What makes the artist JJ Adams so popular?

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JJ Adams…

This exciting young artist is touted as being the Next Big Thing on the British art scene. With his challenge to the heart of British cultural values – members of the Royal family displayed with full sleeve tattoos, iconic buildings such as Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Westminster depicted defaced by graffiti, Adams strikes at the heart of our cultural consciousness with his work.

Rule Brittania - St Pauls Cathedral 20x30

“Rule Brittania – St Pauls”

In the same way that Banksy became the art world’s darling, filling the vacuum left by the end of the love affair with the YBAs, Adams is making a name for himself, aided by Wishbone Publishing, with his phenomenal output. Born in Plymouth, Adams was raised in South Africa, remaining there until the end of the apartheid era when he returned to these shores with the aim of becoming a tattoo artist. Little wonder then that his obsession with body art spills over into his work, evidenced in his ‘Tattoo Series’ where icons of royalty, music and the silver screen are depicted with awesome full sleeve and knuckle tattoos. The ubiquity of the tattoo in mainstream culture must play a part in his appeal to the mainstream art audience, but there is more to his art than purely capitalising on a social trend. His interest in printing and in graphic design – honed when working in the South West as a printer whilst experimenting with art in his spare time – are evident in the stylised way much of his work is presented. Combining media such as printing, collage, spray paint, screen prints and hand painted acrylics, his work has attracted attention from Christie’s, Rolls Royce, Vogue and GQ magazines with its rawness, energy and passion, but also with its accessibility and broad subject appeal.

But, like Banksy, Adams is certainly not a mainstream fine artist, and similarly, much of his work remains true to the roots of his style and influences. Where Banksy’s popularity came from the street through recognition of his graffiti and its subsequent elevation to ‘art’, Adams work is equally accessible and most importantly recognisable in its representation of things ‘normal’ that have been given Adams’ treatment which, in challenging their orthodoxy, cause the audience to consider their own response to these significant cultural icons. However, being able to picture Buckingham Palace with graffitied gate posts somehow appeals to the British sense of humour and perhaps more importantly makes the audience question why the imagery is such a visual shock. To have the artistic vision to produce works that speaks on such an accessible level to the man in the street and yet which so cleverly strikes at the heart of our culture is evidence of Adams’ skill and gives a big clue as to why his work is generating such excitement in the art – and wider – community. Fundamentally this is what makes JJ Adams so popular and undeniably an artist to invest in!

Love-Gun web file

“Love Gun”

Signed limited edition print on paper. Framed just £435.

(Own Art available, spread the payment over 10 months interest free)

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The Art off Kate Brinkworth

Kate Brinkworth’s painting stems from her curiosity in films, particularly those directed by or in the style of Hitchcock. She is particularly inspired by effects created though experimentation with focus, and repeatedly photographs her still lifes with various shutter speeds, camera angles and lighting to find the optimum composition. Brinkworth’s style uses the language of film, advertising and photography to create these unique images; her visits to Las Vegas have developed her interest in the representation of objects associated with vice. Painted in varying degrees of focus, her expert technique deceives the viewer into believing the work is a photograph, due to the realism of her subject matter and style, and the thin application of paint which gives a smooth, glossy finish. It is only on closer inspection that the viewer realises the work is entirely painted by hand.

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‘Cola Bottles’

This particular piece was actually acquired from the artist personal collection. It was painted as a pair, this she kept where as the other painting sold through Christies auction house, January 2014 for almost £9,000.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/kate-brinkworth-tall-coke-5762480-details.aspx

Brinkworth’s works challenge our perceptions of the image; in our contemporary world inundated with visual stimuli, she painstakingly labours over her compositions to make us look at these familiar objects in a new way. In a parallel challenge to contemporary conventions her technique mirrors the Renaissance mural technique of the ‘cartoon’, a drawing which would be pricked along the lines and dusted with charcoal to transfer the skeleton of the image to the wall. Brinkworth similarly maps out her photographs onto both sides of sheets of paper and rubs the reverse to move the image onto the canvas. Once the composition is mapped out, she begins working into the picture in oil using her distinctive technique.

The Call

‘The Call’

Original Artwork: pencil on paper, mounted and framed.

To view these works and many more by this incredibly talented artist do contact the gallery {george@georgethorntonart.com} or pop into the gallery, 12a, Flying Horse walk, Nottingham, NG1 2HN – 01159 243 555.

Boom or Bust? The Art Bubble…

With news that house prices are once again rising out of control, that they need regulating and that a new bubble is forming, should we be concerned about the art market?

In this particular case what I mean by the art market is the very top end. The end reserved only to the top 1% of the world’s population. Just last month the New York branch of Christies held an auction that took almost 745 million dollars (Approximately £450 million sterling). Making it the highest grossing auction ever!

In the past such highs, such records have always come before a fall and it may be worth keeping an eye open for signs of a fall. Like most economic trends the art market is very much cyclical seeing drops fall in the 1990’s the 1970’s and during the Great Depression at the end of the 1920’s when many established Victorian and Edwardian artists whose art were breaking the records of their time crashed enormously, inflated initially by the types of auction we saw at Christies last week

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Marc Quinn’s, sculptor of Kate Moss outside Christie’s New York which sold for $1.3million

 

The art market seems to have survived the latest crash, buoyed by investors from emerging markets in the Middle East, China and the newly wealthy looking to build collections. Another factor in all this seems to be a growing trend to guarantee the art coming to auctions, it transpires that 40 of the 72 lots on offer last week had already in theory been sold.

These guarantees cement high prices for the works of art pre-sale and prevent those works (and the artist) failing to sell looking weak in the eyes of the market. If the sale goes over the guarantee then the piece is sold to the highest bidder while the party who placed the guarantee gets a cut of the sale. This practice although not new is becoming increasingly common and threatens to artificially market prices. On the other hand, it also protects investment and does stave off market crashes and benefits us all across the entire art world. This practice is really no different to other measures imposed on the housing market, the banks and other sectors to try and ward off financial hardship.  
  
Despite the warning I gave earlier, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of these records or market highs just yet. The art market having survived the latest economic downturn relatively unscathed appears even more appealing to those looking to invest.  

Here at George Thornton Art we may not quite be selling our works to the 1% of society (yet), but a number of our artists, such as Kate Brinkworth and Laurie Williamson are already selling through auction houses. As in all areas, the artists we sell are driven by the fashions coming out of the top end of the market and the gallery thrives on a new breed of art fair, where buyers reflect and mirror the trends established at these types of events. Hopefully the art we deal in the gallery today will be tomorrows masters.

www.georgethorntontonart.com

Artwork on line and available in the Nottingham gallery – 12A Flying Horse Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2HN

 

 

The impressive work of Kate Brinkworth

Kate Brinkworth undertook her artistic training at Nottingham Trent University, and graduated in 2000 with first class honours. She rapidly began showing her work, exhibiting here in the UK, Sweden and the U.S. She has won numerous awards and accolades as well as selling through top auction houses such as Christie’s. A venture which is something any living artist aspires to achieve.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/kate-brinkworth-tall-coke-5762480-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5762480&sid=305c8de3-efd0-4711-a0c1-bb148ca17f44

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‘Moet’ – Original Artwork: Oil on Board

Kate is particularly inspired by effects created through experimentation with focus, as she repeatedly photographs her ‘still life’s’ with various shutter speeds, camera angles and lighting to find the optimum composition.

I personally find that the genre and style of ‘Pop Art’ is revamped and re-branded in many ways to suit the modern market place. Actually the term ‘Pop Art’ is really a play on words and synonymous with an actual time in history and not the present day, however I have to admit that Kate elevates this style of art and really delivers something new and innovating by way of challenging our perception of everyday images, encouraging us to look differently at these somewhat out of focus and off set paintings. A developed technique that very few artist’s have managed to accept and put into practise with such precision and detail.

The images below reiterate Kate’s ability and talent.

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‘Oxford Circus’ by Kate Brinkworth

Original Artwork: Oil on Board (unframed)

Dimensions: 24″ x 34″

Price: £3,500

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This detailed image of ‘Oxford Circus’ shows Kate’s ability to capture reflection.

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This detailed image exudes perfection with regards Kate’s attention to detail.

For more information contact the gallery {george@georgethorntonart.com} {01159 243 555}

or

Pop in to the gallery in Nottingham and view this incredible work in the flesh!

The Price of Art, are we all just getting a bit carried away?

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Only a few weeks ago Wang Jianlin (the richest man in China) was lambasted by his fellow countrymen for spending $28million on a Pablo Picasso. Criticism over the purchase has been widespread in China and for several different reasons covering a whole area of issues political, cultural and ethical. One Chinese blogger asked:

 “With that money, how many sick people could receive treatment? Why not give something back to society first? China’s nouveau riche are short of nothing except conscience.”

Others have protested because Picasso is himself not Chinese and is a country eager to claw back its own national treasures and artwork, this seems like unpatriotic and wasteful act. Indeed it is widely felt in China that the $28 milllion would have been better spent at an auction specialising Chinese works of art and there has been a missed opportunity here. The same applies to upcoming Chinese artists, with groups feeling let down that such a vast amount has now ended up in the West where the auction was held (Christies – New York).

Jianlin’s aides hit back arguing that “Only an enterprise with culture can understand art and collect the best artwork in the world,” and that “Chinese people should be proud rather than focus on how much money was spent.”

Do the Chinese public have a point though? The price of art is booming and the game played by auction houses now seems to be one of merely, “which record can we break next?” Great for investors and sellers, but it doesn’t really seem to capture the real essence of art and threatens to cheapen the cultural impact of the work. Here in the gallery we look to take London art out of the London market with out stipulating the London art market pricing structure. Our prices are set on secondary market sales, artists cost and fluctuating trends and fashions, a set of practices that in my mind should be independently regulated.

 Although having always been a luxury good, the nature and extent of art has changed dramatically over the past few decades. David Zwirner asked “Why do we pay so much for Art?” This is quite a poignant question, with so many other things urgently requiring capital why is so much money plunged into the art market. Maybe the critics of Jianlin have a fair point and it may be time for us to question the larger picture as a whole and insist that these buyers take a more philanthropic approach, diverting funds into community projects and buying art works that benefit the larger cultural and social system whether repatriating art or acquiring works for national galleries and museums.

The Problem With Provenance

When buying artwork we all like to know the provenance of the piece. Who made it, is it a new piece and if not who owned it beforehand?
Having read an article in the art review this week, it got me thinking just how important it is to make sure you know about a pieces provenance before agreeing to buy it. Here is a little example of how provenance could affect you…

Not knowing the provenance can be a terrible business. Recently Steven Brooks, an art collector from California attempted to sell a piece entitled ‘Allegorical Portrait of a Lady as Diana Wounded by Cupid’ by Van Loo (featured below). Brooks however came unstuck when Christie’s refused to sell the piece after doing a bit of research into the painting. They discovered that the piece was once owned by the Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering. This has simply rendered the painting worthless as it is now presumed Nazi loot and has put a cloud on the title. Brooks is now in the process of trying to sue Sotheby’s for not doing enough to research the paintings past in the first place. He bought the painting in 2004 from the auction for £57,600 and had no idea of it’s Nazi past. So far,no rightful claimants have been identified and non have come forward. If this remains to be the case, it is unclear what will become of the piece, its past makes it unsellable until it can either be proved Goering purchased the painting legitimately, restoring the line of title or the rightful owner identified. Either way, Brooks is certainly likely to loose out.

This may not however be the end of the road for ‘Allegorical Portrait of a Lady as Diana Wounded by Cupid’. Although it may be of no use to Brook’s,should the rightful owners of the piece be found and the painting returned, then its value could increase exponentially. This was true of the Gustav Klimt’s ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I’, despitelooted by the Nazi’s, the piece was eventually restored to the rightful owners following a grueling court battle. The story captured the headlines at the time and the painting became iconic and culminated with it being sold for a record amount when put up by the new owner. Another famous example of this is Mark Rothko’s ‘White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)’, this is another piece that can be found on the worlds most expensive painting list, selling for a staggering 72.8 million dollars. This price would arguably had never been reached at the time, were not for Rockefeller (featured above with picture) being its prior owner. Rockefeller’s ownership of the painting has become so synonymous with the painting that it is now popularly referred to as the ‘Rockefeller Rothko’.

Provenance therefore isn’t just a past, but also a story. One which can have either a positive or negative effect on the art it uses to tell it.
Provenance is important and it shouldn’t be ignored. It usually only requires a small amount of research and doing it should could either save you money or unravel an exciting and interesting past that could even increase the pieces worth. The provenance of new original pieces may just be a receipt to begin with, but its how that work is used, wheres and it hung and who owns it in the future.