Monday, March 12, 2012

Barclay's Art Manifesto (or how to like art the way I do)

A few years ago my brother sent me a link to the Kleefeld on Comics blog with his Comic Manifesto which inspired me to write my own manifesto on art in general. I have been reading this in my Art History classes for the past few years and it has been received relatively well. I was strongly influenced by Kleefeld's post. To clarify the difference between influence and plagiarism I will quote Murray Tinkelman. “It's inspiration when you steal ideas from other artists. It is plagiarism when you steal ideas from me.” So here it is (This is version 3.0).

1. Art (meaning the visual arts: Fine Art, Illustration, Photography, Graphic Design, Animation, Architecture, but this applies to theater, music, poetry, literature etc.) is inherently interesting and every variation of the visual arts is worth studying.

2. The culture that surrounds art and art creation is inherently interesting and worth studying.

3. ”Every art piece should be approached as free from as many preconceptions as possible; any given work should stand or fall on its own merits, or lack thereof.” (You cannot judge the quality the art by the morals of the artist.)

4. Even a genius has a bad day.

5. It’s ok to have fun at Art’s expense, but in the end you need to respect the Art and to a certain degree the artist. As Harry Anderson said, “If you can’t laugh at your self, you haven’t seen yourself sleep.”

6. Art is not dead. He moved to Reno.

7. Don't like a work of art just because everyone else likes it. Find a reason to like what you like.

8. “Every individual has their own preferences and, while a critical eye can be used to critique any given work, there are good odds that there will always be somebody who appreciates it and someone that does not.”

9. Critical analysis of art should not include personal attacks or judgments against their creator(s).

10. The enjoyment of art increases with the understanding of art.

11. Lend whatever support you can to those creators whose work you do appreciate and enjoy, even if it's only to tell other people about the quality of work they're doing. (Shameless plug to hire me to illustrate and or buy stuff I illustrate)

12. It has been said “Don't argue with idiots.” I would actually say, don’t argue period. Once you raise your voice people stop listening. Have your opinions, but listen to others no matter how strong you feel. But remember I am right.

13. There is no rule 13. I wanted to be able to get to 25 it’s a nice odd number–not as nice as a googolplex–but I really don’t have time to write a googolplex of items about why art is great and you would probably not want to read a list that is that went on much longer than 25. Unfortunately I was only able to reach 20 at this point. I am still working on the last five.

14. A critic’s evaluation of an art piece says more about the critic than the actual work.

15. You need to see the actual work of art.

16. You can’t come to an opinion of an art piece by looking at it for a few seconds or minutes. You need to spend time with it. Become it’s friend-then you can hate it.

17. All art is connected. The key to really understanding and appreciating art is to understand as much of art as a whole as possible -- that means studying the history of the medium and its creators; influential works and cultural references both within and outside art; the creation, production and distribution processes; contemporaneous as well as current reactions to works; etc.

18. Read The Art Spirit by Robert Henri and How to Understand Comics by Scott Mcloud. These are must-reads.

19. I understand that many of these contradict one another. I am ok with that and I firmly believe that it still works despite the contradictions. To my knowledge the paradox I have set up has not created a cataclysmic celestial event that will bring about the end of the world as we know it. That was Wal-Mart with the paradox of getting more for less. For that matter it probably wasn’t Wal-Mart that came up with it, but they have promoted it well… but I digress.

20. Art is connected to everything we see and do. It has influenced science, music, literature, films, theater, sports, entertainment everything. All things can relate back to a discussion of art.

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