Monday, February 21, 2011

Conceptual Art - Shane's Article

Shane's reading was an article found on eHow that walks one through some arts-and-crafts reminiscent steps in order to create conceptual art. It was actually pretty painful and amusing to read. It was practically in the same format as those step-by-step instructions you get to make a potato clock or start a science project for middle school. I never wanted to think of art that way, especially because now I'm pursuing it as a serious career. The way this article explains what conceptual art is and how it's made makes it seem like just about anyone can do it. If I read this aloud to my six year old brother, he tries it, and successfully follows the criteria, does that mean he can sell his work for what...a hundred bucks at the very least? 

Now I'm the last person to say that I think only art schooled persons could ever become artists, but I don't think everyone under the sun has what it takes. A lot of people that I know who can't draw to save their life don't even have much of an imagination to support them. Yet they're good at other things I can't grasp well, like business or social politics. Things that maybe with time I /could/ do, but never do well.

I can't help but be reminded of that movie with the chef-rat. I can't spell it right now and I don't feel like googling it, {holy crap, 'googling' is a word!} but in the movie one of the messages in the story is that 'everyone can cook, but not everyone should'. I don't remember who it was that said this, but I apply this to art all the time. Everyone can have ideas, or make a drawing even if it sucks by higher art standards, but not everyone should try to make a living with art. It's not just the execution, but the executor. I know people who can paint and draw. My mom is one of them. But she never pursued a career in art in the slightest. It just didn't appeal to her. She might have had what it took when it came to talent and imagination, but personally she wasn't fit for it. So I say, if you can't make 'high art', if you can't draw or paint or print or sculpt, but you have an idea, you can still make it into art if you really care to do so. It'll rip all the patience out of you, but it's not impossible. You just came into the game at a disadvantage, but the lifestyle isn't necessarily beyond you.

1. I don't think conceptual art is as simple as this article puts it, because if it was, it wouldn't be so hard to make. That, or they don't really go through the painful details such as the fact that, even when you do reach that one idea that's important to you, you need to think of every single element you add to your work and how the message can either get lost or misinterpreted  because of the variety amongst the audience. Good conceptual art has a clear message that everyone can understand, and the execution of this message has to have a certain power to it in order to get anyone's attention in the first place. This is practically impossible in its purest form. A lot of things in western cultures, especially signs, symbols, colors, and the most basic elements commonly used in art, mean something different to other cultures. And since the art world is, as it eludes to being, a 'world', there are folks from every background imaginable that will be judging your piece and seeking the meaning behind it, only to come up with different answers than the next guy.

2. eHow's description was simply disappointing to me. It felt like the bare, optimistic, skeletal description of what conceptual art really is. It didn't really change how I feel about conceptual art, it just made me pity those who actually find the article to be utterly legitimate.

3. Hardly any difference between the article and Bob Ross's shows. Ross made it sound like just about anyone could paint the pretty little trees and pretty little clouds to make 'art', but even if someone could match his level of skill, is it really art when you're practically painting by numbers? The strife is missing. The actual self-discovery is being left out of the picture. In both articles, it's not really about you. It's 'HOW TO MAKE ART FOR DUMMIES'. Make a pretty picture. Do something that makes someone else /think/. It's so simple, but it's missing the most important ingredients of all. The soul. The pain. The frustration. And the reconciliation.

4. High Art might survive in the modern world, but like it's done in the past thousand years or so, it'll need to undergo more plastic surgery. The definition of high art will probably change by a word or two, and suddenly it'll have another few years left of it until the license requires further renewal. 

How this applies to my work? I'm only half sure. I have an idea, and I chose how I want to execute it. But there's a lot of process, the journey's unforgiving, the quests are hard, and the final bosses are a bitch. In the end I turn something out after trying to make sure all my bases are covered only to find out there's one fatal flaw in the works that I completely glanced over and it's nearly too late to hash it out. Will YouTube ruin my stop-motion pieces? I've seen the internet as both enthralling and cruel. The people who would view my video can either appreciate it or turn some few seconds of it into a pop-culture internet reference. In the end, that's what keeps me from uploading to such a host. Ever seen 'Interior Semiotics'? LOOK IT UP. NOW. You'll feel the nostalgia kick in immediately. Sophomore and Junior year all over again. And many on the internet now find it both a joke and the epitome of all that is Hipster. Yet when you look at it as an artist, trying to forget that just about everyone else is having a laugh, how do you feel? Ohohoho...I think I know what my article is going to be.

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