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Business as Art?

Monday, 12. November 2018 0:33

Writing for the New York Times, Blake Gonik  posits that one of Andy Warhol’s most important contributions to the world of art was a thing called Art Business. Art Business is, according to Warhol, “the step that comes after art” and lumps together everything that the artist does as “publisher, publicist or salesman” into “one boundless art work: part performance art, part conceptual art and part picture of the market world he lived in.” Gonik goes on to establish that other writers and museums share this view.  Further, he brings into the discussion such artists as Jeff Coons, Damien Hirst, and Banksy as examples of artists who followed Warhol’s example.

The notion that the marketing and sale of art, or anything else for that matter, constitutes an art in and of itself is certainly stretching the definition of art. Still, Gonik says that Warhol’s Business Art is as important to the art world as was Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. And he may well be right, although the idea does not seem to have caught on among artists in general, or perhaps, those artists feel that they do not possess the right set of qualities and skills to make their business operations into “artistic” endeavors.

The former choice is, I think, the most representative of the reality of most artists. Many got into the world of art in order to express themselves, to say something that they thought needed to be said. These artists are not necessarily concerned with theories on what does and what does not constitute art; they only know that the things they are making fall under that umbrella. They view the marketing and selling, not as another art, but as an ancillary to art. These artist would consider promotion and sales as art only metaphorically, as in “that marketing effort was a work of art.” They would never consider business operations as art itself. Indeed, some would say that business as art opens the door to “everything as art,” a concept which is ultimately devalues art.

Perhaps these artists just don’t get it. Writer and curator Jack Bankowsky has said that Business Art is the backstory behind “any sophisticated artistic practice.” And it is a sophisticated idea that the promotion and sale of artworks can be “about” something. It is easily understood that Duchamp’s Fountain was a comment on the art business; Banksy’s self-destructing sale may have been a critique of the art market. It seems, however, a far stretch to say that marketing and sales, in addition to being marketing and sales are also art works about some aspect of the promotion and distribution of art. That’s a bit too sophisticated and perhaps self-serving for some people, and again smacks of the everything-is-art-ism.

Personally, I have trouble with everything-is-art-ism. Certainly, any activity can be taken to heights that transcend normal execution. Any activity can be made elegant and well-formed, “art-like” if you will. That doesn’t make it art, at least under any definition that I know of art, the ideas of the critics and curators quoted notwithstanding. It may be that Duchamp’s declaration “that artists alone get to define what is art” is correct, but in my experience, declaring something to be this or that does not make it so. That requires an acceptance from the audience. What is art is, after all, determined by the culture of which it is a part, and that culture is developed and maintained by members of that culture, in other words, the audience. And despite what critics say, today’s general art audience as well as artists do not see business as art.

Please feel free to disagree. If you have thoughts on this subject, I would be very interested in hearing them.

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Oh, I See What You Did There

Monday, 29. October 2018 0:39

Earlier this week, I watched the last episode of the third season of The Man in the High Castle. Immediately I thought of what a good job they did setting up Season 4, which will undoubtedly begin with explanations of some of the questions raised by this episode. A bit later I realized that the writers and showrunners had also set up an ending that could also serve as an ending of the series if that should be the way the winds blew at Amazon Studios. Somehow these artists had managed to wrap up Season 3 with an all-purpose ending, which only speaks to their level of skill and artistry.

Much the same sort of thing could be said about the very last episode of The Americans, which I watched earlier this year. While the episode was decidedly the end of the series and nearly a perfect ending at that, there were enough questions left unanswered that could be developed into at least three spin-offs. Again, the artistry and skill levels were of the highest.

Then I began to wonder how these shows impacted their intended audiences. What I mean is that I, like all artists trained in the US, and unlike the intended audience for these television shows, have spent hours analyzing works of art. It’s something I teach my students to do. We dissect plays to see how they work, how the characters are constructed, how the plot is put together, why the ending works—or doesn’t.

As far as I know, other arts do the same. Visual artists analyze the work of older artists to determine exactly what it is that causes them to be great. Musicians learn much the same thing—how the structure of a musical piece works, how the melody resolves itself to lead to listener satisfaction. Photographers certainly do it, eager to determine the lighting and composition plans, determined to understand why a photograph works on the emotional level that it does. We want to know not only what the artist did but how s/he achieved whatever it was that s/he achieved.

And then it becomes habit. We cannot experience a work of art without analyzing. And this is particularly true if the work is not of the highest quality. Even the smallest interruption to engagement causes those of us who are trained to start wondering why we are disengaged, and from that point on we shift into full analysis mode. The outstanding production values and quality of acting in the two television shows mentioned allowed me to hold my analysis until those episodes were over. Otherwise, I would have begun evaluation while the show was going on, further distancing myself from the work.

The point of this, you ask? The point is the acknowledgement that we will never view art in the same way as our audience, who, for the most part, are not trained to analyze and evaluate art the same way we are. Absent training in appreciation, analysis et al, they are likely to see something far different from what we see. Knowing this, we must be very careful in evaluating our own work and establishing the criteria we use to judge what pieces we put before an audience.

Because we know what we did and how we did it, we must return to the piece again and again with new eyes, delaying analysis so we can see what the audience is likely to see thereby to better judge the audience’s reaction. Then we can use that information to make our work even better.

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Ambiguity in Art, Part 2*

Monday, 15. October 2018 1:12

In his book, Making Sense of Movies, Robert Henry Stanley says that at the end of the silent era, successful American movies followed six rules, one of which was that movies should be comprehensible and unambiguous. But times change. Now we have sound, and color, and more than a handful of ambiguous movie endings. And if you look at any of the lists, you will discover that these are very well-known and respected movies. Things seem to have changed.

And this change is not just a recent phenomenon. Many critics consider the ending of Casablanca to be at least a little ambiguous. Going even farther back, the enigmatic and ambiguous smile in the 515-year–old Mona Lisa still intrigues scholars and critics today. As a matter of fact, the more we look, the more ambiguity we find in art. For example, most of the paintings of Edward Hopper and Jack Vettriano rely on ambiguity, as do the sculptures of John Chamberlain. Sally Mann’s photography can be ambiguous, and so can the work of Edward Albee and Sam Shepherd. The lyrics and poems of Leonard Cohen can be filled with ambiguity.

So while ambiguity exists in much art and has for centuries, it certainly isn’t found in all art, probably not in a majority of art. My guess would be that ambiguity would found in only a small minority of art works. (Look at how few movies endings are marked as “ambiguous.”) One can speculate that there are two reasons for this: (1) the majority of audience members still expect art to follow Robert Henry Stanley’s rule and be “comprehensible and unambiguous.” Things are easier that way: the audience members know exactly what the artist means and often express their appreciation with their pocketbooks.

(2) The other reason that ambiguity is found in a minority of art works is that ambiguity is difficult to do and must be controlled. If the artist is not careful, ambiguity can easily slip into vagueness and confusion, which is not at all appealing. So ambiguity in art must be handled delicately so that just enough comes through to the audience members to make them think and talk about the work, but not so much that the work becomes obscure.

Am I suggesting that we find a way to introduce ambiguity into our art (if it isn’t already there)? I think that depends on the artist’s goals. If the artist is interested in selling as many pieces as possible or making a very strong statement, perhaps not. Americans seem to spend more for art that is unambiguous. Clint Eastwood’s movies are not ambiguous. Banksy is not ambiguous, nor is Neil Simon. These artists are very direct and do very good work. They have been rewarded by their audiences.

If, on the other hand, the artist wants to let the audience member participate a little more, s/he might be less direct, perhaps leave things in the gray rather than black and white by introducing some controlled ambiguity. It may not make the work better, but it will make it start different sorts of conversations and appeal to a different audience, albeit a minority.

So it comes down to how the artist wants his/her work perceived and to which audience s/he want to appeal. And while I am a fan of ambiguity in art, I have to acknowledge that it doesn’t work for all sorts of art or in all situations. So I think the artist must take into consideration the sort of art he is making and the audience for whom s/he is making it.

 

*”Part 1” was entitled “Brain Clutter and Ambiguity in Art” and can be found here.

Category:Audience, Communication, Creativity | Comment (0) | Author:

Maybe It’s Not All About Process

Monday, 24. September 2018 0:58

“It’s all about the process.” We hear that over and over again when we ask artists about process and product. When artists talk to each other, it’s all about the process. Want to discuss creativity? Plan to talk about process. It’s almost as if the product is forgotten when we talk about art and creativity. I have written about it before (here, here, here, and here, for example). And if we are involved in teaching any of the arts, what we teach is process—how to develop it, how to solidify it, how to refine it. It’s almost as if all art is about is process.

This, however, is not the case. The audience could care less about the process. What the audience is interested in is the product, the artifact. Here I must acknowledge that some art processes do not produce artifacts, but these are limited to live performing arts, and while they do not produce physical artifacts, there is a sort of product in the performance experience—that which the audience will (hopefully) talk about when the production is over.

The audience cares only that the product of whatever our processes might be speaks to them, that the artifact somehow enhances their existence. What they do not care about is what we went through to make the product happen, to produce the artifact they can see and touch and appreciate.

Arts marketers might disagree and say that the story of the process is of great interests to potential buyers and will often help make a sale. That is only partially true. What really makes a sale of an artifact is a story. It doesn’t matter whether the story is about the creative process, or about how the artist came to write, sculpt, paint, photograph the subject and produce the artifact in question. And it doesn’t matter whether the story is true or not. The fact is that some kind of story about the artifact came to be is a very useful sales tool because it provides more insight into the work and somehow connects the artist and the audience member and personalizes the work for the potential collector, thus improving sales potential.

This is certainly not to say that process is unimportant. Rather it is to force us to look at process from a different point of view, that of the audience. If we do that we find that there is far less interest in process and far more interest in artifact. This might lead us to think differently about our approach to the work. From that altered viewpoint, it is clear that process is simply a means to realizing the artifact, and perhaps can be completely invisible to the audience. Looking at the process/product dichotomy in this fashion helps us realize that process is nothing more than the methodology we use to create the product, and, as such, might deserve less emphasis in our minds than the artifact.

My point is that while it seems that “it’s all about the process,” perhaps it shouldn’t be. Certainly the process is enjoyable, absorbing, and even addictive, but it is, after all, just a creative methodology. Without the target of a product, an artifact, process is pointless. Perhaps it’s time that we shifted our emphasis a bit more away from process and a bit more toward product.

Category:Audience, Creativity | Comment (0) | Author:

Art—It’s not for the Weak

Monday, 10. September 2018 2:08

You Don’t Choose Art; It Chooses You” is the title of a post from several years ago. In it are several supporting quotes and a number of very brief case histories. All of these come to much the same thing: most artists had no choice in selecting their vocations.  For example, author Paul Auster says, “Becoming a writer is not a ‘career decision’ like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don’t choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you’re not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days.

First, what Auster says not only applies to writers but to other artists as well. Second, the last part of his statement warrants a bit more discussion: that long hard road that the chosen have to walk for the rest of their days. (For discussion purposes, we will divide artists into three categories: “professional” artists are those who make over 50% of their income from their art. “Semi-pros” who charge for their work but make less than 50% of their income from art. “Amateurs” are people who make art but do not regularly offer it for sale.)

No matter which category an artist happens to be in, the road is long and hard. For example, Actor’s Equity Association, the union which represents stage actors, estimates that the unemployment rate for actors “hovers around 90 percent.” These are professional actors who have invested the time and money to join a union (and it’s not cheap). Statistics are much the same for those in other arts, except very few professional artist have unions to join. The fact is that while  non-union professional artists work a lot, sales are sporadic and the artist has to spend a good deal of time marketing his/her work. Income is similar to the union artist who is unemployed a good deal of the time. And for that tiny percentage who are wildly successful, who become stars in whatever areas they work, there are a whole set of other difficulties.

The semi-pro artist’s path is no less hard, just different: this artist has a day job, but would rather be making a living from art. S/he thinks it is more realistic to use the day job for primary income and probably use any income from art to purchase more art materials and tools. This is definitely a person with divided loyalties, and that creates its own special kinds of problems, the chief of which is finding enough time in the schedule to make art sufficient to enter into significant shows and offer pieces for sale.

The amateur artist shares the problem of time. Since this artist is not necessarily making art to sell, s/he still has to find the time to create his/her art. This means taking time away from the family and friends, finding enough quiet time to write or paint or sculpt, or dealing with the demands of evening rehearsals at a community, or other non-paying theatre. Just because there is no money involved doesn’t mean that the conflicts and difficulties are less significant.

Regardless of the level at which an artist works, s/he does have a long, hard road. S/he has a life of erratic artistic income (if any) as well as an ongoing gluttonous need for materials, time, and energy, all coupled with an obsession for creation. Once art chooses a person, and that person accepts the choice, his/her life becomes tough—because art is hard. Most artists, however, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Category:Creativity, Productivity, Uncategorized | Comment (0) | Author:

Shake Your Booty!

Sunday, 26. August 2018 23:48

“You gotta shake your booty—right.” So said a friend who was trying to explain to me that it’s not enough to do good work—or even great work. In addition to doing good work you have to promote that work—in the right way. It’s not an uncommon notion: not only do we now have to build a web site, we have to promote that web site; then we have to drive traffic to that website, generally using social media. So “shaking your booty” in worlds of arts and ideas is not quite as simple as it might be on a personal level.

We sometimes think that this is a dictum that is a result of the information age. However, I recall having a discussion with one of my graduate advisors about how James Joyce in 1921 ceased to be James Joyce, artist, and became James Joyce, huckster, as he shopped Ulysses to various publishers in Europe. It took him a year. It was not a new problem for him; it took him nine years to find a publisher for Dubliners, a book of short stories.

So this is not a new problem. I suspect that if we look carefully into the history of many art works we will find the same pattern. The artist must become the salesman or marketer of his/her own work. Then once s/he has found the correct publisher or gallery or agent, the promotion effort transfers to that person or organization. But it starts—must start—with the artist, particularly the artist who is not yet “established.” This is not a problem that Stephen King has, but it is a concern for artists who have not yet arrived at a level of national or international acclaim.

The only difference is that now the problem has become more complex. It’s one thing to move from publisher to publisher or agent to agent or gallery to gallery, looking for acceptance. It’s an entirely different thing to get one’s work noticed, much less appreciated, when the internet puts the world at the fingertips of everyone, and the artist is competing for attention with all the other artists on the planet, both living and dead.

And the landscape is always changing, depending upon the demographic of your target audience, so what worked last month, will not necessarily work this month because “the world has moved on” and yesterday’s social platform is now out of date; there is a new social platform that has taken its place.

And like James Joyce, the artist of today must make that initial effort. S/he must compete—for attention if nothing else. And that means not only producing great work, but being sure that work gets noticed by someone. In order to do that, s/he must compete with all the other artists and artisans and marketers competing for that same attention. Once noticed, the artist may—through the use of the right platforms and correct presentation—become known and appreciated.

The problem is two-fold: (1) create excellent work (2) get people to notice it. So the artist must not only be an artist, but a marketer—or know someone who is. Someone has to shake the booty. And it must be in the right way on the right platform to attract the right audience. Otherwise it’s all wasted effort. Good work is simply not enough!

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Blocked? Make the Problem the Subject

Monday, 13. August 2018 1:53

Blogging and making art are not the same, but they are similar. The core procedures are nearly identical. The artist/blogger has ideas; s/he has to translate those ideas into some communicable form and send it into the world. Sometimes the artist/blogger has a notion as to whether the product is good or not; sometimes s/he doesn’t. The problem is, of course, that the artist/blogger has no idea what the audience is going to see in the product or say about what they see.

When everything is working properly, the artist and blogger have similar processes. S/he gets an idea, develops that idea, communicates the idea, edits the communication, and moves on to the next project. Regardless of how the audience might or might not respond, there is a feeling of accomplishment, of closure that makes moving forward easier.

And when everything is not working properly, the problems are similar. Creative block preys on both the artist and the blogger. There are just times when the painter has no idea what to paint, when no new ideas come to the choreographer, when the playwright stares past the screen, not knowing where the plot is going. The same holds true for bloggers; ideas don’t come, and for most bloggers the problem is exacerbated by deadlines, since bloggers often work on a schedule.

A problem comparable to creative block is the problem of too many ideas at once. Ideas come to the artist/blogger quickly and s/he has no opportunity to develop one fully before another arises and fights for attention. The net result is that no idea gets full development and the artist/blogger feels that s/he is running in circles. And there is no product.

What to do?  There are literally thousands of articles dealing with creative block and how to overcome it. So the how is fairly well documented; all the artist or the blogger needs to do is pick one or more of those methods which s/he thinks will work for him/her.

Dealing with too many ideas or the inability to fully develop ideas is more complex. The first step is to record the ideas as they appear, lest some of them get away. Just because they are recorded does not mean that the artist/blogger has to use them, but it does preserve them. And the act of recording can sometimes suggest a pattern of development or a reason to hold off developing that particular idea at this particular time. After that, it becomes a matter of scanning the recorded ideas to see what engages.

If that doesn’t work, the artist/blogger can always doodle or outline or sketch or involve him/herself in whatever form preliminary development takes. Sometimes that can get the mind working and development can proceed.

And if that doesn’t work, the artist/blogger can always make the project about the problem. Thus we have movies, plays, even musicals about creative block, for example Barton Fink, , and Nine. We have blogs such as this. The problem becomes the subject matter of the piece. It may not be the best solution, but it does break the cycle and allow the artist/blogger to actually create something, to produce, and to move on to the next project.

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The Importance of Background

Monday, 30. July 2018 0:12

Recently I did a photographic experiment which involved changing the backgrounds in a set of images. Specifically, I replaced the backgrounds of a fairly standard woman-and-car shoot with fantasy backgrounds. Fortunately, the wardrobe and makeup supported the background change. The result was a completely different set of images, which, with the same subject, communicated an entirely different set of stories. Rather, I should say, communicated stories, which the original images were lacking, since they were part of a quasi-fashion shoot.

Volumes have been written on the importance of the subject and on posing the subject in a photograph or painting. Probably just as many volumes have been written on lighting the subject. Let’s face it; anything approaching a portrait is all about the subject. Of course it is; the subject is the reason for the image. Just as there are volumes about subjects and their treatment, there exists very little about backgrounds, and particularly about background details. This seems to me to be an oversight.

This experiment reinforced just how important the background is. The subject of a piece of art does not exist in isolation; it is part of the whole, and many times a large percentage of that whole is background.

This is a truth that movie-makers seem to have known for a long time. How many of us, upon watching a movie for the second or third time have been completely astounded by the level of detail contained in the background of the film? This is because film-makers learned early on that the totality of the mise-en-scène impacts the viewer, provides information, has psychological impact, communicates meaning, aids in telling the story.

In other arts this seems to be considered less important. In live theatre, for example, critics still consider the sets to be backings for the action rather than in integral part of the piece. The same seems to hold true for dance as well. Perhaps this is a function of economics. Perhaps it’s a function of how we, as audience members, view these various arts. Perhaps it’s just because the arts are different and producers of theatre and dance don’t see the need for the same level of background detail that producers of movies and good narrative television do. Perhaps it’s a function of framing. Those arts which have formal frames seem to value background detail much more than those without such borders.

Whatever the reason and (I think) whatever the art, background is important. Changing the background changes the piece and the story that the piece tells. So background isn’t just a backing for the action; it’s an integral piece of the composition. It’s a significant part of the mise-en-scène that can do for still pictures and painting all that it does for film.

Consider how much better the average portrait or run-of-the-mill engagement picture or even the typical You-Tube video would be if more consideration were given to the background. Think how much better our work would be if we devoted even half as much time and energy to selecting backgrounds and arranging details as Hollywood does. An idea worth contemplating.

Category:Audience, Communication, Photography | Comment (0) | Author:

So What Are You Doing About It?

Monday, 16. July 2018 0:59

Some people said they felt weird about celebrating the Fourth of July this year, given the political situation in the country. I got emails about it; there were tweets about it. So I thought about it, and I revisited what I had written immediately after the 2016 election; at that time I said essentially that there was no “correct” response for artists. I still hold to that opinion, but find that two years down the road many in the artistic community feel more threatened and upset than they did even immediately after the election. So I thought about it some more and came up with this question: so what are you doing about it? There are many possible answers to that question, but here are few suggestions:

  • Talk to people. Nobody knows what you think as long as you keep it to yourself, but the fact is that we influence many more people than we think we do, so the more we open our mouths about what we see wrong with the country or what a better path might be, the more likely it is that we will influence someone.
  • Post on social media. I had no knowledge of how many in the artistic community felt about politics until I saw some of their posts of Facebook. And then I found that many of those posts were thoughtful, articulate, provocative—and well worth reading. Yours could be too.
  • Subscribe to and forward newsletters. Accurate and honest information can be nothing but good; pass it on to your friends who may need to hear some truth.
  • Create your own newsletter—for the same reasons as above. Use your editing and curating skills develop content and get the word out to those to whom it matters. It’s a more work, but it’s a worth-while project.
  • Write and call those legislators, even if they seem to be following the (other) party line. I’m not sure that petitions do much good, but if enough constituents call and write, it can and does sway all but the most hardline elected officials.
  • Give some money to those running for office who can make the changes you want made. Give to causes with whom you sympathize. Give to organizations who show that they can make a difference
  • Become politically active. Campaign for candidate you think will make a difference. Someone has to stuff the envelopes, run phone banks, deliver the yard signs, organize at the grass-roots level.
  • MAKE SOME ART! Use your artistic skills to give expression to your political or social feelings. I’m not suggesting that you make all your art political, like Michael Moore, or Pussy Riot or even Sacha Baron Cohen. You might, however, make a piece here and there that communicates your beliefs. Consider just a couple of examples: Matt Johnson created a series of satire photos of Trump and his allies that has become very popular on Facebook. Jason Isbell expanded his musical offerings to include an examination of his personal societal concerns, saying “I can’t stay completely silent.”

Maybe we, as artists, should follow suit and not stay completely silent ourselves. It seems to me that if all we are doing is acting fearful and complaining, we are all but encouraging the status quo. Is that what we really want to do?

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Standard Sizes

Sunday, 1. July 2018 23:12

In case you haven’t noticed, the internet is rife with advice for artists. For instance, a Google search yields 71.5 million articles. Some of the articles are nothing more than common sense; others border on the surprising. Some seem useful and others no so much. Occasionally, I will read advice articles, particularly if they have something to do with theatre or photography. One can never have too many insights.

Recently, I ran across one that was purported to be necessary tips for photographers. There was one on this particular list that I had not run across before, so it stuck out: “Make standard size images.” It’s very practical advice, particularly if the photographer is doing commercial work. Off-site printers usually price by standard sizes. In-house printing benefits from standard sizes in that (a) those are the sizes in which paper comes, and (b) printing to those sizes eliminates time-consuming trimming. Image-processing software facilitates cropping to standard sizes. Even mats come precut to standard sizes, as do frames. Printing standard sizes makes everything cheaper and easier.

Standard sizes do, however, introduce a restriction into the creative process. Some artists welcome restrictions and boundaries because they have been shown to enhance the creative process. Some photographers take this into account in their workflow. For example, there are photographers who know when they take the picture what formats the prints will be. Indeed, a number of photographers shoot with specific formats in mind for a series they are developing. Some photographers intend to use 100% of the negative or capture in the print.

My experience, however, has been that no matter how much planning goes into a shoot, there will always be images that cry out for cropping, and that, once done, actually “makes” the image. Conscientious cropping can establish the organic boundaries that allow the image to be all that it can be; such boundaries have little to do with standard formats.

And if the boundaries are organic the image will naturally look better. Why? Because the edges are part of the picture. Where the photographer draws the boundaries defines the image. The distance of elements in the picture from an edge contributes to the composition, modifying the image’s impact, and probably its meaning.

So it turns out that perfect cropping often results in a nonstandard-size print. Sometimes it’s off by a little; sometimes a lot. But it almost certainly will be off. Then the photographer has to decide whether or how to massage this perfectly-cropped image into a standard size. If the photographer decides on standardizing the size, the question becomes how much of a compromise is s/he is willing to make.

One photographer I know has five different scalable “standard sizes,” four of which are based on height-width ratios. The last is a variable size for long, skinny pieces. The rationale is that given that many “standard” possibilities, one would come close enough to the perfect crop that any compromise would be minimal. He says, however, that even with all those choices, he still occasionally has a crop that just won’t work with any of his standard sizes. What does he do? He prints a custom size.

There are circumstances which dictate that standard sizes are the proper choice. My vote, however goes to the photographer mentioned above. Art is not meant to be fitted into standard-size boxes. Think about novelists or poets or composers or choreographers or directors having their work confined to “standard sizes.”

Selecting an artistic form is far more complex than selecting which standard-size box it fits in. One of the goals in creating is, I think, to allow the artifact to reach its full potential. And whatever size that turns out to be is, by definition, the perfect size for the piece, whether it is standard or not. This is true not only for photography, but for all the arts.

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