic event was organised by the Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (IVARO) – Ireland’s copyright collecting society for visual artists2. In his opening address, Director of the RHA, Patrick Murphy, suggested that the Irish visual arts community urgently needs clarity regarding the legislation that surrounds artists’ estates. In the last year alone, five RHA members have passed away, raising pertinent questions about valuing … Read the rest

Existential Observers

MARK O’KELLY DISCUSSES ASPECTS OF PORTRAIT PAINTING IN IRELAND.

Early portraiture can be viewed as an historical instrument of class identification, patriarchal gaze and institutional hegemony. It could also be argued that, over the years, important significations of portraiture have been exploited and aesthetically challenged through the deconstructive approaches of key historical and contemporary Irish artists. This complex field has huge public appeal and carries immense prestige for artist and subject at the level of national identity, recognition and status.

The historical context for contemporary Irish portraiture and the breadth of current practice have been highlighted in a range of Read the rest

Texture of a Medium

ALISON PILKINGTON LOOKS AT CURRENT PRACTICES IN IRISH ABSTRACT PAINTING.

“We are all at present, far more divided, less empowered and certainly far less connected to the effects of our world than we should be. It is for this reason that I am deeply involved in the texture of a medium capable of universalizing so much lost intimacy.” 1

The term ‘abstract painting’ is historical and, over time, the parameters of the genre seem to have collapsed. It could be argued that to write about abstract painting as if it were a genre that has some significant position within contemporary Read the rest

Landscape and the Built Environment

RAMON KASSAM PRESENTS A SURVEY OF CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE PAINTING IN IRELAND.

The 1920s and 30s saw an extraordinary increase in the popularity and production of landscape paintings in Ireland. Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats, who are currently being exhibited side by side in Limerick’s Hunt Museum, were two of the major protagonists of that era. In contrast, European painting at that time was in the throes of Modernism, producing aesthetic innovation after innovation, which was largely self-analytical and retreating into its own flatness. Such concerns seemed secondary for many Irish artists, which would suggest that motivations were being shaped Read the rest

Mark Fisher, 1968 – 2017

Sometime back in the early 2000s, I began following a blog by a mysterious character called ‘K-Punk’. K-Punk wrote with rare brilliance – and at astonishing speed – about music and other idiosyncratic preoccupations: J.G. Ballard’s urban dystopias; films by Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and David Cronenberg; 70s sci-fi TV series; the coastal landscapes of south east England; writers of otherworldly stories like Ursula Le Guin and H.P. Lovecraft; X-Men comics; Christopher Nolan’s Batman; Kate Moss; the England football team. His rapturously eloquent, bracingly erudite posts on pop music – in its various underground and overground forms – were, … Read the rest

The Game Has Changed

This column was originally published in the January/February 2011 issue of the Visual Artists’ News Sheet.

In my column for this publication a few months ago, I called for a new negativity, in the spirit of Herbert Marcuse’s claim that the proper function of art was to be a “Great Refusal”. What better answer could I get than the massive ‘NO’ painted on the grass of Parliament Square in London during one of the recent series of protests against government cuts in the UK? Only four weeks ago, this kind of negativity still seemed to be only a distant possibility … Read the rest