by Carolyn Edlund
Artist Graeme Stevenson is bigger than life. He has developed “Colour In Your Life” which is a popular Australian television series featuring visits to art studios, showcasing the artist with their work.
Each episode opens with Graeme riding his Harley Davidson to the studio visit and interviewing the featured artist in person. I caught up with him recently to discuss his ideas about serving artists on an international level.
AS: Tell us about your concept.
GS: I have been selling my Art through galleries in the states and on TV in Los Angeles for a while now. I’ve travelled the world extensively and lived in a number of countries on the way, and have always had a reasonably adventurous streak in me starting as a young boy.
I have been a practicing professional Artist for 30 years and have seen many galleries open and close over the decades with some horrible results for Artists who never ever saw their work again once the gallery was closed. Bad agents and expensive shows, magazine ads that most often did not deliver, all said to me over time that there had to be a better way.
After being involved with TV in the States, I realized that with the right format and platform, a show could be developed that enabled Artists to educate viewers about what they do. At the same time, we could entertain potential investors and clients about who the Artist was and what they did to produce their creative works.
I felt that if a knockabout kind of man, e.g. me, riding a Harley to each location opened the show, for a short period the viewer would know that they were going on an adventure to another Artists studio to be entertained and educated… With a thirty-year background in international Art travels, I act as the narrator during the show and ask the questions that every viewer would potentially want to know.
AS: How have you created your Australian TV show and what results are you getting?
GS: A hard place to start is having a good idea that nobody else wants to know about. At the age of 51, I once again went back to college to do a movie making and multi-media course. After having my epiphany one night and leaping up in bed calling out “Put some Colour on your life, ” I realized that if I could develop a show that was entertaining and educational, at the same time I may have a chance of convincing TV stations that this was a good idea.
The reason I went back to college to learn how to do all this was that it was extremely expensive to film and then edit a TV show. I knew that the only person at that time that believed in my idea was me. I filmed the first six shows myself with the help of my Dad Brian and my youngest son Luke. I produced the first six shows with the help of six local Artists, and then paid for them to go onto community TV. My shows were rough, but after dishing out $25K of my money to pay to have them go to air, the managers of the community stations across Australia said, “you have a good idea; it just needs to be more professional.”
Funny how the universe works. Within six weeks of that being said to me, an angel appeared called Sophia Stacey. She was a local talent, piano teacher, singer, complete ray of sunshine, and she was also university trained in movie making and editing, and just loved my vision for the Artists of the world.
Now the show is crossing the globe and we have cable, satellite, free-to-air and mainstream TV wanting the series. We have large corporations that have realized that right brain education through an idea like this can be a global life-changing idea for millions of people. We have been nominated for TV awards and received acclaim and recognition for the idea. It only took three and a half years.
AS: What do you believe are the biggest benefits that you offer artists?
GS: The benefits to the Artists are massive over time. There has never been an idea for Artists like this created anywhere on the planet before. Art prizes and Art exhibitions give you a certain mailing list or an acclaim for a prize that very few get to win and many can spend a life time trying to win just one.
I learnt at an early age that society is horribly manipulated by advertising and the media, but in saying that, I also knew that the public could also be shown some great aspects about Art education that they may not have been aware about. Each Artist that we film now can be seen on a global basis. Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and all of the other social networks that are out there will have this information for many years.
A magazine ad is read for about a month, mostly by other Artists; it is picked up and put down and never seen again. An episode of Colour in Your Life enables the Artist to have an incredibly powerful marketing tool in their hands that lasts for years. The Artists now have a documentary business card, that many have passed onto corporate clients, trade shows and galleries.
Apart from the huge exposure they get on a national and international basis, they now have a platform that tells anyone around the globe who they are and what they do. This is a wonderful glimpse into the world of that individual creative person. They become part of an ongoing legacy for many years to come that is part of the mission statement of Colour in Your Life: “To build a Library of the minds of Artists for future generations.”
AS: How can artists find out more about becoming involved with Colour in Your Life?
GS: Any Artist who wants to know more about what we do can go to our website or write to Graeme at [email protected]. My ambition is to air the show nationally across the U.S in the coming years and enable Artists from all over the world to have the chance to be a part of what technology, Art and education can bring to the world.
The world needs to change the way it perceives who we are and our place on this planet. I am absolutely sure that one of the best ways to do that is for people who feel afraid, lost and confused about their lives, to know that there is an educational platform for them to get in touch with the creative soul inside them as well.
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