July 30, 2008

Admin: MailCall

Felllow CGS classmate, artist and writer Kerry Kugelman sent in a distilled version of my earlier video of a folio of Alberto's portraits, you can find it here.


I was delighted to receive greetings from an artist based in Bilbao, Patrick Michael Fitzgerald.

Here's an edited version of our exchange:

Dear Dennis,

A good friend of mine pointed me to your blog last month after I had started mine. I must say I really enjoy it...the last video post of the book of portraits is very nice.

I do know your work...I have seen it at the odd art fair etc....terrific paintings.

I'm also a painter by the way, I'm Irish but I've been living in Bilbao for nearly 20 years.

Have a look at my website/blog.

Very best wishes (and a productive summer!)


I wrote back:
Hello Patrick:

It's wonderful to share correspondence with an artist on the other side of the Pyrenees! Thanks so much for contacting me.

It looks like you have a great studio over there. How is the art community in Bilbao? I imagine that it is pretty rich with lots of artists and studio visits and arguments in the pubs. Over here, Barcelona is pretty weak when it comes to the qualifications as a true art city. The first qualification is cheap rent, and it seems Berlin is where that is happening. There's not too many fellow artists here, but then I get a ton of that in Los Angeles, so the contrast is complimentary. I am north of Barcelona in a little fishing pueblo called Tossa de Mar. My family was the catalyst for us settling in here, our dream (my wife and I) is to have a life split between the States and the EU. So far, so good; although we have much to do to bring that dream to fruition.

Your blog is impressive, you seem to have set the best tone as it appears to remain centered on the work and the environment that surrounds and feeds it. But then again, blogging is interesting in that while it appears to play this support role, it has a strange potential for becoming it's own medium, a potential that is threatened by the next turn of technological innovation as well as some weird resistance the art world has for awarding to blogging the expressive potential that other trans-genre arts seem to enjoy. But then again, there is something wonderful in exploring a realm that is a veritable wild country. We get to explore its' extents and make up the rules as we go along.

Patrick's response:
Hello Dennis,

Many thanks for your email, nice to hear from you! I initially came to Spain because my wife...(who I met in London) is from Bilbao. I fell in love with the place from the first day.

The art scene here is ok...but probably not that different from Barcelona, it can be a little hermetic (perhaps a very European thing) and difficult to get into. I do know artists here though and yes...enjoy the odd studio visit etc. Most of my colleagues who I keep in touch with are spread around Europe and further afield! I need a certain distance from the art world to be able to work....my contact with it is carefully rationed, though I like to keep abreast of developments etc. I have the impression that "art community" works better in the US. At least my experience in New York seems to bear that out....what's it like in LA?

You mention that Barcelona is expensive...this is also true here, in recent years the cost of living has increased significantly. My studio is in a small town 25km from Bilbao - where I also live....a studio of that size would be impossible in Bilbao for my pocket.

I'm glad you like the blog. I have had my doubts about it I must say...the hardest thing is knowing what to make public and what to keep quiet about. I feel it's best not to reveal too much. But the whole idea of an artist blog is fascinating and as you suggest new territory to be explored. For me it's really a kind of online scrapbook/notebook. Even if I was the only person to see it, it would still be a useful way of bringing certain things together for my own purposes. I find other artists and collectors seem to enjoy the blog...curators are another matter, perhaps they feel a little uncomfortable about the voice of an artist outside of a purely curated context...

Posted by Dennis at July 30, 2008 12:00 PM

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