Tag Archives: Exhibitions

Transformations: Art, and Meeting Face-to-Face

29 Sep



Supported with public funds by Arts Council England.

Supported by Norfolk County Council.



Firstly,  let me share this link to the newspaper article that was written by The Lynn News in response to Transformations. It sums up the whole experience entirely: ‘ArtiPeeps King’s Lynn exhibition ‘rip-roaring success”:


And here’s the Wordle I did of the Evaluation Sheet we had at the exhibition (click to enlarge):


Cloud 17


For me, the most interesting evaluatory word in real terms amidst all of the above is the word ‘Confused’.  This lone word is potentially a real point of growth and development for us. What we presented to a viewing audience was a huge swathe of material that nearly everybody appreciated in someway, but that maybe still needs to be contextualised more for better understanding.  It’s made me ask: do we need more explanatory information?; how can we best guide people around our projects? are we putting on collaborations or exhibitions?  These are big, fundamental questions that affect our artistic practice and future projects. These are all really great questions to be asking as we step into our next project.


Art and Connecting

When Transformations first started out as a project I hadn’t even thought of incorporating art or making it a multi-form project. It was going to be solely a poetry project. However, the power of juxtaposing one form up against another is undeniable, and the more that thought brewed the more the idea of bringing art in seemed inevitable. The art and the poetry could juxtapose, they could also mirror. Either way they would stimulate interest in different ways, broadening out the reach of our project. I never thought in my wildest dreams that in the asking and in the return I would get such a diversity of mediums, themes and styles. The level of skill too was beyond measure too. Also the mixture of emerging and professional creatives provided a really good balance.

In case you’ve forgotten here are all the Transformations pieces:


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7 of the 15 pieces were framed by us, with some of the artists (Rob Fitzmaurice,  Diana Probst, James Mackenzie and Heather Burns) delivering their art themselves. It was such a privilege to meet them for the first time and here they are with their pieces:


Rob Fitzmaurice an The Transformation of Hecuba, Book 13

Rob Fitzmaurice an The Transformation of Hecuba, Book 13

Diana Probst delivering her Book  picture

Diana Probst delivering her Book picture

Heather Burns and her Book 6 painting A Circle Unbroken

Heather Burns and her Book 6 painting A Circle Unbroken


Seven seems to have been our lucky number as 7 pieces of art were sold too: James Mackenzie’s The Moon’s Dark Shadow, which went to the Vice Principal of King Edward VII Academy, King’s Lynn:

The Proud owner of James Mackenzie's picture

The Proud owner of James Mackenzie’s picture


And Lili Morgan had her first ever picture bought…Here’s the red marker going on, placed by the owner:


The moment Lili's painting was sold

The moment Lili’s painting was sold


Both Kelly Occhiuzzo’s piece Echo and Narcissus was sold, and two prints of emerging artist Charle Redding’s print The Mortal Coil were also sold. We hope to build on this next year with a designated promotion zone where people can sell other pieces and exhibition prints.

Also the impact of the comic strip and cartoon orientated pictures was pivotal in the consolidation of our use of comics in what we do:


Teenager looking at Comic Strip


Schools' Day: KES Academy, King's Lynn, Sara Mena's Picture Strength and Disgrace

Schools’ Day: KES Academy, King’s Lynn, Sara Mena’s Picture Strength and Disgrace


The interest younger people showed in the comic strip material was obvious and a really good introduction to the material and to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. With The Nine Realms we will be having a designated Comic Corner, a physical comic and hopefully an animation of some sort.

Overall, a good number of us met for the first-time, and connected in real-time. I’m hoping that next year even more of us can meet and share in the collective experience. I’m excited to communicate our next project to a viewing and hearing audience in King’s Lynn and Norfolk, who now not only know who we are but also the quality of our work and our intention. In the not-to-distant-future I am hoping to put in place some sort of travel bursary to help creatives take part in our projects in real-time, so more of the collective can meet and see the impact of their work on others.

I shall be introducing our next large-scale project on Wednesday, and thank you, once again, for your interest.


All the very best.



A Transformations Poetry Special: Pictures and Audios

18 Sep


Supported with public funding by Arts Council England. Supported by Norfolk County Council


In this post I want to place a focus on the poetry featured in our exhibition in King’s Lynn. 60 of the over 100 poems written throughout our 15 month collaboration were featured in the exhibition. We managed to get a broad range of the poetry  read out loud across the 3 days. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get audios of everything, but we do have some great moments we’d like to share, particularly with attendees reading the transformers’ poetry aloud, sometimes not having read poetry for years.

Here’s an audio of one lady doing exactly that- amazing…:



The engagement with the spoken word was impressive across the whole weekend, whether child or adult. Even people who came in and said ‘poetry wasn’t their thing’ seemed to soon change their minds when they heard some of the transformers read their poetry out loud. Karin read her Book 13 poem Hecuba’s Pain to a lady who said she didn’t ‘get’ poetry. However, as soon as she engaged with the emotion behind the words of Karin’s poem and responded to Karin’s interpretation she changed her mind. She is now going to give it a go! Here’s the reading that altered her perception. 



I also came across another interesting prejudice which was that poetry is an inferior form to prose. I had a energetic debate with a man who could not see the purpose of it… I fought poetry’s corner, and this encounter has firmed up my intention to try and shake-up a bit how our attendees in future projects meet what we create….Perhaps even challenging the idea of the word ‘exhibition’ and all that the word intimates. Anyway, that’s another story….


Here below, is a visual, poetry foam board extravaganza for you. Showing the variety of forms, styles and themes, and an idea of the journey they made from box to stand (click to enlarge the pictures):



There are more images to come as the pictures roll in…. We’ll  also do a special on the art from the exhibition  and on the impact of the Transformers coming together in real time.

To leave you. Here’s an audio of Adam Wimbush’s poem from Book 15, Epilogue. Summing up, I think, what Transformations has been all about:



Thanks so much for your interest!


All good wishes,


P.S. Big thanks to Transformer Gill Offley who took so many of these great photos! 

We Made The Virtual Real! : Transformations Update and PDF 5/5

15 Sep

new-badge5 Supported by Arts Council England. Supported by Norfolk County Council

To celebrate the opening of our first ever large-scale exhibition, I just thought I would share the fully interactive PDF of our exhibition which contains all the artwork and poetry from our 15 month project.

We hope you enjoy the 15 new artworks and the 60 poems all celebrating and modernising Ovid’s Metamorphoses for new audiences. It also includes two great Ovid/poetry and art forewords by classicist Emma Bridges and art critic Anna McNay.

Interactive Pdf Trans 3.1


A few of our Hanse House preparation and exhibition pictures thus far, including our schools’ day:

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Everyone  responded so  positively  to the poetry and art. On the Schools’ Day we had a fantastic poetry reading. We had the pupils from King Edward VII’s School reading poetry.  Greg Mackie’s, poem Hope and Defiance got read out by one of the pupils; Eleanor Perry’s  poem of beginning was read out too amongst others. Every Transformer’s poetry was given an airing across the exhibition weekend. The pupils were 100% engaged, and responded to the poetry-art combination amazingly well. Artist, Heather Burns,  described her painting, so did James Mackenzie and Rob Fitzmaurice. Heather also read out Kate Garrett’s Maybe Medea too, as well as James KnightsScylla . And as you can see from the pictures the pupils loved the use of comic strip in Sara Mena’s picture Strength and Disgrace.

Strength and Disgrace by Sara Mena Inspired by Book 9

Strength and Disgrace by Sara Mena Inspired by Book 9


Elizabeth Fernandez’ and Lisa Perz’ comic strip was also praised. The concept of using comic strip as an entry point to complicated material works! There were clusters of pupils  around the comic strip/cartoons. It was great.

The one-word evaluation sheet went down well too- the responses ranged from SICK!, to mystical, to thought-provoking. to powerful, to EPIC! This is really great feedback. Here is  a soundcloud audio that James Mackenzie and I did (having met for the first time) to give you an idea!



In terms of selling paintings we had 7 sales: Lili Morgan, Kelly Occhiuzzo, Charlie Redding (x2), Elaine Offley and James Mackenzie.

The Heritage Open Day was a complete success, and by the end of the day 402 people had heard the Transformers poetry and viewed their pictures. Congratulations to them all!! More pictures of all of this will follow…..

I shall post another update soon!

Thanks so much for your interest!


All good wishes,


Today Is a Big Day: ArtiPeeps Update (Transformations)

30 Apr

   “Working in collaboration leads to a rich dialogue yielding unexpected results.” ~Alexander Gorlizki

Today is a big day. It’s the day when the last poems of Transformations are due in, which marks the conclusion of our poetic 15 month online journey  together. The Book 15 poems, however, will continue to go out throughout May, and we will, of course,  all be collectively working towards our September poetry-art exhibition. Our exhibition will project our online collaboration into the real world  and enable us to showcase what we have created collectively.

The poets:  Nat, Becca, James, Bid, Lenka, Karin, John B, John M, Greg, Nell, Sadaf, Adam, Carol and Kate have contributed so much to this project and it moves me greatly. Thank you all so much for your creativity. Once the last poems are in I’ll release the selection for exhibition poetry for books 12-15. Great!

To be able to add in art to the mix has just been the icing on the cake, and today is the deadline too for the artwork. Here below, you’ll see in order the exhibition artwork thus far. We have five more pieces to come in which will complete the art for all 15 books of Metamorphoses. I think the quality and the diversity of the pieces are apparent.

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Five more pieces of art are due in immanently and I’ll show them in my next update. It’s fantastic to see all the work coming together. The Code Crimson are also very busy with their comic strip, which will act as an entry point for children and adults to the main exhibition. Here’s a taster of some of their images for the comic strip background.

Code Crimson Sample


Our Kickstarter Campaign has been going for 10 days now. We have 19 backers and  are 14% funded. We have accrued £657 towards our £4413 project goal  There has been a steady flow of backers, for which I and the transformers are extremely grateful. Here’s the latest Wordle which will appear in banner form in the foyer of Hanse House by way of a thank you.

Wordle Day 8


There is article coming out in The Cambridge Evening News this Saturday about my bi-polar, ArtiPeeps and Transformations. It will be interesting to see what comes of that, and there will be at least two more articles in King’s Lynn about what we are trying to create.

The ArtiPeeps season of working has also been rolling along too with the ‘Supporting Mental Health’ collaborations showing great variety and a pertinent engagement with themes of loneliness and anxiety and release. The Weekend Showcases and FreeSpaces have also been great, and I have uncovered a profound love of found poetry.

Thank you once again for your interest. Please do take the time to look at our Kickstarter Campaign, become a Friend of ArtiPeeps,  and consider supporting our project.

All good wishes,




14 poets, 15 artists, 1 Contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses



IT SHOWCASES a mix of emerging and established social media poets and artists from around the UK and the globe

IT LAUNCHES into the real world our large-scale collaborative exhibition initiative, which we hope to run on a yearly basis, transforming unusual literary pieces and themes year on year

IT FORGES a new ongoing relationship with HANSE HOUSE, a unique exhibition space and development

IT PROJECTS ArtiPeeps and its new, open access membership scheme into the real world

IT INNOVATES using comic strip as an entry point for children and adults to access literature more easily

IT PUTS A CONTEMPORARY TWIST on a remarkable, influential continuous poem and piece of literature

IT CELEBRATES relationships, connection and creativity as we all come together


Falling Into Place: ArtiPeeps Update

20 Feb


Looking at the diary yesterday, I realised I have not done an ArtiPeeps Update for a while, and there has been a lot going on in terms of development. Last month we finally opened our official bank account as an organisation. This is in preparation for the fundraising for ‘Transformations’. I have to say that it all felt very grown up, and a bit of a benchmark for us! There’s nothing in it at the moment, but I’m sure that will change when our sponsorship drive kicks in!  At the moment it feels like lots of little jigsaw pieces are being lain down in readiness for the completion of the whole picture. It’s amazing how one big movement, a coming together, is so overwhelmingly dependent on so many smaller pieces sliding into position behind it….

So where to begin: at this very moment I’m pulling together our ‘Transformations’ Kickstarter Campaign Page’ together in preparation for our launch. A video beckons immanently- very ‘where do you want me Mr De Mille!’ 

We’re nearly there with  the special logo/badge designed for our ‘Transformations’  Kickstarter campaign. It’s been created by Gary Caldwell (who did our ArtiPeeps logo). As with the previous logo, it has taken a lot of tweaking, and there has been a lot of too-ing and fro-ing  with the image over the last month or so, but we’re there with it now. As soon as I have shown it too the Transformers I’ll release it generally.  The idea is that you’ll be able to ‘grab’ it to help us promote the exhibition and project as our Kickstarter campaign kicks off.  I had intended for sponsorship letters to have gone out by now, but we needed the logo for the letterheads so  now we have it- out into the world the letters can go.

In terms of funding applications, I am also about to send off our first grant bid to Norwich Borough County Council. This is for the hire of Hanse House across the 3 days: 12, 13, 14th September. It will take six weeks for us to find out if we’ve got the money, which will impact our Kickstarter project goal/sum. We will start our Kickstarter campaign for ‘Transformations’ as soon as we’ve heard. I’m hoping for  Monday 24th April, but it may still have to be put back if we haven’t heard by then. There’s nothing much I can do about that, apart from accept it  as the nature of the beast!  Then it will  be onto preparing an application to The Jarrolds Trust in March,  for the commissioning of the cartoon (see below) and the framing and mounting of 6-7 pictures for the exhibition (for those creatives who can’t get to King’s Lynn geographically). The Chair of ArtiPeeps and I have been tucked away together calculating for the last month in order to get all the figures right. It’s been a real eye-openner and felt more than a bit Dickensian, but necessary: very, very necessary…

At the end of this month too, we are also going to be amalgamating the poets and the artists from ‘Transformations’ into one group, which will be a fine feeling in readiness for the campaign and for the conclusion of the online project in March, and our transition into the phase that takes us to the actual concrete event. The poetry for the project will still continue to be posted out through our up-and-coming season.

 It is my plan in May to start to plan the next large-scale project which will be the Norse Sagas. If any poets, writers  or artists are interested in getting involved do let me know, via the contact form on the What’s On page or via Twitter @ArtiPeeps .

The Code Crimson, the great duo of cartoonists and artists in Florida, California, are also at this moment creating the cartoon which is portraying the material and stories from books 1,3, and 8 of Metamorphoses.  This is in alignment with the requirements of the Classical Civilisations A/S which includes Metamorphoses. This will be displayed alongside the main exhibition as an innovative access point for children and adults. Our plan is to make the first day of the exhibition a schools day for this reason.

The re-designing of the ArtiPeeps website is still ongoing, but we are nearly there now. The wire frame and design is nearly done and then the coding will start. Unfortunately it won’t be ready for either the start of the season or the Kickstarter. However, there’s no point in rushing something that is going to make such a difference. It’s better to get it right and take our time. Suffice it to say I’m very happy with it, and it will make a huge difference to how our opportunities are presented which is a brilliant thing.

It’s also time for me to announce the next sequence of poems selected for the exhibition from Books 8-11:

Book 8:

Richard Biddle-A Humble Marriage

Nell Perry- Philemon and Baucis

Karin Heyer- Icarus Transformed

John Mansell- Philemon and Baucis

Book 9:

Sadaf Fatima- FlipSide

James Knight- Lotis

Love Transcends- Carol Robson

Byblis writes a love letter – Rebecca Audra Smith

Book 10:

Richard Biddle- Thoughtform (after Pygmalion)

Nat Hall- Wild Vows

Greg Mackie- That Loser Pygmalion (with apologies to Ovid)

Adam Wimbush- Cyparrisus

Book 11:

Kate Garrett- This guy Midas

James Knight-Prime Cut

Nell Perry- Turned To Birds

Rebecca Audra Smith- How to kill Orpheus


I think that is about it for the moment. I’m really excited about the great season of work that’s immanently going to start from Monday 3rd March. We’ve got a wide range of Showcases,  ‘FreeSpaces’ and some really great poetry,  writing and mental health collaborations involving a broad range of creatives. It’s going to be good!!

I’m also full of anticipation about our ‘Transformations’ Kickstarter campaign for our exhibition which will hopefully nestle, and then explode, right in the middle of it all!  It’s a big adventure and gamble into the unknown. I know it’s a bit early to say this, but we absolutely need your support with our campaign so we can make the exhibition happen, so watch out for the start of it!

All the very best,


ArtiPeeps Update: Steady As She Goes

14 Jan



The ArtiPeeps new year has begun with a great deal of enthusiasm, impetus and direction- all aimed at working towards our first major large-scale art-poetry exhibition ‘Transformations’. The poets are now writing poetry inspired by book 12 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and we have another 3 books to go before we complete our 15 months of working together. One of our poets Rebecca Audra Smith has even finished all of them which is a great claim to fame.  Becca has also produced a 20- poem chapbook on *Philomela here,  and it’s worth mentioning that poetJames Knight  also has an ongoing Orpheus project on the go. Equally, the ‘Transformations’ artists are now beginning to concentrate on producing their pieces and there is a deadline of April 29th to have an image ready for the exhibition book.

I am presently in the midst of putting in a bid to The Arts Project Fund, Norfolk to help us with the costs of hiring Hanse House and I am presently enjoying (if that’s the right word) fiddling with income and expenditure figures. The application is due to be handed in on Friday 31st January. We will hear within 6 weeks whether we have got the funding. I have high hopes, and I will let you all know.

We are also currently having a project badge for our Kickstarter campaign designed for us.  Gary Caldwell, who also designed our logo, is creating this for us. This badge will be linked to a special exhibition page on this site, and can be grabbed by anyone to put on their website to help spread the word about ‘Transformations’.  The image will more than likely also be used as our Kickstarter campaign image and potentially our poster. At the moment I’m thinking that our campaign will run from the middle of April for 31 days. There might be some leeway either side pending on what is going on.

Last Tuesday Elaine (the Chair of ArtiPeeps and art Transformer) and I went to Pampisford  to meet with the printers who are dealing with the creation of our rewards for our Kickstarter campaign. As a result we are presently having a trial art-poetry greetings card made up. This will feature Heather Burns artwork for Book 7 and Kate Garret’s poem ‘Maybe Medea’. Heather’s piece ‘The Circle is Unbroken’ is the first near-finished ‘Transformations’ artwork. We are all extremely excited to see how the card looks. In fact as soon as I’ve finished writing this post, I’m going to finalise the proofs, and we’ll be off.  I am also well under-way with the formatting of our on-demand exhibition book, and aim to start on an ebook in March. 

When it comes to my work practice, I’m a slow and steady kind of gal. I always do things well in advance; it keeps the panic at bay (or that’s the hope) and keeps me well. With this approach in mind, I am also now slowly pulling together our Kickstarter campaign page:  writing the text and trying to get the right feel and balance of it. It’s trickier than you might expect. But there’s swathes of time to get that right which is everything. I am also working on the rewards and will release them to all the Transformers for their input and feedback next week. I think there are some good rewards there,  but there is always room for development and I want everyone to feel involved.

I also had a very interesting meeting with the manager of The King’s Lynn Arts Centre  who had some very helpful things to say about not only how we should market ‘Transformations’ (what we could emphasise/not emphasise) but  also about other possible funding pots. I am exploring all of this presently, and I’ll let you know what I find in another update post.

I have nearly finished the scheduling for our next season of work: March-May, and I’m very excited about:  the 12 new showcases we’ve set up; the two ‘supporting mental health’ collaborations we’ll be running; the next ‘Hot Potato’ writing initiative; and  a new ‘Found poetry’ collaboration we’re giving a go. It should be good. I’m also delighted to have made a connection with Millfield School in Somerset. Some of their older pupils will be taking up our ‘FreeSpace’ Initaitive. It’s going to be a very good season.

Well, I think that is just about it for now. They’ll be another batch of ‘Transformations’ poems going out this week.

As always, we 100% appreciate your support and interest.

All the very best.


*Philomela was one of the two daughters of Pandion I, the King of Athens

ArtiPeeps Queen’s Speech 2013

23 Dec



And in line with that festive message I have the great pleasure of announcing that ArtiPeeps is now a fully constituted small, online voluntary organisation. We now have a constitution, a management committee and a soon to be bank account. To all intents and purposes we have formalised and become something concrete and more than virtual which is fantastic!  The implications of this also affect the opportunities we provide positively and dynamically. It now means that I can apply for funding for both our projects and our organisational needs. It also means that we can turn ourselves into a membership organisation, and my intention is to start that off in parallel with our ‘Transformations’ exhibition next September (See here). I can hardly believe it really! It’s a wonderful thing.  I remember sitting here last year writing 2012’s queen’s speech and wondering where we’d be in a year’s time, and I don’t think I ever imagined that we would be putting on ‘Transformations’ in the way that we are, or that ArtiPeeps would be formalised in the way that it is now. It also means that I now have got a small group of people behind me who I can consult with and who can offer advice.

My main focus for this year is the ”Transformations’ Kickstarter Campaign’ which I think will probably run in April 2014 and the ‘Transformations’ exhibition in Hanse House that follows. I am applying to various funders and sponsors but we still need the Kickstarter campaign to be a success for everything to go ahead. The whole project has blossomed into something so wonderful that features such talent and supports collaboration between artists and writers in a profound way. It is also creating an amazing collaborative literary piece and new artwork is being created too.  And I have also come to value Ovid’s tales enormously and become aware of the impact they have had on our culture and the stories we tell each other. Your support right the way through next year is not only valued but critical to our success.

 ‘Transformations’ will  also act as a template for what’s to come and the plan is to have one large scale collaboration plus exhibition and book per year.  Our newly established connection with Hanse House means that we can now have a home for our poetry and art exhibitions and collaborations. So there now can always be external outlets for what we do virtually. This extends our ability to platform creatives. It is also my intention to apply for funding so we can tour nationally. Watch this space on that one…

The website is also going to be completely revamped in the new year. A ‘wire frame’ is being produced at the moment and I’m going to make certain that there will be more opportunities within the site to visually promote creatives. And I’ll be able to control how I present the poetry and images much better. From next year the site’s schedule will be driven by ‘seasons’ of work. These will run through three months with a month in between. There will be 2-3 seasons per year. Our next full season, therefore will be March-May 2014 which I am scheduling at the moment. It will contain our usual mix of showcases, FreeSpaces, Creative Residencies and form-specific and mental health collaborations. Until March I will continue to post out ‘Transformations’ poetry,  ArtiPeeps Development posts and Kickstarter Campaign details as needed.

This past year has felt quite extraordinary. I’ve learned so much- some of which has felt fantastic and some of which has been uncomfortable and been an opportunity for me to learn and grow. Yesterday,  someone on the phone made a very pertinent analogy. She said: ‘you know what it’s like when you put a rucksack on your back and you haven’t got it settled in the right position yet for it to feel comfortable. I think this is the way it is for you and ArtiPeeps at the moment’.  I think next year will be when my ruck-sack truly settles. By the end of this coming year I think ArtiPeeps will be what it is meant to be, and I’ll have gained a breadth of curatorial and fundraising skills that can only help me provide better and better services and opportunities for creatives. Ones that support new work and well-being. 

I am doing what I’m meant to do and this past year has been very affecting personally and ArtiPeeps-wise I’ve learned a lot about respect and connection, and I haven’t (I hope) intentionally taken any relationship within it for granted.  This coming year is going to be the making of ArtiPeeps. It’s going to be a colossal learning curve for me and I take on the responsibility of what I’m doing gladly,for I believe totally in the talent and skill of everybody I have worked with and am working with. Nobody is forgotten and everybody is valued. 

I’d like to say a BIG thank you to everyone that regularly looks at what we do.  Your feedback and attention never goes unnoticed and is wholeheartedly appreciated. I’d also would like to thank the Transformers and contributors over this past year. You’ve all been great. And a big shout-out to those creatives getting involved next year too. And finally a big thank you to the ArtiPeeps management committee (who include 3 Cambridge-based Transformers). Your support and faith in me means a lot. 

I’m looking forward to the new year and ‘Transformations’ enormously, and to planning more exciting opportunities and initiatives that can support and platform more and more creatives. 

Now, with great pleasure here’s  message from the new Chair of ArtiPeeps: 

‘Hi everyone! Just a brief message to introduce myself as ‘Chair’ of the recently constituted Artipeeps. I first joined Nicky’s Creativity group over 12 months ago with fellow committee member Gill O . We have enjoyed many creative meetings exploring different themes through various mediums and have witnessed with great respect Nicky’s development of ArtiPeeps as a collaborative artistic on-line community.
I am a novice in artistic terms, but find great inspiration from Nicky’s creativity group meetings and will be exhibiting either a charcoal drawing or watercolour (based on book IV), at the Transformations’ exhibition in September 2014.
I’m sure you will agree that Nicky is herself an inspiration and that what she is developing with ArtiPeeps is truly ‘awesome’. I would like to encourage you to support the Transformations Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign being launched in April of 2014 through which we are hoping to substantially fund the exhibition, as I and my fellow committee members will be doing. It will be fantastic to see everyone’s work brought together at the event.
Meanwhile, I would like to wish everyone good health, happiness and a very ‘merry Christmas” .
Elaine O. 

Here’s to the new year ahead!

All the very best.


The Thing You Cannot Explain

14 Jan

The Black Swan (2011)

“The life of an artist is a contradiction.  We are expected to be individualistic, yet the worth of our work is judged in shared collective values.  This can pose some problems when we produce something very avant-garde in the spirit of Picasso, Duchamp or Gauguin, but social defined notions of quality are often defined by whether something looks similar in style to Picasso, Duchamp or Gauguin. Spirit is irrelevant.  If we are too different, then our work sits outside the square of what is socially defined as ‘good.’  

We artists are subjected to expressions and sayings that advise us to disregard public tastes. For example, Vincent van Gogh said, “Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion.” If we were to take heed, I suppose we could disregard all those who like van Gogh’s quotes, and even the quote itself, which could get us in a weird kind of circular argument about whether we are being individualistic and disregarding public opinion. Bit of a head spinner that one.

 Another way we could disregard public opinion is to cease caring about whether the public likes our work so that when we have exhibitions, we would not care if anyone came.  I have to say that that  would be odd. I can’t speak for all other artists here, but I must say that when I have exhibitions, I really don’t want to be the only one in attendance. As an exhibiting artist, I will just have to accept that I care about the public. Furthermore, even though I am not keeping with the spirit of van Gogh, I see promotional benefits in citing the media responses etc  in my artists resume. (Ok, I’ll contradict myself again here, I hate the idea of an artist resume that cites positive social reaction to one’s art, but I use them anyway.)


To Be Reconciled (2012)

We artists are told that we are socialists and vote for left-wing parties, yet we operate like little capitalists; selling our own work, keeping our profits for ourselves, competing for gallery openings, and competing for space in art magazines. Admittedly, we sometimes stage exhibitions together; however, the fact that these exhibitions are often marketed with clichéd words like ‘eclectic’, ‘diversity’, and ‘variety’ suggests that everyone is still doing their own thing. Furthermore, some works will find a little orange dot beside them after a sale, and a very happy artist will be smiling. Maybe they will be smiling because they now have money to buy a decent meal, but maybe they will be smiling because they are more successful than their fellow exhibitors.   


Schooling Fish (2012)

Considering that it is common to hear other artists complaining that the public is too sports focussed, it might be expected that we artists might be celebrating these sales as little signs that the public does in fact like art (even if we personally didn’t get a sale.) In reality, it is more likely that the knives will be sharpened and critical comments will be uttered behind the successful artist’s back. Sales in a group exhibition definitely reveal that while all artists are equal, some are more equal than others.

I should point out that I am mainly just referring to “western” art cultures here when I say “we operate like little capitalists”. After all, I’ve experienced artist communes in China where profits are shared amongst artists, but I am told Chinese artists are repressed because they don’t have government support and don’t have ‘freedom’. I’m obviously lucky to be in Australia where only 1% of government funding for the arts actually goes to artists while the other 99% goes to organisations that allocate that 1% of funding towards those artists that they have a good relationship with. (Hmmmm, this sounds a bit like how China operates outside of the arts. The government allocates money for the people, but needs a bureaucracy to “manage” that money, which naturally promote the fact that the people want this version of Communism.)



Tribute To Maths and the Opposable Thumb 1. V=1/3A0h; 2) The Invention of Zero; 3) E=MC2- (2011)


In art, we don’t think of art’s value in monetary terms.  It would be irrational if we did. For example, I once personally spent upwards of $500 to make and exhibit a sculpture involving dead fish that offended public opinion and I knew it had almost no chance of being sold. For me, the value was in the idea and I gained great satisfaction out of seeing reactions to the idea. That said, if a gallery had come along and bought it for $50,000, I can’t tell a lie, I’d be telling everyone how much the work sold for, and increasing my prices for everything else. What can I say? I like money as much as the next artist.

I suppose this is the stage in the article where I am meant to say something profound, or give the answers to these contradictions but I am not going to do that. I am not even sure if there are any answers. Perhaps I will demonstrate my individuality here by quoting the great Georges Braque:

  “ Art is made to disturb. Science reassures. There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.”

If you want to see more of Chad’s work you can visit his website Lonely Colours Here.

N.B The opinions reflected in this post are those of the guest blogger and not necessarily of ArtiPeeps. 



  • Watch Out For Frenzy’s Flash Feature this Thursday (17th January) with Greg MacKie– your fortnightly photo-poetry combination.
  • Classic Friday with Nisha Moodley kicks off again this Friday (18th January). Another great review of a classic author or work of literature.
  • New Abstract artist Lili Morgan will be taking up residence on the Visitor Peep Page next week, so watch out for her.
  • There will be also be our first Transformations Post on Monday 21st January which will focus on Book 1 of Metamorphoses in readiness for our Collaborative Poetry Project starting in February. See Transformations Page. There’s still time to join….Let me know @ArtiPeep or via the reply box.

Kobo Art

26 Nov

Hi everyone, I’m back and feel amazingly privileged to have been appointed the English-Art correspondent for Artipeeps! Better make this a good one…..

In my last blog I gave you an insight into my excruciating lack of Twitter knowledge and how I have stumbled through (so far) with my grand plans to reach out to the world and share my artwork to inspire generations to come!!!

Pure luck combined with random persistence meant I somehow managed to get my paintings noticed by ‘Show Us Your Art’ and it was their exhibition in Middlesborough and the feedback and contacts made since then, that led to me moving up the Twitter ladder, from ’Twitter Virgin’ to ‘Twitter Novice’ I suppose, which is a title I am very proud of. A title which, in itself, is an improvement from that of the ‘Twitter Ignoramus’, who basically smashes his fists on the keyboard and gently weeps.

I am now finding Twitter to be an amazing tool for making new contacts and for meeting potential new patrons and have managed to accumulate close to 2000 ‘followers’ basically, I think, by just being myself, trying to be helpful with the limited knowledge I have on the subject, and not going on about myself all the time.

It seems to me that spending about 80% of my ‘Twittertime’ offering advice, and commenting on others’ posts and 20% talking about my own accomplishments (limited though they are to date) seems about right.

I have even found out what ‘hashttag’ means. As in hashtag “EPIC”…..from that annoying TV/Radio advert. I always wondered what the shouty guy was going on about and now I know. Basically you place the ‘#’ in front of a word in one of your tweets and this might be one of the key words that people search for…..so your tweet could come up countless times from people entering keywords which you have ‘hashtagged’.

Wow I didn’t think I would go on about ‘hashtags’ for quite so long as a few days ago, when I didn’t know what they were. Blimey must stop now. Oh ‘hashtags’….right that’s it. Also everyone reading this probably knows exactly what they are and I’m back to being a Twitter ignoramus; oh well, I’m cool with that.

Right, I’d better start talking about the actual topic of this blog now – Kobo Art:


A friend of mine, Tahir Shah, who now lives and works in Dubai, happened to ‘like’ some of my paintings, which I had uploaded onto Twitter and this lead to the founders of Kobo Art, Shan and Tiya Fazelbhoy, who are associates of Tahir, taking an interest in my work.

I had an email from them asking if I would mind if they uploaded some of my paintings onto their site and collaborate with them in the promotion of my artwork.

Naturally I was overjoyed. Tahir is something of an entrepreneur and one of his new ventures is ‘Moto Roti’, a brand new approach to Pakistani take away in the style of a Subway restaurant. – high quality, healthy, Pakistani food on the go.  Cooking can be as equally creative as composing a piece of artwork or painting a picture. Since University I have been in regular contact with Tahir and below is his last message to me.

“James, I’m trying to make that bread that my mum made, when we were at Uni, famous. If Mexico have their burrito, and Turkey its pitta bread why can’t roti be used as wraps? Imagine my mum’s food that you used to eat, as the filings, healthy and delicious!”

Tahir is clearly trying to produce food formed from not only his own personal history,  but also his own culinary imagination and creativity, and it is transparent that this passion has fed into his other ventures. I could go on about how delicious the food produced at Moti Roti is, but that is for another time…but here is a link!  http://www.motiroti.me/

“Dubai-based entrepreneur has comfort food all wrapped up”

And you can read an article here:


Ok, so Kobo Art is an online art gallery launched in May 2012. Kobo provides a platform for showcasing upcoming UAE (United Arab Emirates) based artists and their aim is to make art accessible and affordable.

As you need to be based in the UAE to have your artwork advertised on the Kobo art site, they also have a range of international artists on their very popular Facebook site. http://www.facebook.com/KoboArt

This is linked to the main site and a page has been very kindly dedicated to my artwork:


The premise of the company is to provide art lovers with a platform and opportunity to sell and buy high quality original art that is accessible and affordable, and they say that they are committed to providing a platform for upcoming artists to showcase their work and for art enthusiasts to be able to start a collection or add to an existing one.

Through their website, and also very popular private viewings Kobo aim to build a community for artists and art lovers and hope to enhance the visibility of art via an online presence, where quality art work is easily available.

“Art is about what appeals to your senses and adds beauty to your life, whether in your home or work place or given as a gift through our Kobo vouchers.”

“The idea to set-up this business literally just popped into my head one evening about a year back. It sounded like an idea worth pursuing and ever since, it has been a question of working towards making it a reality.” Shan Fazelbhoy

We started Kobo to provide a platform for UAE based artists to exhibit their art and the positive response has been overwhelming”  Tiya Fazelbhoy

Shan also says that during this process, it would obviously be difficult to identify any one thing as a challenge; they had to stay focused, working systematically, one step at a time towards their goal. Of course, (they say) they have encountered frustrations along the way but none of these have been insurmountable. Their motivating factor has and continues to be the opportunity to be involved in something that they love while providing a space for artists, building a community and creating awareness that art can and is for everybody.

“The positive response from people, especially artists, here in the U.A.E. and internationally has been immense and is a huge help in reinforcing the fact that we are providing a much needed service which in turn is an impetus to constantly work towards and build on what we have set out to do.” Tiya Fazelbhoy


James Mackenzie Chilling in Dubai!


Those of you who read my previous blog, may see a theme  emerging here.

I sincerely believe that there should be simple ways to allow previously unrecognised artists and their work to seen by the general public. The intervention of new technology such as Twitter and Facebook and other social media means that, at last, Art can be seen by all and new talents enjoyed by anyone.

I have always had a passion for art and was encouraged by teachers, family and friends who told me that I had a talent. As a result I have always created, whether it was for an exhibition or just for personal pleasure.

For me there is nothing as exciting as a blank canvas. I love to completely immerse myself in my art without even the distraction of music. I can work for hours in an almost educed state just creating a purely original piece of artwork containing my own thoughts and visions.

I have accumulated a mass of artwork over the years that has just been stored away all over the house, for no one other than me to see and keep locked away in the back of my mind.

The internet has been an amazing tool to allow me to unveil this work to whoever cares to see it. I have generally been overwhelmed by the response to my artwork and this has inspired me to produce more and as a result one of our bedrooms has now been converted into an art studio!

I take so much pleasure in creating art. For decades I have been disillusioned by the whole art scene. Now I can instantly upload my latest paintings to my website and get an instant response! Truly amazing.

The internet and the injection of social media has made such a difference to my life and, no doubt that of countless other previously undiscovered and similarly disenchanted artists.


You can follow Jamie via Twitter:


or look at his artwork on his website:

http://www.mackenzieart.co.uk _________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  • If you haven’t already found it you can  find your  second dose of flash fiction with Laura Besley -Here:  ‘Flash Fortnightly’ 
  • A new recurring strands starts this week : ‘Classic Friday’. Watch out for the first instalment on Friday 30th, Stimulating Classic Literature reviews with NISHA MOODLEY
  • Also there’s our FabFiction And Poetry Page featuring KATE GARRETTTIFFANY COFFMAN & KARIN HEYER. Please do get in contact with me if you’d like to contribute to this page- Either via the comment box or Twitter @ArtiPeeps
  • Oh yes, and I’m pleased to say we’re going to be shortly adding some Music orientated blogs with our latest new contributor TANIA HALBAN

Show Us Your Art – Middlesborough Exhibition

15 Oct

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.

Virtual Gallery

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:


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