Category Index
Books About Big Art
  • A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
    A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
    by John Richardson
  • Sarah Lucas: A Catalog Raisonné
    Sarah Lucas: A Catalog Raisonné
    by Yilmaz Dziewior, Sarah Lucas
  • Grayson Perry
    Grayson Perry
    by Jacky Klein
  • Hendrik Kerstens (English and Dutch Edition)
    Hendrik Kerstens (English and Dutch Edition)
    by Pim Milo, Kathy Ryan
  • David Hockney: A Bigger Picture
    David Hockney: A Bigger Picture
    by Marco Livingstone, Margaret Drabble, Tim Barringer, Xavier Salomon, Stuart Comer, Martin Gayford
  • Vernon Ah Kee: Born in this Skin
    Vernon Ah Kee: Born in this Skin
    by Robert Leonard, Anthony Gardner, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Blair French, Glenn Barkley
  • Yayoi Kusama
    Yayoi Kusama
    by Midori Yamamura, Jo Applin, Yayoi Kusama
  • Henry Moore: From the Inside Out; Plasters, Carvings, Drawings
    Henry Moore: From the Inside Out; Plasters, Carvings, Drawings
    Prestel Publishing
  • Wall and Piece
    Wall and Piece
    by Banksy
  • Mark Rothko
    Mark Rothko
    by Mr. Jeffrey Weiss
  • Louise Bourgeois
    Louise Bourgeois
    by Robert Storr, Paulo Herkenhoff
  • Damien Hirst
    Damien Hirst
    by Ann Gallagher
Join the Big Picture

A blog that aims to spark thoughts and inspire by seeking out and sharing works of art

Historically, artists have always worked big, and nowadays those boundaries are being pushed to the limits.

Large-scale art, whether in the form of photos from the Hubble space telescope, sharks floating in tanks of formaldehyde, rooms full of dots, concrete sculptures cast from Victorian buildings or hand knitted blankets wrapped around trees, large-scale art is all around us. Join the Big Picture aims to spark thoughts and inspire by seeking out and sharing these works.

All content by Karla Thompson, an ex-pat Aussie living in East London. When not working on Join the Big Picture she is part of the backbone to the Leonhard Pfeifer brand.

Read an interview about Join the Big Picture here.


Karla Thompson
Creative Partner




Detail of Yarn Bombing UK


Rythmic Gymnastics - Oldstyle

Rythmic Gymnastics Oldstyle, spotted by my daughter on our way home from school on Redchurch Street.

Happy Monday to all those who need a pick-me-up.


A tree of 12 metres

Giuseppe Penone Tree of 12 Metres, 1980-2
Wood (American larch)

'At a time when many artists were abandoning traditional sculptural techniques, Penone began to use perhaps the most ancient method – carving. He took industrially sawn units of timber and, using chisels followed the knots in the planks to remove rings of wood and expose the shape of a tree. His work looks at the relationship of industry and nature, suggesting that a sensitive approach to materials is still possible in an industrialised world. Peonone’s first trees were made in 1969 and this work dates from 1980'

Words from the exhibit at Tate Modern


Size matters when it comes to art…

And not in a big is better kind of way. More in a truthful honestly reproduced to scale kind of way… Let me explain.

Last summer London was part of the “Art Everywhere” public exhibition - an exciting concept where select paintings were reproduced on 22,000 poster sites and billboards all around the UK.

A concept I am generally in favour of, except that it resulted in my daughter’s complete and utter disappointment about the true scale of one painting from the public exhibition.

My then 5 year old spotted Lucian Freud’s ‘Girl with a kitten poster on the platform at Bethnal Green underground station. A big fan of cats, she felt an instant connection with the painting, the cat, the colours and insisted I take her photo with the picture.

Bethnal Green tube station, 2013 - Art Everywhere, Girl with a Kitten, Lucian Freud.

“Mama, I love this painting” she said, followed by a thoughtful question “Do you think the cat is happy?”

Questions that turned into a days conversation about cats, girls, how to be kind to cats, how to draw cats, girls, painting, being a good painter, how do your paintings end up in the tube station, etc… plus the random mention of how dark and scary the tube station is when you are little and that perhaps the kitten felt a bit scared too.

With the original 'Girl with a Kitten', Lucian Freud, 1947. Tate Britain

Many months later during the Christmas holidays we visited the Tate Britain for a rainy day art experience. After looking at the Jake and Dino’s Chapman The Chapman Family Collection exhibition we then found the Lucian Freud painting – Girl with a kitten, 1947 currently on display.

When our 5 year old saw the painting she was utterly disappointed. It was so small. This was not the actual painting she lamented, the other one in the tube station was so much better. Why? Because it was bigger - the kitten was bigger.

Sigh. It was my fault for not preparing her for the change of scale. I knew it was smaller, and forgot that others do not necessarily know these things.

They lied she said. Hmmm, not exactly lying but definitely misleading… So we have been discussing size, scale, and how big art is not always better. But it was a difficult conversation to navigate, and in the end she agreed that some small things were good, though not this one.

Inspired to draw our own 'happy girl with a happy green kitten' version of the painting...

Her final thought on the matter was that ‘Verity’ was really big and she was really good.

So this summer when the “Art Everywhere” exhibition is in full swing again I will be sure to mention that the images you are seeing are not to scale. Big is not always better, but when the original is smaller than the reproductions you are used to seeing, it can be a little disappointing… especially if you are 5 years old.


Everything is going to be OK

Street art is transient by nature. A non permanent art installation that is created by artists of various skills and vision, embellished by other artists, added to intentionally by passers by and non-artists, and eventually fades, gets pasted over or removed.

But that is ok.

East London street art, circa 2005.



Sensing Spaces

Walking around the Royal Academy on any day is like stepping into a foreign land for me. I go to a lot of galleries and spend a lot of time in galleries, and to be quite honest, love most galleries I go to. How can you not. They are always full of past and current art loves - and all hold the possibility of a future art love.

Walking into the Royal Academy is like opening the door to a strange land, a land populated by people who look like they have just smelt something quite repulsive and who are constantly surprised to see other people.

Add into this already crazy atmosphere an exhibition on architecture and you get a lot of cheek puffing, head shaking and looks of puzzlement. The most overheard questions of the day were “.. I see, but where is the art?” and “Do I have to climb those stairs?”

We enjoyed climbing a lot of stairs, adding to an instillation with brightly coloured straws, exploring dark spacess and crunching lots of stones under our feet. Not a painting in sight but plenty to stimulate your senses and inspire your imagination.

Anyone young at heart will love it.

Pezo von Ellrichshausen Blue Pavillion

  • 35 spiral steps
  • 60 metre enclosed ramp
  • Untreated pine board, steel handrail
  • 206 components, prefabricated in Chile 2103
  • Assembled in London 2014


Straws by Diebedo Francis Kere

  • Polypropylene honeycomb panels, plywood, plastic coloured straws
  • Contains 1,867 uniquely connected honeycomb panels

“For me, Architecture is primarily about people, about asking questions…”


Kengo Kuma Dark room 01-03

  • 4mm diameter whittled bamboo sticks infused with aromas
  • Hinoki wood scent – a species of cypress tree native to Japan
  • Tatami scent – tatami mats are traditionally made of rice straw


Royal Academy
Sensing Spaces
Architecture Reimagined

Until April 06 2014