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  #1  
Old 11-04-2006, 03:54 PM
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Cantab Cantab is offline
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The Role of the Artist

A quotation -
"He was an artist when he saw fire, even a match head: an instinct in him acknowledged its elemental status. He was an artist when he saw society: it never crossed his mind that it had to be like this, had any right, had any business being like this. A car in the street. Why? Why cars? This is what an artist has to be: harassed to the point of insanity or stupification by first principles." Martin Amis, in The Information

I feel something for this point of view. How do others see the role of the artist?

Last edited by Cantab : 11-05-2006 at 07:17 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2006, 07:35 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Reminds me of Loren Eisley. Someone who sees infinity in every moment.
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2006, 07:47 PM
unigami unigami is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantab
A quotation -
This is what an artist has to be: harassed to the point of insanity or stupification by first principles."
Excellent writing, but I don't agree that this is what an artist "has to be". There are just as many artists that don't fit this profile as there are artists that do.
I don't think it is possible to make a generalized statement about what it takes to be an artist or where the creative spirit and motivation comes from.

However, moving beyond the point of inspiration, I think the role of the artist is quite simply one of being a "problem solver"!

-unigami
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2006, 09:35 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I'm stimulated. The "first principles" could use elaboration and that could be interesting. "Harassed" also causes pause, but I don't feel like going into that now. "Role" almost forces a generalized statement and brings into question that pesky definition of the activity that is involved with the end results of creativity. In the final analysis, I think, it, the role, has to do with the probing of simultaneous realities that are hidden and suppressed by the demands of normality. Perhaps further thought may reveal phenomenlogy as under pinning many of the efforts of current "problem solvers", or what I prefer to call "explorers", as I think the "problems" are sometimes academically, as opposed to aesthetically emphasized by the adopted stance.

I hope this makes sense as I keep getting interrupted by the "problems" of family members so my thought flow is not as continuous as I'd like. So what the hell, we can clarify matters later.

jOe~
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2006, 09:53 PM
cmustard cmustard is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Sounds a little melodramatic.
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2006, 10:37 PM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I agree with unigami. This statement paints a picture of artists(no pun intended) as people with a crushing frustration with thier world.
i dont feel at odds with my surroundings. I don't consider my art an act of rebellion or the result of any considerable anguish or 'harassment'. I think that the inspiration for art can have as many variations as there are people.
I find that when peices of art are done for political reasons or to be satirical, the art's value is not so much in the shapes as it is in the idea behind them (see the work in the thread "god bless america"). Not to say that art can't be beautiful as well as political, but generally I find that art is more visually pleasing when it is created just for the beauty of the shapes and not to make a statement.
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2006, 10:41 PM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

jOE- you used so many big and general words I honestly don't know what you said. in fact it's so general I'm not sure you said anything. I'd love for you to explain if you get the chance.

Last edited by cooljamesx1 : 11-05-2006 at 12:13 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-04-2006, 10:57 PM
cmustard cmustard is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Cooljames, I agree with you. Purely visual statments are very powerful on there own. In my opinion, the attempt to intergrade a literal message lessens the visual impact.
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2006, 12:28 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I agree with about all that has been said as reply on this thread so far, especially cooljamesx1, although I thought that I mostly understood what jOe was trying to say.

The original quote posted by Cantab could just as easily describe an inventor as an artist. I highly disagree with the part of the quote that says, "..this is what an artist has to be..." I may have an idea of what makes an artist, but I sure as heck do not expect every other artist to conform to my ideas, even if it were possible.

I think the best way to describe the role of an artist is to demonstrate by being one rather than creating theories about them. Each of us has a unique set of gifts, perceptions, temperment, background, etc. makes it tough to generalize.

GlennT
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2006, 11:00 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
generally I find that art is more visually pleasing when it is created just for the beauty of the shapes and not to make a statement.
Quote:
Cooljames, I agree with you. Purely visual statments are very powerful on there own.
Hmm, thank you very much. That really elevates the status of my current avatar, the coat hanger. Is it art yet? Its simple and visual. (LOL) For me, nothing is purely visual. I can't disconnect my other senses, not to mention my memory of antecedents, associative memories, my thoughts. " Purely visual"...I'd suggest that you re-think that statement, but then that would require contradicting your premises.

jOe~
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2006, 11:20 AM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I guess I see where you're going joe. I suppose that art is always connected in some way to the artist's background. If even subconsciously, every peice of art makes some kind of statement, even if it is just about the artist. maybe we need to more specifically define what "making a statement" is, at least in these context. I guess I just wasn't using the right words. I think cmustard best defined what I ment. From now on instead of "making a statement" let's say "making a 'literal message'".

I sometimes see some peice of art making a literal message and I figure it would have been more clear to just write the message down. other literal message art is like political cartoons; the value of a political cartoon is in the idea of the cartoon, and does not focus on the quality of the drawing.

I'm sure that somebody somewhere likes the IDEA of the work in the thread "god bless america" enough that they would hang it in their house, but I think it would be hard to find someone who likes it just because they think it's pretty.

disclaimer: of course, these are not a universal statements, and there are likely some beautiful peices of sculpture out there that also carry a literal message
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2006, 11:35 AM
cmustard cmustard is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Joe, I never said that purley visual was disconnected with feelings and emotions. If you understand that lines, shapes, forms, color come together in compositions that may exude feeling.

Just as notes in music without lyrics, can cause certian feelings to stir. My point was, when literal meanings are applied to an object the power of the object is diminished/limited. Why do we need words to reinforce what we say visually....unless visually it has not been said.
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2006, 12:02 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
My point was, when literal meanings are applied to an object the power of the object is diminished/limited.
Amen. Nothing is literal. Not meanings, not objects. More power to the coat hangers(just kidding).

jOe~
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  #14  
Old 11-11-2006, 10:48 PM
Todd Harry Lane Todd Harry Lane is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I think that the role of an artist is to observe, reflect, interpret and depict.

http://www.toddlaneart.com
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  #15  
Old 11-12-2006, 04:18 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Often when I do a piece that I feel is done very well I will expect a remark like "I can do that." from someone who it is probably way beyond the ability to think up something that is complete yet so simple. Most things that are very well done look like they would be simple to do. Actually sometimes they are very simple to build but that isn't the point.

Glenn, who is not my arch enemy, and if we were neighbors would probably be friends as long as we didn't talk politics, makes some fairly complicated sculptures with extremly simple meanings. While making something that nobody understands might be a goal it isn't one I think is admirable. Making something that has no meaning, yet can mean everything (or anything) is a bit different.

My wife took something of mine to her office and most people would ask what it was. It is a sculpture. Of what? Of wood. Is it a bunny? If you want it is. Is it a duck? For you it is a duck. For me it is a nicely carved piece of wood my husband did. Well what does it mean? For you it is a duck. Jenny likes it better as a rabbit, but I know it is just a hunk of a tree that was cut down a few years ago on the corner that my husband carved into this shape which doesn't mean a thing.

Jeff, a few moths ago you posted pics of 3 sculptures you constructed and one of them, to me, looked humanistic and I wanted to think of it as a shaman. I don't have a clue and really don't give a damn about what your thoughts were when you drew it up, cut the pieces out, welded, ground it down or any of that. For all I know and don't care you could have been thinking about the eels in the Rio Grande. Sculpture should have an impact that causes a reaction or it is a failed piece of art. That can be positive or negative and hopefully you planned it that way but unless you are making things that are larger than trees, cliffs, waterfalls and large buildings for the most part if you can't get across something in a glance you have failed. If you can catch attention and get some thought into what you have done it is a success.

Another thing I want to stress is that if you/me/they/us make something that only has appeal to other artists and those who teach about art, but can't quite make it on just outright appeal then that is not quite complete failure but pretty close to it. Anything that has no meaning to most who view it has almost no meaning. Making art for an elite better have some real beauty to it because the urinal has already been done, it only works once and if Duchamp really got a good paycheck out of that one it was because he had a patron.

I can get the idea of urine and feces being used in art where it was sure to get press as a statement against the way the monies from NEA were going to be used, but it was short lived and of no real import. Any art that is made to last generations really needs to be easy to get because perspectives change. A naked body will always be understood as long as we look like we do now. Whether or not women who view David really admire and understand Michelangelo's work and expertise they will for the most part like his ass, and laugh at his little dick. I doubt they will be thinking about war, death in the desert, How many men Goliath killed, etc. I kind of doubt Mickey was either. From looking at the sculptures of his women I think he much prefered to sculpt the tails of young men. Maybe a bit OT there but not much. The message was simple, he liked his subject and a few hundred years later people still love to look at it.

We are basically past the age where subjects and symbols (like the pregnant bride in the wedding portrait) really mean much in art except for those who have studied it. I studied it and quickly forgot it. Hidden depths and meanings might be fine in painting but I feel that sculpture needs to be a straight forward statement and without ambiguity. That doesn't mean that everyone should get the same thing out of it, but what ever they do get, it shouldn't be complicated. And that doesn't mean it can't be complex, but we basically only get a moment or two to catch someone's attention and hopefully their imagination. It better be good and it needs to be easily understood.

Art is a language and if you can't communicate then something is probably wrong with your message.

Thatch
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  #16  
Old 11-12-2006, 10:57 AM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Hi Thatch, Glad to hear that you and GlennT are buddies now, wasn't sure for a few posts back there.
I'm not talking about having a goal of making something that no one understands.
What I am talking about is not taking you or any other human being and their level of understanding (or lack of) into account when making MY WORK!
Have a great day,
Jeff
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  #17  
Old 11-12-2006, 07:19 PM
Todd Harry Lane Todd Harry Lane is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I greatly appreciate and respect abstract art if the artist can draw *first.*

*Seeing* is the foudation of all (but especially) fine art. Once an artist understands how to see, he/she can translate that onto paper and from there can paint, sculpt ect.

I find it disrespectful to art in general when someone decides that they are going to become a painter/sculptor without learning the fundamentals of drawing. It belittles what we do.

As for the role of art and it's societal significance; I think that that is not something for an artist to be concerned with whatsoever.

Popular culture and people are inherently fickle. But if we do quality work, it will stand the test of time.
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  #18  
Old 11-12-2006, 08:26 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
I greatly appreciate and respect abstract art if the artist can draw *first.*
Quote:
*Seeing* is the foudation of all (but especially) fine art.
Quote:
find it disrespectful to art in general when someone decides that they are going to become a painter/sculptor without learning the fundamentals of drawing. It belittles what we do.
Who's to judge drawing ability? What is the proper way to respect art? What others do
belittles what you do? What defines fine art? Put your feet on the ground and get real man!

jOe~
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Old 11-12-2006, 08:51 PM
Todd Harry Lane Todd Harry Lane is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
Originally Posted by jOe~
Who's to judge drawing ability? What is the proper way to respect art? What others do
belittles what you do? What defines fine art? Put your feet on the ground and get real man!

jOe~
Well, if we're talking about fine art i.e. realism and representing the human, animal or any other form as they *actually* are, you can tell with some training if an artist has an understanding of anatomy, proportion, perspective etc. There are fundamental rules that you can apply.

In my opinion, you respect art by learning its foundations, to which drawing is an essential part.

You wouldn't decide on a whim to become a chemist without realizing that you must first have a basic understanding of science.

What's more annoying than hearing a famous actor or musician say "I think I'm going to become a painter." It makes me want to wretch.

Picasso made some wild paintings and sculptures, but the man knew how to draw *before* he started messing around with cubism.

If you don't know how to see and you don't know how to draw but you want to call yourself a "sculptor," nobody can stop you. But I think that you are deluding yourself....

You mentioned in your profile, JOe~, that your biggest "art orgasm" came from a Henry Moore exhibit in the 70's.... Henry Moore could *draw.*

http://www.toddlaneart.com

Last edited by Todd Harry Lane : 11-13-2006 at 09:33 AM.
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  #20  
Old 11-13-2006, 10:31 AM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Hi Todd, I have been espousing the taking of life drawing classes as THE only way for someone to learn how to SEE as an artist sees for some time now. AND, I've been taken to task for my views. I'm amazed at how many sculptors on this site haven't done any life drawing, put the practice of drawing down and consider it unnecessary to becoming a sculptor. I've checked out a few web sites of these people and without naming names, it's quite obvious from the works pictured on their sites that they don't know how to SEE.
Hi Joe~, We're not talking (at least I'm not) about learning to draw as well as Michelangelo. But of learning to draw as a TOOL to learn how to see. So that you KNOW when something doesn't work, so that you can SEE and if necessary CORRECT things that the average person wouldn't even notice.
I make non-obj welded steel sculpture yet I find those skills I learned in life drawing class absolutely essential to my work.
Have a great day,
Jeff
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