Tag Archives: creative ramblings

Joined DeviantArt

19 Sep

So I have joined DeviantArt, with some reluctance. I have no concept what DA is all about, nor can anyone tell me. I also had to take a premium membership just to be able to upload images from my iPad (via FTP).

I guess the only way to find out is to take a full membership and see where it takes me. I have very low expectations, or if I’m really honest, no expectations at all.

You can find my profile page at pencilcast.deviantart.com.

Monkeying Around

10 Sep

Based on the portrait sketches of the last few days I created this portrait from imagination. It reminded me of a monkey, hence the title.

Monkeying Around

I recorded this short Audioboo about how I plan to approach the portrait drawing course on my local community college, which starts next Monday.

listen to it on Audioboo.fm

Some thoughts on art instruction

8 Sep

Last Monday I went to a free trial lesson for a portrait drawing course at my local community college, and during the break I got to talk with one of the other would-be students. She told she had been drawing for quite some time with another art instructor, but got to know him too intimately, and needed a fresh start, to become more loose in her art.

My argument that the instructor doesn’t really matter much, and that it’s the atmosphere, the model and your peers which makes up most of the benefit you get from art classes didn’t receive any agreement. She wanted an authority figure to tell her how to become more loose. In my mind she wanted a prescription how to become less prescriptive.

I have had some art instructors in my past, and not all have been very helpful. That was largely to blame on myself, because I, too, was after an authority figure, that could tell me how to create art. I guess it requires some maturity to realize that you don’t really need an art instructor to create art. A good instructor will help you to become self-sufficient enough to not need an art instructor. After that, the art class becomes a safe haven to create art (without having to validate yourself to non-artists).

So for me, this means that once you’re on your way to become a better artist, you’re doing it mostly on your own. An instructor is just there to give a second opinion, to help you reason about your art. You should not need an instructor to validate your art (at least, that is my strong opinion). The reasoning that there is bad and good art (or professional and amateurish art) demeans in my mind the artistic expression. Yes, there is skill level and technique, but that gets better over time. The artistic vision should not depend on someone else. There is, of course, art that sells easily, and art that requires more work to be sold, if selling art is what you are after.

So, it seemed to me that this person was after some kind of art guru, who would provide her with a fountain of wisdom and skill, from which she could drink. I think that is perhaps true in a world of talking ponies and unicorns, but in the world we live in, art is a lonely business, in the sense that you have to do it all on your own. No one can help you to be more free at your art. It is something you have to figure out for yourself.

It is removing these mental roadblocks, and seeing beyond the here and now which make creating art so appealing to me. Instructors can inspire me to continue, but they cannot do this exploration for me or tell me how to explore. I really have to put in the effort myself, based on what I want and are comfortable with.

Pencilcast Ramblings: Episode 0012 – Missing The Mark

6 Jun

I not always do what I set out to do, so I will try another approach and see if that works any better.

Mentioned in this episode are:

Pencilcast Ramblings: Episode 0011 – Progress Report

29 May

What did I do in the past week and what are my plans for the coming week?

Mentioned in this episode are:

Art explained in a book

29 May

I always wondered what art exactly was and how art and commerce are related. That was, until I read the book “On the Origin of Stories” by Brian Boyd.

Mr. Boyd builds on the accomplishments of evolutionary biology, and his title refers to the book by Charles Darwin “On the Origin of Species.” On the Origin of Stories is not as Earth shattering as the book by Darwin, but it offers a science-based framework of thought for literary critics, as opposed to the somewhat dogmatic approach of Theory.

I will not do a book review, because others have done a better job at that than I ever could. However, I would like to point out that Boyd’s book has taught me new concepts about art.

Published art (which I refer to as “art” in the remainder of this post) is all about getting attention from the artist’s point of view, and giving attention from the audience point of view. Since time is limited, the amount of attention we can give is limited. This means that artworks that attract more attention will receive a higher status, and by attribution, the artist will share in this status.

I make this distinction, because the creator of an artwork is not necessary the performer. In fact, an artwork may be created by several individuals, as is the case with Hollywood movies. The “performance” of such a movie (read: screening) does not require the creators to be physically present, even if they could be. By being mentioned in the credits, the contributing artists share in the possible success of the movie by attribution (in case you were wondering why credits exist in the first place).

Since people can only spend so much of their free time on paying attention to art, there will be a natural struggle for the most attention, based on people’s preferences (on what they like). This, of course, is a set-up for an evolutionary struggle among works of art (as it were, “survival of the fittest”), where the prevailing “taste du jour” will attract the most attention, while those who don’t will remain largely unknown and receive a lower status.

However, like evolution, in times of rapid change, established works may become less popular, while relatively unknown works, though with a loyal following, might rise in the ranks (get more public attention, hence a higher status). Since artists are constantly creating new works of art, a higher status of one of their older works will raise the status of both the current work and the artists themselves. We all know this phenomena of the unknown artist being discovered by the public.

Mind you, it is not that the discovered artist has somehow forced the discovery by a sudden change in style (if that’s even possible, because a major change in personal style takes a long time), but rather that the changed circumstances have made the art appealing to a larger public. It seems that audience preferences can change faster than personal artist styles. This means rather than trying to chase what is popular now, the artist better develop their own styles to perfection, so in case they are discovered, the artist can follow up with new works of art.

Now I’m repeating something I posted on my Google Buzz account.

Art is about personal preference, appeal. Artists try to get attention from an audience, and get rewarded with a higher status by that audience. In fact, audience attention is equal to status. This means it predates economics, perhaps even humans.

So, basically, art can exist without money. Even people who don’t use money (e.g. toddlers) appreciate art and artists. I think this means the main motivator for art should be appeal. Money is just a derivative of that appeal (as a token of appreciation).

Once money becomes the main drive behind art, as always is the case with commercial entities, its appeal can’t but deteriorate. Art appeal is about novelty, surprise, invention, something which gives meaning beyond the boundaries of the particular work and becomes the center of attention in people’s lives.

This is why, in my opinion, artistic endeavors and business concerns should be strictly separated if an artist wants to become —and remain— successful. The business side should merely exist to serve artists, to provide them with a source of income. Art should never be about making money.

While art by committee isn’t necessarily bad, it often devolves into that because the focus shifts from attracting attention towards maintaining the size of an audience. And the latter doesn’t appeal to many people, I’m afraid.

While I’m still digesting the content of “On the Origin of Stories”, I can already see some of the benefits of having read this book. I highly recommend reading it, especially if you struggle with some of the same questions I did: “What is art, and why should I care?”

Pencilcast Ramblings: Episode 0010 – Planning the future

22 May

I did another recording, rambling about my live appearances on Ustream.

Mentioned in this episode are: