Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist working in Home Studio June 2014 NB All images are protected by copyright laws!.JPG
It was a wonderful way of being able to share with others my ‘art for therapy’ story and I really enjoyed the process of thinking through the set of questions that Casey Webb for Jung Katz – Blog for Artists had put forward as set out below:-
Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you make?
How did you get started making the type of art you make?
What is art to you?
What does your typical day look like?
How have others responded to your work?
How do you keep motivated?
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
What are your thoughts on art school?
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
What’s your dream project?
What art supplies do you use?
How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
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” 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.
“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”.
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). 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.
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.
“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
Please share this with family, friends, workmates and interested community groups - thank you:
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).