I struggled initially to figure out a connection between these two articles, as there was much more material to comment on in the socialist realism one. However, after reading over a quote that I had written down when I first read them, I noticed the weird connection. McCarty said “’I’ve grown more angry and more outraged not at the theft but at the corruption of the message.’” In this article, there was art taken and transformed into propaganda, wrongfully given a message separate from the intention. In the second, there was propaganda taken and transformed into art, stripped of its message and separated from the intention. I did find it interesting that McCarty found this disruption of content more distressing than the theft of his work. I wonder if he would have still felt this drastic about the superimposed message if the message of the original work was not so directly contrasting it—if his work hadn’t been about experiences of war and promoting peace, but something separate from war, would he have had the same reaction?
Regretfully, we cannot see how the socialist realist artists feel about their work being put into these galleries, as (as far as I could tell from the article) they are no longer living. (That may not be true for every artist, but there was no mention of a living artist.) The article brought up the question of whether socialist realism is valuable art that came about in a time when it couldn’t be appreciated as art, or just propaganda that’s only worth its message. This was indirectly brought up again later, by collector Ananyev and critic Read. Ananyev, who grew up exposed to socialist realism, believes it is the way that art should be, because it shows emotion. (He argues that abstract art is “overintellectualized” and hyperrealism is soulless.) Then, Read argues that “’socialist realism is nothing but an attempt to stuff intellectual […] objectives into art’” which directly contradicts what Ananyev said about socialist realism being valuable because it is not overintellectualized. Read’s statement struck me oddly as I don’t understand how he would rather the art exist—does he feel that art should be unintellectual and that it is not academic at all? It’s just weird to me that someone should view intellectuality as something completely unrelated to art, and something that doesn’t belong in it. It’s also weird to me that Ananyev said “’Real art doesn’t require explanation’” when Read claims Ananyev’s beloved art is too intellectual. There were some weird contradictions in this section.
The final thing I would like to comment on is the changing perspective on the style of socialist realism. After its relevant era, it was seen as kitsch and useless, but now the work is expensive and displayed in big exhibitions in famous museums, both in and out of Russia. One reason suggested for its value is its nostalgic effect – I believe that people may see these idealized paintings of familiar times and be incited to purchase the art. Seeing your childhood through the lens of “Visiting my Grandmother” by Alexander Laktionov causes you to remember it in a more positive light, turning your memories into something more closely resembling the painting. That’s just my guess, but I think it makes sense for why the art has gained popularity amongst Russian audiences. For foreign audiences, the technical skill, individual style, and thoughtful compositions are intriguing. The article was careful to mention that socialist realism paintings are not just mechanical stale propaganda. Instead, the art is being separated from its message and being increasingly appreciated for its visual value.
On Wednesday I worked on the sketch, taking it from a loose sketch to a more refined one that I can trace with ink later. I have to think extensively about how I will go about cutting this one - it's more complex than the last in terms of its layers.
Today we went on a field trip to the VMFA in my English class. While looking around the museum for art that reminded us of the literature we had read, I noticed pieces that were artistically appealing to me. We passed by a wedding being set up and WOW it was so beautiful!!!!! There were pink rosy lights all along the floors lighting up the walls and ceiling from below. I tried to take photos but my phone camera isn't very good with capturing colors so none of the photos look very pretty.
Also, the light in the galleries is not ideal for phone cameras. The first thing I saw that caught my eye was a Faberge Calendar that was small and decorative. I just thought it was pretty. The white band at the bottom had "August" written in French on it, but due to the lighting I only got a bad picture. Another Faberge that I liked was the gold and glass Frame. Though it's 3D I thought of how interesting it would look if I were able to replicate it on a 2D surface - surely it would look boring simply as lines, but if I used gold ink or otherwise added the variations that the gold provides, I think it could look cool.
In the room of Chinese art, I saw these small flower sculptures that just looked pretty. Lately I’ve been doodling long grass-like leaves such as the ones on these flowers, so seeing them reminded me of that.
There was a room dedicated to Steinlen’s cats, and I saw three pages of short little stories. These caught my eye because they had no frames around each shot of the story. Usually I see it the other way around – there may be frames but no sequential story within them (like I talked about in my awareness post of ikedda) but here there was a sequential story all within the same space, with no separation by frames. I found that interesting.
I saw one simple piece of a bird perched on a leafy branch that also reminded me of my doodles.
At the very end I had only limited time (as in, about one minute) to go in the Art Deco and Art Nouveau area, so I only saw two pieces that caught my eye but I documented them nonetheless. I really think this is an area for me to look into for inspiration for my work (like Mucha.) It seems Georges de Feure is a good artist for me to explore.
Honestly my favorite part was the beautiful lighting and architecture around the wedding area. I will see if I can get some photos from Grace that better show how pretty it was. Maybe I’ll use pink in my next piece. I just loved how beautiful it looked in there wow!!!!
Wow. This artist creates just absolutely beautiful watercolor work. I remember the night I found him on instagram I watched his 2017 watercolor sketchbook flip-through video several times over because I was just in awe. He is an artist from Melbourne, Australia who does both watercolor and digital art. I am a big fan of the watercolor pieces.
He inspired me to play around with watercolor one night (I posted the results on my art instagram @owlinne) and I really hope to draw inspiration from his compositions. Much like the other artist I looked at this quarter, he uses the technique of breaking the character out from shapes.
One particularly unique aspect of his art is his use of negative space *within* a character. In a few of the drawings I included in this post, he used a whole blank shape for the shirt/body of the character instead of drawing in the folds and divides. I had actually played around with this idea before finding him, so maybe I can refine it further with inspiration from his work.
He makes me really want to learn how to use watercolor, so maybe I will continue to play around with it, but I know it is difficult to master so I'm hesitant to try (I am afraid that I'll get too discouraged too quickly.) Overall, I hope to draw inspiration from his compositions and use of geometry, as well as maybe trying out a new medium for me.
(for the images, I decided to just keep them as screenshots rather than crop them and rewrite the captions, since they already have captions and often the date on them.)
This is yet another artist I found on instagram. Since I tend to draw most of my inspiration from browsing instagram artists, I like exploring and trying to find more. From the fact that their bio says "I live in nowhere," this artist seems to be very private so I don't really have any information about who they are, all I have is their art. They do have various Japanese words in their bio and have Japanese and English captions on their posts, so I can assume they are Japanese or live in Japan.
All of their art is done in a journal, a nice minimalistic page layout with three boxes for weather and seven boxes for the weekday at the top left, and a blank for "Memo number" and the date on the right. I find it interesting that they work on this paper rather than in a sketchbook, due to the lines across the page, but in some of their pieces you actually don't notice the lines at first due to the color or detail of the illustration. However, they participated in the beginning of Inktober on unlined paper and I really like some of the entries (included in slideshow.)
One of the things I noticed about their art is that they use that nonsequential storytelling that I used a few times last year. I have thought about doing it again this year but haven't had a good idea for it yet. Another thing they do that I really like is breaking geometric borders - I've been doing a lot of that this year, by putting boxes and circles behind my characters and having them break out of them somehow. I hope to get more inspiration for that from this artist. Finally, a lot of their work has that quiet, gentle, floating feeling that I used to strive for with my work. I just really like their work overall for its simplicity in feeling and effectiveness of techniques I try to employ.
On the first Monday (not pictured) I drew thumbnail images in my sketchbook and on my phone to figure out a plan and composition. From that Monday, I worked on this project from November 27 until December 12.
This quarter, the topic of artists’ reactions to war was covered similarly by two different articles. Both give examples of exhibitions for art that show the true pain behind war. One focuses on time in the sense that humans at any time feel similar pain from war (by displaying art from a span of over 200 years that hold similar themes), and the other focuses on it in the sense that pain sticks with the sufferer for much longer than the event itself (by displaying art of the pains of WWI 100 years later.)
I found that the Modern Warfare article took a much less nihilistic view of portrayal of war. In their description of the contrasting portraits of leaders and soldiers, the author included Moorhouse saying that they were all “in it together, trying to make the best of an impossible situation.” It seems to focus more on artists’ impact in the sense of making war personal again rather than making war horrific again.
One interesting point I noted in both articles was curators’ comments on photojournalism as war art. In the Horrors article, the curator says that if the photo causes the viewer to feel something deeply and fully, then it is art, regardless of how it was first published. The Modern Warfare article curator, however, says that photojournalism has less intent. The photographs included in that exhibition are part of an artistic project about representing the suffering of a place, whereas photojournalism simply documents an event there. I think this is an interesting topic to discuss in the seminar – does it matter how much intent was put behind the photos for them to be effective “war art”?
I found the concluding paragraph of the Horrors article to be a bit confusing. After spending the article talking about the progression of depiction of war throughout history as a very general trend, it concludes by claiming that each generation of artists must reinvent the depiction. Then says “today’s artists are not alone” because past artists have shown them how to portray war through art. I don’t know, I just felt like it didn’t really fit with the rest of the article accurately. But I guess that’s more of a criticism of the article than a discussion of its contents.
Wow! I appreciated the black-and-white color scheme here. I was a big fan of the water maps - the 3 long pieces that looked like marble. It looked beautiful and sleek from afar and then so intriguing from up close.
When I read the materials, I was confused (merged topographic maps? why??) After reading the artist description I am still confused. Artist statements tend to do that - they mention broad themes that the artist addresses but never really "explain" the work. I guess that's up to the viewer, but still. "Pairings of familiar/unfamiliar, synthetic/manmade, public/private, terrestrial/celestial, real/manipulated, analog/digital." I see some of those in her work but some of it not at all (public/private???) I don't know, art is confusing.
I liked the paper cutting piece with the shadow. I don't think I would do anything with light like that but maybe I will try paper cutting someday?? Seems hard. I also liked "The edge of nowhere" and its dusty sandy path. I really wanted to play with it like sand, but of course did not.
This exhibition did not impact me much but it was interesting to see.
After receiving an email with a link to this artist's interview, I chose her for an Awareness artist. The interview digressed a lot, so I mostly relied on the article.
What I got is that she did not intend to be an artist, and didn't like drawing classes at college, but started a project after college where she documented every one of her credit card statements because she was frustrated that she couldn't pay them and wanted to bring money discussion into public posts. She got tired of this and started a daily drawing project where she drew everything she bought every day.
I enjoy the simplicity in the work and the fact that it isn't trying to make any big statement. Some of them are very cute, like a doodle of a sweater with a short excited comment. This is what a lot of my doodles in my sketchbook and my notes look like. I don't think I will be incorporating anything from her into my work, though. Overall I don't like it that much. Also, daily drawing challenges are so hard! And she does them for years.
I came across this artist on Instagram while browsing Inktober drawings. I love love love her work. The inktober drawings are simple and smooth, and she is obviously comfortable with her subject - each piece looks effortless. All of the inktober drawings are done on white paper with black ink and gold ink, which inspired me to do inktober drawings with gold ink. My plan for day 29 is completely inspired by Yoshitani's work - many of her inktober pieces were contained within implied (or actual) circles. I love this compositional technique, and since my work has been headed in a more geometric direction in terms of the space that the characters are in, I want to explore this. Yoshitani is also skilled with choosing areas of the drawing to fill in with black, which is something I want to become better at.
I realized after exploring her instagram that inktober deviated from her usual work. Though she does these kinds of illustrations sort of regularly (especially for commissions), she also does full-color digital work with more shading. Some of her more complex work includes lots of details, patterns, and more complex compositions. I really like all the types of work she does and hope I can draw from it to create better work myself.
Also, I really like her flowers.
Kristin Hines - Student artist at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School