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Old 06-22-2005, 09:36 PM   #1
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How important is the story behind your art?

Almost everything we spend time on (not just a doodle) we tend to develop a story to, at least in our heads.


How important is this story to you as an artist? And how many of you have went far enough to actually write the story down?
 
Old 06-23-2005, 12:43 AM   #2
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I tend to think like a cartoonist or illustrator, so the story is everything to me. Sometimes I'll read a book and get such a strong mental image that I need to sketch it. My focus is to convey meaning. As a result, I don't put in as much detail as I could -- as long as the meaning comes through it's good enough.

Have I ever written anything down? Only when I'm developing a comic. I've made the mistake of plotting a story in my head without writing it down. The problem is that my mind keeps rewriting as I go along. I just started writing a comic inspired by four character sketches somebody drew. I immediately saw a connection between them and the story wrote itself. Now I just have to get it all down before the story changes.
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:59 AM   #3
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Story is incredibly important to artwork. I was a writer long before I was a cg artist, and I made the transition purely because I wanted a different expressive medium to tell stories. As it stands, I still feel I'm a far better writer than I am a painter or modeller, but I'm learning!
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:14 AM   #4
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I have seen remarkable work which is not narritive in nature (Monets Water Lilies for example). But I have also seen incredible work driven by narrative. To paraphrase American Art Critic/Histiorian Leo Steinberg "quality rides the crest of style" (I agree with him).

On a personal note, every time I read - for example Oscar Wildes "Happy Prince", or "The Nightingale and the Rose", I think that these works beg to be illustrated, or used as a point of departure - they are so evocative! - man would I love to create images around one of these stories. (There are so many authors, and stories for which this applies).

Someday ...(maybe real soon)

Gord

Note: *the above was edited*
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:39 AM   #5
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I think that's why so much modern art isn't....uhm..appreciated. There's more of an IDEA than a story and people don't understand that as much.


I'm one of these people. I'm from a storytelling country, so conceptual stuff isn't my cup of tea. I mean, you could get ANYTHING from one of these paintings. Maybe that's why they're popular? (shrugs)

Personally, I like paintings to be either stunningly beautiful or have a darn good story behind them and one that I can clearly tell from the painting. I like looking at a painting and thinking ...oo...what happened here...open bottles of wine...she's looking upset...she's hugging her cat....he's on the phone with a concerned look on his face...what is going on...?

I really wish I UNDERSTOOD the concept behind conceptual art, esp. since I'm going to have a good few of them in my class next year. If anyone wants to explain, feel free to do so!
 
Old 06-23-2005, 02:38 AM   #6
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I'm a storyteller at heart, myself. All of my art revolves around the story in my head. Its cool to see i am not the only one though!

 
Old 06-23-2005, 03:59 AM   #7
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I like to capture a moment in time with my illustrations, and leave the possibilities open to interpretation. What happened leading up to that moment? What will happen afterward? Hell, I don't know. I'd rather the viewer craft thier own stories around that moment. That way its more personal for them.
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Old 06-23-2005, 04:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paperclip
I really wish I UNDERSTOOD the concept behind conceptual art, esp. since I'm going to have a good few of them in my class next year. If anyone wants to explain, feel free to do so!


Paperclip

"To thine own self be true" (and we all know where that one came from )

Get through the course material, but I would suggest only studying as much about conceptual art as is necessary for you to get the credits. If you sensibility gravitates towards storytelling, put as much energy there as you can. (I would offer the same advice - but in reverse - to a person whose sensibility has them wanting to do conceptual art, but was required to take a course in narrative painting).

Ok - the below is totally from the hip - just prattled off...

Conceptual Art is part of a larger movement (originating primarily with the influence of Marcel Duchamp)
Duchamp was instrumental in introducing non-art objects into the realm of art by providing a context for the objects - perhaps his most famous 'readymade' as they were called was a urinal upon which Duchamp had written the signature "R. Mutt" (the work doesn't do anything for me - except make me wanna pee).

Anyways the notion of expanding the realm of art into areas previously considered to be non-art caught on.

As objects (and later, all sorts of things) became appropriated by 'artists', a need to justify the appropriation became central to the 'work of art'. Enter the importance of words, language and philosophical references to prop up the banality of the objects which had been appropriated in the name of art - (the artists creating this art had no problem with the banality of the objects - they liked to think and write about the how these objects could be understood as art - the objects became mere props for the artists writings, musings - in short props for the artists 'ideas' ). This was/is very interesting to a particular breed of people - curators, critics etc. (I am tempted to say they are primarily people who have liberal arts master degrees, and PHDs in areas that don't have much application or use elsewhere).

All of this emphasis on the ideas vs the object lead to a notion that emerged (in force) in the late 1960 and early 1970s, that one could dispense with art objects altogether. Enter conceptual art, minimalist art amoung other movements. (ok - the objects were tacitly there..)

IMO many of the practitioners and supporters of this work, revel in being as obscure and dense in their writings as they can. If I am correct, these people view themselves as part of a superior elite - an small exclusive group. Perhaps the most insulting thing that you could say about their work, is that it is accessible.

If you have a difficulty in grasping conceptual art, don't sweat it - it was designed to be inpenitrable - spend your time where it counts, doing what you love.



A few references (just don't get caugt up in em):


**I recommend this one**
"Age of the Avante Garde" by Hilton Kramer - I think Kramer gives a lucid clear view of the evolution of 20th centrury art - he is a major opponent of movements such as conceptual art.



************************************************** *
Works which are more sympathetic:
"The Dematerialization of Art" Lucy Lippard (essay from her collection called 'Changing essays in art')

"The De-Definition of Art" Harold Rosenberg

And if you want to get an idea of just how dense and unreadable some of the art writings on this topic is, check out Artforum magazine, from the early 1970s - some of it is really scarey, (some is ok).

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Last edited by Gord-MacDonald : 06-23-2005 at 04:22 PM.
 
Old 06-23-2005, 09:42 AM   #9
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The story is extremely important, because that is the heart and soul of the piece. Of course, there are certain types of subjects/scenes that don't require a story, but it makes it more immersive for the artist to have some kind of a background story. I'm a creator/writer first and foremost, so most of my artworks are directly related to my writings.
 
Old 06-23-2005, 10:36 AM   #10
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Good question. I think the story is only important when the artist intends to make it important. Even so, the artist is not necessarily obliged to write down the story infront of his/her work, and if he/she does, then it's a sign of a weakness if not failure in telling the story through painting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paperclip

I think that's why so much modern art isn't....uhm..appreciated. There's more of an IDEA than a story and people don't understand that as much.
Isn't appreciated by whom?
If you are referring to Modernists paintings, then the story is there, it's just on the other side of the painting.

Last edited by ashakarc : 06-23-2005 at 10:45 AM.
 
Old 06-23-2005, 02:42 PM   #11
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When i start a bigger project, i seek for inspiration from stories i create in my head. The best story in my opinion will end up as a painting. So yeah to me stories behind paintings are important.

Most of the time i try to sum up the story in few dramatic sentences instead of writing the whole story down.

-JJ
 
Old 06-23-2005, 05:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashakarc
Even so, the artist is not necessarily obliged to write down the story infront of his/her work, and if he/she does, then it's a sign of a weakness if not failure in telling the story through painting.


Not sure that I understand this statement. Fleshing out a character who's the subject of a painting is very valuable -- it informs the pose and environment of that character, and perhaps the mood among other subjects in the painting.

Also, I don't see that writing about a character you've just painted is a bad idea either. If inspiration hits it's often a raw idea. If it's something you want to communicate the idea, you can paint a picture, write a story, compose a song or whatever. Each medium has different strengths and weaknesses but all are valid. Of course if you write a song because your painting stunk, that's different.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:29 PM   #13
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Ilikesoup: Here is a clarification, if the function of the painting is to tell a story, why would it be necessary to write down that story? I am not talking about a comic book painting here.
 
Old 06-23-2005, 05:30 PM   #14
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I don't agree with you either ashakarc, but, in the fact that a painting is not necessarily a story based artwork I can completely agree. But adding a story or a piece that was written to go with it can actually ad so much as an entire new world to what you see. You see it all around you, pictures to illustrate stories and stories sometimes illustrating pictures, it works, it's in magazine, books and maybe even sculptures.

I'm not saying they should all have an easily readable topic either, it could stay as abstract as one likes, well, that's if it doesn't become tacky that is.

Comics are the best exampl of the marriage I find, completely tacky in most cases but still good for entertainment. Because the pictures imho, add an entire new spectrum of experiences you can get from the story. They probably override the story in some occasions too, lol.

edit:ok, I'm going to start using quotes now, you people post like machines, rat-ht-th. I wasn't even done typing. But my post still stands.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashakarc

Isn't appreciated by whom?
If you are referring to Modernists paintings, then the story is there, it's just on the other side of the painting.


Appreciated by the general public.
You know-- the people who go in and say 'I coulda done that myself.' Why must the story always be so difficult to divine when you look at conceptual art? Sometimes it seems as if conceptual art results from someone painting instinctively and THEN making up a story to go with it.
I still don't understand why childrens' work isn't considered for art galleries. If it's all to do with the concept behind the 'canvas', their stuff should be solid gold.
 
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