Sunday, October 14, 2007

Art and Discovery

I was listening to NPR today and they had a segment on how the discoveries of the "new world" impacted the Renassance artists during that time era. I was thinking about my own art and how many people find it easier to find inspiration from new unkown materail or subjects rather than things they know well, and i was wondering why this might be, what about new objects inspire artists?

8 comments:

Clementine said...

Well, first of all, since it was previously unknown, the artwork done depicting it will be completely unique :) Seriously, though, artists are always looking for inspiration. Take me, for instance. I'm always drawing scenes from my life, especially the awkward moments, 'cause they stand out and are fresh and stylistically their own. When am I ever going to find a person other than my sister who understands that a loaf of bread committing seppuku and squirting butter is funny? There's just that certain appeal of the unknown or unexplored, you know? Plus, if you know something well, then you've probably painted/drawn/rendered it a thousand plus times and are very bored with it; the prospect of something new would certainly make me jump.

Pumanupes said...

And yet at the same time that one can claim that new things that are discovered impacted artists, we can see throughout history that those peices of art, whatever they may be, could potentially not be considered 'timeless'. Artists may be inspired by something new, but what makes an art piece great (similar to what makes a book great - as we discussed in English today) is the idea that the subject is timeless. Timeless in such a way that it is relatable (sp?) to a majority of the population.
Inspiration may be drawn from new sources, but what makes art stand out is its ability to withstand time and change of circumstance, situations, and draw on human emotion that remains consistent throughout history.

susanna.w said...

Aren't artists always looking for innovation? When creating new pieces, I think artists try to convey new ideas of the time and discoveries to create interest in art instead of reusing an old idea over and over again. In one of the example TOK essays we read, the author described the correlation between innovation and art while science is usually more respected when a theory is reproduced beyond doubt. I know when I'm creating something, I try and make something new with it or add a new interesting element so it won't simply blend into the plethora of other works with the exact same elements.

Sierra Tamkun said...

Hum . . . Well, from a TOK perspective, I think the idea of inspiration from things we know little about is funny. For one thing, we don't know it, and yet we feel compelled to represent it. How can we accurately represent something if we have no experiance, no real perception? It is all through instinct and intuition. And a little faith too, I believe. So then, the question is, can we accurately create art representing something that we do not understand, something we do not know? I recently did a painting of rainbows, it was abstract, not literal, but I still looked at alot of rainbows. I spent about an hour on the internet, just looking at rainbow pictures, recalling the feeling I get whenever I see one, remembering the times before that I have. Memory, experiance, percention, they are all instrumental in art. SO, how can we create without these things? How does that affect the way in which our art is viewed? I think that alot of it has to do then with audiance interpretation. I also think that new discoveries create raw, vivid emotions that have not come up before in teh artist, and these are easier to represent in art. If the emotion is fresh, as with new feelings concerning newly discovered things, then it is easier to represent them. I think that emotion is what makes art timeless, since we all share the capacity to have the same emotions. If the art conveys that well, then it will be timeless.

AmyLM said...

I think that there is a big difference between inspiration and the actual art that comes out of it. For example, if your inspiration is your family, then you can draw a portrait of them, or you can create an abstract sculpture twisting shapes that depicts the love and heartbreak you have all shared. Two very different things with the same inspiration. I think it is interesting that artists are always looking for new inspiration because it seems to me that at some point they loose their own personal touch and relevance by simply looking for the next thing to turn into art. I agree that it is the art pieces that are timeless, that mean something to both the artist and the public on a deeper level, are the ones that society reguards as the "greatest".

klneff said...

Based on our surroundings which are in a constant state of motion due to time and growth, the human mind most frequently is as well. Regardless of the paths that it takes and the speed it goes, the mind WILL be in constant motion, forever having new experiences and gaining new knowledge. However, if one looks into human behavior, patterns do emerge. Everyday one may wake-up, eat breakfast, shower, go to school/work etc. etc. Even on a more general level animals eat, sleep, reproduce, live, and so on and so forth. How this relates to the idea on art presented?

Art follows patterns as well. In the birth of art maybe there was a circle born, a square. These maybe grew to the human shape, a landscape, but before then, how many circles or squares do you think were drawn? Enough to fully understand the concept? Drawings in the dirt maybe grew to oil paints and charcol, and mud to marble carvings of statues or throwing on a pottery wheel. In our constant movement foreward, areas such as art move foreward as well. Could we have had oil paints without that original dirt drawing? Where would the "David" be without that hunk of mud or pile of stones? We build on what we know, and process can't be made without some experimentation, if we didn't step from parameters given traditionally, we would be stuck in a perpetual dirt-drawing period, metaphorically speaking.

In all however,I disagree that it is solely new things that inspire. One can find inspiration in a combination of the traditional and the unorthodox. You need the patterns to help structure your process. Take Banksy for example and his wonderful addition to the cave paintings in an art museum. He had generally old style and technique, but new content. This made a step away from the original and gave a new direction without abandoning the frames of the known. This enables the human mind to make that refreshing process foreward, but also in a way that can be more easily comprehended.

(for those who aren't accustomed to Banksy, he does a lot of graffiti in Europe, often leaving scavenger-hunts or surprise pieces in actual buildings to the enjoyment of the government. One particular piece was placed in an art museum alongside several pictures of cave paintings. It took two days before a group of elementary school kids noticed one of the paintings depicted the cavemen not spearing the buffalo, but rather pushing them in shopping carts.)

klneff said...

"Art is either plagiarism or revolution." (Paul Gauguin)

just thought this made a nice follow-up...

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