Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Expressing Concepts in Art

The definition of concept in Webster's dictionary is an abstract idea...a stray thought in the mind of an artist that immediately is seized on to develop. When I was oil painting my concepts were a lot more about technique than subject matter but now that I'm sculpting, the images in my mind have changed to more of a three dimensional format.

But before the image there's a my case it's a title for my Jammins'© characters and then an image forms that fulfills my concept of the subject. The thing about art and artists is that we interpret things in a million different ways but the whole idea is to express our own point of view in a visual context. I pretty much think that the success of an artist depends on their ability to get their own vision to click in the minds of those that see their work. 

My approach to this is to take a title and approach it in a literal, humorous way, and form is my hypothesis.  Some artists are into deeper conceptualism and many great art movements have evolved from their concepts, such as minimalism, surrealism and abstract art

All this sounds pretty highbrow but the truth of the matter is that artists are compelled to create. Some artists find their conceptual path right away, but a lot of us move from subject to subject and even change mediums throughout their career, trying to find that voice that combines their obsession with point of view. 

Sometimes the art itself is what solidifies how you my mind I've always had a quirky little sense of humor (some call it smart-ass-ed-ness) and I've always followed my own drumbeat. In my one of only two art classes ever taken , Intro to Art, we were asked to create something mechanical in nature with clay. My thought was; here you have a material that you can create any fluid form with and we're supposed to clog it all up with precise man made measurements. I thought it was crap and so my mechanical contribution was a crap factory with a conveyor belt of little piles of crap coming out of it. Funnily enough I got an A for it. My point is that long ago, in a crude way, my art was trying to tell me what my point of view was. 

Somehow along the way I got lost in trying to learn to do my craft well. My technique improved but my subject matter was, well, pedestrian. Now I'm doing something that appeals to me, that I truly enjoy doing and I'm confidant that there's nothing out there quite like my end product. Not sure I can call it 'fine art', but despite the whimsical content I do try to bring my best game and the important thing is I'm creating from my own concepts. 

I used to spend a lot of time in art forums and a common theme was' artist's block' and  
I think I finally have an answer to that... 

It's not about the next subject (ie: 'What do I paint/sculpt?') and it's not so much about inspiration from outside sources such as reference material (that's just to help out with the mechanics of an idea). It's about seeing what is in your own mind and translating it. 'Point of View' is not necessarily your statement of a belief system or aesthetic, but just your own unique way of imaging (imagining) things in your mind. 

And to my mind that is the definition of art...a visual expression of an artist's mind view. Whether it's done well or not...well, that's a different topic!

Today's art link is about MC Escher who had a very unique concept and embellished it throughout his whole life. And if there's not enough of his artwork there to make you happy, you might try Jill Britton's Escher Gallery  . 

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