I CAUGHT up with Wirral-based artist Leo Fitzmaurice at the announcement that he's won the Northern Art Prize (pictured by David Lindsay above) at Leeds City gallery last week. He was, he said, the only one of the four short-listed artists not to have prepared a speech as he hadn't expected to win the £16,500 award.
What does winning mean to him?: Time.
"It will mean maybe nearly two years when I can do exactly what I want as and artist. That's what everyone wants."
Fitzmaurice's contribution to the art prize exhibition included an interesting reinterpretation of landscapes from the gallery's collection, which he placed at different heights along two walls so that they appeared to share the same horizon. A simple enough idea perhaps but one that makes us re-experience the works from a different perspective.
IT'S all change for the Liverpool Daily Post today as we become a 100pg-plus weekly - The Liverpool Post.
Excitingly, the new paper includes a bumper arts supplement called Post Culture, which focuses mainly on events happening in Merseyside.
Every week there will be a mixture of news, reviews and interviews as well as our columnists Peter Spaull (classical), Jamie Bowman (music - a new addition) and myself.
If you'd like an event included in the listings section you will need to send details to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be compiling the exhibition listings myself - send details to email@example.com
I'll also be expanding this blog to include a range of regular contributors. There's been a lot of interest already but if you think you would like to be involved then drop me an email and I'll be in touch with more details.
EVERY December Daily Post reveals the winners of its Arts Awards, highlighting the best performers and events of the year. Chosen by a judging panel made up of regular reviewers, they cover a range of categories including theatre, dance, the visual arts and comedy.
Daily Post readers also have the chance to vote for the shows and individuals who have most impressed them throughout 2011 - you can do this below.
There is no obligation to vote in every category - simply fill in those you want to.
The results will be published in the Daily Post, and on this blog, next month. Thanks for taking part.
I'VE just got back from a two-week holiday to find my inbox jammed with details of hundreds of interesting arts events taking place in Merseyside over the coming months. The countdown to Christmas is promising to be a busy - but fun - one for those of us who like to get out and make the most of all that is going on in our region.
Here are a few highlights:
Alice in Wonderland Magic Lantern Slides 1900-1925, © University of Exeter
A BONANZA post today to mark the start of the new season...
AS I mentioned in my previous blog post, I spent the weekend in Cyprus at an opera festival. There is no Liverpool connection whatsoever - yes I know, even though Scousers get everywhere - but as Pafos is so popular with British holidaymakers there's a chance some of you might be tempted to go out there next year.
No hang on, there is a slight link - Pafos is currently bidding to be Capital of Culture and it's Aphrodite Festival is a strong part of its bid. It's the 13th year of the opera festival and each time they build an outdoor auditorium next to the medieval castle in the harbour for just three performances.
JUST a very quick post from me today as I'm frantically trying to get all my work written before heading off to Cyprus tomorrow for an opera festival - don't worry, I'm not expecting any sympathy.
So today I'm cheating. Here's a piece by Sam Liu, one of the cast of PurpleCoat Productions' Titus Andronicus, which is at the Contemporary Urban Centre this week...
Titus Andronicus is perhaps Shakespeare's most underappreciated work. The Victorians hated it for its graphic depictions of rape and violence, and ever since it has been largely dismissed by the theatrical and literary establishment. But this tragedy was immensely popular during Shakespeare's own time. If the Globe was in need of a money-spinner to tide it over, it was Titus Andronicus to which Shakespeare and co. turned, such was its favour among Elizabethan audiences. And shortly, at the Contemporary Urban Centre in Liverpool, we are going to try and recreate that forgotten magic.
LAST week, I had the honour of meeting some of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's patrons for a feature in today's Daily Post. With funding cuts to the arts the Phil is having to rely more and more on the financial support of ordinary people. It was interesting to discover that those ordinary people also rely on the Phil. I noticed they used the word "we" a lot when describing the orchestra, which sums up how close to the organisation they feel.
TODAY's post is mainly on the subject that's been occupying almost all my time over the past week or so, the new Museum of Liverpool opening, but it also covers the Dirty Dancing tour launch and some interesting arts-related links featuring photographer Mitch Epstein and Martin Scorcese, who's filmed a new documentary on George Harrison.
Finally, after 10 years of waiting the new Museum of Liverpool will open tomorrow - at least most of it will, we'll have to wait until the autumn for the History Detectives, Great Port, Kings Regiment and Liverpool Overhead Railway galleries.
I went for a tour last week and wrote this piece all about it for today's Daily Post. It was quite a strange experience walking around a museum that's intended for hundreds of visitors at any one time yet there were only a few of us in there. We had to wear yellow hard hats, fluorescent jackets and walking boots as the contractors were completing their work, even though it's far from being a building site.
APOLOGIES for the lack of blogging over the past couple of weeks. It's been surprisingly hectic for the silly season when we're usually scrabbling around for things to fill the newspaper. It's times like this when I realise what a diverse job I have - last week was all about the Everyman, that wonderful little theatre that's somehow managed to survive all these years with funding coming and going, and this week was all about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final film in a series of global blockbusters.
I've written hundred of words on these already so rather than repeating myself I will link to those pieces.
So, first up - the Everyman's closure...
IT'S been a big week for the visual arts in Liverpool with two exhibitions opening at Tate Liverpool and another at the Walker Art Gallery. You can read my features on Magritte: The Pleasure Principle, Art In Revolution: Liverpool 1911 and Robert Therrien: Smoke Signals by clicking on the links.
I spent yesterday between both galleries gorging myself on beautiful art works, including Paul Gauguin's Sister of Charity, Vincent Van Gogh's Hayricks and Paul Sérusier's Breton Women in the Rain. But it was in front of Liverpool artist James Hamilton Hay's Falling Star that I, for a moment or two, considered a Thomas Crowne Affair style heist. My favourite Magritte's included The Night Owl, which I later found out inspired the poster for film The Exorcist, and The Key To The Fields - a broken window where the shattered panes of glass have retained the image that would have been behind it when it was whole.