Monday, 17 October 2016

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Worth studying the Arts?

Creative industries worth almost £10 million an hour to economy

New figures published today reveal that the UK’s Creative Industries are now worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy.
Read on...

Monday, 16 November 2015

How Creativity is helped by failure

Viewpoint: How creativity is helped by failure

  • 14 November 2015
  • From the section Magazine

Woman painting

When it comes to creating a great work of art, practice makes perfect, writes Matthew Syed.
A design college in the United States has just started a new exhibition about creativity, which will run till January. It is called "Permission to Fail". The curator asked a group of 50 prestigious designers and illustrators to send in their mess-ups, rough drafts and preliminary sketches so that they could be put on display.

Now, this may seem like an odd thing to do. Most exhibitions are all about the finished product, the pristine new car design, perhaps, or the flawless painting. But the college, called Mount Ida in Massachusetts, wanted its students to engage not with the finished article, but what happened beforehand. They wanted to reach into the true characteristics of how creativity happens.

A quick story. In their book Art and Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland tell of a ceramics teacher who announced on the opening day of class that he was dividing the students into two groups. Half were told that they would be graded on quantity. On the final day of term, the teacher said he'd come to class with some scales and weigh the pots they had made. They would get an "A" for 50lb of pots, a "B" for 40lb, and so on. The other half would be graded on quality. They just had to bring along their one, pristine, perfectly designed pot.

The results were emphatic - the works of highest quality, the most beautiful and creative designs, were all produced by the group graded for quantity. As Bayles and Orland put it: "It seems that while the 'quantity' group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the 'quality' group had sat theorising about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."
Two people at a potter's wheel
This turns out to be a profound metaphor. The British inventor James Dyson didn't create the dual cyclone vacuum cleaner in a flash of inspiration. The product, now used by millions, didn't emerge fully formed in his mind. Instead, he did what the group graded for quantity did. He tried and failed, triggering new insights, before trying and failing again - and slowly the design improved.

In fact, Dyson worked his way through 5,126 failed prototypes before coming up with a design that ultimately transformed household cleaning. As he put it: "People think of creativity as a mystical process. This model conceives of innovation as something that happens to geniuses. But this could not be more wrong. Creativity is something we can all improve at, by realising that it has specific characteristics. Above all, it is about daring to learn from our mistakes".

James Dyson at the drawing board in 2000
Dyson went back to the drawing board more than 5,000 times to create the dual cyclone.                                            
Or take Pixar, an animation company that has become synonymous with creativity following its blockbuster successes with Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. It might be supposed that these wonderful plots were put together by resident geniuses with sublime imaginations. But the reality is very different. The initial ideas for new storylines are just the starting point, like Dyson's initial prototype. It is what happens next that really matters.

The storyline is systematically pulled apart. As the animation gets into operation, each frame, each strand of the narrative, is subject to testing, debate and adaptation. All told, it takes around 12,000 storyboard drawings to make one 90-minute feature, and because of the iterative process, story teams often create more than 125,000 storyboards by the time the film is actually delivered.
A scene from Finding Nemo                           
As Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar, put it: "Early on, all of our movies suck. That's a blunt assessment, I know, but I… choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. I'm not trying to be modest or self-effacing by saying this. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them go… from suck to non-suck. We are true believers in the iterative process - reworking, reworking and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its throughline or a hollow character finds its soul."

The problem in the world today is that we only see the final product - the amazing movie, the super-efficient vacuum cleaner, the vogue theory. What we don't see is the deeper story of how these innovations emerge. The tales we tell about creativity overlook this, too. We think of Archimedes shouting "eureka" or Newton being hit on the head by the apple and instantaneously inventing the theory of gravity.
Issac Newton sits under an apple tree - 19th Century painting by Robert Hannah                           
But these stories are pure fiction. They get the direction of creativity the wrong way around. Insight is the endpoint of a long term, iterative process, rather than the starting point. As the neuroscientist David Eagleman puts it in The Secret Lives of the Brain: "When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, the neural circuitry has been working on the problems for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations. But you merely take credit without further wonderment at the vast, hidden political machinery behind the scenes."

Creativity is a journey that involves taking wrong turns along the way
And this is precisely why the design college was so keen to exhibit the failures and wrong turns. This couldn't be of deeper significance, because unless we truly understand how creativity happens, it will remain elusive. Youngsters who are taught to think about failure in a more positive light not only become more creative, but more resilient, too. They regard their mess-ups not as reasons to give up, but as intriguing and educative. They engage with these failures, learn from them, and, by implication, develop new insights, and ever deeper curiosity.

"Dare to fail" is a powerful slogan. It doesn't mean we should aim at failure - rather it hints at the paradox that creativity is a journey that involves taking wrong turns along the way. Organisations like Google, Apple, Dyson and Pixar have developed cultures that, in their different ways, create the conditions for empowering failure. They have become living ecosystems of the imagination, fired by the courage to test ideas, to see their flaws, and to be triggered into new associations and insights.
As Andrew Stanton, director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, put it: "My strategy has always been: be wrong as fast as we can... which basically means, we're gonna screw up, let's just admit that. Let's not be afraid of that. You can't get to adulthood before you go through puberty. I won't get it right the first time, but I will get it wrong really soon, really quickly."

Matthew Syed is the author of Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Art world news

Banksy street art up for auction

Donkey Documents in its original location
Image captionDonkey Documents in its original location
Murals believed to have been left by elusive street artistBANKSY on walls in Detroit and Bethlehem are to be auctioned in September.
One, Donkey Documents, depicts a donkey having its papers checked by a soldier and was left on a barrier dividing the West Bank from Israel in 2007.
The other, I Remember When All This Was Trees, was painted on the wall of a derelict Detroit factory in 2010.
Together the murals could fetch as much as $1 million (£638,000).
The Detroit mural is owned by a small non-profit gallery and is being sold to raise funds for community arts schemes.
AUCTION HOUSEJulien's has not revealed who removed the second work from its original location or who will benefit from its sale.
I Remember When All This Was Trees
Image captionBANKSY himself is understood not to approve of his art being removed and sold
According to Julien's, "the detached mural... is the largest and most significant intactBANKSY mural in existence from his visit to Israel".
The mural, it continued, will be displayed at an unspecified location in London before theAUCTION takes place in Los Angeles on 30 September.
Removing street art byBANKSY and others from their original locations is a controversial act that some claim diminishes the artwork in question.
The removal of one mural from a shop in north London prompted protests, though this did not prevent its eventual sale for more than £750,000.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Friday, 19 June 2015



Nuneaton students showcase their artistic achievements
Student Harriet Treadgold and her artwork based on 'Sonder; the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own'
Student Harriet Treadgold and her artwork based on 'Sonder; the realisation that each random passer by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own'  Read more here.

Open at The
Brooklyn Museum


Thursday, 7 May 2015


Art appeal for Nepal

Hi, this is Subash, I'm a second year Art student here at King Edward VI College, I designed these T-shirts, printed them and now with the help of the college, have set up a website to raise funds for the victims in Nepal. 

Your 1 T-shirt purchase will feed 7 homeless people in Nepal.

By creating and spreading awareness with the means of these T-shirts, I'm hoping to help many homeless victims . All the funds raised will convert into clean water, emergency food and first aid kits. My brother & I will personally hand the necessities out in August in Nepal."
Many Thanks - Subash

Want to help?



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Over the 6th September, Digbeth, Birmingham will be transformed into one of the UK's largest outdoor art galleries. A celebration of urban art forms, the streets will be turned into a sea of colour and alongside the live painting, will be break dancing, DJs, live illustration battles, beat box battles, B-Boys & other innovative and engaging visual art forms. Aimed at all ages, graffiti, dance and music workshops will be happening throughout festival - everyone will have the chance to get involved! Click on the link above to find out more.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Historical Graffiti retrospective opens today at the Museum of the City of New York

      Lee QuiƱones’s “Howard the Duck” (1988). Museum of the City of New York

      Read more here;
      Link to the exhibition here;


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

KEC Paris trip

This would be a great trip to prepare you for your final A2 Art exam but be quick to speak to Jaskirt as there will only be a limited number of places available and there are a lot of Media students!!!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Art sold online

The art industry is one of the last creative industries tomake the digital move - but, with more people buying art online without ever seeing it in real life, it could be that times are already changing. Online sites for international galleries - great to search for contemporary international artists:

If visitors to London want to see contemporary art, the first port of call has traditionally been the Tate Modern. In 2012, a record 5.3 million visitors journeyed through its doors.

More people in the UK visit art galleries and museums than attend Premier League football matches but record numbers are flocking to the internet too. And buying art is the becoming an industry norm.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Nature of the Beast

The New Art Gallery in Walsall has a fascinating exhibition called 'Nature of the Beast' which is well worth making the effort to go and see. It brings together work by a range of diverse artists who are all interested in our relationship with animals. They include Polly Morgan, who uses taxidermy to create familiar but at the same time disturbing installations.

The exhibition continues until 30th June.

Monday, 1 April 2013


'Metropolis -Reflections on the Modern City' is a new exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. 25 renowned international artists have work on display, including photography, painting, film, sculpture and installation. City life from around the world is depicted through stunning imagery. Free to enter and well worth the trip into Brum. Don't forget to look at the gallery's permanent collection whilst you are there.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

What Do Artists Do All Day?

Starting on Tuesday 19th March is a short series that documents the daily life of an artist. The first programme follows Norman Ackroyd the landscape artist and printmaker, as he spends a day in his studio working on a monochrome print of the Shetlands.
'What Do Artists Do All Day' is on BBC4 at 8.00pm.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

'Looking at the View' at Tate Britain

Tate Britain has brought together a collection of works that are inspired by the theme of views and travel. There are classical landscapes and more contemporary takes on the theme. Artists represented include Gilbert and George, Tracey Emin and Richard Long. 'Looking at theView' is free and goes on until 2nd June 2013

Saturday, 16 February 2013

'Revealed - Government Art Collection'

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is currently hosting a free exhibition of nearly 200 works of art that are normally displayed in British Government buildings. If you think that sounds like a collection of dusty old portraits of pompous looking politicians, then you will be very surprised. There are historic works such as a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I in all her finery, but there is also plenty of contemporary pieces such as an Andy Warhol image of our current queen in her younger days. There are works by L S Lowry, Bob and Roberta Smith, Grayson Perry and many more.

Catch it over Half Term as it finishes on the 24th February.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Jerwood Drawing Prize at the mac

The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012 is an annual open exhibition for contemporary drawing. It showcases the work of 73 artists and is on display at the mac in Birmingham until 3rd March 2013. There is a wide range of styles and approaches from the very minimal to the highly technical. It also includes several short films. Artists featured include Sarah Spackman, Richard Galloway, Jane Dixon and Elizabeth Butterworth.