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Basic art course - asistants

Basic Artist & Gallery
assistant course.
Locarto assistant tutorial
Alongside this tutorial you are expected to read and keep the Oxford concise dictionary of art terms.
Congratulations on your decision to become a certified Locarto assistant. You are embarking on an exciting journey, where you have the
opportunity to learn a lot about one of the world´s most lavish markets and talk to some very interesting people. Moreover, you will also add
something to the greater good. Your use of the Locarto system will, minute by minute, energise the art world and release the artistry of its
creators. Art has never been organised like this before.
As a Locarto assistant, you will serve artists, curators, collectors and galleries. Your service to them is important and valuable. To be able to do
this work you have to speak the language of the art world. This tutorial will equip you with the basic vocabulary and understanding you will
need to speak confidently and easily with the players of that world. It will also give you an overview of important legal aspects of the art
business and its professional ethics.
Visual art has been made as long as man has walked upright on two legs, for thousands and thousands of years. The activity of making and
using art is as fundamental to human civilisation as speaking and cooking. The use of art objects and art making has changed again and again
over the course of time. Today, visual art is a global phenomenon, an ongoing exchange of perspectives through millions of exhibitions,
broadcasts, books and talks. At the centre of this exchange is the artwork. Your service in Locarto will revolve around the artwork and its
information. Most importantly, you will manage the connections between the different pieces of information, the artworks, the exhibitions,
the artists, the books and the galleries.
To be able to think, we first have to remember. Without memory there is no thought. Locarto is the memory of the art world.
The chapter on the different main categories of art that you will be dealing with, is meant to make you confident in your ability to identify an
artwork by category and constituent parts and materials. «This is a pencil drawing on paper.» «This is a marble relief.» «This is a tapestry.»
And so on.
We all have pre-conceived notions of what an artwork looks like. It is likely to be a painting in a frame, Mona Lisa maybe. Or a marble statue
of David. Most of the time, these are the kind of items we will be working with: framed displays to hang on walls and things stood on a table
or on the floor. For the last hundred years, however, the art world has adopted a perspective that anything an artist confers the status of
artwork to, is an artwork. It could be a live cockroach or a piece of industrially manufactured string. It could be ten bricks stacked in a corner.
It could be a whispered sentence. Or all of the above. Your pre-conceived notions of what constitutes an artwork will most likely be
challenged at some point during the course of your work, and you will struggle to make it fit the taxonomy of the Locarto system.
That is ok - if you are in doubt, ask for help.
Make the most of this tutorial, it is the start of a wonderful journey into the world of art.
Drawing is a form of visual art in which one uses various drawing instruments to mark paper or other types of two-dimensional support.
Instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, various kinds of paints, inked brushes, colored pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk,
pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses, and various metals (such as silverpoint). Digital drawing is the act of using a
computer to draw.
In addition to its fine art forms, drawing is frequently used in commercial illustration, animation and architecture. A quick, freehand
drawing, usually not intended as a finished work, is sometimes called a sketch. Drawings are always unique, one-off artworks.
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, colour or other media to a solid surface (called the support). The medium is commonly
applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, may also be used.
In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. The support for paintings include such surfaces as walls, paper,
canvas, wood, glass, lacquer, pottery, leaf, copper and concrete, and the painting may incorporate multiple other materials, including sand,
clay, paper, plaster, gold leaf, and even whole objects.
Painting is a very important category in the visual arts with a very long history. They can be figurative and representational (we can
recognise figures, like a lion, a tea-cup, Napoleon) or completely abstract (colour fields, brush strokes of paint, daubs of paint), and anything
in between. There is great variation in the art of painting.
Still life
Collage, from the French: coller, "to glue" or "to stick together”, is a technique of art creation by which art results from an assemblage
of different forms, thus creating a new whole.
A collage may sometimes include magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paint, bits of colored or handmade papers, portions of
other artworks or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper, canvas or some other support. The origins of
collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as a novel art
The term papier collé was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became
a distinctive part of modern art.
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the
removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since
Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by
removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or moulded or cast.
Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, and often represents the majority of the surviving works
(other than pottery) from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished almost entirely.
However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, and this has been lost.
Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, and until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private
individuals to create, were usually an expression of religion or politics. Those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities
include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, India and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa.
The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, and Greece is widely seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical
period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith. The revival of classical
models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from
traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, and the
presentation of found objects as finished art works.
Carving is the act of using tools to shape something from a material by scraping away portions of that
material. The technique can be applied to any material that is solid enough to hold a form even when pieces
have been removed from it, and yet soft enough for portions to be scraped away with available tools. Carving,
as a means for making stone or wooden sculpture, is distinct from methods using soft and malleable materials
like clay and melted glass, which may be shaped into the desired forms while soft and then harden into that
Wood carved
Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth
Casting is a manufacturing process . It is a process in which a liquid material is delivered into a mould that
contains a negative impression (a three-dimensional negative image) of the intended shape. The material is
poured into the mould through a hollow channel. The material and mould are then set to rest until it is cool or
hardened. The cast can then be extracted. Casting of artworks is most often used for making multiple complex
shapes in one or more editions.
Casting processes have been known for thousands of years and are widely used for sculptures. Metals like
bronze, but also other materials like concrete are widely used for casting of artworks.
Sculpture by Henry Moore
Modelling is a method to create an art object by using material that can be easily shaped. Various types of
clay can be used for this process because it is easy to add where you need more material and easier to take
away where you need less. Modelling can also be used in order to make the model for a shape that is later
going to be casted. The most common variety of clay used in art production is ceramic clay that can later be
baked at high temperatures in a process known as firing to create ceramics. The result will then be terra
cotta, earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain .
Bust of woman in process
Assemblage is an artistic form or medium usually created on a defined substrate that consists of
three-dimensional elements projecting out of or from the substrate. It is similar to collage, a twodimensional medium. It is part of the visual arts and it typically uses found objects but is not limited
to these materials. This method is often used to make sculptures or reliefs.
Sculpture made by typewriter parts
3D printing
Sculpture of a bust in process
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a
CAD model or a digital 3D model. The term "3D printing" can refer to a variety of processes in which
material is deposited, joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional
object with material being added together layer by layer.
In the 1980s, 3D printing techniques were considered suitable only for the production of functional
or aesthetic prototypes. Now the precision, repeatability, and material range of 3D printing have
increased to the point that some 3D printing processes are even considered viable as an industrial
production technology. One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very
complex shapes or geometries which makes it very suitable for creating art sculptures.
Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term
relief is from the Latin verb relevo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has been
raised above the background plane. What is actually performed when a relief is cut in from a flat surface of stone or wood is a lowering
of the field, leaving the un-sculpted parts seemingly raised. The technique involves considerable chiseling away of the background,
which is a time-consuming exercise. Relief is less fragile and more securely fixed than a sculpture in the round, especially one of a
standing figure where the ankles are a potential weak point, especially in stone. In other materials such as metal, clay, plaster stucco,
ceramics or papier-mâché the form can be just added to or raised up from the background, and monumental bronze reliefs are made by
There are different degrees of relief depending on the degree of projection of the sculpted form from the field. The Italian and French
terms are still used in English. The full range includes: High relief where more than 50% of the depth is shown and there may be
undercut areas. Variations of reliefs used is Mid-relief, Low relief, Shallow-relief and Sunk relief, but the distinction between High relief
and Low relief is the clearest and most important. These two are generally the only terms used to discuss most work.
The opposite of relief sculpture is Counter-relief, where the form is cut into the field or background rather than rising from it.
Relief – Sergo Camargo
Relief – Eivind Blaker
“Counter” Relief - Avantgarde
“Counter” Relief - Avantgarde
Prints are artworks made by printing, normally on paper. Prints are original artworks produced as multiples of the same piece. Each
print is correctly referred to as an "impression or edition", NOT a "copy”. Often impressions vary considerably, whether intentionally or
not. The images on most prints are created for that purpose, the print, perhaps with a preparatory study such as a drawing. A print that
copies another work of art, especially a painting, is known as a "reproductive print” and is NOT regarded as an original artwork.
Prints are created by transferring ink from a matrix to a sheet of paper or other material, by a variety of techniques. Common types of
matrices include: metal plates, usually copper or zinc, or polymer plates and other thicker plastic sheets for engraving or etching; stone,
aluminum, or polymer for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts and wood engravings; and linoleum for linocuts. Screens made of
silk or synthetic fabrics are used for the screen printing process.
Multiple impressions printed from the same matrix form an edition. Since the late 19th century, artists have generally signed individual
impressions from an edition and often number the impressions to form a limited edition; the matrix is then destroyed so that no more
prints can be produced. Prints may also be printed in book form, such as illustrated books or artist's books.
The term artist proof is used in connection with limited edition prints. It is a common practice that an artist keeps 10-15% out of a
limited print edition for his or her own use. These prints are called artist proofs or épreuve d'artiste (French). Typical abbreviations
found on such prints are AP, A/P, A.P. or something like E/P or E.P. In strict terms, artist proofs are not meant to be sold in the market, at
least not immediately, but this is theory. It is very often offered without reserve if the demand is there.
Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor
(digital), or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film (analogue). It is employed in many fields of science,
manufacturing, and business, as well as direct uses for art, film and video production.
Fine-art photography is photography created in line with the vision of the photographer as artist, using photography as a medium for creative
expression. The goal of fine-art photography is to express an idea, a message, or an emotion. This stands in contrast to representational
photography, such as photojournalism, which provides a documentary visual account of specific subjects and events, literally representing
objective reality rather than the subjective intent of the photographer; and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise
products, or services.
In the fine-art photography market, photographs are usually editioned, but they can also be unique. There is great variety in the sizes and
numbers of prints in editions. It is not uncommon to see three or more different sizes of a single photograph in varying numbers, say “small in an
edition of 50”, “medium in an edition of 15” and “large in an edition of five”. Prices for the different editions can be fixed, say every small edition
print costs USD 1 000, or they can be tiered in an escalating price scheme, where the last number in the edition is the more expensive. “Edition
1/5 in the large size costs USD 15 000, while edition 5/5 costs USD 35 000.” (see sample of editions and sizes below)
The term artist proof also applies to fine art photography, see in section prints.
5 editions
10 editions
15 editions
30 editions
Textile art has a long tradition and history all over the world and the practice of weaving is one of the oldest forms of human
technology. The category Textile art includes all art using techniques such as weavings, embroideries, tapestries, fiber arts, carpet
design, and more. Since the 1970’s artists have pushed the boundaries of what can be considered a textile as well as how a textile can
be considered art.
Applied art are all the art forms that apply design and decoration to everyday and essentially practical objects in order to make them
aesthetically pleasing. The term is used in distinction to the fine arts, which are those that produce objects with no practical use, whose
only purpose is to be beautiful or stimulate the intellect in some way. In practice, the two often overlap. Applied arts largely overlaps with
decorative arts, and the modern making of applied art is usually called design.
Installation art refers to an artistic genre that is characterized by the artist using various objects, that in themselves do not have to be
works of art (painting, sculpture and the like), but for example can be reworked objects from everyday life, from nature or from the
scrap heaps , to create a spatial composition and mix that is suitable for giving the audience art experiences with the help of the
associations that the composition of the objects leads to. The objects involved in making up the installation sometimes number in the
An installation is often made especially for the relevant exhibition space, and can therefore often not easily be moved without being
adapted to the new exhibition space.
Installation art in various forms and with different expressions has from the 1950s - 1970s onwards been increasingly dominant in art
Paintings, photographs and prints are often fitted in frames. A picture frame is a protective and decorative edging. It makes displaying the work safer
and easier and both sets the artwork apart from its surroundings and aesthetically integrates it with them. Picture frames are generally square or
rectangular, though circular and oval frames are not uncommon. Frames in more unusual shapes such as football shapes, stars, hearts can be hand
carved by a professional wood carver or carpenter (or possibly molded out of wood pulp).
Traditionally picture frames have been made of wood, and it remains very popular because wood frames can provide strength, be shaped
in a broad range of profiles, and allow a variety of surface treatments. Other materials include metals, e.g. silver, bronze, aluminum, and
stiff plastics such as polystyrene. A frame surface may be of any color or texture. Both genuine gilding and imitation gold remain popular,
although many other surfaces are to be found in most framing establishments. Some picture frames have elaborate molding, which may
refer to the subject matter. Intricate decorations are often made of molded, then gilded plaster over a wood base. Picture frame mouldings
come in a wide variety of profiles, generally in some sort of L shape with an upward "lip" and a horizontal rabbet. The rabbet functions as a
shelf to hold the frame glazing (if any is to be used), some sort of spacer or mat/matte to keep the object safely behind the inner surface of
the glazing, the object itself, and backing boards to protect the object from physical damage and environmental pollutants. The lip extends
a proportionate distance up from the edge of the rabbet. It restrains materials in the frame and can be used to help set off or reveal the
picture aesthetically.
The picture frame may contain a protective "glazing" of picture framing glass or acrylic sheet, e.g. Acrylite or Plexiglas. If the art in the
frame is considered dispensable or if the exhibition environment is highly controlled, no glazing may be used. Since the 1980s significant
advances have been made in the manufacture of picture glazings, creating a much broader range of options in both glass and acrylic
products. Choosing which to use requires taking into account a variety of each object's characteristics: size, media used, condition of
media, perceived value of object, anticipated use of the object, e.g. extended exhibition periods or travel. Now, both picture framing
glass and acrylic sheet are available with anti-reflective coatings to make the glazing virtually invisible under most lighting conditions. The
glazing can incorporate a filter to block almost all ultraviolet radiation (a UV filter) from penetrating the glazing. This filter slows
the photocatalytic degradation of organic materials in the picture. Both glass and acrylic glazings are available with built-in anti-static
properties. This option is necessary for objects with friable or degraded media, which would be pulled off the object and onto the glazing
by static electric forces.
Except for the most disposable or temporary displays, the glazing must be held off the surface of the picture in order to prevent the object from
becoming adhered to the underside of the glazing, acquiring irreversible color changes due to compression of the media, and/or developing mold
growths that otherwise would not occur. This distancing is accomplished with a mat, "spacers" tucked behind the glazing and hidden from view by the
lip of the moulding, shadowboxing, sandwiching the glazing between two mouldings, and similar methods. Relieving the glazing is also necessary in
order to prevent loose media, such as charcoal or pastel, from becoming smudged.
A passe-partout (or mat) can be put between the frame and picture. The passe-partout serves two purposes: first, to prevent the image from
touching the glass, and second, to frame the image and enhance its visual appeal.
The treatment of the back of the framed artwork also varies widely. Most frames incorporate some sort of stiff, dense board on the back to
protect against physical blows and the ingress of dirt, insects, moisture, and pollutants. The backboard is usually made from good archival-quality
material, such as matboard. Archival-quality corrugated boards, both paper and plastic, are sometimes used, and foam-core boards that are
described as being archival quality are also used.
Behind the backing board, retaining clips or brads hold the package in place, mirroring the restraint provided by the lip of the moulding at the
front of the frame. A dust seal (usually sturdy archival-quality paper) is adhered over the back of the moulding. While these are almost invariably
simply functional, there are examples of works in which they have been decorated and considered part of the artwork. Finally, hanging loops or
similar attachments are securely screwed in, usually to the left and right sides of the molding.
"L"-style frames are a very common, simple variety that are constructed with a single L-shaped border of wood, with the bottom part of the L, or
rabbet, at the front of the frame to hold in the glass, object and backing, which are secured in from the back.
Legal matters
Discretion is the most important trait of anyone working in the art world. Working as a Locarto certified assistant, you will always and
everywhere be subject to one-way confidentiality. This means that any information you get from the Locarto client, in the system, in written
or verbal form – jpg-images, resumes, anything – is confidential and you may not pass it on in any way, shape or form. This information is
secret. If you get stuck and need help using the system, you can ask the client to explain in more detail. If you need help from the Locarto
team, you may not share any of the client’s information, not even the client’s name. You have to ask for help in general, technical terms.
Breach of this clause in your contract is illegal and will bring a variety of sanctions on you, including, but not limited to, financial damages.
Intellectual property rights
In most of the developed world, intellectual property rights are enshrined in law. You have to familiarise yourself with what this means.
Patents are the most well known form of such rights. However, an artwork is also intellectual property. This means that it is illegal to spread
or use the likeness, as an image, of an artwork, without the consent of the artist. In practice, this means for example that it is illegal to take a
picture of an artwork and then use that picture to make a label for a wine bottle. It is also illegal to photograph or film an artwork and then
use the resulting images in an advertisement for vacation travel. Key here is the wording «fair use». It is not illegal to take a picture of an
artwork and put it in your own photo album, or to photograph it and put it in a newspaper as part of relevant news reporting, if you are a
journalist. It is, however, illegal to put it in a book without the consent of the artist. If your intent is to make money with the image, chances
are it is illegal to do it without the consent of the artist.
Several organisations organise the consents of artists, the most well-known in Europe is VG Bild-Kunst in Germany. Artists that are members
of this organisation have granted image reproduction rights within a pre-defined matrix to anyone who pays the prescribed fee. Clients can
then use images of artworks in books, magazines, web pages etc. A specific thing such as a wine label is usually agreed with the artist directly.
There are of course limits to intellectual property rights when it comes to art, and the main factor is time. 70 years after the artists´s death is the
usual limit. After this time has passed, all artworks by the artist are considered free to use. This means you can take a photo of a painting by
Rembrandt and put it on a wine bottle without asking for permission from the artist´s estate, since more than 70 years have passed. However many museums restrict the publics opportunity to photograph the artworks within the museum, just for this reason. They want the photos for