From the category archives:


Bombing Fields

by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on september 30, 2010

“Don’t take away My Saturdays”, 60×80 cm, acrylic and permanent marker on canvas, 2010, 6000 kr.

The Internet is doing to galleries what a bomb would do to the Fields Mall.
Sure, some brick and mortar stores still have relevance – much in the same way real world art shows still make sense. But galleries are doomed to lose their role as gatekeeper for the artist as well as the collector. Artists will find ways to host their own shows as oneoffs with established galleries or in empty storefronts. Paying the rent creates a need for cash upfront, but control and sales income remain with the artist.

As an artist, it more and more looks like a losing deal to surrender 50% of sales in return for hapless marketing and real estate on a physical gallery wall. Smart artists around the globe are now using their tech skills to connect directly with collectors as well as establish a permanent online record of their artistic activities. Instead of leaving a printed resume in a pile of similar ones at the gallery, Blogging is a powerful tool for documenting and communicating the artistic journey.

The balance of power is shifting back towards the artist and the collector. In this relationship the brand of the artist becomes everything as he performs to the dispersed audience of thousands of individuals.

But about the painting above – this is the next one in the lineup from the series “War is Coming Home” featuring scenes of war in our home country. What happens in the aftermath of terror? People stay home… Denmark is increasingly finding itself in the top of the list when terrorists want to make a statement. Maybe it’s time to rethink our foreign policy…

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by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on august 25, 2010

I have been a fan of Trey Ratcliffs for some time now. Trey is one of the pioneers of HDR photography, and he has been instrumental in making this sort of photography popular and known by the masses.

For a while HDR has been regarded as a sort of artificial or unrealistic school of photography.
It was frowned upon by the photography establishment and until now not seen as a legitimate form in its own right. Many such photographers thought that the extreme dynamic range possible with HDR made the photographs “unrealistic” and not true to reality.

Until HDR emerged, everyone was used to the fact that a taking a photo meant committing to a certain exposure. Anyone who has tried photographing outside from whithin a building knows that the final photo either shows a proper lighting of the interior OR the exterior. That is, either the interior darker details are visible and the outside is a white blur OR the outside bright details, clouds etc are visible and the interior details of the room are a dark blur.

Traditional photography means you have to chose. But in real life we don’t have to chose. The eyes adjust to the proper sensitivity according to where we focus. The combined experience is that we can see BOTH the details in the clouds outside AND the darker details of the interior room. HDR works the same way – you get the best of both worlds, and a photo that is closer to the experience that you actually had when you were there.

Trey is a nice guy with a mission to promote HDR photography. He runs a blog at that has tens of thousands of visitors every day, but decided to help other HDR photographers spread their work and generate traffic to their sites. So he created which works as a traffic generation engine. It’s a community by invitation where members can upload and share their work.

I have posted numerous HDR photos to, and as a result thousands of people have now seen my photos of the fairy tale castles and landscapes that are so common in Scandinavia it’s almost hard to spot them. Here’s an example of what I mean: the lake pavillion in central Copenhagen. Visible from a unique angle this winter because of the prolonged frost that made walking on the lakes possible.


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Accessible and shallow?

by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on juni 22, 2010

A friend of mine called and we agreed to go for a walk.
We met up a Forum metro station just after lunch and decided to take a stroll around the Copenhagen harbour. On such a sunny day Copenhagen is a beautiful city. We soon got around to discussing city planning – why some parts of the city become popular and why some just don’t.

“Ørestaden” is a newly built part of Copenhagen that used to be a desolate field on the island of Amager. That was before they built the Bridge of Øresund connecting Denmark and Sweden. At the time the idea behind Ørestaden was to create a huge area of urban dwellings for the growing population of the combined Copenhagen/Malmö region.
And so they built. Each new housing project more ambitious than the next. Each architect had his own idea of a magnificent building. Every square meter of allowed retailspace was jammed together in “Fields” – The largest shopping mall in Scandinavia. No cafes, no restaurants, no cosy little places to hang out. No-one thought about the urban area as a whole and what it takes to create what James Kunstler calls a place worth caring about.

Sadly Ørestaden now looks to become yet another ghetto. It’s simply not a place that anyone want’s to visit because it doesn’t speak to us. It’s bleak and inaccessible. From an architectural standpoint many of the buildings in Ørestaden are succesful. VM bjerget – “Mountain Dwellings” is an example of this, having won 4 international awards. Blame it on the recession, but apartments in VM -bjerget are now being offered for rent at reduced prices.

Art has many of the same characteristics as architecture, Not coincidentally the Danish School of Architecture is housed in the Royal Academy of Arts. So what makes some art more popular than other? Technical prowess, Depth, Originality, Visual aesthetics? Art may possess all these qualities yet still not hit home with the audience.

Whether we like it or not, the brand of the artist as well as the accessibility of his work is a deciding factor.
I feel comfortable owning a piece by an artist whose story and background I know, whose reputation is well known in general, whose art appeals to me and is easily accessible.
Does accessible mean that the art is shallow and has no depth? Ask David Hockney

The value of art has historically been closely linked to the story of the artist.
The new paradigm of art is really not new at all – The artist is responsible for maintaining and increasing the value of his art. Though storytelling, through promotion and any other means possible.

I am committed to this task, blogging is just one tool.
Enjoy todays Mirror Mirror (top).
Buy it here:

Mirror Mirror 3
Mirror Mirror 3
Signed original artwork: Acrylic paint and watercolor. A3 sized archival 285 gsm Hahnemühle Torchon paper.

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by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on juni 13, 2010

Artwork by Hugh Macleod I was out walking with the twins yesterday and decided to swing by one of Copenhagens more upscale galleries. This place is not much different from the rest of the galleries here, but having the twins along gave me an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

The Gatekeeper. The gallery is 4 steep steps up from street level. Very prohibitive when entering with a pram, but I managed somehow.
At the outset I am not saying that bringing 2 4-month-old toddlers to an art show is necessarily a good idea, but at least it got me thinking about the way traditional galleries approach their audience.

White floors, white walls, white ceiling. The traditional way of presenting art is to remove it from it’s context. This serves to enforce the notion that the item showed really IS art and eliminates any doubt in the eyes of the observer. This is one of the cornerstones of the “Found Objects” branch of art which claims anything can be art as long as it’s removed from it’s context. Think only of Damien Hirsts Sharks or Duchamps urinals.

Intimidating. The traditional art gallery is not for everyone. Whether this intimidating atmosphere is intended to discourage the observer from questioning the artistical quality of the items showed or simply to attract and repel certain segments of viewers is open for debate.
It’s probably a little bit of both though.

The traditional gallery is dying.
Like the cartoon? check Out Hugh Macleods work.

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Back to Basics

by Carl Frederik Waage Beck on maj 24, 2010

“Enough!” from Sketches By Carl Frederik Waage Beck

I have been working on the upcoming limited edition prints today, setting up my favourite paintings in the studio, first photographing and then later retouching them in Photoshop.

I am comfortable taking photos and will often bring my precious Canon 7D whenever I’m out on a trip or just feel like seeing life through a lens.
I have chosen to shoot solely with prime lenses since these give me the highest sharpness and speed for the buck. At some point I hope to get my hands on Canons revered L series Zoom lenses, but for now my primes do fine. I have two primes: a 35mm and a 50 mm which in most instances works fine as long as I can sneaker zoom.

To get superb sharpness and avoid shaking I mount the 7D on a Gitzo GT3541L tripod with an Arca Swiss Monoball Z1 head. There’s just nothing that will make this combination fail it’s job.
The Gitzo lets me level the camera at just about any height and angle while the Arca has a smooth grip as tight as a vise.
Shooting with a tiny Canon shutter release remote means I can avoid even the tiniest vibrations from my hand.
I love the feel of quality equipment.

Retouching and preparing photos for prints is another matter though.
My skills in Lightroom and Photoshop are still feeble and even simple tasks take ages for me to complete. Of course none of it would be possible unless I had consulted hours of tutorials on youtube and elsewhere. Thanks to all you teen wizkids!

Still it’s frustrating and I feel like I am wasting time. Nothing pisses me off like wasting time – as it’s the only truly finite resource that I have.
I hate myself on days when, instead of painting or drawing, I spend more time trying to work out how some widget or miserable little function works in photoshop.
Today was one such day. Made me want to break free from the bonds of my Mac.
Made me want to go back to basics – and paint.

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Thesis theme

maj 18, 2010

Installation of Thesis 1.7 I finally did something I have been wanting to do for a long time – switch my wordpress theme to Thesis. The theme i used before (Pixeled) just didn’t allow me to take control over the look and feel of this site, but changing themes is not something you do everyday. […]

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