Sunday, May 12, 2013

Some Ranting about Art and Stuff

There's something that clearly needs to be explained to the world at large, and though I may not be the very most qualified to explain it, I'm going to give it a shot. This is me speaking for the art community, internet. Feel free to weigh in, because I have like ten comments on my sixty or whatever posts, and it's mildly discouraging.

Not that I actually write here for you. It's all about me, boys and girls. Unashamed, self-centered amusement.

So here's the thing: When I draw (or really produce any kind of art) in a public setting, I tend to get one of two responses.

1) "Oh, that's really good. I could never do that!"
2) "I wish I could do that. Show me."

While I appreciate the compliments, every artist ever is sick of hearing that no one can do what they do. Yes, art can be an incredibly personal process, blah blah blah. But here's the thing. boys and girls. Ready? It's a revolutionary thought.

Art is a skill. It's learned behavior and thinking that requires discipline, thought, and observation. If someone is good, they put in that time and effort to learn to put what they had in their heads on paper.

Michelangelo supposedly said something akin to, "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful."

All of the techniques and subjects that you see artists using are the result of practice, innovation, and effort. And more practice, and then refining and evolving from there. And you could learn to do it too. You just have to be willing to put in the years.

Gotta pay your dues to sing the blues, and all those other cliche aphorisms having to do with getting off your lazy, whiny butt and putting in the work to do something.

You don't look at a car and go, "wow, the person who made this must be really talented!" That would be idiotic. All the things that go into a car require specific skill sets to design, build, and maintain. It's not some magical zap from the gods that gives someone the ability to do something. Yeah, there's a certain amount of previous inclination that can give someone a headstart and pleasure in the thinking that goes with those skills, but not everyone who has them goes into those disciplines, and not everyone who doesn't  have them initially can't learn.

And now to my other point. I keep calling art a skill and a discipline, and it is. My 3D Design teacher, the head of the Art Department at the college, would go on rants about the kind of crap people said to her about art majors.

Art isn't a real area of study. You're just playing in there.

Art doesn't require any real academic work or problem solving.

Art is all about execution and not content.

Yes, that is ALL total crap. Yes, there is art for fun and art without deeper meaning, etc, and that's fine and dandy, but a lot of art that does qualify as legit Fine Art gets discounted often because of the ignorance that a lot of people maintain. You don't know how often people go up to artists and go, "hey, you should draw me a picture of ______" for free, whether or not it interests you, because they have no idea what kind of time, money, energy, and thought often goes into art.

And problem solving? Are you serious? Art, especially sculpture is LARGELY problem solving and creative thinking. you don't call physics just screwing around, and I'm fairly sure they're just making up stuff now.

I had someone the other day ask me, just offhand, to teach them to draw. Like it was nothing. It sucks having something you've put years into minimalized like that. I started really working on drawing well and accurately when I was like nine or ten. And I'm not even that good yet.

I love showing people techniques and explaining art to them, but people treat it like it's an overnight thing that's just easy, and that's so inaccurate it causes me to write excessively long posts and rant obnoxiously. Art is something that, if you want to make a career or a decent living out of it, you're going to have to work a hell of a lot harder than you would if you wanted to do a lot of other things. The starving artist is a trope for a reason. Thank you, nineteenth century artists for making that no longer a patron-based profession.

They almost had a better concept of it back then, though. All of those astonishing Renaissance painters that you love (think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo),

(I love this, despite its historical impossibility)

they weren't viewed as artistes. That pretentious dick in a beret is nothing like any real artist ever, so get it out of your head. They were craftsman. You called in an expert painter and his minions/apprentices, and you told them to paint you this thing for this much money. They spent their lives learning and executing a trade, just like carpenters and architects and blacksmiths. And yes, I realize how contradictory that might sound after objecting to being asked to draw something. There's a difference between a commission and just being asked, and that would be A. money, and B. the consideration for the skill and effort involved. Also, I'm a product of the post-Romanticism, post-Modern art movements, and I'll draw what and when I please unless I have a reason!

I have more to say, but I don't feel like continuing this post anymore, and I have boots that require some embellishing. But! Hopefully this clarified some things, because the thinking behind a lot of what people say about art (yours, mine, professional, fine art, whatever) pisses me off. People are stupid, and they should stop it.

No comments:

Post a Comment