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Ian and Minako and the Liverpool Art Prize and things

Stephanie de Leng has a bed-in moment with the country's top arts bloggers

Published on March 12th 2009.

Ian and Minako and the Liverpool Art Prize and things

WHEN you attend the plethora of gallery previews and cultural events that every major city seems to spout forth, then it does not take long to realise that the same faces crop up again and again.

These faces can be variously divided into categories, such as “the art student”, the “I am a working artist, you know”, “the socialite”, the “ I-always-go-for-the-free-wine” person. Sometimes even, "the buyer with a lot of empty wall space to fill”.

The common thread linking each clique is its separateness - this and the fact that no one really seems to be looking at whatever is being exhibited, not even the buyer. So it came as a shock to me that after attending a number of openings last year, I repeatedly caught sight of the same wiry man of circa 55 years, with his attractive Japanese wife, actually perusing the artwork on the walls. Not only that, but they were stealthily communicating with everyone in the room.

And so it was that I discovered Ian Jackson, the force behind artinliverpool.com. Started in 2004 as an independent online resource, this site meticulously covers every facet of Liverpool’s art and cultural scene. So tirelessly does Ian, an ex-IT expert, apply himself to this task that now artinliverpool.com is established as offering the most comprehensive listings of independent artists in the UK, and once even acheived the accolade of being named the UK's best arts blog by The Times, no less.

Ian is helped by the perennially cheerful Minako, and one is never seen without the other. It is this obvious devotion to each other that led me to do a portrait of them in bed with laptops, intended to be a modern take on the famous 60s photo of John

Lennon and Yoko Ono in an Amsterdam hotel bed.

Of course it did not work out the way I envisaged, and I suppose that's a good thing. Indeed I had not meant to mirror the shot as closely as I nearly did. In my memory, John and Yoko had been naked in bed, but in fact I later discovered they were wearing pyjamas. So when I asked Ian and Minako to wear pyjamas to make the shot different, I should really have asked them to take their clothes off! I wish I had dared…

… The photo was not working so I kept on coming up with variations, including sticking Minako’s collection of cuddly animals in bed with them. That did not work either so I asked Ian and Minako to throw them out of the shot. As this troop of furry friends hurtled its way haphazardly across the bedroom towards my camera, I saw what had been missing. An accident stumbled upon by the subjects and therefore wholly appropriate.

Anyway, all this is leading me to that other accomplishment of the Jacksons, namely curating The Liverpool Art Prize which is open to all Liverpool-based professional artists.

In a city of numerous galleries dedicated to the international scene, the prize is a breath of fresh wind and should be supported by anyone who cares about the cultural heritage of our city.

For its second year, the art prize is returning to the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre on Greenland Street. With the winner yet to be announced, you are invited to go and vote on your favourite.

Entry is free and you can catch it from Friday March 13th to Monday May 4th. Make sure you do.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

One futon the graveMarch 12th 2009.

Good picture Stephanie.

D. GreeMarch 12th 2009.

Very droll!

DigMarch 12th 2009.

I'm sure O. Level means 'when a man' can't spell his own name.

bullitbillyMarch 12th 2009.

Minako looks hot. does she sell any photos of herself?

WagMarch 12th 2009.

Wouldn't that make him "a" level?

O. LevelMarch 12th 2009.

Who is "Charli(sic)"? The standard of education today is truly appalling when man can't spell his own name.

Norman KennyMarch 12th 2009.

Yes, what an awesome shot, loved the cuddly friends in the air.... well, done Stephanie Cheers!!!

DigMarch 12th 2009.

A rant by The Prof? These are becoming a rare commodity here. What's happening in reality that's keeping you away? I hear you've been on trial in Austria.

Professor ChucklebuttyMarch 12th 2009.

Hello Charli, so how are things at the foreign office - still working at the embassy in Tokyo? How did the Womens day celebrations go that you were organising. Didd you manage to get the giant shrew for the float?

Ian JacksonMarch 12th 2009.

Yes, very good picture and it was a pleasure and fun for us to take part. Another surreal experience.

charliMarch 12th 2009.

EDITORIAL SAYS: Comment removed.

AnonymousMarch 12th 2009.

Hey Charli, you're back. And I've been out. Excellent!

DigMarch 12th 2009.

What did you expect? Stephanie to take a crap picture and Liverpool Confidential to publish it? That wouldn't make much sense now would it? It is a good picture though.

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