I Do Art Discussion No. 2 – “Open-Air Galleries – a way to protest!”

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Once again, it can be demonstrated that art can be another way of communicating, examining and humanizing important internal and external human conflicts.  It helps the viewer become more informed and more involved than they otherwise would have been, prior to experiencing the art work image and its accompanying story.

In Brazil, South America’s biggest and most influential country, with a population of 200 million people (BBC. 2014, May 6); where it is known to be the country of football – art is being used to highlight the daily struggles of its people.  Brazil is currently in preparation to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio.  These forthcoming events are attracting huge global interest in Brazil and has given Brazilians an opportunity to have a voice that is being heard worldwide. BBC’s Documentary series helps shed some insight into what it is meant to “Being Brazilian” (BBC. 2014, May 6).

One of the ways that Brazilian people are highlighting Brazilian life is through Graffiti Street ArtStreet artists in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are using the streets as canvases within open-air galleries for their graffiti art work as a way to express discontent (The Guardian. 2014, May 24).  Brazilian Graffiti Artist Paulo Ito on May 10, posted this mural on the doors of a schoolhouse in Sao Paulo’s Pompeia district.  It has become an international sensation, sweeping the Internet after Paulo Ito posted it to his Flickr account. Since then it has been prolifically shared on Facebook and Twitter (McDonald, S. 2014, May 23).  It depicts a “portrait image of a weeping, starving Brazilian child with nothing to eat but a soccer ball” (Stahl. 2014, May 23).

Paulo Ito - Brazilian Graffiti Street Artist Mural Ref: Mosbergen. D. (May 21 2014). The Huffington Post. Street Artist Captures The Sheer Irony of Brazil's World Cup in Heartbreaking Image. [Photograph ID: Paulo Ito Mural]. Retrieved 5th May 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/brazil-world-cup-poverty-paulo-ito_n_5362373.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

Paulo Ito – Brazilian Graffiti Street Artist Mural Ref: Mosbergen. D. (May 21 2014). The Huffington Post. Street Artist Captures The Sheer Irony of Brazil’s World Cup in Heartbreaking Image. [Photograph ID: Paulo Ito Mural]. Retrieved 5th May 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/brazil-world-cup-poverty-paulo-ito_n_5362373.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

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I Do Art Discussion No. 1 – “Getting the message out through art expression”

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Within my blogging process, I would like to take the opportunity to feature and discuss individually selected works I have painted in more depth. To show how art can give us a uncensored voice and allow us to express our feelings and emotions.  It can be informative, evoke reactions and actions; it can leave us with a lasting impression!  It can be therapeutic in its processes.  Towards the end of this blog you will note that I have ventured to discuss another artist’s piece of art work which happens to correlate in some forms with this piece of my own art work.

The first of my paintings I would like to discuss is titled “Polluted Olympics” which I completed in 2008.

Painting No. 19 - Title "Polluted Olympics" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2008 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Painting No. 19 – Title “Polluted Olympics” July/Aug 2008  Acrylic on Canvas  92cms length x 122cms Wide x 3cms Deep – by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

 

During my time working with a Australian company that afforded me the good fortune to be able to travel for my work, I had the opportunity to travel to China – Guangzhou during 2006-2007.  Guangzhou is located on the Pearl River; is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province of the People’s Republic of China and with a population of more than 8.525 million people. That’s a lot of people!  It was a major culture shock for me in many ways.  One of the things that dismayed me most, was the dreadful air pollution.  I could not see a sun shape during the day sky or a moon shape during the night sky; sadly just a dull polluted sky during my visits.  I found this shocking as I live in a city, Melbourne Australia where we experience beautiful clear blue skies – most of the time.  It served as a warming to me that we need to take air pollution very seriously, or we too could be a city like Guangzhou China in years to come.

Brown. J.F. (2008, August 8). The Guardian. AFP Getty Images. [Photograph No. brownafp460]. Retrieved May 22 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/aug/07/china.olympics2008

“The International Olympic Committee chief praised China’s efforts, but reiterated that outdoor endurance events could be postponed if smog levels are too high” (the guardian, August 8 2008).  Brown. J.F. (2008, August 8). The Guardian. AFP Getty Images. [Photograph No. brownafp460]. Retrieved May 22 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/aug/07/china.olympics2008

My inspiration for this painting “Polluted Olympics” came about in 2008, back in my home land Australia, Melbourne. I was viewing images of Beijing on TV, in relation to the forthcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China with a population from 21,150,000 people which is almost the population for the whole of Australia. Note that the resident population of Australia according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2014 is projected to be approximately 23,497,358!  These TV images in relation to Beijing 2008 Olympic Games air pollution problems, took me back to my time in Guangzhou and my thoughts on the environmental effects of air pollution.

The central feature of my painting “Polluted Olympics” consisted of what has been nick named the “Bird’s Nest” which is Beijing’s official National Stadium.  It was especially designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.  The following YouTube is an interesting documentary on the making of the “Bird’s Nest”.

Reference:  National Geographic Channel. (2013, Apr 26). Megastructures – Beijing National Stadium – the Bird’s Nest. YouTube. Retrieved May 22, 2014 from  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bILacVZJRoU

The “Bird’s Nest” is an extraordinary feat of architecture, engineering and an ambitious design.  For me, its is a work of art!  A symbol of a new Beijing.  It nestles proudly on the horizon of Beijing’s cityscape!

An aerial view shows the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, at the Olympic Green in Beijing July 6, 2008. Picture taken July 6, 2008. REUTERS/Yu Shihai/Beijing Tourism Administration/Handout (CHINA) (BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008 PREVIEW).

An aerial view shows the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, at the Olympic Green in Beijing July 6, 2008. Picture taken July 6, 2008. REUTERS/Yu Shihai/Beijing Tourism Administration/Handout (CHINA) (BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008 PREVIEW).  Retrieved May 22 2014 from http://beijingbirdsnest.wordpress.com/birds-nest-facts/

My painting “Polluted Olympics” portrays the visible shaping of the ‘Birds Nest’ architecture of sweeping lines and arches of metal.  I coloured these with the olympic ring colours of blue, yellow, black, green and red which represent the five parts of the world that compete against each other.  The grey colour, pooled in the centre of the painting, represents the air pollution and is also symbolic of “the ring of steel” that had also become a focal point of these olympic games.

Chung. D. (August, 25 2008). The Guardian. [Photograph ID:  rings3 1]. Retrieved May 22 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2008/aug/25/olympics20081

Chung. D. (August, 25 2008). The Guardian. [Photograph ID: rings3 1]. Retrieved May 22 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2008/aug/25/olympics20081

I surrounded the outer edging of the painting “Polluted Olympics” with yellow which was representative of the sunniest of marketing ploys to portray all was well with the air quality at Beijing for the 2008 Olympics!

As I was preparing this blog and researching for images, I came across an interesting article about another artist in China call Kong Ning.  The article was called “Artists in China strike blows against the smog” .  “Kong Ning has devoted her life to creating art that expresses her feeling toward the environment she has watched deteriorate around her” (Whelan. May 20 2014).  The deterioration is attributable to the over-reliance on coal-fired power plants and automobile emissions which is an every increasing problem leading to unimaginable smog and haze (Whelan. May 20 2014).  Chinese people are finding creative ways to critique and document their deep concerns through performance art and public creative expression (Whelan. May 20 2014).  This Chinese artist Kong Ning took her art featured below, to Tiananmen Square in protest to the air pollution to help highlight China’s pollution problems (Whelan. May 20 2014).  “Kong Ning hopes to ‘leave her art for later generations’ while also warning people today of the dangers of neglecting their environment” and states “my main goal is to express… a desire to protect the environment and nature and life…because that is essentially all we have, right?” (Whelan. May 20 2014).  I couldn’t have said it better myself and I have such a lot of respect for such an artist who bravely uses her art to promote messages for the greater good of her country.

Whelan. L. (May 20 2014). Grist. Artists in China strike blows against the smog. [Photograph ID:  china-piece 1]. Retrieved May 22 1014 from http://grist.org/climate-energy/artists-in-china-strike-blows-against-the-smog/

Whelan. L. (May 20 2014). Grist. Artists in China strike blows against the smog. [Photograph ID: china-piece 1]. Retrieved May 22 1014 from http://grist.org/climate-energy/artists-in-china-strike-blows-against-the-smog/

Kong Ning hopes to ‘leave her art for later generations’ while also warning people today of the dangers of neglecting their environment” and states “my main goal is to express… a desire to protect the environment and nature and life…because that is essentially all we have, right?” (Whelan. May 20 2014).  I couldn’t have said it better myself and I have such a lot of respect for this artist who bravely uses her art to promote messages for the greater good of her country.

Whilst you are here – please check out my my home page!  I hope you will continue to join on my art therapy journey…Karen Robinson

Art Therapy Humour – “When you just gotta get it out!”

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During my art therapy journey, particularly in the early years, where I was using art to express pent-up emotions such as grief and despair; I found myself feeling just like this very clearer but simple illustration.  It came to me via my Facebook page from “Art Therapy Without Borders” and its caption is just spot on.  The act of painting and writing my accompanying painting stories did just this for me – “art therapy helps to get what’s in your brain out on paper” (Mead. 2014).

Art Therapy Humour "art therapy helps to get what's in your brain out on paper" Mead. N. - Art Therapy Without Borders 2014

Art Therapy Humour “art therapy helps to get what’s in your brain out on paper” Mead. N. – Art Therapy Without Borders 2014 – Artist:  ASAF HANUKA – Cartoonist and Illustrator http://www.asafhanuka.com/the-realist/#/viral/

I love its simplicity!  For me it clearly illustrates just what it is like to use “art for therapy” in three simple sketches and yep…have been here!

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Art as Therapy – Does it make you better?

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It is interesting to dwell on what is ‘art therapy’ or putting it differently, can we use ‘art as therapy’.  Meaning, we don’t need to produce it ourselves alone, to gain a therapeutic benefit but we can be a viewer of someone else’s art work and come away with a different prospective, we can be enlightened, and we can be enriched from such an experience with art.  In being able to do this, we need more help with being able to understand the meaning of the art work!  The meaning intended by the artist firstly and most importantly, I feel…

Painting No. 45F - Title "A Fractured Life" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2012 NB: All images are protection by copyright laws!

Painting No. 45F – Title “A Fractured Life” Feb/Oct 2012
– by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protection by copyright laws!

NB:  To view the above painting and it’s painting story, please click on here

Alain de Botton of The School of Life, in his video ‘Art as Therapy’ talks about how we should make a start to use art to “elevate our sorrows, bring us hope, give us courage” and use art as “a resource, a living resource, that is there for our hearts and not an academic or historical exercise” (Alain de Botton. December 3, 2013). He argues that art can be used to help us with our inner most problems of the soul (Alain de Botton. 2013). From my own experience, this has been the case and can be well appreciated within my abstract painting stories.

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What is ART? – It enriches your soul and gets you thinking!

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I want the share this video with you. When I firstly watched it, I was so taken by the freshness of these artists’ take on what art is!  Each of their statements resonated with my own personal experience of what art has been and has become for me.  It was not until I got to delving into the details of the video further that I realized that these participants of said, are actually theatre artists and not painters.  I was surprised that what they had to say about “what is art?” from their perspectives as theatre artists, rang just as true to me as an abstract painter; so much so that I felt it was a good summation to share!

These are their words about “what is ART?”….
“art is an agent of change”; “anything that highlights life”; “they know it’s an art form when it has a story – when it speaks to them”; “art is an expression of the soul”; “the product of the reaction to something you love”; “and passion”; “and anything in-between”; “it’s the highest form of language”; “it’s got to be honest”; “a vehicle for expressing your thoughts, your emotions”; “we can’t keep it, we need to share it”; “if it’s not shared – it’s just a work of a crazy person”; “for me art is important because it makes you think”; “I like the idea of creating something out of nothing”; “think about how to improve your own life and the lives of others”; “to have something in the world that exists that affects people”; “it is what allows us to feel”; “without it we are nothing more than robots”; “just rocks”; “if you don’t have art – you merely exist”; “art draws out the humanity”; “art elevates existence into something else”; “we are able to inspire and move people into action”; “it’s your way of sharing and giving back to the people”; “without art life would be boring”; “everyone should have some sense of creativity in their lives”; “it is not beautiful without art”; “if you have a point of view your are an artist”; “an artist is someone who sees things that no one else sees”; “with the mindset of moving the society forward”; “anyone could be an artist as long as you are honest”; “courageous”; “art makes you sensitive to things around you”; “to allow growth in our lives”; “a reflection of the beliefs and the desires”; “it pushes me to improve everyday”; “makes me appreciate all the little things”; and “art is everything”.

This video campaign is produced by Mayk Juat, Jake Macapagal, Pam Imperial and directed by Mayk Juat and the Cinematography by Nix Lanas. They state that it “aims to take a closer look on how the arts can be applicable to our lives” and is “expressed by those who live, breathe and LOVE it – the Filipino Artists” (What is ART – maARTe ako, 11 Jul 2011).

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