Double Chin

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Boo art world!

Some tired, cynical (probably overly pessimistic) observations:

-figurative and narrative art is popular; transparent storytelling is valued for its accessibility
-contemporary attitudes towards art demand that it serve a definite function
-presently, 'art for art's sake' is commonly considered pointless, self-indulgent, and elitist
-indulgent 'art for entertainment's sake' is valued and popular
-highly developed "skills" and "techniques", functioning as a display of 'talent', are worshipped
-being a starving artist is no longer cool, unless you somehow still had money for an iPod. Or unless you USED to be a starving artist, but have since become an underground sensation/commercial success.

-experimentation is only valued if it is successful
-success is largely measured in commercial viability

I am sick to death of the competitive and elitist side of the commercial art/illustration/animation world. Not that those qualities don't surely run rampant in fine art, as well. Figurative, studied art that has a specific 'point', no longer satisfies me. My interests/obsessions are always transforming, but this is a stronger change than is usual for me.... More experimenting, more abstraction, less clear 'storytelling'. I know how to draw people, I don't need to prove that (to myself, or anyone else) anymore. It's time to explore some unknown territory.

I'm not forever abandoning the commercial art world, or illustrative images. I'm just taking a bit of a break. This rant is really more in frustration with myself and the silly views/priorities I used to follow, than with anything else.

-blog posts that are not funny, irreverent, or do not contain 'skilled' artwork are usually not popular


  • The world is getting more and more "corporate". And maybe streamlined is a better word. Cause you know what? No matter how good ANYONE is they won't get recognition if they're not getting accolades or praises from someone "important".

    Sorry, I'm a little jaded too. So yeah...

    By Anonymous Kureira, at 11:26 PM  

  • Corporate: that's that exact word I looking for, you hit the nail on the head. I guess that's why people are so focused on their "career" and "resume" and all that jazz... because getting a good art job for a esteemed company is today's equivalent of a church commission or an important patron. Working on a Pixar movie or an international ad campaign is our Sistine Chapel and royal portraits.
    Heh, don't apologize for being a little jaded. I don't think it's at all unusual or unwarranted. :\

    By Blogger Sarah, at 8:20 AM  

  • I totally agree with all of those points, but I see them more as just realistic statements than pessimistic ones. They don't seem like "sad" things, more like plain realities that have always existed and that we just need to accept and deal with.

    I think the important thing with all this is weither you enjoy what you do, regardless of if it's commercially succesful or not. Which can be a bit frustrating at times, anyway for me, because some people seem to just naturally be inclined to an art style that just happens to be hugely commercially succesful. However, I think as artists we sometimes have to step on our ego/pride and accept "selling out". I sometimes feel that some artists consider themselves above the mass in terms of having to do plain work to survive in society.

    I think I'm getting beside the point here anyway.

    I remember in my contemporary art class, we used to have discussions about this kinda stuff with my teacher. She was a fervant contemporary art defensor, claiming high its communicative values through intelectual effort (that's a really massive simplification here). The "sad" thing though is that people nowadays (or always) usually don't feel like trying to see beyond the surface of an artwork to try and get the true meaning of it: if it's eye candy they buy it, if it's hard to understand they pass on it (generally). But in a way, whatever your art form might be, as an artist it's your job to communicate to your audience (if that's you goal), not the other way around.

    I forget where I'm going with this. Anyway, I think it's pretty cool that you're following your own voice and just being true to yourself as an artist and a person. I have to admit I'm a bit surprised you don't have interest in figurative stuff anymore though (you're so good at it too!), but hey, you know what you gotta do and you do it, and that what's cool.

    Touche on the blog thing too... and I don't like how it can influence/bias how I write a post in order to please a certain imaginary crowd. I guess it boils down to the question "why do I have a blog?"

    By Blogger Guillaume, at 12:53 PM  

  • Boy that was a long reply. Sorry to make you think Sarah ;D

    By Blogger Guillaume, at 12:54 PM  

  • Don't worry, Guillaume, I'll forgive you. :D

    Oh, and about the figurative stuff... I'm not losing interest in it completely... I love the figure, and people, and will always draw them (and I'm still going to lifedrawing!) but I want to steer away from that being my focus for a while, that's all!!

    I like your long and thoughtful replies, Guillaume, they're always very interesting and engaging to read, and I appreciate that you take the time to think and write them. It means a lot to me!

    By Blogger Sarah, at 7:13 PM  

  • Well, the other problem why people are so....ergh obssesed with praises and accolades, I find is the fact that people don't have time to look at things.

    I agree with Guillaume that lately it's all about the "surface" but that's due to society forcing us all to "rush rush rush". I don't know about you two, but I don't remember an assignment from Sheridan that I can really "take time" on it. There are some, but say on top of that asssignments there are a gajillion other assignments. Or say, when was the last time we see a HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER that has scenes that "take time" to let the audience "feel" the film.

    My point is people don't take "time" to see things by themselves. So corporate world is shaping up to "inform" the public on things they don't "have time to look at". This information is praise and accolades from "expert". Who's an "expert"? Gosh I don't know !! They seem to take form in "Leonard Maltin", "Roger Ebert", "Time Magazine", or insert your own expert.

    For instance with movies. Corpse Bride is a good example that I can think of. We ask a couple of our roomies, friends and classmates what they think of it. Some people said to us it's a "bad movie" We ask them if they'd seen it but most of them said they saw a review by some posh critique on the paper/TV.

    I suppose if I'm supposed to say the puncline of he argument it'll be, "have you gone out there and felt the weather lately/smell the flowers?"

    You guys know what's scary? If you've seen/read Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), 1984 (George Orwell) or read Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) our world is shaping more and more like what they wrote. Society "dictating" our every move ain't too far from now.

    The time I spend trying to articulate myself make me sound like a conspiracy theorist. Oh well...:P

    By Blogger S. Stephani Soejono, at 2:17 AM  

  • Yeah, it's a crazy, surreal world. There just isn't time for people to form their own opinions about everything... there's too many things to do, to experience them all firsthand. Although I doubt that's anything too new... now it's comporations and experts we listen to, and it used to be elders, the church, etc.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 10:44 PM  

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