Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is a "MASTERPIECE", What is ART?

 The art that I am drawn too shows a high regard for the fundamentals. Above all draftsmanship, composition and use of color. it is evident, even in an abstract expressionist piece whether these fundamentals are in place or not. If an artists can use these "tools", and in the end result, accomplish something that also resinates emotionally with the audience, then something masterful has been achieved.
   Pablo Picaso,  at as early as 5 years of age, received specialized training in the arts at various academies in Barcelona. The painting at left, First Communion, was painted by Picaso in 1896 when he was twenty and His Girl Before a Mirror in 1932 when he was arguably nearing the peak of his artistic expression. It is unavoidable that what he achieved was built upon the firm foundation of his elementary training.   
When though, does an artists work become masterful? There is this intangible shift at some point where the audience takes over. When the underlying emotional and intellectual weight is perceived and the viewer "GETS IT," then I think a work has become masterful.      
 There are times though, when the perception of the public builds up the greatness of a work,  not necessarily out of the merits of the work itself.  The gag of Picaso doodling on a napkin in a cafe and the owner making a million from it illustrates my point. I doubt that the artist himself would feel that such a doodle would constitute a master piece, but the perception of the public makes it so.
There are some though, who are out right delusional or knowingly charlatans, that in my opinion, profane the arts.
                                                            Tracy Emin      
   Art education is indispensable. Strict and early application  of the basic disciplines inescapable.
"It's Art because I say it's Art." is a vacuous statement that disregards all of the passion, pain, and sincerity of all who have truly devoted there lives to their work.  Any one can hold a brush, make a mark, and call it art. I can hold a scalpel and say I'm a brain surgeon, but you would be ill advised to trust my hand with your life.  


  1. HAHA! That last quote is almost word for word what I said in a paper once. In college I took a class called "Writing about Art." It was an English class for English credit, but was centered around the Arts. It was a fun class. Anyways, we had to do a 5 or so paper on the topic "What is Art?" Cliché as the question is, it got me thinking. I started the paper by simply saying that art is something created by an artist intentionally being deemed "art". The REAL question at stake is "WHO is an ARTIST?"
    This is where I got up on my soapbox and preached. I used the exact line that she uses saying, "Am I a surgeon just because I SAY that I am?" "Can I practice law just because I SAY that I'm a lawyer?" Of course not, that's ridiculous. That's why I hold the opinion that only people who are properly trained to be artists can claim to be so, just like any other "real" profession. Sure, I can take a knife and cut someone open, but I don't know what I'm doing and am not therefore, a surgeon. Sure, anyone can take paint and put it on a canvas, but they don't know what they're doing and are therefore, NOT artists.
    Anyways, that's my soapbox. Nice post Sam.

  2. Great post, Sam. I just have one short comment. "Artists" like Tracy Emin and the fools who pay for their "art" make it so much harder for real creatives to be taken seriously. The fine art world calls this art, but looks down at illustration and comics. Ridiculous.

  3. Glad to hear your thoughts guys. The direction of the post modernists and rise of conceptual art has in my opinion devastated the tradition of art. It has alienated the public. That is why the art's, especially the visual arts are suffering so terribly now, and why we as artists suffer as well. Maybe it will, like a cancer, kill it's host. I would like to think it will drop off and die, leaving the body of artistic expression free to thrive. Can you imagine a world where the common Joe & Jane had as much admiration and affection for the arts as they did for Monday night football?

  4. I'm also a fan of artists who show their mastery of the fundamentals. They're so darn difficult to get right!

  5. Thanks for your comments, Sam. See you around PaperWings as we work to master our craft!