"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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fancy Nails and the alternative space!

When I'm not seeking exhibition space or gallery representation I usually like to look out for alternative spaces to show my artwork. It's something that's important to me as I realise that not everybody has the time to visit art galleries during these busy days. Last year I was part of a group art exhibition in one such space at the Sanomatalo building in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. 

Sanomatalo corridor gallery space, Helsinki, Finland.

This is a large building with various shops, restaurants and offices. It also has two open spaces for exhibitions, one being the corridor gallery where I exhibited my work along with other members of the Helsinki International Artists Association (HIAA). 

The exhibition was titled 'Work in Progress' and this was the poster I designed for the exhibition.

I had the pleasure of exhibiting next to work by Lynda Addison, a wonderful stained-glass artist from England. 

The Sanomatalo space worked really well for me as there seemed to be a constant flow of visitors in and out of the building and I also observed a few office workers pausing at everyone's artwork during their lunchbreak. I was a busy office worker myself once upon a time back in Ireland, so I understand the busy schedule involved with such a job in the city. It was especially nice and appreciative to have my art noticed by people who wouldn't normally have time for a visit to a regular art gallery. And well, everybody is entitled to a view on art. 

'Thoughts of Summer' 2008 - Alan Hogan at Il Duetto, Kamppi, Helsinki.

On an occasion back in 2009, I had a month-long art exhibition at another alternative space also in Helsinki. This time it was a very nice Italian restaurant called 'Il Duetto' at the Kamppi centre. A perfect place to sit quietly, have a nice meal and muse at some artwork on the walls. Here's an old video I made at the time.

Life is full of different people from all walks of life. Different backgrounds, lifestyles, jobs and certainly different opinions. More reasons why I was delighted when one of Helsinki's nicest up-and-coming young entrepreneurs asked if I would be interested in showing my paintings at her place of business. The entrepreneur in question is the lovely Veera Nissi who owns and runs her very own nail design studio called 'NDN', right in the heart of Helsinki. 

NDN Nail Studio location in Helsinki, Finland

Of course, while I myself don't feel the need to have my nails done, there are plenty of nice people who do. And these are the people who I hope in time will come and take a look at my paintings while having their nails looked after at NDN nail studio. I must also mention that Veera, the multi-talented owner of NDN also offers other services such as facial beauty treatments among other things. Full details are on her website.

Presently, visitors and clients to NDN can see these two original paintings at the studio (shown below). Both are for sale.

'Helsinki Cathedral'- 2010, acrylic on canvas (70cm x 50cm)
Original for sale exclusively from NDN studio Helsinki - price €500

'The Snow Tree'- 2009, acrylic on canvas (35cm x 45cm)
Original for sale exclusively from NDN studio Helsinki - price €200

Visitors to NDN studio also have the chance to buy a print of my painting 'Finnish Cat' right now in a white frame with glass for only €60 (size 40cm x 30cm approx.) 
This print and the original paintings will remain available exclusively at NDN studio in Helsinki until the end of February 2012.

'Finnish Cat'- 2008,  white-framed print  (30cm x 40cm approx)
 from NDN studio Helsinki - price €60

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hogan's Heroes of Music - The Beatles

"Most of the posts on this blog are art-related somehow. And I wanted to include a regular posting dedicated to music, another art form which is very important to me. I don't play any musical instruments as such, but I do love to listen! This series of blog posts will cover just a few of the musicians and bands whom I have admired and listened to over the years. I won't be listing my favorites in any particular order, but I just thought that I'd start off my list with the The Beatles as they have been the most influential band in my life and probably many others. Some of you reading this will most likely have your own opinions and views on the bands mentioned. And some of you will have your own favorites which I may not list. But for now, as it's my blog I am just going to list off a few of my personal faves. You are welcome to add any comments below after reading." 
- Alan Hogan 

The Beatles

One of the greatest forms of art is of course music. And music is very important to me. I would find my daily life very boring and uneasy without listening to some form of music during the day. It's a form of relaxation, inspiration and sometimes a vent for frustration. I've had it with me throughout my life. In fact I can honestly say I've been listening to music since before I was born. I believe there's a truth in the practice of mothers trying to relax their unborn babies by playing music to them.
However, I think the music I heard was by coincidence rather than intentional. Luckily for me it happened to be a generation for great music, and finding a radio playing loud at home wasn't at all unusual. Maybe it was a sign of the times, but for some reason I can remember the sound of The Beatles playing even before I was born.

The song in question that I seem to remember being played way back then was 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'
I later heard this song again and again on the radio while growing up back in Ireland. 
The Fab Four played at the Adelphi Cinema in Dublin 1963. This was the only concert they ever played in Ireland. Three aunties of mine went to the show and met the band briefly afterwards. They were tipped off that the band were exiting secretly through a back entrance due to crowd worries. And before being ushered away in an old newspaper van to the Gresham Hotel the band stopped to say hello to a few of their fans.

Twenty years later I borrowed a few of my aunt's Beatles records and start listening to their music properly. Still in school at the time, I had just gone through a phase of listening to British new wave sounds and began listening to another favourite band of mine called REM. But none of that could ever compare to Beatles albums such as 'Help' and 'A Hard Days Night'. Here's a little clip from 1963 taken from 'The Beatles Anthology' dvd with a short intro by producer George Martin.

I like to think I have good taste in music, even though I don't listen to too much of any one style. I will of course get bored if I listen to the same music genre for too long. After too much listening I even get turned off great bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. I purposely make a break from listening to bands because I know that when I return to their music it will amaze me all over again. The same can be said for more modern greats like U2, Springsteen, REM and Metallica.

Of all the bands and musicians I know, I think The Beatles have endured the longest, mainly because of their wide range of music and the crossover of genres made by the band in such a short period (10 years!). From early sixties beat-music, to psychadelia, to heavy blues and to the perfect ballad, they had it all. This is why I find their music very difficult to put away, I always seem to have one or two of their cds or a vinyl album sitting somewhere nearby. Their music is timeless for me, and it can sometimes feel like a breath of fresh air after a drive in the car listening to whatever the regular radios stations are throwing at me. I certainly hope their music will be around for as long as I live, and I hope more young people listen to it. Maybe it will keep inspiring more and more musicians to write better songs and music into the future.

The Beatles

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Daniel's Art Group in Fokus

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a special art exhibition being held at Galleria Fokus, my local art gallery here in Karis, Finland. The organiser of this exhibition was Daniel Enckell, a local and well-respected artist who has set up his own art group classes over the past few years and is now showing the fruits of his teachings at this art exhibition. 

Daniel Enckell stands next to his painting 'Tessi' at Galleria Fokus, Karis.

Daniel Enckell's art group is represented at this art exhibition in Gallery Fokus by a total of eleven fine artists. Visitors to this exhibition have a unique chance to see a sample of Daniel Enckell's artwork also. 
On walking into the gallery last Saturday afternoon I could not help but notice Daniel's stunning portrait painting titled 'Tessi (Terese)'. It is a richly coloured painting of a young woman in a dark baroque style reminiscent of the great masters. What a wonderful showpiece to greet visitors at the gallery!

Solveig Eriksson standing next to her Still-life oil painting at Galleria Fokus.

One of the artists taking part in this exhibition has recently been involved with a book about Helene Schjerfbeck, one of Finland's biggest and best-loved artists. The book titled in Swedish 'Hon drog sina streck' has been translated into Finnish by Solveig Eriksson. As part of this group art exhibition Solveig and her co-artists displayed some fine still-life oil paintings. It was interesting to see and compare the techniques and brushstrokes of each individual artist. 

Fine art and refreshments at Galleria Fokus
From left to right,
Carola Welin - 'Under platanerna i Paris'
Nina Hackman - 'Stenhus'
Nina Hackman - 'Känsloflöden'

Visitors to the exhibition can find a variety of styles and subjects, including some wonderful landscape paintings. One painting I particularly liked was 'Stenhus' by Nina Hackman, a peaceful scene painted with wonderful attention to depth and light.

From left to right,
Asta-Maria Wikström - 'Madonna'
Helena Laitinen - 'Midsommarnatt i Savolax'
Nina Hackman - 'Stenhus på Gottland'

Daniel Enckell's Art Group exhibition continues at Galleria Fokus, in Karis, Finland until the 29th of January 2012. 

The artists on show are 
Asta-Maria Wikström, 
Helena Laitinen, 
Solveig Eriksson, 
Carola Wilen, 
Tuula Masalin, 
Christine Oesch-Börman, 
Rolf Grandell, 
Tor-Bjorn Sjöholm, 
Nina Hackman, 
Ann Glader, 
Lauri Stählberg 
and Daniel Enckell.

Monday-Thursday 11-19
Fridays 11-17
Saturdays 10-14
Centalgatan 90-92, Karis  -  Keskuskatu 90-92, Karjaa

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The Art Garage, Finland

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