Classic vs. Contemporary Art

Firstly, I find that I am more drawn towards contemporary art because personally I find that the style of it is more appealing and intriguing. I like how when doing contemporary art, there are so many possibilities of different medias you can use to create your artwork, and also many of the pieces are open to interpretation.  Another thing that I notice about contemporary art is that artists try to give other people a voice through their artwork, where in classic art, many paintings were done which only recognized “important” people. I think that influential artists giving people a voice with their artwork, and using their work to try to make an impact is an important aspect. Also, I find that in classic art, not a lot of bright colours are used, and the artwork is very monotone and the colours are usually dull. I like how in contemporary art, more colour is used because I think that colour is important in contributing to the message in artwork, and colours represent different emotions and meaning so I think that is important to include in art.  The use of colour can help draw people towards artwork, and I think it is also helpful with giving people a more emotional connection with the artwork.

Even though I am more drawn towards contemporary art, I still think that classic art is important. Classic art developed many techniques, tools, styles and medias that are still used in contemporary art, and also some classic movements lead towards contemporary movements or influenced them in some way. There are so many well known classic artists and artwork that are still very well known today, so i think it is still relevant and important to acknowledge them because they are important in art history.

I find that my work is influenced more by contemporary art. I like how with contemporary art i can use multiple medias in one piece, and I tend to be more drawn to abstract art. I do not paint a lot of portraits like what would be seen in classic art, and also I do not find it appealing how in a lot of classic art pieces, a lot of the colour is the same. I definitely create art that is based off of contemporary styles, and I also tend to be more interested in analyzing contemporary artwork. However, when I research a movement I always look at how more classic movements influenced it, and I have also analyzed some classic artwork because I know it is important to consider.

In conclusion, both classic and contemporary art influence my artwork, but I am more drawn towards contemporary art, and personally I am more interested in contemporary artwork and create more artwork in that style.

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Abstract Painting

I decided to do a gestural abstract painting. I worked on this project at home, and it was something that I have had an idea for since the summer.

The theme of this piece is internal battles, and I only used black and white paint. White represents the lightness and black represents the darkness, and then grey is the battle in-between.

I applied the paint with my hands because then I thought it would make the meaning more powerful, and add a more personal element to the painting.

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The picture above is of the background. There are many layers of fingerprints, and I had to go back and add more whenever I wanted to balance out where I used white and where I used black.

It’s difficult to see in this picture, but I left some parts of the background without any paint on them on purpose. First of all, I did that because I liked the way it looked, and second of all, I thought that it would represent how when someone is having an internal battle, some parts of your mind are clear and unaffected vs. the parts of your mind that contrast with that.

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At first I was not going to add hand prints on the painting, but when I had “finished’, I decided that it actually needed something that would bring everything together. That’s when I decided to add on white handprint because my theme is strength, and the white handprints represent overcoming that battle.

The white hand prints actually have many layers because the first couple of layers did not stand out enough. I even added a thickening medium to the white paint on the last couple layers of the hand prints so that it would bring them forwards, and separate them from the rest of the painting.

What my theme is, and where I am at

My theme for all of my artwork I have done so far is exploring different types of strengths.

The first piece I did was scratch art, and the image that I did was a wolf. At this point I did not have a theme picked out, but after I finished my scratch art I looked up the meaning of a wolf, and found out that it is a symbol of strength. So from there I decided I would explore that as my theme.

My second piece I did was a fauvism painting. Fauvism uses strong colours, so I thought it would fit in with my theme, and I had never done this style of painting before so I wanted to try it out.

The third piece that I finished was the assemblage sculpture, which is representative of a more powerful type of strength. In a way it represents an aspect of physical and mental strength.

Currently I am working on a gestural abstract piece. It was one that I had started testing in the summer, but then never got around to further researching or doing a good copy. I decided to expand on what I had done during the summer, and use it as a test piece for an actual project for class. The piece is going to represent internal strength and overcoming internal battles.

Another piece that I have is a still life painting that we had done in class last year. However, I do not know if it fits in with my theme, but afterI finish my next few projects I will see how everything comes together.

My next project that I am going to start is working with oil paints. It’s going to be a smaller series of paintings, but I have not decided on a concept for it yet. I had tested oil paint for my abstract painting, and it did not work well with what I am trying to represent, but I thought that oil paint was cool, and I wanted to work with it for another project because I have not worked with it a lot in the past.

I have a few other concepts that I have picked out that fit in with my theme, but now my goal is to turn them into projects.

Assemblage Sculpture #3

The meaning behind my assemblage sculpture:

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This piece is the first one that I did that has a more powerful meaning behind it, and also it is the first piece that I have used as commentary.

I got inspired to make this piece because I volunteer at Siloam mission, and it made me think a lot about what I value, and I got to see how some things that I thought were important are not as important as I thought.

I found that when I created something that has a more powerful meaning behind it, I was more happy with the outcome.

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The next step in creating my assemblage piece was to add on the coins.

To do this I used a hot glue gun so that the coins would stick on instantly, and I also put a drop of the white glue onto the coins so that later on they would not pop off.

Following are photos from the process:

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This is the completed piece, but later on I may go back and add on some more coins.

Artwork As Social Commentary

(Assignment part 1)

In class we watched a recent news video on the artist Ai WeiWei. He uses his artwork as a form of social commentary. Recently he went to jail after creating numerous pieces that went against China’s government. He is now out of jail, and he wants to create a piece out of lego. Lego denied his order because they said that they will not have their name associated with a piece that is politically controversial.

Link to more information on this: www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2015/10/29/from-weiwei-lego-martin-shkreli-reddit-week-online/acRdWWKRECXoxaojPKTK0K/story.html

Im my opinion artists should be able to use their artwork as social commentary. If they believe that something is unjust or needs to be changed, they have the right to speak out about it, even if it is in the form of art. Artwork can be very influential on viewers because it really makes people think, and the visual aspect of it may say a lot more than words are able to. If many people agree with the message behind artwork that is being used as social commentary, then the artwork can be used a voice in order to create change, or even to gain the attention of a larger audience towards a social problem in society. In WeiWei’s situation i do no think it is fair that he is now in a situation where he cannot express himself or else he will get in trouble from the government. He should be allowed to have the freedom to express his feelings through his artwork.

It is important for artists to express their feelings in their work because it makes the artwork a lot more powerful. When an artist has purpose behind their work it makes it’s meaning a lot deeper, and the artist will be more likely to reach out to people through their work. Not everyone may agree with what the artist is saying, but if a piece is controversial it may gain more attention, and then open people’s eyes to different perspectives about a subject.

I understand why lego may not want their brand name attached to something negative in China’s governments eyes because they may lose certain partnerships or connections, however in a way it contradicts what lego is. The purpose of lego is to create things, but they will not allow WeiWei to use their product to create what he wants to create. I do not think that it is fair because lego is a product for anyone to use to build or create whatever they want, but they are denying WeiWei of using it to create his piece. They are basically singling him out because they will not allow him to order the shipment of lego that he needs for his piece, even though he is another customer who wants to create something with their product. I think that Lego should have given him his shipment that he ordered just like they would for anyone else.

After watching the video about WeiWei, and thinking about some of the artists we have learned about in class such as Banksy and JR, I have learned that it is okay to express your own opinion on a social subject even if it is controversial. Many pieces that cause controversy get the attention of more people thus, spreading a message to a larger audience. The artists we have learned about have inspired me to want to add more meaning behind my artwork, and also to have more personal perspective and opinion behind my artwork.

(Assignment part 2)

Jean-François Millet was born in France in 1814. He is an artist who used his work to make social commentary. An example of his work is The Gleaners, which he painted in 1857. This artwork was inspired by Millet’s childhood because he grew up in the poor class.

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This piece has women in a grain field after harvest, trying to collect stray pieces of wheat. It is representative of the poorest class in France. The goal of the painting was to capture the ugliness and brutality of poverty and manual labour. Also, the painting shows the reality of what many women’s jobs were who were in that class. They had to spend hours everyday working outside without real equipment, and they picked every single piece of grain that was left behind by the harvesters. When this piece was viewed by the rich class, it was poorly received. Many people did not think that the poor class should have been represented in an art piece because they were viewed as a threat to society. The fact that Millet incorporated rural poverty into his piece was a shock factor for many people, as well as art critiques.

Following is a link for more information on this piece: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gleaners

Assemblage Sculpture #1

Recently I started creating an assemblage sculpture. The first step to creating this piece was painting the mannequin.  To represent the meaning behind my sculpture, I chose to paint the mannequin in a gradient from orange to yellow to white.

Following are photos from the process of painting the mannequin:

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Some of the things that I learned:

  • At least 3 layers of paint are needed so the paint is not transparent and the colour shows.
  • Blending the paint on the mannequin is difficult because I had to wait for layers to dry, and some of the colours showed up better than others, so more hues were needed to get the paint to blend nicely.
  • Even though the paint is not completely opaque like I had originally planned, I left it the way it was in the last photo because I think that how some of the colour is broken up where it did not show up as well ended up working with meaning behind the sculpture, and added to the appearance that I was going for.
  • It is important to be patient when adding layers of paint because if you add another layer when the one before it is not completely dry, it will not apply properly.

What is next?

Now that I have finished painting the mannequin, the next step is to add on objects to it. Currently, my idea is to add on coins because they are very significant to what I am trying to portray. The coins would be very compact at the top, and gradually become less compact as they move down the colour gradient.

Exhibition Activity

In class we practised arranging an exhibition, and grouping art work using the pieces that we had approximately 45 minutes to make.

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Here are some of the tips that I found through my research:

  • Tie each piece together with a theme
  • Choose a space that is well presented/ appropriately sized/ thematically appropriate for your work
  • The pieces should be arranged to create visual flow
  • Key Questions: As viewers, what direction will they move in? What piece will they see first? Are there any  “dead” areas?
  • Create a balance between height and width so that the pieces are placed in relation to one another
  • Open space around a piece will make it stand out

References:

http://wikihow.com/set-up-an-exhibition

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/809/list/how-to-arrange-artwork-in-an-artful-way