content and meaning

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  11 November 2005
content and meaning

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here, so I may remble. I don't see a lot of art in CG that has genuine content and meaning, by which I mean an emotional content that relates to the artists life. I don't say that's necessarily a bad thing. One can't always do personal art, that's a given. It's just in the last year or so, I've noticed changes in my art. Being very ill and disabled, and living in desperate poverty, always stressed out and on edge about survival, most of my personal work rerlates to my emotions, my state of being, my existence. I have to be honest that I normally don't stop to try to analyze what the meaning might be or what the art may relate to. It's just expression, whatever's inside me on that day has to come out. Some is very dark, some is light and pretty. I've been criticized because my work isn't photorealistic, but it's hard to explain that that's not what I'm trying to do with my art. I do illustration, and I was influenced not only by the classic illustrators, but by some odd lenticular 3D images I saw as a kid, and have never seen since. Due to my illness, it's been hard for me to learn all the things I need to be able to model well and rig and all that jazz. But I still manage to get out images that look almost like I have them in my head.

I'm not disrespecting photorealism. I think it's great, if that's what you want to do, if that expresses what you want to say. But I'm not seeing a lot of personal expression. Is that something that's difficult in CG? It's taken me a few years of work to get to the point of being able to express what it is I want to express. I came to CG after being a traditional illustrator, doing images where it was easy for me to express because I'd been doing it for years. When I switched to CG, due to physical problems, it was impossible for me to express myself at first simply because of the need to learn all the technicalities of a new media. Yet, there are people all over far more experienced than I am. Where's the ART? I can appreciate a well designed character, or a great architectural rendering as much as anyone. But where's the work that speaks? The work that has something to say?
  11 November 2005
Well today, I was just thinking the same.. discovere Cgtalk in April of this year and than made first post.. I guess yesterday.. One think that impressed me is that mainly people is focused on photorealismus and technique than in what they are portraing..
it remebers me the same thing when people talk about photography (of course I like photograplhy too) people start talking about lens and cameras than in portaing...
Probably the difference in people that try to make art is that they care about the subject.. better than technique (that is a "sine qua non" condition)
I mean.. how many HDRI rendered ball we have to see in 3d community ? And also how comment like "OH my god.. the texture is perfect.." yes but for what ? Are we again at the point of starting photography when quote like "it seems a painting... or it seems a photography were really common"... Very happy someone talk about art it seems more people interested in technique... probably one day we will see also a pre-3d-raphaelite brotherhood... who knows ?


  11 November 2005
I'm heavily influenced by pre raphaelites. Not that you can see it in my art, but that's my shortcoming in not having reached my goals yet.
  11 November 2005
Excellent points, all of which I agree with.

The flexibility and range that 3-d software provides has totally transformed and extended my ability to create, however,much of what I see in the galleries and which I have done until now has very little humanity and real meaning attached to it. Perhaps it is partly due to the high learning curve of the software which can't help but bring out an overemphisis on technique (at least in the beginning). Perhaps it is that you need to have something meaningful to express in order to express something meaningful. This takes experience and real soul searching.

Artistically meritorious work is rare in any field, with much of what is produced either commercially focused, fad focused, software focused, or just "expression" run amuck.

For myself, I have accepted that reaching the level that I can trancend these issues is slow and at times painful. I am inspired only because I know that understanding this medium will eventually allow me the ability to express meaningful content more thoroughly than anything I have known until now, if only due to its ability to include nearly any other medium (audio, visualization, theater, motion etc) within it.

Learning to understand, express and inspire effectively is a never ending quest but well worth the effort.

  11 November 2005
Maybe CG is still so young it will take some time for the type of art you describe to appear in personal 'still' art. What I mean is that if you give me brushes and paint today, and teach me the basics, it may be some time before I have the skill, maturity and insight to not only present the subject but expose deeper meaning. I wonder if it is possible that the quest for photorealism may be self limiting in some ways? In other words by presenting material 'photorealistically' we probably will innately seek visual cues and references we are use to in our 'realistic' world. You may be able to push the boundaries but I wonder if excessive realism makes it difficult to present emotional content for the viewer? Of course photography can evoke strong emotions so perhaps I'm wrong.

I'm not sure if you were refering to animation as well. I think more can be done there as story, music, action and other factors help carry the meaning -granted some of it is lame and focuses more on the 'whiz bang' effect but there is some good stuff starting to happen and I look forward to better as the 3D artists/studios evolve - in the same way that studios like Disney started out with simple Mickey Mouse line art and eventually produced many wonderful evocative works.

Just the opinion of a new student though.
  11 November 2005
Well, part of the issue is that this forum is commercially based stuff. I've seen digital work that's pretty conceptual, but usually I actually read about that from magazines like Art in America. (And there's really funny irony there; you know, reading magazines to learn about digital work.)

In any case, art isn't just content representing the state of the artist. Digital work has a lot of interesting possibilities fooling with how we (the royal we) interact with the world. It would be interesting to see more "interactive studies" done by artists. I'm thinking of playing with how we react emotionally to discovering information. A lot of interactive work is done for pragmatic aims by HCI (human-computer interface) labs in universities, and it would be interesting to have more work done by artists, who supposedly spend more time pondering the "human condition" rather than "conditions for human productivity".

Nonetheless, connecting with yourself is an important part of art. Sometimes, it's just hard to make obvious...
  11 November 2005
Remember, not everyone into CG consider themselves "artists." Many do product visualizations, architecture, industrial design..etc. Even most people who are working in film, television, video games..etc are production guys that create assets for their projects, and some of them don't really have an interest in getting personal.

It's sort of like expecting all musicians to be interested in writing emo songs. Many just want to make cool beats or club-styled trance.

I personally like it when an artist gets personal or tell stories, but that's just me.
  11 November 2005

Just checked out your website. I enjoyed a lot of your 3-d work, as well as the black & white 2-D illustrations. You have a very interesting style, not always consistent but those that work are a refreshingly expressive alternative to the usual.

Your point of view is thoughtful, although a bit difficult due to the depressive aspects, (although I am no stranger to depression).

Enjoy what you have! It's better than nothing.

  11 November 2005
Oh I would never disrespect those that do commercial work. God knows I could use some myself. But publishers who pay worth spit haven't accepted CG yet. Hell, they don't even accept book submissions as digital files. They have to be printed out, even though they convert them to digital for typesetting and such, DVD covers have been a hard side to get into, and to be honest, I haven't pursued CD covers much yet. I coould seriously, even desperately, use the work.

Nor do I disrespect photo realism. I think with the right artist, photorealism as well could be 'art'. Plenty of photographers are considered artists. I certainly hope I didn't give the impression that those who aren't expressing content in their work are any less than those who are trying to do 'art'. I happen to love architectural renders, and those are far far away from what we've been talking about.

Yes, my style isn't consistent. Nor is it fully developed, as yet. I try to tell stories. I have one moment in time, one slice, to try to tell that story. And it may all be in one detail, like a teddy bear laying on the ground, or a pair of shoes by the couch
But style, that's something that's almost undefinable, even in traditional art, let alone CG. I've been influenced by so many things, pre raphaelism, the old masters, the classic illustrators, art deco and art nuveau, japanese and italian art and movies, a million things. Not to forget I'm also a writer, and so any picture usually has a story behind it in my head. All those things go to style, how you compose, how you place objects in a scene, the colors you use, everything.

It's an old argument, whether, in CG, you need traditional art education or not. I think if you want to do CG it isn't strictly needed, but it helps. But if you want to do 'art', yeah, I do think it's needed, Composition, color handling, all the things traditional art teaches go into making 'art', as we're speaking of it here. Otherwise, you may never know the iconography, the symbolism of art as content, such as a fly in an image representing the temporary nature of life, and other long existing icons like that. I think an untrained CG person can do a heck of a scene, no doubt. But those scenes lack emotional content. And I certainly don't mean everybody should be doing that. I just would have expected to see more of it than I do at this point in CG evolution.

And you're right, animation does offer more opportunity for expression. My favorite CG animation is ROUGHNECKS; STARSHIP TROOPER CHRONICLES, which dates back to like 1989 or so, but still has some of the singularly best CG work I've ever seen, as well as containing better character development than many live movies. Or a little YA CG film called AEROTROOPERS that few people have heard of but which is very much 'art' and very impressive CG.

I wish my modeling skills and texturing and rendering were further advanced, not to compete with everyone else, but so I could do more of what it is I'm trying to do, as well as to be able to get more work. I just, I don't know, I want to see more art in CG than there is at present. I want to see people at least attempting to create art.

Connecting with yourself, self examination, it is something not a lot of people seem to do very often. After events in my life, not just sickness and disability and poverty, but a whole series of events, I've spent the last few years closely examining my life, retrieving childhood memories that for years were missing due to abuse. I suppose that does give me more insight into my own head and offers me more content available for expression. Maybe it's unfair of me to wish for more art in CG. It's just that I dearly love CG. It's the kind of media I waited for all my life as an artist, the kind of look I've always wanted to achieve. I get criticized for not doing photorealism, but those critics don't grasp that the CG look itself is a media, that I LOVE the way CG looks when everything goes right, and that that media CAN be used to create art. That we could be represented in galleries with other artists. That CG could be seen by the average public as more than monsters in movies or characters in animated films.
  11 November 2005
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