It’s Okay To Not “Get” Art

“Gallery Ladies” by Roy Zalesky

Vice’s Glen Coco earns my respect for his honesty. In one of his articles, he visited a rather pretentious-feeling gallery in London and mocked every work on display, only to attract a British art student named Alex who felt the need to “explain” the works to him. (Somehow Alex missed the part of the article that revealed Glen was a fellow art student.) Alex’s response confirmed the fallacies Glen suggested in the initial article: that true art is deep, only fake art is popular, and if you don’t already know what the artist was thinking, then you are a moron.

In this day of an ever impending idiocracy, I am aware of the growing population of proud ignoramuses, but this is not the case. Let’s take a scenario I’ve seen too often: Someone whose upbringing had limited their access or encouragement of pursuing arts until now, yet they decide to attend an art gallery to expand their interests. Said individual tries to break the ice with more cultured patrons in an effort learn more. They inadvertently say something that reveals their lack of education, only to be stealthily mocked by the more educated patrons. Humiliated, they never return to the museum again. Like a library, a museum is one of the few centers of free thought left. There is no place for snobbery and caste behavior. Every expression of “I don’t get it” is as valid as every overanalysis that goes over the former’s heads.

This example does not mean laymen are blame-free or that Art communities are fully responsible. There are mutual misunderstandings that are resolvable.

Part 1: Misconceptions from the laymen

Honestly, the one aspect of a lot of art can be explained in the historical context of certain works, which anyone can learn in a lecture, a community college class, or online on Khan Academy. Obviously, Art has evolved over time and due to this nature many works suffer from the “Simpsons is not funny” phenomenon. For an example, Jackson Pollock’s works were so groundbreaking because they were the first of their kind. Today, like the Simpsons in a 2010 television landscape, Pollock’s studies now get lost in the sea of works that have been influenced by his own. Naturally, anyone jaded by the influences would find the original just as awful without context. The Art people have the most issue with Contemporary Art is a result of everything that has come and gone in the last 400 years.

     Most contemporary pieces require explanation due to their overly symbolic and intra-referential nature. That’s where the Artist’s Statement comes in. Though it should be noted that a part of art’s subjectiveness lies in the fact that many interpretations are developed from one work. Some gain no interpretation at all. Unless the artist had a specific message in mind, no person is more right than the other.

Part 2: Misconceptions from the Artists

Based on his analyses, what Alex does not seems to think all artworks automatically come with a message, which is far from the truth. There are a lot of appreciated artists throughout history who created works that had no political or social message. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Tamara De Lempicka are two favorite examples of mine. The strangest thing is while the former is often praised by art professors, the latter is shunned. Interestingly, De Lempicka still gets her works reproduced onto towels and tote bags like Lautrec all the same. What makes him more legitimate in the art world than her?

220px-Photolautrec

Alcoholic? Check! Died young? Check! Died penniless? Nope. Guess he’s only 2/3rds of a “true” artist!

On a grander scale, a lot of people get their impression of the art world from the what wealthy art committees present. Throughout history, these trend-setters select art to be promoted, exposing the average museum-goer to a certain “type” of artwork and coloring their perception of art forever. This is not new, and neither are the challenges to their criteria. Many of the artists discussed in art schools today were once rejected by their contemporary art societies. Artists like Cezanne, Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, (or as I like to call him “the greatest Art Troll in history”.) The same behavior continued towards graffiti, folk art, comic art, and digital illustration and will with any new art movement. Sadly, the laymen think they have to fit into the criteria to be a true artist. Many Artists fall for it too.

In reality, a lot of art produced doesn’t have a meaning. It’s just the result of a wacky, creative mind.

Screenshot_20171227-022554.jpg

Yes. A baby Tornado. At Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, NC

I speculate that the artists who openly admit that fact are rarely seen in high profile museums. The ones who do often make one up to appease the stereotypes of the trendy art elite. A lot of artists ignored by this “elite” nowadays promote their work in galleries, coffee shops, breweries, non-profit art spaces, art festivals and outdoor art shows. You get much more of a variety of ideas and creators.

Conclusion

The “Laws” of Art has been in changing and continues to change. Artists will always continue to debate what is and isn’t “art”. If both sides want to survive into digital age they will have to change how they see the other side.

 

 

Advertisements

Pencils and Pixels

image

This week, my comics group, SketchCharlotte, held a gallery opening for comics, comics – related art and all alternative art. If interested, it’s still running now through February 12, 2016 at the Max L. Jackson Gallery, in the Watkins Building at Queens University.  Come see original works by me and many of Charlotte’s great local artists. And bring money, for alot of our stuff is for sale!

image

Date and location Information about the Gallery.

For More Information, check out the Facebook page from BigDogStudio:
https://www.facebook.com/events/171807783177261/ik

How to Destroy A Government: The Comic

image

 Included in this exporation into the deep web by YouTuber SomeOrdinaryGamers, is a CIA-sanctioned illustrated propaganda booklet for Nicaraguan citizens on how to sabatoge their country’s daily infastructure (Link). The actions rage from misdimeanor (scattering nails on a road) to major terrorist acts (building a molotov cocktail). I’m sure a nation in economic collapse due to minor inconveniences pushes it further into a dependance with wealthier nations.

Politics aside, can you imagine being the artist who had to illustrate that booklet? How do process what the a request like this from the CIA?
There must be a support group for propaganda artists somewhere.

Brady ‘ s “Deflate” Face: When Fan-Dumb Ensues

image

Ouch.

In case you’ve just resurface from a subterranean existence last night, you already know that Patriots fans are all over the “Deflategate” the courtroom sketch artist who did not render Tom Brady according to their likings.

In response, the artist, Jane Rosenberg, provided the best “apology” this “controversy” deserved:

 “Tell Tom Brady I’m sorry I didn’t make him pretty enough. He’s very pretty.”

While I hope this incident does not Ms. Rosenberg’s career, this provides a lesson for court artists around the nation. Next time a star athlete is in court, sparkles, muscles, and violet eyes will be applied at all times.
 

Some Value in VOGUE

My school’s online library just launched a Vogue magazine archive going back to 1892. Until the 1960s, fashion catalogues were primarily illustrated, serving pretty well for studying historical costume design and illustration conventions the progressing time periods. As a enthusiast of Victorian/Edwardian-period illustration style, this is a goldmine.

image

Grounded for Rioting

image

Like most of the US, Ive been following the Baltimore Uprising. What’s been on my mind is the odd public response to the mother who caught her son in the midst of the chaos and responded as a mother would. How was this different from a mother dragging her kid from a teen party? Or that episode of Sister Sister where Tia’s dad catches her on TV at a music festival gone wrong in Detroit? So much outrage over something that should make people laugh.

New Comic – The Gorgon Transplant : Volume 2

Just want to take a moment here to the second volume of my series The Gorgon Transplant: Vol. 2.  Continuing the concept I initiated at the Sequential Artist’s Workshop, this volume features comics lampooning the public events industry and concerts.

Check out a sample of what’s inside here:
http://imgur.com/Ho8tl7h
GT_2ndbook

 

Imitation of Life and Art

Redrawn!
I decided to follow my fellow cartoonist friend Justin’s footsteps by taking the Redrawn! challenge. What better comic to redraw that the very one I grew up reading: Jim Davis’ Garfield.

Originally published January 5, 2000
My redraw.
Yes, I know I messed up on garfield’s belly in the middle panel.
It’s pretty easy to see that Jim Davis’ style is not exactly mine, yet in the process I can see what style is my own. The first mistake I made was measuring the panels more vertically, which affected the placement of the word bubbles. Where Davis used an ink brush, I used a pigment pen, to which the this choice reveals the most difference in Garfield’s stripes. It’s always been Davis’ use of the brush that has established the style of those stripes. In his first year of drawing Garfield, Davis used a pen, and Garfield’s stripes were just as thin as they are appear in my redraw.

Secondly, Davis is very abstract in his character design (has anyone ever commented on Jon’s nose?) while I have developed my style from more realistic sources like anime and Edwardian era comics.

One final significant detail is Davis’ ability to keep his drawings consistent enough that they look almost cut and paste. I just cannot stay that consistent, but then, neither did George Herriman.  Oh Well.

City Drawn!

Ever since Matt Groening confirmed his locational inspiration for the Simpson’s Springfield, I’ve been interested in finding my own style in drawing local cities. Next, is a little illustration of Arlington, VA.

Arlington, VA
Pretty decent approximation, ya think?