Sharing thoughts and ideas about art, be it my own art or in general -- Sharing my own work and experiences as a professional artist/illustrator/graphic designer, as well as answering any questions of same.... Is the general purpose here. Whether you are a fellow artist, an art appreciator, or a friend -- All are welcome.

My Gallery Website is --- http://www.wonderments.com/

About Me

College: * The prestigious Art Center College of Design'73 * BFA, Towards work in Art Direction, Illustration, Graphic Design, Fine Art. I pursued free-lance illustration for many years in the SF Bay Area, where my work was used by publishers and in advertising. During that time, I was asked to teach illustration at the SF Academy of Art, which I did part-time for five years. I was a member of the SF Society of Illustrators, participated on the board of directors, was a show juror, and a contributor to The US Air Force Art program where three of my resulting paintings were inducted into the Air Force Art Collection in Washington D.C. Throughout my years as an illustrator, I pursued my fine art painting as well, and in the late 80's began my switch fairly completely over into that field. I made my living exclusively as an artist for many years in both the commercial and fine art ends of it. Art, design, and the creative fields have been my passion in life with regards to work and study. My paintings have been sold to individuals both in the USA and some overseas.

*Note -- A busy-busy world, and where many people hesitate in reading much anymore. Yes… in order to offer more than just short generalizations on some of the topics, I’ve taken the time to delve into things more deeply than just doing “sound bites”.

Whether you are a pro, beginning artist, one who does it as a hobby, or simply a person who likes art even if you are just starting to learn about it -- Feel free to comment and/or ask questions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

‘Profound’ Art -- Exclusive Turf of Modern/Contemporary Artists??

This article is also about ---
When profundity is the primary goal of purpose the artist wishes to achieve in any given work or entire body of works.
When profundity comes to exist in a given work or body of art works, but as a by-product result from the artists focusing on other elements of purpose, whereas seeking or achieving profundity is an extemporaneous goal.
Every artist has reasons for why he or she goes about the endeavor of producing their art. The intents and purposes are of course widely varied, and rarely, if ever, is there only one intent/purpose involved for any artist.  My purpose here is to analyze what could be called one of the more frequent primary intents/ purposes with which many artists (and in fact which, many art appreciators / buyers are rooted in) focus their minds and work.

To be ‘profound’, be it a person or any thing, is to say by definition of the word, that such person or thing possesses uncommonly deep meaning, value, and intellect.  But, as with other terms of definition pertinent to describing human consciousness and endeavors, one of the problems with the idea in the word profound is  -- Different people can have entirely different conceptions of what is or adds up to mean depth of meaning and / or intellect.  
That problem aside for a moment, it would probably be safe to say that most people to one degree or another, have had either indirectly through particulars of their life's existence, or, from their quest to directly attain it -- a reason in fact or need, that the word profound, would be pertinent to themselves or something in close connection to themselves.  Proceeding from there, many people have come to calculate that it is a desirable thing for themselves, when their fellow human beings give over an acknowledgment to them that they (or things pertinent to them) are worthy of the characterization contained in the word ‘profound’.  Nothing wrong with that.

To be seen as profound or something you have done as being profound, is to be seen as great and/or extraordinary.  Aside from just grateful appreciation of that, with no quest to then somehow put the accolade to use in some way, for many, to have received the accolade, is to have a powerful asset in the affairs of ones interactions with others, including all things involving the endeavors (business) of procuring things and money, from survival to wealth.  The status gained in recognition’s of being (or having been) profound, also serves another element of human occupation -- the thirst of ego.  Scoping in on the relevancy of the above to society currently, and finally, towards the purpose of this analysis in regards to artists, art, and the art business -- I will now continue…

As I see it, while there is nothing at all inherently wrong with someone or thing being profound, and believe that constructive, wonderful (yes, what I believe is) profundity exists as a fact all around us, and is therefore a good thing --  I notice also that how, where, and why many people seek it, and / or put importance to it, brings about some very unfortunate situations, making for some results coming from the concept of profound / profundity to be very destructive.
As an instrument of status, there is a huge clamor by so many to acquire this standing. This runs so deeply that even clamoring to be attached in a secondary manor through association, to someone or thing that has acquired the 'profound' status, is an endeavor that many people put tremendous energy and importance’s to for themselves.  And, they want it many times to fuel agendas for things other than just personal ego -- Such as… power, social status, their political/social philosophy agendas etc.  So many have not just some need, but a huge need to attain profundity, at best directly, but if not, then through association.  Such being the case, that quest, and the resulting condition, is a major driving force in much of what people do, think, and define for themselves in life, society, and what in fact they know, or are likely not going to be able to know.

With profundity being such a powerful asset to acquire, it is not surprising then that it arises in linkages with endeavors of human activity in commerce, work and business. If you, or your work (therefore you through your work) are able to acquire the status of being profound, you stand a better chance of being successful.  Why?  Very simple.  Because those who have and are acknowledging the profundity, have a huge desire for themselves to be perceived as being profound as well, even if the profundity comes from appearing (selling the notion) to seeming to know what is profound.  A sort of secondary acquisition of the status, by being seen by others as 'being in the know' about the direct subject (person or thing) having possession of the accolade.  Profundity -- status  -- position -- image.  Given the realization of this scenario, it's only a short step for humankind to figure out that acquiring the status could well prove out to translate into money for themselves in business.  But the issue then of course becomes  -- what exactly are the perceptions of what is profound?  Does that fit with what the individual really is, has, or actually does?  What if it doesn't fit, or only fits so far, and what if the perceptions at large are in fact flawed, contrived, or lacking in scope?  These questions become far more important of course, to those who are indeed pursuing the accolade.  But, also even for those who are not, as they too will receive judgment one way or the other on the issue anyway, and therefore because of the relative impact in life from the concept being a societal condition, they too will find a significant measure of importance to whatever and however their fellow human beings are defining the parameters of ‘what is profound’.

As I have seen it to be in the art world, the largest single area of where people clamor for acknowledgement of being profound, be it artists, so called expert critics, and last but not least, buyers ---- Is in the group of those having their interest exclusively with abstract / modern / contemporary art works.  It is absolutely amazing to see how they all support one another in the notion that this particular art genre (type/style) itself, is the area of profundity and intellectual greatness. A large percentage of the artists do this art, because the truth is beneath the surface, very often they cannot do anything other than that particular style of art.  Most are unable (or unwilling to put the work/time to learn) to draw and paint in representational / traditional/ classical genre’s of style and content.  This is not at all to say that a wonderful piece of modern/contemporary art cannot be produced if an artist is not able to draw/paint in the representational, traditional, classical styles and genre - because it can be.  However, if such art does not at least contain good and aesthetic design (in my own and many others interpretation), then for myself anyway, it is not going to be good, or ‘profound’ art of any genre, including modern/contemporary.  And, as I have seen it over a lifetime of looking and analyzing, those artists who do modern/contemporary art, more often than not, can neither do traditional representational classical drawing/painting, or art containing good (or profound) design.  

As a result, in order to sort of counter that ineptitude, by ‘embellishing’ importance to what art they do/can create, or camouflaging the real situation, quite often -- “Modern/Contemporary” artists, go to coming up with extraordinarily crafted statements or purveying mystiques as to the meaning of their art, themselves, and the great depths of their intellect to have produced it.  All going to sell their art and themselves as -- highly ‘Profound’ --- The art and themselves to appear as more than what they/it actually is, in the eyes/minds of others.  Where it really gets interesting though, is that --- The critics / dealers / middlemen of Modern/Contemporary art often push the notion of it (and it alone) being profound, and so that it can go to make them appear as profound and therefore knowledgeable, in the minds of others (including of course.. those unsuspecting/uneducated potential art buyers).  And… The pooh–poohing of any other art, especially that of a more traditional/representational nature, is almost standard procedure for artists of Modern/Contemporary art, their dealers, contemporary art editors with a slant towards favoring it in editorials, and finally, by many of those who collect and have bought it (and exclusive to owning/purchasing any other art genre).   It’s always been interesting (as well as shocking, bizarre, and even hilarious) to me, that so many of those who are The buyers of Modern/Contemporary art -- Believe and buy into the ‘highly intellectual’ and ‘profound’ oriented rhetoric poured onto them by so many of the artists and the art business ‘so-called’ experts middlemen. They then go on to convince themselves of the same notions, all the way to opening their checkbooks for it -- and quite often because they want their own image to friends and others (many of whom have bought into the same nonsense and with their own checkbooks) to appear as profound and ‘highly intellectual’ by hanging the works on their walls!

And this is from an artist, so you will know, who happens to like and admire some Modern/Contemporary art and artists, assuming that in my own opinion it is actually good work.  Because frankly… so much of it is not, even though by it’s nature it has been passed off as being good, including because it’s been said to possess some ‘profound’ inner meaning or unusually rare creative or intellectual ability or purpose. I also have done what would be considered Modern -- Contemporary art myself, and will continue to reserve my right to do so when I choose.  What I won’t do however, is to try to make out that any of my art is about or contains anything more than it actually does.  If someone offers the ‘profound’ sort of accolade to any of my art - Great! And I will appreciatively offer a thank you for the compliment.   But if received, I’m not one prone to making out that such an accolade is unique to myself/art, or my genre of art alone.  How’s that for being profound?
So there you have it  ----- One example of how incredibly mixed up things can become, all over the driving forces within the question of what is ‘Profound?’ in the art world.

Wayne S. -- 2003

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