Tuesday, August 06, 2002

An e-mail from a friend asking what has happened to my on-line diary has prompted me to make an entry....too many summer visitors along with a weekend visit to Plockton to attend the opening of a friend, Miriam Drysdale's, new gallery for contemporary art. She has got a very impressive set-up and plans soon to start doing painting holidays.
Bought a Clare Harkness painting .

Just back from Pittenweem Arts Festival on the Fife coast - this goes from strength to strength. Glorious weather difficult to believe this is Scotland. We have had the worst summer on record - at least that is what a neighbour tells me.

Oh yes last Tuesay went to the Artworks in Mental Health openingat the McLellan gallery inGlasgow. My photograph - of Father's hands- was the first one in theexhibition. Must say was impressed with the overall standard. Seems they got over 1,000 entries and accepted120.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Just back from Iceland. It is over 30 years since I visited the country and the first thing that strikes me are the trees. Reykavik is a leafy city now. It used to be totally barren and bleak. The main street is heaving with designer shops. Fortunately next to our hotel is a second hand Red Cross shop and I purchase a bright yellow ski jacket all for equivalent of £8. Had not brought proper outdoor clothing with me for the rain . My memory was of a summer of endless days of bright blue skies....
What has not changed is the high price of goods. On the plus side this is a country of fire and water - yes, yes, a cliche I know but how else can you describe such an extraordinary country where geysirs come bubbling out of the lava fields and you bathe in the newly opened Blue lagoon - something that is worth a visit in itself - set amongst lava fields huge open air swimming pool constructed from the natural lava. And the water really is blue.

Monday, July 08, 2002

Just read a fascinating story from the Guardian onlineabout Blogs. Its the way the future is shaping up as far as journalism goes: from Old Media to New Media and now this: We Media - completely interactive. Great.
Blogger is playing up!...my last entry printed but refused to publish.
This is a test.
OK we have action again. Well, it must have been a glitch in the system.
So much has happened.... Have booked to go to Iceland next week for a few days. This is a nostalgic visit. I used to work there many, many years ago. Will it have changed? will I recognise it? Am spending a lot of my time these days editing old video clips. Most are glorified home movies but there are some which containan element of storytelling which goes beyond the home movie. That's what I am working on.

Saturday, July 06, 2002

now everything has disappeared...what glitch is therein the system?
Blogger is refusing to publish!...whats gone wrong? this is just a test.
Yes, I know my on-line diary has lapsed...reason is slow access to the internet. Reckon it takes me nearly five mintues to get fired up and then it has to be before noon - before America wakes up.
There is something wrong with my internet service provider- surprise, surprise- have to log on through e-mail first - outlook express - in order to establish a link.
Went to see Minority Report last night - Tom Cruise and Spielberg- those 2 names alone will ensure Box Office success- but we both found it tedious...yes the special effects were good . But all that fighting set int he future. Just the same old macho cowboys and indians stuff fast forwarded 50 years. The Cafe Flicker at GMAC - open house where all can show their own films in Glasgow once a month is much more (a) entertaining and (b) innovative.www.g-mac.co.uk

Monday, July 01, 2002

Just checked the Art Works in Mental Health www.artworksinmentalhealth.co.uk. site where I have a photo of my Father on exhibition. This is their virtual online gallery . The exhibition opens in London on July 3 then come to Scotland end of the month and will eventually end in Cardiff end of August. The aim is to promote a better understanding of mental health problems. My Father , who died last year aged 98 years, suffered from depression.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Woke up this morning and decided that I would be environmentally conscious. i would leave the car at the station and take the train to Dundee for the Degree Show. Checked the train timetable using www.railtrack.co.uk. Impressed with the site. Will use it again in preference to trying to make a phone call. The day has long gone when we could ring up the station in Stirling and ask for the time for the next train.
Then I remembered. There's nowhere to park in Dunblane. That was one of the gripes at last weeks public meeting. True you can park in the local supermarket but how do you negotiate your way around the towns one way system unless you know the place? dont have time to experiment. so I jump in the car and drive to Dundee.
Here's a city that's picked itself up and is a pleasure to visit. No problem parking even though I dont know the city. And the new Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre, of which I have heard so much but never visited,, turned out to be a real joy to visit. Whats more its a working studio as well as a gallery for cutting edge art, unlike the CCA in Glasgow which suffers from pretentiousness.
The Degree show is well up to standard. Pity they have abolished cermaics. This was their swansong and what a show! Seems young people no longer want to do ceramics.
found the animation the strongest also some of the painting. No real surprises. Reading the artists statements am aware how academically driven the work is. it is as if the students have buried their heads in the library, found an idea they like, then constructed some art work around it. Hence most of the installations were weak. Only the work that had a heavy input of craft or technical skill did it stand up to close scrutiny.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Rats!....diary is getting put to the bottom of the "to do" pile every day.
Well the Golden Jubilee has been and gone...what a relief! we can stop pretending that we believe in the Royal Family, just another British anarchronism that is stopping us moving forward into the 21st century. Fast.
Showed my short video Waverley at Cafe Flicker the other night. though I say it myself it worked in a funny kind of way. The rest of the time have been struggling with a more ambitious project and it is going wrong, wrong wrong...showed it to Carol the other night - after we had been to see the Cuban band, "Sierra Maestra" in Stirling, (great show in the Tolbooth, pity about the seats, designed for midgets, even I was terribly cramped. Spoilt enjoyment of the performance. And did they have to have the full blast of their amplifiers on in such a small intimate theatre?
Carol says the problem is the work is unresolved. Got to think more about what I am trying to achieve.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

It is good to get back to drawing. I was reminded of the words of Tanya Brugera, the Cuban performance artist who works with sheep, ( I met her in Chicago) that I should consider working with sheep too . After all I was brought up on a farm in Wales. Within minutes of my house I pass fields of sheep every morning and have taken to drawing, photographing them. Am influenced by Henry Moore's sheep drawings. Tayna used some of my video, mainly sound, during her video /performance in the Korean Biennale in 2000.
Meanwhile we are all desperately trying to avoid Golden Jubilee celberations. Some neighbours have even got flags out!....

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Just back from Paris.It has changed. No longer the ultra chic place it used to be. General dumbing down. Asked my French cousin if this was her impression too.
"Yes. Everyone wants to dress like teenagers."
And that means casual grungewear.

Did the usual cultural circuit- Louvre -Musee d' Orsay, Musee Rodin and,of course, the Pompidou Centre.
Some surprises. First sculpture I see when I walk into the sculpture court of the Lourve is the original bronze of a lion with a serpent by Antoine-Louis Barye (1795 . Paris). Spent one week of my first year at Glasgow School of Art drawing a plaster cast of that sculpture -life size in pastel .
As for the Pompei Centre there were so many works there that were clearly the inspiration for so many well known artists in England and Scotland that I dont know where to start... at least I will be charitable and say inspiration though some may say they were a straight pinch of ideas.
Oh well ,as Picasso said:minor artists borrow great artists steal"

Even works from last year's Degree Show....surely it was not a coincidence?

Got robbed on the Metro. It was so innocently down that I never suspected until the three little girls aged around 10-12, who asked me the time, rushed off the train just as the doors were closing. I looked down. Yes, my bag previouslsy closed , even turned towards me, was open and my purse gone.
Fortuantely there was little in it but the purse was of sentimental value, given to me many years ago as a present by a former student in Hong Kong.
Now I saw another side of modern French life. Reported it to the metro police. They shook their heads :"Czechosloviakn...a group of 15 we know them well..there's nothing we can do."
It is the wave of immigrants flooding France . The children are too young to be charged and even if they were what happens? they get a small fine and are back on the streets again.
Noticvs everywhere warn you of pickpockets. Somehow I had envisaged these minor criminals as streetwise young men. It never occurred to me that today they would be children - and girls at that.

On a lighter note we get taken to the Lido, one of Paris most famous nightclubs and a tourist honeypot on the Champs Elysees, by my French cousins who are somewhat horrified that we want to go there.
Those who expect titallating nude dancing are in for a shock. iIts so squeaky clean that you could take your great grandmother there. In fact at the table next to us a 90 year old woman was celebrating her birthday! We know because they brought in lighted candles.with the age written in large letters. She was proud to be 90. The woman behind me had a similar birthday. She looked less pleased to have her age - 56 -emblazed on a cardboard cake in front of her.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Just another example of art extending its boundaries...
Ben Long is an artist who does finger drawings on the backs of lorries at New Covent Garden in south London.

He graduated last year and couldn't afford a studio. So he took to the outdoors.

Now his work is being shown, as a video , in the Prospects contemporary drawing prize at Essor Gallery. It will run until June 1.

Monday, May 20, 2002

What is happiness? this morning on the radio there is a story about a guy, Alan de Botton, who had achieved what he thought was the ultimate in happiness: the holiday of a lifetime - lying on a beach in Barbados only to discover that he had brought all his worries with him. Now this bestselling author has written a book, The Art of Travel, which explains why foreign holidays alone can never mmake us happy.

You can't take a holiday from yourself.

Yesterday The Observer had a large spiel on the general unhappiness in our society yet we appear to have everything.
What is missing of course is peace with oneself. Without sounding all New Agey maybe its the lack of spirituality in our lives that is causing so much unhappiness.
Just a thought...back to building web pages.

Met up with Sue, Mona and Robert last Friday - we all graduated at the same time- now we are planning to share an exhibition. Have sounded out one gallery in Glasgow.

Your comments

Friday, May 17, 2002

Have got my own Web Page up at last. Go to
e-mail: mail me

Monday, May 13, 2002

For some reason the link to The Herald failed to work.
So, here goes www.theherald.co.uk
Building my own web site - despite what the pundits say- is a SLOW business.
This morning managed to set up my own domain name:annshaw.net
But...I can't make links anymore.
So, here goes. How about trying to contactthe Herald, the paper I worked on for nearly 20 years in Glasgow.
it should come up at: No comments:
Yet another graduate of Glasgow School of Art walks away with a major prize:
Toby Paterson wins this year's Beck's Futures art prize.
He is the second one from the college to win it following in the footsteps of Roddy Buchanan in 2000.
Congratulations Toby!

Now Philip Dodd, director of London's ICA says that the cutting edge of art has moved from London to Glasgow!....

Scotland's newest music and arts centre- The Tolbooth- has just opened in Stirling. Went in last night for a drink with some friends. Apart from the architecture which is truly amazing , I hardly recognized the place where I used to share a studio space there some years ago- the maintopic of conversation among everyone was: ghosts.
yep. The place is haunted. Mysterious sounds, and crashing of bottles have been heard and seen including a gin bottle flying off the bar only to land unbroken on the floor!
Worth a visit. www.stirling.gov.uk

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Sometimes people say:"Where do you get your ideas from?"
The family.
Yesterday I started on a digital portrait of my nephew. Nothing surprising in that you may say except that Alex is only 20 weeks old ....in the womb.

To view the ultra-sound digitally manipulated photo of Alex click on:Image Error

Friday, May 10, 2002

Looking for a really cool arty place in Glasgow?

Try the re-vamped CCA ( Centre for Contemporary Arts) in Sauchiehall St.
www.cca-glasgow.com uk

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Visited the Royal Scottish Academy annual exhibition held this year in the McLellan Galleries, Glasgow.

Lots of sumptious paintings. As usual the standard of presentation, technique,craftsmanship, content is exceptionally high. True there were some paintings, and we are talking paintings andsculpture here - photoraphy and video is a "no no" as far as the Academy is concerned, which made you wonder what criteria was used for their selection.Still they were few and far bertween.

But I asked myself: is this the world of 2002? there was nothing I saw that could not have been painted 10,20- even 50 years ago...
On to Cafe Flicker (Glasgow Media Access Centre - www.g-mac.co.uk) where I showed my mini film: visitChicago.com a spoof advert. It got a good reception. Lots of interesting films were shown . One had been made on a High 8 camera by 2 young men in 45 minutes about a psycho-analyst who fed his cocaine habit by giving unnecessary medication to his patients. Yes it had lots of technical things wrong with it but it was on the ball.
Which is more than I can say for the annual RSA exhibition.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Had a moan to Lys Hansen, artist and mentor, about the thinness of so much contemporary art and she said:
"It could be about to change. Read the New Stateman - 18 Feb."

"Do you mean the Ivan Massow article by the chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts? he got sacked for it."
"No, this is somebody else saying much the same thing."

I got a copy from Stirling library. First surprise - New Stateman is now much more readable. Its years since I used to subscribe to it. Maybe I will again. Or maybe I will just readit on-line. (www.newstateman.co.uk).

In the article Peter Watson says an awful lot of influential people in the Tate establishment had confided to him that they were appalled at this year's Turner Prize shenanigans and hope that it will never be repeated. www.tate.com

He said some changes are being considered to alter the rules: to make it biennial, to lift the age restriction and to remove the embargo on non-British artists.

If a gallery as influential as the Tate was to take the lead we may well see the current strangehold of conceptual art diminish in this country.
"Revamping the Turner Prize is the single most important initiative the Tate establishment could make to move us beyond bad aesthetic times. It won't change overnight, or all by itself, but it is a high-profile start," said Peter Watson, author of A Terrible Beauty: the people and ideas that shaped the modern mind ( Phoenix publisher).

He wonders how much longer it will take us all to realise how unambitious contemporary art has become, how unidimensional the aesthetic are and that we are faced with an intellectual and aesthetic dead end.
Am reminded again of an American art historian who said during a lecture at the School of ther Art Institute in Chicago , where I did a year as an Exchange Student, that as far as they were concerned "conceptual art has been packaged and put in the past."
If we are talking cutting-edge art work then she considered the next wave most likely to be immersive, work using the latest technological tools available, which allowed the viewer to become part of the art work.

And you can't bullshit your way around that lot.

As the American art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto said:
"We are living in bad aesthetic times."
And that needs to change.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

There's an awful lot that is pretentious and transitory in today's contemporayr art scene.

And I had a gutsful of it yesterday in Edinburgh : bits of an old book torn out and stuck on the wall with tape - Fruitmarket gallery - Young Scottish Contemporay Artists, - lightbulbs swinging like a giant pendulum - Collective hankering back to this year's Turner prize of light bulbs flashing on and off-and more, much more that it would be embarrassing to write about it all.
Yet critics do. They enthuse over these mind games because that is what they are, an,artistic version of crossword puzzles. : The contemporary artworld has been hijacked by academics.

Surely in three hours tramping through Edinburgh galleries I saw something I liked? Yes. The Ingleby gallery ( www.inglebygallery.com) with its retrospective on Ian Hamilton Finlay- always have been a fan of his work and a new discovery for me of the work of sculptor Emily Young who works in stone.

The work has emotional and aesthetic appeal. It hits you in the gut. This is the real stuff. You don't need to read several hundred words of academic "insight" into what its all about. You feel it in your bones.

As art critic Richard Ingleby, ( for the Independent newspaper) who runs the gallery, says about her work putting it into its historical perspective:
"For all the associations that tie Emily Young's work into the history of 20th century British art there is a sense that her closest cousins are further back in an ancient past of Cycladic figures and Easter Island totems. The history of sculpture itself is 30,000 years old and the stones that Emily Young uses were formed in nature many millions of years before that, so what's a few thousand years here or there in the making.

This is the wider context: it's a sobering thought and one which, like her best work can't but inspire humility."

Honesty. That's what I find missing in so much of the pretentious work that passes for contemporary art today. Only when you come across the work of someone like Emily Young do you realise that is what is missing from so much work today.
It's being clever for the sake of being clever. Fine. There is a place for that
But it has nothing to do with the human spirit.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Change your routine. That was the advise from my favourite pop pyschologist who writes a weekly column in the Financial Times.
(Normally I read The Guardian www.guardian.co.uk but on Saturdays I like the FT )
He says: "There's a simple psychological principle that says if we do things differently, it helps us think differenlty, and alternative thinking easily leads to innovative action."
So I skipped the Saturday morning housework and went in to Glasgow to see the series of Bruno Bozzetto animation films on at the Glasgow Film Theatre, part of their Italian film Festival.

Was I glad? You bet. Did the house suffer? Nope. The dust will be there in a weeks time: Bozzetto was a one-off showing of Italy's most famous and prolific animator's work.

Talking of thinking differently I was reminded of Charles Handy's words that if something worked in the past it is unlikely to work in the future . "We must not let our past, however glorious, get in the way of our future". He was talking about the changing worlds of organisations and business. The Church of Scotland announced yesterday that research shows that unless something is done the current decline in its congregations will see it defunct in 50 years time.

Popped into our local art gallery-Fotheringham, in Bridge-of-Allan- www.bridgeofallan.comyesterday where a private viewing of Jonathan Hood's work was taking place. What struck me was that nearly everybody standing there sipping wine was grey-haired. Had not seen so many old people in one room for a long time.
Does this say something about the people who buy traditional oil paintings?

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Visited my former Head of Department, David Harding, to collect some extra footage of his amazing farewell party last summer. A gathering of some 300 - boarded the Waverley steamer in Glasgow to pay tribute to David Harding who was one of the key figures, if not the key figure, in turning Scotland into such a cutting-edge zone for conceptual art.

David was awarded an OBE for his work. The 300 who boarded the steamer that day represented a walking Who's Who in Scottish contemporary art.
I have it on video . Now my job is to turn it into something more than a home movie. David suggested savage editing to 5 minutes!...
Rare to find an interactive installation that fulfills all the criteria: aesthetically pleasing, interesting and totally immersive.

But the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow are showing one : Polaria/Gastarbyter.
Artists Bruce Gilchrist, Jo Joelson and photographer Anthony Oliver trvelled to remote north east Greenland to conduct fieldwork on light and physiology in 2001.

The result is Polaria. You sit on a plastic see through chair in a white cube, wearing a white hooded padded anorak, white overshoes and place your hands flat on to a plastic surface either side of you. The heat from your hands triggers off different colours of light depending on the pressure you put on the embedded electrical surfaces.
You feel a slight tingling in your hands.
You are totally immersed in it.

Meanwhile for those watching from outside the white cube all they see is your back- total anonymity- and the chaning light inside. You , the art consumer, becomes a piece of performance art.
It is a knock-out.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Forgot to mention something really innovative at the Glasgow Art Fair - the arrival of the carvan gallery.
This is a totally new way of showing art.

Organised by Jan Williams and Chris and Chris Teasdale from Portsmouth they tour the country with their specially constructed caravan which doubles up as a gallery. They produce art works - postcards- in response to the places they visit. It is mobile, free and highly accessible.

They capture the ordinary and extraordinary details of life in the 21st century in Britain seeing the world with fresh eyes.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Head stuck in computers and editing suites for past week to 10 days hence no blog diary.
Had a break visiting Glasgow Art Fair which was disappointing.

Tremendous sense of deja-vu. Same old paintings, same old frames,same old names, only the people manning the stalls seemed to have changed.
And the prices they were asking? they must be kidding!...the only people I saw buying were an elderly couple purchasing a Scottish landscape. Nothing wrong with that. Except I have seen more innovation walking around Habitat.
Perhaps that sums up the gallery scene today. Only old people want to buy traditional paintings.
Maybe painting really is dead. Does it have anything new to say ?
Tramway offered some new and interestingmulti-mediawork. ended up buying a CD for £5 Where Do We Go From Here by the Icelandic Love Corporation. Now that was refreshing...and new.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

What's up Doc? yet another blog failed...yet another message about parameters. Is it something to do with the length? had no idea there was a limit to the number of words one couldwrite in a blog. Still it was only about 200 so that can't be the problem.

Why do we do it? write, paint or create. That's the question I ask myself.I could be out shopping, playing golf or just meeting friends, instead here I am flogging away at the computer, doing all sorts of digital editing and writing and wondering....
Talked to another artist friend last night and she was feeling low too. In fact she was on the verge of getting herself a job when she found that the post delivered two invitations from people wanting her work, one a prestigious London gallery.
So, its a case of struggling on...

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Help! after an absence of some weeks - due to family problems in Wales- I do a blog entry and it disappears...says the parameters are wrong...this is another attempt..

Friday, March 22, 2002

Edited my first movie at home - a performance of Red Moon theatre group in Chicago - using Imovie.
They did the piece in the Three Arts Club, where I happened to be staying, for a 100 dollar a head charity function. As mere students we could not attend but I filmed it in the courtyard from my bedroom window. Talk about serendipity. The fire dancers/eaters had been rehearsing all afternoon on the roof.

Went to David Mach's opening at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. They have cleared the top gallery for his work. it is an amazing show - so much diversity, so colourful and witty. Best I have seen for a very long time.

Found myself standing next to him so I introduced myself . Have admired his work for years. He comes from Dundee, is totally without "side" and has little time for much so-called conceptual work. Hurray!

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Has film failed?
That was the subject of a radio discussion tonight from Tate Modern.

Having spent the day in GMAC ( Glasgow Media Access Centre) editing a video on David Harding listened with particular interest.
To summarise - digital technologies are not only changing the way that films are made - you can shoot endless footage vey cheaply but it is also changing the way the stories are told. With digital manipulation to can create alternative narratives to the ones shot using traditional methods of film.
Had a small taste of it the scope and fluidity of digital editing today when we needed a close-up of Pete McG laughing to go with one speech- so we took the shot from a close up of him laughing at a subsequent speakers speech...
oh what a tangled web we weave!

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Victor Burgin came with glowing credentials to the last Friday lecture this season. Unfortunately he had lost his luggage containing all his lecture notes, slides and video clips. So he got something together in a hurry this morning in his hotel room.
It showed.

Yet again am reminded of the fact that academics don't live in the real world. Airlines are notorious for loosing luggage on internal flights - surely he must know that? why didnt he carry the documents?
He spopke on the 'specificity' of an art practice, arguing that the concept is more useful to us in the age of digital technologies than is the traditional notion of 'medium'.

He made some interesting points:
a).the first art school established in Paris in 1648 introduced theory. Painting was no longer a technical skill.
So we have had art theory around for an awful long time....
b) when photography was introduced they started to say that painting was dead. ye it is still very much alive. so what is it about painting that it has that other art forms do not have? he reckons it is the specifity of paint - the quality of the paint on the canvas. It is the painted surface.

He made scant reference to digital technologies. At least he was able to talk and it was stimulating. Then he showed some rough cuts of his video work which he had sent in advance to GSA. All I can say is that they fell flat on a big screen. We could sense his own embarrassment at seeing his work blown up big. Maybe on a small tv monitor , in situ, with site specific work it might have worked..
Am reminded yet again that the ability toi talk about your work is of primary importance, the ability to convince others that what you are going is "art" is really what is important. Think Duchamp. Think urinals.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Is mental illness coming in from the cold? is it the new cool? Not that long ago both subjects would have been taboo, certainly not the subject of films aimed at a mass audience. Yet both have met with tremendous critical acclaim.

Last week saw the film "Iris" Judi Dench in her Oscar winning performance of Iris Murdoch's decline into Alzheimers disease and tonight have just seen "My Beautiful Mind" all about Nobel Prize winner Prof John Nash and his affliction with schizophrenia.

Found the latter film far more alarming.

Saturday, March 09, 2002

Ina Blom, art historian and associate professor at the Institute of Art History, University of Oslo, came with glowing credentials to give our weekly Friday lecture at Glasgow School of Art.

The title of her talk:" Technology and Avantgarde Historiography in the work of Raoul Hausmann and Nam June Paik" looked interesting, if a little dry. She would discuss the interrelation between technology and historiography in the construction of an avantgarde legacy. Heady stuff.

She was very tall, even by Norwegian standards and rake-thin. She started to speak, clearly an impressive intellectual then I slowly realised that her lecture verged on the impenetrable. If only she had given us a hand out it would have been easier.

Question time. Not one hand went up. The students, normally a bright vociferous lot, noted for their asute questioning of speakers sat in stunned silence.

Afterwards Mona, a Norwegian, said:" My sister in Oslo tells me that none of her students understand a word she says."
Perhaps academics ought to pass a test, like to drive a car, to ensure that they are able to communicate efficiently with their student audience.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Discover Cafe Flicker in Glasgow part of the Glasgow Media Access Centre.
Full of bright young men gung-ho to make films.

It was great. Here's a place where you can meet like minded film-makers, show your work and get feed back.
Hand over my tape "Seahorse Symphony", something I made in Chicago and edited back in Glagow.
It was the first time had seen it on a big screen and it did look very dreamy and other worldly. Of course, the music helped enormously, a specially commissioned piece by The Shed Acquairum from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra resident composer.
Other works shown were mainly documentary. The standard was much higher than expected; had thought it would be full of art school videos of students staring at their navels. Instead all the work was full of pace and very lively. Some were professional and had got funding.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Have got myself into a routine starting with twenty minutes drawing every morning. Getting a studio practice established is tough . Just read about a guy who sends out 20 sets of slides each month to galleries in the hope that they will pick him up. He reckons on a take up of 1 in 10....

Had my first studio visit from a buyer, Richard Diet. He saw "Forgotten", a digital print I made in Chicago of an older woman's hand,in the Smith Gallery in Stirling during their Christmas fund-raising exhibition for the local hospice but by the time he went back the exhibition had finished. He was a very cultivated young man with a genuine interest in art. Works in the Planning Department of Stirling District Council.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

For some time now I have had a sneaking suspicion that the art world has been hi-jacked by theorists. A radio interview with Bill Viola confirmed it.
We an in thrall to the academics. Creativity goes out of the window when academia steps in.

While at college - Glasgow School of Art- the tutors would demand to know the theoretical thinking behind your work before you had done anything. If it did not fit in with the accepted norm of what is contemporary art you had it thrown out and told to start again.

Maybe it ws the department I was in - Environmental Art.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Bit of a gap in this diary...been to London to see some exhibitions including the Andy Warhol retrospective at Tate Modern, Klee at the Hayward and French art at the Royal Academy. But its the film Front Runner at the ICA that makes the biggest impression.
Truly we are in the age of the moving image.

Meet up with nieces Louise ( accountant with Unilver who wants to throw it all in and do charity work) and Angela doing a course in journalism and on placement to a charity magazine. We all have a meal in Soho. John ( Angela's actor boy-friend ) has spent the day as the Pregnant Man in the Science Museum. He says some people get very irate. The most memorable was a woman priest who became very vitriolic.

Back to Scotland . Rain , rain and more rain.
Cousin Mary rings this morning. she is back fromtwo weeks on the Aalgarve. She met lots of people wintering out there. We discuss it. Why dont we just move out next winter at least for a couple of weeks? Very tempting.
Get another phone call from a guy who wants to buy a digital print of mine from a recent exhibition.

Monday, February 25, 2002

Glasgow Saturday 23 February.

Start a two day course in Dreamweaver at GMAC ( Glasgow Media Access Centre). As usual I am the slowest and oldest in the group.

Our tutor is Adina van't Klooster, a young Dutch woman , a new media artist and graduate of GSA some years ago. We look at her web site. Her interest is cyborgs. Am struck by the similarity between her appearance and the cyborg she has created onscreen. Is she aware of it? doubt it.
Glasgow. Friday 22 February.
Do we read to escape from the real world? to enter a new world? or to broaden our understanding of this world? these were some of the questions raised by Francis Spufford, London based writer and critic on Friday at the weekly Glasgow School of Art lecture.
In his own case one suspects and he half admitted too it was to escape into the world of the imagination which for him was more real than the real world. Some discussion followed over whether films - a communal experience- could exert the same power over the imaginationas a book.The conclusion was yes but it was a different experience because it was one shared.

Am reading Stephen King's horror novel Cujo. Had forgotten just how gripping some narratives can be.

Afterwards a group of us had lunch in Fazzis. The Norwegians in the party fill us in about what life is really like in remote areas of Norway, much more to it that the film Cool and Crazy suggests. You conform or else....And the issue of the Sarmis - I referred to them as Laplanders and got pulled up for my political incorrectness- was not even touched upon.

Just as we leave I spot Tanya Ecclestone, new Head of Sculpture and Environmental Art. Go over and congratulate her . Then I add that my videos are now in GOMA's collection.
"What's GOMA?" Explain that GOMA is short for the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow.
She is Australian and not noted for her tact .

A new Head of Fine Art was announced this morning before the start of the lecture. He is German and has been working for a number of years in Norway. Looks at last as if Glasgow School of Art is finally moving into the 21st century.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

The temp. hovers around -1C.Am tempted to switch on the telly and watch a programme on Botox, the new wonder cosmetic injection, except I know it works. have seen the wrinkle-free face of too many celebrities who use it..
Force myself out and drive 30 miles into Glasgow to see Cool and Crazy (Heftig og Begeistret). Worth the effort. Amazing musical about a male choir in the remote fishing village of Begeistret.Sensation at last year's Edinburgh Film Festival. Spectacular photography. Closing shot of men standing outside in blizzard singing while snow and ice covers their faces. A huge icicle hangs from the nostril of their oldest choir member, age 95.
And still he sings.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

What is a cookie? ought I to have a firewall? still trying to fix links - and failing- from my blog site to the outside world.

The downside of working digitally is your legs become redundant. Well, all of your body except your fingers.
And the result of that is weight creeps on, pound by pound.

Now over a stone overweight and enrolled with local Weight-Watchers. Take some comfort in the fact that I am one of the slimmest there.
One guy comes along. He's been going for 6 weeks, same time as me, and he's lost 17 pounds!...I've lost 2 and a half pounds.
Something wrong somewhere...

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Driving into Glasgow through sheets of vertical rain, it happens, one of those a scary moments you dread.

I'm late . On the dual carriageway snaking into the heart of the city I accelerate to pass a lorry. Too late, I see the layer of water on the road.. The lorry hits it first plunging the car into darkness. Suddenly am cocooned in a metal box. For a second it feels safe. But I know thats not true.

Alongside is a big lorry, behind a car, and the speedometer reads 60mph. Gently brake, the windscreen clears.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Where does the power lie in your home? just check who holds the tv remote control.

If we doubted the media drenched society we live in just take a look at a new report in the Sunday papers: Britons spend an average of 53 hours a week either watching television, listening to the radio or recorded music, reading books, magazines and newspapers or visiting the cinema.

But we only spend 30 minutes A WEEK reading books and newspapers!...something wrong there surely? I spend more than that in half a day.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Went to a lecture at the Glasgow Film Theatre given by Christine Geraghty of Goldsmith college. It is for GSA students but open to all. A few of us post grads like to meet up on Fridays and go along to these lectures. Its a way of keeping in touch after college.
Christine spoke on:"What's wrong with studying EastEnders?" Well, have never watched it .
She showed us a clip: a scene dealing with incest between uncle and niece. It was riveting. No wonder this television soap attracts millions of viewers.
Nobody asked about "dumbing down" of telly in recent years then realised that for the vast majority of people in the room this is all they have ever known.

An interesting point was made that research shows many people will have telly on but don't actually watch it. Activities ranged from playing musical instruments to one girl who did her homework with her back turned to the telly!

Geraghty did say that with the advent of computers, the internet and multi-media inter-activity the ordinary television set as we know it may be already have had its day.
Oops! it's happened again. Seems I took too long to do my diary and the site went down. So I've got to start again. This time will be quicker.

Sometimes I am asked what I learnt at Glasgow School of Art. (www.gsa.ac.uk)
Tell them about a throwaway remark by Ken Mitchell ,Head of First Year:
"We teach you how to learn."
That sums it up.

Walking down Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow I see a young man with dyed green hair whizzing along in a wheelchair. He nearly knocks over a woman getting off a No. 73 bus. So Glasgow..So cool.

Friday, February 15, 2002

Oh hell!...I've just deleted a whole diary item by mistake.
So here goes again.
Went to the Gallery of Modern Art last night to the opening of Patricia MacKinnon Day's exhibition Naked Spaces. Once it was explained to me I found it interesting but this is the dilemma I have with so much conceptual art - you've either (a) got to read whole screeds of explanation first in order to understand or (b) get somebody to explain it to you. What you can't do is just stand there in front of it and hope to "get it".

Met Sean McGlashan, the curator. He said GOMA are delighted to have my videos in their permanent collection. Felt really chuffed. Makes up for the hassle I got at Glasgow School of Art where I ended up with a 2.2 which I am still very pissed about..

Then for something completely different.. the film Gosford Park. Very entertaining. Just a thought?,,,why are the British so obsessed with the goings-on of the upper classes in times past? Trouble is there still exists such pockets in our society now. The film brought back my own memories of the year I spent as a personal maid to the British Ambassador in Iceland.
I wrote about it and landed the newspaper - Western Mail in Wales- in a libel action. But that's another story....

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Of course, I've got The Guardian to thank for introducing me to online publishing.

I knew it existed but couldn't face the quagmire of wading through all that computer stuff. Now its been made easy thanks to Blogger.com.
For years I 've avoided HTML.
Now -thanks to Blogger.com its no longer necessary. Fantastic!
Something really weird is happening to my site. After changing my password I couldnt get access to my site. Did all the usual checks- had I made a mistake in the spelling of the new password? nope!...in desperation I logged in with a completely new password and hey presto I'm online again....

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Sometimes your friends surprise you.
Like Jodie. She once kept a rope in the back of her car.
"What for?"
"To hang myself."
"You must have been feeling desperate...what stopped you?"
"Mary. She was depressed too. We used to ring each other up every day. Then she suggested we go away together and commit suicide.
I like Mary but not enough to join her in a suicide pact. I gave the idea up after that."
"So what did you do?"
"I took up painting.:

All writers and artists are self-cured neurotics. Discuss. e-mails to : ann.shaw.@virgin.net

Monday, February 11, 2002

Discuss Stephen King's book On Writing with an artist friend, Fiona Ross.

We agree that writers and artists face many shared problems, not least getting started each day. A blank canvas is very like a blank sheet of paper, or rather a blank computer screen since most of us write on computers these days.

Will Stephen King really give up writing? Doubt it. Suspect he may have a rest but its a bit like giving up breathing. Its not something you have much choice over. If you are driven to create then come hell or high water you will do it.

Its not something like retiring from the bank or civil service. An artist is an artist until he or she draws the last breath.

Saturday, February 09, 2002

Usual clutch of invitations to gallery openings arrive. Most look pretty dull. Pick out one to the Gallery of Modern Art on Thursday.
Why are artists so bad at selling themselves?

Go to see Mulholland Drive in Glasgow's new cineplex. Creepy. Set in LA. Recognize chunks of the scenery from my visit last year.

Ring an artist friend this morning. Her husband is having an affair and she wants to talk.

Thursday, February 07, 2002

I graduated last year from Glasgow School of Art. How do you go about being an artist at the start of the 21st century?

This on-line diary will reveal my struggles.
Lets start with some good news.

Got a phone call this morning from the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. They want my two videos for their permanent collection! Great!
Guess this makes up for the recent fiasco where I gave a digital print to be auctioned in aid of the local hospice and it made £18...the frame cost £30.