Sunday, 21 May 2017

The art of life

Liz Atkin charcoal art   flat image from

Every picture tells a story and we all have a story to tell ... we are all artists searching for meaning.

The art of life is the life of art 
A life of art is the art of life.

The information age is upon us, robots and artificial intelligences will intrude, impact and even invade our lives and ask the question of what it means to be human. We have had art as long as we have had technology .. from the earliest cave paintings to today's immersive virtual realities. Technology and art have always co-existed with us to have one without the other could be catastrophic. Art is a quest for meaning and identity and is its expression ... in an age of automation and technology rush art will be vital in our quest for meaning ... art may be the key to our survival. It was with this in mind that I did the "Havelock Walk".

Havelock Walk  is home to a community of artists, designers and musicians in the centre of Forest Hill. They often open their studios for the public to wander around to see and chat about their art.

I had been meaning to go for ages and on a Saturday afternoon I went along and took a 360 camera.
The first studio in Havelock walk is the Havelock gallery and straight away I got talking to the people there and this is how "doing the Havelock walk" went - rather than just standing and staring at art we had a chance to talk with the artists about their art. It started when I asked about the dramatic image in charcoal and was told it was by Liz Atkin ... who has a compulsive skin picking problem and uses drawing to re-focus her hands and mind and how she channels her compulsion into 1 minute #CompulsiveCharcoal free drawings on public transport and gives them away.

Sooty .. unfinished  flat image from Flat image from
I turned around and asked about the painting behind me - a large Sooty the bear image with a wand - I was told that the artist didn't consider it finished and that Michelangelo only considered one of his paintings as finished. We had a conversation about life in beta ... about the importance of exploring, experimenting and learning. Our lives are in perpetual beta ... a presentation of self in everyday life ... only perhaps when we die are we complete.

The theme of life as art was made tangible in studio 9 f h  space "First Half" exhibition ... the first 50 years of the artists life. I related to the tangible, physical objects that were also in my life .. .the little Ladybird books that I loved reading as a kid for example. We spoke about the next 50 years .. how it may become more intangible through virtualisation ... what would a "Last Half" exhibition be like ... would it al be screens and virtual reality headsets ... would there even be a physical gallery and would you need one?

A physical gallery is more than flat walls .. its a three dimensional space of objects we enter with our bodies our senses and other people - its something that is difficult to convey with flat images on a screen .. this is why I did the Havelock Walk with a 360 camera .. to try and convey a better idea of being in the studios and galleries .. to give a first person perspective of being there.

Serena Rowe's Gallery flat image from
Serena Rowe's exhibition tucked down the end of a little corridor was a real treat ... a small darkly lit space packed with art and character and with music playing. I wasn't sure there was enough light to get a good image but the "claustrophobic" space was super for 360 imagery. The 360 camera coped remarkably well considering the very low light see, and .. the images are still quite dark but hopefully give an impression of what it was like in Serena's exhibition. We talked about how how the space and the music in the gallery affects people's mood and their experience of the art.

Art work .. the work of art happens in the space around the art and the observer - this is why we have physical galleries. 

Artists love natural light if they can get it .. Pip Tunstill's exhibition was modern and light and had sky lights to give great natural light at the far end of the gallery. They say a dog resembles its master (or is that a car its driver) and In so many ways the gallery resembles Pip's bright modern art work - see

David Mach's studio .. flat image from
Getting an idea of the artist in their "natural habitat" was the main reason for doing the Havelock Walk and David Mach's studio 8 was a treat with its feeling of work in progress ... take a look around at the large benches and all the cuttings here and here

The last exhibitions I visited were Elizabeth Chisholm's in studio 10 and the Canvas and Cream gallery's "Age Of Anxiety" see, and Elizabeth's CCTV inspired POV (Point Of View) artwork has a strong and obvious connection to the first person point of view imagery of 360\virtual reality (VR) technology. New technologies give artists new ideas, symbols, insights and techniques and 360\virtual reality one of the most relevant contemporary developments. There are many challenges to artists using 360/VR technology ... there is no longer a fixed point of view to your art ... the observer can look in any direction. Each 360/VR work of art is a three dimensional gallery installation - it's a three dimensional experience co-created by the artist and each viewer.

I didn't go into all the studios and galleries .. there were plenty up stairs that I didn't visit .. a big regret now but something left for another time .. for a life in beta ... nothing is ever complete.

It may not be possible to live the perfect life but it is possible to live a beta one.

The Open Day 360/VR images on Flicker

Me ... I'm Martin King ... @timekord
Find out more about my work at 

Find out more about Havelock Walk on the links below

Havelock Walk Web
Havelock Walk Twitter @HavelockStudios

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