Category Archives: #arteachday

#BlackSquares365 comes to an end

"365" - the final piece in my #BlackSquares365 serial art project comprising an envelope and text describing possible contents

“365” – the final piece in my #BlackSquares365 project

Today is the last day of #BlackSquares365, my every-day-for-a-year serial art project. A couple of days ago Paul Newman, the brilliant graphite artist, suggested I finish with an envelope. I woke up early this morning and thought (quoting Roy Harper), “He’s right! He’s right: I’ve not done that one for ages! Little bugger.” Paul was alluding to two previous projects of mine: #Letter365 and The Binding Grid of Creative Connection. #Letter365 was my second year-long art project in which I created an artwork from scratch each day, sealed it in an envelope and sent it to the gallery. The envelopes were displayed as an installation and only opened if and after they were sold. The Binding Grid of Creative Connection was created whilst I was in residence at my solo show at Black Swan Arts, Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic. It was a celebration of the connections I had made on Twitter with other artists round the world. 72 artists contributed a total of more than 150 4” square artworks, their takes on the theme of the show. Paul contributed a drawing to The Binding Grid, in response to which I made an envelope along with a statement of possible contents. To this day Paul does not know if his drawing is/was in that envelope; he doesn’t know if I erased it.

So, today, I have reprised that work. Paul cleverly connected my previous black squares work with a previous serial art project. I can add in additional connections to previous work and long-standing inspirations and influences. In particular there is a reference to the last chapter of Richard Brautigan’s “Trout Fishing In America”, about which I made a small sculpture (involving Letraset, which I have started to use again in #BlackSquares365) when I was at art school, probably in 1973! The sealing wax was a feature of #Letter365 and I have reintroduced it here: it should have said “bee” (I’m a beekeeper) but I panicked when the wax started smoking (we have lots of new very sensitive smoke alarms at the studios now!)  So, I have cleverly connected this piece to the work Paul was talking of and have rekindled in him, I hope, that terrible angst of not knowing the whereabouts or condition of his work. I thank Paul for giving me this opportunity and for all his support and help over many years.

So my final piece ends the series with some unknowns and who knows if it even meets the criteria I set out at the beginning, but I like it a lot and it’s a fitting end to a decent project in which I made some pretty good work, stretched myself but didn’t fret and found the discipline the easiest of all the time-based projects I have done.

#BlackSquares365 – my new time-based art project

Abstract, contemporary artwork by David Smith

Watercolour and tape on Bockingford paper 20cm x 20cm

Yesterday I launched a new personal project, #BlackSquares365. Each and every day for the next year I will create a small artwork from scratch and post it on Instagram and Twitter before the end of the day. Each piece is available directly from me for a bargain £40 including worldwide postage* (email me for details – hopefully soon I will be able to create a safe online way to buy them).

I’m calling it “distributed art”: lots of people can own an individual, unique piece of art and at the same time hold a share of one larger artwork spread across time and space; no one person will own it all, nobody will ever see it in its entirety!

The idea that it’s a work that is deconstructed and scattered to the four corners of the globe (hopefully) fits the themes of erasure, redaction, forensics, geology and landscape that run through much of what I make. Little traces of #BlackSquares365 will be lodged far and wide: the dispersion making it harder for it to ever be completely destroyed.

Selling small pieces at a price within the reach of ordinary people appeals to my democratic sensibilities. I see it as a bit of an antidote to the high-end art market where art is a trading commodity: works of art gain prices that have little to do with the level of pleasure or intellectual stimulation they engender becoming, instead, conceptual currency notes. In that world only wealthy individuals and institutions can own large works but anyone can buy into #BlackSquares365 and get their own small piece that is itself a part of the much bigger community-owned art project.

Each piece will be 8” (20cm) square and will be signed on the reverse with date and number stamps and a brief description of the materials used. Despite the much-reduced price each will be made with the same quality materials that I use normally, such as artist’s paints and acid-free professional papers and will be made with the same care and attention as any of my work. I will use a simple quality control measure throughout which is that only work I personally would be happy to frame and have on my own walls at home is acceptable. Talking of framing, 8” x 8” will fit into standard off-the-shelf frame available from Scandinavian lifestyle superstores and other outlets (though it always pays to have things professionally framed. I will not be giving titles to anything (the prices would have to rise enormously!) If you fancy the idea of reserving a piece made on a special day that’s fine. I would expect full payment with the order. You can rest assured that I won’t let you down – I have completed two year-long projects like this before – but in the unlikely event that I gave up or was prevented from continuing I would fully refund your money.

So why Black Squares as a subject? Well that is a long story which I will weave in and out of further posts, but those who know my previous Black Squares work will know that “black is not the only colour” and “other geometric plane figures are available”!

*I can only afford to send work at the most basic postal rate and cannot be responsible for any taxes or customs duty when posting to other countries. If you require a faster or more secure delivery I am happy to arrange at cost.

Align One

Align One Ink drawing by David Smith on Moleskine concertina book

Align One
Ink drawing on Moleskine concertina book

Today’s #arteachday post on Twitter was this drawing in Rohrer Antique ink on a Moleskine concertina book. It was something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time and I had put it off for at least three days because making that first mark on a piece of paper, especially quite an expensive one, can be a bit daunting. I don’t know why it should be: I rarely ever make a mistake when I am full up with something. when the piece exists in all but the physical. In any case, my work is about the interplay between control and chaos so it shouldn’t really matter if I do make a mistake – it wouldn’t really be a mistake, just me expressing the chaos element!

Anyway it all worked out really fine and once it was dry and I could “play” with it I found it had been even more successful than I could have hoped. Someone else thought so too as it was snapped up by a collector in the United States within an hour or so of posting it.

After Each Time

Collage by David Smith

After Each Time
Collage, tape & watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm

I have been struggling to take half-decent photographs of my work. With works on paper – especially where a lot of white is showing – it is important to get the light falling evenly across the surface and the white balance right.  So now I have invested in some lighting that has gone a long way to making the situation better, I just need to improve my camera skills and make sense of Photoshop to get me nearer to perfection. This piece is one I did  couple of days ago and the colours are pretty true but it is still not quite there!

All Mystery Is Born Here

All Mystery Is Born Here - detail of a drawing by David Smith

All Mystery Is Born Here (detail)
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm

I got on well in the studio today and completed this imperial-sized in drawing that I had been wanting to do for weeks but not had the space or time till now. Really pleased with it and hope to finish setting up my photographic lights in the next few days so that i can get some good photos of this and other large works on paper.

Fine Arty Karate

Fine Arty Karate - collage by David Smith

Fine Arty Karate
Acrylics, graphite, paper 178mm x 252mm

Today’s #arteachday is a little collage from my messier side

Nine Red Lines

Nine Red Lines - collage by David Smith

Nine Red Lines
Paper & acrylic collage 148mm x210mm

I’m trying to get back to posting an image on Twitter every day with the hashtag #arteachday. This is a little compositional study I did this morning.

Slightly More Than You Thought

Slightly More Than You Thought - abstract ink drawing by David Smith

Slightly More Than You Thought
Ink on paper 279mm x 381mm

Another minimalist dotty drawing which was today’s #arteachday post, except I forgot the image!

A collage scrap from my studio pinboard

A collage scrap from the studio pinboard

A collage scrap from the studio pinboard

I really got caught by the colour of the Khadi paper and the photo of rotting plywood and it has been hanging on the studio wall for a while to see what it causes in me over time. It might need to go back up for a while longer – I’m just to busy with Dorset Art Weeks to give it time right now. It was today’s #arteachday post on Twitter.

The Therapy Is Working

The Therapy Is Working - Ink drawing by David Smith

The Therapy Is Working
Ink on Somerset paper 381mm x 559mm

Wednesday’s #arteachday post was this half-imperial ink drawing