Truly Unique and Unbelievable – Damien Hirst – Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

Wow. I know it’s in the eye of the beholder but maybe they went to a different show to the rest of us.

Truly Unique and Unbelievable – Damien Hirst – Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

I’d first of all like to give FULL credit to all the artists and sculptors and workers who alongside Damien Hirst produced such a unique awe inspiring exhibition. (Actually two, in separate locations in Venice.)

Damien Hirst - Gold painted sculpture

You produced work that truly brought the ‘Wow’ factor, to almost every visitor through the doors.

Whilst being lucky enough to visit Venice, I also had chance to see this exhibition spread over two venues in the city.

Damien Hirst - coral

A fantastic contrast to all the historic art and culture which packs the city between canals and waterways.

 



I can’t even contemplate how you achieved it, how you managed to get such huge and outrageous pieces into the country let alone into the galleries.

Amazing!

Continue reading “Truly Unique and Unbelievable – Damien Hirst – Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”

Le Penseur, Auguste Rodin – The Vatican Museum, Rome

Some of the most important art in the world is there and folk just barge you out of the way and literally run through the galleries

Le Penseur, Auguste Rodin

Le Penseur, Auguste Rodin – The Vatican Museum, Rome

Some say size matters, boy did they get that one wrong. Always choose quality over quantity!

I am so lucky, I have seen some of the most beautiful, historic, thought provoking stunning art. I’ve visited Paris to see Mona Lisa, despite what you may have perceived from the media images, she’s tiny! None the less she’s worth the trip. Wow! Amazing.

Whilst on a recent trip to Rome I was walking around the breathtaking Vatican Museum. A huge number of people almost run through that place. It’s bizarre. Some of the most important art in the world is there and folk just barge you out of the way and literally run through the galleries to get to the Sistine Chapel.

Shame.

Now the Sistine Chapel is just indescribable, although I will try in a future blog post, but please people…

slow down…

take a breath…

take in the beauty around you…

As I meandered through the long halls and enjoyed the galleries held securely in between, I was surprised to see an artwork I’d not even realised was there. It wasn’t mentioned in my brochures and my research had missed it, my bad.

Stood on a humble pillar, within a small off shot gallery sat this gorgeous man. He wasn’t drawing attention to himself, he sat quietly, some visitors almost knocked him from his pedestal in their haste to pass him by.

Who was this tactile, bronze, muscular naked figure quietly demanding my attention? Silently calling out to me to reach out a hand and almost tentatively touch his shoulder, I resisted the temptation, as you do with a forbidden love.

Continue reading “Le Penseur, Auguste Rodin – The Vatican Museum, Rome”

5 Reasons to Travel on the Tranzalpine Railroad, Aotearoa, New Zealand – Christchurch to Greymouth

If you live at the top of a mountain, where it rains, a lot, I guess you need a sense of humour.

Tranzalpine Railroad, Aotearoa, New Zealand Christchurch to Greymouth5 Reasons to Travel on the Tranzalpine Railroad, Aotearoa, New Zealand – Christchurch to Greymouth

1. The Tranzalpine train link between Christchurch and Greymouth, Aotearoa, New Zealand, is one of the world’s most iconic rail journeys

I know why. It’s a cliche but the scenic route is truly visually stunning. It is hard to capture the number of oohs, aaahs and wows that you hear. Both your own and fellow traveller’s as you watch the highs and lows of the terrain through the huge picture windows. The train has an plug in audio commentary for travellers to learn as they go along, I’d recommend tuning in to it. Embrace your inner tourist and listen to the experts, you really should learn something about the area.

2. You can relax and look at the amazing scenery without distraction

The route goes up to the infamous Arthur’s Pass high in the mountains. A windy place occupied by a tiny community. Some people go there for a day or three, no doubt to go hiking or mountaineering. I salute you. The terrain didn’t look hospitable, even on a sunny day. It is hard to imagine how bleak it would have been for ‘Arthur’ and any other pioneers. As we learnt on the train commentary the original terrain would have been basically dry grasses, most of the greenery we now see has been imported over the decades / centuries. Bleak indeed.

Land of the long white cloudThe ‘land of the long white cloud’ is illustrated quite clearly, although the weather change dramatically through the day and from one side of a very long tunnel and the other.  The palm trees in such a desolate place was a surprise, especially when I’m told my garden in Sunny Donny isn’t warm enough for one.



3. The train has an open sided carriage to allow for clear photography

The very breezy and chilly open cabin is fantastic. Take your coat it is more than a bit nippy! Put your camera around your neck or on a wrist strap. You let go of it up here you sure as heck ain’t going to get it back! Don’t stick your head or hands out in a tragic selfie fashion either as unexpected bridges and tunnels pop up unannounced. Tranzalpine viewsI laughed at the thought of having something similar in a fairly mild UK climate, maybe across the Pennines. Our UK system is so totally dominated by Health & Safety it wouldn’t get past the drawing board. Well done to the brave souls allowing a truly immersive travelling experience in the open air.

I chatted with one guy who lives nearby and travels regularly in the open carriage just to get back in touch with his local area and its beauty. What a great idea. How often do you do that where you live?

4. It’s an education

Braided River in New Zealand

Do you know what a braided river is? No, me neither until I discovered it’s one ‘braided’ by the debris and gravel brought down by the waters from the hills. They are dramatic, beautiful and a little intimidating. I can imagine the powerful waters just rushing down one day, taking everything in its path on its torrential journey.

If you live at the top of a mountain, where it rains, a lot, I guess you need a sense of humour. I hadn’t expected to see such imaginative art in a garden at the rail track, so who ever you are – WELL DONE!

Corrugated Iron ArtworkCorrugated metal art in a ‘thing’ in Aotearoa (NZ), no idea why but you see it in the most unexpected places. It’s a personal choice I guess but local art adds character so is always a bonus.

5. It gets you from A to B, what more do you need

Oh yes, and the day I travelled was the day I discovered a strange jelly type sweet (I’m reserving judgment on that one, excuse the almost cannibalistic joining of the two dissected bodies) and Peanut slab! Peanut Slab & CoffeeDEEP JOY!!! Anyone travelling in Aotearoa you HAVE to try it (peanut allergy excepted of course)

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Why are the Blue Mountains blue?

http://www.newzealand.com/int/arthurs-pass/

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5 Reasons to Visit Wellington in Aotearoa, New Zealand

If you have any recommendations for people who wish to stay longer please let me know, I can only comment on the things I saw in my very few hours in this harbour of culture which sits at the feet of a tall and thriving metropolis.

5 Reasons to Visit Wellington in Aotearoa, New Zealand5 Reasons to Visit Wellington in Aotearoa, New Zealand

After driving for many hours with this view or ones very similar, we arrived in Wellington on the North Island of Aotearoa (aka New Zealand) I can think of a dozen reasons to do the same again, but here’s my first 5.

Aotearoa Mountain Landscape

1. People focussed city centre

I keep emphasising you should be making your own schedules, don’t always go with the guide books however…I’m my own worst enemy.

I listened when people said, don’t spend much time in Wellington. It was a mistake but I don’t do regret so all’s good. This mistake meant we only had a few hours whilst waiting for the ferry (to the South Island) to fully explore and enjoy Wellington.

Please try to stay longer as from my short visit it proved to be a place to enjoy at leisure, cafe culture and history well balanced for people to enjoy. A melting pot of cafe dwellers. Office workers in their precious downtime chilling out on huge water front floor cushions.  Children kayaking in the safe haven harbour. Trend setters lounging with the ever present phones in hand, selfie heaven.

OK, so it was warm and sunny and we found a gorgeous organic cafe with amazing take away food to eat at the harbour, oh and a craft market full of retro fabrics, crafts and local art, so maybe my view is biased.

2. Art and sculpture

Yes Wellington you do the ‘expensive’ or ‘mainstream’ pieces better than Melbourne (no one can beat Melbourne for street art)

Solace in the Wind

I love works by Andrew Gormley and this one reminds me of his work. Its also very ‘Prometheus’ don’t you think?

Solace in the Wind

‘Solace in the Wind’, the naked man leaning over the edge of the harbour as if being held up by a gust of wind, is the work of Max Patte – an Englishman who came to Wellington to work at Weta Studios (the effects company behind movies like Avatar and the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Patte was inspired to create the sculpture in response to his own feelings about the Wellington waterfront, a place that he found comforting during difficult times. While the wind might not feel solacing to everyone, it is an inspiring statement on the emotional ties we develop with places….”

3. Maori history and art as the norm not an added extra

The harbour area was the place we spent our time. The ‘powers that be’ have incorporated maori style artwork within the buildings and bridge structures so they are part of the built environment. They stand out for tourists but also become part of every day for locals. I love that idea and wish more local areas would embrace their histories with such enthusiasm. Until we accept that we are all products of multi-culturalism we will never Wellington Sculpturereally be at peace together. Art and architecture has a huge part to play in that (sorry just had to get that out of my system)

Make sure you don’t miss all the small plaques along the dock area, tributes to sailors, soldiers and citizens lost at sea or at war. Take the time to read them, they are both moving and informative. 

4. Ferry that ran on time

This small but often ignored fact is one which, to a traveller, can mean the difference between getting to a safe accommodation on time or not arriving at all. It can not be underestimated.



5. A comfortable, cosmopolitan, credible (and apparently safe) waterside dock

Wellington HarbourThe planners have incorporated old and new and in what looks like a fairly recently renovated harbour area succeeded in making a place for people. Young, old, local, traveller, all mingled in. A group of guys placing soccer on the faux grass pitch, maori art used as architectural pieces of value.

Brilliant, one up for town planners, credit where it’s due.

If you have any recommendations for people who wish to stay longer please let me know, I can only comment on the things I saw in my very few hours in this harbour of culture which sits at the feet of a tall and thriving metropolis.

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Find a beautiful piece of art…

I’ve set up this blog to inspire people to enjoy my passions, art, travel and imagery including photography.

Welcome to my blog. I will be posting inspirational quotes on my pages every now and again when the mood takes me.

I’ve set up this blog to inspire people to enjoy my passions, art, travel and imagery including photography. Now you are here why not look around my pages and posts and find something to inspire you?

Maya Angelou Quote about art

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Timaru – ideal location for Zombie films

DSC_0865

Timaru, well what can I say? Does anyone live there? This was the High Street/City Centre ‘rush hour’ at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, before you ask no the All Blacks weren’t playing.

DSC_0869 (1)

It was a stop over that in hindsight we probably would miss out. They have apparently a beautiful beach, maybe in summer it’s awesome, not so much when we went. There appears to be a few bored teenagers in ‘joy-rider’ cars just cruisin’, don’t blame them at all, they must be BORED. It’s a tourist spot, with only tourists out and about. ALL the shops were shut and to add insult to injury even the promised penguins didn’t appear.

DSC_0857

The gulls were amusing nicking each other’s lunch, and the tributes to fallen soldiers across the globe imaginative and thoughtful. The rest, well like the title says it would make a great location for a Zombie film. I recently blogged about England needing to step up and provide services and shops to tourists after 5pm, all is forgiven, almost. We even struggled to find somewhere to buy our evening food, just one corner shop away from the centre who had empty shelves and no conversation skills.

DSC_0872

Now I don’t like be negative about a place, but I’m struggling. I hope the massive ex-hostel building at the front gets taken over and refurbished, it has obviously been a stunner at some point in history, now boarded up. Timaru I would say if you want to get your city up and running again, then make people feel welcome. I can’t say what the locals think, as despite trying we didn’t find ONE! Just many bemused tourists trying to find somewhere for a coffee, and failing. Even the artwork was sleeping!

Queenstown, Aotearoa / New Zealand – Not All Bungee and Speed Boats

I didn’t talk to the six buddhist women who shared our kitchen at the campsite, I would have loved to know what they thought

Beach view in Queenstown

Queenstown, Aotearoa / New Zealand – Not All Bungee and Speed Boats

Queenstown is the ‘jump off’ point for a huge number of trips, to Milford Sound, to the original bungee bridge, numerous other adventure pursuits. It is a young town for that reason, wine bars, coffee shops and outdoor clothes shops abound. Wanting to make the most of an overnight we headed out and were pleasantly surprised.

The campsite was central so just a short walk into the town. If you don’t do some activity maybe you’d have done the town in a day or two. Yes, there’s teens with beers, there’s also history and art. The monuments to Anzacs and the fallen at the front were old, well looked after and stunning. Take your time to walk around the town, not just hop on a bus elsewhere.

The unique mix of palm tree and deciduous for some reason caught my eye again, and the symbol of the country is well placed here although I luckily managed to get a shot in between the huge number of cyclists swooping down the path.

New Zealand Palm tree

This little chap was our companion at the coffee stop on the front, I love cafes that provide blankets. Something reassuring about a coffee, blanket and conversation even if some companions are less chatty and just want you for your crumbs!

Sparrow on a seat back

I just love this sculpture, so tactile and life like. I don’t know the history of the lady in question, other than the plaque, I appreciate her quiet beauty.

Sculpture at Queenstown beachfront

Queenstown, all in all, excellent. Only slight regret? I didn’t talk to the six buddhist women who shared our kitchen at the campsite, I would have loved to know what they thought, where they were headed and what their stories were, oh and where one of them bought her amazing quilted trousers.

5 Reasons Lake Tekapo, Aotearoa, New Zealand is Worth The Drive to Get There

Please, if you have to build your spa and build your high class homes please have lights that go out at night when not needed, they are possible.

 

5-reasons-lake-tekapo-aotearoa-new-zealand-is-worth-the-drive-to-get-there5 Reasons Lake Tekapo, Aotearoa, New Zealand is Worth The Drive to Get There

The road to Lake Tekapo took us through the brilliant scary roads that are standard New Zealand. Few cars, lots of campers and quite a few trucks, thankfully lots of pull in spots too to let said trucks whizz by. Most of them hoot their appreciation at the manoeuvre.

Our wacky arrival

tekapo-arrivalWe saw a bizarre Asian lady having a selfie style shot taken in the middle of the road. She changed next to her car into a backless dress and ran down the road barefoot. It was not a barefoot backless kind of day. Luckily the truck drivers were attentive, and no doubt slighty bemused, as they took appropriate evasive action. Very artistic and very odd!

Art and History

Tekapo dog sculptureThe dog in the sculpture was the first old english sheepdog we had seen down under, the owner of the camp had another, total of two. Hmm wonder where they all are, I guess up in them there hills.

Simplicity

tekapo-churchThis church, an iconic image, is beautiful. Sadly I couldn’t get a photo inside as it is inspiring, but I respect it’s a place of worship. It’s a small chapel with the most amazing view framed in a massive picture window, rare in any place of religion. You could feel the history there, no wonder the devotees in time gone by saw the wonder of their God all around them. I’m not sure what my beliefs are but it was a spiritual place for all the visitors we spoke to, maybe the remoteness, the beauty, the clean air, the strength of the building rooted to such a remote spot, not sure. I felt better for having been there.

Geology

tekapo-geologyHow stunning is nature and geology. The detail in just this one rock, veins and the layers taking you back through the ages, I wonder just how old this is? Oh, and they hurt when you stub your toe on them! Ouch!

Dark Skies

This sight is a dark sky reserve. Have you ever watched a dark sky for an hour! What are all those things moving around? I know the ‘truth is out there’ I know some stuff will be satellites, some debris (yes we send our rubbish up there too) however some of the erratic movement of some things, well, it was thought provoking to say the least.

I’m slightly confused at all the development in Tekapo. It’s very selfish not to expect places to be developed, to make them more accessible, bring jobs etc. I get that. I understand why million dollar houses bring in cash etc. What I don’t get is the taking out of so many trees and putting in so many street lights! 

Lake_TekapoSitting outside the camper looking at the sky was amazing, however the street lamps already intrude on the true darkness and looking at the roads and paths under construction more will follow.

Please, if you have to build your spa and build your high class homes please have lights that go out at night when not needed, they are possible. If you take out trees to enhance the view, well don’t spoil the view by doing so!

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Art

I am going to try to blog once a daythroughout April. I have a new smart phone which I am still working hard to master, oh the forgotten joy of easily texting or searching on an older more comfortable device. I know I’ll soon be lost without it, but at the moment ‘switching to silent’ is a mortal battle to the death!

Anyway, as part of the a-z blog challenge I will persevere throughout April. My first blog for the month is…A is for Art!

The picture is take at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in, yes you guessed it, Yorkshire, England. If you haven’t been there you are missing out, it’s a great place for a walk, a bit of culture, a view of new and established artists work often made specifically with this grand location in mind. Sheep meander between the monoliths, you can too. Boots are a good plan in wet weather, but those who prefer hard standing can spend a while trying to find friends or celebrities names on the walkway to the gallery.

I love this place, but just one minor moan to the architect, why the blooming heck did you put the handrail on the cafe balcony at eye height! It makes relaxing to look at the panorama a neck stretching or scrunching experience I’d prefer to miss out on!