George Best a football icon

George Best
George Best football icon

Where do you start with your memories of George Best a football icon? The first time I saw him play he scored 6 goals against Northampton! The greatest player I ever saw play in the flesh and worthy of an oil painting portrait. I’ve painted a few well known icons http://www.cordellgarfield.com/gallery/portraits/ and Bestie remains one of the most enjoyable.

On the 7th of February 1970 I stood on the duckboards of the cricket pitch side on Northampton Town’s old County Ground.  It was the 5th Round of the FA Cup and Manchester United were playing my home town side Northampton. Because it was Manchester United, and because it was football icon George Best playing, it was televised, and the game was a sell-0ut. I even saw myself in my duffle coat on the football highlights programme ‘Star Soccer’ the next day!  The pitch was a mud-bath, a heavy gluepot, which was typical for that time of the year. Bestie glided over the pitch, scored with two headers, with his sixth goal rounded off by walking the ball round the hapless Northampton’s goalkeeper Kim Book.  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=northampton+town+v+manchester+united+1970&docid=608047901096478366&mid=726C3B13A2AE706270ED726C3B13A2AE706270ED&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

That day his skill, balance and speed was the thing that stayed with me. When I watched him on telly it was obvious to me he was the world’s best footballer of the time. Unlike many of today’s modern footballers he didn’t play on bowling greens. He played at a time when defenders took the man first in challenges with the ball being an afterthought. There was no protection for the more skilful players that there is in today’s game.

Fast forward to September 1971 and my first visit to Old Trafford Manchester United’s ground, to watch them play West Ham United, graced by English football royalty at the time. Best, Law, Charlton (the Holy Trinity at Man Utd) and Moore, Hurst, Brooking and even Harry Redknapp for West Ham! Bestie scored a hat-trick, full of guile, skill and athleticism.

Nine goals in two games! Immediately I joined the George Best fan club (run by somebody from a terraced house in Huddersfield I think!). To quote the Fast Show’s Ron Manager “Small boys in the park? Jumpers for goalposts”, I was one of them, clumsily recreating the Best magic on muddy parks. It was phenomenal, pure celebrity, ‘E for B and Georgie Best’ (for those that remember the advertising), the restaurants, the boutiques and model girlfriends. We all got caught up in his career, there had been nothing like it in English football.

From his debut for Manchester United in 1963 to his last game in 1974 his star burned bright for that short window. Admittedly, towards the end, in a declining side, his performances tailed off, he wasn’t the talisman of earlier years. With hindsight we know some of the reasons behind it now. Alcoholism which for many was seen as the ‘Celtic Flaw’ played a big part in his downfall. But for those glory years at his peak, before the decline, he transformed football for you and me.

Art Fairs – the way forward to buying art?

Cordell Garfield People's Choice Exhibition
Cordell Garfield People’s Choice Exhibition, Alfred East Gallery

If I wanted to buy a painting or sculpture at a reasonable price where would I start? I suppose I could visit a gallery or buy on the internet. There is nothing wrong in doing this, the selection on the internet is vast. You can can see websites devoted to all artwork, with both artists and galleries exhibiting their wares. Likewise, a gallery visit can unearth some great art, particularly with limited edition prints. But is that always the way you should buy art? What about the art fair?

The writer Alan Bennett once said:

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought unique and particular to you.”

Bennett makes a good point, but not only just for reading. I personally feel paintings and drawings are similar, our emotional response to a painting is why we might buy it. We are often looking for images, colours, designs and subjects that chime with what we like or what we feel. Sometimes a painting can take us back to our childhood, for example a landscape or even sporting or musical icon. Price is a factor, but often we’ll pay a little more for something we like. For me Bennett’s quote holds firm for buying art, it can be emotional.

Internet

So can the internet help here? Of course it can, but it operates as a more functional commercial transaction with art. You may read some information on the artist to give you a feel on the artist’s inspiration. But the interaction is obviously at “arm’s length”, and you don’t see the art “in the flesh”. You cannot have the full picture of what drives and inspires the artist on every painting. My view is that the internet is a great way to introduce artists to the buying public.  Instagram is a good example of broadening the artist’s network and admirers.  On the way the artist may sell some paintings, but there are no guarantees.

Galleries

Galleries will offer a good compromise on the remoteness of the internet. A good gallery who knows the artist well will know what makes the artist tick. They will be able to provide the buyer with some information on background, inspiration and techniques used. This all helps with the decision on buying, with the bonus of being able to see artwork first hand. But there is something missing in all this interaction – yes that’s right, the artist!

But do you need the artist present in the commercial transaction of buying art? Probably not. If you like a painting for whatever reason, you don’t need the artist present to talk you through why you should buy it. However, in this age of click to buy/Amazon next day delivery maybe things are changing. Whether it’s the artisan, ethical marketplace or craft beers there is a move towards authenticity. More people want to know the origins of what they are buying. This is where the growing number of art fairs fit in.

Art Fairs

An art fair is open to the public, a sort of visual emporium with numerous artists displaying their work. Why art fairs are important is that this ‘authenticity’ is on show. In some cases you can see artists working on painting demonstrations, a great way of seeing art in action. Not only can you see the artwork, but you can find out what is the inspiration behind a painting. You can find about the art techniques used and why an artist works in a certain way. Also, so many artists have an interesting story as to how they became an artist as well!

I recommend whether you’re an art buyer or a budding artist looking to exhibit, start with smaller satellite art fairs. There are a huge number running throughout the country. I have visited some of them in preparation for exhibiting my own work. Here are some links to some popular art fairs:

https://www.newartistfair.com/

http://parallaxaf.co/about.html

https://www.bathartfair.co.uk/

https://contemporaryartfairs.co.uk/

http://www.artinpark.co.uk/