Monday, January 22, 2007

Visual Artists Unite, or not

So, i've been on a little bit of an artist kick again. I just bought "art as experience" by John Dewey (which reminds me i lost a library book). This is a pretty cool book but i've only read the first two chapters. It's amazing how people from 100 years ago write so differently from today. It used put me off, i.e. i thought the works were too inaccessible, but now it's kind of seductive of how to put myself in that kind of thinking.

What prompted this book? A comic book no less. A few months ago when i was teaching myself to draw, i bought a book "Perspective! for comic book artists" by Scott McCloud. It was great. Most of the time in drawing books you see either a lot of words about a few pictures, or a lot of pictures with few words. So you're either inndated or starved for explanation. With comics as his medium of explanation, he shows you in frame-by-frame/step-by-step how to do everything you wanted with perspective. Then i realized that comics was simply the perfect medium for such instruction (art- and i say that with tongue in cheek).

So i later read his book (got from the Library- freedom ahoy!) "Understanding Comics" which was a tour-de-force (always wanted to write that) about comics as art, not just art's bastard child. He explored the medium, through the medium. For instance, remember how seductive it was in the Sound of Music when they would sing about music using music? Well, its kinda the same thing, only comics and comics, and the thrill is still there. So he examines comics with a depth and breadth i've never thought about. Apparently he does it with a depth and breadth that most comic artists haven't seen, hence the rave reviews.

So i'm on an art kick. So when i was in the bookstore browsing for something that would tweak my interest, I came upon this book "art as expereince". So far his main point is about how art has been abstracted and bastardized from everyday life. And only in the context of everyday life can we really understand art. Point seems cool, but it's a long book and i hope he has some other insightful stuff to say. incidentally this helps round out my philosophical readings, which has been a kick of mine for a while.
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