Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Art Philosophy - Inspiration vs. Appreciation

As much as this blog is about color, and such its focus, I really want to keep a broader view and hence this post.
Without ranting and raving too much, I have the feeling that artists of past years philosophized more about art than we do, well, at least in the broader conceptual manner that I'm referring to. Anyway, this idea brings me to a short rant about artwork which inspires you vs art that you appreciate. I'm specifically referring to art (i.e. something someone else created, not nature or experiences). Nowadays it seems that many people drool over the artwork of the big names of past or present artists and aspire to be like them. It's a natural response, but we have to go deeper and discover for ourselves whether their work inspires us or we really appreciate it. The difference is that art you appreciate is because it is technically good, due to composition, color, handling etc.. BUT it doesn't mean it inspires you (unless by inspiration you mean being successful, well-known, and getting that luxury yacht etc..). Here's a perfect example: I like JC Leyendecker's work, I really like it. It's well executed, well designed and pretty darn amazing and I'll look at it maybe make a study of it and try to figure out what he was thinking. BUT as much as I do that, it doesn't inspire me. It doesn't move me the way a Brangwyn painting does. When I look at a Brangwyn painting I actually have a hard time analyzing it 'cause I start getting giddy. So the number of artists that actually inspire me are relatively few compared to the many that I really appreciate and try to learn from.
This then brings us to the conclusion that in order to become YOU the artist, you have to know which art inspires YOU and which you really appreciate or look to for technical expertise etc... Hopefully,when we get this sorted out, we'll know why or when to copy an artist's work, and we'll stop obsessing about painting or drawing our art like someone else (unless we're making a study for technical purposes, for example). And then, we won't all have to believe that Rembrandt, Rockwell, Leyendecker, Gerome etc. should inspire everyone just because they are masters. If they don't happen to inspire us, we needn't feel guilty, we'll just have clearer reasons for looking at or studying their work (technique, composition, handling...) without feeling bad for not making art like them. That's why it's called art appreciation..

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