Twaddle is a doddle. It’s statement time again (I see that I last wrote about this early last month when I was in full-flow statement-mode). I thought I had it cracked, but there you go. Coming up with something meaningless but worthy-sounding is straightforward, but I want it to actually mean something.


A rare opportunity arose recently, for something that I know (from reading blogs on Artists Talking) many artists long for. A few weeks ago I had sent a ‘good luck’ message to a friend who was about to present her work to a crit group. ARC, based at Aspex, runs these sessions on a regular basis, and although I had known of the groups I had never quite got round to going along. To cut a long story short, I was asked if I would like to have a crit of my exhibition at GASP.

Well I jumped at the chance, it was just too good to pass up. The opportunity for critical feedback, the chance to see if I can verbalise my thoughts in public, and to see if any of it made sense. There was the added benefit that it was to be a crit not just of the work, but of the show as a whole. Invaluable.

Yesterday evening, Jonathan Parsons and Phyl Payne from ARC, and around 10 group regulars (all practising artists I believe) descended on my exhibition to give me the lowdown.

I was nervous, a little part of me wondering if I was about to be torn limb from limb. I needn’t have worried. It was great.


Friday’s PV was very successful, with a fantastic turnout. A human frailty, it is easy to confuse all the gushing praise with critical evaluation. Bearing that in mind, a couple of people whose professional opinion I particularly value and respect gave wonderful feedback. That means a great deal.

I had been concerned that my aim of showing a period of transition would manifest itself as a collection of disparate works. In the event I needn’t have worried because no-one saw it that way. I also aimed to represent recent experiments with drawing. One work, possibly two, looked out of place in the latter context, OK in the first. The lesson here is that I could have succeeded in both objectives if I had left these two pieces out, or alternatively just settled on one objective. Perhaps I’m being unduly hard on myself because this escaped everyone, apart from one of the people whose opinion I value who had spotted the anomaly. One to remember for the future.

My wife overheard a slight negative from someone who said that she “…. loved all of it, apart from the one where (I) had just bought some little toys and hung them on a bit of string.” In fact the ‘little toys’ are miniature facsimiles of some of my late father’s tools. I had made these by hand, which was a crucial element behind the concept. The lady in question had completely missed the point, but unwittingly made a great compliment. More than one person had said that that piece is the “star of the show” but it is interesting to note that different people consider different works their personal favourite.

A group from the University is coming this afternoon. Thankfully I only need to be on hand if required, no talk is scheduled.


I have been working on preliminaries for a new work, which, at the back of my mind, carries the probability that it will take a considerable time to complete – possibly several hundred hours. It is a big commitment, but one that I have no choice but to undertake if I want to realise the piece. Like most people, I am always excited by the current project. Creating a new artwork is a big investment, always emotionally, sometimes financially, sometimes physically, and sometimes in terms of the significant length of time required. Furthermore, unless one already has a paying client in place, it will almost certainly be speculative. In spite of this, it would not be possible to work, I think, if we had doubts about the outcome from the onset.


I received this email late yesterday evening:

Hi Mr. Illingworth,

My name is Catherine Hsieh. I am an associate editor at NY Arts Magazine/Art Fairs International (www.nyartsmagazine.com / www.artfairsinternational.com). NY Arts Magazine/Art Fairs International is a quarterly international contemporary art magazine and Web sites with a readership of 60,000.

As of now, we are preparing for our Spring Issue and are extremely interested in featuring you in this next issue. I was wondering if you could provide us with a 400-word artist’s statement. This can be a pre-existing statement from a Web site or exhibition, but we do prefer an original text.

Just to explain, we ask for about 400 words from the artist that give our readers a great insight into his/her work, his/her process, and him/her as an artist. We want the artist to say what it is s/he has always wanted people to know about or see in his/her work. Also, if you could kindly supply us with 3 to 5 high-resolution (300 DPI, 10 inches wide) images, plus captions (Artist, Title, Year. Medium, dimensions. Courtesy of…), to go alongside the text, that would be much appreciated.

NY Arts Magazine is a home for artists, curators, galleries as well as writers to voice their ideas on the contemporary art world. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. Please let me know. Thank you so much in advance.

Looking forward to hearing from you,


Catherine Y. Hsieh

Associate Editor

NY Arts Magazine

473 Broadway, 7th Floor

New York, NY 10013


I never, ever, use links in emails unless they are from a source I know, so I typed in the web address and received an error message (this turned out to be a fortunate coincidence). Concerned, I searched in Google, and lo – over 700,000 results on the NY Arts Magazine scam. The web site is up and running this morning, and appears as credible as the email sounds. Incidentally, I checked my stats and they had googled my name, presumably from an article or exhibition, so they aren’t necessarily only using the likes of A-N and Axis.