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Author Topic: vision and creativity part 5  (Read 13948 times)
leeonmaui
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« on: September 01, 2013, 10:50:41 PM »
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Aloha,

In regards to traits of creative people you outlined; I have not found this to be the case.

also;

http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-7-characteristics-of-highly-creative-people.html

A long time ago I had the opportunity to work with one of the most talented and original painters of our generation, I was lucky enough to work as the director of his company. In effect, I helped him form a company and set him on the road to international acclaim and success.
I will say this much;
He cared not one speck of what you thought about his work, he was not doing his work for your satisfaction.
He had absolutely no interest in discussing it with you or commenting on your work or the work of others or interacting with other artists or creative people.

The art world is littered with fanatical rivalries between artists that span decades and of personalities that are extremely difficult to deal with in normal daily intercourse.
This I think can be said of many arms of the creative field.

"The only difference between me and a madman is; that I am not mad"-Dali

Anyway, my two cents.

Lee
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knickerhawk
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 03:23:07 PM »
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Aloha,

In regards to traits of creative people you outlined; I have not found this to be the case.

also;

http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-7-characteristics-of-highly-creative-people.html

A long time ago I had the opportunity to work with one of the most talented and original painters of our generation, I was lucky enough to work as the director of his company. In effect, I helped him form a company and set him on the road to international acclaim and success.
I will say this much;
He cared not one speck of what you thought about his work, he was not doing his work for your satisfaction.
He had absolutely no interest in discussing it with you or commenting on your work or the work of others or interacting with other artists or creative people.

The art world is littered with fanatical rivalries between artists that span decades and of personalities that are extremely difficult to deal with in normal daily intercourse.
This I think can be said of many arms of the creative field.

"The only difference between me and a madman is; that I am not mad"-Dali

Anyway, my two cents.

Lee

To say nothing of the fact that there are five, not four "exercises" listed and none of them are actually exercises!   Wink

These essays on creativity never end well.  They're tautological ("creatives think differently from other people") or unintentionally ironic ("follow these five steps to becoming more creative") and rarely insightful.  It's a tall order and one I'm afraid that Alain did not successfully fill here.
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daws
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2013, 10:13:16 PM »
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My personal interest, as an admirer of Alain's photography, would be to read a series of essays in which he discusses, in depth and detail, his personal creative processes. To see his inner creative feelings, fears, conflicts, compromises and joys; the techniques, exercises and inner dialogues that he has used over the years to develop his creative vision. That's something I'm going to identify with, be inspired by and learn from.

I have no interest in reading more theories and generalizations about creativity and "creative people" which, with all respect, have struck me in this series of essays as generic and hollow.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 11:34:19 PM by daws » Logged
John Camp
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2013, 11:03:10 PM »
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I think there's a distinction to be made here, between "artist" and "professional." The qualities that Alain outlines seem to be to be qualities that may be valuable to a professional who is operating a business. Businesses may involve all kinds of creative people -- Steve Jobs, for example -- but they're not exactly what I would call "artists." When you look at highly creative individual artists, they seem to be notably preoccupied by their own work, and actually reject a lot of the qualities that Alain talks about (for example, J.D. Salinger, who recently died.) Salinger knew one thing about business: get a decent agent. That's all he had to know, and apparently, that's all he wanted to know.

One critical thing that has to be kept in mind when reading Alain's essays is that he runs a successful business, and is apparently willing to do those things necessary to be a successful businessman. Which is terrific, in a whole lot of ways -- but his experience (which is quite analogous to my own) doesn't necessarily translate directly to any form of "artistic" endeavor.   
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 02:15:17 AM »
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But the root problem is so simple: if we can't even say with certainty what art is, how can we possibly pontificate honestly about what makes an artist?

Articles like the one in question are exercises in filling a need that is an expression of optimism and unrealiity. Nobody that I have ever met, whom I'd have considered artistic, ever had to read a book on how to become so: he/she just was.

Why is photography so bedevilled with people who think they can take five easy lessons and become something that they are not?

That it is also filled with people offering either solutions or panaceas to the need is no mystery: there is either money or glory and possibly both in the 'service'.

If you want to be a painter, you paint; if you want to be an author you sit down and auth! Why expect to pick up the photographic genre of artistry from a book or a few articles churned out by someone else? Because you can buy a camera, a device?

The same self-deception certainly carries over into photographic equipment: you don't need a Stradivarius to be a talented musician as you don't need a Leica or Hasselblad or Phase to be an excellent photographer. That the finest (most expensive?) of instruments might soothe your soul and create the advantage that golden audio cables supposedly do, then to that extent, yes, they are an advantage in that your ego is stroked and stoked which may, just may, make you a better performer than you already are. But there lies the rub; you have to be one already. Nothing external can ever make you one nor give you the sensibilities with which you must be born.

Space-fillers, and somewhat disingenuous of the realities of artistic expression and being.

IMO, as Cooter would offer.

;-)

Rob C

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leeonmaui
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 03:43:04 AM »
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"Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression."  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer
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daws
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 06:59:41 AM »
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But the root problem is so simple: if we can't even say with certainty what art is, how can we possibly pontificate honestly about what makes an artist?

Articles like the one in question are exercises in filling a need that is an expression of optimism and unrealiity. Nobody that I have ever met, whom I'd have considered artistic, ever had to read a book on how to become so: he/she just was.

Why is photography so bedevilled with people who think they can take five easy lessons and become something that they are not?

That it is also filled with people offering either solutions or panaceas to the need is no mystery: there is either money or glory and possibly both in the 'service'.

If you want to be a painter, you paint; if you want to be an author you sit down and auth! Why expect to pick up the photographic genre of artistry from a book or a few articles churned out by someone else? Because you can buy a camera, a device?

The same self-deception certainly carries over into photographic equipment: you don't need a Stradivarius to be a talented musician as you don't need a Leica or Hasselblad or Phase to be an excellent photographer. That the finest (most expensive?) of instruments might soothe your soul and create the advantage that golden audio cables supposedly do, then to that extent, yes, they are an advantage in that your ego is stroked and stoked which may, just may, make you a better performer than you already are. But there lies the rub; you have to be one already. Nothing external can ever make you one nor give you the sensibilities with which you must be born.

Space-fillers, and somewhat disingenuous of the realities of artistic expression and being.

IMO, as Cooter would offer.

;-)

Rob C



Nail on the head.
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Isaac
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 12:22:20 PM »
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if we can't even say with certainty...

Death and Taxes.


what art is

Quote
"There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists. ... There is no harm in calling all these activities art as long as we keep in mind that such a word may mean very different things in different times and places, and as long as we realize that Art with a capital A has no existence. You may crush an artist by telling him that what he has just done may be quite good in its own way, only it is not 'Art'. And you may confound anyone enjoying a picture by declaring that what he liked in it was not the Art but something different." p15 The Story of Art

"It is the secret of the artist that he does his work so superlatively well that we all but forget to ask what his work was supposed to be, for sheer admiration of the way he did it." p594 The Story of Art
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 03:15:02 PM »
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Death and Taxes.







So broadly, Isaac, we’re in agreement?

I think I’d actually be inclined to go a little further with this being or not being – perhaps in the sense of where photography might be a fresh art rather than just a slavish copying of already known and developed genres of this – whatever this/it, is.

At the risk of offending many, which I really don’t want to do, I feel that photography owes it to itself to move in different directions and not compete with the established orders of paint, pencil and paper marking in whatever form.

Looking at the huge two-way influences of the magazine and newspaper worlds upon the genre (photography) I think it would make a sort of sense to think that maybe, just maybe, photography might be better served aiming for those types of works/representations that the older media can’t do. An interesting illustration of this idea can be seen happening on the front pages of this very site: LuLa.

If you look carefully at the images that Michael posts that are uniquely powerful, then I feel they are all about the human condition – his form of ‘street’ which isn’t simply about the catching of people doing something, but the catching of shapes; graphics, in other words. His landscape stuff is, of course, very accomplished, but then so is that of innumerable other photographers. Something uniquely photographic goes beyond that – into realms that demand speed, acute observational skills and not a little nerve. Mood, action and even the presentation of ‘found’ art in the sense of graffiti and distressed artworks used for entirely other purposes than being photographed; nothing new there, of course, but things that are found all around us that pretty much preclude the setting up of easel and bottles of turps!

Perhaps it’s cultural exposure and different backgrounds, but I still can’t see photography of pretty views making it onto walls and being considered art because it hangs on those walls. I do see the validity of strong black/white images of people as decoration for city dwellings – statements, if you like, of the owner’s own sensibilities and beliefs; maybe especially so in the case of images derived from recognizable advertising campaigns. I’ve noted some very cool-looking rooms decorated with Sarah Moon shots from the early 70s… that kind of thing still looks contemporary, indicates a sense of the ethos and owes not a lot to the world of other arts. I also think that black/white images of industrial sites of long ago can pass as good photographic decoration. That doesn’t at all impact on the validity of paintings as décor – in most cases I think them much superior choices. But, I do believe that using photographs as decoration is very location dependent. I don’t, for example, think the Moons would look right in a farm. Nor, for that matter, the industrial offerings.

Do you notice how this topic (within this post) constantly finds itself in the process of conflating art and decoration? Perhaps that’s quite important, beyond simply being my personal take; I always thought photography was best housed within books, but that seems to be a rare event these days, unless one is willing to include porn and the inevitable ‘Hidden Gems Of…’ (supply the name of your own county, state or country) type of publication.

Maybe. Maybe it doesn’t matter at all, and maybe it’s all rubbish anyway.

Rob C
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Edward Starkie
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 08:20:14 PM »
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Leeommaui,

I agree with your assessment. Perhaps there is a confusion with creativity and creating art. They are not the same thing. A CPA can be very creative and the result is money not art. Many artists are creative but fail to create great art. Others like Cartier Bresson say they are not artists and create enduring bodies of work that many do think is art. Art is subjective, the viewer decides.

As far as the exercises, IMO it is not possible to create creativity through exercises. On the other hand, it is very possible to remove blocks to creativity through exercises. Many who could be creative find them selves paralyzed by fear of rejection and some by perfectionism that doesn't allow them freedom of movement. When I was in design school, we had to create 8 design schemes every day. There was no way to retain fear or perfectionism. You just had to produce. The result, if not art, was fluidity and a grasp of technique. There were some people there, however, who simply produced work that was more like genius--no matter how many different schemes they made. Others produced work that became very good but was still workmanlike. The point is that exercises do work to remove major blocks and for the few that really possess a genius for art, then the path is smoother. So in that respect Mr. Briot's suggestions are not off the mark.

Finally, art may not be recognized as such for many years and hunting for it in oneself instead of working may be a futile endeavor. Think Van Gogh for an example. If you can make a living doing photography and you like it, congratulate yourself and keep on working.  Cheesy
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John Camp
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2013, 01:54:09 PM »
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But the root problem is so simple: if we can't even say with certainty what art is, how can we possibly pontificate honestly about what makes an artist?


You're confusing the general with the specific. Just because we can't get *everybody* to agree with what art is (in a global sense,) we can get *almost* all knowledgeable westerners to agree that much of what Van Gogh painted is art. We can also agree that, say, Van Gogh was an artist, although he may also have been a lot of other things, as well, and not all of them good. Nor do we have to consider one particular activity "art," just because it generally resembles an activity that often is "art." House painting is not art, it's a craft. Picture painting is sometimes an art, and sometimes not. Given all that, why should anyone try to argue that photography, for example, is "art?" It's actually a lot of things -- a real estate dealer taking a snapshot of the outside of a house is not producing art, even if he or she is using the same instrument as Ansel Adams. She's like a house painter -- using instrument that can also be used to produce art, for something else. So...there's no point in getting hung up on global definitions, but at the same time, it's safe to say that there IS such a thing as "art" and there are such things as "artists."

I belong to a whole long stream of people, reaching back to the days of Egyptian empire, involving millions of knowledgeable individuals, who are or once were (when they were alive) willing to state whether or not something is art, and whether or not a particular individual is an artist. And largely, we agree with each other, though some of us are sometimes wrong. I don't have to negotiate with an Asian to get him/her to agree that van Gogh is an artist, nor does he have to negotiate with me to recognize Hiroshige. We look at the work, and accept it as art, and the creator as an artist. Just because some sophomore somewhere says *anything* can be art, does not require us to agree or even recognize that he said that. That's his problem, not ours. We don't need any further definition, other than what we generally (not universally) agree on. Likewise, just because somebody gets hung up on laying out definitions, we're not obligated to consider his problem of finding definitions, or even recognize that he has a problem.

Once you've said that, a whole lot of questions become discussable: Can you teach art? Is Alain practicing an art form? Is a guy who's playing Zippidy-Do-Dah on a Stradivarius making art? Is it possible to make art that eventually becomes not-art? It's a pretty interesting on-going discussion, for people who care to join it. 
 
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Isaac
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2013, 02:39:07 PM »
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So broadly, Isaac, we’re in agreement?

I suspect the devil is in the detail :-)

Do you notice how this topic (within this post) constantly finds itself in the process of conflating art and decoration?

Decoration is a common use for art.


... Once you've said that, a whole lot of questions become discussable... It's a pretty interesting on-going discussion, for people who care to join it.

Exactly.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 02:57:19 PM by Isaac » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2013, 03:30:12 PM »
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Its hard for me to take seriously ones pronouncements on creativity when they come from someone who has chosen to work in such a well worn genre and path and who's images are easily mistaken for a couple dozen other's who work and see virtually identically. Creativity is a unique individual process which results in a unique product or idea. Good, well crafted work is not necessarily creative, however successful or stunningly well executed.

A much better and informative read on this subject and the life of an artist is Art and Fear. Unlike the author we are discussing here who confuses cheerleading with insight, these authors IMHO really get it and have actual insight.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 04:10:35 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Isaac
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2013, 03:37:58 PM »
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... someone who has chosen to work in such a well worn genre ...

To be clear, are you referring to Alain Briot?
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2013, 04:02:53 PM »
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Yes I thought that was obvious. Isn't this thread about his article?

Just to be clear I like his work too just like I like the Muench"s work. It is very good but not creative IMO.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 04:11:21 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Ray
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2013, 10:30:04 PM »
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There are many common words in the Eglish language which have a broad range of meanings depending on context, opinion, tradition, authority and individual taste etc. Art is one such word. In order to determine what is 'art' one should therefore first precisely define the definition of art one is using. Without such a precise definition there can be no resolution to the question.

For example, is 40 degrees centigrade hot? If one is referring to the temperature of the weather, it is definitely hot. No-one would argue. However, if one is referring to the cup of coffee that the waitress has just brought to the table, 40 degrees is cold and one should complain.

If the weather is 20 degrees, is that hot or cold? If one is accustomed to living in the tropics, near the equator, it's definitely cold. However, if one is an Eskimo accustomed to arctic conditions, 20 degrees is a heat wave.

The broadest definition of art I can think of is, any 'thing' that has been created through the application of human skill. But even this broad definition would not include everything that some people might consider to be art. Is a beautiful flower, or a tree, a work of art created by God? From Shakespeare's Hamlet we have, "What a piece of work is man!"

John Camp makes the point that house painting is not art, it's a craft. Is this perhaps an artificial distinction? Is there not an element of snobbery in such a distinction?

For example, there's a recognized type of abstract art called Color Field, which is characterised by large fields of flat, solid color spread evenly on a canvas. Why shouldn't the interior walls of one's painted house be called 'art'? They are characterised by large fields of flat, solid color, are they not? They are also impressively large compared with a canvas hanging in a gallery.
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2013, 11:16:23 PM »
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On a related topic -

http://www.parrikar.org/essays/shakespeare-newton-beethoven/

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John Camp
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2013, 01:59:37 AM »
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There are many common words in the Eglish language which have a broad range of meanings depending on context, opinion, tradition, authority and individual taste etc. Art is one such word. In order to determine what is 'art' one should therefore first precisely define the definition of art one is using. Without such a precise definition there can be no resolution to the question.

For example, is 40 degrees centigrade hot? If one is referring to the temperature of the weather, it is definitely hot. No-one would argue. However, if one is referring to the cup of coffee that the waitress has just brought to the table, 40 degrees is cold and one should complain.

If the weather is 20 degrees, is that hot or cold? If one is accustomed to living in the tropics, near the equator, it's definitely cold. However, if one is an Eskimo accustomed to arctic conditions, 20 degrees is a heat wave.

The broadest definition of art I can think of is, any 'thing' that has been created through the application of human skill. But even this broad definition would not include everything that some people might consider to be art. Is a beautiful flower, or a tree, a work of art created by God? From Shakespeare's Hamlet we have, "What a piece of work is man!"

John Camp makes the point that house painting is not art, it's a craft. Is this perhaps an artificial distinction? Is there not an element of snobbery in such a distinction?

For example, there's a recognized type of abstract art called Color Field, which is characterised by large fields of flat, solid color spread evenly on a canvas. Why shouldn't the interior walls of one's painted house be called 'art'? They are characterised by large fields of flat, solid color, are they not? They are also impressively large compared with a canvas hanging in a gallery.


Ray, you answered your own question: "there's a **recognized** type of abstract art..."

I have my own questions for you: why do you insist on global definitions? Why do you say something can't be discussed until there is one? Why do you need a resolution to the question? Is there a question? If you want to argue that house painting is a fine art, well, god bless you, but I, and several million more pretty knowledgeable people, won't necessarily disagree, but will simply ignore the suggestion and go on our merry ways, talking about art, and, for those of us who are interested, trying now and then to make some. Is there a Mrs. Ray? Does she have a perfect global definition of Ray? I bet she doesn't (if there is a Mrs. Ray), but I bet that doesn't stop her from discussing the many and diverse aspects of Ray...

« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 02:01:47 AM by John Camp » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2013, 02:49:48 AM »
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His brother, P. Balakrishnan, divulges an excerpt of his moving letter to Chandra in the final years:
“…Another thing that I want to write to you is in regard to your “strange feeling”, as you put it, that all your books, all your hard work, when the books have been written and the work has been done, seem not to be yours, seem to be something extraneous, entities by themselves, separate and different from you. This is a mystic intimation, on the intellectual level, proclaimed by the Upanishads which in fact extends this sense of non-cognition even to one’s body, senses and mind. (Note that the mind is included in the list.) The Gita also teaches that once you have performed your work, you should have no further concern with it and that it belongs to God. I see that after all Hindu blood runs in you…”




This is amazing: though not Hindu, I still recognize the feeling of distancing of authorship for myself. Maybe it comes from some years of living there…

I look at some of my old images and I see them as themselves, with my own part in their existence as quite distant, their meaning wrapped more, now, in memory of what was going on at the time than of themselves and certainly hardly at all of their commercial genesis. Perhaps, in the end, it is all happy snaps and the only thing that survives is the ability of images to conjure up the past – they then become but triggers into something else, hopefully, of that place where we attain what we desire without really articulating.

Thank you for the link.

Rob C
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2013, 03:44:25 AM »
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Ray, you answered your own question: "there's a **recognized** type of abstract art..."

I have my own questions for you: why do you insist on global definitions? Why do you say something can't be discussed until there is one? Why do you need a resolution to the question? Is there a question? If you want to argue that house painting is a fine art, well, god bless you, but I, and several million more pretty knowledgeable people, won't necessarily disagree, but will simply ignore the suggestion and go on our merry ways, talking about art, and, for those of us who are interested, trying now and then to make some. Is there a Mrs. Ray? Does she have a perfect global definition of Ray? I bet she doesn't (if there is a Mrs. Ray), but I bet that doesn't stop her from discussing the many and diverse aspects of Ray...



John,
With all due respect, I think you might have missed my point. My point is that discussions of this nature, whether about art, esthetics, truth, beauty, etc, serve little purpose unless they are referenced to some precise definition of the central concept behind the specific word being used.

For example, in your post you remark, "If you want to argue that house painting is a fine art, well, god bless you.....".  Now the fact is, I never mentioned the term 'fine art'. Fine art is another level of distinction. All fine art is art, but all art is not necessarily 'fine art'.

What I'm proposing is that one begin with an all-inclusive definition of what art actually is, then progress to various, precisely defined categories of art that currently exist, so that, when we ask the question 'is this art?', we can say yes or no, according to my global definition, then progress to discussions of what type of art it may be.

For example, the interior walls of a house, painted in a flat, solid color, could not by any stretch of the imagination be considered Fine Art or High Art, but they could be considered as a type abstract Color Field art. In fact, I've just given myself an interesting idea. When I return from my travels, I might paint each of the walls of my living room a different color, and the ceiling yet another color.  Grin

Now you ask, 'Is there a perfect global definition of Ray?' Well, nothing's perfect, I'm sure you'd agree, but I would suggest there is a pretty good global definition of me. I'm Homo Sapiens Sapiens, that is, a modern man as opposed to our ancestors who were merely Homo Sapiens.

However, one could discuss which category I belong to. Some folks consider I'm rather primitive.  Grin


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