Get inspired with the new spring edition of our Fine Art Collector magazine! In this issue, you can find a guide on the application of colour theory, an exclusive interview with the CEO of Cass Art, and much more.
CASTLEGALLERIES.COM FINE ART COLLECTOR SPRING 2018 UK £3.00 US $5.50
MARK CASS FILLING THE TOWN WITH ARTISTS THE NEVER-ENDING SUMMER MAZZUCCO
100 YEARS OF FEMALE POSTER ART THE RELEVANCE AND ROLE OF ART IN MODERN HISTORY YOUR WORLD, OUR ART RECOGNISING THE VERY REAL BENEFITS OF ART OUR ART. YOUR HOMES. MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN!
WHAT’S HOT FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2018 Spring 2018
A co l l e c t i on o f l i m i t e d e d i t i on art O F i con i c com i c book cov e rs s i gn e d by Stan L e e AVA I L AB L E NOW
Editor “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” - Marcus Aurelius Life sometimes feels like a numbers game, with milestones marking the passage of time and keeping score so that we may look back and accurately call to mind the context of our memories. Writing this introduction to Fine Art Collector twice every year serves just that purpose. It forces a nod to the past and gives the future greater focus. Which sums up exactly the zeitgeist of 2018, so dominated as it is by anniversaries and centenaries. In November we will bow our heads as a nation, mark 100 years since the Great War ended and commemorate all the lives lost during the conflict. It is also the year that we celebrate 100 years since women subverted the norm, challenged the establishment, fought for and won the right to vote. Both of these pivotal moments in history have been captured in art, both then and now, and are recognised within the following pages. The wider world of art is not without its own anniversaries in 2018. The Royal Academy of Arts in London was founded in 1768 by a group of artists, and will celebrate its 250th year by expanding its current home at Burlington House, due to be unveiled later this spring. It is also 150 years since Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868, and his city of birth, Glasgow, has a year-long programme of celebrations planned. Racking up the most years, however, is Italian painter Jacopo Tintoretto, who would be celebrating his 500th birthday this year. A much lauded maestro of the late Renaissance period, Tintoretto was nicknamed Il Furioso for the energy and sheer dynamism in his works, and is widely recognised as a forerunner of the baroque movement. Offering a great deal of art to ponder, as well as articles to discuss and debate, we invite you to enjoy the very best that Spring 2018 has to offer from Castle Galleries. From the
FineArtCollector ispublishedbyWashingtonGreenFineArtGroupLimitedanddistributedbyCastleGalleries. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website castlegalleries.com Alltheartfeatured inFineArtCollector is availablethroughCastleGalleriesacrossGreatBritain.Visitourwebsiteatcastlegalleries.comtofindyournearest gallery.The imagescontainedwithinthis literatureareanartistic representationofthecollection.Tobest experienceourart,we recommendyoucontactyour localgallerytoarrangeaviewing.Prices illustratedthroughout thismagazineare recommended retailprices.
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Editor: Daniela Lacey Contributors: Daniela Lacey, Michael Perry, Parveen Kauser, Monika Adamska, Charlotte Brazier, Robyn Smith Creative Director: Ak Suggi Designers: Matt Johnson, Christy Guan, Mikyla Edwards Special Thanks: Mark Cass, Jaanika Okk, Koestler Trust, Paintings in Hospitals, London Transport Museum, Cambridge University Library, Women's Library at London School of Economics
On The Cover Raphael Mazzucco
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube and be the first to hear the latest news, events and industry updates! Plus, we’ll keep you inspired with beautiful photography of our art, shots behind the scenes with our artists and live posts from all of our exciting events!
Efflorescense Blurring 2D and 3D, Stephen Simpson is a man in demand
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Pairing Your Artwork To Your Home A back to basics guide on the application of colour theory
Art Facts From the weird to the wonderful, we love trivia! 40
The Never-Ending Summer
25 years of fine art and photography from Raphael Mazzucco
Art Holidays Art to inspire your travel plans this year
Filling The Town With Artists Mark Cass and his mission to “interrupt the high street”
Art Therapy Recognising the very real benefits of art
Your World, Our Art When our art finds a home with you...
Meet The Smiths And take a glimpse into their world of Impossimals
The Perception Of Art and how to make it work for you.
100 Years of Female Poster Art A celebration of female artists and the messages contained within their work
In Every Issue 1. From The Editor 78. The Studio Sessions 100. The Social Edit 102. In The Frame Throughout In the Gallery
Artists And Their Patrons How these relationships achieved status and influence for all parties
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Original Sculptures By
Self-taught artist Malcolm Barrett has a long history of working with renowned global sculptors, creating and designing large scale works. He now creates beautiful resin sculptures that aim to make people smile. His heart-shaped pieces proved
a hit with visitors to our 2016 Summer Exhibition and we are now proud to introduce his striking Ted Bear sculptures to our galleries. Malcolm uses fibreglass and rubber moulds to create his smooth and tactile sculptures.
Using these unconventional methods means each piece is completely unique. Malcolm then meticulously hand paints each sculpture before finishing with a high gloss resin finish to create mesmerising sculptures that glitter in the light.
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MedTed OriginalSculptures 20"(H)x14½"(W)x141/4"(D) £2950 MedTed(large) OriginalSculptures 39"(H)x28"(W)x27½(D) £9950
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CathedralofSeaandSkyI HandEmbellishedBoxedCanvas Editionof95
ImageSize38"x38" FramedSize43"x43" £995Framed
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Inspired by the abstract ‘Colour Field’ painting style, Alex’s spring collection reveals the power of stripes. As a ten-year-old child, he discovered the work of American artist Morris Louis (Bernstein) at a museum and instantly fell in love with the simplicity and boldness of his organic stripes. Alex explains: “Stripes are an iconic, graphic machine in our consciousness. The stripe is natural and automatic; it appeals to us all at some instinctual level.” By mixing resin and matte finishes, Alex enables viewers to explore the intricate process behind his work.
CathedralofSeaandSkyII HandEmbellishedBoxedCanvas Editionof95
ImageSize38"x38" FramedSize43"x43" £995Framed
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HOW TO PAIR OUR ARTWORK TO YOUR HOME
Whilst many of us are keen DIY and interior design enthusiasts, we’re not professionals. But that’s ok. Thanks to the scores of Instagram accounts and Pinterest pages dedicated to home improvement, inspiration and guidance are a mere click away. We wanted to contribute a little insight of our own, and thought that a back to basics guide on the application of colour theory might be just the thing…
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Complementary Colour SCHEMES This is where the colour wheel comes into play and will be your best friend. Simply put, complementary colours sit opposite each other on the wheel and are viewed as the most established combinations. For example: blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple. Working within these pairings makes it easy to make colours pop, and give standout to elements in any given room. Traditionalists will tell you that complementary colour schemes are best suited to more formal rooms, such as dining rooms, but we think they work well anywhere!
Tower Days by Paul Kenton
Monochrome Colour SCHEMES Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean simply black and white. A monochrome colour scheme is created by using various tones and shades of any single colour. Designers will often advise a monochrome palette for smaller spaces, but don’t feel restricted by this. Introducing a range of textures and finishes (think fabrics, glass, metallics, plants, stoneware etc) will keep your room feeling stylish and interesting. A real benefit of a monochromatic colour scheme is that it lends itself perfectly to displaying artwork. Not that we’re in any way biased obviously…
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Cluster Surge by Plume
Triadic Colour SCHEME Sounds complicated. It’s not. When thinking of triadic, the first syllable is your clue (TRI as in TRI-angle). Take another look at the colour wheel – any colour combinations that can be formed by making an equilateral triangle across the wheel are, by definition, triadic. This often produces quite bold palettes, which can be great in children’s bedrooms or other lively spaces, but you can also temper them by keeping to pastels or opting for neutrals. You might also find that keeping furniture and furnishings clean and unfussy will minimise any sensory overload!
TOP TIPS Still not convinced? No problem. Start slow with some of these handy hints… On a budget? Why not upcycle an old piece of furniture by repainting it in a new shade. Fancy testing the water? Opt for a feature wall in your chosen colour, instead of painting the entire room. Want to keep things seasonal? Introduce a pop of colour through cushions or a striking rug. No dab hand at DIY? Let your art do the work for you, and choose a vibrant piece for your walls.
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HAMI SH BLAKELY
With the arrival of smartphones, a need to be adored by anybody and everybody has materialised; shaping the self-regard of our younger generation. Hamish questions whether such affirmation-seeking behaviour encourages superficiality and the demise of meaningful communication, albeit in his usual humorous way. This piece explores the theme of social media narcissism, exemplified by the ‘selfie’ – which Hamish argues could be seen as ‘a modern expression of a modern age’. Do platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram encourage a self-promotion addiction? Is it a harmless self-indulgence, or an all- consuming dependence on the approval of strangers? Hamish’s depiction of Marilyn Monroe symbolises an underlying commentary on the overuse of her iconic image, and his take on ‘smartphone mania’. Her tragic story – marred by a history of exploitation and the relentless grind of the ‘Hollywood machine’ – is made all the more heartrending by her timeless beauty. By taking a reference image and transposing it, Hamish has captured Marilyn in an intrinsically personal way.
“I have taken a wry look to create images that are both provocative and light-hearted. I want the viewer to enjoy the paintings first, and be confronted with more searching questions after.”
IfTheyCouldSeeMeNow HandVarnishedCanvasonBoard Editionof95
ImageSize24¾"x28" FramedSize32"x36" £595Framed
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Where others see soot-blackened brick and polluted skies, Bob sees light and colour. Capturing memories from his working-class childhood in Yorkshire mill towns, the artist’s new body of work includes his trademark oil paintings and a special edition sculpture. By exploring the idea of ‘the path we lead’, Bob examines the
winding journeys we all take. His research took him to the Black Country Living Museum and saw him experiment with the ‘glaze’ technique used by the Old Masters of the Renaissance period. A subtle colour wash created warmth and enabled Bob to capture the contrast of light and dark that has influenced his work from the start. By applying white to the canvas before black, a sepia tone was
� HappinessIs…. HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof195
ImageSize26"x26" FramedSize33"x33" £650Framed
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� OnMe 'Ed,Kamerad! BronzeSculpture Editionof195
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I N T H E G A L L E R Y Bob Barker
created, making the piece appear to glow from within. Much of the process involved intuition, with Bob simply following the painting's lead.
signature motif of two hearts, which represents a feeling of togetherness. As a young boy, Bob sketched the children playing around him on the pavement, using
broken pottery gifted to him by his grandmother. Decades later, Bob is still sketching the world as he sees it, explaining: “The echoes of my past become my future paintings.”
Collectors may also spot his
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� ThreeLions HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof195
ImageSize44"x14" FramedSize51"x21" £695Framed
� RoseMatilda HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof195
ImageSize20"x28" FramedSize27"x35" £595Framed
� SomethingBorrowed HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof195
ImageSize22"x28" FramedSize29"x35" £650Framed
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Carly’s thought-provoking art draws upon the experience of being human. With inspirations including artists like Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, she explores the fragility of life and emotions through her expressive paintings. Describing her approach as “a conversation between myself and the emerging painting”, Carly creates a basic outline before building colours and responding to the way the paint lands on the canvas.
message to be interpreted differently by each unique viewer, as Carly explains. “I write mainly about the challenges and joys of being human, and the sense of possibility, strength and belonging,” she says. “I wait for the right moment, and then I write whatever comes to me. It’s incredibly fast and very alive – like pure energy as the sentences hit the canvas. “I’m not keen on dictating to the viewer what they should see. It’s important to me that people find their own meanings, a private message for only them.”
The layering of words and paint conceals a secret
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“My pieces speak of the quiet place within us all, and the sense of serenity that we can lose connection with as we carry out our daily routines.”
� Dusk HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof95
ImageSize21"x28" FramedSize27"x34" £550Framed
� StormRising HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof95
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CAROL INE SHOTTON
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“I've always created work that stems from personal experience, yet allows others to add their own narrative.”
� SnuggleUp,It'sFriesianCold! HandEmbellishedBoxedCanvas Editionof195 ImageSize36"x36" £695 � HittheHay!It'sPastureBedtime HandEmbellishedBoxedCanvas Editionof195 ImageSize44"x29" £695
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Do you know your imposter from your impasto? We’ve delved into our history archives to uncover some surprising facts. Our whistle-stop tour of the art world starts here.
Simon Claridge, Penny Black, Pink
HAVE I SEEN YOU SOMEWHERE? When asked to name the most reproduced artwork in the world, you may be tempted to cite Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’. However, it is in fact the humble British stamp. Untouched for over 50 years, the iconic image of Queen Elizabeth II was created as a plaster cast in 1967 by Arnold Machin OBE, and is believed to have been reprinted approximately 220 billion times since. Postage stamps were first introduced in the UK in 1840, with the launch of the Penny Black. Featuring an engraving of the young Queen Victoria, they revolutionised postal delivery for people all over the world.
HANGING HORROR While the focus is often on the artwork, hanging is pretty important too. Staff at New York’s Museum of Modern Art may have missed the reminder about this, as they left Henri Matisse’s ‘Le Bateau’ hanging upside down for 46 days in 1961. In 2017, technology giant Samsung launched The Frame: an ultra-thin TV that allows viewers to show off artworks or their own photographs. With a customisable frame, viewers can also access a range of classic and contemporary pieces through the Art Store.
We still think we prefer a good old- fashioned painting though!
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IT’S ON THE BAG
‘Tenant' eyeshadow palette and ‘Abstract’ lipstick from the Jean- Michel Basquiat collection at Urban Decay
Masters of fashion Louis Vuitton collaborated posthumously with Masters of art (including Claude Monet and J.M.W Turner) for a collection of art-themed accessories. The 2017 venture saw classic pieces recreated for a range of handbags, scarves and keyrings. But the art craze didn’t start there. In 2012, luxury makeup brand NARS released a collection of lipsticks, eyeshadows and powders inspired by pop artist Andy Warhol. This was followed in 2017 by Urban Decay’s collaboration with the late American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. POISONOUS PAINTS Modern art boasts an impressive palette of materials: spray paint, rubbish and crumpled bedsheets to name a few. But did you know that artists have used even stranger mediums? In the 19th century, British artist William Morris was famed for creating intricate wallpapers for middle-class families. His now-iconic patterns were beautiful…but also contained lethal levels of arsenic. After a spate of mysterious deaths, experts traced the fatalities back to Morris’ wallpaper (and presumably gave him a good pasting). Other quirks include Vincent van Gogh’s penchant for licking his lead-coated paintbrushes, and Damien Hirst’s now- infamous 2012 Tate Modern exhibition of animals suspended in formaldehyde.
Louis Sidoli, Snoop Dogg
A SKETCHY SENTENCING Under UK law, courtroom artists are not permitted to sketch during proceedings and must instead recreate scenes from memory or notes once outside. With newspapers clamouring to be the first to print or share images online, they often have just 15 minutes to scurry into the press room and recreate scenes – leading to some questionable sketches. In 2017, American courtroom artist Jeff Kandyba was mocked relentlessly on social media for his puzzling portrayal of pop star Taylor Swift. Defending himself to Fox 21 Denver, the artist retorted: “It’s hard. Some people are just much easier to draw than others.”
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OpenYourSenses LimitedEditionSculpture (SetofThree) Editionof295 Height 8" £895(SetofThree)
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I N T H E G A L L E R Y Dan Lane
� TheThinLineBetween Glass Editionof150 ImageSize26"x26" FramedSize38½"x38½" £1,250Framed � LookatMe,TellMeYou LoveMe. Glass Editionof150 ImageSize26"x26" FramedSize38½"x38½" £1,250Framed
“Our world often balances on a knife-edge between the two themes of light and dark, and love and hate, without us even noticing.”
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The sun never sets for fashion photographer turned fine artist, Raphael Mazzucco, as beautifully illustrated in his first ever collector’s edition book; The Never-Ending Summer. With stunning behind the scenes photography and exclusive memoirs from his closest family, models and muses, a host of contemporaries and of course his own journal, this publication paints a fascinating picture of life on location with Raphael Mazzucco. Beautifully curated, and produced to the highest quality, The Never-Ending Summer is the finishing touch to any home library or coffee table.
His travels encompass every iconic habitat thinkable: from the salt flats of South America, to the serenity of Vietnamese temples, the beauty of Icelandic glaciers and the majesty of the Serengeti, there are few places that he has yet to capture through his camera lens. With a list of contributors that reads like a who’s who from the worlds of fashion, art and photography,The Never-Ending Summer is a rare opportunity to share in the creative processes of one of the contemporary art market’s most compelling, and charismatic, trailblazers.
Open Edition Book
TheNever-EndingSummer HardbackBook 276pages |30cmx34cm £39.99
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Presented in handmade boxes crafted from antique pine over a century old, reclaimed during the renovation of Victorian warehouses and factories in London, each one is comprised of an original Mazzucco photograph, of which there are ten styles to choose from, all hand embellished with mixed media and sealed with Mazzucco's signature high gloss resin finish, making this a rare and exclusive collector’s item. Limited Edition Book
TheNever-EndingSummer HardbackBook inLimitedEdition PresentationBox 1.Firestarter 2.Spokes InSpring 3.BirdCage I 4.Daisy 5.OnTheRiver 6.ForbiddenSwamp 7.Agave
8.MotherEarth 9.StandingStill 10. MidnightPond Each BoxEditionof25 £995
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“There is a strong contrast between a rabbit and a lion – it’s almost like a fable. A story which can be told and a lesson learned. A narrative which begins with the tender dreams of a child and their progression and development into a powerful presence as an adult. Anything is possible – you can be a lion if you want to.”
David’s artistic history began with painting portraits of people, which he feels influences his penchant for painting large, powerful animals. “They have a presence, as do people.” The
artist avoids paintbrushes wherever he can, instead, favouring rollers and sometimes a palette knife or some scrunched-up tissue for the finer details or to add texture. For the dripping
effect, he uses watered- down oil paint and then applies it with a roller. David aims for his art to be organic – less representative and more expressive.
TripleStrikeFlatbed PrintonBoxedCanvas Editionof150 ImageSize38"x38" £750
TripleStrikeFlatbed PrintonBoxedCanvas Editionof150 ImageSize38"x38" £750
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YOUNG FINE ARTIST
from Pleasant Street Primary School. As they milled around the gallery, brimming with questions and enthusiasm, we sensed there were some particular favourites in the room – Nigel Humphries’ nostalgic superheroes and miniature sculptures by Nic Joly stole the show. In the end, 10-year-old Sultanah Alghamdi won us over with her painting inspired by John Myatt’s ‘The Starry Night’, and her design was framed and hung on the gallery wall in the presence of some of our best-selling artists. Keep an eye out for Young Fine Artist in 2018, as we could discover the next van Gogh at a school near you!
Last year we launched our Young Fine Artist competition, working with children across the UK in a bid to encourage and inspire the next generation of artistic talent. The initiative sees us welcome young budding artists to our galleries to immerse them in all things art – from meeting our gallery managers to learning about our artists and the techniques behind their work – before challenging them to come up with their own creations inspired by their favourite artist’s work. For the first competition we travelled to Castle Fine Art in Liverpool, one of our flagship galleries in the north, where we met 31 pupils
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WE ’ RE ALL
In 1880, Vincent van Gogh decided to become an artist and, in doing so, changed the course of history. Fast forward nearly 140 years, and van Gogh is still as much a catalyst for change as ever. This time, he has inspired the world’s first ever fully painted feature film, which tells the story of his life – and tragically premature death, in the context of a fictional narrative. Much of the research and knowledge needed for the film was provided by the Van Gogh
Museum in Amsterdam. Loving Vincent has won much praise and critical acclaim from the industry, winning several awards at International Film Festivals, such as Annecy and Shanghai. Most recently, the film has received a nomination from BAFTA and an Oscar nomination, raising its profile even further in cinematic history.
chose 2017 as the year to unveil his Vincent collection, having no idea quite how relevant the subject matter would prove to be in both the last and current year. Featuring both iconic image ‘The Starry Night’ and one of van Gogh’s self-portraits – one of which was also the chosen branding for the film – the Vincent collection is a true homage from John to one of his greatest inspirations.
It is therefore very fitting that our very own John Myatt
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This landscape view over the fields – with the church spire just visible – is loosely based on an existing artwork. However, the composition is altered to suggest Vincent at his cool, calm, best. Here, John focused on constructing a landscape that obeys the formal rules of perspective but is energised by colour and vigorous brushwork.
� StarryNightWithNewDayDawning HandFinishedCanvas Editionof95 ImageSize30"x24" FramedSize38"x32" £1,795Framed � StarryNightWithWheatFieldand CypressTrees HandFinishedCanvas Editionof95 ImageSize31"x25" FramedSize39"x33" £1,795Framed The second piece is more energetic, with the wheat field, trees and vegetation in the foreground. John explains: “Vincent believed that the cypress tree represented the life force, and I have tried to imbue all of the foreground with vigorous brushwork so that everything seems to be moving in the wind.
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JOHN MYATT “The drama in the sky matches the windswept landscape below, and the other drama is that of the artist himself.”
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JOHN WI LSON
"My new prints have allowed me to bring much more colour into my work. This is quite a change from my other Lowry-esque paintings – for which I use a limited palette. ‘Wonderland’ enabled me to step into the world of fantasy with no boundaries, and my imagination could run wild within the Alice in Wonderland storyline. I feel that using strong colours in this picture
was essential to the overall finished look.
‘Who’s Calling’ and ‘In the Summertime’ have a major splash of colour to exaggerate the 3D effect. I have also included some work by the popular graffiti artist and political activist, Banksy. I was lucky enough to go and see his Dismaland exhibition in Weston-super-Mare, which was incredible."
ThreeDimensional FlatbedGiclee Editionof195 ImageSize27"x17" FramedSize31"x21" £650Framed
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I N T H E G A L L E R Y John Wilson
"All of my paintings are painted 100% by hand: I don’t use any digital images or tracing. For the full effect of the 3D movement, they are best hung with the centre at eye level."
� InTheSummertime ThreeDimensionalFlatbedGiclee Editionof195
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� Wonderland ThreeDimensionalFlatbedGiclee Editionof195
ImageSize 27"x17" FramedSize31"x21" £650Framed
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WHO WE BE
In November 2017, Spotify was gearing up for its first ever live music event in the UK, Who We Be, at London’s Alexandra Palace. An avid collector of figurative artist Emma Grzonkowski’s work, Spotify’s senior editor, Austin Daboh, was quick to reach out to discuss commissioning a piece to mark the occasion. The commission saw Emma apply her signature style to depict the show’s headline acts: urban artists Bugzy Malone, Dizzee Rascal, Cardi B, Giggs, J Hus and Stefflon Don. The piece was unveiled at the sell-out event, which was an incredible talent-filled night. The painting was then whisked off to Spotify’s HQ, where it took pride of place before it was gifted to Bugzy Malone to put in his home. Emma said: “It was such an honour to create a painting for Spotify to celebrate its first live event. “Listening to the Who We Be playlist really helped with my creative process and allowed me to get inside each musician’s character and persona, and I’m over the moon that Bugzy Malone himself has the piece hanging on his wall!”
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As spring breaks through the seemingly interminable winter months, we’ve already got our minds set on our next summer escapes. Whether you’re planning a city getaway or a trip overseas, these artworks are sure to inspire your next break, or serve as a souvenir of your recent adventure.
Renowned artist, Paul Kenton, is known for his striking cityscapes, which are inspired by fast-paced city living across the world. From Paris to New York and London to Dubai, Paul’s work is guaranteed to transport you to some of the best getaway destinations.
Paul Kenton Monochrome
In his latest collection, legendary artist Bob Dylan captures iconic images as he journeys through America whilst on tour. From epic cityscapes to humble roadside eateries and boundless, limitless highways, Dylan shows you everything that America has to offer.
Bob Dylan Late in the Day, Houston Street
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Seeing the Northern Lights is on most people’s travel bucket list, and Mother Nature’s most spectacular light display no longer has to be out of your reach thanks to Richard Rowan, who travelled to Iceland to witness and capture the marvel for his latest collection, Aurora Borealis.
Raphael Mazzucco Mexico I
Richard Rowan Perfect Display
The sandy beaches of Mexico served as the inspiration for this piece by Raphael Mazzucco. Full of ancient ruins, green mountains and spectacular landscapes, it’s no surprise that Mexico is one of the world’s most visited countries. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to top up your tan and get your dose of culture.
Here Lawrence Coulson encapsulates the bountiful landscapes our British countryside has to offer. If you’re strapped for time but in desperate need of a holiday, book a long weekend away and soak up the breath-taking views that inspire Lawrence’s stunning work
Lawrence Coulson Hopes and Dreams
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I N T H E GA L L E RY
KE ITH MAIDEN
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Northern HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof95
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I N T H E G A L L E R Y Keith Maiden
“A lot of my work is storytelling. It sometimes takes longer to create the story of a painting than to paint the piece itself. It’s a difficult process that takes time, research and endless scribbles and sketches to bring everything together.”
Dave HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof95
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Phowar HandEmbellishedCanvasonBoard Editionof95
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[ interview with ] MARKCASS LET'SFILL THISTOWN WITHARTISTS
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The go-to supplier for professional artists and keen amateurs alike, Cass Art has been a bastion of creativity on UK high streets for over 30 years. With an ethos that closely mirrors our own, and the same sense of family and heritage that we cherish, it was only a matter of time until we joined forces, and 2018 is set to be that year. From kindly donating the winners’ prizes in our Young Fine Artist campaign, to joining our esteemed judging panel in Summer Exhibition 2018, we are delighted to join the glittering ranks of Cass Art affiliates alongside leaders of the UK art scene including The National Gallery, The Royal Academy of Arts, National Galleries Scotland and Sky Arts.
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Art really is in your blood; talk us through your family’s legacy… Our family has been involved with art for many generations. My father founded the Cass Sculpture Foundation in 1992, my sister is an artist and my great-great uncle, Paul Cassirer, was an influential art dealer and a promoter of the Impressionism movement in Europe. In 1901, he was lucky enough to hold some of the very first exhibitions of Impressionism, and one of my favourite stories centres around the handful of van Gogh exhibitions that he held in Berlin. He borrowed eight or nine pieces from the van Gogh estate and there are some wonderful letters that my family still has of him recounting back to Theo (Vincent’s brother) saying “I think I might have sold one…can we do another show?” This was seen as a really positive result because, incredibly, there was a time when these pieces simply didn’t sell. Fast forward to 1987 when ‘Sunflowers’ sold at auction for $40 million dollars! Impressionism is arguably the most important movement to come out of that period, and the artwork certainly reaches the highest values in today’s market. Cass Art is now an institution, but how did it all begin? In 1984, I was running a large art and craft business in London but due to rents and rates, even at that time, a decision was made that it wasn’t sustainable. I got the opportunity to take over 13 Charing Cross Road, at the back of the National Gallery, which is probably the best located art shop in the world, and steeped in heritage
thanks to its many famous visitors over the years, from Winston Churchill to Claude Monet. At that time I had little money, but as it turns out, I needn’t have worried. I went to the landlord who, luckily, was the ex-husband of Elizabeth Frink the sculptor and he knew of my family. He was gracious enough to put my mind at rest and assure me I didn’t need a deposit for the rent, and that’s how I managed to get started. So I opened the store and employed a manager who was himself an artist. That was my first moment of realisation that our products need to be explained by someone who has a knowledge of using them – and he was that person. Once the store was up and running I turned my attention to my biggest passion, which was - as it still is to this day - photography. I worked full time on Image Bank, a stock photo library that my father and I started in 1979. It turned out to be the crown jewels in my back pocket even though I didn’t realise it at the time; it sat dormant for 20 years until Getty Images eventually bought it in 2001, at which point I returned to the UK. The fantastic chaps at Winsor & Newton quite insightfully recognised that a great many art supply stores in London had ceased trading, and advised me to turn my attention to filling that gap. After doing my homework, it appeared that most of the closures were as a result of the emergence of the digital world, and their offering of dry-letter transfers and markers simply couldn’t compete. So I found premises on Kensington High Street (where I knew an art shop had existed previously) and went to see a
company called Pentagram Design – the world's largest independent design consultancy. Angus Hyland, who is one of the partners there, and I sat down and developed the Cass Art brand, from its styling and product range, to our wider approach and company mission.
“I’ve always understood the joy that creative processes can bring to people.”
The first challenge wasn’t deciding what we wanted to do, we have a very clear view on that. We wanted to swim against the tide of the increasingly digital world and get everybody using their hands to make things again, whilst keeping it affordable and accessible. We came up with a plan to “interrupt the high street” as it were, and tap into the general
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feeling that commercialism had gone a little too far. The idea was to place four or five shops around London, specifically targeting creative communities, I was very clear that art shops were not a new idea; they’d existed for years, so to be successful we’d need to reinvent ourselves. The stores had traditionally been very cluttered spaces, so Angus and I focussed on the principals of retails to edit the product range so that it was accessible not just in price, but also instrumental in breaking down any barriers of confusion that may have been an issue with art stores previously. As I had first realised at 13 Charing Cross Road, we knew the key would be recruiting staff that could unlock and demystify these products. Once again, it felt as if we had a certain degree of family is that we’re here as supporters.” “The message of the Cass
luck in being in the right place at the right time, and London’s siren call to artists served us well, so there was a pool of newly graduated artists on our doorstep. We were overjoyed both to share their knowledge, but also to help them through their journey to pursuing their careers. Having the best products was always going to be key. We wanted to make sure that when someone walked into one of our stores, a member of our staff could demonstrate the quality of the materials we sell and show exactly the benefits of using pigmented lightfast colour as opposed to an inferior option. Price is obviously always a determining factor, but without explaining how using quality materials can aid and improve their artistic endeavours, of course no one would or could justify to themselves paying more for paint, especially if they undertake art as a hobby and not professionally. We were strongly supported by some of the best suppliers and manufacturers in the world, and made a decision to promote the best brands by telling their stories as well as our own. Many of whom are UK based, world dominant, companies
who have been operating since the 18th and 19th centuries. Our pricing structure wasn’t without risk, but we were determined to be accessible. people to try their hand at art for the very first time that we introduced sets, purposely designed to be entry level, but still of great quality. In fact, one of my favourite things to do is to sweep a brush of student quality watercolour across a piece of paper, swiftly followed by a Winsor & Newton watercolour so they can see the difference in application for themselves. The understanding is instant. So do you actively recruit artists, or do they naturally gravitate towards a career with you…? For example, we were so determined to encourage Artists are creatures of habit, and we knew we would struggle to lure them away from their preferred suppliers, some of whom had been servicing their needs for decades. Even though many of the top tier artists were known to me, and I could have the conversation with them to explain what I was doing, it I think it’s a bit of both.
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soon became clear that part of the market was not susceptible to the interruption I sought. It therefore made sense to target the future generations of artists, understand their needs and to make sure they supported our brand. Also, I realised that they were the best barometer for trends and changes – if they all suddenly stopped using paint, whilst it wouldn’t be ideal, at least I’d be one of the first to know about it and we could better understand their needs and what materials they want. So what made you look beyond the capital to other cities nationwide…? turned our gaze to the rest of the UK. At that stage, most of the decisions weren’t based on expansion for the sake of expansion – in fact, we probably would have been happier to hunker down in London – but we were gradually seeing the cost for students to attend art school in London was becoming increasingly prohibitive. I had always recognised the lifetime value of making students advocates of Cass Art at the beginning of their studies or career, so it was crucial that we looked at regional art schools to understand where students were going. I think it’s exciting that what was once a London dominated UK art scene has spread its wings and grown out into other areas. The Glasgow School of Art is a great example; they have a wonderful painting tradition there. Spending some time up there and hearing that their graduates were excited by the art scene in Glasgow, and had no plans to move, gave me great Once we had established ourselves in London, we
confidence to open a store in the city. We have also found that Cass Art does well in cities with a strong draw for tourists, thanks largely to our products being recognised as some of the best in the world, and there always being an attraction around quintessentially British brands for overseas visitors. Again, London is no longer the only go to destination for tourists; increasingly cities such as Manchester, Brighton and Edinburgh are attracting a greater share of the tourism trade. We’ve also just opened up our e-commerce offering to Europe, which is exciting, and I certainly hope to see us back in Berlin – where my heritage began – as well as other European cities within my lifetime. Also, it interests me that we seem to overlap a great deal with you and where your Castle Fine Art and Castle Galleries are located. It speaks of our mutual company instincts to recognise where art communities are thriving and where our products will be best received. So perhaps I should look to where you are looking to open your next gallery to gauge
where the next Cass Art ought to be! Art can often express that which words cannot, do you agree…? I strongly believe that the need to be creative is within all of us. It started, if you will, with the first time that our ancestors began depicting everyday scenes in cave paintings, and we can trace frescos and examples of graffiti throughout history. I think - to a degree - things have come full circle, and the desire to make things with our hands is on the rise again. Perhaps it’s natural in an age when the digital world is stripping us of so much that is tangible. From making transactions with smart watches to the phenomenon of bitcoins, people seem to be craving the opportunity to embrace being hands on and having something to show for it. We’re seeing an enormous increase there, which bodes well for the future - after all, what are we supposed to do once the robots takes over?! We’re all creative souls when we allow ourselves to be so. Picasso said it best: “Every child is an artist. The problem
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is to remain an artist once they grow up.” We go to galleries and we view art that others have decided for us is the best, but actually it’s up to us as individuals to gauge how that art resonates for us. In the same way that my two year old paints and is very proud of her finished piece, because it means something to her. It’s her way of communicating what she’s thinking and feeling; the language of shape, form and colour can be as emotive, in fact more so, than any verbal communication. I think we all recognise now that mental illness is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing as a society today, and we’re all being told to gear up for a future that we don’t totally understand. In fact, my sister – who is an artist herself - is on the verge of completing an art therapy course. Art is the constant that has been there, as I say, from the beginning and perhaps only now are we starting to harness its full power. It’s a way of setting everything else aside, which is an extremely hard thing to do in today’s world, being as accessible and exposed as we all are these days. I’m not an artist, but I do sit and paint occasionally, and the act of putting brush to paper – or whatever it may be – takes me out of myself far more than reading an article or anything else. We love your motto: “Let’s fill this town with artists.” What does that mean to you…? It’s intentionally aspirational. The world has, over the years, put the artistic greats – like Picasso – on a pedestal, and I’m glad we do. Not because we all have to set that as the standard to reach, but because if we didn’t have the galleries
and museums lauding the likes of Picasso, I’m not sure people would hold art in quite such high esteem. We recently commissioned a survey, the results of which told us that around 65% of people we asked described themselves as creative. A lot of that is thanks to technology – we’ve all become accomplished photographers using our smartphones, and seasoned curators by virtue of our Instagram accounts. As we sit here talking, in our flagship Islington store that we opened 12 years ago, I remember people asking me back then why I would open an art shop in this increasingly digital age. Like all entrepreneurs going against the grain, it is easy to fall into the trap of questioning your decisions, but equally it motivates you to get up that little bit earlier the next day, work that little bit harder and ultimately ensure that you made the right choices. The upsurge of art as a hobby amongst professionals such as doctors, architects, lawyers etc is one of the most noticeable growth areas. Creative professionals, as we call them, are people who are very busy but feel the very keen need to find an outlet for their creativity during their precious downtime.
My own daughter, who is due to graduate as a doctor, has spent the last two years illustrating books when she’s not working or studying. It’s no different to people whose hobby is cooking; it’s working with your hands to create something which you can later enjoy. How has social media changed the landscape for artists these days…? Cass Art, much like your galleries, is built upon physical high street properties for people to visit and shop in, but like all cultural shifts are helpful in engaging new generations. My personal opinion is that standing in front of paintings derives a far different interaction with the art than viewing it online. It’s not to say that’s better than digitally curated galleries, and actually, if viewing work online is the catalyst that drives someone to want to visit a gallery or museum and view it in real life, that’s a powerful way of reaching new audiences. To me, it doesn’t matter how someone embarks on their journey with art, the important thing is that they do. Talk to us about your commitment to celebrating both artists and their art…
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As I’ve mentioned, the vast majority of our staff are artists - we had over 180 at the last count – and last year was our biggest ever Cass Art festival, which we held at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, to showcase the results of all their varying artistic practices. The team put together the most incredible display, taking over all five floors of the venue, with only two days to install it! It was a real celebration because, as I always say, the life of an artist isn’t always the easiest and it’s important to show appreciation for our staff and their talent. The festival has highlighted to us the very real need for designated Art Spaces in our stores, because we don’t hold it every single year, so it can’t be the only means by which we offer our staff a platform to exhibit. It’s something we’re fortunate to be able to do that others can’t. The major benefit is that all of our stores are in locations with a strong sense of community, and art is very much a social thread through those communities. We view it as social enterprise; a way of nurturing and celebrating the individuality you’ll find in each of our stores that reflects the local community. They each have their own, very distinct, identities: Bristol has its own flavour; think Bansky, very modern, anti-London ideals, and that’s great. Hampstead, Brighton, Liverpool… It’s important to immerse yourself fully into your business’ locality. Also, you might have noticed that our Art Space signage says that you’re welcome to exhibit your work whether you’re 3 or 103… Another way in which we try to be inclusive of all, and actually we’ve just realised that we might need to update that
everyone to visit our stores, learn a little something if they wish, enjoy the Art Spaces and leave feeling, hopefully, a little inspired. Not everyone has to be a gifted painter or be able to draw – anyone can derive pleasure from pouring paint onto canvas, working with colours, finding their own way and method. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Art is for all.
declaration because that was done when my grandmother, who still draws and paints to this day, turned 100 and so I thought making a point about creativity knowing no limits was relevant. However, she is about to turn 104, and my daughter is already showing an interest at 2, so the parameters obviously need to be revised! Anyone can apply to exhibit in our Art Spaces, it’s totally free and each of our stores has an in-house curator to manage the displays. We don’t see it as our place to be the doyenes of choice or taste, we simply enjoy showing a wide variety of styles and mediums from people of all backgrounds and experience. We also use the space to run workshops and other events, sometimes offering the rooms to the Royal Drawing School on Saturdays to run classes for different age groups. Your customers… Like your galleries, we’re trying to make sure our stores are out there being accessible to all. The joy of that is we do not have a ‘typical’ customer. There’s an open invitation to anyone and
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