Category Archives: Art

If The Shoe Fits

Folk Tales Corner

There is a motif in quite a few folk tales in which two people who have fallen in love are separated and one or both of them can not recognise the other when they meet again. Let me give you an example: In Cinderella and many of it’s variants, the Prince falls in love with Cinders at the first ball, spends all evening with her for the next two days often having “eyes for no one but her”, yet his method for identifying the mesmerising beauty who has won his heart is entirely dependant on her fitting the shoe that fell off her foot. In a whole bunch of the variants, when the step sisters cheat by cutting their toes off to make their feet small enough, HRH Charming doesn’t even seem to notice that he has the wrong woman and it takes a magical bird singing a warning rhyme…

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Artists inspiration

I’ve just come back from a holiday in Scotland, where the weather was warmer than Southampton. I was lucky to be loaned a camera for the trip a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ48. Compared with my phone it is brilliant, so I took a lot of pictures. Photographs from Scotland some will eventually become inspiration for pictures and some are art in their own right.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii a pink one - Culloden

Yesterday I took the camera for a rove around our local common it was a glorious sunny day and I had great fun taking pictures of birds, insects and plants. Southampton Common photographs


I seem to be obsessed with bees and other pollinators recently having contributed a set of 20 hand drawn cards to the latest Art House exhibition. I went to the opening night and found some framed on the wall it was wonderful to see. If you happen to be in Southampton in August go into the Art house and have a look, try the cake while you are there.


Taking risks on unknown artists (or Burritos = Art)

Another blog from The Art House Southampton, who are wonderful and great supporters of the unknown artist like me

The Art House

Something that we are very fortunate to be able to do, as a not-for-profit venue, is take a chance on new or unusual artists.

Whether it’s hosting somebody’s very first exhibition to showcasing a scratch performance

An Art House moment - local musician Mike Vaughan starts to sing Steve Lowis' favourite song, Steve joins in.  You can't put a price on this stuff. An Art House moment – local musician Mike Vaughan starts to sing Steve Lowis‘ favourite song, Steve joins in. You can’t put a price on this stuff.

destined for the Edinburgh fringe, we are committed to making a space for art that isn’t necessarily a ‘sure thing’ in terms of money making.

We are a Community Interest company and our first aim on the list is ‘Promoting grassroots, fringe and outsider Art’.

We run an intimate, informal space where artists can experiment, take chances, and creativity can unfold at it’s own pace.

It costs us around £1 per minute to run, but what a lot can happen in one minute here!

How we…

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Paying for art

Recently I’ve been discussing monetary value of things. I was discussing how we price art but I think there is a wider issue about how people value art in general.

I am what some term as an amateur artist, I make art in my spare time. I don’t have to spend a lot of my time marketing my work to make sure I sell it to keep body and soul together. Many artists do. I exhibit my work and do commissions. I normally charge a small amount for these since if I charged a living wage for them (currently £7.85 in the UK) no one would buy one. For instance an A4 single colour drawing takes about 24 hours (spread over a couple of weeks) to do, so that is about £190. One of the A2 ones is anything from a month to 6 months.

Many artists have faced this issue how much do you charge for your work. I think very few of them charge a living wage for them, and like me are afraid that if they did no one would buy it. So we undervalue what we create often or just give it away.

One of the artists I greatly admire Amanda Palmer has talked about this a lot, yesterday she announced on Facebook that she had started a Patreon page

It works like this:
The artist puts together a package like Kickstarter, but the sponsorship is per item over the long term. Since yesterday 1,496 patrons are willing to give her $13,507.19 per thing. Which is pretty amazing. You can also put a cap on your sponsorship. So for instance I’ve set it at $3 per item to a max of $15 per month. Which means I control how much cash I pay out and the beauty of it is that I still get the material. There is no guarantee but also no money will be taken if she never creates another thing. And I trust her.

I think it is a pretty liberating thing to do. So every time she creates a piece of art we get it. The artist is free to create and do their magic and knows that at the end of it they will get a sum of money which will allow them to pay for their electric or phone bills, staff, food, etc. Does it sound familiar? It should it is how doing a job and being paid a salary works. You agree with your company to do work they pay you a sum of money for it.

Most artists don’t work like that. Most struggle day to day from commission to commission. Many have to have a paid job as well to keep themselves going while they create their art. Isn’t it time we recognised Artist as a legitimate job just like school teacher or administrator.

This way when Amanda creates a thing, she can push it straight out to the fans and won’t have to spend all her time pushing it out into the public domain, so she can create more art for more people.

I’ve read a few comments on people being negative about this approach but who said artists (whatever their art) have to live on the poverty line and live in a garret. Why shouldn’t they be paid enough money to live a decent life.

Since I last checked her page is now 1,527 patrons $13,680.19 per thing. I for one am very happy for her.

I wonder how it would work for an unknown, for instance what would happen if I did it? I wouldn’t expect anyone to give anything like this to me. But could I be paid a sum of money to create art to legitimise (if I need to) what I do? To give myself hope that my art is worth something? On the other hand do I care? I’d still do it without the payment.

What do you think?

Have a look at the other Patreon stories.




Early work – painted jackets

Painted in acrylics on a leather jacket I found and couldn’t be separated from. I really like the colour and I love Orca (killer whales).

Dragon and Orca jacket

Dragon with Orca on Vanella Mead’s leather jacket

The crash helmet was painted in acrylics, after we had worked out if it was safe to do so on one. It look a long time to get it just right but it is still one of my favourites. Born to be a tad naughty!

Mohawk crash helmet

painted crash helmet to look like a Mohawk

My friend Jason broke this guitar so I took it away and painted it up.

Guitar dragons pink

Ying Yang dragons from the early 90s painted onto an electric guitar

Based on Giger’s Baphomet

demon jacket paint

Leather jacket painting

I do like doing covers from 200AD

Painting on a leather jacket from a 2000AD comic

Painting on a leather jacket from a 2000AD comic

Faith and the Muse jacket

Painting from Faith and the Muse on a leather jacket

Painting from Faith and the Muse on a leather jacket

My friend Pete keeps all sorts of snakes so when asked to do his jacket Grass snakes seemed like the perfect choice.

grass snakes on a jacket

painting of inter weaved grass snakes on a leather jacket

Celtic knots

celtic knots

Celtic knot style on a leather jacket

Inside out

Started as a little doodle at work then turned into a whole sheet of paper. It often happens this way an odd drawing on a notepad turns into something more if I give it a chance.