Tag Archives: art

Coming soon: Shepard Fairey’s Tole Painting Class

As a one time art major (until I figured out that I could not make the kind of living that I wanted to make) I can explain something about pop art and how truly bogus *most* of  it is.

And this is how easy it is for you to do at home:

Take a photo of Campbell’s tomato soup, for instance. No, really.  Take a photo of it. Put it in a projector/enlarger that reflects on a canvas or watercolor paper or wall. Pencil the photo onto the canvas or wall. Then, start painting or coloring it in.

That’s how easy it is. That’s what Warhol basically could do with a soup can or a photo of Marilyn Monroe or any number of famous people. That’s how I painted a mural, in high school, of Minnie Mouse on a hallway at my alma mater. (Now to be clear, this is not exactly how Warhol did it. He silk screened the image of Marilyn onto canvas.)

Called Gold Marilyn Monroe this is Warhols portrait that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Called "Gold Marilyn Monroe" this is Warhol's portrait that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Photoshop and other web sites online will also allow you to take a photo (maybe of yourself) and add effects that make it look like a cartoon or a painting. (And considering that Fairey admits to deleting computer files, I have to wonder how much Photoshop or similar software was used in his Obama poster.)

With these “techniques” anyone can be an artist. Kinda like dummy-ing down art or maybe “Art for Idiots” or to be less offensive, “Art for the Paint Brush Challenged.”

So, this brings me to Shepard Fairey and his now infamous portrait of Obama.

From the beginning, this guy was a thief. He stole an idea, an image and modeled it with “technique.” That’s all he did. Technique cannot be confused with talent. Anyone can learn a technique, but not everyone has a talent or a gift.

Fairey is a street graffiti artist; in street vernacular, he is a tagger. He is nothing more than that. And now with his latest admission that he lied to his attorneys (in addition to the court and everyone else) that he used another photo rather than the one that the AP claims he used and his admission that he deleted computer files to cover up his lies, he will never be anything more than that. And any art piece he does from this point on will be viewed as suspect.

Anyone can learn the iambic pentameter of a sonnet and write one. But not just anyone can be William Shakespeare or write anything like he did. Anyone can learn the technique of painting on wet plaster (fresco) but not just anyone can do Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

Look familiar? Its my avatar: the finger of God and at the creation of Adam.

Look familiar? It's my avatar: the finger of God at the creation of Adam. From the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.

Anyone can learn Photoshop software and do this:

You guess it: that's my face, imposed over a Chaplin photo.

You guessed it: that's my face, imposed over a Chaplin photo.

But not just anyone can be Charlie Chaplin.

From this point on, Shepard Fairey will be nothing more than a man who learned some techniques and arrived at *almost* the right historical place at the right historical time.

Warhol pulled it off. Fairey never will.

The AP photo and the Fairey rip-off.

The AP photo and the Fairey rip-off.

More at BigHollywood.com.

Older but interesting perspective from the LA Times.

ooooh, what does this say about ME?

Hillary and I share the same taste in art:

Hillary Clinton liked abstracts by Kandinsky, de Kooning and works by Georgia O’Keefe.

The NEA and politcal correctness

This NEA thing that Breitbart broke last week has been rolling around in my head. There’s something seriously wrong with the story and it’s not just the propaganda end and payback scheme. There’s something deeper and deeply disturbing to me about this whole thing.

Piss Christ (Andreas Serrano).

I can’t bring myself to post that picture but you can google it. Serrano, is a photographic artist, at least, according to himself and some other wackos. In 1989, he caused a huge stir and drive to defund the NEA by his photo of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine. Believe it or not, this “piece” won him $15,000 in the  Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art contest.

By 2008, he’d moved on to feces with a show in New York. He told a newspaper that he was done with urine. I guess, he’d gone as far with that “medium” as he could go.

Interviewed by Dan Kois of New York Entertainment: “The show is also very basic — in a way, what I’m saying is that we all think we have the best shit. If you want to see some real shit, check out my shit!”, he says, beaming. “I got the best shit in town.”

I’m not making this up.

About 30 years before Serrano, and apparently his mentor, was Piero Manzoni. Manzoni was a conceptual artist. One of his brainstorms was called “The Artist’s Breath.” You guessed it – inflated balloons mounted on a wood block.

But he also did something extremely inventive: He canned his own feces in 90 cans, sealed them and sold each 30 gram can for the current price of gold (1960 price was around $1.12/gm.)  Of course, the contents of the cans has always been questioned but no one wants to open one, for obvious reasons. No, I don’t mean because it’s distasteful. I mean because the value of the can goes in the dumper (pardon the pun) if it’s opened. These 90 cans are in art collections, worldwide. In 2007, can #19 sold in America for $80,000.

See? Im not making this up. (jerkmag.files.wordpress.com)

See? I'm not making this up. (jerkmag.files.wordpress.com)

My questions are: What is art? What makes art, art? What is the purpose of art? Who determines what is or is not art? Why should art that I find distasteful or that I do  not consider art, be funded by my tax dollars? That question of course, is the fundamental argument for those in favor of dismantling the NEA, like me.

Art should be provocative and evocative. It should stir you. The first time I saw this painting, it stirred me:

Billy Boys/ Jack Vettriano

Billy Boys/ Jack Vettriano

I can’t say why it stirred me, I can’t put my finger on it but, when I saw this in a gallery window, it “spoke” to me, as corny as that sounds. I had to have it and I eventually, designed an entire room around it.

But I digress.

Is Piss Christ a stirring thing? Is it provocative? What about canned artist feces? This kind of “work” is stirring, it is provocative. But does that qualify it as art? One could say that it is art to someone, some sick someone, but someone just the same. And this is where moral relativism and art meet.

Because someone else considers this art, does that mean we have to accept it? If we don’t accept it does that make us intolerant? Does it make us exclusive because we won’t accept it?

My answer is yes.

There are some things that are just wrong: simply and inherently, unacceptable and intolerable. And I think that is the basis of a lot of what’s wrong with our society: we have become tolerant of the unacceptable, of bad behavior, of the tasteless, of the ill-mannered and rude, for fear of being called intolerant or rigid or lacking an open mind …

… for fear of not being POLITICALLY CORRECT.