Introduction:

"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



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Season's Greetings


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve here in Finland and it is the day for Christmas dinner and celebrations all over the country. It's gonna be a particularly cold Christmas here this year with plenty of snow. So lots of shovelling should work up a good appetite for Christmas dinner. I will of course miss my family back in Ireland and all the great craic that comes with an Irish Christmas. But circumstances allow me to once again enjoy a more peaceful and picturesque Christmastime here in the land of the reindeers, and I'm looking forward to some fine Finnish cuisine being served up by my brother-in-law and his culinary wife. A selection of smoked and marinated fish, a large oven-baked ham, meatloaf, carrot and potato casserole with side-dishes of cognac-mustard and gingerbread should be all present at the Finnish Christmas table. Add to that a few bottles of wine and a crate of beer and we'll all be smiling! 
And if I have any energy left after all that I might just do it all again on Christmas Day, the day of celebration back in Ireland.

But for now, to whoever is reading this blog I wish you a special Happy Christmas wherever in the world you are, and a very Happy New Year 2013!!!

Alan

Monday, November 26, 2012

Speak to Me! - Art Exhibition in Helsinki

  
Last Tuesday November 20th I went to the opening of an art exhibition called 'Speak to Me!' (or 'Puhu Minulle!' in Finnish). The event was held by the HIAA (Helsinki International Artists' Association) and it's members come from various countries worldwide including Finland. All of the members live in Helsinki or close by. Preparation for the exhibition began last June with a meet-up to view the gallery venue and to also meet the other participating artists.

Preparations for the Annual HIAA Art Exhibition at the Kanneltalo, Helsinki.


As a member I had the privilege of having my work displayed alongside works from a group of amazing and very talented artists. The artists I'm referring to are Paul Takahashi, Outi Debnam, David Flood, Elise Gegauff, Connie Heik-Jokinen, Hong Liu-Sertti, Kirsi-Marja Moberg, Semra Türkmen, Kenan Türkmen, Susan Wilander, Victor X and Emine Özdemir. The turnout for the opening was impressive and very encouraging, with plenty of interested and curious visitors. A special thank you is owed to all those who attended.

The 'Speak to Me!' exhibition continues until December 8th 2012 at the Kanneltalo Cultural Centre in Helsinki, Finland. 
Here's one of the six paintings I have on display during this exhibition. It's called 'Connections'. All of my paintings at the exhibition are currently for sale if anyone is looking for a special Christmas gift. Also, if you're quick I left some free Christmas cards next to my work for anyone visiting the gallery.


'Connections' - Alan Hogan, 2012
Some more of my paintings can be seen in the lobby gallery area.

Some of the participating HIAA member artists at the Kanneltalo exhibition:
(left to right) Semra Türkmen, Hong Liu-Sertti, Susan Wilander and Alan Hogan. 

Elise Gegauff was one of the artists present at the opening and she made this short video while she was there which included some of her paintings and one or two of mine amongst others.

 




Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends. You can find out more about the HIAA on it's website here and opening times for the exhibition can be found on the venue's website here . Also, thanks to Elise Gegauff for her video and I have to plug her blog here now, so why not check it out! 'Elise's World'


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 





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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mobile Mumbo Jumbo!



Firstly, I have been lazy once again with my blogposts here. I sometimes wonder why I bother really. I suppose it started as simply a hobby, and I've never really stuck with many of the hobbies I started in the past. Unless it's something I might get some kind of satisfaction from or 'a buzz' as they say in Dublin, I quickly get bored! I attempted to make up for my lack of posts by pimping up the design of my blog. I've dumped the dark layout in favour of something a bit brighter. Call it updating if you will, I call it medication. Maybe it's a reaction to the ever-increasing dark evenings here in Finland.  Latest I looked, it was already getting dark at 15.30. 'My way of cheering myself up I suppose. My neighbours have taken the easy approach of switching their Christmas lights on straight after Halloween! 

Another reason for my blog absense has been the changeover of my old Nokia mobile phone for a new Samsung smartphone. Yes folks, I've joined the land of touchscreen goblins and geeks. It feels unusual not hearing the famous Nokia sound anymore. 



The Nokia sound been a part of my life for so many years and was once the only connection I had to Finland when living in Ireland. Little did I know it would take me back to live in it's homeland. A part of me feels like I've betrayed my little friend (or five little friends to be precise!). 
But Samsung are now the top phone on the market (pre-iPhone 5), and I have felt for a long time now that the average Nokia phone was becoming less dependable. Yes, it's nice to see the Lumia edition doing so well, but I would never pay so much for something I could easily let fall down the toilet on a fun night out (for the record, I have never dropped a phone down a toilet!) The casings on my last two phones were nowhere near as sturdy as my previous Nokias from the beginning of the millenium. Now they were indestructable phones full of Finnish Sisu! I even had one which survived a trip in a washing machine. Here a reminder of the faithful Nokias through the years, mobile soft porn for the Nokia connoisseur! (Click images to enlarge)





This was meant to be a post about an art exhibition I attended last week, but I got side-tracked by my newly found geek excitement. So that post will follow separately tomorrow!
For now it's goodbye Nokia, hello Samsung. Until Nokia bring back a more economical and sturdier phone (with a holster), I won't be changing back any time soon. Samsung is perfect for now, but I'm only a novice to the smartphone world!





Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.


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 





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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!


'Oddbod' from the film 'Carry on Screaming!'
(or an advertisement for hair loss reversal!)




Happy Halloween as the greeting suggests is all about dressing up and having a bit of fun. Personally I think I'm probably a bit old in the tooth to be wearing Halloween costumes, but if any Halloween party invitations suddenly arrive in the postbox I'll be the first to go running for a mask. Growing up as a child in Ireland the tradition of Halloween always meant putting on a scary mask and knocking on house doors around where I lived. It also gave us a chance to see who was living near us. My mother told my friends and I not to call at strangers' houses. Yep, that was like asking my sisters not to go shopping for shoes! Costumes weren't much, a simple old white sheet my mum was throwing out or a black bin-liner bag were the usual choices. Then there was the plastic mask, which always had a cheap elastic band attached with two staples. It was always good to have a spare stapler at home as it usually broke after an hour or so. The only other items needed were a few explosive sticks or bangers as we called them and a plastic bag for the goodies. The goodies given by house owners varied over the years and changed dramatically with time. During the first few years any type of fruit was the usual received with a few nuts thrown in also. Then some genius decided it was good to give kids sweets instead of fruit! ......I don't recall any kids complaining about this sudden change, but why should they as most of them had indestructable teeth!  While some folk were still handing out the traditional fruit and nuts, more and more were switching to sweets, or as americans called it 'candy'. And because of this many kids developed a sweet tooth and became more demanding and sometimes devilish towards their sponsors... Poetic justice perhaps, or just damn good fun!



Hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds were just some of the traditional treats handed to Irish kids during Halloween collections. ....Walnuts were without doubt my favourite! 



Halloween has grown in popularity with older kids and adults over the years in Ireland and it's an incredibly busy night for bars and nite clubs in the big towns and cities. The chance to put on a costume allows people to join in the celebration and have fun with others. It's not unusual to find Dracula 'kissing' a fair maiden spontaneously during the night, or to see Batman suddenly rescue a total stranger from being too drunk.





I suppose the increase of interest in all things Halloween has been highly influenced and exaggerated by media from the U.S.A., with the constant stream of horror movies from Hollywood over the years. Titles such Friday the 13th, Childs Play, Nightmare on Elm Street and Saw immediately come to mind. And it seems that the USA influence of Halloween has also reached Finland in recent years. With an appetite for hard rock and metal music aswell as all things dark and morbid I am still wondering why Halloween hasn't become a national holiday in Finland by now. 
While I haven't seen any evidence of 'Trick-or-Treating', there are a lot of shops around stocking all sorts of Halloween novelties for kids including costumes, masks and sweets. I think it's mainly for school and private house parties. I also know that some niteclubs have Halloween parties.

One thing I always like to do every Halloween is watch an old horror movie. I have a small selection of horror dvds at home including my favorite, the original version of The Amityville Horror starring James Brolin. Nowadays however you only have to visit YouTube for most of the classics. There's a lot to be found elsewhere online also. 



Here's one you won't find on YouTube. I recently found this old favorite of mine called 'Carry on Screaming!' which is of course a horror-based comedy from way back in 1966. I still love the old British humour in this classic from the 'Carry on' series of films. It's available to watch or download with excellent quality here. (the installation of a DIVX player may be required for some viewers)



Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends. 
.... and a very Happy Halloween!!!!



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 





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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Double Vision


Last week I got to attend two opening events on the Finnish art calendar. I had also hoped to attend a third exhibition only to be stopped by bad weather. But nevermind!

The first exhibition I attended was at the Fokus Gallery on Monday, 8th October in Karis, Finland.  The artist exhibiting was Catarina Honkaharju  and the show was titled 'Kohtaamisia' meaning 'encounters' or 'meetings' in english. Among the many paintings on display was 'Valon Taika' or the Magic of Light in english, a wonderful oil-on-canvas depicting a collection of trees in front of golden yellow sunlight. This painting appealed to me for it's bright colours and the feeling of positivity and hope for which it radiated. A sample of this painting can been seen in this advert below for Catarina Honkaharju's exhibition. Those of you lucky enough to be able to attend the gallery will find out what I mean.



As the artist illustrates, Catarina Honkaharju's images of nature can describe or suggest a person's state of mind, often opening and displaying features of strength or weakness. Expect to see a variety of colours and subjects as this is achieved.
There are also other paintings to see at this exhibition which do not involve nature. The artist's states that she has examined the interaction between the environment and people, and how such encounters affect the private and public life of individuals. Here is another sample of the art you can find at this exhibition. This is called  'Vihdoinkin vapaa' which means 'Free at last'. 

Catarina Honkaharju's exhibition continues at the Fokus Gallery, Karis until 27 October, 2012.

Catarina Honkaharju - 'Vihdoinkin vapaa'

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The second exhibition I want to mention is 'Off the Skin' which opened last Tuesday October 9th. This was a special exhibition which began it's planning two years ago as a collaboration between two individual artists, each working with different forms of art. The first, Petri Horttana, works with various aspects in painting and sculpture, while the second, Jesse Laitinen, is a fashion photographer working with some of Finland and Sweden's top models. After meeting at an exhibition back in 2010 they discussed with each other and talked about both their individual skills and the possibilty of combining their talents. And so it was that the 'Off the Skin' project was born.




Two years later and their creation has matured to greet the public as a three-week show at the Ant Gallery in Helsinki.  The result has not been a disappointment and the positive reaction from guests at the opening night was evidence of a promising and successful exhibition.  Considering how miserable the weather was on the night this event attracted a sizeable audience. With barely enough room to move at the entrance to the main room, I had to shuffle my way through to the second area of the gallery, stopping off for some much appreciated wine and cheese snacks. Having spent twenty minutes looking at some of the art I finally got to speak with one of the artists Petri Horttana. It was interesting to hear from him about the various processes used to attain the creations I saw before me. I must admit though, the first thing I noticed was the source of the material they had used as a base for their images. Having worked in a printing house for many years before coming to live in Finland I immediately recognised old aluminium printing plates. This added another dimension to the art for me, almost nostalgic!  I'm all for using recycled products in art wherever possible and this was a good example.

Moving on to the images themselves, most were flat-surfaced works in a variety of natural and luminous colours. Several had the added treatment of a hard glaze and a three-dimensional element created by Petri Horttana. The photographic images taken by Jesse Laitinen were both beautiful and striking to the viewer. It is clear that the combination of both areas of art complemented each other to create a common visual language. For me personally, I found this exhibition to be very fresh and quite an inspiration. If you happen to be in Helsinki any time soon, pop in and take a look yourself. The exhibition 'Off the Skin' continues at the Ant Gallery until November 2nd 2012. 
I suppose it would be only fair to add this as a recommendation for World Design Capital Helsinki in 2012. Here's a few photos of Jesse and Petri relaxing with their series of paintings called 'Neoflage' in the background.


Jesse Laitinen and Petri Horttana finally get time 
to chill out after a busy opening at the Ant Gallery in Helsinki. 
Photos;Alan Hogan 09/10/2012




Finally I want to play a video here before I end this blog. 
It's a little song by one of my favorite bands the Fountains of Wayne. The song is called 'Strapped for Cash'. It's a great tune!  As most of my online media comes through free websites it helps when visitors visit the ad links on my pages. It may only mean a few pennies or cents, but it could help towards building a better website aswell as paying for a little sugar in my coffee. ........ I like sugar! ...So, give a little, helps a lot!!!











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Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

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 



                     



Saturday, October 6, 2012

When Saturday Comes




It's been quite a while since my last proper blogpost here. This is partly because of my own pure laziness, and also because I have been preoccupied with other things. One of those things has been my interest in my local sports club - Football team BK-46 from the town of Karis here in southern Finland. 



Pallohonka v BK-46, Esbo 2012


It's been a long summer and today brings the last game of this year's Finnish football season for most clubs. It's the second division or as it's called here Kakkonen. You can see the league table and results here. Unfortunately the fate of BK-46 was decided last month when they were beaten by division leaders ÅIFK from Turku. 




After fighting hard all season with a lot of great performances, only a series of player injuries and a few missed chances could keep BK-46 from going forward to qualification for promotion. 
Now with the consolation of second place in their division, BK-46 travel to Helsinki to play Klubi04 this afternoon. By all accounts Klubi04 should be well above BK-46 in status as they have a larger selection of players as well as the backing, facilities and funding of big brother club HJK. In fact they have beaten BK-46 twice already this season, 2-0 at Helsinki in June and 3-4 at Karis in August.

Klubi04 v BK-46, Helsinki 2011

So with the season practically over for the Karis team, there may be still some pride to fight for in this last match of the season. While BK-46 have sealed their second-placed position in this division, it would be somewhat gratifying to end with a victory in the capital. And it's definately not impossible if last season is anything to go by. Last year I travelled with the rest of the club's supporters to witness one of BK-46's sweetest victories as they beat Klubi04 in the Sonera Stadium. Here's a reminder of that match last year, just go to 7:55 in this video.



A performance like this would be great to see again today. A famous bird resident in Helsinki came to support the good Karis folk last year, let's hope Bubi the owl can come out and support us again today! The match kicks-off at 14.00 at the Sonera stadium in Helsinki today. So come out and support the best team in Finland, BK-46!




For anyone interested I used the title 'When Saturday Comes' for several reasons. It is traditionally the day when most football games are played in most footballing nations. Also, today is Saturday. And mainly because it is the title of a good movie starring Sean Bean about a footballer who plays for another team wearing red and white stripes, Sheffield United. The full movie is here below if anyone wants to watch it. It's worth it just to hear BBC commentator David Coleman say the words  "Manchester United were cruising, they're not cruising now!".


Finally, one of my favorite songs from a band who's home team Derry City FC also known as 'The Candystripes' as they play in red and white stripes. This is The Undertones with their song 'My Perfect Cousin'.






Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.


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 





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Friday, September 7, 2012

Walkabout in Finland - Part.1 - Helsinki



All photographs taken on 31/08/2012
Click on images to enlarge.


Art nouveau style building at junction of Fabiansgatan and Norra Magasinsgatan, Helsinki. 



Old indoor market hall at Helsinki harbour


Old indoor market hall at Helsinki harbour


'TORILINNA'
Art nouveau style building at junction of Fabiankatu and Eteläinen Makasiinikatu, Helsinki.


Open market at Helsinki harbour


Open market at Helsinki harbour



Open market at Helsinki harbour


On the steps at Helsinki Cathedral.



Thanks for visiting my blog. Please feel free to share it.
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 

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Art and Rockabilly in Helsinki


Residents and visitors to Helsinki can see a small selection of my artwork at NDN alternative studio. This limited exhibition is on view at various stages during this summer with occasional changing of artworks. Currently I have four pieces of work on display. They are all the original artworks and all are for sale from myself or through the owner of NDN studio. The current artworks will remain on view until 07.06.2012 before a short break for renovations at NDN studio occurs. Here are those four works on view just now.

'Sunset at Sea' by Alan Hogan
2008 acrylic on canvas


'Flower for Rafa' 2006 - Alan Hogan


'The Red House in Finland' - Alan Hogan,
2009, acrylic on canvas


'Birch Path' - Alan Hogan
2008, acrylic on canvas.
Prices and more information in English and Finnish are available on this downloadable PDF
The prices quoted are exclusive to NDN studio and do not include post and packaging.
Online purchases of original paintings only available via Paypal. Contact theartgarage(at)rocketmail.com
Print available online here

Visitors to NDN studio can also of course speak to it's owner Veera Leena Nissi whose main business specialises in nailcare and beauty treatments. She's a gifted individual who also promotes Zinzino coffee devices among other things. On my last visit to her studio she was promoting a young Finnish singer called Miki Lamarr.


I bought Miki Lamarrs vinyl record (above) from studio owner Veera and took it home to play. I still like buy and play old vinyl records! This appealing sound was one of retro sixties which reminded me of music my parents liked to listen to. Think of british tv series 'Heartbeat' and you might be on the right track. There's a broad trend in Finland for this 50's-60's rockabilly style of music. Some people spend a lot of money on keeping this image and trend alive, including investments of authentic rockabilly era cars. I have a wide appreciation for all kinds of music and I must admit this style of music should as Buddy Holly once sang 'Not Fade Away'!
I like this music personally as it brings back happy memories of family who are not here anymore. It's a more stylish scene with colourful and sharper clothes, and plenty of nostalgia can be found by those who appreciate it. Music from the fifties/sixties is great and long may it last! Here's a neat Miki Lamarr video with her singing a song originally a hit in 1964 for English beat group The Honeycombs called 'Have I the right'. I think I need a haircut! :)





Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.


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 





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The Art Garage, Finland

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