Peggy Guggenheim: The Life of an Art Addict

Just bought this, it is awesome. wayward life (1898-1979) of the voracious art collector and great female patron of world-famous artists. Peggy Guggenheim was an American millionairess art collector and legendary lover, whose father died on the Titanic returning from installing the lift machinery in the Eiffel Tower. She lived in Paris in the 1930s and got to know all the major artists – especially the Surrealists. (Later she bullied Max Ernst into marrying her, but was snubbed by Picasso.) When World War II broke out, she bought great numbers of paintings from artists fleeing to America; as a Jew she escaped from Vichy France and set up in New York, where in the 1940s and 50s she befriended and encouraged the New York School (Jackson Pollock, Rothko, and others). Her emotional life was in constant turmoil. Her favourite husband was a drunken English dilettante writer called Lawrence Vail, but she had affairs with many others, including Samuel Beckett. Later she moved to Venice, where her memory is enshrined in the world-famous palazzo that houses her Guggenheim Collection.


Jafabrit – Biography Guest Piece

I have been wanting to post some of Jafabrit’s work on my blog for quite some time now.  Her work is so amazing and vibrant, she just has to be included.  I recently got in touch with her and got her to write a short biography about herself and what she has been up to.  She was also recently featured in the media due to her tree sweater.  The pic is below and you can check out the article here

Tree Sweater

So courtesy of Jafabrit here is her biography, thanks Corrine

Corrine Bayraktaroglu aka jafabrit

I’m a middle aged multi-media artist living in the middle of Ohio and I like to wear black. I was born in the Northeast of England and had a mother who earned her living as a graphic artist and is a brilliant draughtswoman/portrait artist.  I was exposed to a lot of art at home, and museums etc, in the Northeast and in London. Unfortunately I was under the mistaken notion that one is only capable of being an artist if they can conjure up a portrait or an image within minutes, so I dismissed any idea that I could do art at all. Before I got married and came to America in 1978 I had a variety of jobs, barmaid, kennel maid ( racing greyhounds), usherette, pool hall attendant, data entry operator, auxiliary nurse, croupier. After moving to the USA I did volunteer work and worked seven years in Texas as a suicide crisis counselor.  I thought would go and get my social work degree in 1995, but after my first drawing class and then an oil painting class that was it.  At 40 years old I found a new love in my life and I was smitten.

Naughty Boy

Naughty Boy, Oil on Wood

It has been said that professionally it is a bad thing to do work in so many styles (they are probably right), and it is claimed suggests a lack of focus. I would say bollocks to that. The range of my work is a reflection of my tastes in life, very very eclectic. As a fellow artist noted, “I move between flippancy or gay abandonment to more serious stuff”.  I don’t really concern myself with adhering to a specific style or school of art or art rules. Content dictates the form so I will use any method/means I feel best fits with what I am trying to say with a piece.

Promise Not to Tell

Promise Not To Tell, Oil on Wood, Hammered Tin, Antique Box

I call myself jafabrit because I am the founder of a group called the jafagirls, which is an acronym for “Just Another F%$#*& Artist”. We create what we when we want, how we want and WHENEVER WE ARE IN THE MOOD. We do public art, found art, run a gallery in a local loo, own the art ball machine, sell art, teach art, own an art gallery, and have fun with art. I am also the co-founder and co-curator of the gallery in a local public restroom in the Chamber of Commerce building, called The Chamberpot Gallery. In addition I run a blog for the Yellow Springs Arts Council, as well as mine, and the jafagirlart blog.


Here are the blogs and websites I run

Jafabrit’s art  


Yellow Springs Arts Council 


Chamberpot Gallery 


Who am I? James Presley

To all the Pollocks the Bollocks fans that have visited my site, I am finally going to reveal my true identity. I started doing this blog in August and have had a tremendous success with it. Not only that but I have enjoyed doing it so much and I will continue to do so. I have sort of run out of abstract expressionists to blog about but would appreciate any ideas and I am sure I will think of more, but I intend to keep writing about abstract art, maybe not biographies all the time but whatever I can lay my hands on and I hope my faithful readers will keep coming back.

Guitarras que hacen amor 2005 © James Presley

So who am I? My name is James Presley and I started painting about 5 years ago and have passionate about it ever since. I love to express myself and don’t feel at home doing landscapes, figurative art, or or anything like that. I never used to be able to understand abstract art and what the artist was trying to say until I saw ‘Pollock’, the movie, with Ed Harris. It was such an insight into the artists mind that I really felt moved by it. Not long after I went through a traumatic experience in my life, and as a therapy I began to paint. I had a lot of time and did it every day. I felt so relaxed and so switched off from the world, that I never stopped. One day I went to this cafe and I noticed they were exhibiting so I spoke to the Manager and said I would like to try it, and she agreed. I just wanted to see what people thought, and was what I was doing expressing anything to anybody else. I left a comments book at had useful feedback.

Africa , 2003 © James Presley

At the time I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and hadn’t found myself. I was just experimenting really. I wanted to drip and splash, but I was afraid people would say that I was copying so I carried on experimenting. I discovered that I loved to paint on huge canvases, because the surface gave me more room to express myself. On a smaller canvas I felt enclosed as if there were a fence around the edge. Below is the first large painting I produced. It was about 3 meters long and 1 meter 80 centimeters high. It was absolute bliss painting it.

Eyes in the forest 2005 © James Presley

Over the next couple of years I began to experiment with the drip and splash technique had some exhibitions and people liked it. So I carried on, did some bigger ones smaller ones, sold some gave some awy, and painted everyday, well almost.

spring Dance 2005 © James Presley. 300cm x 150cm

I had been living abroad for 14 years and decided it was time to go back to England, as there was nothing else for me to do in Hungary. I had made a bit of a name for myself had several exhibitions and enjoyed my stay there, but I felt that maybe England could offer me more. Then I discovered that England did not inspire me, well at first it didn’t anyway. I had to leave all my paintings in Hungary, although I have managed to get some back now.

Nature – divided 5. 70cm x 100cm 2006 © James Presley (one that was left behind)

One day in August 2006 I went and bought a massive canvas and just painted. A few months later I read about an international art competition, and thought I would give it a go. I entered the painting, and after a while completely forgot about it. Then suddenly found I had won an International art competition. I couldn’t believe it, it took forever to sink in.

Flowers and Space – Blue.
Winner of Abstract and Experimental Category, Artist of the Year 2007.
77cm x 122cm 2006 © James Presley.

Anyway, I am getting somewhere now, and I do want to be recognized and have major exhibitions and maybe one day have a show in The Tate Modern, Or MoMa. If you put your mind to it anything is possible.

Here is a statement I wrote on my own website:

I believe art can be a learned process, it is also natural and a matter of what we see, feel and where we allow our hands to dance on the canvas, or our hands dance without our minds controlling them. You can learn the techniques but you cannot learn to tell your mind to be satisfied with the techniques you have learned. When I am with the paintbrush, I always feel like we are dancing together, sometimes harmoniously sometimes against each other. Sometimes we are dancing the Tango, sometimes a Waltz, sometimes we caress each other to a slow romantic dance and sometimes we are in aggressive moments of passion. If there is harmony, it is possible to produce something which shows harmony, if there is no harmony then you may as well put the brush down until you feel it come back.

Please visit the site and if you are representing artists I would be interested to talk if you are. James Presley The Web Gallery