First and Final Frames:

Hello everyone, long time no see. I couldn’t help but share this beautiful video (and with a pleasant melody to boot!)


First and Final Frames from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.


Sterling Hundley to host 2-day workshop with Blank Space


In the beginning of October 2014 Sterling Hundley, creator of Blue Collar / White Collar,has agreed to host a special, one-time creative workshop for the Norwegian public, in collaboration with his new exhibition opening with Blank Space on October 3rd 2014. 

The workshop will focus on ideation and problem solving from direct observation. Students will utilize a sketchbook to complete assignments that requires the individual to seek a site specific experience, and will culminate in a critique. Mr. Hundley will lead the adventure himself while delivering lectures and leading discussions. This workshop is designed for passionate and enthusiastic students of all ages and levels.

Space is limited. For more details, contact Liz Ramsey at


About the exhibition:

The Spoils is a body of work that analyzes the validity of legend from the point of view of the vanquished, not the history drafted by the victor. The Spoils of Saint Hubris is a reinterpretation of the story of Saint Hubert, the patron saint of the animals and hunters. Legend tells that while hunting on Easter Sunday, Saint Hubert came upon God in the clearing, in the form of the white stag of Arthurian legend. Falling to his knees and vowing to give up his worldly goods, Hubert was blessed by God and later anointed the Patron Saint of animals and hunters by the Catholic Church.

 The Spoils of Saint Hubris tells another truth. Hubris chooses to take God as the ultimate trophy. The paintings included are from a larger body of work that speaks of apathy, loyalty and the consequences of man’s unending ambition and need to control that which should not be culled. Through the combination of traditional oil painting techniques and the geometry of digital art and screen printing, this The Spoils of Saint Hubris speaks to the clashing of science and nature; the precise and the organic.

 Sterling Hundley is an icon and a recognized advocate in his field. Co-founding The Art Department, a pinnacle of higher education for the visual arts, as well as being a key faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University, the largest public art school in the USA, in combination with his extensive history of publications, collectors, awards and medals he is truly a treat to bring to the Norwegian public. He is also the focal point of the highly sought after  Blue Collar / White Collar, a 160 page introspective into his mind and process.



A call to arms,

Those of you who are familiar with Blank Space understand that we are an organization who has dedicated itself to making the art world a healthier place, one that is open to everyone with no elitism, no closed doors, and no limit due to your financial situation. You know us as a gallery that hosts exhibitions that think outside the normal realm of representation to truly signify how large the art world is. You know us as the creative space that hosts open classes and workshops to heighten the visual integrityof artists everyone, giving them a safe environment to improve and collaborate.

We need your help now.

Below you will find a link to our online petition where we ask for signatures simply showing that you agree with our mission. We ask nothing more of you than that. Your signature will be presented along with other cosigners to the various Norwegian Cultural Departments to show that we have public support and this is a wanted and necessary addition to Oslo’s cultural environment. And, as this is the age of the digital revolution, we would appreciate a share or two – to help us spread the word beyond our own network.

We here at Blank Space thank you for your continued support,and thank you for everything you’ve done for us so far. As always, please contact us with any opinions, thoughts, or criticisms.

Liz Ramsey
Founder / Director

Cliff Wallace – Studio visit and MORE!

So, I was pretty excited to hear back from Cliff Wallace a few months back, when he initially expressed interest in hosting a solo show with us. Not only would I get to see where this incredibly imaginative, and prolific, artist worked, but also I would get to visit London (again)! I have such a dynamic relationship with London, ranging from hating it when I visited for the first time, all the way through to my complete desire to move there. These days, I satiate myself with a weekend trip ever 6 months or so (an advantage of living in Norway). But this was a business trip, the first time I could really say that in many trips to come.

Besides talking over 3 hours about God knows what, his studio was a superbly pleasant experience.  It was a bit unsettling to be sitting in the middle of all these creations, as they were ominously placed facing towards the couch Cliff and I sat on to discuss his future show. I felt like there was no way I could make a mistake here, or else one of these things would come and find me later on in my dingy 16,000 bed dorm room later on.  But I must have said something pleasing, as not only was I not attacked by Hellish fiends, but I also was able to procure Mr. Wallace’s involvement with the gallery for future months.

But now those ‘future months’ are here! Next week, to be exact. And we have so much lined up for his visit for the weekend he graces Oslo, so keep tuned on our facebook page for the most relevant news updates.

On Friday, January 24th from 18:00 – 21:00 is the opening exhibition for the show, which runs until February 23rd.

On Saturday, January 25th at 14:00 is an presentation, Q+A and small portfolio review.

We are negotiating terms and times for, possibly, an open forum discussion with panel, to talk about the film industry today. The event will be Saturday night, with details to come, but will certainly have food and drink available, for those who needs alcohol to talk openly and confidently….

You can also find a preview list of works available for sale here.

In the mean time, do not be afraid to contact me at with any questions or inquiries.

IMG_0399 IMG_0400 IMG_0401 IMG_0402 IMG_0403 IMG_0404 IMG_0406_2 IMG_0407 IMG_0408 IMG_0410 IMG_0411 IMG_0412 IMG_0414 IMG_0415 IMG_0416 IMG_0417 IMG_0418 IMG_0419 IMG_0420 IMG_0421_2 IMG_0422 IMG_0423 IMG_0424_2 IMG_0426 IMG_0427_2 IMG_0428_2 IMG_0429_2 IMG_0430

‘Redefining Art’- Blank Space takes on Pecha Kucha

Very honored to be featured on Aftenposten,  the national Norwegian newspaper, for my presentation on redefining art. Pecha Kucha, the host for the presentation, is an amazing event and I am so happy to be have been a part of it. Please watch the video linked below, and feel free to contact us with any comments (good or bad, I can take some critique!). Below is a transcript of the lecture as well, as my horrifying lisp may make your ears bleed. (It is always terrible to hear yourself talk, but come on!)

And, of course, please keep an eye for our newest show which is the ideation of many of these concepts talked about in this lecture.




My name is Liz, and I am the founder of blankspace, a multi-purpose creative space here in Oslo that focuses on a lot of deficiencies in the art world today – mainly the improper distribution of media coverage for all different types of art, and how this inadequacy alienates a lot of average people from becoming interested in art.



Art can be anything, and in it everything can be said.  I believe that anything done with a true passion, and in a way that pushes the boundaries of its limitations is art.  You can even say that art is, at its core, the truest expression of the soul that can be made by man. But, we have some 7.11 billion people in the world, so that is a lot of different kinds of souls making a lot of different kinds of art.



The problem is with mainstream media’s ill proportionate coverage of all the different kinds of art. If you flip open a newspaper, or more likely, open a new tab and scroll through the ‘Culture’ section of any publication, I am guessing what you would see would all be very, very similar.



Not necessarily in shape, or color, or message or meaning and so on and so on- but, it would all be very conceptual and very modern, ‘fine-art’ driven applications of art. They would most likely require a large amount of contextual information, and often times, a greater understanding of very difficult concepts that even many educated persons don’t find enjoyable.



But what about these? Comic books. Animation. Street Art. Fashion. Cartoons. We do have 7.11 billion different ways of expressing ourselves, but the problem lies not in the lack of people making it but instead of how the media and the average population limits their idea of what art can be defined as.



The problem became prominent during the Pop and Modern art movements, which can be traced back to Dada and Surrealist movements, which stems from Impressionism, Expressionism, and then Abstractionism.  Most of the art that was made before these was pretty representational – meaning everyone understood knew what they were looking at. (Nude ladies lounging on a couch, war scenes, rich guys, etc.)



Then these new art movements came along and started finding beauty in everyday objects and painting abstract and hard to represent things such as emotions, memories, and feelings. These different subject matters eventually shifted the majority of how people came to view art, with a mental instead of visual focus.



Art has always been linked to money – the only people who could afford art were the rich, and it was one of the best ways to show off your high status in society. But, at least the poor people understood what they were looking at. Art was often used instead of words because poor people couldn’t always read. Hey, this is a famous general. This is Jesus and his disciples. This is some good looking food.



But after Surrealist, Dadaist, Pop and Modern Movements average people became alienated because the concepts became so clouded in context. Not everyone was, or is, educated in art–  today only 4.6% of all people are educated in any type of art (visual, performing, audio) so this leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation from the ‘uneducated’.



People couldn’t  understand why Duchamp put a urinal upside down in a museum. They didn’t get how old magazine clippings haphazardly tossed on a canvas was art. This left average audience members feeling confused, distant and disconnected from the art they had heard so much about.



But that 4.6% really loved it: they wrote about it, went to openings, talked about it and most importantly is that they bought it. For a lot of money. They made everyone else feel like they were missing out on all the fun, the great parties and the intellectual debates.



But that other 95.4% didn’t understand what they were missing, just that they were missing out. So, they went back to their jobs as accountants, farmers, grocery store clerks, nurses and just figured that art wasn’t for them.  This is an important distinction to make.



But the fact that in almost every major city in the world Art Museums are one of the top 5 major tourist attractions, and in places like London, are each of the top 5 major attractions, tells you that everyone wants to give it a second chance. But when the vacation is over, they go back to their regular lives with no art openings, no exhibitions, and no coffee table books.



The mass majority of people feel unaccepted from the very thing that is supposed to be all encompassing and understanding. After all, before you even learn to read, you learn about the world through picture books or photographs. The sad thing is, is that we have unused avenues today that can help these people feel reconnected to art.



If we are ballsy enough to assume that those 4.6% artistically educated persons are interested in contemporary art, that still leaves a whopping 6,783,000,000 who aren’t connected to art today. But there are other forms of art there which just don’t receive the correct publicity – sure, there are groups and forums and interest pages for those who are, but I am talking about main stream media exposure.



Take into account that Norway is not only one of the richest countries in the world, but one offering some of the largest artist to grant funds in the world and that , on average, 9/10 recipients to these funds are contemporary artists, you can begin to understand how the picture has become so skewed.


Let me make this very, very clear – I am not against contemporary art. Not even bad contemporary art. I will always stand by people wanting to make any art they want to make. But the amount of representation of contemporary, modern, and ‘intellectual’ art is not accurately proportionate to how little their piece of the ‘art world’ pie really is. 



We must change the way people view art. We must break down this barrier of exclusivity and embrace other forms of art that exist today so that we can grow together. We must start an open and honest dialogue between artist and audience to better stimulate a lasting experience for both parties.



At blankspace we try very hard to fill all these gaps. By offering exhibitions that focus on other types of artistic expression, we are trying to bridge that gap between artwork and viewer. We also host drawing workshops and classes for enthusiasts of all levels, as well as lectures and seminars. A  lot of our exhibitions are display only, and many others are specifically targeted towards low income audiences.



I would love to further the discussion and am always looking for new opinions. Feel free to grab me out of the crowd after the show or stop by so we can exchange ideas and work together to strengthen the art community for everyone involved – and help make it easier for those who aren’t. Thank you!


Click here, or below, to see the full presentation.–Media-fremmedgjor-kunst-7401429.html?paging=&section=

‘Art for All’ – The newest show from Blank Space

As most of you know, Blank Space is different than most other gallery spaces. Besides the obvious, where we offer workshops and classes for enthusiasts of all levels or ages as well as our struggle to obtain a space suitable for art studios for low-income artists, we also focus our aesthetic on art that isn’t always traditionally held to belong in gallery spaces.  Though many of our artists are ‘Fine Artists’ we also play host to animators, illustrators, street artists, game designers, special effects designers, printmakers, comic artists, and many more. We do this to not only shed light on the fact that many galleries have gotten boringly similar in their taste, but also to let the art market know that this isn’t OK –  by showing such a limited view of what art can be we discourage people from accepting other forms of art as worthwhile pursuits and interests. We have a duty as artistic representatives to be that go-between for artists and buyers, and if we do this by only looking at how much our commission price is and what artist can double as a stock option we are doing the whole world a disservice.

In our next show, ‘Art for All’, Blank Space will attempt to destroy this idea that art is only for the rich or for the elite. In putting all art on such a high pedestal, we are alienating average people from ever being able to access it.  So, not only will be featuring a wide range of artists from all over the world, covering many versatile and distinct styles and mediums, but also will be selling these prints for cheap – anywhere from 100 – 1000 NOK (approximately 15 – 150 USD). We will be having both limited edition digital prints, hand printed original artworks, giclee prints and many other options suited for anyone of any financial level.  It’s about time we (artists, artistic representatives, buyers, enthusiasts, students, gallery owners, curators, etc) stop pretending that art is only interesting if it is for an elite few. Art is for all.

I will be posting a link here to this blog, as well as on all our other social media sites, to our preview list for sales. (Please, if you haven’t already, follow us on these channels as well. Click here or below for the appropriate links: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Official Website)

Below are sample images of the artists we will be selling prints from. Though many of these images will be for sale, the exact images are still being decided and will most likely change. Please share this blog post with anyone you feel would be interested in this show, and let’s help show the world that we, as a group of artistically minded individuals, do not support the elitist attitude which is overwhelmingly present today.

</ rant>

Sterling Hundley


Andrew Mar


Eda Kaban


Paulina Suarez


Ben Jelter


Liz Ramsey


Tanner Griepentrog


Michał Dziekan


David Ball


Max Kostenko


BreeAnn Veenstra


Zachary Fleischer


Scott Waters


Mark Weber


Bård Henning Kvinen

konsept (8)

 Jake Kobrin


The show opens on December 20th, and the opening reception will be from 18:00 – 21:00. The show runs until January 20th. For any additional information, or for ordering / sales inquiries, please email us at .

Thank you to everyone who supports the arts, in all its glorious forms.

FacebookTwitterInstagramOfficial Website

Ron Lemen

School is back in session! That is, for all of you who are in school. For those of you who aren’t, it is never too late to sharpen up some skills. Though I myself never had much use for instructional videos (I have always been very intuitive in my mistakes), I know many people find great joy in watching them. So, for all of you, here is a nice collection of  videos I’ve found that at least somewhat mimics things I’ve heard before – his “artist training” website has quite a few interesting videos and whatnot for you to enjoy.

VICE – I’m Sick Of Pretending: I Don’t “Get” Art

Sometimes I like to stir the flames of controversy. As this topic hits close to home for me, I thought I’d share the article for all those possibly interested. You really need to view the related images along with the text, otherwise I’d include the text below for your lazy pleasure. In summary, VICE magazine writer Glen Coco discusses contemporary, conceptual art and how he has finally got the guts to say he just doesn’t get it.

I’d love to hear your views.


You know what? I’m sick of pretending. I went to art school, wrote a dissertation called “The Elevation of Art Through Commerce: An Analysis of Charles Saatchi’s Approach to the Machinery of Art Production Using Pierre Bourdieu’s Theories of Distinction”, have attended art openings at least once a month for the last five years, even fucking purchased pieces of it, but the other night, after attending the opening of the new Tracey Emin retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, I’m finally ready to come out and say it: I just don’t think I “get” art. [Although, after this article was written, I did try to get an art student to explain it to me.] ……………………….

(article continues at link below)

Top 11 ways new artists blow it

Of course no one is expecting artists (and, surprisingly not entirely new or student artists, either!) to be perfect – after all, their job is to make the art and mine to sell it. But, there are a few things that falls under the artist’s responsibility that really hurts my chances of selling a piece – and without selling things, it is awfully hard to for you to become “successful”.  These are some things I’ve seen time and time again, through my time as an intern at various galleries and as the founder of blankspace that may seem small and simple, and indeed violating just one is no big problem, but if you find yourself routinely checking “whoops” off this list, then you may find yourself having a hard time seeking, or maintaining, representation in the art market.

These are in no particular order (though I would say #5, #6 and #10 are incredibly important)


Now, some galleries prefer that you do not frame your work, as they prefer to either do it themselves to maintain consistency or, in some cases, their buyers are so picky about frames they sell it “raw” so the buyer can choose one themselves. But, in most cases, you are in charge of framing, and the expenses thereof.  Always opt for a better quality frame, avoiding thin wire frames that scream “I was the cheapest thing  the artist could find”. Buyers want to know they are paying for quality, and as we all know your artwork is probably quite nice, wrapping it in a terrible bargain frame takes away that elegance you strived so hard to achieve. Don’t insult a buyer by expecting them to pay $1,000 for a  piece wrapped in a $5 frame. A thick, black, wooden frame is always a good go-to, but of course you can up it a notch and opt for shadow boxing, matting (if applicable), stand-alone mounting.  Putting time in this step will make you look good. 


If the back looks like this: DON’T.




Awesome! You found a sweet frame. Now, if you went to a framer and had it done (NO shame in that!), this step was probably taken care of for you. If you went the “handy-man” route and made a frame yourself, or bought one from a store, then please – for the love of Jeebus – wire your work. I cannot tell you how incredibly irritating it is to open a package of wonderful, beautiful art and go to hang it and, low and behold, there is no wire. And, no, those little doohickeys that come on the back of the ready made, photo frame you bought don’t count.

Seriously, fuck these things.

Seriously, fuck these things.

Of course I have wiring tools and kits here that I can do it – but this breaks the cardinal rule of making me do things that you were supposed to do.


ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES LIZ….mildly irritated.



This may not seem like a big deal and it isn’t – until it is. One tiny scratch on glass (or, worse, terrible plexiglass that came with your cheap store-bought frame) can ruin an audience’s interest. Imagine seeing the Mona Lisa with a huge gash down the middle of the glass.  OH THAT’S RIGHT, YOU WOULDN’T. It completely ruins the effect of a piece of work, if your eye starts focusing on a place where, apparently, someone has taken a medieval sword to your work. Was that the effect you were going for?
Normally if you follow step 10 properly, this isn’t too big of an issue. And buying new glass to replace a scratched one isn’t the hardest thing to do, but having to pay for glass twice when you could have “upgraded” to a higher quality of product in the first place, and not make me run around the day of a show to replace it, would be very nice. This step is what differentiates newbies from pros.



This, again, is a step that really takes a student to a next level. No, the quality of your work will not normally be effected (professionals everywhere still can’t agree what type or brand of paper is the best), so for your own working technique, it is up to you what type of paper you use. For example, for illustration jobs, once the final product is submitted and printed (or whatever the final product is) the original artwork is fairly useless. But for Fine Art, this piece of paper must withstand the aging process of sitting behind a piece of glass for the rest of its life. Yes, it will start fading and crinkling –and far sooner than you’d think. Though galleries tend to be fairly climate controlled – shit happens. Maybe the AC breaks one weekend. BOOM – now your beautiful watercolor / lithography piece is permanently wrinkled from the humidity change. If you had only spend $2 more on that piece of paper before you started your piece, I would now be able to continue to try to sell it for $2,000. No one will buy it once its damaged like that.



This is a step so often forgoed that I feel like I should write it in all caps.

GET YOUR WORK PROFESSIONALLY PHOTOGRAPHED. NO, YOUR IPHONE THUMBNAIL WILL NOT DO.  (unless you get that sweet new Nokie Lumia 1020 – that shit looks HELLA TIGHT.)

Most work is “sold” online – as romantic as it is to assume that a millionaire walks by the gallery window, sees your work, begins to cry while running into the store and slamming multiple crumpled hundred dollar bills from his pocket and then begins to embrace your artwork like a long lost lover, it doesn’t happen. As often as  Amazon is used to buy completely silly and random things by humans everywhere (though I am waiting on the monkey who figures out how to buy those banana protectors), it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that a lot of art dealing happens online as well.  Granted, most buyers insist on coming to the gallery and seeing the piece personally, and rightfully so. But the first thing most viewers see first is your online presence. This goes for seeking representation, as well, and for outside of the Fine Art world. A picture is worth a thousand words, so please don’t make me describe to the buyer what the piece is like – I’m not very good.


Oh, jeez, ummm…..well…… There’s like some swirls and stuff, and like a big tower kind of off to the side. I guess those might be stars, but they’re kind of too big….. Maybe explosions? I don’t know.



This goes more for artists seeking representation than maintain one, but seriously, its 2013 – there are literally DOZENS of high quality, easily updatable websites for FREE that you can use. Your flaming banner text from the 1990s called and it doesn’t even want your website back.

Yes, I have to be able to clearly read the text. I do not want to feel old and grab my granny glasses to read your white text over a ill-proportioned landscape painting you did back in the 9th grade. I want to see crisp, legible links directly telling me where to go – or even better yet, BOOM – right on the homepage a small gallery summarizing your work. Then, if interested, I can continue to browse through your other galleries. I have an attention span of a 2 second old moth, if I have to do it myself, I probably won’t.





Not everything has to be full of meaning. I don’t want to hear your life story (now, Hulk Hogan – THAT’S a life story I want to hear). But a paragraph highlighting your frame of mind and thought process, as well as how you came there throughout the years, is pretty beneficial for me to better understand your art. Limit this to 1 paragraph.

Don’t be afraid to throw some accomplishments in there – everyone else puts their best stuff at the top, so being humble here will not help you (However, please refrain from bragging. That shit gets old fast). You kind of maybe got a small thumbnail in Juxtapoz magazine? Tell me! Got interviewed by Southwest Art Magazine? Woohoo! These types of things not only impress me, but makes it easier for me to impress buyers. Though, don’t worry if you don’t have any accomplishments yet – it isn’t always a turn off to see no highlights.

And, while I’m kind of on the topic, I will check your gallery references – so if you have nothing but coffee shop shows listed 100 times, I will begin to doubt your integrity. (Though, certainly, in the beginning, they are beneficial!)



Ugh. Isn’t this just common courtesy? Do I need to go into details why this is irritating? I do not have a smart phone, or any internet access a lot of times. Does that mean I cannot check my email once a day and at least reply back “Ok, I will look into it. Be back to you shortly with blah blah blah”. Making me wait 6 days to receive something simple like the dimensions of your piece is probably the #1 reason why I won’t be interested in your work.



I am a very open minded gallerist, one of the few people who thinks that anything in the world done passionately and without bounds is art (even say, in accounting). That being said, do not expect me to jump on your hyper conceptual piece, or your performance art which mainly consists of you rubbing mustard and ketchup alternately over your body while playing David Bowie in the background (though, I would watch it on youtube…). I am excited to see the art being made, and am happy you considered us good enough to represent you. But keep in mind that your chances are very slim. Perhaps a better route would be to get acquainted with the gallery, talk to the director, and ask them if they are aware of any galleries in town that would like their work. This puts the pressure off of me (ie: director/curator) to sincerely tell you, YES I think you are interesting but NO we are not interested.



In addition, if you try to submit your work to the wrong gallery, even if they do accept you, they might not be able to give you the credit, attention or representation you’d like – I certainly cannot talk about installation art as well as I can traditional visual art.

And, I’m too nice of a person, even if I don’t think your work is up to par, to tell you to bugger off.



Wrapping an old sock around your sculpture and putting it into a FedEx envelope does not work.



Most delivery service insurances also do not cover damage to artwork done during shipping. It is considered “irreplaceable”, and as flattered as I am by that, it still sucks to think that if your canvas receives a bazooka hole into it, you are not compensated. A chip in a frame is pretty devastating, but imagine if the work itself is ruined -I’ve seen a lot of glass get broken and subsequently thrusted into the canvas. There goes your last 217 hours of work. Here are some tips:

  • First off, wrap the artwork in brown paper, and label it with your name and the title of the piece. This will help protect the piece, and galleries reuse this paper to protect it during storage.
  • Put foam core on the front and back, cut to fit your piece.
  • Put corner protectors on.
  • Wrap the entire thing in layers of bubble wrap. (Don’t think that the frame is safe just because you put corner protectors on. Make sure the entire piece is level with bubble wrap.)
  • Put it in a fitting box. I know it is irritating to not just use the old box you’ve had sitting in your living room for weeks, leftover from that huge Amazon purchase you made, but a box that is too big (or obviously too small) is just as dangerous to your piece than not having any wrapping on the inside at all.



I need to know dimensions, medium used, title, year created, price, and edition number for each piece. This is incredibly standard! I cannot show anyone a piece without the title. I cannot sell a piece without knowing the price. Submit this when you apply either for representation, or showing additional work for a show and it will save me the hassle of having to nag you for it later.

And, having work titled “Untitled #1 – #987092” just screams procrastination.


The best advice I can give, in general, for literally anyone anywhere at any time is to make the job easier for whoever is one step “above” you, or, working laterally with you.  These things listed above will make your gallery rep a much happier person, as no one wants to feel like your mother and nag you to keep up your end of the bargain. As much as artists, like myself, like to think that talent is enough to get you by in the business world, the truth of the matter is is that the market is entirely too saturated with good artists – I had over 400 listings  in my folder for this blog for artists to post about (before the folder was accidentally deleted…see? we all make mistakes!) and it was growing by such an alarming rate that it was nearly non-navigable.  So, what I’m saying is that it takes way more than talent to stand out in this growing market today – more artists are doing more work better and faster than you somewhere in the world. Being on good terms with a possible navigator in that market is only in your favor.

I say these things because I love you, dear reader.

David Apatoff – Illustration Art

This is my dream, guys, just to be David Apatoff. This man spews Illustrative knowledge like an infant churning up half eaten blades of grass and buttons (ie: constantly and easily. I need to get a better handle on my analogies….) I went to his website to try and find his excerpt that he wrote for the introduction in Sterling Hundley’s book Blue Collar White Collar which came out in 2011. His blurb is one of the most beautiful and spot on descriptions of the art world today, and really  touches a soft spot in me and what I hope to accomplish with blankspace, so I need to spread this monologue. However, upon reaching his webpage, I find that literally every single post is that poignant and intelligent – my mind is freaking blowing with knowledge and insight over here.

For the love of God ……. Me………..Art check it out:

And here is the excerpt from his introduction for Sterling Hundley, whose book I HIGHLY suggest you buy:


In this book, Sterling Hundley writes about combining a blue collar work ethic with a white collar aesthetic. But as his career demonstrates, sometimes it’s the backbone within that collar that matters the most.

The field of illustration had been on a volatile path for many years. The digital revolution radically transformed the role of the illustrator, as well as the market for illustration. Clients have changed their expectations ; editors interject themselves into decisions once made by artists, “tweaking” artwork with Photoshop to satisfy the whims of corporate sponsors or bookstore chains. Even before computers, television siphoned off the advertising revenue that had previously fueled an entire century of beautiful picture magazines.  Publications such as Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, and Life , which employed illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish, are all gone today. Much of the print journalism and book market are headed in the same direction. Photography has taken many of the remaining assignments previously performed by illustrators.

So how does a genuine artist adapt to this evolving world?

Many illustrators have wobbled in their search for a new identity. Some became caught in the gravitational pull of photography, and are now doomed to orbit the photographic process with photorealistic pictures or computer manipulated photographs (what Time magazine euphemistically refers to as “photo illustration”). Other illustrators intentionally moved in the opposite direction, disavowing photorealism but in the process throwing out skill, technique or anything else that might hint they were competing with a camera. Some illustrators sought refuge in childish or willfully ugly images, or inflated the prominence of personal opinion and editorial concepts (many of which were barely worthwhile in the first place).

I admire the fact that Hundley has a center of gravity which enables him to face this changing world with artistic integrity. He was not one of those quickly spooked into believing that the value of a good drawing was extinguished by some invention. He understood that good taste and fundamental skills are not obsolete.

Hundley thoughtfully selects what he find relevant and appropriate from both the old and new worlds. Some older illustrators might tend to create lovely, polished images with no thought for the philosophical content of the subject. Some newer illustrators might prefer to focus on content or depict gritty, “relevant” ideas complete with warts and scars. (This is sometimes known as the “I’m so smart I don’t have to draw well” school.)

Hundley’s work embodies his belief that you can have both – you don’t need to throw out classical concerns with design, balance, harmony, anatomy, or the other qualities important to image making in order to make thoughtful and relevant philosophical statements. Hundley’s pictures don’t move, blink, or explode. They don’t require a digital soundtrack or 3D glasses. Instead, they come from the tradition were the picture holds still and your brain moves. Such art sometimes seems to be in short supply these days.

In the following book, you will see how Hundley incorporates words directly into the design of an image (as with My Lady of Richmond on pages 36 & 37 or Hair on page 42), or by working with symbols and double entrendres (as with God Eyes on page 9). But mostly, he uses imagery to achieve content, as with his award winning Death of a Salesman on page 26. Here he depicts Arthur Miller’s tragic hero as nothing more than an empty suit, someone whose only value to society was his handshake and his clean tie for selling merchandise.  Willy Loman’s secret personal self is hidden away behind that “Do Not Disturb” sign; his mind, his face, his individual personality were of no concern to society, and once he was used up he was simply hung up on a rack out of the way. Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish never had to incorporate their opinions into their work in this fashion. Their world of illustration was something very different.

But Hundley doesn’t limit himself to servicing the field of illustration as it is currently configured. He questions and explored, working on “personal” art which he displays in gallery exhibitions; he works on digital variations of the popular “graphic novel” medium; he is an educator and a critic and a writer.  He creatively explores these venues simultaneously, so that his work is not confined to the current version of the illustration market. That market will continue to evolve, and tomorrow may look nothing like it does today. As an artist of substance, Hundley does not let himself be defined by the market.  He takes the initiative and develops his art around his broader taste and judgement.

Returning to the vertebrae inside that white collar / blue collar, Hundley is an artist who sticks his neck out to be protective of his own talent so that he can do his best.  He sticks his neck out to help and defend young art students. He lifts his neck up to survey the larger landscape of art, rather than simply following the tail of the pack mule ahead of him on the trail. And he is stiff necked and determined about growing his talent.

Whether his collar is blue or white at the time he paints any particular work, this is artwork to be enjoyed.


Many thanks to David Apatoff for his dedicated belief in illustration. Again, check out his blog at: