"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

August Art Round-up 2010!!

I just found out that 'The Finnish Cat' will be on public view at this year's Konstrundan Art event in Finland.

Konstrundan is a special annual event where artists open their studio doors to the public. This large group of artists, craftsmen and designers live mainly in the Swedish speaking areas in Finland (Svenskfinland).

For this event I intend to have my 'Finnish Cat'-'Finsk Katt'-'Suomalainen Kissa' on display along with several new paintings which I hope to have ready for this event later this summer.
It all happens on 30 July-1 August 2010.

And I now have my own profile on the Konstrundan site here.
A big thank you to the people at Konstrundan!!

There's a full list of all this year's participants here.

The list represents five areas, Västra Nyland/Helsinki, Turku area, Österbotnia, Åland and Östra Nyland (areas shown in yellow on map)

This event promises to be an excellent presentation of the wide variety of artists and craftspeople in Svenskfinland and I'm very proud to be taking part!

Thanks for reading my blog.


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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Rockin' in Russia!

I'll be 'drowning the shamrock' quietly here in Finland tomorrow. But if there's anybody from a certain part of Russia reading this blog, I can recommend a good night out for you. I have a cousin from Dublin who's heading over to Belgorod to play two concerts with his band The Spikes soon. He only joined this band quite recently but I hear he's fitting into their sound very well and it looks like they're heading for better things pretty soon. 

The band will be releasing a new album shortly, which can only fuel the fire of their much appraised live shows. I believe 'live' music is the way to go for new bands today, and I reckon The Spikes have enough enthusiasm and charisma to do the job properly.

The Spikes will playing at Hamilton's Pub in Belgorod, Russia on St.Patrick's Night March 17th and also on Friday March 19th, 2010.

Here's a video from The Spikes. The song is called Monster.
If you're lucky enough to be at their gig in Russia, have a great night!

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The Shamrock Experiment: Day ???

The Not-so-great Finnish Shamrock Experiment: Day ???

Well, it's the day before St.Patrick's Day and my attempt to grow some shamrock in time for the green festivities has proven slightly unsuccessful. I feel I must hold up my hands as I feel guilty for not giving them the proper soil to grow in and also for underestimating their growth period. I do feel that the temperature changes have also had a slight effect on the growth rate. I reckon the shamrocks will look better in another few days however.

Nevermind. I'll be posting one or two more photos when the shamrock is fully evident. I've given our Finnish Leprechaun friend 'Matti' the day off today. He wanted to practice some Irish dancing before he starts partying tomorrow. But he did leave me with a clip of his favourite TV star on a visit to Ireland. Apparently this guy is quite popular in Finland. It's Conan O'Brien!


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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Shamrock Experiment: Day 6

The Great Finnish Shamrock Experiment: Day 6

Not much happening today. Everything looks the same.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Slow but Sure!

This is a little design I made up for the regional library in Raseborg where I now live in Finland. The library arranged an art contest for young school-children during the holidays in Autumn 2009. This contest was to help towards inspiring and developing a new mascot for the children's library and website. Over 100 children took part in this contest, and 20 of those images entered can be viewed on the video clip below. All of the childrens drawings were excellent, and it proved quite difficult to pick out one from them all.

I was asked to choose just one of the entries which I felt could be used to become their new mascot. I developed this winning entry of a simple snail by Nelly Wallenius into a suitable mascot logo for the Raseborg Children's Library.

I chose the snail for several reasons.
Firstly, it's a very easy image for children to recognise.
Secondly, the snail is too often associated with being slow. But being slow doesn't necessarily mean coming last, as we know from Aesop's fable of 'The Tortoise and the Hare.' With a little more knowledge some things can be done quicker and more efficiently. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to do things at a 'snails-pace' instead of rushing into them and getting it all wrong. Realising and understanding the consequences of their actions is an important part in the development of children I reckon. It can be good practice for adults also. We all know the snail is a slow creature who certainly takes it's time. Reading books can also take a lot of time. But in the end the reward can be all the more worthwhile.
My third reason for choosing the snail was simply it's shape and suitabilty for integrating the colours of the Raseborg crest.

Here's a short video of how I created the new mascot for the Raseborg children's library.

This isn't the only time I have been involved with art relating to children.
While I made this snail design entirely on a computer, I have also hand-painted some children's characters before as part of a Christmas display back in Ireland.
Here are some old photos of those paintings I made for the walls leading to Santa's Grotto at The Square shopping centre in Tallaght, Dublin a few years ago.

......and here's a few groovey door signs I made for some kids in Finland.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Shamrock Experiment: Day 5

The Great Finnish Shamrock Experiment: Day 5

It's Day 5 in the Big Shamrock house. Things are moving quite slowly. As I said before, it's going to be a few hard days ahead for the shamrock as the weather continues to be on the cold side up here just below the arctic circle. And while I endeavour to keep temperatures comfortable for my little green friends in the box, there is little sign of any melting of the snow outside. Luckily the sun has been shining today, so that's bringing a small bit of hope.

Here's a close-up photograph showing some of the stronger shamrocks who are leading the way for their brothers.

As per usual, 'Matti' my Finnish leprechaun friend is keeping a close eye on the proceedings and is being very hopeful and optimistic, as a Finn always is.
He agreed to share this photo with me today. It's what he usually looks like before heading out for a Saturday night rendezvous with the ladies.
However he did mention that one or two lady trolls have complimented him on his latest green outfit.
So who knows, maybe a mix & match is on the cards!

Matti tells me that his mother was actually a troll from southern Finland. He remarked that she was one of the nicer looking trolls in the district, and not an ugly Moomin!

Keep watching this terribly exciting blog to see if the
shamrock grows in time for good old
St.Patrick's Day 2010!

Click here to read The Shamrock Experiment: Day 6

The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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