woensdag 28 januari 2015

UnBunny remains one of the most popular Witty Art Characters!

It's nice to look back every once in a while. Earlier this week, I wrote a blog about my series ''H.U.R.T.'', which features a couple of rather sinister 'Dark Bunnies', pretty much portraying the darker instincts of mankind. But, when that series was shown during the December 2011 exhibition 'The Sleep of Reason Breeds Monsters', there was another bunch of bunnies that played an important role in my work.

As part of the same showcase, I also presented my series 'Innovation In Carnation', all about a not all to happy creature named UnBunny, who's in a constant struggle with a world more and more dominated by (digital) technology. A fight, he's bound to lose. Or so it seems. It's not always clear whether he's really on the receiving end or just acts like he is, in order to survive.

A couple of days ago, I decided to share some of the exhibition's pictures on Instagram and was taken in by the immediate, warm response towards this series. People loved it. Well, they loved him: UnBunny. And actually, that should have been no surprise. 

From the very start I came up with him, this little UnBunny has been one of the most loved and popular inhabitants of the Witty Art World. I think it's because people can relate to him, they recognise themselves in him, his struggle with the world. To some, his battle with technology represents theirs with, for instance, bureaucracy, with the rat race this world has become (which has led to another series featuring UnBunny, called 'Innovation In Corporation').

'Innovation In Carnation' has also turned out to be one my best-selling series so far. It started with a total of 19 drawings, which grew to be 30, of which 15 have found their way to new happy owners. I can still remember of pride when the first ones got sold, during the opening of the December 2011 exhibtion. There was even someone who got herself three in one buy!

Foto: (c) Vincent Kos Photography
People often ask me: ''What's this with you and rabbits?''. The funny thing is, personally, I am anything but a  a rabbit or bunny-kinda person (I am a cat person, 100%), but I do have a big fascination for how these fluffy creatures have been inspriations for the arts throughout the ages.

There's the famous White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland, Aesop's fable about The Tortoise and The Hare and Richard Adams' novel Watership Down. Popular culture has Bugs Bunny and the Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley. And there is Miffy (in Dutch: Nijntje) created by my fellow Dutchman Dick Bruna and wait, did I mention Jessica Rabbit? .... And no, I have not forgotten the iconic Playboy Bunny, but that's a different phenomenon alltogether.... 

So, it seems that because of their various artistic and mythological meanings in different cultures, rabbits (and hares) have provided a great of inspiration for the arts and no doubt I have been must have been undoubtedly influenced by some of the famous rabbits mentioned above.

So, Little UnBunny, as well as his more sinister cousin Dark Bunny, fit in an old and long, established tradition of fluffy muses. So, it would be almost a crime against art if I would create no more Witty Art featuring him, right? Well, I can reassure you. UnBunny is one of those characters that will always keep popping up in my art, whether he plays the lead or is more of a sidekick, he'll always be there, big-eared, big-teethed, big-footed and all.

woensdag 21 januari 2015

'H.U.R.T.' love, lust, power and destruction created a popular Witty Art Series

Most of you might not know this, or not realise it, but it has been only since 2011, I picked up pen and paper and started making Witty Art again - after a long, long time, I can only describe as 'creative drought'. Well, as far as expressing my own visions and thoughts, that is. I was indeed - and still am - very actively involved in the worlds of culture and the arts, but not as a visual artist myself.  You can read a bit more on that and my creative entrepreneuship here.

One of the series that played a significant, if not crucial part in my 'resurrection' as an artist, it's 'H.U.R.T.: Harmful/Hurtful Useless Roadkill Targets'.

A series, made up of in total 11 works, in black and white, basically depicting a bunch of bunnies, well, hurting each other. Up till this very day, it's one of my most dark, most intense series, as it was created in the midst of extreme, personal pains. It was also created as consequence of such. The kettle was boiling over, the volcano had started erupting and to be honest, it hasn't stopped ever since ..

At first, I was extremely hesitant to show this series to people, as it was so powerfully intense but so .. well, confronting, in many ways. But, when I had to make the decision which works to showcase during the exhibtion 'The Sleep Of Reason Breeds Monsters', I felt no hesitation at all. I just had to.

I can still remember the sensation of seeing that one wall in (the sadly now closed down) Gesamt Galerie, where 9 of the 11 'Dark Bunnies', as they have come to be known, were displayed, with two of them hanging seperately elsewhere. One wall of stark black and white images of power, of vengeance, of anger, of hate, of destruction, and,yes, pretty much of love too. And above all, of humanity.

And .. surprisingly, this was the series that got most positive feedback from visitors, as many of them were genuinely touched by what I was trying to say with it. I had many conversations with people about this series, exchanging thoughts on love, lust, hurt and, let's say, ''la condition humaine''.

And .. this series has also proven to be quite popular, as already 4 out of 11 have been sold. And although it always touches me deeply when someone buys a Witty Art Work, no matter the size or price, and provides it with a new home, it feels extra special to know that there are people out there who have made a specific choice for this series.

dinsdag 20 januari 2015

Another two Witty Art Works moved to a happy new home!

Another two Witty Art Works moved to an extremely happy new owner last week! Both works, entitled 'There Is No Such Thing As Easy Growing Pains' and 'Tails of Irreconcilable Differences #11' (about which you can read more here) were created during the Live Witty Art Session at Desk & Dish, last December.

Major creative explosion of Witty Art shared via my Instagram account!

The last couple of weeks have been nothing less than one big creative explosion. Image after image came popping up in my mind, ideas and visions for new series, of new works, for whole new visual concepts of Witty Art. Well, I suppose that's what you get when you refer to your own art as ''dancing on a seemingly dead volcano'' .. it's about to pop it's load sometime, and that time is now! 

I have been sharing most of my newly created Witty Art on Instagram, which I have found to be a great medium for quick sharing and showcasing previews and snapshots of my art work, also establishing contact with likeminded fellow creatives and artists. And yes, new collaborations are being worked on - internationally! 

donderdag 8 januari 2015

Je Suis Charlie - 'Nuff Said!

January 7th 2015: Je Suis Charlie

As an artist, who describes her work as 'cartoon art', though not primarily making so-called political cartoons but rather cartoon-influenced images that sometimes are influenced by today's politics, I can not help but feeling sad, shocked and angry about today's terrible events in Paris, France. Twelve people got brutally murdered, executed, amongst them fellow artists: cartoonists and editors of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. In total twelve people lost their life.

And I felt powerless. Untill I realised, there is just one thing I can do. As an artist. Draw. I just had to. As a small tribute to the cartoonists and editors and other victims of today's brutal shooting; and as an encouragement to all those journalists, editors, writers, cartoonists, artists and all others who have to their work under threat or are being persecuted in any other way.  

All I can add to that is this: 

With words, at least, you can agree to disagree. You can debate, discuss, exchange views, arguments. You can try and convince each other. You can listen to each other. Perhaps even learn from it. If not, then you can respectfully walk away. And you still might have learned something from it.

If you try to silence people's voices with a gun, in the end, it'll only backfire at you.

Je suis Charlie. 

Oh. Just one more thing. All we have for a home is this tiny blue planet, people. Now, can't we do just a little bit more to make it a better place for each and everyone of us. Or at least try to? By being just a little bit kinder? It's just one little blue planet, a tiny dot in a vast ocean of expanding universe without, for now, any inhabitable planet in sight. So we'd better try and get along before we kill each other off in the name of whatever Deity.

woensdag 7 januari 2015

Happy tweet by happy new Witty Art Owner

And here is one Happy Tweet from one extremely happy new Witty Art owner! Congratulations, Michèle van de Craats with 'Willow Minnows #3'!

Work-In-Progress: series 'Where Angels Do Not Fear To Tread'

Recently, I decided to post more updates featuring sneak previews or snap shots, mostly taken with smartphone or tablet, from works-in-progress. Lately, I have been doing so especially on my Instagram profile and the respons over there has been so supportive, that I thought it'd be a good idea to feature more of those on this blog as well. I guess it also keeps friends and followers of Witty Art engaged in the whole ''making of'', just like the so-called live sessions do. Plan to organise more of those as well!

Anyway, this is a short post dedicated to another series 'in progress': 'Where Angels Do Not Fear To Tread'

The title is based on the famous line written by Alexander Pope in his poem An Essay on Criticism (1709). The line since then has been immortalised by, amongst others, Abraham Lincoln in his Peoria speech (1854), Johnny Mercer's classic song recorded by, to name a few, Frank Sinatra, Ricky Nelson and many others and provided tons of inspiration for numerous other works of art and creativity. (source: Wikipedia).

The phrase ofcourse refers to the fact that fools, e.g. the unknowing, or the inexperienced will attempt things that wiser people are more cautious of. Whether that is always the case, and whether that is a good thing or not, is food for not only thought but for some heated debates, as I have found out during numerous occasions.

As always is the case with Witty Art, things are not what they appear to be. The question is, though, who are the fools, and who are the angels anyway, that is, IF they are there at all?

dinsdag 6 januari 2015

Witty Art Shout Out! Special Art & Awareness Project by Dagmara Cielecka

So, as some of you followers of Witty Art might know, I joined Instagram last year. Usually, when I join a new social network or platform, I like to stay put and just browse around, learning by looking around, so to speak. Which is also an excuse to shamelessly post pictures of that other internet sensation: cats. And coffee.

But, after a while I got the hang of it. It's an ideal medium for quickly sharing snapshots of your work, building a more international community in a less elaborate way than, for instance, Facebook. I find it especially ideal for visual artists, as it's all about the power of the image (and okay, ''hashtagging'' your way through the InstaWorld as well, but that's something you pick up quickly enough). So, if you feel like, please do connect with me on Instagram!

But that's not solely what this post is about.

Besides getting to share Witty Art with the world, I also discovered the often amazing art works, but also writing and other massive inspirations by other creative minds. To me, Instagram has proven to be a place of not only sharing but great mutual inspiration, engaging in contacts with other artists and really art-minded people of all ages and all walks of life. 

One in particular I'd like to showcase right now. And one of her many projects in particular. 

(c) Dagmara Cielecka Art
Dagmara Cielecka's Awareness Book
So, who's Dagmara Cielecka? Let me tell you: she is one amazingly talented creative person. I can't remember exactly how I came across her profile, probably by scrolling through the selection of many (many!) pictures Instagram offers you on a daily basis. But, once I had a looked at her Instagallery, I was taken in by her work as well by a line in her profile that read: ''I draw for a purpose'', followed by the words ''RAISING AWARENESS'' and then a link to a Kickstarter fundraiser. Here was a young artist trying to raise funds for a book. Okay, I thought, been there, done that, so many do that. But, always keen on discovering new stuff, I had a look. Those of you who know me well, I did so with that typically Miss Witty mixture of enthusiastic curiosity and mild scepsis.

But, I tell you. This was something else. This was special.

Now, there is a lot I could write, about that book. But let me quote some of Dagmara's own words on her project:

''I will be creating a book of awareness full of drawings of people who are battling many illnesses. The book will also include drawings and stories of people who have passed away from a disease that needs more awareness. The aim of the book is to simply raise as much awareness as possible to these horrible illnesses that may not get enough funding, like childhood cancer. All the people who will be featured in my book, will receive a free copy of it. Shipping of these will be covered with my own money.''

(c) Dagmara Cielecka Art
To these words I'd like to add: 

Here is a young creative mind, an artist, still studying at university (Hertfordshire, UK), who is dedicating a significant amount of time and her own resources, also financially, towards this goal: to give (terminally) ill people a very personal and intimate portrait. A portrait made during what must be one of the most vulnerable time of their lives, but not presenting them as such, but in a way that shows pride, love, beauty, even joy - and yes, every emotion thinkable, imaginable, you deal with when you and/or your loved ones face a severe illness. I too, have been facing such a battle, not personally, but I lost too many close relatives for me not to know what a disease like cancer does to families.

I think it takes a special person to make people feel special. Now, I have not been following Dagmara for that long, but from what I've seen from her on Instagram and other social media, like Facebook, she is sincere, hard working and if there is one bundle of sheer positivity, it's her. For instance, she also started the project 365 Good Deeds: to challenge herself and other people to do something good, small or great, doesn't matter, but something good each day of the year. So, if you are at it, do connect with 365 Good Deeds.

And, as someone who has great experience with professional fundraising on a high level I think it's safe to say that this is a 100% genuine project. Oh yes, for those of you who do not know... in another life, one far, far, far away, I used to be a corporate communications/marketing and sponsormanager. I worked for several international NGO's so I kinda think .. what makes a trustworthy project or not. And I still help raise funds for smaller causes, every now and then, but only the ones I believe in.

And this is one project I do believe in. All I am asking you is just to take a look at the Kickstarter page. Or connect with Dagmara on Facebook or Instagram, if you have any questions, just ask her. 

So, a quick recap with all information needed: 

Dagmara Cielecka's Awareness Book
Kickstarter Fundraiser page.
Dagmara Cielecka Art on Instagram 
Dagmara Cielecka Art on Facebook
Dagmara Cielecka's 365 Good Deeds

New changes to Witty Home Expo have been made!

Most people like to do something like spring cleaning. Well, I have to admit right here and now that I am not really the supa-dupa cleaning type (sorry if I disappointed any of you, but it's the truth) but every now and then I too get that awkward feeling that you need to clean up something. Or change things around. Now, most people tend to that in spring. Not I. I tend to get that feeling at the most inconvenient of times. Like, hours before you have to organise and throw a New Year's Eve Party. 

Yes. That's the time I decide to rearrange my Witty Art Home Expo. As you do.

Actually, it didn't take me too long. But I was set on hanging the total selection of 9 works that were showcased during last year's Route du Nord (25-26 September). With success! And yes, I am happy I made the decision because it's a selection of Witty Art I am very proud of and I feel has taken my art up to a whole new level and into a new direction.

If you want to take a up and more closer look at each individual work, please click here to visit the collection of ''The Singles'' (currenlty 33 or so, there are many more and I still need to digitalise them all - but that too, will happen soon!). 

Besides, I definitely would like to open up the doors of Casa (also Studio) Witty for an art viewing (invites only though), similar like the one I held back in 2013. Perhaps I could combine it with a small Witty Art Live Session. Have to think about that. But will definitely keep you all posted! 

maandag 5 januari 2015

Happy handover of Witty Art as 'Willow Minnows #3' moves to a new home!

A couple of days ago, I took my art work 'Willow Minnows #3' to Desk & Dish to hand over to its happy new owner, my fellow creative entrepreneur and one of D&D's owners, Michèle van de Craats. Signed, sealed, delivered, this Witty Art Work is now officially and totally hers!
Naturally, the official handover and the signing of the necessary paperwork was accompanied by some fine Cava and nibbles, as Desk & Dish is all about quality hospitaliy while at work!