What is your tutor up to? Chapter 20: Jim Cowan - The Open College of the Arts
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What is your tutor up to? Chapter 20: Jim Cowan

Presenting  – ‘Three New York Facades’.
Promoting your work as an artist and reaching out to an audience is all part of the artistic process – and that includes coming to terms with the Internet.
OCA students start their courses by creating a blog in which they can present their research, share images and express opinions. They can then continue onto student and social media sites such as Facebook and the OCA’s official discuss website where fellow students can critique their work and valuable information can be shared.
These days it is also necessary for tutors to have websites and while the appeal of a gallery exhibition might be paramount, showing your work on a digital platform is becoming increasingly important and can in some cases reach a greater number of viewers.
It is with this in mind that I decided to make a video of three of my paintings and present it on YouTube where it can have a wider audience. At the same time the work can be shared on Facebook, Instagram , Vimeo and  on other web sharing sites.
The three artworks in question had previously been shown individually in London gallery exhibitions but now I felt it was time to promote them in a different format.  While making the images I photographed the paintings at different stages . These photographs then became useful source material in order to keep track of the paintings development, allowing me to make alterations, if necessary, at a later date.
The use of Photoshop allowed me to crop, alter and manipulated the material and helped me to discover the final composition.  Structure and balance are important elements in the pictures while the combination of abstraction with representation is complimented by the use of a limited colour range.   
To produce the video I used iMovie, which facilitates the manipulation of images, text and music. Further experimentation in this direction might lead into different areas, but as it stands,  the completed video promotes the artwork and gives viewers an insight into the processes involved in making a painting. The work may not go viral, but it now exists in the digital world exhibited for everyone to see.    

Posted by author: James Cowan
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3 thoughts on “What is your tutor up to? Chapter 20: Jim Cowan

  • Thank you, Jim, for pointing me in the direction of your work today at the Tate, I found it by with a search engine. The oca website is a trial to me, I have no idea how to get from the emails to anything else so I suppose I have given up on it. The ‘google is not responding’ seems part of the oca experience.
    Your videos seemed elegiac, it was a lovely way to watch the creative process. I shall certainly remember to capture the stages of a work in a more diligent way, the process has its own beauty.

  • There is something strangely relaxing and hypnotic about the geometric shapes and how the staircases cast shadows onto the walls. The wall almost acts as a reflecting pool or mirror. Thanks for sharing these Jim.

  • Thank you Susan and Craig for your comments. I was originally thinking mainly about the abstract geometry in the pictures and the relationship between the fire escapes and the shadows they cast. The introduction of the music I think emphasises the ‘elegiac’ and ‘hypnotic’ quality and adds an extra dimension to the paintings. Thanks for pointing it out.

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