what's the real aim for an artist?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Looking at my finished products ( photographs ) i have come to realize that although the subject matter is always something that i see in the reality that surrounds me( of course ), the subject is ultimately myself. Is this need to show continuosly my inner core to the viewer...... From this follows the question: what is the real aim for an artist?What is the purpose in art?

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), March 05, 2002


Paul Klee said, "The function of art is to inspire other artists."

The real aim for the (visual) artist is to make the best pictures (objects) you can, however one might define "best."

-- Michael A. Smith (michaelandpaula@michaelandpaula.com), March 05, 2002.

"To make the ordinary extraordinary."

Try to inspire as many people as you can. Artists are a small percentage of the population.

-- Joe Lipka (joelipka@earthlink.net), March 05, 2002.

This might be overly simplistic, but I always thought an artist has only one real mission: to show others how he sees the world.

-- Kevin Bourque (skygzr@aol.com), March 05, 2002.

John Szarkowski divided photographs into two types, Mirrors and Windows. Mirrors are, as you say, works that say more about the photographer and his/her vision of the world. Windows supposedly show more of an "objective" view of the world. These are useful categories to debate, though ultimately we realize that all pictures have some aspect of the Mirror in them.

I agree with Kevin. My purpose in art is to show you my vision of the world.

I would add that an important component is the desire to communicate with someone outside myself. I feel that "artists" who create alone and never try to show or publish their work are missing some crucial aspect of the artmaking process. (Even if it is just showing your pictures or poems to your family.) Without that communication, it's not art, it's therapy.

-- Sandy Sorlien (sand44@mindspring.com), March 05, 2002.

For me, the first thing I intend to say with a photograph is "I have something I want to show you." That something is a photograph, not a building or a tree or a flower or a person, although those real world things might participate in the photograph. I want it to be printed well, but it might be a grainy image, or selectively focused, or have black shadows, depending on the role those choices might play in what I want to show you. For me, every part of the photograph needs to have a role, from top to bottom and left to right. When I do my best work, I start with something that attracts my attention, but I need to make lots of further decisions to get from there to what I really want to show you. FYI, to thank those who have helped, when I do all this well it's because I'm remembering what Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee taught me. And when I remember that I'm showing you a picture, not a building.

-- John Sarsgard (sarsgard@yahoo.com), March 05, 2002.

Many thanks, John. It is gratifying when we learn that those who have taken our Vision and Technique Workshop really "got it." For others who might be interested, Paula and I are teaching only one workshop this year--the last weekend of September. It is already half full and someone coming is all the way from New Zealand. Full details are on our web site: www.michaelandpaula.com

-- Michael A. Smith (michaelandpaula@michaelandpaula.com), March 05, 2002.

For many the real aim is to attract the best babes.

-- ernie gec (erniegec@stn.net), March 05, 2002.

I believe the motivation of many artists is to try to reveal certain aspects of themselves and at the same time try to get the viewer to understand some aspect of the world in a new light.

I think that what seperates the artist from the craftsmen is the ability of his work to carry on a dialogue with the viewer through the work. It is not enough for the work to be pretty, or shocking or different just for the sake of being different. I have always found the most intriguing art is that which makes me ask questions of the work and of myself. A great work always seems to have a little something more to say or reveal every time I view it. This is true of any medium and genre.

-- James Chinn (JChinn2@dellepro.com), March 05, 2002.

To create a new world.

-- hugo Zhang (jinxu_zhang@ml.com), March 05, 2002.

Sandy may be right that, if you make no effort to publish your work (in any sense of the word "publish"), then it is just therapy. But I'm not sure that's a problem. What if it is "just" therapy? D.H. Lawrence wrote a characteristically irritating but valid essay called "Art for My Sake." Pretty easy to run down. Anyway, I suppose that art which amuses, amazes or educates others is better than just-therapy but I'm not sure. I guess I'd be a little more sure if I was a little more sure just what it is that art does for us "others." But that's a difficult subject. Northrup Frye, easily the dominant literary theorist of the Twentieth Century, tackled this matter in his key work, THE ANATOMY OF CRITICISM. Basically, he threw up his hands in the end and concluded that, well, the experience of great literature "deepens the reader's sensibility" (or something like that).... I'm pretty sure that when viewing a good picture I experience "enjoyment." I do like that. So, in conclusion, perhaps photographers have a social duty to show me their pictures so that I might experience more, rather than less, enjoyment. I would have the same duty, of course. -jeff buckels

-- jeff buckels (jeffbuck@swcp.com), March 05, 2002.

What's the real aim for an artist? What is the purpose in art?

Judging by the way most of the ones I know act, I think Conan the Barbarian said it best when he was asked what is good:

"To crush your enemies, to drive them before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

Personally my goal is to enjoy life, to entertain, amaze and impress others, to eat regularly and to pay my rent, my bills and taxes on time and also to save for my children's education and my eventual retirement.

But what does that haveto do with "art"? To quote jazz musican Dizzy Gillespie:" I'm tired of going down in history; I want to eat"

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), March 05, 2002.

But on a more serious note; yes: if you see something that is in inside you in the finished work, that is the right direction. To have others recognize in your photograph something that is inside them but that they were not yet aware of, that is the righter direction

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), March 05, 2002.

Depending on the artist and their perceptions as a human being there are many aims extant on this planet. Taking reincarnation into account and the overall experience of the artist/soul on inner and outer planes, roughly there are four levels with four types......1.Commercial/repetitive,done by the thousands for sale only.Example... certain craft type and also cheap religious art for sale to the masses in quantity.2.Commercial, but on a higher level for sale to wealthy people for fame and status only.3.Emotional Art, not done for sale but for emerging perception and the search for truth by the artist and their own individual quest as a result of extreme emotional pain. ex.Van Gogh. 4. Spiritual, based on the actual true realisations of the artist, not necessarily appearing spiritual to the viewer but very real in a "being" sense ex. Gauguin.This art bridges many worlds.Within these four levels there are four types...a.inspirational, b.creative/unique, c.commanding, d.informative.Obviously the more lifetimes spent on the planet the more experience gained and the more perceptions are poured into the art.Da Vince was a very old soul on the #4 level and of an informational type. Food for thought.

-- Emile de Leon (knightpeople@msn.com), March 05, 2002.

Prose and photojournalism are an act of "showing". Poetry and fine art are a "making", an act of the creative imagination. As such, art is a mode of indirect communication. The "maker" of art may have no more idea of the "true meaning" than the viewer.

-- Michael Feldman (mfeldman@qwest.net), March 05, 2002.

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

--- Dorothea Lange

-- David Flockhart (d_flockhart@hotmail.com), March 05, 2002.

i like what lisette model taught dianne arbus - that to make your work more general in nature would make it speak to the most people.

when i was younger, i thought i could control what a viewer saw when they looked at my images. i worked very hard to very precisely define what i was trying to convey with each photograph, but it was like the harder i worked at making the image more specific, the less effective the image was. then i realized that what people see when they look at your work is very alrgely dependent on what they bring with them - their personal experiences, thoughts and attitudes. so i worked on model's idea and started making my images more generalized while still containing the kernel of the idea i started with. i remember having a couple of images included in a major exhibition of 2D artworks at the portland art museum a few years ago where i was able to sort of sit nearby during the opening as people wandered through the exhibit and getting to listen to them react to works as they went by - i tried to pay attention to what they might say as they first looked at my work. to say the least, i was amazed at some of the comments i overheard. the two pieces i had in the exhibit were rather odd self-portraits in uncommon settings. some people reacted more to the setting of the picture than to the image per se - "what a wierd place.." "what is that thing?" etc. others reacted to the 'art' aspects, commenting about the print itself or the overall composition. a few people responded to the self-portrait concept wondering at my expression or my action "what is he doing?" or "how did he do that?" out of the hundreds of people who passed by my work, perhaps 3 or 4 made a comment that was in line with what i was actually trying to say with the image - that really opened my eyes. i think a lot of times, WE dont have any idea what a viewer will see in our work.

-- jnorman (jnorman34@attbi.com), March 05, 2002.

Hi Domenico

My viewpoint is very similar to James Chinn. An truly artist has always something to communicate to the viewer. Or in other words:" Art is the best form of communication"

Thats my viewpoint, good shooting.

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), March 05, 2002.

Thank you everybody. Thank you for sharing your beleves .I agreee with many of you,. I believe that a true piece of art , a piece that transmits the energy of the artist to the viewer , is beneficial to the artist ,who releases some of his or her emotional baggage( therapy) and to the viewer who can sense the primordial creative force. Have you ever sensed , in front of an art piece, that hard to describe sensation where you feel are in the presence of something very powerful and beautiful? Please tell me you have , because if you don't then i will see myself forced to go back to therapy.....

I see the creative process as a form of prayer where i am finely tuned (when it is really working!) with the creator . So, Art has probably more than one aim. Probably has nothing to do with Art itself, but with that misterious design that we all are unconsciously working for... It is probably about also showing to people that the boundaries of beauty can be stratched infinitely.......

O.K. i have decided, i am off to therapy again, ....and all those support groups,....what did they do for me?!!!

Thank you people for the intelligent and refreshing ideas.... Domenico

-- Domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), March 05, 2002.

Viewing the world differently through the inspiration of another.

-- Jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), March 05, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ