Comic Talk and General Discussion

Separating the artist from the art
ozoneocean at 4:32AM, Oct. 5, 2016
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ayesinback wrote:
ozoneocean wrote:
What I meant by “artist” is just anyone at all who is a part of a creation that you consume: painter, actor, singer, musician, dancer, architect…

A Chef, a teacher, an athlete, a surgeon (oral and otherwise), a civil engineer, pretty much any designer, a seamstress, a cobbler, HATS, “the art of the deal” …

But it's not just Any teacher or one who teaches, or one who sings, acts, sews, designs, or paints. Is it?

Otherwise, the list of non-artists is quite short.
No: any and all regardless.
Because we're talking about a relationship between a consumer, the “art”, and the creator, not classifying creators or their art to see whether they're allowed to belong in a group.
 
ayesinback at 6:52PM, Oct. 5, 2016
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Oz, I can't honestly say I know what you are saying –it might just be semantics. What I term a creator, perhaps you are calling an artist. And what is produced is their art, as long as an audience relates to it.

I think there are many beautiful fantastic things that I don't consider art–in my mind, it doesn't cheapen them to not consider them art. For instance, I love gardens of many styles, but I don't think of them as art. They're lovely, inspiring, peaceful gardens.

But if someone wants to see all amazing things as art, I have no problem with that. It does remind me of this, tho:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TGUbtyvXu-Y
You TOO can be (multiple choice)
bravo1102 at 11:43PM, Oct. 5, 2016
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Once upon a time “art” was synonymous with “craft” “ability” “skill” even “science ” in some contexts.

So any creation can be called art and the act of creating as well as the skills involved in that creation can be called art. With that broad a definition an audience is not required as the art exists for its own sake.

I mean if someone painted a masterpiece in the depths of a forest and there was noone to see it, would it still be art? Or are we at some kind of quantum art thing where art/not-art depends on an observer like the nature of light?

Better get KimLuster in here to explain.
ozoneocean at 12:27AM, Oct. 6, 2016
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Ah, Winnona doing Bjork :)

————

The terms “art” and “artist” are broad, as Bravo says, but for the Quackcast notes (comes out next week) I also added the text “the message and the messenger”
That might create less confusion :)

Art/creation/message VS artist/creator/messenger
 
ayesinback at 7:16AM, Oct. 6, 2016
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bravo1102 wrote:
Once upon a time “art” was synonymous with “craft” “ability” “skill” even “science ” in some contexts.

So any creation can be called art and the act of creating as well as the skills involved in that creation can be called art. With that broad a definition an audience is not required as the art exists for its own sake.

I mean if someone painted a masterpiece in the depths of a forest and there was noone to see it, would it still be art? Or are we at some kind of quantum art thing where art/not-art depends on an observer like the nature of light?

Better get KimLuster in here to explain.


@bravo. Ah, yes. The thing is I have picked up on the concept. So, I welcome any one's thoughts, but I don't need an explanation. It just happens that I don't agree. My environs are not “once upon a time.”

And as far as existence, empirical science requires proof that can be repeated, which minimally begs for witnesses. I don't require a witness for some thing to exist. (Side note: Our heritage sets these questions “in the woods,” but I wonder: would the answer be different if it were set “in a galaxy far away”?)

However, as to my construct of art, not only is a witness mandatory, but a witness who somehow relates to the piece is required.

You disagree. Fine. Your preferences differ from mine (although I am a fan of Puccini). I actually like that we differ because then we need not compete to obtain what we like.

@ozone. “ART—from the perspective of Message and Messenger” resolves it beautifully if messenger is not the creator, but rather the performer (who may or may not be the creator),
You TOO can be (multiple choice)
KimLuster at 1:07PM, Oct. 6, 2016
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Well my interest is rekindled…

I totally believe that a consciousness has to be involved for something to be art, especially the observing part… The creating part is a bit waffly. Sunsets, Galaxies, Nautilus shells: these can be very artistic to some observers…

But if there's not a conscious observer to see them they're just phenomena…

Now if we're gonna dally over what a conscious observer is - that's a whole 'nuther discussion…!!
bravo1102 at 6:00PM, Oct. 6, 2016
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ayesinback wrote:
bravo1102 wrote:
Once upon a time “art” was synonymous with “craft” “ability” “skill” even “science ” in some contexts.

So any creation can be called art and the act of creating as well as the skills involved in that creation can be called art. With that broad a definition an audience is not required as the art exists for its own sake.

I mean if someone painted a masterpiece in the depths of a forest and there was noone to see it, would it still be art? Or are we at some kind of quantum art thing where art/not-art depends on an observer like the nature of light?

Better get KimLuster in here to explain.


@bravo. Ah, yes. The thing is …

There just might be someone else reading this who just may require an explanation. Not everyone has your level of appreciation and understanding for these things.


Now I remember why I really hate discussing art. Somehow it's always removed out of looking at a piece and admiring it and into some ethereal cloud cuckoo land that mere mortals like myself cannot comprehend let alone appreciate and certainly should never, ever think of attempting to emulate.

@KimLuster: in order to even call something a phenomenon as opposed to art, you still need an observer to tell the difference. But I concur that it is all phenomenon until it is observed. But I contend that the artist can be his own audience.



KimLuster at 11:54AM, Oct. 7, 2016
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@KimLuster: in order to even call something a phenomenon as opposed to art, you still need an observer to tell the difference. But I concur that it is all phenomenon until it is observed. But I contend that the artist can be his own audience.

Well, maybe… to ‘call’ it a phenomenon certainly requires a ‘caller’, but I meant that most naturalists would say things with phenomenon-like qualities happen all the time in the universe even without observers (sorta splittin' hairs…)

And totally agree about art and the artist being her own audience… For some reason that reminds me of Genesis 1:31: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…” Maybe the ancients knew a thing or two about observation being required ;)
lba at 6:12PM, Oct. 10, 2016
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I've always defined art as, “a communicative and creative aesthetic medium, through which an individual attempts to convey a message to a viewer, listener or other individual to express a specific intent.”

By default, any work lacking one of the three primary components of that description, is either Craft or Trade. Craft being “any creative aesthetic medium, lacking a clear intended message from the creator of the work”, and trade being “any work lacking both a creative and communicative component.”

So, by my definition; The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel is art, making Michelangelo an artist. It uses a creative and aesthetic medium (fresco) to convey an understandable message to the viewer, namely that of relating the story of the bible to a largely illiterate viewing audience.

By contrast; Mark Rothko was not an artist, since his work has no clear intended message for the viewer. He's a brilliant Craftsman, but not an artist based on work such as No. 61 (Rust and Blue) ( If you wonder why I say he's a good craftsman, go look up exactly how he created his works. They're very in-depth and used dozens of layers to achieve his effect.)

A further example would be someone's grandfather, who made beautiful furniture, which was an aesthetic medium, but he never produced his own designs for furniture or had any intent for his furniture to express anything, and it was simply very well-built, attractive furniture.

—————–

Returning around to the original discussion, I find it very easy to distinguish between the work and the creator. For instance; From everything I've read, Rothko was a bit of a twat to most people who met him, but that doesn't diminish his ability to paint in a very exacting and technical manner by using dozens of thin layers of paint to develop incredibly rich and different colours from the paints he was using, so at least I find craftsmen very easy to separate from what they do, especially because they rarely have much of a personal stake in the work beyond their own pride in what they do. It's once you start looking at specific types of work that it gets hard, but most of the time I find work that's hard to separate is work that's so deeply personal it rarely gets shared anyway.
Ironscarf at 4:17AM, Oct. 11, 2016
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lba wrote:

By contrast; Mark Rothko was not an artist, since his work has no clear intended message for the viewer. He's a brilliant Craftsman, but not an artist based on work such as No. 61 (Rust and Blue) ( If you wonder why I say he's a good craftsman, go look up exactly how he created his works. They're very in-depth and used dozens of layers to achieve his effect.)

Your interpretation of art is pretty far out in the woods there. Advertising requires an easily digested and understood message, art most certainly does not.
 
lba at 8:30AM, Oct. 11, 2016
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Well, as a rule, I generally consider good advertising to be a higher form of art than say the works of Jeff Koontz. Brooke Stevens had far more talent in himself when it came to developing the three dimensional form than Koontz could hire to do for him. Personally, I think if you want to find the highest form of art there is, open a comic book or take a look at the editorial page. Illustration.

Think about it this way; throughout most of history, in context, our most famous works were very rarely produced solely for the purpose of creating a work of art. The vast majority of instances, they were specifically commissioned by the client for a reason. In the case of the aforementioned Sistine chapel frescoes, they were commissioned by the pope to showcase the wealth and prestige of the church and to share the story of the bible in a way that inspired awe over the stories of God. In essence, the pope was hiring Michelangelo to advertise the benefits of being a good Christian. All that's really different between that and advertising today is that the cultural setting has changed and most of society has forgotten why those paintings exist and now just see them as attractive works, devoid of the contextual understanding the viewers back then had. They didn't have the concept of commercial art as being separate from regular art back then. It was all just art to them. Now we have Sheppard Fairey creating a poster image on his own with the intent of making Barack Obama look good or Andy Warhol silkscreening Campbell's soup cans as a discussion on the state of contemporary art. In 400 years, how do you think his portrait will be viewed in art history books when we're all dead and there's nobody around to explain the contextual how and why of what he was doing?

Most of the works we count throughout history as great were created for a reason other than, “because I feel like it”, that we've just forgotten about as a culture. Art has never been separate from commerce and the need to communicate, whether people want to admit it or not. Fairey isn't listed as a commercial artist, but he sure as hell produces enough of it to keep the lights on. Warhol would go on to create numerous pieces to actually advertise products and do work on MTV, instead of trying to elevate advertising into the art world.
Ironscarf at 10:15AM, Oct. 11, 2016
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So are you saying that Michelangelo was essentially an advertising artist who was good enough to get some hefty commissions? Or that if Rothko had been commissioned by the pope to paint the aforementioned work as a depiction of the holy ghost, he would be an artist?
 
lba at 10:55AM, Oct. 11, 2016
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Not quite. I'm not saying the two job descriptions are mutually exclusive and I think that's an implication you're getting out of this.

Whether or not the work is commissioned is irrelevant to its definition. When I say art has never been separate from commerce, I mean that “fine” artists have always needed to eat and that by trying to distinguish between art done for “fine” and art done for monetary reasons we're essentially lying to ourselves and claiming that the guy openly admitting he's making art to sell hamburgers is somehow less skilled, less important and less creative than the guy who is making art to hang in a gallery with the plan of selling it. The end goal for the guy doing the work is the same. I'm just saying fine art is a business and we've only recently decided we need to declare a difference between “fine” and “commercial” arts. So when I say I consider advertising and illustration to be higher art forms, you could really argue I'm saying “more honest about it”.

If Rothko had been commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel to tell the story of the bible, that would make him an artist for the time he was doing it. If he had gone in and painted one of his “multi-form” colour fields instead, he'd have been an interior house painter. And a shitty one at that. If he'd done the frescoe and gone back to multiforms once in the studio, he'd have gone from being an artist one morning, to waking up as a craftsman the next. You can be both.
last edited on Oct. 11, 2016 10:56AM
Ironscarf at 1:38PM, Oct. 11, 2016
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lba wrote:
Not quite. I'm not saying the two job descriptions are mutually exclusive and I think that's an implication you're getting out of this.

I'm not getting that implication at all. I thought you meant it couldn't be art because it didn't have what you consider to be a clearly understood message.

If Rothko had been commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel to tell the story of the bible, that would make him an artist for the time he was doing it. If he had gone in and painted one of his “multi-form” colour fields instead, he'd have been an interior house painter. And a shitty one at that. If he'd done the frescoe and gone back to multiforms once in the studio, he'd have gone from being an artist one morning, to waking up as a craftsman the next. You can be both.

That's not what I asked at all. I asked what if he had been commissioned to paint exactly the work we all know him for and the person who commissioned that work understood it to be a depiction of a religious experience. Would that make him an artist, or is he still not an artist because it's not a traditional depiction of a religious scene, or because of some other criteria I've yet to understand?



 
last edited on Oct. 11, 2016 3:33PM
lba at 6:49PM, Oct. 11, 2016
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If that person commissioning the work is representative of the intended audience, I don't see why the work wouldn't qualify. It would meet the standard of being a creative and communicative aesthetic medium, with an intended message to it's audience and there's a specific intent. It just wouldn't be representative of the normal motivation behind Rothko's work.
Ironscarf at 7:55PM, Oct. 11, 2016
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But according to the artist, that is the normal motivation behind his work.

I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on — and the fact that lots of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I communicate those basic human emotions… The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point!”
 
lba at 9:51PM, Nov. 25, 2016
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I know this is a month and a half in the past, but my point is, if you want to count something as art, it needs to be readily understood by the vast majority of the people you can reasonably expect to view it, and do so in a aesthetic, communicative method. Rothko typically doesn't meet that criteria.

It doesn't have to be understandable to everyone, but if you're putting it in a public space like an art gallery, and only the people who read your plaque next to it understand what the hell it's about, then you've singularly screwed up as an artist. People shouldn't have to read an artist's statement, or some lengthy magazine article on the symbolism and meaning of your feelings about dried prunes and frog mating rituals to understand what you're expressing in your painting that's hanging on the wall. The painting should be fully capable of speaking to all that itself without you standing there explaining it or writing an essay and Illustration is the art form that most often meets that standard.
ozoneocean at 8:56PM, Dec. 5, 2016
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I've gone back on this somewhat. I used to still continue reading Dilbert even though Scott is a bit of a crazy douche now, because it was daily, easy, and I've been with the characters for so long…
But it's really just more of the same with no advancement, insights or change and all I'm doing by reading it is supporting his douchiness, so I made the break.

I think that's where I stop separating the art from the artist: when supporting their work helps support them in whatever behaviour you disagree with and the work isn't worth supporting anyway.
 

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