Author Topic: What is art.  (Read 1602 times)

Offline Jesse

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What is art.
« on: March 03, 2010, 01:48:39 PM »
CCJG asked me to write a paragraph on becoming an artist to use as a source for a paper.  I wrote this:

Art is an addiction.  There's a compulsive need to create and express your self.  It's sweet and painful at the same time.  Art is Junk.  People think they can control it, do it just once in a while, but that's just a lie created by one's own arrogance.  Art is all consuming.  There's no such thing as a part time artist.  There are those who make a living, and those who don't, be we think about it 100% of the time whether it's our bread winner or not.  When I'm not making art, I'm thinking about what I'm going to create next, and if I'm not doing that, I'm suffering from the lack of inspiration, and completely aware of it at that moment.  It's an addiction, full of love, pain, and tolerance for the lack of freedom to do what you want as you're fighting to survive, learn a new technique, or find that next moment of joy that are few and far between.  Art takes arrogance and the need to learn, practice, steal, mimic, progress, and create new ideas.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 04:41:20 PM by Jesse »

Offline CCJG

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2010, 04:59:42 PM »
beautiful man. Thanks a lot too ^^

Offline Pelican Arts

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2010, 11:26:16 PM »
[Musings from a technical mindset]

Art is beauty...  Well, no.  A rainbow or a tree can be beautiful, but they're not art.  And some art isn't exactly beautiful.

Art is creation...  Hmmm.  The creation of stars in the Orion Nebula is amazing to see, but it's not art.

Art is the creation of beauty...  Closer but not quite.  Charlize Theron's parents created beauty, but they weren't acting as artists.

Perhaps art is ineffable (effable, effanineffable, deep and inscrutable) -- like pornography we know it when we see it (or hear it (or taste it?)) but it's hard to specify.

How about this:  Art is the creation of synergy -- bringing together ordinary materials in a distinctive new way that enlightens and advances human perception.

Or maybe it's dogs playing poker...
Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere. -- Gilbert K. Chesterton

blog.PelicanArts.com
www.39thStreetGallery.org

Offline J. L. Grillo

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 09:30:05 AM »
Most people regard art as the physical or digital creation of an artist. Ordinarily an artist is defined by those around her; While the "artist" herself may not regard herself as being an artist at all.

In my case, I waiver between calling myself an artist and calling myself a hack. Because being an artist, in my mind, requires an extraordinary devotion (as in Jesse's description). But I keep thinking about creating "ART" (the noun) which is composed of paintings, sculptures, illustrations, comics, music, poetry - actual creations. When I pull myself back from that narrow minded view of art/artist, I'm able to see that I am an artist creating art every day of my life, because I choose to be creative rather than conformist.

The image I've attached to my reply is a sampling of FORMS that I've created at work to help my in my day to day job. These forms are my example of art - of creative expression - of my obsession with creativity.

Offline Hudson James

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 09:46:42 PM »
Art is an excuse not to get a real job or to make anything of yourself. Art is for the socially awkward and disfunctional. Art is for those that don't fit the norm and have trouble fitting in to society. Art is an excuse to spend your parents money on a school where you can play all day for 4 years. When you get out, you really have no job prospects that earn more than $35,000 a year so you move from one deadend low paying job to another and drift your way through life. If you are female, you hope to marry up and find a good provider who most likely thinks art is dumb or pretty but has an advanced degree in something and pulls down at least $75,000 a year so that you can stay home with the kids and play artist. If you are male, you are screwed to work at Borders or Starbucks and eek out a subsistence living until they either go bankrupt or lay you off because folks feel even more stupid during the great recession for paying $5.00 for hot water and ground coffee beans.

That is art.

Art is a 2 income family. Without a spouse to pay the bills, there would be less "artists"

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 07:44:36 AM »
Art is an excuse not to get a real job or to make anything of yourself. Art is for the socially awkward and disfunctional. Art is for those that don't fit the norm and have trouble fitting in to society. Art is an excuse to spend your parents money on a school where you can play all day for 4 years. When you get out, you really have no job prospects that earn more than $35,000 a year so you move from one deadend low paying job to another and drift your way through life. If you are female, you hope to marry up and find a good provider
This is the standard idea of what an artist is- It is also the greatest myth. This description is for the unmotivated and lazy. This is the path of the bad artist/writer/musician/street mime/etc. Slackers are slackers! Every good artist I have known has been able to exist in multiple worlds. They are self aware and articulate. Because it is so hard to make it on your work alone, they figure out a way to balance their needs as humans and their needs as creative people. I think many young "artists' romanticize about a Bohemian life but it gets old quick and its a really tired cliche however fun it may seem at the time.

By the way, I've known more dude artists that have hooked up with a sugardaddies than female ones.

Offline Hudson James

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 09:20:44 AM »
This is the standard idea of what an artist is- It is also the greatest myth. This description is for the unmotivated and lazy. This is the path of the bad artist/writer/musician/street mime/etc. Slackers are slackers! Every good artist I have known has been able to exist in multiple worlds. They are self aware and articulate. Because it is so hard to make it on your work alone, they figure out a way to balance their needs as humans and their needs as creative people. I think many young "artists' romanticize about a Bohemian life but it gets old quick and its a really tired cliche however fun it may seem at the time.

By the way, I've known more dude artists that have hooked up with a sugardaddies than female ones.


This maybe a myth to the 40 something double income homeowner with a yard and a couple kids who paints in the evenings and weekends while listening to Mozart; but in the world I know... its reality.

Since you mentioned the "bad artist" (the obvious 10,000 pound gorilla in the room on any art forum). How do you define "bad artist" ? Does the bad artist make bad art or is he bad and marketing and can't sell worth a darn? Obviously there is tons of bad art in the DC area and loads of bad artists but art forums turn a deaf ear and instead embrace to the all inclusive "idea of art".

The fact is that there are bad artists just like there are bad lawyers, bad doctors etc. There are several bad artists, in my opinion, on this very website/forum but like Lake Wobegone, where all the children are above average, it's not discussed and all artistic expression is encouraged and supported.

How do you define good artist? Is it the fact they can exist in "multiple worlds"? What does that mean, by the way, "multiple worlds"? Does it mean they can hold down the 40 hour a week job yet still find time to crank out a painting in the basement or garage during the winter months? Does that make an artist good?

A majority of the "artists" that I know are fair weather artists. The have 40 hour jobs, "think" alot about making art but don't actually make any.  Is that what it means to call yourself an artist?

How do you define an artist? Is it work product ..I would think artists actually have to produce artwork ..at what level does one obtain respectability? 10 paintings a year ..3-4 drawings a month? a couple rolls of film on vacation, shooting manholes and buildings and calling it art? Can you call yourself an artist even if you posess the ability to make art but don't?

Who is the decider of what is good or bad. Does the one who passes judgement have to be a better artist than the one he calls bad inorder to validate his claim? Or can anyone with money to spend on art decide what is good or bad? How do peers tell other peers they aren't really all that? or do they just give crtiques about ..how they like the direction of the feelings they get from the colors ..instead of saying ..dude ..that really bites?

Bad artists ..keep making bad art because no on tells them they are bad. its a vicious circle.

Offline Hudson James

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 09:23:58 AM »


By the way, I've known more dude artists that have hooked up with a sugardaddies than female ones.


So, these dude artists where gay?

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 09:41:22 AM »

Bad artists ..keep making bad art because no on tells them they are bad. its a vicious circle.
[/quote]

This is all too true.

I'll answer the rest more fully later- but in short, one must learn to be objective about their abilities. Speaking for myself- I am not as good as Anselm Kiefer, Chuck Close or any number of great artists you could insert into the list But I'm very objective about where I fit and what I would like to accomplish. My day job is 50 hours + a week. I get a lot of satisfaction out of it too as well as a nice house and good basement studio. When I put in 20+ hours a week in the studio, I know I need to be productive. There is no slacking. People make choices about how they want to live and at a young age the Bohemian life style is pretty easy, standard choice- I lived, worked and ran a gallery out of a warehouse with no heat back in the early nineties, so I'm aware of the lifestyle. Mine was not a life consigned to endless deadend jobs or sponging off parents.

To use that often twisted phrase- I don't know what bad art is but I know when I see it.  :biggrin:

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2010, 09:42:31 AM »


By the way, I've known more dude artists that have hooked up with a sugardaddies than female ones.


So, these dude artists where gay?

Yep, is that a problem?

Offline Hudson James

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2010, 10:42:07 AM »


By the way, I've known more dude artists that have hooked up with a sugardaddies than female ones.


So, these dude artists where gay?

Yep, is that a problem?

Not if they are happy but that only perpetuates another false myth that a majority of guys who are into art are queer.

Offline Jesse

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2010, 11:02:38 AM »
Hudson, I had to jump in. 

Quote
Who is the decider of what is good or bad.

Wouldn't that be up to the art collectors, patrons, art lovers, critics, curators, and auction houses?  :smt108 :smt004

Offline Hudson James

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2010, 02:14:25 PM »
Hudson, I had to jump in. 

Quote
Who is the decider of what is good or bad.

Wouldn't that be up to the art collectors, patrons, art lovers, critics, curators, and auction houses?  :smt108 :smt004

So, if these are the deciders then Art is what you want to call Art. Good or bad. Bad art is just as legitimate as good art ...because it is art. Some where somebody likes, collects, loves bad art ... bad artists just need to get in touch with their market to become good artists in their own eyes. Hmmmm.....you are a wise man honorable Jesse san.

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2010, 03:16:56 PM »
I have another premise that addresses value judgments. I believe ART is made by the viewer, what we so called artists do is make things which facilitate the real creation of ART by the viewer. So the determination of bad art and good art is made by each viewer or even if it is art at all. Thus I'm not just being a jerk when I say I know bad art when I see it. We all do. Each work may prompt different judgments for different viewers. So given this premise, bad works are ones which does not engage the viewer. Most often this will be due to poor technique but some viewers will not respond to certain subject matter or styles. When the best ART happens, viewers want to stay engaged with longer it longer and come back to it more often. 

I try not to be too negative or snarky on this forum but when I read something like ďArt is an excuse not to get a real job or to make anything of yourself. Art is for the socially awkward and disfunctional. Art is for those that don't fit the norm and have trouble fitting in to society,Ē Iím not sure if you are just being snarky or really believe this stuff. I can only think of the people who play at being ďartistsĒ and use it as a justification for their lifestyle. Everyone one I know whose work I admire does not fit that profile. All are hard working and have figured out how to balance all their needs and still work at their craft. I don't really care about definitions of who or what an artist is. Iíll leave that for others. Iím a painter. It's just work.

Offline Hudson James

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2010, 08:34:52 PM »
Thanks for sharing your beliefs. I believe that art is not made by the viewer but the viewer validates Art. Art is made by one's own life experiences. It's an outward expression of the places we have been, the things that we have seen and the things that we have done. In a lot of ways great art is biographical and deeply personal. Alot of people make art that is never viewed but it's still art.

I do believe in my thesis. I know these people, they are good people and they make some really awesome art but they are not cut out for 9-5, they don't want the 2 kids and the mortgage. That's not their idea of sucess. Most artists I know are society outcasts and that's ok. That's what makes them special and meaningful. They are not bad artists, they are some of the best I've seen. While it may be a chiche to live the bohemian lifestyle and for some it is not a choice it's all they have and can afford.

Most of the people that I know who are playing artist are in the burbs and paint on the weekends while they do their laundry.

We just admire different types of people for different reasons. No biggie.

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2010, 09:00:22 AM »

So, these dude artists where gay?
[/quote]

Yep, is that a problem?
[/quote]

Not if they are happy but that only perpetuates another false myth that a majority of guys who are into art are queer.

[/quote]
Lori pointed out to me that my comment was possibly being taking the wrong way. I only made the comment because I found the original statement about women artists to be offensive. Obviously some people people may hook up with others and I knew two guys that happened to be in that situation though I believe only one of them may have done so on purpose. Both were really good painters and worked really hard to get shows and sales.

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2010, 09:18:10 AM »
Thanks for sharing your beliefs. I believe that art is not made by the viewer but the viewer validates Art.
Yes, most people do not warm up to my premise because it takes the whole back story away. Most want to believe our experiences and biography are the most important part- that it is the process of making a work that is more important than the work itself. I believe many of us are wired to create or express. Our lives would not be complete without satisfying these impulses. The creation of work is not neccessarily art, good or bad. Anyone, including the creator of the work, decides whether it it art. This occurs at the point of experience.

Yes, this is a bit of a semantics game- I've probably read too many Semiotext(e) books to make any sense anymore.

Offline CCJG

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2010, 12:59:10 PM »
Sucks about all these myths n prejudice going on XP All of my girl friends at the Corcoran constantly express their frustration at me cause about 80% of the boys at that school are homosexual. Haha, the poor souls. 

Anyway, im going to post what Steve and Michael wrote to me so i can easily cite them on my paper and yall can see it as well :)

Steve:
"Becoming an artist is different for everyone. Some people find they have a knack for being creative as a child, while others don't tap into their abilities until much later in life. I believe that everyone has artistic ability, or what some might call "talent", but either choose to cultivate it or ignore it. Artistic ability can either flourish or die due to societal beliefes and/or values, financial pressures, one's personal environment, etc. - the list is neverending. As Picasso says, we are all born artists, but the problem is staying an artist as an adult.

I, like many folks, have struggled with the tag "artist", when describing myself. I took the safe route and went into art education. As a kid I loved to draw and create. In highschool, I had some amazing, inspiring art teachers who exposed us to modern art and got us thinking seriously about art. My Sophmore, Junior and Senior years were incredibly creative times for me. In college, I felt I actually had taken a few steps back. My courses were a mix of education-based and studio-based. I had some great, inspiring art instructors, but due to the education classes- the papers, the tests, etc., I only skimmed the surface of a decent studio art experience.

For a big gap in my young adult life, I wouldn't have dared considered myself an artist. After college, it was a mix of working on my career as a teacher and focusing too much on my social life. Somehow, art-making fell by the wayside despite a few weak attempts at keeping the dream alive. The last several years have been a slow, gradual return to "being an artist", starting with working in sketchbooks and on paper, eventually keeping an online log (Blog), and eventually returning to some painting and mixed-media work. Only last year I started looking to exhibit - looking for calls for artists at mostly local galleries, even landing some work in some big juried shows. Due to a very involving day job as an art teacher, I'm not as far ahead with the art-making/selling as I'd ideally like to be. I know a lot of folks in this situation, and I admire anyone who takes that leap into the role of ful-time artist. Still, despite this situation, the creative urge is strong, and I keep it strong by keeping my eyes and ears open to inspiration, be it from other artists (online, museums, magazines, galleries), my surrounding environment (urban and rural) and sound (music and nonmusic). I try to get more sleep and quit watching TV, since time and energy is precious. I still watch movies and listen to lots of music, which in their way can be sources of inspiration and can inform my own artwork.

Ultimately, I think everyone has their own pace and way of going about wearing the artist cap. Just keep building - building that portfolio, your skills, your inspiration, and be open to change and evolve and keep it fresh. Most of all, keep doing what you enjoy."


Michael:
"For me, every day is different. As a freelance artist I am contracted by a wide variety of clients for all different kinds of creative projects. One day I'm designing a website, the next a logo. Sometimes I'm animating a cartoon, and other times I'm selling my paintings at a festival. The role of a freelance artist is to bring other people's ideas to life and so I adapt my design philosophy to meet the requests of my various clients by adopting the best appropriate method to communicate the specific message they want to impart. My motto is "If you can dream it, I can draw it!". I prefer a bold and clear approach to design but I can undertake an assortment of different strategies. However, my distinctive style usually manages to still shine through to some degree. 

My advice for anyone considering a career in illustration or graphic design is to practice as often as you're able. Experiment with different techniques and develop a diverse portfolio. Then focus on what you enjoy the most. It is very important to never sell yourself short. Research the appropriate rates to charge for your work and be cautious to not be taken advantage of. If you are professional, always meet your deadlines, and aren't afraid to work hard you can go far."

Enjoyed? Awesome.

Offline Jesse

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2010, 11:57:21 PM »
Good quotes.  How did you react?

Offline sboocks

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Re: What is art.
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2010, 08:52:58 AM »
Steve:
"Becoming an artist is different for everyone. Some people find they have a knack for being creative as a child, while others don't tap into their abilities until much later in life. I believe that everyone has artistic ability, or what some might call "talent", but either choose to cultivate it or ignore it. Artistic ability can either flourish or die due to societal beliefs and/or values, financial pressures, one's personal environment, etc. - the list is neverending. As Picasso says, we are all born artists, but the problem is staying an artist as an adult.
This, to me is where the real struggle lies. I believe everyone has the capacity to make art through experience (as I described above) though many don't cultivate it or choose to ignore it. I also believe most people can make "works of art." Some people just have an impulse to create- whether it is music, visual arts, weaving, wood working, ect. These people will find a way to satisfy that impulse even if it is not central to their daily life. They have to create even if they are not very successful or even good. Michael hits on another area that I think is important- which is work. In discussing what being an artist is, we were not making a distinction between professional and hobbyist. Here I'm not making a value judgment since I believe some just have to create, even if it is only a couple of hours a month. But what Michael points out is the work ethic that is necessary to be a successful professional artist. There is a great Chuck Close quote- "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get to work." Art production is a skill/craft to be honed not unlike any other skill. Athletes get better through practice and work. In the end, most will not be on a professional level but they will most likely still play. To compete is their impulse that must be satisfied. To create is ours.