The materials and techniques: portrait miniatures gallery at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is not usually my must-see. I’d written off this medium as flowery, over-sentimental Victorian kitsch or boring pictures of posh people. Looking for prints and drawings, I find my eye being caught by a little brooch. A tiny eye. Upon closer inspection I noticed tiny tears, the caption tells me are made from real diamonds. Pearls encase the little watercolour-on-ivory by an anonymous British artist. Dated 1790-1810, there’s a macabre, dark feeling as it stares right at you, imagine that on an old lady’s coat! No denying it’s beauty. I believe good art makes you feel something you can’t describe and I did not expect to find this in a tiny painting of an eye by an unnamed painter. 

    And portrait miniatures are not all cliched depictions of aristocracy as I discovered, many do have soul. I was interested by a painting on glass by Isabella Beetham (called Portrait of an Unkonwn Woman). The painting uses only black and yet depicts detail, stand away and a silhouette is all you see but up close inspiring intricacy is a feast for your analytical eye. Below that is an example of Beetham’s earlier work, a paper cut silhouette entitled Portrait of Mr J Lloyd Jones. I am enthralled far less by this but find it interesting to see the development of the artist’s personal style.

    This process of making art that is so focused on other’s enjoyment can be beautiful on an emotional level as well as an aesthetic one.



    Victoria and Albert Museum


  2. Yuewei Vivien Zhang

    An artist with an interesting educational background, along with other emerging contemporary art talent, Zhang is an RA student, due to complete MA painting there in 2014. She’s a Slade grad, but unusually she completed her International Baccalaureate Bilingual Diploma in Thailand, whilst her earlier education took place in Nairobi, Kenya, and originally from Beijing, she lived in her hometown until the age of 10. It is no coincidence that her work currently deals with the displacement of cultural motif, although to me it is more evocative of digital-imaging and fallen autumn leaves.




    Following my recent read: Gompertz’s 150 Years of Modern Art, and a developing interest in Bauhaus school and it’s widespread contemporary influence, I fell in love with a beautiful girl: Marianne Brandt. The self portrait below, (which if your interested you can by from the Barbican’s website) reminds me of teenagers today, ‘selfies’ in the mirror. The epitome of vintage romance. Her work is Bauhaus design excellence. Her little teapot (readily available in imitation form) famously broke the Bauhaus design-auction record in 2007, selling for $361,000 - that’s a very expensive teapot! The elegance of her design is second to none, stunning simplicity. Her lesser-known work is in the form of photomontage. I often find photomontage a little over-sentimental but this, not overdone, simple and fun, quirky, sophisticated. 







    A fashion photographer of particular interest to a close friend of mine who uses an occasional double or long exposure. Working for Dazed, Vogue Homme Nippon and Raf Simons amogst others Pierre Debusschere has a distinctive and intriguing style thats aesthetic appeal is undeniable and his genius in combining lighting, post-production and exposure, also so. Here is what can be described only as a snapshot view into his spectacular portfolio.

    Pierre Debusschere



    Rare it is to receive a gift at this merry time that inspires like this. BBC arts editor: Will Gompertz writes concisely and unpretentiously on the notoriously complex and pretentious topic of modern art. Beginning with impressionists meeting in cafes he uses a familiar, anecdotal style that takes the reader unpatronizingly through the most influential modern art movements (and the key pioneers of each) of the last 150 years. Modern is made accessible art accessible. And obnoxious art nerds who believe contemporary works to be only understood an exclusive intelligent elite are proved to be wrong. It isn’t all that difficult after all. Cheers Will.




    Nebulae and galaxies appear frequently on the tumblog of a hipster or two, and I indeed discovered artist Mungo Thomson on this very site. So why am I featuring images of the grunge-blogger’s preferred taste on my art blog? How is Mungo Thomson's work different from every image in the NASA archives. Well the artist explores space and human responses to space in much of his work, some of which I must feature in the future… And his series negative space transforms spaces with huge images of outer-space devoid of black because they are in negative… ofcourse. And these images both explore and transform space.

    Mungo Thomson



    Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings at Tate Liverpool was my most recent gallery visiting venture. It’s been on for a while now but fret not you still have until 28th October to go and visit. If you live anywhere within sensible Merseyside proximity then I urge you to get down there. This is an excellent collection of paintings that has a sense of dialogue despite displaying three artists working decades apart. Twombly’s abstraction, grotesque at times works excellently alongside Turners beautiful light-obsessed hazy landscapes and Monet’s iconic waterlilies. This exhibition is genius. I have the book but need to find the time to read it properly. And because I am your average teenager underneath my art-nerd guise I Instagram-ed my tickets.

    Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings
    Tate Liverpool



    Unfortunately, I can’t find any decent images of the South London water-tower restoration featured on last nights 100th episode of Grand Designs. It is not yet (and I’m unsure as to whether it will ever be) on 4oD however re-runs will be shown (details of which are on this page). Put it on your to-watch list.
    There were elements I loved about this towering, industrial, Victorian structure - like the ex-water-tank-come-contemporary-living-space with a view of the cityscape that is evocative of one of those hideous twelve foot long canvasses with a moody-lit panorama of the big smoke’s sky-line one can purchase for fifty squid in Ikea. Yet, in this instance, it’s not hideous, because it’s real. Fucking hell. If I could go and stand in that space it may move me to tears. A contemporary kitchen in a structure dubbed ‘The Cube’ by the very-gay couple (his-and-his-sinks, six man baths et all) who’ve built this to be their home, is somewhat ugly. A space that is somewhat redeemed by huge glass sliding doors. Mezzenines and tastefully decorated bedrooms give the interior a sensible, contemporary feel but then almost perfect design is destroyed by hideous stripey stair carpet and OTT grey and white wallpaper. But this is all little decorative complaints with the interior, which if it was my house, could be altered. And it’s not. It’s Leigh and Grahams (they wear scarves). Only The Cube that I dislike, overall a spectacular display of romance, restoration and resplendence.
    Grand Designs



    A week a go today I was at the Liverpool Philharmonic hall watching this punk poet. The argument against Cooper Clarke is that he is old and tired and just regurgitating poetry from his glory days of The Clash and The Sex Pistols. A lot of jokes I’d heard before, however he did do them justice and the audience laughed. On a couple of occasions the true Cooper Clarke genius was revealed - a metaphorical description of the two doors of the Phil as a sharks jaws told of his capabilities with language and his poetry in thick Mancunian were enjoyable to say the least. 
    John Cooper Clarke



    I like buying CDs. I’m not a vinyl player and, I know, downloading is convenient - but having an album on disc is romantic. I’m a CD addict. I love record shopping. In order to get hold of this Purity Ring album I had to go all the way to LIVERPOOL (about an hours travel away). Perhaps, slightly absurd.

    Purity Ring's Shrines is lyrically and musically intelligent. Anatomy being a recurring, interesting theme. Music that makes you feel something that you can't quite describe. This synthy music is both light-hearted and dark. This is an album more than definitely worth you taking a listen to. Here is my instagram-ed photograph of the disc. The album artwork beautifully reflects the music.

    Purity Ring



    Working yourself to exhaustion and not being able to make it down to London for Frieze Masters disappoints me; so today I will keep topical, like a kind of art blogging crowd-follower and talk of a Frieze exhibitor.
    Argentinian artist Osvaldo Romberg's works from the 1970s are essentially a visual form of art history literature. Analysing the colour, surface texture and structure of classical artworks with sketches, text, paint samples and diagrams. The outcome is an aesthetic that I personally feel is beautiful and I believe many would be more than happy to have on their walls. The work is intelligently thought out and skillfully executed. 

    Osvaldo Romberg
    Frieze London



    It is a scary, big, impersonal place the internet. Or so I thought. Two weeks ago I deleted myself from Facebook and I’ve been feeling rather down on the web lately. But I started this blog, for self indulgent reasons only - because I needed a place to record art that my brain could no longer capacitate (hence Exploding Head Syndrome). I’ve been thinking somewhat, then, for these reasons, about the internet. Late last night, I found a podcast released by TEDtalks of Jonathan Harris talking about the web as art. He is an internet-based American artist who builds online interfaces to tell stories. Much of his work I found heart-warming, intelligent and intriguing. Here was somebody using the internet to look at human nature, human emotion and humanity. And the web is impersonal, inhuman? Well maybe not.
    I was particularly struck by his interface: We Feel Fine. We Feel Fine scans blog posts across the web for the phrase ‘I feel’. So I’m probably on We Feel Fine now - Orwellian or what? The sentences are then presented in a series of different ways including by emotion (colours are used to symbolise positive or negative emotions), gender or age of the writer. You must see this genius for yourself. It also incorporates images that are posted alongside these sentences. On the podcast Harris spoke about viewing snippets of people’s lives and used the example of an old photograph he found on the street. Perhaps the excitement we all feel when we find a piece of someone’s lives carved into our desk at school or in a picture in a neighbourhood window can also be found online. 

    Jonathan Harris
    We Feel Fine



    This woman should definitely be diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That aside, she is able to produce some of the most intriguing, delicate art I have seen. California based Annie Vought's hand cut, paper lettering is romantic, candid and touching.

    Annie Vought


  14. GRIMES

    Those who know me well, will know well of my infatuation with this girl. I saw her at HMV Ritz in Manchester and contrary to what the NME wrote about the tour - I thought it was excellent - absurd, maybe but absurdity and catastrophe are not the same. An array of influences and styles and if visual music was ever to be invented I reckon it would be quite close to this. She does all her album artwork herself. Particularly for Visions the cover is stunning. Grimes, my love.




    There are a few artists whose work make my body shiver. Like cities and people I fall in love with the art and I’ve recently fallen for Italian painter: Enrico Minguzzi. The first artist I posted on was Alyssa Monks. I mentioned her stunning combination of photo-realism and abstraction. Similarly, Minguzzi's abstract forms have a photographic quality. Painting (most famously) subjects such as his bathroom. There is a contrast between the beautifully executed soft blending and the harder-edged, sometimes geometric triangles and stripes that evoke shafts of light (perhaps where the photographic feel emerges from). Despite many paintings being thematically and physically dark, for me they are more euphoria than melancholia.
    You can buy a print on Minguzzi’s work (or indeed an original) from Saatchi Online. Fine Art prints start at around  $30 at $120 for canvas print. I’m tempted.

    Enrico Minguzzi
    Saatchi Online
    Saatchi Online: Enrico Minguzzi