"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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Holding for Hilda!

This painting is called 'Holding for Hilda' and it depicts one of the many soapstone sculptures from the Pohjola building in Helsinki, Finland. A slight modification by myself plays on the painting's title and is purposely aimed at bringing the public's attention to the original designer of these wonderful sculptures. 
Her name was Hilda Flodin (1877-1958)

Hilda Maria Flodin (16 March 1877 in Helsinki - 9 March, 1958) was a Finnish sculptor, painter and graphic artist. She had come from financially stable background, with her parents Frithiof Flodin and Fanny Basilier working for the State Council. While not caring for school much, a young Hilda Flodin became a better student at the age of 16 on starting art studies at the Finnish Art Society drawing school (Suomen Taideyhdistyksen piirustuskoulussa) in Helsinki (1893-1898). Here she studied her first five years under teachers Helene Schjerfbeck and Albert Gebhard. In 1899 she left to pursue her studies in Paris France, where she studied at the Académie Colarossissa.

Her early period of works consisted of mainly sculptures and graphics. Flodin at an early age also became familiar with various methods of printmaking. A Paris exhibition in 1908 included subjects such as Helsinki and clouds representing her graphic works.

However, while the Pohjola building, designed by the great Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen is in itself a fine achievement, for me Hilda Flodin's wonderful soapstone sculptures are the icing on the cake. Well worthy of some light under Saarinen's shadow. The Pohjola building, built in 1901 can be found at 44 Aleksanterinkatu in the centre of Helsinki. Constructed from granite it's an excellent example of Finnish Romantic style architecture. Here's a little video clip I made that illustrates both Eliel Saarinen and Hilda Flodin's work.

If you understand Finnish here's a good link for a closer look at the life of Hilda Flodin.

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Monday, March 12, 2012


I just had a friend point out a fashion photo to me from a Finnish catalogue which arrived in the post yesterday. The reason for pointing it out to me was that she thought it reminded her of one of my artworks. This didn't surprise me, as I realise how easy it is to create a new design through research and modern design manipulation. In fairness, the similarities between my design and the catalogue's  design were only mild in my opinion. But I thought it was worth a blogpost at least if anything to get some publicity for myself. I reckon I need it more than any fashion catalogue! For you the reader, make your own mind up.

Here's the original ink painting I made way back in the late 1980's called 'Zebra one'.

I was inspired to create this painting by artwork I found on the insert of the american band R.E.M.'s 1984 album called 'Reckoning'. Just an example of some of the weird places I find my inspiration. 

I adapted this Zebra image to several t-shirt designs of my own also, which are only available through a website called Redbubble. While most of the customer's payment goes to the manufacturers, designers like myself only get a small percentage of the costs (€4). Unfortunately tee-shirt prices can be quite expensive, so sales don't occur too often if ever.
At least it is nice to know that some of my artwork is inspiring others, as perhaps in this case below.

Zebra one: The Anttila version (left) and my version (right)
The fashion catalogue called NetAnttila  has also produced a reversed image top on sale which can be seen here. I won't publish a photo of Anttila's version, but instead here's a photo of someone modelling my special reversed zebra design called  'Neon Zebra'.

But be warned Anttila! 
Pinch this design and I'll be coming to get you!!!

You may like to read an article called 'Finding you Inspiration' by american social media specialist Alexandra Mecoli, which describes more about my inspiration for this painting.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Hogan's Heroes of Music - Manic Street Preachers

"Most of the posts on this blog are art-related. So I wanted to include a regular posting dedicated to music, another art form which inspires me. Unfortunately (or should that be fortunately?) I don't play any musical instruments myself, but I do love to listen! This series of blog posts will cover just a few of the musicians and bands who I have admired and listened to over the years. I won't be listing my favorites in any particular order. 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 I am just going to list off a few of my personal faves. You are welcome to add any comments below after reading. Thanks!"

- Alan Hogan
Manic Street Preachers - photo by Julian Broad.

Manic Street Preachers

The Manic Street Preachers are on my Heroes of music list for several reasons. Firstly, they brought a kick-ass attitude to a somewhat boring year of music for me when they first arrived on the scene. The year was 1991 and the music charts were full of boring and unimaginative tunes, with a few exceptions. It was a year full of re-releases and greatest hits. The summer of 1991 was held hostage by Bryan Adams and his number one hit single '(Every thing I do) I do it for you'. You couldn't turn on the airwaves and not hear it being played. While it wasn't a bad tune, it felt as though mainstream radio was plagued by this song. 

Anyway, one day while watching a tv show I witnessed this new band called the Manic Street Preachers singing a tune called 'Motown Junk' and I said "wow, that'll do for me!".  
After being somewhat disappointed by another favorite band of mine R.E.M. and their 1991 'Out of Timealbum release for it's lack of guts and energy, seeing the Manic Street Preachers' 'Motown Junk' being played live on my tv screen was a welcome treat. The song itself was a great introduction to a band who were critical of the world, culture, politics and even iconic idols. While they may have been seen as new wave rebels singing about such controversial topics, I was more focused on the musical energy and fresh attitude this band were dishing out.

This four-piece band from Blackwood in Wales continued to gain notice, credibility and success in the early 1990's when in 1995 their main lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards vanished. The musician, who then suffered from dispression has since never been found and in 2008 was officially announced as 'presumed dead'. After his disappearance in 1995 the band continued and in 1996 they released their acclaimed album 'Everything must go'. It contained lyrics for five songs by Richey Edwards. Here's one of the tracks he wrote from the album, and it's also a favorite of mine called 'Kevin Carter'.

Unfortunately I have not kept up with the Manic's releases after the year 2000. Although, while I still listen to their earlier work, I hope to get to listen to more of their recent albums soon in time. I would also like to see the band live in concert someday. 
Perhaps I'll come back here one day and update this blog. But for now, here's lead man for the Manic's, James Dean Bradfield singing two more of my favorite songs. The first song below was their first UK number one and it's also in the Guinness Book of Records as the number one single with the longest title without brackets. It's called 'If you tolerate this your children will be next'. The second song 'Motorcycle Emptiness' is from their 1992 debut album 'Generation Terrorists'. It's a full-on melodic tune said to be about capitalism and it's fake reality. Good Stuff!!!

Manic Street Preachers

Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends. I also recommend reading about Manic Street Preachers on allmusic. There's also a Finnish website called MANIC FINLAND.

Read more Hogan's Heroes of Music
The Beatles

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You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan 


The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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