Saturday, July 28, 2012

For the love of art...

Bad art!
All three of my kids studied 'creative' crafts after high school, diametrically opposite of what I did when I was their age. I became a technologist and a technocrat. They are earning their dough in 'creative' occupations. Nothing wrong with that, although it took me some time to digest. 
A long ago, I remember, out of sheer curiosity, I tried to start a conversation with my eldest of two sons, about what they taught him at school 'art' was and what makes a work of an artist 'good art', as opposed to all things commercial and bad art. Needless to say, he had no concrete answer to that, because there's simply no real answer to the question. Do we like a particular Arles work of van Gogh above a 'similar' of Gauguin's because a critic said so, or because we see something different? And how to explain that some of us like works of Picasso and Braque above those of de Kooning and Pollock? How does someone explain the process by which an artwork's colours, shapes and forms, and perhaps movement elicit such feelings inside us, and we feel that this is indeed what art must be all about?
A few days ago I happened to browse thru the photography portfolio of someone who's recently known notoriety as a UI designer for Apple's iOS devices. In his website he presents his core skills and work, but also says that he is a 'photographer' and shows off a number of his photographs. I somehow sensed that he is the sort of photographer that Bryan Adams also calls himself. More like gifted amateurs, I'd prefer to call them both. I must be honest, I thought his photographs were not too bad... at least that's what I thought. Don't shoot me for that! But I must also admit that my skill in discriminating good from bad art is close to non-existent. So I decided to ask a friend, who I believe had far more advanced capability in deciding good art, and discriminate it from bad art. She is an author and a journalist in her day job, but she also loves the arts in most of its forms. I asked her to tell me what she thought of this guy's photography. This is an excerpt of her response:

...They (
note VJK-D: his photographs) conveyed to me this look of self-indulgence... I remember that the ones he shot in Morocco almost wiped away altogether my initial desire to visit the country, and made disappear the romantic dispositions that I gained after seeing that documentary years ago, as I already told you, about Fez. I simply despise our (note VJK-D: hypocrite empathy and arrogant contempt we show towards 'lower class' people) approach as :
  • the Rich towards the Poor 
  • the West towards the East, 
  • the Strong towards the Weak
Many photographers and authors often do that, and it’s become a banal cliché for sure. I am looking for love and affection for the beautiful, the hope, and indeed life itself. We have already been lost in meaningless and lifeless things; we have been hardened... I want the artist to make me teary about the things that exist around me. There he comes, a total stranger, from some place far and away; he looks at them, he embraces them, he describes them in words, or by means of images or animations, and shows them to me again, to enliven me to restart doing, for instance, gardening, or cooking, to caress them with enthusiasm because they are not meaningless, because this is what life is, what the sun and the rain of every single day undeniably are.

The reason I blogged this is because of a number explicit and concrete elements she explains genuine art lovers 'see' in artworks, that I rarely experienced in the past being stated in those words. I simply wanted to share the experience. That's all...

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