To be honest I didn’t find much substance to discuss in either of these articles. One was very short (which I was thankful for since I was swamped with homework) and the other seemed more focused on statistics and facts about the Guerrilla Girls. I found the in-class discussion more interesting and thought-provoking. One thing in particular caught my attention – one of my questions answered another. I had asked why accessibility was important in the effectiveness of protest art, and also asked what artists can do to prevent “preaching to the converted.” In our seminar, we brought up how making the art accessible to a large, nonspecific audience prevents that.
Another concept I found interesting was the idea that “it’s not always about form and aesthetic, but about the purpose and effectiveness of an object.” To me, that is no longer art. In the seminar, others mentioned that as long as it was created with the intention of being art, then it is still art. To me, though, if it isn’t at all about form and aesthetic but is just about function, then that isn’t art anymore, it’s a tool. The example mentioned in the article was inflatable cobblestones by a group called Tools for Action (not art for action?) to turn violent objects into protection. I guess some would say that’s art because it’s making some sort of statement, but that’s not what the protest was about. (Also, not everything that makes a statement is necessarily art.) I don’t know, the premise of this whole article seemed a bit weird to me.
The Guerrilla Girls article, though it was full of statistics, did mention some interesting insight. (Not to dismiss the statistics – I just don’t want to comment on them here.) The author said that the more people are informed of an issue, the more they will want to act on it “(hopefully.)” This is another thing we mentioned in class. Protest art may be helpful for spreading awareness, but it’s hard to see any direct effects of it. I also questioned its importance in my curiosity page this quarter. However, I feel that the Guerrilla Girls are a unique case, since, like in the author’s case, many people were not aware or conscious of the problem the artists addressed. I feel like a lot of protest art protests things that many people know are wrong, but the Guerrilla Girls really brought a new issue to light. I think that this, in addition to their angry attitude, is what makes them an effective group.
I want to do something like my summer project but as always it's hard to come up with ideas. I can come up with WHAT I want to draw (e.g. "my character Jen looking intimidating after a fight") but not HOW to draw it (e.g. "what should the angle be? what pose should she be in? what should she be wearing? how should it be cropped? what colors should i use? how can i make it more interesting than just a person standing on a page?) so that's why it's so hard for me to come up with ideas.
I went to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the VMFA with Grace. I'm very interested in fashion and wish that I could design it, or even just figure out cute outfits of my own, but unfortunately all I can do is look at it. The difficulty of fashion design was really brought to my attention at this exhibit, because it had a wall of Yves Saint Laurent's sketches and planning. I didn't take any photos of them, but maybe somebody else in the class went and took pictures of those.
I mainly took photos of the pieces that appealed to me and that I would wear (the suits! I loved those suits. The flowers and frills and cosmic pins!) but also took photos of outfits that reminded me of my original characters. I thought I could draw my characters in those outfits maybe. The black lace dress with pink bows reminded me of Astrid, and the gold/black leafy outfit and gold/black geometric outfit reminded me of Liao Xifeng.
So, the exhibit was helpful for that. I always am in need of ideas, so while my main struggle is just WHAT to draw (or particularly, what do I draw the person doing?) it's helpful to have an outfit established, especially one that I feel suits the person in the drawing. Some of the pieces at the show were also definitely haute couture ("high fashion" [not meant for wearing on the street, meant purely for artistic purposes]) so that was cool to see, because the artistic side of fashion often gets overlooked by people not in the industry. I think everybody loved that one yellow drapey dress (I didn't get a picture of it), because I saw it on instagram and I know Grace loves it, and with things like that I'm just very impressed. How do designers manage to shape the fabric exactly how they do? It's like sculpture. So cool.
Knoo is an illustrator and graphic designer in Japan. It's hard to come by information about them, because there is a limited amount of text on their minimalist website (and even less in English), but I still really appreciate their art. They post the most frequently on their tumblr (http://knoo-o.tumblr.com/) and I'd recommend checking it out. They also have a website and a twitter.
Knoo draws rather simple illustrations, with smooth lines and textured colors. There's definitely some noticeable line quality in their work (wow! Kristin liking line quality? never heard of that before.) It looks like they use ink and watercolor, and I can't quite tell if some of their work is digital or if it's just scanned well with bright colors. I think some of it is digital.
I really like how they're able to convey the figure simply and delicately. I noticed they do an interesting triangle of yellow for blush. I think that's a cool idea. I've been wanting to do something with plants and I noticed a few of their pieces feature plants, so, I might be able to draw something from that. Really I just like to look at the simplicity of character in the pieces. There's also a good use of color that I could learn from - using a bit of color in addition to black and white.
I found this artist on Twitter recently because another artist I'm following liked one of her tweets. I was amazed because I thought it was a digital work but it's actually a painting. She doesn't post much on her gallery because she works on a piece a lot before it's finished, but on her Twitter she posts process photos frequently.
I mainly love her work for the smoothness and detail that she accomplishes. It's an incredible feat to make a painting (usually oil, sometimes acrylic) painting look like a digital one. I also like her style and composition. The colors she uses are sort of ethereal, and the backgrounds and motifs she uses add interest to each piece. I like to paint, but only with acrylic, and I don't particularly like to go into this much detail, so I don't think I could incorporate any of that aspect of her work into mine. I might be able to draw inspiration from her compositions though, as the people are rather static but the detail in their surroundings makes the paintings far from boring. That's something I have struggled with, so I applaud her for doing that so well.
Somehow, I feel like every connection post I’ve written this year has touched on how much the government should pay for the arts. This will be the first, however, that is entirely about that.
The first article closed with a comment from Leonard Garment’s letter (on the behalf of Nixon) that “arts [should] be divorced from political considerations.” I found this interesting, considering the entire topic of discussion is how the arts tie in to the government—and the government might happen to be a little bit political. The letter talked about how Nixon was an advocate for government patronage of the arts, but at the end claimed that Nixon did not want to make this a part of his campaign, because arts should not be involved in the political sphere. This is really odd to me. I feel like that’s like saying that what we do with the earth shouldn’t be a part of the campaign, because it isn’t political, it’s scientific/environmental. Not every part of a political platform/campaign has to do with obvious “politics” like defense, social security, supporting veterans, etc. Many other things are considered necessary parts of a platform/campaign but are not so “political” – things like protection of the natural environment, energy sources, and social/civil rights. So why is funding of the arts any different?
The next thing I found odd was the difference between the two letters on the success of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. McGovern said it had not fulfilled its promises, and that the US was spending too much on the Vietnam War. Garment, on the other hand, said the plan was very successful because of Nixon’s contributions. (Since these positions vary so much to support or put down one candidate, how is funding of the arts not political?) Something that Garment said confused me—he cited the fact that the government grants only cover up to 50% of art’s costs as a success of the program, claiming it kept the government reinforcing the arts, rather than establishing them. If the question at hand is whether or not the government is funding art enough, isn’t it more of a failure that it will only fund a maximum of 50% of the costs?
The question of whether or not art is as important as other governmental responsibilities also came up frequently. In both articles, it was stated that the government did not fund art enough because it had more important preoccupations like defense and welfare programs. Personally, I do not think that art is crucial, and I definitely agree with what the Italian finance minister said about it—“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. After all, you can’t eat culture.” The countries in Europe largely cut their arts budgets because they had more pressing matters to put their money into, such as recovering from debt. Some, however, simply cut it because the government fell into conservative control. In cases like this, it is only sad. Much more than simply art production is affected by budget cuts—museum workers in Hungary faced salary cuts of 20%; museums closed down in several countries; artists are forced to either leave the country or take on a different job in order to make enough money just to live. I didn’t mention much of my personal opinion in this “Connection” post, but I think the US should increase its budget for the arts, as should other countries. However, I don’t think they should make sacrifices in other more vital programs in order to find this money for art.
I'm not happy with how the Seasons Comic came out, because it's supposed to be doodled but I don't have a "formal doodle style." When I doodle, it's not suitable for drawings of this size, but I don't have a cartoon/comic style. I tried here. Not really a fan. I really like how the Daily Comic is coming out, though. I need to fix the arms on the very last panel but other than that I'm happy with it
I've wanted to make the comic in the middle for a while now, because I doodled it in my sketchbook a few weeks ago, but I came up with the top left one once and really felt it. I wanted to make a third so I came up with the bottom left one. I won't do all three for this project because I want to keep it time-focused, and the top left comic is not time-focused.
Kristin Hines - Student artist at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School