BEAUTY: who, what, when, where, why and how?

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  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Stahlberg:
Jim, I think you're putting the cart before the horse - you can't have beauty first, then evolve the senses to experience it. A random attribute comes first (pick one, anyone), then a lifeform may evolve to find it beautiful.
There can be no objective beauty at all. Aliens with outer surfaces like raw concrete who live in dark caves and communicate with radio waves might say the same thing you said about beauty, but they would mean completely different things. Why be anthropocentric about it? Our sense of aesthetics is not the only possible one. Take an example closer to home; to a dog some of the most beautiful things in the world are dog-butts and rotting flesh. Subjects which are hard to make aesthetically pleasing to humans. Possible, yes, if we make it look like something else, or almost abstract, by playing with lighting and composition etc. But not in and of itself.


I think you missed a spot. It's probably true that senses must develop first. Everything that happenshas a reason especially in lifeforms.

But there is the thing of the golden cut that just keeps on repeating. It's too mathematically accurate to be a random event. Something to just happen just because. And I don't believe in religious philosophy and science excluding eachother either. The best example for that is physics(the only true science of nature other than behavioral sciences), and the eightfold path.

That easily brings me to the improbability of so many things of beauty. How is it that whichever form a creature has it amazingly enough has to obey the phi ration(=golden cut=ca. 1 : 0.618618 with 618 constantly recurring, hence the improbability of little germs or insects inventing it for fun or communication). A dog might find another dog butt attractive but you'll also find them staring at things in their evirnment, things they enjoy looking at. Just like human beings might sometimes stare at a corner of the room where the light is striking oddly. I am quite certain that once we have the capacity to travel to other planets we will find ourselves measuring the same proportional ratio on creatures who have evolved completely besides us. But that's cutting air.

I love these complicated discussions in the morning!


PS: As to stick figures: I think it went hand in hand with the advent of holidays abroad and television and more competent photography. When television and photography came about as a medium that could eb used on a massive scale they had to use enormously powerful lights and they lights and/or lighting situations which had a flattening affect. The "bony models" simply caught more shadows in these circumstances. Research on this beauty issue has also proven that the ratio's we find attractive are in the bones, not in the flesh.

I myself prefer skinny agile, meaning not too much meat to get up and run off to the trainstation. Just me, wanna have fun.The fun culture just asks that, we can go anywhere on the planet just for kicks, but when I see a fat woman having trouble getting of a sofa I positively feel almost repulsed.
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 04 April 2005 at 10:25 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Lunatique: ....Boris Vallejo. The people that love to bash him think his work is all technique with no substance. All that knowledge he possesses as an experienced painter is used to render cheesy, trite, and garrish subjects that have stiff and silly poses, garrish colors, and severely outdated designs. The people that worship him think his works are fine examples of superior technique and understanding of the human form....
Throw in another extreme example of how "tastes" affects the perception of beauty.

Elvis paintings on balck velvet.

To a lot this is the epitome of bad taste. They sneer at not just the artist, but at those who purchase the paintings. In fact, it has almost become an iconic symbol representing bad "taste"

BUT - A large number of people find this beautiful. Why ?

Something can be beautiful, but stongly disliked because it is in bad taste ?

What exists in certain art forms which causes it to be sneered at by some, yet seen as beautful by others, regardless of subject matter or skill. (3D anyone?)
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  04 April 2005
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Last edited by LadyMedusa : 04 April 2005 at 01:01 PM. Reason: I don't whant to be responsible for leading the topic off-topic
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Enayla: Iíll see someone with nigh flawless features but I still canít seem to find him or her beautiful because of the way they move or present themselves,


Perfect example: Winona Ryder. That woman's got flawless features and a gorgeous body, but everytime I watch a film with her in it, I felt like I was watching a porcelain doll that can move and speak, instead of someone with a real presence--a memorable character.

I guess some people might say the same about Keanu Reeve.

I'm not a fan of exposing flesh and calling it sexy either. That's like calling a body-builder powerful, when real power comes from people with conviction, passion, and drive. I've met women who never wore anything revealing, but their every word and every gesture oozed sensuality. I've also met women that dressed like prostitutes, and although men might see them and think of cheap sex, but these women will never be respected and adored like the ones who commanded the attention of the opposite sex with far more grace and elegance.

Last edited by Lunatique : 04 April 2005 at 11:38 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Lunatique: Perfect example: Winona Ryder. That woman's got flawless features and a gorgeous body, but everytime I watch a film with her in it, I felt like I was watching a porcelain doll that can move and speak, instead of someone with a real presence--a memorable character.

I guess some people might say the same about Keanu Reeve.

Itís funny that you should mention Keanu Reeves and Winona, because those two are exactly the kind of people I was talking about. Absolutely flawless but without visible character.

Or so I thought, until I watched Keanu on one of those late night shows (Jay Leno, maybe?) and he seemed to be such a splendid, laid-back and relaxed person that he somehow became quite attractive again. I now look at him in an entirely new light. Itís funny how things like that work.
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  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Lady Medusa: There is a differense between fleshy and fat, jmBoekestein.

I know!!! When did you see me saying otherwise. I said fat and I meant fat. And people have been saying that I'm too skinny all my life! It's not the point here. There's no need to get all worked up about that.

The point here is beauty. And you latter posters seem to go for character. I'm really curious, and just curious and not critisiZing, whether you'd find a person attractive if he was deformed and ugly but a nice person?
I'd doubt myself, because there definitely is the survival thing. It's silly to breed in faults. Just putting it bluntly you know. I myself like people more than their bodies so don't worry!
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 04 April 2005 at 12:55 PM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Enayla:
I now look at him in an entirely new light. Itís funny how things like that work.


You know, that happens a lot with me when I watch talkshows. I'll either change my opinion about an actor for the better or worse. For example, My brother used to think Andy Mcdowell was very elegant and beautiful, and I used to think the same of Madeline Stowe. After seeing them both interviewed on talk shows, our images of them were completely destroyed. They were not elegant or graceful at all in person, in fact, Madeline Stowe was downright coarse and crude. I was very disappointed.

The reverse of that was when I saw Tia Carrera on a talkshow. I never felt like she was anything special--be it her acting or her looks, but she carried herself very gracefully on the show, and was very articulate and refined. I was highly impressed.

I'm a total sucker for brainy beauties with real inner strength--particularly brunettes. That's why I love actresses like Julia Ormond, Jennifer Connelly, and Diane Lane. They have this incredible inner strength that just radiates, and the intelligence that you see in their eyes.... *melts* And although I hate to admit this, they also have this vulnerability that is quite tangible--that hidden melancholy which I find very attractive. I've always been attracted to sad women--they're like wounded angels that I want to heal and protect.

But of course in real life, people that are always depressed can be kind of annoying--it's like "Why don't you just off yourself already if this life is so bad." So, sadness with a cause and a solution is attractive, but depression with no real cause and no solution is just frustrating.

although this stuff seems really off-topic, it really isn't. I don't know if people can tell, but these things actually play a part in my works. I actually portray that kind of melancholy subconsciously, and sometimes consciously.
 
  04 April 2005
Could it be that you are looking for a mirror image in women then? You find yourself disappointed in certain unnamed things in life and yuou want someone in the same position to feel better so you might feel better if you can heal them? Forgive me if I'm out of line, well not really, but it seems on-topic considering the thread starter mentions engagement with an artwork. Seems awefully normal to have though, it seems the whole world wants the fifties back too. And nothing changing for the better right at this millenium fest.
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  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by GOT!: .....This ratio-relationship is also found everywhere in nature and other life. Hence, I conclude that beauty can and does exist beyond our senses. We should learn about it, study it.


It is obvious to me while following this thread that artists form a very solid idea for themselves about what they are doing and how they go about it.

I have noticed alot of you have a very 'down to earth' approach to the subject which I have enjoyed reading. In my daily work and when exploring my passion I use techniques and rules I have learnt. In the back of my mind lurks a the thought that I could be completely wrong. This ensures a never ending search. It is good to study something but be aware that as creatures we have a tendancy to apply formulas to just about everything. For me the whole process is more a spiritual one (no I am not religeous except in my belief of art ). Once you have found a formula that works for you don't stop there.

Once again I am enjoying this thread very much,.... thanx.
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  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by jmBoekestein: Could it be that you are looking for a mirror image in women then? You find yourself disappointed in certain unnamed things in life and yuou want someone in the same position to feel better so you might feel better if you can heal them?


That's an interesting way to look at it, but I don't think that's it. If I had to really pinpoint the driving cause behind it, it probably has to do with contrast. Seeing someone beam with joy after you have seen them weighted down by melancholy, make the joy that much more powerful. Of course you can say, "Well, a bitchy woman who wears a perpetual frown can give you that effect too." Well, melancholy is at least not offensive like a bitchy woman.

Another reason is more personal, and has more to do with my personal romantic history than anything deep and imbedded in my psyche.Things have happened in my past where someone's melancholy burned away like the fog because of my appearance in her life. That was a very intoxicating experience, watching her transform and become a happy person, particularly that her situation was dramatic and dangerous (organized crime involved). Being someone's source of joy doesn't always have to be some kind of a burden, if that person is independent and strong-willed. It's only a burden when you're dealing with a total wet-rag that can't survive on her own.

I guess in some ways, it's the whole "women want a knight in shining armour, and men want to be that knight in shining armour." thing. Even with my wife, she totally feels like I'm her knight in shining armour, and I feel like she's an gift sent from above--my personal angel. Okokoko, it's getting mushy now. I'll stop.
 
  04 April 2005
Wow, that was a fun read!!!

Glad you and your wife are tight together! I must say that I felt sometimes that I was looking for a mirror image of me in women, not like I fancy myself but more a let's go at it together thing.

I'm going to check out your artwork in a while see what I can make of it now. I'll have a blast! Thanks for explaining.
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  04 April 2005
fun read: >>link<<

Even biblical stuff in it. And my favourite number cruncher quantum physics.
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  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Enayla: This having said about my personal taste for pretty people, yes, there is that thing about beauty that is bound to the physical self: society setting the standards for what we are supposed to think of as lovely.
Yes. I think as artists its a good idea/practice to be able to remove those stigmas assigned by cultural, societal, family, geography, behavioral and on and on. Not nessesarily for the sake of being able to go counter to what one has learned but that a more pure and true form of art/creation can exist. I feel that if one can do this, that it will greatly add to their skill sets, and allow advancing far beyond what people normaly think of as "fine", "expert" and or "divine". Otherwise one might fall into the rute of merely repeating, regurgitating and or coping what another master has done... not that that is bad or wrong, but that it wasn't so-called "created".

Originally Posted by Kanga: Once you have found a formula that works for you don't stop there.
Agreed

Originally Posted by jmBoekestein: fun read: >>link<<

Even biblical stuff in it. And my favourite number cruncher quantum physics.
Great link! Thanks. I've some math text book somewhere that introduced me to all those ratios and formulas... its really quite amazing!
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  04 April 2005
Heh, funny how all you guys are talking about human interaction now, and I'm still stuck in my nerdy science mode... well that's me I guess.

I just wanted to reiterate - imo there's nothing mysterious and miraculous about the Golden Mean and the Fibonacci series and all that. It's very simple.
The 2 preceding lower numbers added together gives you the next number in the series. That's it. It's just a natural way to grow, maybe even the optimal one.
And things do NOT have to have anything to do with this to be beautiful, and they can be ugly even if they follow it perfectly. Let's not make the mistake numerologists make, and see secret messages all over the place.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by jmBoekestein: The point here is beauty. And you latter posters seem to go for character. I'm really curious, and just curious and not critisiZing, whether you'd find a person attractive if he was deformed and ugly but a nice person?



I'm not so sure that character and beauty are two entirely separate concepts. To me they're not, anyway. One can obviously have character without beauty, but I'm not sure if I've ever met anyone I'd consider beautiful who did not also have character.

When I see someone, or meet someone, who strikes me as 'beautiful', this person might be one of many things. I'm not claiming I am blind to physical beauty - quite the contrary, I'm a sucker for pretty faces, but I'm simply saying that just a pretty face means nothing to me if it's not got any backing. And a person with mediocre looks and a dazzling personality, sensual body language and a sparkle in the eye could be oh so much lovelier than a picture perfect fella who has an empty gaze. I take to style far more than regular looks, and I think that's the artist in me rearing its head and liking someone who takes care of themselves. I love watching people who dress well and move well, I love watching someone who knows how to talk, walk and has a certain way of laughing. It can even mesmerise me, I swear, just ask my friends. It's awkward, but I do not really find people with poor style, poor body language, poor posture and poor self esteem terribly attractive at all. Their face might be the epitome of conventional beauty but it just won't do it for me.

I might be way off the track of the original subject here, but to me, beauty is an all-encompassing thing and physical good looks is really only one part of the whole.

To answer your question, which is a little unfair - no, I probably would not find someone who is terribly deformed to be beautiful. On the other hand, I might find someone you see as an average looking person to be absolutely devastating.
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