Artists for Nature: Art for the Love of Sark

Sark_Land_Gallery

The artists participating in the Artists for Nature Foundation’s Jubilee Project

4th to 16th May 2011.


The international non-profit organisation Artists for Nature Foundation, ANF founded in 1990 in The Netherlands, have chosen the beautiful and unique, car-free Channel Island of Sark as the location for their fifteenth project. The ANF are a unique organisation who draw the attention of policy-formulators and decision-makers to the natural world by enabling groups of influential and talented artists to capture the spirit of endangered landscapes and species in their natural habitat through art.

Since the summer of 2009, Sarkee and artist Rosanne Guille (a graduate of the Royal College of Art) has been working with the ANF, planning and fundraising for a project which will bring 15 of these “Artists for Nature' to paint, draw and sculpt in Sark for ten days from 4th May 2011.

The project named 'Art for the Love of Sark' will involve the artists recording all aspects of island life from its rich and unspoilt natural history to the human aspect. The artists will come from all parts of the world, from Russia and the USA to Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, and among them the award-winning President of the Society of Wildlife Artists, Harriet Mead. A full list of the participating artists can be seen at www.sarkpaintings.com under 'current projects blog'.

During the artists visit, from the 3rd day on, there will be daily showings of their work to the public and some of the artists will work with the children of Sark school encouraging their own interest in art and nature. As with other ANF projects around the world, it is hoped that there will be sufficient funding for a project book to be published, and a film and travelling exhibition to raise awareness of what a special and unique, though fragile island Sark still is.

Donations from the residents and businesses of Sark and Guernsey have enabled the first artists visit in May to go ahead. The artists will be staying at Stocks Hotel where rooms have been kindly donated for their stay. What better way of celebrating nature than through the eyes of some of the world's most talented contemporary artists.



KIM ATKINSON (UK)

Studied at Falmouth School of Art and The Royal College of Art in London. A painter/printmaker and member of the Society of Wildlife Artists. She lived for many years on the island of Bardsey off the coast of Wales and her work has been exhibited widely in Wales and England.

PETER GABRIEL BYRNE (IRL)

Singer/songwriter living and working on the Island of Sark. In the ’90s he played regularly on the London folk scene, including gigs at Ronnie Scott’s and the Twelve Bar Club. His work has featured on albums along side Martin Stephenson and Clive Stubblefield (James Brown’s drummer)

JAAP DEELDER (Netherlands)

A self-taught artist working in wood and stone, his carvings are inspired by nature, especially birds. Jaap was awarded the best sculpture prize by the Society of Wildlife Artists in 1991.

PIET EGGEN (Netherlands)

Studied at the Art Academy of Maastricht. Works as a freelance illustrator for nature magazines and advertising. Lives in the Netherlands where he runs a gallery specializing in art inspired by nature.

ROSANNE GUILLE (UK)

A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London. Works mostly in watercolour. Published work includes English Nature, Usborne children’s books and BBC Wildlife Magazine. Teaches art and runs La Maison Rouge gallery on the island of Sark.

ANDREW HASLEN (UK)

Works as a painter of wildlife and domestic animals. During his career Andrew has won several awards for his work. He runs the Wildlife Art Gallery in Lavenham, Suffolk.

ANNA KIRK-SMITH (UK)

Anna Kirk-Smith, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, takes her inspiration from the natural world particularly from coastal and marine environments. In 2010 she won a grant from The Wildlife Trusts in association with The Society of Wildlife Artists to learn to scuba dive. She is a director of an arts development company and lectures in Fine Art at Hull School of Art and Design.

DAVID LYNN-GRIMES (USA)

Writer and musician living and working in Alaska. Has worked on films as co-producer and wildlife film guide with the National Geographic, Survival Anglia and BBC. He has participated in ANF projects in Alaska, Spain and Israel.

HARRIET MEAD (UK)

Has won major awards for her sculptures of animals and birds which she makes from scrap steel and disused tools. Elected President of the Society of Wildlife Artists in 2009. Works mostly to commission.

BRUCE PEARSON (UK)

Worked for RSPB film unit and British Antarctic Survey before becoming a full-time artists and illustrator. He has written and presented two television series. Former president of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

XAVIER PICK (UK)

”I have been diligently keeping a visual diary for 15 years now, everyday a page or two of notes and drawings. These books have been a passport to many worlds, a living portfolio for others to see who you are. Unlike taking a camera which shuns people away, folk are drawn to someone working in their book.”

JOHN THRELFALL (UK)

John has worked with the British Geological Survey, he paints wildlife and birds ‘in the field’ and has undertaken commissions for the RSPB, The National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. His book ‘Between the Tides’ documents his response to Britain’s estuaries in pencil, paint and poetry.

MATTHEW UNDERWOOD (UK)

Matthew Underwood produces eye-catching works in collage, mixed media and oil. He finds that it is often a tiny piece of information, which may trigger an idea for a work – at the 2002 SWLA exhibition, Matthew won the RSPB Fine Art Award.

WOLFGANG WEBER (GERMANY)

Draws from his personal encounters with wildlife, travelling often with just a sketchbook. Has exhibited widely including London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Zurich and Nairobi. Two successful films have been made about his work, ‘A brush with nature’ and ‘Drawn to the Wild.’

DARREN WOODHEAD (UK)

A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London and one of Britain’s leading watercolour artists. His work has won many major national awards including ‘Birdwatch magazine artist of the year 2009′

JONATHAN YULE (UK)

A self-taught painter inspired by nature, birds in particular. Most of his work is privately commissioned. He has been involved in several ANF projects and narrated the film for Pyrenees and the promotional film ‘Unspoilt Sark’

Sark: Artists for Nature: Jubilee Project

ANF
CHANNEL ISLAND OF SARK TO HOST
JUBILEE PROJECT
ARTISTS FOR NATURE FOUNDATION'S


The international non-profit organisation Artists for Nature Foundation, ANF founded in 1990 in The Netherlands, have chosen the beautiful and unique, car-free Channel Island of Sark as the location for their fifteenth project. The ANF are a unique organisation who draw the attention of policy-formulators and decision-makers to the natural world by enabling groups of influential and talented artists to capture the spirit of endangered landscapes and species in their natural habitat through art.

Since the summer of 2009, Sarkee and artist Rosanne Guille (a graduate of the Royal College of Art) has been working with the ANF, planning and fundraising for a project which will bring 15 of these “Artists for Nature' to paint, draw and sculpt in Sark for ten days from 4th May 2011.

The project named 'Art for the Love of Sark' will involve the artists recording all aspects of island life from its rich and unspoilt natural history to the human aspect. The artists will come from all parts of the world, from Russia and the USA to Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, and among them the award-winning President of the Society of Wildlife Artists, Harriet Mead. A full list of the participating artists can be seen at www.sarkpaintings.com under 'current projects blog'.

During the artists visit, from the 3rd day on, there will be daily showings of their work to the public and some of the artists will work with the children of Sark school encouraging their own interest in art and nature. As with other ANF projects around the world, it is hoped that there will be sufficient funding for a project book to be published, and a film and travelling exhibition to raise awareness of what a special and unique, though fragile island Sark still is.

Donations from the residents and businesses of Sark and Guernsey have enabled the first artists visit in May to go ahead. The artists will be staying at Stocks Hotel where rooms have been kindly donated for their stay. What better way of celebrating nature than through the eyes of some of the world's most talented contemporary artists.

Nature Blog Network

Professor John Norris Wood: Southampton University

Toad Walking
Toad Walking by John Norris Wood


The Land Gallery would like to extend its warm congratulations to John Norris Wood who has been awarded a Professorship by Southampton University. Formerly the visiting Professor of Natural History illustration at the Royal College of Art, John celebrated his award by running a drawing class at the University. Seven birds of prey were brought into the studio to be drawn by students, according to John's keen desire for artists to know wildlife through drawing. Some of the birds of prey were allowed to fly freely in the drawing studio.

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Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo: Jessica Oreck: Myriapod Productions

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Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo: Jessica Oreck: Myriapod Productions


In this guest post, filmmaker Jessica Oreck answers a few questions about her documentary Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo. The film, which delves into the ineffable mystery of Japan's age-old love affair with insects, is currently playing in theaters around the world and will air on PBS's Independent Lens series in the U.S. in May 2011.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo Trailer from Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.




Where did the idea to make Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo come from?

I was helping out in a classroom where a guest speaker, a young Japanese woman, was talking about different elements of Japanese culture. She mentioned, in passing, that people in Japan love insects. I have loved insects since I was a little girl, so my interest was immediately piqued. I studied filmmaking, biology, and ecology in university, and I knew I wanted to make films about ethnobiology (the way human cultures interact with the natural world), so this was the perfect film with which to start.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

I raced to start my research but there was nothing about this phenomenon in English. Reluctantly, I set the idea aside. But only two days later, my sister is sitting in an airport in Baltimore, and she and the young man sitting next to her strike up a conversation. He is a bicultural Japanese American entomologist who travels around the US giving talks about Japanese love of insects. Um, providence? During our first phone call I told Akito Kawahara that I wanted to make this movie. He said something along the lines of, “Cool. We can stay at my parents house and I’ll introduce you to all of my beetle collecting friends.” It wasn’t quite as easy as that makes it sound, but it really feels like the stars aligned for this particular project.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

How did you produce this film, and what are some of the challenges you overcame in the process?

Thanks to Akito, most of our subjects were chosen far in advance. We were also a really small crew: myself (recording sound), my boyfriend, Sean Price Williams, as camera, and then my best friend Maiko Endo as translator. So the actual production was, well, a blast. But determining the structure of the narrative, that was a bit more complicated. I knew I didn’t want main characters – I was more interested in the movements of social masses. I also had no intention of a formal narrative arc. I had a mystery, and I wanted to solve it, but I wasn’t going to force it into the conventions of a ‘story.’ I wanted to move backwards through time, uncovering clues that would point to how this cultural phenomenon came into being. I started with that idea and eventually the form of a filmic spiral shaped itself in my head – one that would move three-dimensionally around the subject (insects in Japanese culture through time), while allowing the periphery (history, philosophy, religion) to inform the framing.
I did extensive research before traveling to Japan – I drafted a 20-page essay containing pieces of Japanese history and philosophy that I wanted to include in the film. As the editing process progressed I continued to refine the ‘essay,’ skimming off outer details. That shortened essay (at three and a half pages) was translated into Japanese and became the voice over. Between editing the footage and writing and editing the narration, it was a very organic process. Everything just seemed to fall into place.

In general, what kind of relationship do Japanese kids have with the insect world, and how does this compare with the relationship most American kids have?

A Japanese child’s relation to insects isn’t that different from an American’s child connection – if you catch them young enough. Most young children don’t have an innate fear of bugs (from my experience watching thousands of them pass through the butterfly vivarium at the American Museum of Natural History). It isn’t until they see the dad flinch or the mom scream that they learn disgust or fear. What’s different with Japanese children is that they are encouraged to explore the insect world.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

They keep them as pets, their dads take them on insect collecting trips, and they travel halfway across the country to watch the fireflies emerge at dusk. Of course I am really generalizing – but the phenomenon is generally quite widespread. I think that an individual’s understanding of the natural world is still mostly directly absorbed through the behavior of the people he or she admires, and that that is one of the reasons why this connection to insects continues to thrive in Japanese culture.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo


Did the people you met think it was odd that you, an American filmmaker, were so interested in this particular aspect of Japanese culture?

Everyone seemed happy to have us, though they were often confused by why we were making this film. We got a lot of, “What? They don’t sell beetles in America?”

What can this film teach Westerners about Japanese culture and values? What do you hope will really resonate with your viewers?

Those are big questions. What I have learned from Japanese culture that I think about most often is the concept of mono no aware. Essentially, mono no aware is the appreciation of beauty that is transient. For instance, to the Japanese, cherry blossoms are the most beautiful when they are falling. But mono no aware has implications outside of this definition. It isn’t necessarily limited to beauty – it is also about focusing on each moment as it passes. It sounds hackneyed to say “appreciate the moment,” but making Beetle Queen has helped me do that (at least more often than I used to).

I hope this is something viewers take away from the film as well, but I don’t want to limit the potential influences it could have. I have seen many diverse reactions. Plenty of people have been surprised by the loss of their fear, or by newfound knowledge, or a novel appreciation of beauty in unanticipated facets of their lives. But my favorite story is of a World War II veteran who approached me after a screening of Beetle Queen. He said something to the effect of, “For fifty years I have thought of the Japanese as my enemy. And in the past hour and a half, you have changed that.”

Nature Blog Network




Spectacled Cormorant News from Anna Kirk Smith

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I am currently working on an installation piece for a forthcoming muti-media exhibition entitled the 'Ghosts of Gone Birds', the brainchild of filmamker Ceri Levy that has gained the backing of Birdlife International and the RSPB. 100 species extinct in the last 400 years, 100 artists exploring their legacies and portents for the future - not only for the current bird population but for humans themselves.

I have the absolute pleasure to be working with the (ex) Spectacled Cormorant (pictured above) and am visiting the Tring branch of the Natural History Museum shortly to see 2 of the only 6 specimens worldwide. I'll let you know more about the piece and the exhibition details as it progresses. I'm really going to enjoy the physical challenge of this one.

I know it's a bit early - but have a great Christmas and New Year anyway.

Anna Kirk-Smith December 2010

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Congratulations to Katrina van Grouw, née Cook

Andrew and Debbie would like to extend their congratulations to Katrina who was married recently. We wish her and her husband, Hein, all the best for their future together.

As a consequence of their marriage, we have updated the content of Katrina's pages and the rest of the site with her new surname, van Grouw, so if you are looking for her work please find it here in the future.

Katrina van Grouw's workKatrina van Grouw's workKatrina van Grouw's work

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Andrew Tyzack @ RCA Secret 2009

Andrew Tyzack has donated three original artworks to RCA Secret 2009. The Royal College of Art hosts RCA Secret annually to raise money to assist young artists studying at the RCA. The name of the artist who created each postcard is kept secret. Last year 2700 postcards went on show, and were sold in aid of the RCA’s Fine Art Student Award Fund. Last year many well known artists were exhibited, including: Grayson Perry, Anish Kapoor, Quentin Blake, Manolo Blahnik, Tracey Emin, Paula Rego, Mimmo Paladino, Yoko Ono and Olafur Eliasson.

Open at Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU from Friday 13 November until Friday 20 November 11-6pm, 11-8pm on Thursday 19 November. Free admission.

The cards will be sold to the public in a huge one-day sale, with each postcard costing just £40, regardless of whether it has been made by a famous name or a current art student. The Sale will be open on Saturday 21 November, 8am-6pm.

Andrew Tyzack's signed works at RCA Secret 2009

RCA Secret postcard by Andrew Tyzack

Nature Blog Network

John Busby is the Master Wildlife Artist, Birds in Art® 2009

We are pleased to announce that John Busby has been named the 2009 Master Wildilfe Artist in 'Birds in Art'. The exhibition of his work runs initially at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA, from 12th September to 15th November 2009. You can hear John speak about his life as a wildlife artist at 10 a.m. on the 12th September during the opening day Meet the artists event at the Woodson.

Following the stay at the Woodson, the exhibition will then tour the USA and will be on view at the following museums:


John Busby, Master Artist in Birds in Art®

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Drawing class for RCA Alumni by John Norris Wood

As part of the Summer Drawing Classes for AlumniRCA members, Professor John Norris Wood will be running a course titled “Natural forms/drawing from Nature.”

The class is due to take place on Wednesday, 16th September 2009, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If you are an Alumni of the Royal College of Art, London, please contact Mark Parkin on 020 7590 4115 or send him an e-mail.

John Norris Wood's

Nature Blog Network

Drawing course, Bass Rock, and the British Birdwatching Fair

Anna Kirk-Smith has just returned from lecturing at John Busby's drawing course held on Bass Rock, Scotland. Here, alongside John Busby and David Measures, Anna taught the drawing of birds from life among the thousands of Bass Rock gannets. Some examples of her work, generated at St. Abb’s on the same trip, are below. If you would like to see these pieces and others in the flesh, they are due to be exhibited at the British Birdwatching Fair in Rutland, from the 21st to 23rd August 2009.

New work by Anna Kirk-Smith - Flood tide, St. Abb'sNew work from Anna Kirk-Smith - Kittiwake dread

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Hemlata Pradhan's work on display at the British Museum

A reminder that you can still go and see Hemlata’s work at the British Museum as part of its India-themed exhibitions this summer. Her work is on display beneath the central atrium of the museum, in the foyer of the Clore Education Centre. Also, note that Hemlata is due to give a workshop on Indian Botanical painting this Thursday, 18th June (from 14.00 to 17.30) so you might have the opportunity to meet her if you go along.

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