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  #101  
Old 06-16-2008, 05:59 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

My wife is a Montessori elementary teacher and so I get to see 1st through 6th grade art, including on the occasions when I teach an art class there. Some of the work is so precious and full of pure heart and joy that it could not fail to move you. Isn't that a large part of what art is about?

As for technical skills, that has a lot to do with how they are taught. Here is a picture from a summer class that I taught, teaching bas-relief using ancient Greek and Roman coins as models. As you can see, they respond well to solid instruction and most did amazing work.

One of my favorites was done by a first-grader, of a tetradrachm from Messana, Sicily, about 440 BC, depicting a leaping hare, with a smaller dolphin underneath. I have a plaster cast of her work at home. She did not get all the perfect edges and form of the Sicilian engravers, but close enough to communicate the concept and with the expression of an innocent heart that brings a smile to the face.

There is so much that falls short of being as moving as the work of children, which we are willing to call art. I think that "Children's Art" is another category, like primative art, pop art, ( or with the current trends, poop art ) that is a broad and inclusive term, but does in fact contain within it some true art.
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  #102  
Old 06-16-2008, 09:52 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

My daughter, 4, can do a hundred drawings before breakfast - she works with an intensity, ferocity and fever that I myself could never muster...and believe me, I try. Art, as all of us would define it, is probably not being produced; but I'll tell you this...Its definitely not craft. From one drawing to the next there is a disconected "blending" of the action. Not a single plan or prediction; color choices, subject (when there is one) and line density all seem immaculately directed yet absolutely random. The hour is the art not any of the stack of papers...she finally steps away, relieved, with a sigh and a "whew, glad thats over" kind of dizzy wander. The oatmeal , berries and oj get consumed voraciously. Early childhood is perhaps the only time that ALL humans use Art to accomplish consistent epiphanies and advancings. In my house the three of us (son, daughter, myself) are all trying to out-Art each other everyday. The little girl is killing us right now - she has by far the most "free" time. Call it what you want, but whatever an inspired child is doing when they are creating, it is absolutely the BEST thing a human can be doing. Its all downhill thereafter, aside from some retrieval of this that might come later by great labor and by great artistic maturity.
Wise-cracking little inside-joke snippets about current events or non-events are not art nor craft...but the galleries are full of them.

Last edited by evaldart : 06-17-2008 at 08:18 AM.
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  #103  
Old 06-16-2008, 11:26 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

The intensity and discovery you speak of are what I was missing in Glenn's photos from the Montessori class. I wondered if they got to have any fun when they were done with the assignment. Sorry Glenn.
Maybe you just had to be there for the whole presentation to get geeked-- or greeked about it.
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  #104  
Old 06-17-2008, 08:30 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Almost everything that gets jammed into our heads after earlt childhood, designed to make us proper "functional" members of society, leads us away from art. The science, religion, history, reading, writing, rithmatic...ethics, philosophy, CULTURE...none of this makes Art relevent. Actually, quite the opposite is true...the teeny-weeny amount of art that manages to occur, in spite of all this, yes clutter, is what makes all the above relevent. Without some occasional creative twists, culture would just be a drawn-out, self destructing automaton.
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  #105  
Old 06-17-2008, 09:11 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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The intensity and discovery you speak of are what I was missing in Glenn's photos from the Montessori class. I wondered if they got to have any fun when they were done with the assignment. Sorry Glenn.
Maybe you just had to be there for the whole presentation to get geeked-- or greeked about it.
Every day I started the class with a short talk about some aspect of Greek culture or art. After a couple of minutes of this, someone would always raise their hand and ask, "Can we go to work now?"

Maybe you eyes are trained to see fun as overexhuberent, bouncing, and distracted. These kids were focused with intensity and desire, and loved it. Perhaps my hovering over with a camera changed the mood in the photo slightly.

Some of the class members said after this class that they wanted to be sculptors when they grow up. Before this class, the teachers thought that the littlest ones would not be able to maintain interest on one project like this over 2 weeks, and suggested I plan accordingly. The youngest ones did some of the best work.

I challenged them with a project that would be difficult for adults, and they loved having that challenge. One boy who in a class prior to mine I had marked as a trouble maker (perhaps his class disruptions would have looked like your idea of fun) became in my class the best student. In fact, he was so on top of the work that he would also help other students with their questions when I couldn't get to everyone at once.

I also took them outside for the last 1/2 hour each day and played soccer with them. that was fun, too!

Children love a challenge, and if their school does not challenge them they become bored and restless and get diagnosed as having ADD of ADHD and given drugs.

Don't worry about their having fun. They can figure that out for themselves. Give them something worth doing, problems worth solving, skills to help solve the problems, and then sit back and marvel at what they can accomplish given the chance.

And evaldart, you are wrong about those elements of culture leading kids away from art. It is HOW those elements of culture are presented. If it is a bunch of names, dates, and facts, then yes it is a problem. But if the stories and reasons behind such things are presented, along with demonstrations, activities, and practical problem-solving, in other words having the child become involved in doing rather than in just sitting and absorbing information, then it is highly useful and relevent.

You may want to learn more about the genius of Maria Montessori and how her methods were derived from observing how children learn, how the mind works, and setting up learning environmments entirely on that basis, as opposed to designing such around " what we think they need to know", or worse today, what ideologies we want them to parrot rather than what essential skills they need to learn in order to thrive in the world.
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  #106  
Old 06-17-2008, 09:23 AM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Glenn.
My daughter did go to a montessori preschool. I appreciate the introduction of all sorts of things that may capture a child's interest. What I wasn't seeing here was the interaction that made it a vibrant experience for them. The photo doesn't capture that. Fun comes in all forms. Sometimes it's the story that goes with the activity that makes all the difference. My daughter's fascination with all things Egyptian when she was five was proof of that.
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  #107  
Old 06-17-2008, 09:28 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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Almost everything that gets jammed into our heads after earlt childhood, designed to make us proper "functional" members of society, leads us away from art. The science, religion, history, reading, writing, rithmatic...ethics, philosophy, CULTURE...none of this makes Art relevent. Actually, quite the opposite is true...the teeny-weeny amount of art that manages to occur, in spite of all this, yes clutter, is what makes all the above relevent. Without some occasional creative twists, culture would just be a drawn-out, self destructing automaton.
Respectfully - I couldn't disagree more (as you probably expected). It is "the science, religion, history, reading, writing, rithmatic...ethics, philosophy, CULTURE" that gives context to Art. Without it you have - at best - Craft.

I was probably a bit too hard on the kiddies earlier. I too have taught children art and also have a kid who adores mimicking the processes of Art. Unfortunately I am a bit bitter due to the considerable amount of time I must spend every semester "un-teaching" college students that every effort they make is not instantly Art just because it "felt right", because their mother said that they had talent or because "all art is completely subjective".

I have no problem using art and crafts or Art processes to teach children, but I never confuse what they do with the Art (capital A) of the profession.

I can't be the only one who gets riled every time I see a gallery hosting a children's art show? (Especially those ridiculous ones where they give children cameras and ask them to document their lives! Interesting - perhaps...but Art - NO WAY.) Please lets stop dumbing down Art for the public. Why don't we teach children that Art is complex and difficult and worth all the sacrifices required to learn it and gain talent?
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  #108  
Old 06-17-2008, 09:47 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Glenn, my sister-in-law is a Montiserri teacher and I do indeed find their methods agreeable as early learning goes. And of course my claims that Culture , in general, is a nemesis to Art...well, by now you know my methods of overstatement during grand proclamation are somewhat illustrative - its tough to make your point, bound by words, without utilizing extremes, grandoisities and outright textual fabrications.. But we must note that most of our learning, altogether, is designed to promote "civilization", "society" and all the wrong kinds of individual prosperity. We are taught to value the art that fits onto buildings, into museums, and within ever-current pseudo-iconclastic spectacles. When all along, art is actually there for the individual to serve himself, personally, intimately and exclusively...Its actually the only damn thing we, of heightened consciousness, have that is really our own. But we are constantly distracted from this - so it usually rots-away inside, unexplored. Thank God some people cannot suppress it - or the world would be an ant farm or a bee-hive...bustling with procreating arms, legs and noggins. Sheeesh, what a nightmare.
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  #109  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:10 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Hi, Kids do the BEST art because they're uninhibited about their relation to the world and their expression of it and life in general. They start to get inhibited like adults are at about the age of 8-10 and their art changes or they give it up altogether.
You can't and shouldn't teach art to young children as you're imposing those inhibited adult ideas on kids that are still uninhibited and free of all our adult baggage. Let them be kids.
If they really like art, they won't give it up or will come back to it in their early teens and that's when they'll need art instruction.
What this has to do with the art/craft debate is beyond me and I still stand by my earlier assertion that art makes you think and feel and craft is something you eat your spaghetti off of. It's all about intent.
Have a great day,
Jeff
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  #110  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:26 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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I can't be the only one who gets riled every time I see a gallery hosting a children's art show? (Especially those ridiculous ones where they give children cameras and ask them to document their lives! Interesting - perhaps...but Art - NO WAY.) Please lets stop dumbing down Art for the public. Why don't we teach children that Art is complex and difficult and worth all the sacrifices required to learn it and gain talent?
Yeah, that'll encourage them... How about pique their interest, give them a taste, give them more information & techniques & those that hang around will gain skills if not talent? Or you could start off with boring them to tears so that being an accountant seems fun by comparison (even if they aren't into math games). Or give them nothing, let them run wild & they'll figure out what they like around their fifth year of college & change their major - again.
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  #111  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:36 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

I'm talking about the difference between art and Art. Lots of kids play doctor but you wouldn't let one operate on you! Kids making art is wonderful on every level - adults pitching (exploiting) the efforts of children as Art verges on being downright ignorant.

Sure let kids be kids, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be introduced to the complexities of Art beyond self-gratification.
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  #112  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:42 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

if you have to be taught art to learn it and gain talent to be a professional would it not be just a craft then
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  #113  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:47 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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if you have to be taught art to learn it and gain talent to be a professional would it not be just a craft then
I don't see why that would be the case. Perhaps you could elaborate.
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  #114  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:58 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Cheese, Art does not need a context. Context imposes the things that occur outside the art upon it. Why the hell does the "place", be it temporal, geographical or architectural, have to be part of the Art. A uniquily creative venture will easily overwhelm the things going on around it - whether its opulence, war, starvation or Frank Gehry. Lets just let it do so. Culture is assessed and interpreted by the Art that escaped in a given period/place. If that Art is somehow attached to triflings that characterized the said period...so what...its meaningless fodder for paper-writing. The Art happens in the interest of a slow burgeoning of individual perseverence...it is a selective contagion - willing to permit enlightenment to those with the ability to cut-loose their learned and accumulated desire for participation.

Regarding the kiddies - "complexities" are just wonder-killers; tediums that interfere with intuition. The perception of an elongated process, the nurtured respect of that process, and performing it "correctly" is nothing but the slow way of getting things done. Human beings, by evolution, may not be getting smarter, but they are becoming more self-aware. This turning-inward for sustainance will result in more and more Art - and the complexities, by God, will get easier because of it. I have taught kids from 4 to 40, pre-school and MFA...and I have witnessed , over and over, Self-Confidence and inner fortitude as the greatest wellspring of creative propulsion. As the teacher, you SHOW them some tricks (craftiness, if you must) keep the blather down and a few will excel - usually by their own doing. Most of them will end up as mere participants anyway though...Oh, well.

Don't worry, nobody really thinks the kiddie art shows are real "art". So we wont actually be competing against our kids.
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  #115  
Old 06-17-2008, 11:02 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Cheesepaws

I'm not sure I understand your comment "...complexities of Art beyond self-gratification." All the art I do and everything I've learned about art is for self-gratification.
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  #116  
Old 06-17-2008, 11:22 AM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

It seems that almost all of the art that I love has some cultural context to it, and the art that I do not respect, let alone like, looks as though its main purpose was self-gratification, including the gratification of setting out to create a stir or controversey and watching the reaction as a spectator sport.

Whereas evaldart appears to view cultural context as stifling, the art that I appreciate takes the context as a starting point of an idea, and then transcends the context to create something timeless that speaks to all ages.
I believe that such art is an active, creative participant in creating the culture, not merely responding to it.

On the children's art topic, I should add that in addition to teaching bas-relief sculpture, I also had great success introducing something I did in junior high, BLOW CARS! You fold a sheet of paper in such a way as to end up with a triangular front, an airfoil on the back, you colorfully decorate it with eyes on the triangular hood of the car, passengers in the middle, racing stripes, license plate, exhaust pipes, etc, and then you race them across a table by blowing from the back of the airfoil.
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  #117  
Old 06-17-2008, 12:03 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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I don't see why that would be the case. Perhaps you could elaborate.
what i mean is you have to be taught plumbing or drywall taping or sewing or if you want to be a surgeon you have to learn your craft or trade. but i had hoped that to be an artist it didnt require anything more than a true passion and god given talent that cant be taught or bought in any school or any where eles. and if it can be taught in a school setting by some one eles than it would seem to me to be more like a trade or craft. i didnt go to art school and when i read that to really be making art some think that you have to be educated and that your work has to be viewed to be validated and all this other stuff. it is a real downer for me. i will never be able to go to art school and i think even if i could it would just hamper what i love to do. which i dont know what it is like i said i had hoped that it was art but maybe not. i not going to pretend that i could spar with you with words because i would get my ass kicked by an educated well with words person like yourself. and what i say here i know might just be the ramblings of someone who doesnt really have a clue but i am just being honest about what i think.
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  #118  
Old 06-17-2008, 12:44 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Go for it Chris. Your passion wiil fuel your explorations and conversations, and you will be unschooled no longer. There's more than one way to skin a horse as they say. Heck with the rest of the folk, their way is not the only way. Your personal approach will determine the art or craft in the end.
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  #119  
Old 06-17-2008, 12:53 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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but i had hoped that to be an artist it didnt require anything more than a true passion and god given talent that cant be taught or bought in any school or any where eles.
Hmmm.

It’s like relationships. When you first meet someone who you are really attracted to you do the dance of infatuation. EVERYTHING is exciting and unknown. You cry and laugh and screw and talk about the impossible unknowns of an imagined future. IT IS FANTASTC!!!

But infatuation is NOT love. Love in a lasting partnership endures hardships and requires tireless work. Why? Because no one person is static. Changes in personal growth (both psychological and physical) as well as shared finances, parenthood, career, and extended family require endless maintenance. Couples in a relationship of depth work in tandem for the betterment of something other than just personal gratification. It can be impossibly grueling. But, if you strike that balance and endure the work - then the rewards are even MORE FANTASTIC …The tears are MORE HEARTFELT, the laughter is from DEEPER in your belly, the screwing is MORE SATIFYING and the once imagined conversations about a future are now excitingly tangible.

Art making is a relationship. You can remain infatuated with object making and be quite happy. I admit…it is all romantic and exciting. You can also opt to endure a bit of hardship – to study art history, to care about the context of your work, to ceaselessly research new materials, new processes, and new artists, to acknowledge that there is a business side to the profession and to serve those needs as well as the call of the studio. Then, perhaps, you will find something else - something potentially more rich and rewarding than a primal response to one’s interest and talent - something more than infatuation.

It requires faith to push through the hard work and dedication – and there are still no guarantees that you will find new answers or be granted any reward. But how many things of value in this world do not require some sacrifice?

With regard to training itself as a marker of "craft" rather than art - well, I simply continue to disagree. Training is labor and labor is growth. Growth and Art seem like good companions to me.

PS: Not all the answers are in art school but, out of curiosity, why can’t you go to one?
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  #120  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:22 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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PS: Not all the answers are in art school but, out of curiosity, why can’t you go to one?
i wish i could and this is gonna sound like a wanting of pity or sympathy but its just my situation. i am a single father to a 16 year old son who needs me his mother just passed away last october. and i suffer from a psycotic disorder that seems to flar up in the kind of interpersonal situations that would be required to attend school i think of this forum as kind of my schooling and think i am learning a lot because of it
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  #121  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:55 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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i wish i could and this is gonna sound like a wanting of pity or sympathy but its just my situation.
Not at all. Sounds like you are doing what we all hope we will have the strength to in the face of adversity...keep going.

Well done. Sorry for your loss.

This forum is a fantastic resource…as are books, videos, and those old farts in town who still know how to actually do things. Use what you got.
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  #122  
Old 06-17-2008, 02:09 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

Cheese and Grommet are right Chris, there are many ways to tap into the rescources within that drive creative activity - as there are many ways to have them coaxed out of you by other people, other art and other life experiences. I will always suggest artschool - its nice to be in a man-made creative environment , or pool, where the amount of sharks eating away at your self-indulgences are chlorinated away for a good portion of your day (unless, of course, you get hungry teachers). Just remember that when you study - it is your eyes doing the work, articulating and filtering - taking what you need and shitcanning everything else. What stays and what goes,is your decision.

I think this forum is a grand place...I learn stuff here everyday.
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  #123  
Old 06-17-2008, 09:51 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

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adults pitching (exploiting) the efforts of children as Art verges on being downright ignorant.
Well of course it is, but it lays the foundation for Evaldart's aliens to land on Earth and say the same thing about our very best "Art".

What I'm interested in is asking questions about preconcieved notions and in that context it's fair to introduce and or exploit kids. No real kids were hurt in this experiment..

I agree completely with you that in a perfect world we all agree as art historians and as a culture what is and isn't art with the big capitol letter, but that in itself is a wishful notion I think. Let me pick on hollywood for a moment, do you think, looking through a cultural lense that hollywood is a success for anything other than ripping us off en masse? (generally speaking) I feel the same way about "Art" as it is being portrayed today. Dismiss me if you wish, but I just don't get this:

http://images.artnet.com/images_US/m...2-12-05-13.jpg

It's bi-curious george meets eight is enough (in the pejorative sense) and it most certainly makes me think and feel and there is definately intent, but that intent is what kills the piece.
I don't think "Art" is being qualified through a cultural lense here, I think it is being calculated and passed out in the guise of art by some who wish to un-teach us.

Surely Art has some measure of intrinsic value left to offer in the "good old boy" sense, otherwise well, the oven's on and nothing's cooking.

P.S., Please don't get the impression I'm one of those guys who is down on teachers or thinks they're all elitist or can teach, but can't do and all of that crap, nothing could be further from the truth..
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  #124  
Old 06-17-2008, 10:25 PM
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

as/re art and craft --- or art vs craft;
there is no difference
and the difference is as broad as the sun and the moon and the stars

i've heard/read
art is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration
and
1% talent and 99% hard work(if you ain't got the talent...)

just like the nature vs nurture argument--nature sets the limits, nurture allows maximization of potential within those limits

if there's an easy way out, I ain't met anyone who's found it

my own experience, has more to do with training and coaxing the hands and body to achieve that which the mind has conceived

one potentially valid difference is that masters of craft plan the job to work within the extant tool kit
while masters of the art may create a new tool kit to achieve their visions

set a goal and work tirelessly to bring forth that which you love and want to share... strive and struggle plan and replan
but
never underestimate the power of dumb luck to see you safely home when planning and intellect fail
then remember

it's only in the last place you look
if you remember to quit looking when you've found it
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  #125  
Old 06-18-2008, 01:04 AM
RANDOLPH TORRES RANDOLPH TORRES is offline
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Re: Difference between Art and Craft - A Craftsman's Take

MANY ARTISTS PLACE THEIR OWN RESTRAINTS ON THE DEFINITION OF ART AND SET CRAFT BELOW THEM. TO DO THAT ONLY CRIPPLES THE DEFINITION. ART AND CRAFT ARE LIKE TWO CIRCLES OVERLAPING, THE SIZE OF THE OVERLAP IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER. IF YOU ARE NOT A CRAFTY ARTIST THEN THE WORK THAT MUST BE DONE COMES HARDER. IF YOU ARE NOT DAILY COMPILING NEW SKILLS TO YOUR CRAFT (ART) THEN WHAT MUST BE DONE COMES HARDER. NOW WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER PERSONS VIEW, CUSTOMER, JURY, CONSULTANT, GALLERY CURATOR. MANY PEOPLE WOULD TAG MY PIECES AS A CRAFT IF THEY ONLY SAW IMAGES. BUT IF THEY WACHED ME CREATE THESE PIECES THEY WOULD MOST DEFINATELY CALL THEM SCULPTURES. THAT IS THE REASON I HESITATE TO POST IMAGES. I HAVE ONLY RECENTLY EMERGED AND FOUR VERY GOOD GALLERIES WOULD LIKE TO SHOW MY PIECES ONE IN SAN FRANCISCO. SOME TIMES YOUR CRAFTINESS WILL TAKE YOU ON A GREAT ADVENTURE AND THE JOURNEY DEFINES YOUR WORK.
RANDOLPH@COOPEREDPATTERNS

MANY EXCELLENT POINTS OF VIEW HAVE COME OF THIS THREAD, ITS BEEN GOOD READING.

Last edited by RANDOLPH TORRES : 06-18-2008 at 06:33 AM.
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