Art Paintings From Your Photo

The market for Chinese contemporary art has developed at a feverish pace, becoming the single fastest-growing segment of the international art market. Since 2004, prices for works by Chinese contemporary artists have increased by 2,000 percent or more, with paintings that once sold for under $50,000 now bringing sums above $1 million. Nowhere has this boom been felt more appreciably than in China, where it has spawned massive gallery districts, 1,600 auction houses, and the first generation of Chinese contemporary-art collectors.

This craze for Chinese contemporary art has also given rise to a wave of criticism. There are charges that Chinese collectors are using mainland auction houses to boost prices and engage in widespread speculation, just as if they were trading in stocks or real estate. Western collectors are also being accused of speculation, by artists who say they buy works cheap and then sell them for ten times the original prices-and sometimes more.

Those who entered this market in the past three years found Chinese contemporary art to be a surefire bet as prices doubled with each sale. Sotheby’s first New York sale of Asian contemporary art, dominated by Chinese artists, brought a total of $13 million in March 2006; the same sale this past March garnered $23 million, and Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale of Chinese contemporary art in April totaled nearly $34 million. Christie’s Hong Kong has had sales of Asian contemporary art since 2004. Its 2005 sales total of $11 million was dwarfed by the $40.7 million total from a single evening sale in May of this year.

These figures, impressive as they are, do not begin to convey the astounding success at auction of a handful of Chinese artists: Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, Cai Guo-Qiang, Liu Xiaodong, and Liu Ye. The leader this year was Zeng Fanzhi, whose Mask Series No. 6 (1996) sold for $9.6 million, a record for Chinese contemporary art, at Christie’s Hong Kong in May.

Zhang Xiaogang, who paints large, morose faces reminiscent of family photographs taken during the Cultural Revolution, has seen his record rise from $76,000 in 2003, when his oil paintings first appeared at Christie’s Hong Kong, to $2.3 million in November 2006, to $6.1 million in April of this year.

Gunpowder drawings by Cai Guo-Qiang, who was recently given a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, sold for well below $500,000 in 2006; a suite of 14 works brought $9.5 million last November.

According to the Art Price Index, Chinese artists took 35 of the top 100 prices for living contemporary artists at auction last year, rivaling Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and a host of Western artists.

“Everybody is looking to the East and to China, and the art market isn’t any different,” says Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby’s Asia. “Notwithstanding the subprime crisis in the U.S. or the fact that some of the other financial markets seem jittery, the overall business community still has great faith in China, bolstered by the Olympics and the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010.”

There are indications, however, that the international market for Chinese art is beginning to slow. At Sotheby’s Asian contemporary-art sale in March, 20 percent of the lots offered found no buyers, and even works by top record-setters such as Zhang Xiaogang barely made their low estimates. “The market is getting mature, so we can’t sell everything anymore,” says Xiaoming Zhang, Chinese contemporary-art specialist at Sotheby’s New York. “The collectors have become really smart and only concentrate on certain artists, certain periods, certain material.”

For their part, Western galleries are eagerly pursuing Chinese artists, many of whom were unknown just a few years ago. Zeng Fanzhi, for example, has been signed by Acquavella Galleries in New York, in a two-year deal that exceeds $20 million, according to a Beijing gallerist close to the negotiations; William Acquavella declined to comment. Zhang Xiaogang and Zhang Huan have joined PaceWildenstein, and Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaodong showed with Mary Boone last spring. Almost every major New York gallery has recently signed on a Chinese artist: Yan Pei Ming at David Zwirner, Xu Zhen at James Cohan, Huang Yong Ping at Gladstone, Yang Fudong at Marian Goodman, Liu Ye at Sperone Westwater. Their works are entering private and public collections that until now have not shown any particular interest in Asian contemporary art.

“The market hasn’t behaved as I anticipated,” says New York dealer Max Protetch, who has been representing artists from China since 1996. “We all anticipated that the Chinese artists would go through the same critical process that happens with art anywhere else in the world. I assumed that some artists would fall by the wayside, which has not been true. They all have become elevated. It seems like an uncritical market.”

One of the key artists buoyed by this success is Zeng Fanzhi, who is best known for his “Mask” series. Five years ago his works sold for under $50,000. Today he commands prices on the primary market closer to $1 million, with major collectors Charles Saatchi and Jose Mugrabi among his fans. Now preparing for his first solo show at Acquavella in December, he is considered one of the more serious artists on the Beijing scene because he works alone, without the horde of assistants found in most other artists’ studios in China. Still, his lifestyle is typical of that of his equally successful peers. When asked if he owns a mammoth black Hummer parked outside his studio, he answers, “No, that’s an ugly car. I have a G5 Benz.”

This success has blossomed under the watchful eye of the Chinese government. Movies, television, and news organizations are strictly censored, but on the whole, the visual arts are not. Despite sporadic incidents of exhibitions being closed or customs officials seizing artworks, by and large the government has supported the growth of an art market and has not interfered with private activity. In the 798 gallery district in Beijing, a Bauhaus-style former munitions complex that has been transformed into the capital’s hottest art center, with more than 150 galleries, one finds works addressing poverty and other social problems, official corruption, and new sexual mores. The icons of the former China-happy workers and peasants and heroic soldiers raising the red banner-are treated with irony, if at all, by the artists whose works are on view in these galleries, which are private venues generally not under the strict control of the Ministry of Culture.

On the eve of the Olympics, however, the government asked one gallery to postpone an exhibition until after the games. Considered unsuitable was “Touch,” a show by Ma Baozhong at the Xin Beijing Gallery of 15 paintings depicting important moments in Chinese history, including one based on a photograph showing Mao Zedong with the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama in 1954.

The Beijing municipality spent enormous funds to renovate the 798 district before the Olympics, putting in new cobblestone streets and lining its main thoroughfare with cafés. Shanghai, which has benefited less from government support, now boasts at least 100 galleries. Local governments throughout the country are establishing SoHo-style gallery districts to boost tourism.

One person who seems confident about the future of the Chinese market is Arne Glimcher, founder and president of PaceWildenstein, who opened a branch of his gallery in Beijing in August. Located in a 22,000-square-foot cement space with soaring ceilings, redesigned at a cost of $20 million by architect Richard Gluckman, the gallery is in the center of the 798 district. “We are committed to the art, and we wanted to open a gallery where our artists are,” says Glimcher. Adding that he normally eschews the “McGallery” trend of setting up satellite spaces around the world, Glimcher insists that it was necessary to establish a branch in Beijing because there is “no local gallery of our caliber” with which Pace could partner. He has, however, recruited Leng Lin, founder of Beijing Commune, another gallery operating in 798, to be his director.

Another Western dealer who has taken the China plunge is Arthur Solway, who recently opened a branch of James Cohan in Shanghai. “I started coming to China five years ago, and I was fascinated by the energy,” says Solway, who wanted to introduce gallery artists like Bill Viola, Wim Wenders, and Roxy Paine to Asia but, like Glimcher, could not find a public museum or private gallery that he considered professionally qualified to handle such exhibitions. James Cohan Gallery Shanghai is located on the ground floor of a 1936 Art Deco structure in the French Concession, a particularly picturesque section of the city. The building was once occupied by the military, and red Chinese characters over the front door still exhort, “Let the spirit of Mao Zedong flourish for 10,000 years.”

“From 1966 to 1976, during the Cultural Revolution, people had nothing, but now there are spas in Shanghai and people drinking cappuccinos and buying Rolex watches-it’s an amazing phenomenon,” says Solway, who believes it is only a matter of time before these same newly affluent consumers begin to collect contemporary art.

Chinese collectors-or the hope that there will be Chinese collectors-are the key draw luring these galleries to Beijing. As recently as two years ago, few could name even a single Chinese collector of contemporary art. It was a truism that the Chinese preferred to spend their money acquiring antiquities and classical works. Since then several well-known mainland collectors have emerged on the scene.

Most visible is Guan Yi, the suave, well-dressed heir to a chemical-engineering fortune, who has assembled a museum-quality collection of more than 500 works. A major lender to the Huang Yong Ping retrospective organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2005, he regularly entertains museum trustees from all over the world, who make the pilgrimage to his warehouse on the outskirts of Beijing. Now he is building his own museum.

Another noted figure is Zhang Lan, head of the South Beauty chain of Szechuan-style restaurants throughout China; she also has assembled an enviable collection and displays pieces from it in her chic establishments. The film actress Zhang Ziyi is representative of a new class of collectors from the entertainment industry, while Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, chairman and CEO of the mammoth SOHO China real estate empire, have commissioned projects for their upscale residential properties.

Two collectors who are cheerleaders for the Beijing art scene are Yang Bin, an automobile-franchise mogul, and Zhang Rui, a telecommunications executive who is also the backer of Beijing Art Now Gallery, which took part in Art Basel in June, one of the first Beijing galleries to appear at the fair. These two do more than collect art. They have hosted dinners for potential collectors, organized tours to Art Basel Miami Beach, and brought friends with them to sales in London and New York. Zhang Rui, who owns more than 500 works, has lent art to international exhibitions, most notably the installation Tomorrow, which features four “dead Beatles” mannequins floating facedown, created by artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu for the 2006 Liverpool Biennial, which rejected it.

Zhang is now building an art hotel, featuring specially commissioned works and artist-designed rooms, outside the Workers’ Stadium in the center of Beijing. “I am trying to think of ways of changing my private collection into a public collection,” Zhang explained to ARTnews through a translator. It isn’t financially advantageous to do this in China, as no tax benefits accrue from donations to museums or other nonprofit institutions.

Zhang Rui represents the handful of Chinese collectors who are public about their activities and are building noteworthy collections. Far more typical of buying activity in China is the rampant speculation taking place in the mainland auction houses. There are 1,600 registered auctioneers, and their sales attract hundreds of bidders. Chinese buyers are more comfortable with auction houses, which have been in business since 1994, than with galleries, which weren’t licensed to operate by the government until the late 1990s.

These auction houses run by their own rules, generating what sometimes seems like a “wild, wild East” atmosphere. It is, for example, fairly common for a house to get consignments directly from artists, who then use the sales to establish prices for their works on the primary market. More often, now that China has hundreds of galleries, dealers come to a sale with buyers in tow, publicly bidding up works to establish “record prices” and advertise their artists. This kind of bidding ring would be considered illegal in the United States, but in China it is viewed as a savvy business practice. There is little regulation of auction houses and few developed legal norms in the field, so that even when buyers have grievances-with fakes and forgeries, for example-they do not feel they can resort to the law. Bidding is a social as well as a business activity, and buyers are happy to flaunt their status by paying record prices or quickly flipping artworks, not only for profit but so they can boast of their short-term gains.

As the domestic market for contemporary art matures, however, many of these practices are coming into question. “Two years ago it was more necessary for me to bring my artists to auction,” says Fang Fang, owner of Star Gallery in Beijing, which specializes in young emerging artists such as Chen Ke and Gao Yu. “Now that the gallery market has increased, I find it is better to keep my artists out of the auction rooms, and there is much less reason to sell there.”

Two mainland firms, Beijing Poly International Auction Company, and China Guardian Auctions Company, dominate the field of contemporary Chinese art. Their combined 2007 total of more than $200 million in sales represented nearly two-thirds of all auction sales in this category in mainland China for the year. Last spring Guardian achieved $142 million in sales of classical artworks, furniture, ceramics, silver, and coins, and $40 million in sales of contemporary material. The latter figure included the $8.2 million fetched by Liu Xiaodong’s Hotbed No. 1, a record for a painting sold on the mainland. In a similar range of sales last spring, Poly sold $130 million worth of works, including $27 million in a single evening contemporary-art sale. (These figures represent a slight decline for the year because both houses held benefit sales for Szechuan earthquake victims, raising more than $20 million to support relief efforts.)

Poly and Guardian reflect two vastly different perspectives on the domestic market in Chinese contemporary art. Guardian is the oldest and most respected auction house in China, founded in 1993 by Wang Yannan, daughter of Zhao Ziyang, the former Communist Party leader who was placed under house arrest after opposing the government’s use of force against demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in 1989. If Poly is known for its vast resources and willingness to make deals to nab consignments, Guardian is known for its respected specialists and long-term client relationships. For example, when the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, decided to sell 20 pieces of Qing dynasty porcelain in mainland China, it consigned the collection to Guardian.

The atmosphere of a sale at Poly or Guardian is surprisingly similar to that in the salerooms of Christie’s or Sotheby’s. The catalogues are identical in design, and the bidding proceeds in an orderly, even sedate, fashion, despite the crowds of spectators in the room.

“From our beginning, we studied what the principles of an auction house should be, and we stick to these principles,” says Guardian president Wang. She also serves on the board of the new nationwide auctioneers’ association, which hopes to enforce regulations on the auction market.

Poly is an enterprise within the China Poly Group Corporation, a $30 billion conglomerate that is the privatized branch of the People’s Liberation Army. Established initially to repatriate artworks and antiquities, Poly has spent $100 million buying objects such as the bronze animal heads from a water-clock fountain that were looted from Beijing’s Summer Palace by British and French troops in 1860; the pieces later turned up in the West. The repatriated objects are showcased in the Poly Art Museum in the sparkling New Beijing Poly Plaza, a glass-enclosed tower designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The more freewheeling Poly is known for practices such as putting up for auction works from its own collection or having consignors guarantee that they will bring buyers to the sale to meet low estimates. Still, even here there are signs that the market is maturing and has become too expensive for casual speculators. “These collectors that you are talking about are actually quite small collectors,” explains Zhao Xu, senior consultant at Poly. “They bought for several years at very affordable prices, but now that prices are skyrocketing, the only way they can afford to buy is to sell. The collectors that I know already come from a high social status, and they can afford to buy pieces worth $1 million or $2 million and are looking for the best works, the masterpieces, to add to their collections.”

When asked if Poly follows the rules of the Western auction houses, Zhao sharply retorts, “Sometimes even Sotheby’s doesn’t follow the rules.” Or as Gong Jisui, an art-market specialist who is a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, says, “The Chinese learned this game of speculation from the Westerners who played it first.”

The incident to which both men are referring is the sale of the Estella Collection at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on April 9 of this year. The event reaped $18 million for 108 works. (An additional 80 works will be up for sale this month at Sotheby’s New York.) The collection was put together from 2003 to 2006 by New York dealer Michael Goedhuis for a group of investors that included Sacha Lainovic, a director of Weight Watchers International, and Raymond Debbane, CEO of the Invus Group, a private equity firm.

Last year the collection of approximately 200 works was sold to William Acquavella, who consigned it to Sotheby’s. Auction house officials will not discuss financial details, but Sotheby’s had a stake in the collection. After the sale it was widely reported that many of the artists were angered by the auction because, they said, they had sold their works to Goedhuis at discount prices in exchange for promises that the collection would remain together for public display.

“The idea was to keep the collection intact and to see it safely into some institution,” says Goedhuis, who denies that any promises were made. “The ideal situation was to see it with an institution in China, because there is no such collection.” The collection was published in a book, China Onward, with an essay by leading China expert Britta Erickson, and it was exhibited at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem shortly before the sale. According to Goedhuis, because of the rapid rise in prices, the investors chose to sell the collection with hopes that it would not be broken up.

“Since the museums in China aren’t mature enough nor are they rich enough to do an acquisition like this, my hope was that Steve Wynn would do so for his sophisticated casino complex in Macao,” Goedhuis says. He turned to Acquavella because, he says, he believed the dealer would bring the collection to Wynn; Acquavella paid a reported $25 million. Acquavella director Michael Findlay laughs at the suggestion that there was any indication that the collection would go to Wynn. “I think this whole thing is surrounded by so much rumor and speculation,” he says. “We bought a group of paintings, and we sold a group of paintings, and that’s the whole story.”

According to Maarten ten Holder, Sotheby’s managing director for North and South America, the firm received inquiries before the sale from several artists in the collection, wondering why the works were to be auctioned. There is disagreement about whether Goedhuis made firm promises to keep the collection together or merely made a sales pitch to artists that inclusion in the collection would enhance their reputations. Yue Minjun, who had two works in the sale, says no promises were made. And Goedhuis bought Zeng Fanzhi’s Chairman Mao with Us from Hanart T Z Gallery in 2005 for the asking price, $30,000, no discount given. It sold for $1.18 million.

“You have to understand that there was no market for this work when I was buying,” says Howard Farber, whose collection brought $20 million at Phillips de Pury & Company in London last October. Farber assembled 100 choice works by assiduously visiting artists’ studios in Beijing in the late 1980s, accompanied by the Beijing-based critic Karen Smith, a leading author and curator in this field. A work for which he paid $25,000 in 1996, Wang Guangyi’s Great Criticism: Coca-Cola, was sold at Phillips de Pury for $1.6 million. The buyer was Farber’s son-in-law, Larry Warsh, who bid on several works at the sale, according to newspaper accounts. “I really didn’t actually know I was going to buy the Wang Guangyi until that moment,” says Warsh. “Howard has his collection, and it’s not my collection, and there were many pieces I wanted from that collection that I would have wanted to buy but couldn’t afford.”

Many Beijing artists had agreements with Warsh to produce work for his collection and his art advisory business, which began in 2004, inspired by Farber’s example in the field. “I was enamored by China, and then I was enamored by the art of China as I learned about important artists,” says Warsh. “But what really hit me first was how the pricing did not make sense to me at all-everything was out of whack.”

Warsh, who amassed a collection of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf in the late 1980s, was the publisher of the now-defunct Museums Magazine, which he sold to LTB Media in 2004. He stated at one point that his collection totaled more than 1,200 works; now, he says, he owns approximately 400 paintings and photographs. Part of his collection is managed by his new business venture, AW Asia, which has a gallery in Chelsea and intends to assemble collections of Chinese contemporary art for museums and major private collectors. The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently acquired 23 photographs from AW Asia.

With Farber and Warsh circulating in Beijing for a variety of purposes, it was easy for Chinese artists to become confused about who was buying for whom and for what purpose. In recent interviews, several artists-most notably Zhang Xiaogang, who had an agreement with Warsh-pointed to him as an example of a speculator.

Warsh replies, “While some artists are not so pleased with their decision to have sold quantities of artwork at what was then their current values not so long ago, there are many artists who are not resentful and actually pleased that someone has taken an interest in their work.”

New York dealer Jack Tilton, who has worked with Chinese artists since 1999, says, “All of these artists are hoping that their work finds good homes rather than getting churned in the commercial market. But they have also played a part in this market, embracing capitalism more than we have, in funny ways. They are not naive about any of this stuff.”

When asked about the artists’ reactions to the sale of his collection, Farber was flabbergasted: “So what? Now I am the bad guy. That pisses me off!”

A number of major collectors of Chinese contemporary art who have been in the field for some time are holding on to their collections. Uli Sigg, Swiss ambassador to China, Mongolia, and North Korea from 1995 to 1998, has built a collection of key works that he has toured in the exhibition “Mahjong” to museums throughout Europe and, most recently, the University of California’s Berkeley Art Museum (September 10-January 4). Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens have used their resources to establish the first nonprofit contemporary-art center in Beijing, where they are currently exhibiting their historic collection. So far, collector Charles Saatchi has been hanging on to his purchases in preparation for opening his new gallery in London on the 9th of next month with a show of Chinese contemporary art; he has also launched a Chinese-language Web site on which mainland artists can post their works.

In comparison with Western buying, mainland Chinese participation pales. Though there are many rumors about the power of the new Chinese buyers, their presence has not been felt in the major auction houses, where most of the records are being set. “Hong Kong right now covers the global buyers, especially those from across Asia,” says Eric Chang, Christie’s international director of Asian contemporary art. “I am not really seeing mainland Chinese buyers-less than 10 percent-a drop from around 12 percent.” Dealers in China also have seen few mainland collectors among their regular clients. “I don’t know yet about collectors,” says New York dealer Christophe Mao of Chambers Fine Art, which recently opened a branch in Beijing.

Despite the current shortage of mainland art collectors, China is emerging as a major art center, having become a hub for buyers from South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia, and for overseas Chinese from all over the world. Reflecting this diversity is the wide range of foreign dealers among the 300 galleries in Beijing, including Continua from Italy, Urs Meile from Switzerland, Arario and PKM from South Korea, Beijing Tokyo Art Projects from Japan, and Tang from Indonesia.

“In Beijing it’s getting increasingly difficult to talk about the Chinese market as a separate entity from the broader Asian art market or the international art market,” says Meg Maggio, an American who came to China in 1988 and ran one of the first galleries in the country, CourtYard, in Beijing, from 1998 to 2006. Now she has her own gallery, Pékin Fine Arts, where she represents an international stable of artists. “How do you describe the market for a Korean artist showing in China or a Chinese artist living in New York?” she asks, noting that her business can come from South Korean collectors visiting Beijing or European companies doing business in China.

One factor in China’s development as a center for contemporary art is the proliferation of art fairs. Beijing has two, the China International Gallery Exposition and Art Beijing; Shanghai has the newly created ShContemporary, now in its second year; and Hong Kong just launched ART HK. CIGE director Wang Yihan says her fair attracted 40,000 visitors this year, while the more high-toned ShContemporary brought in 25,000 and ART HK 08 had 19,000. These numbers may seem small in comparison with the 60,000 who crowd Art Basel, but dealers believe that the fairs in Asia are worthwhile because they attract new buyers and make Asian collectors feel more comfortable about acquiring art from galleries.

“Anywhere else, a fair is just a fair,” says Lorenz Helbling of ShanghART, one of the oldest galleries in China and a participant in Art Basel. “But in Shanghai a fair feels like so much more because only there can it make an impact on several million people.” He is referring not only to attendance but to the intensive publicity and official recognition given to ShContemporary in its inaugural year.

Just a few years ago it would have been impossible to try to sell contemporary art to Asian buyers, let alone mainland Chinese collectors, in the public forum of an art fair. Now, with the astounding success of Chinese contemporary art, collectors from across the region-and more than a few from the United States and Europe-are targeting China as a destination. According to Nick Simunovic, who has opened an office and showroom for Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong, it is only a matter of time before these regional buyers turn their attention to Western contemporary art.

“My sense is that wherever you have tremendous wealth creation, the collecting cycle goes through three phases,” he says. “First, people collect their cultural patrimony, and then they collect their own contemporary art. I think the final stage is when they gain a more globalized contemporary-art approach.”

Gagosian first considered opening an office in Shanghai but encountered obstacles to doing business on the mainland. The most formidable of these is a 34 percent luxury tax on art, which foreign galleries that participated in ShContemporary found difficult to avoid. Hong Kong, by comparison, is a duty-free zone. And Simunovic found that even Jeff Koons was a tough sell in Shanghai, whereas Hong Kong offers more possibilities for Western contemporary art. Just a year ago Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau paid $72 million for Andy Warhol’s Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I). In May Christie’s brought a Warhol portrait of Mao, valued at $120 million and for sale privately, for viewing in Hong Kong. (At press time it had not yet been sold.)

Working With Animals – Do What You Love

If you love animals, want to stand up for animal rights and need to make a living, then you may want to explore the possibilities of working in an animal sanctuary or for an animal rights organization. This is a great option for people who cannot afford to start their own sanctuary, or simply need more experience with animals and the running of a shelter.

Are You Suited to Working in an Animal Sanctuary?

To work in an animal sanctuary you need to have a huge love of animals. The work can be hard and somewhat draining, so a true desire to help animals will make this so much easier. As well as loving spending time with animals, it is important to be compassionate. Rescued animals have sometimes been through hard times. They may be traumatized and have behavioral problems. They could be skittish or even aggressive. Patience and empathy are needed to help these animals.

Working for an animal rights organization is suited to both practical (hands on) people and people who are more academic. There are jobs available working with the animals and others where you can work in the office and on animal rights campaigns.

You may want to look into the kind of animal shelter/organization you are applying for a job at. Some may be no-kill shelters, but others may take in so many cats and dogs etc that they have little option but to euthanize some of these animals. This can be very hard to deal with, especially if you are very sensitive (like me). If you find this hard to deal with you may want to apply at no kill shelters or an office job involving animal rights.

You must try and remember that euthanasia is sometimes the kindest option, especially for very sick animals. This is why it is essential to spread the message to spay and neuter pets, so that less animals are euthanized in shelters.

You have more chance of getting a job in animal rights if you have shown a true commitment to the cause. Gain experience by volunteering at a shelter, or perhaps organize protests and leafleting campaigns in your local area.

Many animal sanctuaries advocate vegetarianism and veganism. Out of respect for the animals you work with/for you should consider changing your diet to a more compassionate one.

A qualification in animal care may help you get a job and if you are a qualified vet or veterinary nurse even better!

What Kind of Jobs Are Available in an Animal Sanctuary?

Many sanctuaries do not have the funds to employ anyone and rely heavily on volunteers, but larger (better funded) sanctuaries and organizations employ people in many different roles. You could be a shelter manager, animal carer, driver, receptionist, administrator, accountant, campaign organizer, fund raising manager, vet, vet nurse, animal behaviorist, education organizer, school speaker, employee trainer. There are other jobs you may not even have thought of.

How Much Money Can You Make?

Generally jobs in not for profit organizations such as animal sanctuaries and animal rights organizations are low paid. People who work in this field, do not do it for the money. They do it for the love of the animals and a desire to bring about change. Of course you will be paid a liveable wage and this will vary from place to place. Your compensation will be huge in that you will have a very rewarding job and will be making a difference in the world. You will also be gaining valuable experience if one day you plan to start your own sanctuary or non profit organization.

How Will You Be Able to Help Animals?

Working as part of an animal rights organization or a sanctuary is a great way to help animals. You may already volunteer, write letters and take part in protests and you will know how great it feels to be proactive and part of bringing about change. Imagine how great you would feel if that was part of your 9-5 job.

You can make a difference to individual animals lives as well as progressing the movement as a whole. Working with animals really is a wonderful way to spend your life.

Consider Volunteering

There are limited paid jobs available in the sanctuary and animal rights movement. A great way to get your foot in the door is to volunteer or become an intern. You can gain loads of knowledge and hands on experience.

Even if it does not lead to a job volunteering is a wonderful thing to do in your spare time and can make a huge difference to the organization. It also looks good on your resume when you apply for other jobs.

Common Misconceptions About Forensic Animations

There seems to be many preconceived notions about forensic animations and their overall use in litigation. Many times, lawyers or accident reconstructionists will say that “An animation can show whatever the animator wants” or “Animations are difficult to admit in a court of law”. However, to a forensic animator, this is also like saying, that your accountant can “fix your books”. In reality, it is far from the truth.

Misconception #1 – “An animation can show whatever the animator wants”
Perhaps it is the fact that so much of what we see on television and in films is altered with lifelike special effects that we tend to associate anything with 3D visualization with more than a hint of skepticism. Ironically, much of the same software used to animate films such as “Spiderman” or “Lord of the rings” is also less known to be used in scientific visualization, research and forensic animations. People may associate the fact that an experienced special effects animator is capable of creating surreal, yet realistic looking effects. Therefore, it must not be accurate.

The greatest difference between a forensic animation and just any other type of animation is the “forensic” part. This implies that there is a large effort in understanding the details of what is being animated and that there is a large emphasis ensuring a high level of accuracy. An animator can spend more than 70% of his time on activities related to the verification of data and ensuring accuracy in the animation.

An experienced and qualified forensic animator would tell you that a large effort goes into building and checking each step of the animation process to the correct and accurate dimensions. In fact, very little is left to the imagination since most recreations are based on accurate data typically provided by the expert witness. A simple example is the terrain data of a particular scene. This can be obtained by means of a total station along with the positions of important features such as signs, traffic lights, debris or tire marks on the roadway.

Even the animation and motion of objects in a 3D recreation is typically based on information or data provided by the expert witness. This data is often obtained through careful calculations or through the use of simulation software. In the case of simulation software, the data can be directly converted or imported directly into the 3D animation software, leaving little room for error.
There may be cases where the forensic animator is provided with less than ideal information, however, even in these rare instances, an experienced forensic animator will have enough knowledge to ensure that the basic rules of geometry and physics (i.e. motion) are applied and adhered to.

Misconception #2 – “Animations are difficult to admit in a court of law”
Somewhere along the way, there have been animations which were so poorly constructed or erroneous they simply could not have been allowed in court. It would seem that these cases tend to stick in the minds of litigators and cause reluctance for future use of what is a perfectly acceptable and effective use of technology.

Normally, it is an inexperienced animator or lawyer which does not follow some of the basic rules of demonstrative evidence.
Some key points to consider when considering a forensic animation are:

1. The animation needs to support the testimony of the expert witness and should be considered an extension of the witness’ report. The expert witness should be directly involved in authenticating and reviewing the animation.

2. Disclose the animation well in advance of the trial date. Evidence needs to be disclosed in a timely manner and the opponent requires time to cross examine the evidence.

3. The animation fairly and accurately conveys the data or matter that it purports to convey or depict. The animation should not be prejudicial in that it outweighs the probative value.

4. The animation should be relevant.

5. The forensic animator should be prepared to testify that the works created are based on sound technology, process and algorithms such that the final works are a reflection of the expert witness’ opinion.

There are, of course, many other factors to consider which may be case dependent. Further materials and references are available for review including a paper entitled “The Admissibility of Demonstrative Evidence in Jury Trials:” Written by Barbara Legate of Legate and Associates and available at the AI2 forums (

Today, most forensic animations are admitted into court since there are greater considerations and groundwork taken into account to ensure the accuracy, validity and quality of the animations. By choosing an experienced forensic animator and by adhering to the rules of demonstrative evidence, the risks associated with inadmissibility are greatly reduced.

Misconception #3 – “Animation and Simulation are the same thing”
There are two distinct ways to develop an animation and although the end result may try to achieve the same thing, they are fundamentally different in the means by which they are created.

A simulation is typically the output of a program which is operated by a qualified accident reconstructionist. The program has a set of key behaviours (i.e. mathematical equations) which define the movement of objects when given a set of known parameters. It is up to the accident reconstructionist to define all the input variables and ensure they are accurate. Once this is complete, the program is initiated to calculate all the positions of objects through some specific time.

The simulation software may also output the motion of objects in the form of exportable tabularized data and/or animation. However, most manufacturers of simulation based software programs have not been able to achieve the same level of realism as most animators are able to do with 3D visualization software. There may be a number of reasons to this which deal with further complicating already complex software or that perhaps the time spent on development is in the mathematics behind the simulation software and not primarily in the visualization or presentation of the data.

Another important issue which is common with simulation software is the validity of the data available. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is applicable. Since a simulation would typically be used as substantive evidence, it can get difficult to prove something is accurate without having solid data to back the animation up.

Demonstrative Evidence – illustrates how something works or how something happened based on the testimony of the expert or eye witness. The animator, not the software is responsible for accurately moving and positioning objects over time.
Does not try to prove anything, but just facilitates the account or testimony of a witness.

Substantive Evidence – Takes actual dynamics and physics into account. The objects are not animated by “hand”, but by software based on calculated inputs or data.
Tries to prove that something may have occurred a certain way.
Visually, an animation is more eye catching and realistic.
Simulations are improving in their presentation, but are still lacking realism.

On the other hand, an animation may be based on an eye witness testimony, calculations of the accident reconstructionist or from data output by a simulation package. All the events of an animation in a typical 3D visualization package are calculated and setup by the animator. Animations are almost always disclosed as demonstrative evidence and they do not try to “prove” anything. They are merely another form of expressing the opinion of the expert witness and are always presented as demonstrative evidence.

Misconception #4 – “We need it yesterday”.
There have been many advances in the technology that forensic animators use which has improved the speed and efficiency of their work. Computer processing speeds have grown exponentially and the advances in software have allowed animators to do things which were simply not possible several years ago. There are even tools provided to animators which allow them to write custom scripts for repetitive tasks and specialized functions.
These advances in speed and ability would make one think that the time to complete an animation should also have been greatly reduced; however, this is not the case.

Part of this reason is simply the nature of the animation process. Much work needs to go into the understanding of the case, reading reports, taking measurements and verifying accuracy. This part alone can take a large part of the man-hours to create the animation.
Also, creating the 3D models (“scene assets”) necessary to populate the animation is still a time consuming process. There are some advantages when a “library” of standard models is used (i.e. stop signs, light poles, traffic signs), however since each case is different and the specific details need to be reflected in the animation (such as the scene topography or specific damage to the vehicle), time must be spent to customize or create models from scratch.

Technology has effectively brought many more options to the realm of visualization which means that more work is being done in a similar amount of time. If one were to compare the time to produce an animation which was done 15 years ago to the same animation done today, there would be a noticeable decrease in the time to complete. However, the overall quality of presentation would certainly not be as appealing to the eye.
Due to media such as television and film and video games, people have become accustomed to a higher level of realism. The same animation which was used 15 years ago in a court of law, may not be as appealing or credible to an audience today.

It is important to leave as much time as possible to get a high quality animation and to allow time for the opponents to cross examine the animation. On average, a typical animation from a reputable forensic animator requires anywhere from a few weeks to months to complete depending on the availability of information, number of scenarios/views requested, level of realism and complexity of the animation. Unfortunately, there are still no “magic buttons” to do the manual work of a forensic animator.

Misconception #5 – “It’s much too expensive”
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to use a reputable and experienced forensic animator. There are some animation houses which specialize in advertizing or graphics which like to take on forensic work, but without a qualified and experienced forensic animator, there is a higher risk that the entire animation may be inadmissible.
A qualified forensic animator will bring to light all the options available, provide sound advice and set clear objectives up front. Setting clear objectives is possibly one of the most overlooked points. Without knowing the expectations, the goals of the animation are often missed or not well communicated resulting in last minute changes and edits which further increase the cost.

It is important the lawyers and accident reconstructionists understand the animation process and where the amount of man-hours are typically invested. Most forensic animators estimate or charge based on an hourly rate; however there are some which still prefer to quote by the case/project.

The general rule of thumb is that as the level of realism, complexity, number of scenarios and camera views increases, then so does the cost. This is why it is important to understand what is being requested of an animator. For example, changing a camera view slightly has a smaller impact on cost than does adding different animation scenarios with objects in different locations.

By taking a second look at forensic animations and their misconceptions, it is clear that there needs to be some understanding of the animating process by the client. Having an up front and open discussion about the objectives of the animation are imperative to having a positive impact on the case.

The Importance of Fine Arts in the Classroom

Fine Arts is defined in the Encarta Dictionary as being, “any art form, for example, painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, or engraving, that is considered to have purely aesthetic value” (Encarta, 2004). Though this definition is used in relationship with the arts in the regular world, in regards to teaching, fine arts is defined as a subject beneficial, not essential, to the learning process and is often phased out because of lack of time, little learning potential, and no money. Fine arts is simply seen as painting and drawing, not a subject studied by an academic scholar. Writer Victoria Jacobs explains, “Arts in elementary schools have often been separated from the core curriculum and instead, offered as enrichment activities that are considered beneficial but not essential” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 2).

What is missing in classrooms is the lack of teacher knowledge of the benefits of maintaining an art- based curriculum. Teachers “have very little understanding of the arts as disciplines of study. They think of the arts instruction as teacher-oriented projects used to entertain or teach other disciplines” (Berghoff, 2003, p. 12). Fine arts expand the boundaries of learning for the students and encourage creative thinking and a deeper understanding of the core subjects, which are language arts, math, science, and social studies. Teachers need to incorporate all genres of fine arts, which include, theater, visual art, dance, and music, into their lesson plans because the arts gives the students motivational tools to unlock a deeper understanding of their education. Teaching the arts is the most powerful tool that teachers can present in their classrooms because this enables the students to achieve their highest level of learning.

From 1977 to 1988 there were only three notable reports demonstrating the benefits of art education. These three reports are Coming to Our Senses, by the Arts, Education and Americans Panal (1977), Can we Rescue the Arts for American Children, sponsored by the American Council for the Arts (1988), and the most respected study, Toward Civilization, by the National Endowment for the Arts (1988). These three studies conjured that art education was very important in achieving a higher education for our students. While these studies proved the arts to be beneficial to the learning process, it was not until 2002 when the research analysis of Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development “provided evidence for enhancing learning and achievement as well as positive social outcomes when the arts were integral to students’ learning experiences” was taken seriously by lawmakers (Burns, 2003, p. 5). One study, in this analysis, was focused on the teaching of keyboard training to a classroom in order to see if student’s scores on spatial reasoning could be improved. It was then compared to those students who received computer training which involved no fine art components. This concluded that learning through the arts did improve the scores on other core curriculum subjects such as math and science where spatial reasoning is most used (Swan-Hudkins, 2003).

This study shows how one little change in the way students are taught through the arts can have a powerful impact on their learning achievements and understandings. Another study showed at-risk students who, for one year, participated in an art- based curriculum raised their standardized language arts test by an average of eight percentile points, 16 percentile points if enrolled for two years. Students not engaging in this form of activity did not show a change of percentile (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). Though this may not seem like a big increase, at- risk students were able to use this style of learning to better understand their learning style thus bettering their learning patterns. The most interesting case study in this analysis involved the schools of Sampson, North Carolina, where for two years in a row their standardized test scores rose only in the schools that implemented the arts education in their school district (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). Teaching the arts needs to be incorporated in every teachers daily lesson plans because, based on these studies, students who are taught through the arts raise their test and learning levels.

Due to the high volume of attention President Bush’s, No Child Left Behind Act, has required in schools, teaching the arts is left behind. Another reason for the lack of arts in the classroom author Victoria Jacobs explains, “Given the shrinking budgets of school districts around the country, art specialists and art programs have disappeared from many elementary schools” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4). Fine arts are being seen as non-educational or an extra-curricular activity. Therefore, when there is a lack of money in school districts, this subject is easily being cut. Teachers need to find a way to incorporate the arts into the classroom rather than rely on outside activities and Jacobs suggests teaching “through the arts… with a means of using the arts successfully and in a way that it is not just “one more thing” they must include in the curriculum” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4).

The arts can open the minds of students in ways mere reading and writing will never be able to accomplish. Yet, the point of teaching this subject is not to teach about the arts, but to teach through the arts. Jacobs explains,
Teaching though the arts requires students to engage in the act of creative art. For example they might draw a picture, write a poem, act in a drama, or compose music to further their understanding of concepts in content areas other than the arts. Teaching through the arts helps students experience concepts rather than simply discussing or reading them. This approach is consistent with educational theories that highlight the importance of reaching multiple learning styles or intelligences. (Jacobs, 1999, p. 2)

Teaching through the arts can be done in many different ways depending on the teacher’s interests, but truly is the only way to reinforce the students learning experience. In a time where budget cuts and new learning laws are being established, teachers need to be more informed and educated on the negative impacts of the loss of the fine arts programs.
Three, veteran teachers at a public elementary school did a case study which involved teaching through the arts. They believed “our students had to experience cycles of inquiry wherein they learned about the arts and through the arts, and that they needed to see teachers of different disciplines collaborate” (Berghoff, 2003, p. 2).

The study was based on teaching a history lesson unit on Freedom and Slavery through the arts. Ms. Bixler-Borgmann had her students listen to the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in many different styles of music, such as an African-American Quartet, Reggae, and Show Tunes. She then incorporated this lesson into the importance singing played to the slaves at that time. Ms. Berghoff had her students read samples of African-American folk literature and write down sentences that made an impact on them while they were reading. She then incorporated those sentences into group poems. Ms. Parr explored two art pieces entitled, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and had the students talk about artwork by asking three questions: “What is going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What else can you find?” (Berghoff, 2003). She also had the students focus on the images, concepts, and meanings which the artists wanted to depict. Ms. Parr felt this would teach the students how to uncover the hidden meanings in other core curriculum subjects (Berghoff, 2003). After the study, the students were asked what and how they had learned from this style of teaching.

Many students wrote in their journals that working in multiple sign systems in parallel ways heightened their emotional involvement. They found themselves thinking about what they were learning in class when they were at home or at work. They noted that even though they had studied slavery at other times, they had never really imagined how it felt to be a slave or thought about the slaves’ perspectives and struggles. (Berghoff, 2003)

The students had learned more from this lesson because they were able to use all styles of learning and were taught from an angle which is rarely used, through the arts. “Studies indicate that a successful arts integrated program will use these components to guide student learning and assess growth and development (Swan-Hudkins, 2003). The students were able to learn based on abstract thinking and find the deeper meaning of the lessons prepared by the teachers.

“The study of the arts has the potential for providing other benefits traditionally associated with arts….arts has been linked to students’ increased critical and creative thinking skills, self-esteem, willingness to take risks, and ability to work with others” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 4). With these benefits, teachers can not afford to limit their teaching of the arts in the classroom. Teaching through the arts are the key elements of learning and the traits teachers strive to establish and reinforce in their students. By working through the arts, instead of about the arts, the students’ educational experience will be achieved in a different way than just teaching the standard style of learning. Former Governor of California, Gray Davis, noted, “Art education helps students develop creativity, self-expression, analytical skills, discipline, cross-cultural understandings, and a heightened appreciation for the arts” and that “students who develop artistic expression and creative problem solving skills are more like to succeed in school and will be better prepared for the jobs and careers of the future” (California Art Study, 2003, p. 1).

Exposing students to abstract learning will teach the students about logic and reasoning and help them grasp what might not be represented on the surface. Recent Reports from the National Art Education Association (NAEA) confirmed with Governor Davis when they reported “Students in art study score higher on both their Verbal and Math SAT tests than those who are not enrolled in arts courses (California Art Study, 2003, p. 5). Attached is a copy of the test scores of students in the arts and students with no arts coursework.

What is a better way to enhance a lesson plan than to add another dimension of learning than by incorporating different levels of teaching? A company that has the basis of focusing on different learning styles is Links for Learning, []. This company understands the importance of incorporating arts into the classroom. Former Secretary of Education, William Bennet wrote, “The arts are essential elements of education just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…Music, dance, painting, and theater are keys to unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment” (Swann-Hudkins, 2002).

An example of the benefits of teaching the arts would be the study of a teacher who taught the water cycle lesson through movement and music. The students were introduced to the water cycle in the traditional style of teaching, reading and lecturing. Yet, in order for the students to fully understand the “experience” of being a snowflake, the students listened to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (The Waltz of the Snowflakes) and closed their eyes visualizing the adventure snowflakes encounter on there way to the ground. A great side effect of dance is that “exposure to dances foreign to them (the students) helps them to understand and appreciate differences in societies. Their minds become open to new ideas and a different perspective. This understanding helps to eliminate possible prejudice, enriching the student and our society” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p.17). While the music was playing the teacher asked them questions, such as, “How are they going to land” and “What do you see as you are falling”. The second time listening to the music the students were asked to act out the water cycle through movement and dance. Teachers should know “a class that includes dance can make students feel empowered and actively involved in their education. In creating their own dance, students develop conceptional thinking, which is not always expressed verbally” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p. 17).

With these activities, the students were able to become part of the water cycle instead of just using their listening skills and trying to mentally figure out this lesson. The teacher also had the students write a poem using words they felt while they, the snowflakes, were falling to the ground (Jacobs, 1999, p.2). “The motivational powers of the arts are significant as this teacher explained, “Hooking a kid is half, if not more than half, the battle of learning. If you can hook them, then you can get them to learn” (Jacobs, 1999, p. 6). Teachers need to gain access to all styles of learning which can only spark their motivational powers.
Harvard Project Researchers Winner and Hetland remarks, “The best hope for the arts in our school is to justify them by what they can do that other subjects can’t do as well” (Swan-Hudkins, 2003, p. 18). Teachers need to gain a better education of teaching their students through the arts. Without the arts, teachers are limiting their students’ ability to use their entire thinking process, providing less opportunity for complete comprehension. Teaching through the arts is the most powerful tool that teachers can give in their classrooms because it enables the students to achieve their highest level of learning.

With the lack of attention art is getting outside of the classroom, teachers cannot afford not to incorporate dance, theater, visual arts, or music in their lesson plans. Fine arts is the core curriculums constant and most important companion. No child should be left behind, and teaching through the arts will reinforce this idea.



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