The place for morality

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  05 May 2005
Originally Posted by Enayla: I'm going to have to say that I don't much care to put morality into my work.

I don't find art without a moral message to be shallow or glossy - it's different. It reaches a different part of you, that's all.

Oh, and yes, let's keep religion out of the discussion. I can see how this is difficult considering the topic of choice, but things tend to get a bit too much heated, don't you think?

I think you're misguiding yourself. Maybe if moral messages were defined more clearly in this context it would be easier to understand. I find a lot of moralistic issues sticking out of your paintings, not all of-course. What you put in can be read from it, maybe not everyone will see it. You're dealing with human interactions than you're dealing with moral issues, the bias of you is always apparent in your own work, because otherwise there would simply be no reason to paint it. Whether you know it or not, you 're involved with what goes on around you. I think you just don't like to preach. And that, Enayla, is a trick that a ot of politicians use. How's that for irony?

That different part in you is still imo human, emotions after all the talking and argueing are the reason for moralities. I'm not trying to undermine your views here mind you. You know what you paint and I can only witness from the outside. I think this could easily be anothre misunderstanding, but every choice your characters make in front of the viewer has some motivation, they believe in something. I see struggles of being abused in the poems sometimes accompanying your paintings. That's a moral issue. This is getting weird but do you get my point on this?
modelling practice #1
  05 May 2005


Why do people speak of 'Jesus' as if he is alive and walking...

Am I the only one who finds this weird?

Just to answer your question, the New Testament teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead 3 days after he was murdered. He then stuck around for 40 more days, I think, and many hundreds of people saw him. He then went up into heaven, but promised to always be near the believer through his Spirit. He also promised eternal life, and salvation from God's wrath against sin, for all who believe in him. This is why Christians talk about Jesus from a personal point of view...
  05 May 2005
Originally Posted by oz haver: I think works about an artist’s personal life & issues get across more and are better understood than a person trying to moralize about more ‘worldly’ issues…

So the question is, are you trying to talk through art, or are you trying to do art about talking?

This does strike the core a bit I think. When you make something for an audience you want some acceptance, you are after all making it for them with all good intentios(usually:rolleyes.

It's my opinion that if you have moral issues to convey that are of a personal, and by that I mean they speak to people and not groups of people with a predefined motif for world domination(I'm not kidding), it will have an effect on them in their lifes personnally. A lot of movies spring to mind that are completely moralising and are readily accepted. I'd say What Dreams May come with Robin Williams. Nobody would want to disagree with that story I think, unless there's some bitternes or otherwise inhibitng issue.

And I think on top of all this that you have the obligation to take responsibility for your actions. Whoever watches your work will be affected by it and to a reasonable extent you can understand and predict this effect. To now say that you want to back away from any meaningful work, seems like an insult to the viewer. Needless to say that I don't think that everybody should be making completely moralistic stuff. But what goes around comes around, always...
So if I could enlighten some issues that are usually overlooked I wouldn't really mind, I'd thoroughly enjoy it.
modelling practice #1
  05 May 2005
Jan-Mark -- Yeah, I suppose it's that I don't like to preach. When I said that I don't care to stuff my paintings full of morality and I like to show different things, I am still quite aware of my work showing a bit of my opinions of the world. I think that's inevitable for any artist who puts a lot of themselves into what they do.

I have several paintings focusing on the plight of nature, for instance. I've been a vegetarian for 17 years now, since I was a little girl, and the fact that I'm often cheering the animals on from the sidelines tends to shine through. It's just a part of who I am. I think about nature a lot. I've not actually drawn an animal rights painting since I was sixteen years old, though, and quite rebellious. I drew a clog that had crushed the skull of a fox. The clog had the Swedish flag on it. It was very obvious and very stupid. The paintings I do now on the same theme... many people never see anything but an ordinary fantasy painting in them, and I'm fine with that.

When I say that paintings with a lot of morals tend to bore me, the bloody fox with the crushed skull is the kind of paintings that I'm talking about. I did say in my post that when there's a message in my paintings, I'll be whispering it, not shouting, so I'm quite aware of there being things showing through if someone is looking hard enough :]

John -- yeah, I agree. Art does, indeed, have a subconscious effect on people. 'tis part of the reason why I've been playing with gender roles in my paintings for so long... it drives some people nuts and they don't even know why (consequently, hate mail and such in my mail box).

Having said that, I don't think that every artist has to have a message to be interesting, they just have to have a personality that they're not afraid to show. I love getting to know people through their paintings, don't you? :]

And thank you. I don't believe in good and evil as most people depict them, and I suspect that this, much like some other aspects of my person, shows through a little when I paint :]

Conveying messages with paintings is... well, a risky thing, however. Everyone who looks at what you do will interpret it in a different way, often wildly deviating from what you had intended. My M&S entry of Nature's and Humanity's cycle of pain was, for instance, interpreted as two lesbians rubbing boobs together. That's part of what makes art fun, though, having different minds seeing different things in what you do.

Lastly, I'd like to repeat again that even the paintings where I don't see a touch of the artist's personality through, can be quite wonderful. Even if it's not conveying anything but a landscape that takes you out of this world for a few minutes, it might be meaningful.

Eh. I type too much and hardly any of it makes any sense. I'm sorry.
I can resist everything but temptation.


Painting eyes
Painting hair
  05 May 2005
I think this is a facinating topic and I'm glad it was raised.

The conversation is very insightful and I like the religious under/overtones because everyone seems to be staying "polite" as far as I can tell.

My take on moraity and art is this: Take a look at the masters.
Monet painted flowers and landscapes. daVinci painted beautiful religious paintings and also painted the great thinkers like Aristotle and Plato.
VanGogh painted landscapes and still lifes. You could say Picasso stayed out of morality issues until he painted Guernica.

I guess my point is that artist paint/draw/createt what interests them or inspires them. My opinion is that for a lot of artist on CGTalk the fantasy images and the car renders and the cartoon characters are all great releases of their talents into the medium and style that they enjoy the most.

Somewhere in the past somebody drew a dragon and a thousand people said "that's cool" I want to draw one too. Tolkein wrote great fantasies complete with character development, huge landscapes spanning whole countries and tremendous beasts of fantastical description.

To wrap this all up I would also say that morality and stating issues of belief in art are not as popular as more mundane subjects because the mundane stuff is "safe" . There is no real critical analysis or judgement if you post a half naked lady on a dragon. Only critique of style and technique.

If I posted a painting or rendering of Jesus/George Bush/The Pope/Saddam Hussein hanging upside down from a bunch of rusted chains while crows picked his flesh I would be "crucified" by half the members and praised by the other half and then the 2 halves would start a war.

Now, nobody wants that do they?

Awww, don't make me use my grabber.
  05 May 2005
Linda, thanks. And I'm sorry, I didn't mean that you are unaware of your doings. I was undecided on whether you wanted people to know or not, which in the end doesn't matter as much as I thought. Keeping an eye open is a necessity indeed, I do so terribly think I'm the screamer type at occasions. But I think the right dramatisation does a lot for me, I am a terrible sob sometimes but it opens my eyes. For instance, seeing Schindlers List when I was a kid changed my take on life, it was really shocking. *sob* Somehow the medium film allows for such aggrevation, maybe because it allready has the support of multiple media inherent in it. A bit off-topic, but I believe I made a point.
modelling practice #1
  05 May 2005
John Keates -- Are you saying that much of the art you see on this site is shallow and superficial? I can accept that, but it may have more to do with the nature of this site rather than the spiritual depth of the artists. I've only seen a few artists here who create their art to sell as a finished piece. Most others are honing their skills with the hopes of being hired by somebody else (a studio, freelance) so that they can illustrate that person's vision.

I'm on a Norman Rockwell kick right now, and I think it's significant to note that in the earlier part of his career his work was concerned with inoffensive observational humor. I mean, the fact that his subject matter was inoffensive is a kind of morality, but it was also safe. The Saturday Evening Post was his employer and they had an image they wanted to maintain. It wasn't until his latter days when he had made his reputation that he started tackling heavier moral, and divisive issues like racism. I would assume that he had also attained a financial independence that allowed him to tackle personal projects.
"Dream big. Small dreams ain't got no suction." -S. Paige

  05 May 2005
Just 50 years ago, Sex on the Beach was immoral, now it is made on every Martini bar.

The point here, Morality or morality needs a context. It is not an absolute notion. It has borders and often high walls of the kind that is fatal. Within a personal sphere, morality becomes a regulator of the ordinary. Within culture, it is the unspoken law of the herd*, and within art, it is merely a message that signifies a stand-point, a world view that is governed by the centrifugal influence of society. The definition of morality is a historic reference to an era of absoluteness and divinity. In art, it was embeded in the symbol. Today's morality has less to do with good and evil, but on the power struggle of the individual vs. the world. Let's call it 3D morality, it needs a specific view point to draw the perspective. The picture plane is where your projection of the 'dear' world view you hold is manifested. If you decide to speak it, it is a choice niether good nor evil. It's the age of Relativism!

Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire...George Bernard Shaw
  05 May 2005
Quote: It's the age of Relativism!

Inherent morality isn't relative. Murder, Lying, Adultery, Stealing, etc, are wrong, always... It doesn't matter what the masses think...
  05 May 2005
damn skippy!!!

These days are confusing to a lot of people. I think there you find their weakness. There simply are some things that constitute sins. Whether people do themm or not is beside the point, they're still bad.
modelling practice #1
  05 May 2005
I agree with ashakarc

Originally Posted by Oranges, Smoranges...: Inherent morality isn't relative. Murder, Lying, Adultery, Stealing, etc, are wrong, always... It doesn't matter what the masses think...

Sure, when it's an evolutionary stable strategy not to commit them. In a society it's necessary to adapt morals because otherwise you can expect retribution from the law or otherwise. Let's put it this way...what I've learned mostly from study and a bit from experience is that humans are inherently selfish. In a society, acting selfish is not an ESS, so people adapt reciprocal altruism, which although promotes (seemingly) mutual benefit for all parties involved, the individual motives are selfish. Even people who give to charity are not conducting a completely selfless act, although it may seem so...they get from the deal a reputation of selflessness and good heart, and they get to feel good about themselves, as they should, but what I'm saying is that people would not give to charity if it didn't make them feel good or didn't give them a good public image. What they get out is worth perhaps just as much to them as what they put in.

People don't need to act selfish when there is plenty to eat and plenty to drink, but there tends to be a lot more violence in countries where food is scarce...

Originally Posted by jmBoekestein: Whether people do themm or not is beside the point, they're still bad.

I agree, but that doesn't mean that people have an inherent moral code built into them. And so I pose the question, if a child was left in a forest from age 3 and somehow survived, do you think he would know anything about morality? Morality doesn't serve in such an environment. So he would have to be completely ruthless, otherwise he would not survive.
  05 May 2005
Originally Posted by Oranges, Smoranges...: Inherent morality isn't relative. Murder, Lying, Adultery, Stealing, etc, are wrong, always... It doesn't matter what the masses think...

I can't disagree more. What you see as a murderous act, someone else will see it differently. The clash of ideals seems never ending. Just following what's happening around the world of today, you would see murder is synonymous to many things, like collateral damage (wars), justice (death sentence), deprivation (imbargo), Abortion, and so on. Similarly, stealing is synonymous to business opportunities in war torn societies, economical policies that crushes the poor, opinion hijacking by mass media corporations, the right to life for all species, etc..Lying is about not telling the truth, but what truth? the one you know it! Politicians do that all the time, it is simply a survival method for the weak. Adultry..this is again a historical reference to a religious notion of breach of godly contract. In civil law it is a breach of contract that voids the relationship.

The bloody history of human kind is a witness to the bigotry of such species.

So, in my opinion, your projection plane is not an absolute one, rather relative to your viewpoint.

Last edited by ashakarc : 05 May 2005 at 06:12 PM.
  05 May 2005

Bah! this thread has lost its artistic foundation and has now crumbled into a philosophical debate. Yawn. I'm done with this.

Let's go paint some naked ladies on dragons and enjoy life!
Awww, don't make me use my grabber.

Last edited by mamurphy : 05 May 2005 at 06:46 PM.
  05 May 2005
Originally Posted by mamurphy: Bah! this thread has lost its artistic foundation and has now crumbled into a philisophical debate. Yawn. I'm done with this.

Let's go paint some naked ladies on dragons and enjoy life!

huh, I enjoy life by going out with the dragon not painting it. That's what I call life
  05 May 2005
Ilikesoup -- I accept what you say about Norman Rockwell. In my first post I mentioned that one of the main reasons why people might steer away from making moraly aware art is money, I also accept that most people who post here are doing so for the sake of their carrear.

However, I think that us artists have more power than we sometimes think. There are market forces which dictate which games/movies etc will sell but at the end of the day, a lot of the imagery comes from art. Maybe we can steer things this way or that, just subtly. Maybe.

Also a painting doesn't have to be vacuouse to demonstrate skill; as I say, I often concentrate better on an image that I beleive in.

Nathellion -- I have read books on the evolution of morality and I have to say that you are taking a slightly different tack to the 'authadox' one. It is perfectly possible for genuine feelings of moral goodness to evolve. Sometimes it is just too hard to fake kindness so people just have kind thoughts and be done with it. An evolutionary stable strategy is not one strategy but a description of a balencing act. So for example, helping an old lady across the road may be 20% advantagouse but this doesn't tell us about the behaviour of any one person. It could mean that everyone helps old ladies 20% of the time or it could mean that only 20% of people help old ladies and they do so all the time... or any mix of those two (more probably).

ashakarc -- I think you are taking an extreem view. Certainly morality is relative to an extent but there are also universals, it is just that they have fuzzy edges, thats life.

Anyway, I am glad that I got this thread out of my system. Maybe it will have some effect.
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