Just before I take you through a journey of dicovery a few words about who I am and why I am writing this blog. My name is James Mackenzie, I am an artist/teacher and art lover. I have recently put my work out there on the world wide web and am starting to get noticed. My website address is www.mackenzieart.co.uk. I really don’t want to go on about myself so that’s it. Oh and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/JMackenzieArt?ref=hltwitter and of course Twitter https://twitter.com/jmackenzieart. That really is it! Here we go……
I am relatively new to Twitter and when this exhibition was advertised I was a complete novice. Early on I ‘Followed’ basically every major Art related page and also top art critiques……I quickly found that I was not getting quite as many ‘Follow’s back’ as I would have liked, actually none!
One of the Art pages I was following was ‘Show Us Your Art’, they were holding a large scale exhibition supported by the award winning Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima). They had commented on my artwork and said I should enter the exhibition. This was the opportunity I was waiting for but had no idea of the magnitude of the exhibition at this point.
These are the compositions that were chosen, Desolate Blue 1 and Desolate Blue 2
All works were judged by a panel of local experts, but unlike other art festivals, entry is free and the judges don’t get to see the name of the artist whose work they’re looking at.
I was lucky enough to have two of my compositions selected by the panel to be in the ‘Show Us Your Art’ exhibition in Middlesborough from Friday, September 21 to Sunday, September 23.
The Works were exhibited in locations including the BBC Open Centre, The Cleveland Centre, mima itself and in shops along Linthorpe Road, such as Psyche, Red Square and Triads.
The aim of the exhibition was to get art out and on display and not hidden away. A chance for unknown artists to have their work seen.
Unbelievably in the UK eighty per cent of the country’s art is in storage. This is Artwork owned by the people and paid for using their taxes. A real shame.
The ‘Show Us Your Art’ website has really opened my eyes to the art world. I discovered that investment groups often buy up the works of promising young artists and lock them away in containers, knowing that only one of them has to become successful for them to make a fortune.
In the meantime, this economic trap sees years and years’ worth of artists’ hard work, meant to be seen, to provoke debate, to inspire, never see the light of day and the artists who toiled so long to create them remain unseen.
Show Us Your Art wanted to change this and get the artwork into the public arena where it can be seen and appreciated. I began to realise how lucky I was to be a part in this.
An additional 34 excellent works were viewed on the ‘virtual gallery’. There were posters in windows all around Middlesborough town center carrying QR codes. That is the image above…….a QR code. It is an ingenious way to gain extra exposure of the artwork there just wasn’t the room for. The QR code was a way for people to see the artwork by simply scanning with their phone.
The exhibition had no funding no sponsorship and no entrance fee. It was purely the art loving community getting together to make it possible for artwork to be seen and artists discovered.
Curator Emily Petyt said, “The response has been amazing. People look down at places like Middlesbrough, because they think there’s no culture here”.
“But we asked local artists to send in their work. There are no prizes, no money, but we still got nearly 300 entries in three weeks”.
“We put out a shout for volunteers and said, ‘meet us in a café’; they filled the place. There’s some real talent and a real passion for art in this area and people from outside should really come and check it out.”
Senior curator at mima, James Beighton said, “mima is always interested in engaging with people in the area who are wanting to do something with art and that’s very important.
“So it was a bit of a no brainer to be honest, when a group of people come to us and say, ‘We want to provide exposure to a greater number of artists.’ Of course you’re going to want to support that.”
Show Us Your Art’s founder, Graeme Thomson said: “This is about people, more than anything. There’s a lot of real talent around here and all we’re doing is letting Teesside shout about its artists, and letting artists shout about Teesside.”
The exhibition was a huge success, just take a look at the review on the BBC website: