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The Artist...
#3063160 09/21/20 03:44 AM
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This is from today's Lefsetz Letter...some interesting thoughts. Got any favorites or additions?

* Endures negative feedback.
* Takes risks on a regular basis.
* Does not create to satiate the audience but themselves.
* Creates because they need to.
* Works without the audience in mind.
* Knows that they will oftentimes be ahead of the audience.
* Knows to ignore their most vocal critics. It's usually more about the person who is criticizing than the work.
* Knows the audience has expectations, but is not concerned with fulfilling them.
* Is willing to go broke.
* Knows the more you know, the longer you've been doing it, the harder it gets, even though you are that much more skilled.
* Realizes that putting one's foot in the pool is the first step and most people are unwilling to do this.
* Is willing to learn.
* Knows that inspiration creates the best work, but that sometimes creation begets inspiration. In other words, once you grease the wheels you might be inspired to do something great.
* Knows that those who respond first are the ones to be most ignored.
* Knows they are not a brand. Brands are consistent, artists are not.
* Needs to grow. Once they stop doing this, they're dead.
* Gets frustrated but carries on.
* Gets angry but doesn't respond.
* Knows the most ardent supporters are those who are silent.
* Finishes.
* Is savvy enough to know they are not always the best judge of their work.
* Has to create or they risk depression.
* Is internalized. At best they can relate to another artist.
* Is a member of a separate tribe. The public can appreciate the work, but can never really understand the germ of creation. At best the artist can relate to other artists.
* Speaks through their work.
* Their work needs no explanation, it stands on its own.
* Is willing to change. The greats reinvent, the middling class rests on their laurels.
* Is challenging their audience on a regular basis, if they're not getting a mix of feedback, both positive and negative, they're not doing it right.
* Knows that execution is secondary to inspiration. Just because you completed it, that does not mean it's art.
* Is gobbling up information in their field. Not so much to suss out the competition, but to marinate in the artistic field in which they endeavor. Writers read. Painters go to galleries. Musicians listen to music.
* Knows that art is viewed in a context. And that by challenging the context people oftentimes can't understand what you're doing and castigate it.
* Knows that if you listen to all the feedback you'll be unable to create at all.
* Their best work is done when they're in a zone. It can't be artificially created, it's something you feel, not something you can explain.

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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063163 09/21/20 04:48 AM
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An artist is not afraid to let go of an idea.

An artist is willing to consider an idea, no matter how "wrong" it may seem at first.

An artist will spend some of their non-artistic time streamlining the processes they use to create their art.

An artist is open to the possibility that a creation can and will be "born" anytime, anyplace and is prepared to preserve and elaborate on that creation.


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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063244 09/21/20 10:35 PM
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Interesting stuff - I feel it all applies to me.

But there are a few of the really genius-level types who can violate all the good advice, misbehave, irritate everyone, and still be hugely successful because they simply produce at a level that can't be ignored.

nat

Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063256 09/22/20 12:28 AM
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. . . is free to choose any personal name to use at any time, even if it can't be pronounced.

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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063258 09/22/20 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
* Is willing to go broke.

just this year I learned this about Rick Wakeman


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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063266 09/22/20 02:32 AM
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An artist makes connections among seemingly unrelated disciplines.

Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063337 09/22/20 07:39 PM
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I have trouble defining an artist.

Beethoven, Mozart, and many others supplied music for their sponsors. Music they did for their fans, at the request of their fans, and targeted to the taste of their fans and wrote some pretty artistic music that has lasted for a long time.

Cole Porter and the Gershwin brothers wrote some pretty artistic commercial music for Broadway Plays, as did Harold Arlen and so many more.

Michelangelo did not want to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he wanted to do a sculpture of I think a horse. The pope at the time basically forced him to paint the chapel. It turned out to be one of that century's greatest works of art.

Throughout history, great artists have done commercial works for patrons, sponsors, targeted audiences or whoever else and have still managed to create great works of art that will last longer than their lives.

So I think all the things previously mentioned CAN apply to an artist, but are not necessarily requirements.

I think the only requirement of an artist is that his or her work is artful.

And what is artful? What is art? That's another subject.

I for one think Jackson Pollock's drop cloths are not great art but simply messy kitsch, but there are 'experts' who strongly disagree with me.


[Linked Image from blog.artsper.com]


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Re: The Artist...
Notes_Norton #3063358 09/22/20 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
I for one think Jackson Pollock's drop cloths are not great art but simply messy kitsch, but there are 'experts' who strongly disagree with me.


[Linked Image from blog.artsper.com]


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I am curious. Have you seen a Jackson Pollack piece in person? I have not.

I ask because I'd seen many reproductions/prints of Van Gogh and Rembrandt paintings and I thought they were pretty cool.
Then I went on a college field trip to the Norton Simon Museum of Modern Art in Pasadena.
They had a Van Gogh on display. The paint was thick, 3-D, painted with some sort of palette knife I suppose. The intensity and vibrance of the work startled me, it seemed alive. None of the reproductions had that energy.
When I first spotted the Rembrandt, it was as though it was watching me. If it had not been in a frame I might have spoken to it. As I moved around the gallery viewing the art, the eyes of the self portrait seemed to follow me everywhere. A bit creepy and certainly fantastic.

I haven't thought too much of Jackson Pollock's work but after that experience I realized that I needed to see one in person to know what it actually is like. I still have not seen one so I am withholding an opinion.


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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063370 09/23/20 01:34 AM
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I've seen a few Pollock's in person. To me they looked like a painter's drop cloth.

I saw a print of one in a magazine and as prints sometimes do, they distort the colors and if you looked hard enough you could see a giant S E X painted and then more paint was splattered over it so it wasn't obvious. We've seen the same in one of my wife's textbooks and in better colors if you didn't see it in the false colors you wouldn't notice it in the real colors.

My wife is a college schooled artist, and when we travel, we always go to the art museums. I liked the Prado in Madrid, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh in Amsterdam, quite a few in the USA and the UK, Dali in St Petersburg (FL), Mucha and National in Prague, Ufuzzi and Pita in Italy, the Vatican museum, and both big and small museums quite a few other countries. Sometimes gems are found in small museums with one or two very impressive and famous or not pieces. In the Art Museum of Chicago we were both memorized by a not-so-famous artist's depiction of a girl listening to a wren. I can still see it in my brain. I haven't been to the Louvre yet but when I get to Paris, it'll be on the list for a few days.

Having an artist with me has taught me how to appreciate some of what makes a painting look like it does. I in turn taught her a lot about music theory. We've grown together.

Defining what is art is very subjective and with the visual arts, especially the more abstract forms, the gatekeepers define what is art, and often that is based on who you know. Do a dozen Campell's soup cans belong in the same league as a Singer-Seargant, DaVinci, Klimt, or a Rembrandt?

What I think is art or not is defined by my personal taste. I am not the arbiter of fine art and don't pretend to be. I do better with music.

There are some things my wife loves that just strike me as OK, but then I don't know what goes into them like she does - plus we have a lot of shared tastes but a little that we don't share. She thinks Pollock is BS as well.

I saw an interesting documentary and I'll summarize.

A woman bought a painting in a yard sale, because she thought it was the most ugly painting she ever saw.

She gave it to a friend as a gag gift. The friend's friend suggested that it might be a Pollock.

She had it evaluated by museums and critics all over the country who said that it couldn't be a Pollock because it didn't have his touch, aura or a dozen other features according to the person. Some of these were famous art museum curators from places like The Met.

Dejected she decided to take it out of the frame and there were fingerprints in the back matching the colors of the painting. So she had that evaluated and sure enough, they were Pollock's fingerprints in the same paint as the painting.

Suddenly the same art critics were extolling the virtues of the same painting and she sold it for a couple of million dollars.

Before it was verified, it was dirt, as soon as it was verified it was gold. Same painting. Art, especially abstract is subjective, and sometimes the name is more important than the art itself.

Now music I can do better. I know that Dvorak's 9th symphony is the greatest piece of music ever written on American soil.

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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063383 09/23/20 02:42 AM
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Thanks Notes, I enjoyed your post. If nobody minds, I copied and pasted the story, which came up very pale. In quotes:

"A woman bought a painting in a yard sale, because she thought it was the most ugly painting she ever saw.

She gave it to a friend as a gag gift. The friend's friend suggested that it might be a Pollock.

She had it evaluated by museums and critics all over the country who said that it couldn't be a Pollock because it didn't have his touch, aura or a dozen other features according to the person. Some of these were famous art museum curators from places like The Met.

Dejected she decided to take it out of the frame and there were fingerprints in the back matching the colors of the painting. So she had that evaluated and sure enough, they were Pollock's fingerprints in the same paint as the painting."

Since neither of us has seen a Pollock in the flesh, I don't consider our opinions to have as much value as if either of us had seen one. So it goes, nobody is going to bring me one to look at.

I will accept that Dvorak's 9th is your favorite. We all have favorites, the greatest music, the greatest cheese, all are opinions and all are valid. I will listen to it, I love to hear new things and am unfamiliar.
I am very fond of Charles Ive's Three Places In New England - a unique and wonderful piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP0yMg6_Yaw


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Re: The Artist...
Notes_Norton #3063397 09/23/20 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Before it was verified, it was dirt, as soon as it was verified it was gold. Same painting. Art, especially abstract is subjective, and sometimes the name is more important than the art itself.

You're probably aware of the famous study where the same wine was used, and poured into different bottles and said to sell for different prices. Wine critics, who are supposed to know what they're doing, vastly preferred the same wine at the higher prices in the fancier bottles.

If that doesn't tell you all you need to know about packaging and marketing, I don't know what does.

But I'd say there are also different degrees of art. Are the Sex Pistols on the same musical level as Beethoven? I don't think so! But when they came out in the 70s, they hit me on a visceral level - whether because of their music or marketing, I don't know - that was very different from the visceral reaction I get from classical composers.

Or take John Cage. A lot of people thought that what he did was stupid or pretentious. However, I invited him over for lunch one day, and much to my surprise, he accepted. We ate a really big salad together with our fingers, no silverware, and had a great time. That's when I realized he was coming from a place of having a great sense of humor, and a willingness to try anything - even a lunch invite from some 20-year-old. From that point on, I heard his music with the humor and smile that was a part of him, and it made total sense.

4:33 was no longer WTF, but "that's frickin' hilarious!"

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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063484 09/23/20 07:22 PM
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I've seen some big Pollocks in person and, especially when I could stand where the painting filled my entire field of vision, and there were no other people milling between me and the painting, I found some of them thrilling on a visceral, non-intellectual level.

There are all sorts of stories wandering the internet along the same lines as the "experts can't tell on thing from another." I don't agree with the usual moral of the story, that the "experts" are posers and that the "art" is bogus, that it's all subjective so you can just go with your gut and you're done - easy peasy. I think it's all terrifically more complicated than that - and people want what's simple and immediate for the most part. And what could be more fun than making a fool of a supposed "expert"? Such an easy dismissal of expertise is what's bogus in my book.

There's this huge shift in art when Modernism came in. You look at most art before modernism, and there's something in it just about anyone can understand. Cathedrals, murals, sculpture, portraits, history paintings, landscapes, on and on, there's a recognizeable something and although there are subtleties only the experts see and understand, there's a common artistic language of representing recognizeable objects, people, places, things. Everyone just about would start off with the same immediate understanding - this is beautiful, or grand, or incredibly lifelike, or sad, or amusing, or profound, etc., etc.

But Modernism wanted to bust all that up and start over. Representing things, making the rubes say "wow, she looks like she could just talk to you!" was cheap special effects. What was wanted was a deeper dive into the mysteries of experience, of psychology, of reality for lack of a better term. More real than just surface representations and actor's faces, laughing or crying.

The early Moderns took lots of cues from the science and the cutting-edge philosphies of their day. Long story short, there was this huge shift from the expression of recognizeable forms to the expression of ideas. And the ideas were not the ideas of everyday people, but were intensely personal, and often tied to some intellectual program that was different than the next guy's. Artists started abandoning the common artistic language or representation, and moved elsewhere, into personal philosophies, personal iconography, experimentation, psychology, and so on.

So like with Pollock, you have someone who believed in some sort of cosmic random ultimate state of oneness. So he had a personal program of trying to exorcise any possible recognizeable particular thing in his drip paintings - because that destroyed the sort of spiritual nirvana he had in mind. It was hard to do! He painting many paintings trying to get there - and he felt that he succeeded in some of them. We are talking about a heavy, intellectual, spiritual, artistic obsession.

So if you go the museum and you don't know squat about this sort of Modernist intellectual, idea-driven art, and you like paintings of lovely women, beautiful sunsets, french street cafes, pretty lilly ponds, and so on - Pollock is absolutely indistinguishable from a painter's dropcloth. I kind of suspect that Pollock would have not minded the comparison - seeing that the dropcloth was created in such a random fashion.

So the modern stuff is heavy into ideas, concepts, experimentation, upsetting conventions, working out intense personal ideas and making the viewer do all the work, if they have a mind to. If you read up, find a few favorites and artists that resonate with you, the modern stuff can be an incredible resource of art to enjoy, contemplate, mystify over. Personally I'm crazy about Paul Klee, the Cubists, Picasso (who is totally on the outs with most critics these days), Matisse, Rothko, Tobey, and others. But it took a lot of looking and thinking, reading and contemplating to develop what appreciation I can muster. There are more of them I get zero out of than get anything out of - but it's all worth the effort, either way, to me.

nat

Last edited by Nowarezman; 09/23/20 07:26 PM.
Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063496 09/23/20 08:23 PM
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Great post, Sir Nat!!!!
I was hoping somebody who has seen a Pollock would chime in. I do want to see one but these days I am restricting my travel for the most part.
The Community College up here sponsors affordable bus trips to exhibits but they are laying low for now. I've gone on a few of those day trips, they chose well - the last time I went we saw the King Tut exhibit.
Timeless, true Art is timeless.

I was a photography major in college and took 2 semesters of Art History - the teacher attempted to teach from the perspective of the people who created the Art, what the purpose of the Art was for them, etc.
We covered some topics in photography classes as well since it has been an "interesting" and never ending historical discussion regarding whether photography can or cannot be Art.
I learned that photographers began taking portrait commissions away from artists - who needed that income. One response was Surrealism, painting things that could not be photographed.
Impressionism, Cubism, all sorts of responses to the threat of this new medium. Some photographers counter-responded during the Dada era, Man Ray is the most well known.

The history is one thing, seeing the Art itself in person is another experience entirely. I saw an Alexander Calder exhibit at the MOMA in San Francisco. They had a gallery of his wire sculptures and the rest of the floor contained his huge, wonderful mobiles. There is a Braque in the DeYoung Museum in SF.

The city of Fresno - where I was born and raised - had a couple of Calder pieces, one on the downtown mall and one in between 2 buildings at the Convention Center. Lovely things indeed.

All sorts of Modern Art on the West Coast. We have a fair bit of interesting sculpture in little Bellingham, where I live now.
Sometimes I've thought that people can reject the unfamiliar without realizing how completely strange our planet is, to say nothing of the creatures that inhabit it. We glance at a grasshopper and think "a bug". And it IS a bug.
But it is also an insanely intricate conglomeration of features that has survived the test of time. It would be difficult to invent one out of thin air!!!


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Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063546 09/24/20 01:25 AM
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I have nothing against modernism and there are plenty of works that are dear to me. And like I said, I am not the world's authority on art. When in Madrid I made an effort to see Guernica in person and no print does it justice. I've seen works by Miro, Degas, Calder, Kandinsky, Cezanne, Hockney, Klee, Rothko, Braque, Dali ('he' has a great museum in St Petersburg FL), Frankenthaler, Gauguin, van Gogh (great museum in Amsterdam), Motherwell, Klimt (another you need to see in 'person'), Matisse, Mondrian, and so on.

I'm aware of art movements from the Impressionists and up. I like what I like and can appreciate a lot of what doesn't move me thanks to my art major wife. But throwing paint on a drop cloth IMO is not art. An artist doesn't do random things and call it art. That would be like a musician getting hundreds of tiles with multiples of each chromatic note, pulling them out of a hat and notating them on a score. Then doing it again for harmony. Random IMO isn't art.

Pollock's in person look like painters drop cloths with nothing but random splatters to me.

I have a white roof. I just pressure cleaned it to prepare to repaint and there are places that have been randomly stained: Mildew, bird droppings, stains from tree tannins, plus bisters cracks and checks in the old elastomeric paint. That isn't art to me, it's random. Some of the spots are actually quite attractive, but it ain't art. And IMO neither is a painter's drop cloth.

But like I said, that is my opinion.

For those who like Pollock, please take no offense. In art as in music, the more abstract you get, the more personal you get, the narrower your audience gets.

What is art? That's really hard to pin down.

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Re: The Artist...
Notes_Norton #3063551 09/24/20 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
What is art? That's really hard to pin down.

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Long ago somebody told me "Music is Art and Art is creation and release of tension."

It may not be a universal truth but it stuck with me and I consider it when I am writing songs or even playing covers in a bar band. The other way to put it is "Don't flatline the song."


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Re: The Artist...
KuruPrionz #3063606 09/24/20 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
What is art? That's really hard to pin down.

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Long ago somebody told me "Music is Art and Art is creation and release of tension."

It may not be a universal truth but it stuck with me and I consider it when I am writing songs or even playing covers in a bar band. The other way to put it is "Don't flatline the song."
Tension and release bring the heart into music. Joy in performing it brings the soul.

Tension and release give us some of our greatest joys in life.

You can be very, very, very hungry, that's tension. Then you sit down to one of your favorite meals, that's release. Same for thirst.

You build up a lot of sexual tension naturally, increase it with foreplay, and then when the release finally comes it's wonderful.

Your song hangs out in the tonic key with increasing tension due to the note choices, you go for an ascending build, then change the key and introduce a memorable theme and that's the release.

You are watching a football game. Your favorite team is inching away making small gains. They barely make a first down and seem stalled. They are behind by 3 points and the clock is ticking. You've got $50.00 on the game. The tension is great. With seconds to go on the clock, the quarterback passes, the receiver is wide open and has a run of over 30 yards into the end zone for a touchdown and the win. That's the release.

You have to really, really, really have to relieve your body of waste products, but you are in public and the only toilet is occupied and has been for what seems like an eternity. You're holding it in and that's tension. Then the occupant leaves, you walk in, undo your trousers and wonderful relief.

You're walking home, it's winter (up north), it's cold and windy, you aren't dressed for it, and home seems way too far away. That's tension. You walk in the door and you are greeted by a blast of warm, comfortable air. That's relief.

Tension and release. I love it.

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Re: The Artist...
Notes_Norton #3063676 09/24/20 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
But throwing paint on a drop cloth IMO is not art. An artist doesn't do random things and call it art. That would be like a musician getting hundreds of tiles with multiples of each chromatic note, pulling them out of a hat and notating them on a score. Then doing it again for harmony. Random IMO isn't art.

Pollock's in person look like painters drop cloths with nothing but random splatters to me.

What is art? That's really hard to pin down.

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There's a whole lot of stuff nowaday that gets put into galleries and museums that I feel the same way about - how can this be art? A lot of it seems to be an intentional flipping-off of the very concept of art as a definable thing.

Personally, I'm pretty tired of the "is it or isn't it Art" arguments. The more people say "this is art, and that ain't art", the more other people say, "who are you to say" and so on. Seems a waste of time, like the use of samples debate and such.

My take, which I will of course decline to claim is of any authority, is that, if an artist's work has a discernable idea, and an effective execution of the idea, then I'll try to do justice by it. I like to see some actual skill of the hand involved, some clear finesse going into the thing. Of course, the very idea of the work could be offensive or wrongheaded according to my values. I may lament that certain art is heading off into regrettable directions. But the culture is going to do what it does - so there's some value is just seeing what in the world people have in their heads if for no other reason than feeding my sense that I ought to produce something that heads off in what I think is a far better direction.

Artists are very reactionary - no one hates art more than certain artists hate the productions of certain other artists. It's just the way art history often progresses.

Lots of art is, to my mind, "art", but of a very minor sort. The idea is small, and the skills involved are minimal. So it has to be pretty unique, has to have a fresh message of some sort, 'cause there's not much else to it. To me, this exactly defines someone like Warhol. Ok - I get it - the soup can is just something a person can kind of like - it's familiar, comfortable, iconic, and part of everyday life. So what the heck, paint a big picture of one. Small idea, not much skill of execution, but an affirmation of everydayness, for everyman - like Pop of all sorts. It had a fresh feel when he produced it - so, ok, there's that, it takes 30 seconds to appreciate the small idea involved, and move on to something more substantial. Like Pollock who had more profound ideas and worked very hard at his technique, even if it in time it's viewed as a sort of abortive attempt to jump out of his own skin. Pollock I would hang on my living room wall if I could afford it - Warhol...I'd hang by the breakfast table, IF it didn't cost more than $100. It would at least be a conversation starter.

nat

Last edited by Nowarezman; 09/24/20 09:58 PM.
Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063686 09/24/20 11:26 PM
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One thing I've learned is that it's almost like some kind of resonance phenomenon. I've had super-positive reactions to my music, while others have a reaction that's worse than hating it - they're indifferent smile

We don't know what gets triggered in the three-dimensional database known as our memory. Does someone like Jackson Pollock for the painting itself, or because it triggers a time in their lives, maybe in kindergarten, where they had utter joy throwing paint around while feeling the first tinges of creativity?

All I know is that artists will keep producing art, and hopefully, be true to themselves - and also hopefully, find an audience with whom their art resonates.

Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063692 09/25/20 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
One thing I've learned is that it's almost like some kind of resonance phenomenon. I've had super-positive reactions to my music, while others have a reaction that's worse than hating it - they're indifferent :)<...snip...>
So true.

Give me art I can either love or hate, but don't bore me. Pollock and Warhol bore me. For that matter so does Rothko. They are obviously for someone else's eyes. Picasso - sometimes I love his work and sometimes it upsets me - that's good. Dali I mostly like along with Magritte and Miro. I'll spare you more.

But then some people get bored listening to Tchaikovsky or Shostakovitch so don't let the indifference upset you. Just keep on keepin' on.

Actually there are two kinds of art, art I like and art made for someone else. Music is included in that statement.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
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The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: The Artist...
Notes_Norton #3063700 09/25/20 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Actually there are two kinds of art, art I like and art made for someone else.

That's one helluva relevant quote!!

Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3063718 09/25/20 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Actually there are two kinds of art, art I like and art made for someone else.

That's one helluva relevant quote!!

Yes - what a great way of saying it. Because you don't like something doesn't make it "bad", it just doesn't connect with you. I will admit that there are classes or music, or art made by amateurs, or lazy folks that I won't give this latitude to, but when there are discussions of well-known artists/bands/whatever and someone denigrates the artist, I think this quote is very applicable. Thanks for this!

Jerry

Re: The Artist...
Anderton #3064001 09/27/20 11:13 PM
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...comes to terms with the ups & downs in their work as a natural progression and does not slam their head into the keyboard when things go awry.

I learned this back in my pre-computer days, trying to get MIDI splitter boxes to talk to, usually, the wrong ports. hitt facepalm


"I’m thinking of writing a cookbook.
I’ve got the title.
'Dark Side of the Spoon!'"
~ Nick Mason, drummer for Pink Floyd

https://soundcloud.com/david-emm-1

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