Friday, July 27, 2007

Plaster-Cast Profanities

Forgive me. It's been two weeks since my last conf...- oh sorry, blog entry. Sometimes I have so many areas to work on at once I find I just get a bit manic and try to cover all bases a little bit every day.

Over the last two weeks I have been working on upwards of thirty new paintings, have completed three poems about my thoughts and experiences, and I have been continuing a series of short stories which I hope to publish sometime in the relatively near future.

Coupled with this I squeezed a morning painting session down by the salt lake with four other artists. I think for me it was important to do this, as I spend so much of my time locked away in my studio. I got such a buzz of having like minded company and for the first time in a long time felt free to paint without restrictions. I completed two paintings during that two hour 'en plein air' session, the first was relatively recognisable if you know the area, while the second was a loose, quite abstract version of the same scene. The lack of restriction for me was liberating and actually fuelled me with more enthusiasm when I got back to the studio. My thanks to Maurice, Ron, John and Mike for the company. We will do it again sometime.

All this done amid the usual daily email queries from galleries, newspapers and the public. To prove I have been busy and not just supping coffee I will let you see one of my latest poems. Your opinions are welcome.


Often talked, but last in line,
eaves dropped on deafened ears.
How can we listen with re-turned backs
against the current of lethargy?

Hope against hope is lost

Each day with hesitations on the rise
carbon footprint, blackened earth.
Sun bleached walls leave traced outlines
of shadows sharpened edges cut.

Caustic comments cut deeper still

Alpha male leads from the front.
Shards of momentary madness flicker forth
and cyclic splashes crown the path.
The old have rounded shoulders now.

Contrition is its own reward

Bright colours trumpet times of joy
then fade with lack of sun.
Round holes in squares in rounds again,
in a thousand different ways succinct.

Life’s internal struggle

Pillars brace the frailty felt.
Comments meant to reach on high,
reality is boxed and put away
and bars deny the few a link.

While chained to imperfection

Locked into a fish bowl life,
observations noted down.
Prying out with cushioned force,
left well enough alone, gives all

an elemental peace

The tri-light laws that govern us
reflect a softer seam above.
Mine it well with careful words
lest its gone in emblematic smoke.

A frame on which to hang

Metered moments ticking by, the
click-clip-clock rhythmic beats aloud,
umbrella’d under internal shafts
and netted close, like spiders web

of deceit and incredulity

Pleasing turns of pages beckon.
Strings align and pull together.
Pink overtones lift melodic curves,
all given freely with a sagging love,

a love that knows its bounds

And yet the sadness washes by
while splashed with urban dreadedness.
“Beat the time lordly now boys!”
With processionary pride it takes

a whining, winding path

Baked and desiccated life
awaits the drip, drip, drip effect -
“All hail!” the handbagged letters cry.
“Release our agony!” they plea.

Performance in the key

Spiked enhancement of the truth
impales the lesser class,
table-topped and speared below.
Drawn blood a crimson pool.

Efforts all in vein

Talk of effortless attempts,
waste the best of what is left.
Cost alone prohibits thoughts.
The pressure of old turgid time

rolls on, for all the same

Give a thought as light begins to fade,
a darkness closes fast.
Columns stripe their colours high,
clear indications make the text

an uncomfortable read

Wearily dragged down by banal reports.
Lives drummed into the ground.
Look square, into the oblong light
littered hopes and dreams lay down

plaster-cast profanities

Friday, July 13, 2007


It's Friday and I have been catching up on paperwork after arranging for my latest works to get shipped back to Ireland this morning. The response to my enquiry about gallery space has been amazing. Artists from all over Europe and America have responded with positive comments and interest. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have been catching up with my representing galleries around Europe to see how the art world is doing at the moment. All good at present it seems overall, but you can never rest or take anything for granted.

That's it for now. Please continue to send me your emails and information requests. I am always happy to receive them and will do my utmost to answer promptly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vanity Galleries

In response to a letter from Robert Genn's twice weekly musings at 'Painters Keys', I emailed a reply relating to pay-for-space art galleries. Due to editorial cuts not all of my email could be printed (lack of space etc.), so I have chosen to show it in full here for all those curious readers clicking through from the website. Also, I have included one of my more recent paintings to let you have a look at. It is called Altea Con-fusion (the road rises). Let me know your thoughts....

Dear Robert
It's interesting to hear your comments about paying for wall space in galleries as 'ego' and 'vanity' based. Of course it is! What is an artist if not driven by ego? We constantly put our hearts on our sleeves and expose ourselves - and our insecurities - to either ridicule or adulation depending on your circle of admirers/detractors, of which there are legion.

I have used the pay-for-space type gallery successfully in the past, although not in the Agora gallery, and have come out ahead financially, egotistically, broadened my travel and artistic experiences, and have succeeded in lifting my own profile on the international stage because of it.

Why not? If you hide your light under a bushel of brushes and wait to be discovered, chances are you will probably give up through disillusionment and get a 'real job' again. There are two types of canvas in my art world. I paint on one, but I canvas votes also, by pushing myself constantly into the public realm. As fellow countryman of mine, Oscar Wilde, once said "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

Yes, it costs money. Yes, it can be thrown in the water if you choose to look at it that way. It's the chance you take. I don't see it that way, however, as I get a bigger buzz travelling to the country concerned and relish all the adventures, artistic or otherwise, I have along the way. For me that is the pay-off. I get to write about it in my blog, I get people talking about me and my work, I lift my profile higher, I collect new collectors of TJ Miles' artworks. The bonus is when I sell a numerous paintings as well. I then have new advocates of my work, who will in turn talk about me in other circles, in other societies, in other languages, in other places around the world. You have to feed the beast to make it hunger again. If you fail to feed it in the first place it cannot recognise what hunger is and will wither and die before it has had a chance to fully come to life.

I have found the pay-for-space style so successful that I am toying with the idea of starting my own gallery along the same lines here in Spain. By renting wall space, I don't consider it taking advantage of struggling artists at all, in fact I think it gives them an opportunity to exhibit in a location, and at a time in their careers where a hand up is better than a hand out. The pay for space idea, in my mind, would be a way for me to cover the rental of premises, which in turn would enable me to exhibit potentially important artists of the future who could have fallen by the riverbank of despair and lethargy because they failed to get that first opportunity.

I am curious to see how many artists who read your letters and subsequent replies would be interested in exhibiting in Spain. With the possibility of throwing in a few days of Spanish history, architecture, art and a holiday at the same time. Please don't think I am looking for a free advertisement here, I'm not. I am very capable of contacting all the artists on the 'painters keys' website and countless others advertising their egos on the web, just like myself. I would just be interested in knowing what proportion agree with my views and would consider my thoughts to have merit.

A gallery owner and long-time exhibitor of my work, and also a good friend of mine, once had a group of teenage art students organise a trip to ask his advice about the art market and how they should go about forging a career. When they came in (always the Irish wit) the first thing he gave them was a clove of garlic each. They looked puzzled until he told them to carry it in their pocket when visiting a gallery owner for protection. The premise being that most gallery owners were vampires and this should protect them from the gallery owners getting their teeth into them too early before they have a chance to establish themselves as individual artists.

The pay-for-space type of exhibition just means your buying a service which, if things go according to plan, you should get back through sales anyway. You are aware the bite in the neck is coming, but it has it's benefits in other ways. A sort of love-bite instead of a full blown arterial letting, shall we say?

With best wishes as always
TJ Miles

Monday, July 2, 2007

Back to the drawing board

I was barely back 24 hours and already orders were coming in from galleries in Ireland for new works. I'm not complaining mind - but the realisation that the month on the road was finally over meant that exhaustion kicked in immediately and sleep became a priority.

News of multiple sales at the exhibition in Germany also helped to kick me back into gear, and I have made a start on my next series of paintings.

Coupled with that, interest in my work has been shown by art lovers from other European countries, independent of any promotional work instigated by me or my representing galleries. Always a good sign. Pre-orders have been taken subject to approval. If any viewers out there are interested in seeing previews of new works just let me know, and I will happily send you a jpeg.

That's it for now. Sitting in the hot sun slaving away. I find it good practice, as my paints tend to dry extremely fast in this heat, and I have to work quickly to blend colours before they cake solid.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.