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The Enduring Enigma of Collage

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 8:15 PM















Collage is one of those art forms that immediately sets off heated debate about our most fundamental ideas and visceral feelings about the very essence of art itself.


Turn of the century troublemakers Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso began enhancing their paintings with glued on bits of cut out fabric and other materials, thus neatly blurring the line between the art categories of painting and sculpture. They shifted the emphasis or “meaning” of their painted images beyond an attempted interpretation of the painted “text” to thinking about the artists’ “process” – something wholly separate from the paintings themselves.


And with that a whole new Rubic’s Cube of basic questions about art was opened up:


Is an assemblage of “found” junk really art? Is the artist’s technique in “building” an artwork more important than the artist’s aesthetic skills? Should ideas and feelings evoked in experiencing art come from a “story” or narrative painted on a canvas or are ideas and emotions with perspectives tempered by glued on newspaper clips and photographs just as valid? Is this “sampling” just a form of plagiarism? Is it simply an artist’s shortcut to his vision or expression, and ultimately never really his own best “statement?”








untitled urban collageby gregoriousone




Windsweptby JessicaMDouglas




pionerby igorska










self portrait collageby fantomas1






The Castleby patbremer










Kissed By a Birdby LauraTringaliHolmes




ATC: LoVe BiRdby abstractjet





Outwardby patbremer




Restlessby babsdraws





Leave it to the truly great artists and creative thinkers to leave more questions in their wake than answers. That the creation and interpretation of any artwork is a mad kaleidoscopic endeavor shouldn’t bother us so much a century after Picasso’s transgressions especially in a time of string theory and serious consideration of parallel universes. In fact, any evening spent in front of your end point of choice easily illustrates the triumph of the collage “idea” – as commercial after commercial batters us with seemingly disassociated sounds and images that somehow come together to push a singular perspective: like and want this product... because it is part of a desirable but unobtainable lifestyle implicit in the commercial’s collage of images.


But what of collage as a purely aesthetic artform? It seems the surrealists immediately following Picasso embraced collage, especially because it so nicely served in the presentation of political and anti-war messages, with the grim reality of war in photographs juxtaposed with the artists’s painted pleas for peace. Collage has never really gone out of style, as it seems to be that idea with a little added something that artists, like Warhol in the sixties, rediscover over and over to reinvigorate their messages. One particularly popular school of “wood collage” has endured, in which the artist glues wood cuttings or panels to painted canvases, again creating a painting+sculpture effect. Some artists use natural found driftwood to enhance their paintings, igniting again the “but is it art?” question. By now most of that conversation has died down into a truce:


Any artist’s expression is art. And art is in the eye of the beholder. Period.












Queen Of Black Words Blindfoldedby ArianeJurquet






Bird 3 -- Diveby LauraTringaliHolmes






carmageddonby live-by-evil






sumo surfingby almcdermid






Traditional american familyby Drogul-le-Mogul






Crosswalk on Manhattanby rpintor






Dannyby patbremer








Collage seems to have won a place in our collective hearts as an artform that “anyone can do.” We start cutting and gluing pictures in Kindergarten to add to our crayon creations and many happy homes have photo collages of smiling famiy members hanging on their walls. Whatever comment the serious artists are making about “process” or political activists are making about world peace is now wrapped warmly in the same artistic space as our baby photo collections.


“Digital Art” is the latest artform in search of a theory by the academics. But its commercial application as CGI is transforming the look of the imaginary worlds in films and video games and no doubt doing much, for better or worse, to imprint those (usually dystopic) landscapes in our sub-consciences.


Personally I love collage as an artform.








You Obviously Lack Originalityby Chickenman74778






Perfect Strangerby wicked-vlad








Questions For the Reader


  1. Is collage even relevant as a technique in the face of digital tools that instantly paste content into almost every image we see?

  2. What is your first reaction to the “is ‘found’ art really art?” question?

  3. Does the experience of the “meaning,” or at least your perception of a painting, being changed to a new perspective by added materials engage your mind in a positive way, or make you feel like what’s the point? Does too much relativity kill your soul?

  4. How would you feel if some of the plates fell off your very expensive Julian Schnabel “painting?” Would you first wonder if re-gluing them made the work somehow altered or bogus?  Would you wonder first about insurance or resale value?

  5. Do you have personal collages of friends and family? Did the placement of individuals’ pictures within the collage have any particular significance?








Collage is one of those art forms that immediately sets off heated debate about our most fundamental ideas and visceral feelings about the very essence of art itself. Turn of the century troublemakers Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso began enhancing their paintings with glued on bits of cut out fabric and other materials, thus neatly blurring the line between the art categories of painting and sculpture. They shifted the emphasis or "meaning" of their painted images beyond an attempted interpretation of the painted "text" to thinking about the artists' "process" – something wholly separate from the paintings themselves.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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Legacy of The Lens

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 8:13 PM































































A study in artistic diversity, Bernardo Medina embodies the renaissance spirit of the consummate artist, always inspired and inspiring artists around him to create and capture the rhythms of life and beauty in a multitude of mediums.


At the core is his love and dedication to the realism in captured moments of humanity that only the lens of photography can provide. With a background in architecture and design underpinning his artistic journey, Bernardo joined deviantART almost a decade ago and in that time has generated a formidable and impressive body of work on his own but also through collaborative endeavors with the other members of the deviantART community. He serves as a model of not only individual personal dedication to his art – but as an artist ever ready to share from his vast reservoir of spiritual support with any deviants or other artists who need only ask.
































Bernardo specializes in building teams of artists to realize his visions when imagining public spaces filled with artwork, media, and inspiration. On a recent notable project he worked with devilicious on bringing the interior of a 25,000 sq ft nightclub to devious life. On this, as with his other creations, much of the graphics, photography, modeling, design concepts, and artworks are sourced from dA when building massive public projects.


Many are most familiar with Bernardo’s work from his collaborations and photographic journeys in association with National Geographic that have yielded such absolutely beautiful imagery.  He manages to capture the human condition and the global pulse of our living planet in an unvarnished and dramatic yet life-affirming manner. His images rank with the very best of what has made National Geographic the touchstone and authority in naturalist photography since before most of us were born.









But of all his most treasured collaborative work, Bernardo cites as his most enduring, fulfilling and inspiring the projects he shares with his son Tomas, teemoh. Like father – like son: Tomas also began his photographic journey on deviantART. Whereas Bernardo’s life in photography has focused on capturing moments in the natural world, Tomas, with his background in video and graphic design, is achieving great things in experimenting with light, form and sound. The father & son team is currently collaborating on a media show, “My Thailand Story.” Theirs is the sort of professional and spiritual relationship that best defines and illustrates in living practice what the deviantART experience and community is all about.
































Interview with Bernardo Medina








techgnotic:

When did you first realize that deviantART was becoming your support system in your artistic endeavors?




foureyes:

When I started meeting many talented artists in deviantART, passionate about their work and about sharing it. They have been truly inspirational during the last 10 years. I come to deviantART every day. As an evolving community, it has a rhythm of it's own. In a world saturated with social media, deviantART remains true to it's original intent, connecting people through art. DeviantART has always been a reflection of new art trends, what's new, what's viral. In the modern world of business it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can share what you create and benefit from it.






















































techgnotic:

Can you tell us a bit about your formal education and how it relates to the knowledge gained from an online community of photographers?




foureyes:

Architect by education. We have a Studio of Design and Construction in Texas. Photography is a source of inspiration for my architectural projects. It lets me play with the perception of the outside world, it's structures, forms, colors, illusions and cliches!


DeviantART artist/friends work with us on the artistic part of the architectural projects we do: graphics, photography, modeling, design concepts. The collab and team work is awesome!


Recently we worked with deviantART's devilicious on a 25,000 sq. ft. night club project in Fort Worth, Texas. We produced many deviantART inspired images. Her visual concepts had a unique deviant flair. Working with devilicious (Mary) is Nirvana!










techgnotic:

Would you like to shed some light on your relationship with National Geographic?




foureyes:

Over the last few years some of my images have received photography awards and I've traveled with Nat Geo a couple of times. We are currently working on a multi-media show that includes a photography exhibit in Houston with The TAT ( Thailand Tourism Authority ) of the 2012 Thailand trip.










techgnotic:

Do you feel like you’re an ambassador for the arts ethos of deviantART when you’re working in Thailand, etc?




foureyes:

A humble ambassador! It's always great when you have a deviantART friend tell you that your work inspired their creativity, or that they traveled to a certain place after seeing my photo.











techgnotic:

What do you tell young artists about making best use of the human resources of arts communities as they begin building their careers?




foureyes:

Connect, connect, connect with artist-friends. The sorcery and charm of sharing our view of the world make it one of the most treasured of all creative arts. Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron once was to steelmaking.










techgnotic:

Can you name a photographer on deviantART whose work you admire?




foureyes:

We have followed jsmonzani for many years. The range of his work is inspiring. His work mixes photography, graphic design and cinema, and we like that!





















techgnotic:

What relationship do you see between the magic of art and the business of art?




foureyes:

To be a successful entrepreneur, one needs a vision of one's work. If we dream, we will be inspired beyond the straight jacket of the everyday world. There is a profound connection between art and enterprise, which allows businesses to overcome its limitations and break the rules. Creativity is the cutting edge of the art business.










techgnotic:

Do you have future projects in mind in collaboration with your son?




foureyes:

We're working on a media show: "My Thailand Story."










techgnotic:

Can you talk about the arc of a father and son collaboration?




foureyes:

My son Tomas (teemoh) joined deviantART 9 years ago. He went to film and photography school and now we work together on special projects. It's awesome! He is driven to create and has a passion for engaging with clients to turn their visions into striking images. As a video-photographer and graphic designer, he is working on several media projects experimenting with light, form & sound – the world in motion!






























































Interview with Tomas Medina







techgnotic:

How has your Dad's arc as a photographer influenced your career personally and professionally?




teemoh:

It’s very exciting to be a part of a creative family.  It gave me the tools to create my own vision of the world.  Professionally, it's a great start if you have 4 eyes!






















techgnotic:

Can you talk a bit about your current camera set up and also offer some travel tips for the young photographer about to set out on a first trip as a paid photographer?




teemoh:

We like Canon Equipment, and we travel light, but bring very selective gear to cover any lighting  condition.





















techgnotic:

Have you ever instantly known when you’ve captured the death of the perfect moment?




teemoh:

Yes. Sometimes you can feel that instantly! But also, many great photographs are made only after observing a subject, learning when it looks best, and returning to photograph it at its most spectacular. This is how you make anything look extraordinary.












Video Narrated by Alan Watts




CREDIT: :iconjacquelinebarkla: A Dark Horse Running in a Fantasy by JacquelineBarkla









Questions For the Reader

  1. What happened that confirmed for you that you had chosen correctly in making the arts a focal point in your life?

  2. Have you ever collaborated with a close friend or family member?  Was it a moment of growth or did it result in a retreat.

  3. Are you in the process of planning a full commitment to a career in the arts?  Do you need to choose between many talents in the arts?

  4. Do you think there is a well of inspiration waiting to be tapped by the right artistic stimulus in every human being?










A study in artistic diversity, Bernardo Medina embodies the renaissance spirit of the consummate artist, always inspired and inspiring artists around him to create and capture the rhythms of life and beauty in a multitude of mediums.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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Final Thoughts from Clive Barker




Odyssey. I can think of no better word to describe the journey that took place these past few months.


With the prologue, “They’re Mad, They Are,” I began work on a vessel that was not yet ready for sea. And on that holed ship, together we embarked over open waters towards an unknown destination.


What I then witnessed both touched and humbled me. You, the mighty crew of the HMS Odyssey, simultaneously crafted her and plotted her voyage with artistry and grace.  No small feat.


The path we traveled was treacherous, to be sure. But we passed through the eye of the storm, and found ourselves in a new world. It was brutal, brilliant, and inspiring.


Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. You are among the finest shipmates I’ve ever had the privilege to work beside. Make no mistake; we’ve built something beautiful.


Though our paths must now diverge, we will forever be connected by this sweet and terrible ride through the eternal, collective universe of That Which Can Be Imagined.
































































































































































Odyssey II


Chapters







Prologue


THEY'RE MAD, THEY ARE


ARTWORK BY: HansNomad

LITERATURE BY: CliveBarker

Read Prologue





Chapter 1


A Shower and a Change


ARTWORK BY: littlecrow

LITERATURE BY: markmywords85

Read Chapter 1





Chapter 2


The Host With the Most


ARTWORK BY: Apollomidnight

LITERATURE BY: HansNomad

Read Chapter 2







Chapter 3


Skin Glowing From Within


ARTWORK BY: Kimbot

LITERATURE BY: MelissaBoreal

Read Chapter 3





Chapter 4


Dreams of the Deep


ARTWORK BY: Scodge

LITERATURE BY: CZGrey

Read Chapter 4




Chapter 5


Techno-Colored Psychosis


ARTWORK BY: vonBee

LITERATURE BY: HereLizaKnight

Read Chapter 5






Chapter 6


Something Worse than Nobody


ARTWORK BY: littlecrow

LITERATURE BY: Isagiyo-Yan

Read Chapter 6




Chapter 7


A Man Reborn


ARTWORK BY: TravTheMad

LITERATURE BY: demonsweat

Read Chapter 7




Chapter 8


Brethren


ARTWORK BY: Micha-vom-Wald

LITERATURE BY: BillBlogins

Read Chapter 8









Symptom of the Universe






The Vision is Getting Clearer...


The inimitable author and artist, the fantastic Clive Barker, lent his special, brilliant madness to Odyssey Project 2.0 by writing the first “prompt” chapter of our experiment; setting the tenor for what would evolve into a weirdly wonderful and beautiful tale. We were honored by his participation.


For marioluevanos and I, This was our second effort at creating an ultra-collaborative short story fiction, our delirious, inspired version of the “exquisite corpse” salon game once played by the Surrealists. So far this incredible community of creative artists and storytellers have given life to two amazing “monsters”. The Grand Game will continue.













There were, once again, a whole host of minor glitches, particularly with so many entries needing to be read and fairly assessed in such a short time by so few judges (Clive himself was the ultimate arbiter this time).  All of your suggestions for improving this endeavor that have been coming in are greatly appreciated. You all have been writing the rules of the next Odyssey project throughout this process.


“Baby steps” for now, but together, we dream mightily…


Of all the unforeseen collateral fallout surrounding our Odyssey endeavors contest, none has been more heartening than the many incidences of participants branching off from the main narrative of the “chosen” story to continue their own personal vision. Often in collaboration with other writers and artists, they discovered their own preferred narrative vein and finished out their own separate stories. The idea behind this project has always been all about sparking creativity in collaboration, not simply winning a place in the main story.  That so many fresh new stories were born from the deviously germinated seed of a single Clive Barker chapter is precisely the magic we can all achieve together.













Many have been asking about the hard copy publication of Odyssey and Odyssey II, as well as the attendant charitable donations to come from those sales.  I am preparing a separate article for everyone that will go out in the next two weeks which will outline the plans for publishing both works this fall. There will be digital versions as well as hard copy versions. We have also expanded the content to include a full explanation of Odyssey Project with a behind the scenes feature outlining the process and participants from the beginning. I will create a list of the timelines, elements, and structure that we can all discuss in the comments and I will also schedule a featured chat with marioluevanos and I so that we can all talk about it in real time.















Odyssey II


Poetry







Ascend


by puzzledpixel

This body,
against the rage of strongest winds
and waves of virulent assaults
will endure.
My feet,
through vicious aftershocks
shall grow roots
and when the eye of the storm
has looked me in the eye, I
will be left standing,
alone, intact,
whole.
My life is not my
own and this body,
is only worn.
I am
my spirit, ethereal
incorporeal
absolute.
Not by anything in this world
can I be touched,
you can not even bend me.
How can you destroy me?




A Subtle Shift in Course


by Beatleyperson

A subtle shift in course
That seemed quite insubstantial at first
Has given way, till you're far off path
And lost in a distant trance
What seemed inconsequential at the start
Has now made your life slowly fall apart
As you watch it crumble and crumple in your hands
You feel yourself loose your grip, and go mad
A certain paranoia sinks through the weary haze
You desperately try and slip away
As it grows into an uncontrollable panic
And you begin to grow drastic
And as the fear begins to grow
A soft voice in your head begins to echo
What did you do to deserve such a fate?
But put it out of mind, because it's too late
You're surly going to die by the hand
That you didn't see, didn't expect, and
The one you weren't afraid of
Brought this nightmare to life
And all of this came to roust
From a subtle shift in course






Inside Out


by portraitinflesh

Nausea, not me:
I boil within
my own skin
is a stranger
flaming and searing
me, not me.

The pain is in plain view
if only I weren’t hidden
if I could see me
would I recognize
or avert my eyes
knowing it has all
been taken away.

Me, not me
not since she,
or it, or them

Me, why me
a chosen vessel
without my consent

I may not have been much
but I’m all I’ve ever had
and now, no
nothing, nowhere.
The skin—my skin—
taken, broken
bruised, flayed
I fade

because of her
or it, or them
I will end;
even my wasted time
is torn away.

I’m tearing now
she-it-they want out.
I want to shout, scream
But my voice is alien to me.

Two of me
from me
of me
but not.
No longer.




Outray


by portraitinflesh

what’s mine is mine
to twist or unwind
I know what I hold dear

the end is near
if you had your way
each night you’d erase the next day

the price you had to pay
was far too high,
you ripped apart the sky

no explanation why
other than wanting to play God
you needed no encouraging nod

my ally was odd
even to you, yet she
also betrayed me

I can finally see
the truth you tried to hide
I saw once I died

so I turned the tide
you are out of time
what’s mine is mine






Outside In


by portraitinflesh

Look at the beauty
There is shit everywhere, every
breath drags it into me.

There is beauty all around
The ground under my feet is poisoned
I look up, and the sky is dying.

I see what you cannot
We avert our eyes, our
sighs we bottle up inside.
So much potential, so much
A shell of protection,
we’re so close to breaking apart.

You ignore your treasure,
this precious world, a shining
reflection of infinite possibilities—
you don’t deserve it
and you won’t miss
what you never noticed

Day in, die out
it’s all the same.
No one knows my name,
I’ve grown OK with that.
Life should make sense by now
instead, it drags me down.

A way in, that’s all I ask—
a path to your world, a
chance to taste neglected wonders

I wander through life,
everyone does—
it’s what we do when we don’t dream.

A seam to rip apart;
I’ll tear through you
Something has entered me
You may not make it
but you’ll create it
I feel so empty inside.









The Vision is Getting Clearer... The inimitable author and artist, the fantastic Clive Barker, lent his special, brilliant madness to Odyssey Project 2.0 by writing the first “prompt” chapter of our experiment; setting the tenor for what would evolve into a weirdly wonderful and beautiful tale. We were honored by his participation.
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:icontechgnotic: Aug 29, 2012 by techgnotic

I am bringing your attention to a documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing, that
deeply inspired me after a screening last week. The life wisdom and positive
philosophy unfolding over a lifetime of living as an artist was deeply motivating.
I invited Wayne White, the subject of this documentary, to join deviantART afterwards.
I thought this would be something you would enjoy no matter where you might be at
on your own personal journey as an artist. While watching this I was also reminded
of the heartfelt explanations by many artists of what it means to choose the life of an Artist.









"Do what you love, It's going to lead where you want to go."


seewaynewhite








Please stop and say hello and welcome seewaynewhite in his first week at deviantART.





A strange thing happened at a local café called Fred 62, a sudden sense of something
askew in the universe. I realized it was the painting hanging on the wall above my friend’s
head. Could that really be the mundane landscape painting that hung on the wall in one of
the rooms in my child hood home? Why yes, it is. But the painting has been … infiltrated.
Geometric shapes now hung in the air above the autumnal scud of fallen leaves. Then you get
it: the shapes are actual words. The painting is protesting its near-purposeless existence
by breaking the fourth wall and “speaking” to me. And it’s saying: FoodBasedLifestyleEnhancement –
which is really funny, given the theatre of this moment. What is this? Graffiti? Tagging?









Wayne calls his word paintings and his other creations his “beautiful things” and he exhorts
other artists to ignore the pull of “seriousness” (in hopes of being officially declared “real”)
and instead be guided by what brings them joy to create, to do whatever it is creatively that
makes them happy. Fun and funny shouldn’t be anathema to the “serious artist” – the moment of
laughing at a joke one isn’t even sure one really understands… that should be the most sacred
artistic epiphany.













What I unknowingly discovered is Wayne White’s “word paintings.” Wayne “samples” (buys) otherwise
pointless examples of forgettable paintings, mostly landscapes, and then he paints his messages across
them like billboard credits kicking off a movie. His messages tend to be funny, sometimes deeply poignant
and are often slightly obscene. Not that pure juvenile silliness isn’t his guiding principle. The official
art world doesn’t quite know what to make of Wayne’s increasing popularity and the success he’s experiencing
after a lifetime of being a “jack-of-all-trades” artist. They’ve hung a general “surrealist/pop artist”
label on him and dismissed him as a “non-serious Ed Ruscha.” But Wayne White’s art, funny and silly and profane
as it might be, is far from being a joke. He’s a man and an artist on a mission.







If your first experience of Wayne’s art is his “word paintings,” then you’ve come in late to an amazingly
multifaceted and storied adventure that has been his creative life. It’s a life now documented in a new film,
"Beauty is Embarrassing," which every creative person will enjoy immeasurably and will provide every person seeking
the secret to “what makes the artist tick” with palpable insights. His journey has been as long, oblique and
serendipitous as only a lifelong muse-driven pure artist’s journey can be. Wayne left his home in Tennessee to become
a cartoonist and illustrator for some of the hippest pop-art-laden publications of the day, like The Village Voice.
He then became one of the driving creative forces on the now legendary Pee Wee Herman Show, creating props and puppets
and performing voices. He won three Emmy Awards. His puppetry and art direction talents earned him awards for music
videos as well, including Peter Gabriel’s Big Time and the Smashing Pumpkins’ amazing George Melies-inspired Tonight,
Tonight. But it’s his word paintings that are finally making his name known. Are they “real” art? Or is this some kind
of a joke? It’s Wayne’s mission in life as an artist to address this endlessly-arising “question” so vital to
conversations concerning "high art."
















An Interview withWayne White







Your “word paintings” “sample” pre-existing paintings of kitschy landscapes (i.e., depressing Americana memes).
Do you feel a kinship with early rappers who reinvented music in a similar way, sampling tapes in bargain bins?




Not really. Even though there is a similar aesthetic of recycling. I've recycled junks since the 70's... way before
rap came along. But like rappers I do feel like i'm collaborating with the original artist and harmonizing with the work.









In what ways have your non-fans in the official art world sought to delegitimize your art and your very status
as an artist?  They seem to believe that as an artist provocateur injecting humor into fine art, you are a major threat.
What is this perceived threat?  Why are they so threatened?




First of all I am not perceived as a major threat. if anything I'm perceived as an imitator of Ed Ruscha because I live
in L.A. and I use text. I wish I was a major threat. That would be fun! But I'm afraid I don't have that kind of power. I guess
some people are threatened by humor in fine art because they see it as a corrupting influence.













Your credo that the purpose of artists is to create beautiful things, and your belief that humor is a major part of the “beautiful” might indicate that you hold technical art “study” in low regard. Is there as much point in studying why a portrait is “beautiful” as there is in analyzing why one laughs at a joke?  In fact, as with “deconstructing” jokes, the analysis itself destroys the joke. Do you in fact prefer to remain “awed” by great art and laughing at funny art as the highest tribute to be paid to art (critics be damned)?




The creative act is not an act of analysis. It’s an in the moment spontaneous experience. The analysis comes later by the viewer and the arts. And yes too much analysis sucks the juice out of anything so its the challenge for the artist and the viewer when they are confronting art and humor.













Your broad artistic palate, stretching from painting to cartooning to video to puppetry, indicates a wildly wandering artistic consciousness.  As someone who simply creates, like a mountain climber, “because it’s there,” do you ever feel the need to let the rational part of your mind catch up with the creative part of your mind that is so obviously in control of the show?




I try to keep it strictly creative in the studio. After the physical act of creating something the rational mind always takes over and starts to analyze it so its always a balancing act. Nobody is 100% creative or 100% rational.







What would you say to someone who thinks your art “mocks” art?




Uh.. Thank you.







What would you say to someone who says you’re talented enough to be a “real artist,” if only you’d take it more seriously?




Fuck you. Seriously.







What’s the most important compliment you’ve ever received from someone whose opinions on art you really respect?  




Joel Hodgson called my paintings "magic" and that's coming from a magician!













What would your advice be to a young artist with interests in multiple disciplines and mediums just embarking on a lifetime of making art?




Don't let anybody tell you that you have to concentrate on one thing. You don't. It’s possible to cross over as many times as you want. I think crossing over is a healthy and invigorating thing to do. It freshens up all the genres. Many teachers will try to pigeon hole you unfortunately. Don't listen to them!














QuestionsFor the Reader


  1. When an artwork makes you laugh, do you consciously (or subconsciously) label the work as “not serious art” regardless of the artist’s creativity and talent?
  2. Has there been one moment in your life above all others when you were absolutely awestruck (“embarrassed”) to be in the presence of a particular artwork? Can you compare this with laugh you laughed at the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced in your life?  Are beauty and humor necessities of life – or the whole point of life?


Watch the trailer: Beauty is Embarrassing




Beauty is Embarrassing directed by Neil Berkely hits theatres on Sept. 7th.









The wisdom and positive philosophy that unfolded in "Beauty Is Embarrassing," the documentary about artist Wayne White, was so deeply motivating, we reached out to invite him to become a part of the deviantART community. No matter where you are on your personal journey to become an artist, this documentary is for you. Watching his story take shape, one can't help but be reminded of the heartfelt explanations given by many artists on deviantART of what it means to choose the life of an artist.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
Featured: *seewaynewhite
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Odyssey Propulsion 6

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 6:51 PM








We want to especially thank an elite core of Odyssey II writers:




Those deviants truly embodying the spirit of the project by continuing to create and submit next chapters – no matter the story’s refusal to go along with their proposed direction. The zeitgeist is a powerful force, but the artist must know when to sail against the been-there-done-that. And our writers, artists and poets have been doing that week after week. So many artists and writers continue to send in wonderful material week after week.






We have decided to extend the writing deadline for the last chapter to December 31 and we're expanding the Word count to 800 words for our final chapter! Artists will then have two full weeks to illustrate our final chapter - meaning artwork for Chapter 8 will be due by January 14, 2013. Any Animations/films and poetry deadlines are now extended until Jan 14! We will then unleash, I mean publish, this tale of Paul’s very unexpected journey!


Visit Odyssey II Project Page







Elite Core Odyssey Participants - Profile 1






































:iconkill-natalie:

Kill-Natalie, whose vibrant kinetic wordsmithery is always a pleasure to read. A young artist with a sense of grotesquerie that’s quite remarkable.


:thumb332523457:




























The atmosphere of friendly competition, mutual aid when needed and fulsome community that has endured throughout all the glitches and hiccups of Odyssey and Odyssey II is something I will always be grateful to have beheld and well worth all the 4 a.m. technical meltdowns. Hopefully this is only the beginning of many such innovative projects. The real prize in this “contest” is witnessing how deviants and other creative entities from around the world can come together in a mere flash of time to help each other build something unique in storytelling that points to the very future of the written narrative.























We want to especially thank an elite core of Odyssey II writers: Those deviants truly embodying the spirit of the project by continuing to create and submit next chapters – despite the story’s refusal to go along with their proposed direction. The zeitgeist is a powerful force, but the artist must know when sail against the been-there-done-that. And our writers, artists and poets have been doing that week after week. The same names continue to send in wonderful material week after week...
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Odyssey Propulsion 7

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 4:17 PM



    







He who birthed the strange tale into our world with a spurt of kaleidoscopic intergalactic vomit has now decided its end. CliveBarker has chosen his favorite Chapter Eight to bring the multi-imagined Hydra-headed beast of a story to the end. All that remains is Chapter Eight illustration submissions remaining open for the next two weeks. And with the perfect visual, Odyssey II: Propulsion will become another hallmark in deviantART history.


So many writers and artists from around the world contributed amazing gifts of their wildest imaginations, collaborating with each other and offering suggestions and encouragement to each other in the friendly Odyssey environment.


The true spirit of the deviantART community was on full display, with moments of elevation provided by helpful angels’ wings far outnumbering the moments of snark and cynicism. There are still glitches technical and human in the Odyssey Project, but this is a dA “show” that will definitely go on – so long as talented arts “deviants” with spiritual leaders like CliveBarker are willing to use their time and effort to pioneer new roads into creativity in the emerging Internet powered narrative.


In the end it was BillBlogins, a regular contributor to both Odyssey competitions, who was able to somehow, employing an economy of words that nonetheless achieved a fine dreamlike flow, pull together all the dangling threads of the intergalactic takeover tale concocted by our chain of writers and then let Paul convincingly save humanity on Earth – only to then debark into the cosmos to save other worlds. Wonderful for what had to be done in so few paragraphs.


And Paul, after having been a tortured victim throughout so much of the story, was finally able to redeem his protagonist’s role and go out a real hero. The use of sound vibration warfare was just what was needed to elevate this horror-science fiction thriller into the incredibly memorable.


Visit the Odyssey Project Page


CH 8 Lit Runners-Up

London CallingPaul's Journal (February 28)
Six months.
One-hundred and eighty three days from vomit on my pants to the fall of civilization. John Dryden once said, "...mighty things from small beginnings grow."  Yeah, no shit.
There were more entities than we thought, hidden in other cities on other continents, and they all rose together in that terrible final struggle to fight us for control.  I was wrong to think I was strong enough to stop them.  I was so wrong.
At dawn, on the one-hundred eighty-fourth day of the war, all I can see from the roof of the House of Commons is the apocalypse.  Across the Thames, the London Eye looms over the riverbank like a broken metal sentinel.  There are fires in the gloom below--some lit for warmth, others burning out of control.
I had always wanted to bring Maya up here.  Now I just come alone.
Down on the streets, among the remnants of humanity that still drag themselves across the cracked concrete—there are still active entit

Odyssey II - Chapter 8: The Oroboros Wassail
Have you ever seen sound?
There's a condition named for it: Synesthesia.  The ability to hear and at the same time SEE what is, or might, be there.
Paul was experiencing something similar to that right now.  Each word that had poured our of Maya's mouth had rung a bell in his mind.  One that pulsed with all the colours of the void, similar to a violently organic oilslick that danced and twitched  and wrapped around the edges of his consciousness.
It was how he'd been woven back together, the very sinew of those kaleidoscopic utterances stitched into his body now.
The word was being strangled by those tendrils.  Tal'Shen was the final spindle around which all threads of this world would wrap and ultimately be strangled by.  The words would cease, the colours would fade and the world would fade to oblivion's silent black.  There would be nothing and, in this, all would cease.  Paul could feel that null note of oblivion as well.  That last grea

Nightmare Virus"I trust you." Maya said inching closer to Paul.
Paul lowered to the ground and hugged Maya tightly in a loving embrace.
"Everything is going to be ok now."
Maya then collapsed on to the floor and her body shook in violent spasms.
"Maya!"
Maya's mouth peeled open like a sack of dead flesh.  She exhaled a dying moan as her body melted like candle wax boiling into a red stump of slimey flesh that seared through the floorboards like sulphuric acid.
The windows began to fog and the room walls blackened like hot cigarrette butts as the sound of demonic bull-like grunts warped any dillusions of victory Paul had into unholy nightmarish madness.  The wallpaper of the room then peeled open revealing London.
But their was no London, no sounds, just white blinding fog in all directions. As he gazed up he saw millions of dead bodies spiraling in the air of this ugly abyss.
A black eye in the sky the size of Hell opened wide swallowing Paul with its
demonic stare.  Paul and Tal'Shan were now alone

The Mandala Turns"Are you sure about this?",  Maya muttered as they made their way over rooftops on a helicopter Maya was "borrowing."
"Yes.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have to get closer to her."  His voice seemed... deeper, and it carried a strange resonance to it that distracted her. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs and pointed. "Thar she blows, as the saying goes."  Up ahead, illuminated by the city lights, was Tal'shen.  Her form was huge and amorphous, a gelatinous mesh of  pieces of that seemed to belong to the menagerie of the deep sea.  The skin was a murky grey that crackled with bolts of rainbow colored lightning and gigantic tentacles lashed back and forth, either gripping onto or slamming into buildings. People on the streets below were scrambling like ants and fires were alighting in a scene of utter chaos. However, none of this was quite as unsettling to Maya as the serene, content smile on Paul's face. It was definitely not what one would exp

End Times Paul lay in bed listening to the radio, still shivering from the battle weeks before.
He remembered his pursuit of Tal'shen, but on reflection it had been less of a chase and more of an allowance to follow her, perhaps she had known that Paul had the seed to defeat her.
Despite his brave words to Maya, he was not truly purged of the beast. A small sliver of unnatural life lay trapped around his spine.  Paul kept it for a reason, knowing the link, no matter how tenuous, would be the key to sooth the abomination.
  Tal'shen had waited for him in a side street, one of London's many capillaries that litter her maps.
She could not speak from her curved beak, but Paul heard her many voices in his head, each confused, contradictory, clamouring for attention, but leading him to her nonetheless.  
 Standing before her, a coruscating mass, tentacles languishing through the air, Paul had known he would be outmatched physically, and prepared himself.
The chosen of Lysanna, bearer of the seed of t
























Art submission for Chapter 8 will close on Thursday February 14th, which will also mark final submissions for poetry.


Read Chapter 8 Literature Winner for Artwork Inspiration

























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The Lonely Path

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 7:32 PM









I have never found a companion who was so companionable as solitude.



Henry David Thoreau











I always thought Thoreau’s comment was simply a word game— ultimately not of much value and false at its core. A Valentines Day in solitude should mean being all alone and alone means being unhappy, pure and simple. Still, it will turn out in life that the most alone we can feel is ironically in the crush of family and friends and even in the embrace of one’s Valentines Day companion— but lost and unfulfilled in one’s dreams and visions.












Spring feelings


by pamukcuceveyediprens





empty poem


by the-psycrothic





Alone


by miaboas





alone with me


by LauraZalenga








Become aware of your aloneness— which is a reality. And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.



Osho





Most all art has to come from a singular obsession. Is a companion, even for Valentine’s Day, a weakness to convention in the face of a need for excellence? It an be many years of Valentines Day cards and chocolates before the true source of loneliness descends: a disconnection to your muse, your art, your desire – the essence of that which makes you an artist. Will you abandon the false happiness of crowds and the search for that special somebody and nostalgic rituals and embrace the search for connection throughout the fullness of the universe through art? Solitude is the path to ultimately connecting with us all— to really touch others with love.









Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln never saw a movie, heard a radio or looked at television. They had 'Loneliness' and knew what to do with it. They were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.



Carl Sandburg









No me esperes con la lluvia


by tatucito






Singin in the Rain


by crilleb50





if you're lonely.


by wannywanwan







Our truest love lies in what we find within ourselves and then share with all humanity. The artists, writers, collaborators, appreciators, and visionaries, here at deviantART, perhaps in solitude in front of their screens and canvasses, share this grand conversation with each other everyday through their own personal, yet fully connected art journey. You can never be “alone” on Valentines Day ever again. The key is in the words of Paul Tillich, the existentialist philosopher, who once said: “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”













The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe












Alone


by akirakirai







inside the dream


by monika-es




We can recognize the dawn and the decline of love by the uneasiness we feel when alone together.



Jean de La Bruyere







He is ALONE


by nitchzombie









The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.



Vincent van Gogh





Blow


by Coferosa







Lone Wild Goose


by sarriathmoonghost











Pale Flower


by GerryArthur






We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.



Orson Welles





empty


by Kosmur









Questions











1.

Would you rather experience the loneliness of a loveless Valentines Day, if you felt it aided in your art? Or is Valentines Day the sort of thing that feeds your art too much to be abolished for even one year?




2.

Do you have an understanding of what it means to be truly alone in the world as an essential ingredient in making a truthful and moving piece of art?




3.

Do you like being in solitude as meditation to art or do you need the support and love of another?




4.

Do you know a difference between sadness and solitude?











I always thought Thoreau’s comment was simply a word game - - ultimately not of much value and false at its core. A Valentines Day in solitude should mean being all alone and alone means being unhappy, pure and simple. Still, it will turn out in life that the most alone we can feel is ironically in the crush of family and friends and even in the embrace of one’s Valentines Day companion – but lost and unfulfilled in one’s dreams and visions.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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A magic of effective art can be a drawing that appears to be a movie still, clipped from a film narrative, evoking a powerful sense of storytelling— and the viewer wants to know the rest of the story. This phenomenon has recently manifested itself on deviantART— and in a big way— once again.





Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will produce a movie based on a drawing (“sweet Halloween dreams”) by deviantART digital artist begemott. The drawing depicts a tiny teddy bear with a tiny wooden sword and shield defending a sleeping child from the advances of a hideous beast sprung from the child’s nightmare.







The drawing was spotted on deviantART and brought to the attention of The Rock, film company, New Line, and the production company that produced The Rock’s successful movie “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.













Begemott’s gallery is full of wildly imaginative art works... We want to become a part of that world and find out what happens next.














Begemott’s gallery is full of wildly imaginative art works that succeed in capturing the moment in an idea’s “story” that represents a portal into a separate world. We want to become a part of that world and find out what happens next. Almost any of the images from this artist’s gallery could serve as a more interesting story platform than the mostly stale stories released every Friday in our movie theaters. So what at first blush might seem a bit crazy— constructing an entire film narrative from a single artist’s image— becomes much more understandable.











Even within short viewings, the striking and evocative story possibilities of begemott’s artworks spark the imagination. But so many of these paintings deserve longer viewing sessions offering even greater reward by allowing the constructed tableau to percolate and truly come to life. Sensing the dilemma these characters are facing becomes the core focus when viewing these works. Empathy for the subject and situations and the just occurred events comes easily as the scenes unfold and the characters’ relationships with themselves and others become clear. These newly familiar characters exude more identity and personality than the scripted clichés populating too many a screenplay.


The creativity, imagination and resonance with seekers of art that is always next-level, delightfully wicked and yet thoroughly human, always the portal moment of a story we want to enter, is what makes begemott’s art so special. And as a moment of captured “living narrative” his work is drawing in those in the entertainment businesses charged with finding life buried in the stacks of deadheaded old-thought pitches and submissions.


















DeviantART's great proletarian aesthetic is infusing media. Presented for your consideration: the likeness of a central character in Bioshock Infinite was sourced from a prominent cosplayer on deviantART, ormeli; and the recent suggestion by a snarky critic that the key art poster for The Great and Powerful Oz must have been made by a “14 year old on deviantART”— it certainly reflects deviantART because that’s what the world wants to see.


This community is the dominant aesthetic.

















DeviantART is becoming known as the place to come to, where the imagination for the new millennium and the new narrative spaces of the Internet are to be found. And begemott is the newest example of the narratives being discovered here.


Deviants should be made aware that this phenomenon of Hollywood finding movie ideas in the galleries of deviantARTists is not novel. This community’s impact on the aesthetic and narratives of all media is substantial and constant though frequently invisible. This event is distinguished by the high profile acknowledgement of the artist and of deviantART as the source of his work.




















Interviewwith begemott










techgnotic:
How integral was your network of friends and watchers on dA in the “discovery” of this artwork?


begemott:
I think it was crucial. It is only a guess, since I cannot know the people who posted the image on reddit and facebook, but I would expect that it started from people watching me on dA. Same for the people who posted links to my page in comments when the image appeared without attribution. I'm very thankful to them.









techgnotic:
With so many screenplays competing for the attention of movie producers, how surprised were you that your drawing was chosen as the basis for a feature film?


begemott:
It was very unexpected. I guess it shows how social media are changing the landscape. I think that recently another movie project was based on comments on a thread in reddit. It is certainly exciting to have such opportunities offered to outsiders. I would guess that one attractive property of picking up an idea from the internet, is that it has already received feedback from people.










techgnotic:
What do you think it was about your drawing that so intrigued a producer looking for a unique story to tell?


begemott:
I think that the drawing implies a larger story, and it's probably easy to relate to. The night is scary when you are a kid, and I'm sure many children have comforted themselves by imagining that something in the room protected them from all the imaginary dangers in the dark.










techgnotic:
There are so many elements balanced in your simple piece – childhood fear and wonder, heroism and loyalty, the safety and the terror of one’s own bed. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about achieving desired balances or effects, or do you just construct “story narrative platforms” instinctively? What can you tell us about your process?


begemott:
I try hard not to think! When I do try to think about such things explicitly, it all goes wrong. I don't have a process as such. What usually happens is that at some point, usually late at night, often after listening to music for a long time, I have an idea, and I make a quick sketch on a piece of paper to remember. These quick sketches are very rough and probably totally incomprehensible to others. At some other time, when I have time to spare, I go through these sketches, find one that seems like it's worth the effort, and finish it.












techgnotic:
Have you been approached by Hollywood about obtaining film rights to your other artworks?


begemott:
No.




techgnotic:
Can you share with us your preferred tools when creating your artworks?


begemott:
I usually draw with a mechanical pencil on plain paper. When I want more detail, I may use larger Bristol paper. I then scan it and do the coloring on the computer using a Wacom pen.






techgnotic:
There is an ongoing rash of movies “updating” classic fairy tales that all seem to fail by losing all sense of childhood as adult themes are added to the mix. Do you think the “Rock” might succeed in creating a gem like “Time Bandits” amidst the current mishmash affairs like “Snow White and the Huntsman?”


begemott:
I don't really know much about the movie. I will not be part of the creative process, but I certainly hope the end result will be enjoyable. I don't think that adult themes are necessarily a bad thing in a child story. I think that the problem is that in many recent movies revisiting fairy tales, the adult themes are simplistic and inserted in a forceful and explicit way. On the other hand, many good child stories have real underlying adult themes, without losing their magic.

















Questionsfor the reader







1.

Is there a particular artwork, or an artist’s work in general, in which you notice this “moment from an unwritten story” phenomenon?




2.

Have you ever been intrigued enough by a “narrative moment” artwork on dA to ask the artist in a comment to tell the rest of the story? Would you like to do that?




3.

Do you think the Hollywood studio trend in seeking more imaginative narratives in dA’s “unwritten stories” will increase?




4.

Is this because audiences in the Internet age in general are demanding more full spectrum or multifaceted platforms for their narrative entertainment?













A magic of effective art can be a drawing that appears to be a movie still, clipped from a film narrative, evoking a powerful sense of storytelling— and the viewer wants to know the rest of the story. This phenomenon has recently manifested itself on deviantART— and in a big way— once again.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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In our continuous effort to improve the deviantART experience, we're publishing weekly Site Updates to keep members informed and to gather feedback. Below is a list of recent changes to the site, bug fixes, and feedback that was brought up by members in the last Site Update.

What's New


More Like This on Deviation Pages


Please note: This feature is available to a limited number of members and will be rolled out to everyone over time.

We've brought More Like This results to deviation pages, to make the experience of exploring art on deviantART even easier than before! Featuring a mix of art from the artist whose deviation you are viewing and related artwork created by other artists, More Like This lets you delve even deeper into a world of artwork you love.


Change Log

  • In the Message Center, deviation titles and authors displayed incorrectly in Critique stacks. Fixed by yury-n
  • When using Firefox on Android devices, the keyboard would automatically open on the home page in some cases, due to the search field being auto-focused. Fixed by banks
  • The Customization > Icons > Misc category briefly did not accept .jpg files. Fixed by shahyarg
  • In the Journal Portal section of the site footer, the "comments" labels were misplaced. Fixed by helloandre
  • When changing the category of a Group Journal from "Personal Journal" to anything else, the new category was not saved. Fixed by helloandre
  • Paging was briefly broken on some pages and modals. Fixed by shahyarg

Sta.sh / New Submit

  • Dragging the mouse to select was very slow when a large amount of Sta.sh items were present. Fixed by adahacker
  • The title of the browser tab did not update when the file was renamed. Fixed by drommk
  • The "Submit Prints" step would consistently generate an "invalid value" error. Fixed by adahacker
  • Unchecking the "Submit Prints" checkbox when editing did nothing. Fixed by drommk
  • Editing a Journal's category could cause it to show up in one's Gallery. Fixed by adahacker

Sta.sh Writer


  • Pressing "Done" in Writer would sometimes remove Sta.sh Writer documents from stacks other than the "Drafts" stack. Fixed by kemayo
  • Pressing tab when in lists will now indent the list item, if appropriate. Fixed by Alisey
  • Pressing tab three times would cause the cursor to jump past the current word. Fixed by Alisey
  • Submitting multiple comments on Sta.sh items without reloading the page would cause problems. Fixed by inazar
  • For mobile devices, the Sta.sh Writer sidebar covered things up when trying to comment. Fixed by inazar

Your Feedback


Thank you for the feedback left on last week's Site Update! Quite a bit of feedback was left, and we wanted to address a few concerns that were raised in the comments.
  • Questions were raised regarding the royalty structure of 80% for artists and 20% for deviantART.
    • To put things simply, it costs money to run deviantART. This feature alone required building a new interface for the widget, a My Earnings accounting system, integrations to allow conversion of Points to U.S. Dollars, constructing a range of new backend functions for the Submit process, a new Message Center feature organizing all correspondence about commissions using the widget, and the integration of the deviantART Points platform that permits micro-payments without the buyers using credit cards. The fee helps us build these things, and there is more to come and more to be built.
    • We are considering tiered fees in the future for people who reach monthly sales levels, and for Premium Members, but we’d like to see this spread out onto the site before making those changes, so we can accurately project where the breaks for the different levels should be placed.
    • Anyone who chooses to use the widget will be providing us valuable insight and data that we will use to mold the future of the widget and the forthcoming Portal/search ability that will allow people to browse and discover artists who are offering commissions.
  • There was a concern voiced by some deviants that we would try to make the Commissions widget mandatory. 
    • This is not the case. The Commissions widget is and will be an optional tool that deviants can use, but no one is obligated to use it if they prefer not to.
  • Many deviants were pleased with the updates to deviantART muro.
  • The suggestion regarding a word count in Sta.sh Writer was well received.
  • Some deviants would like a way to sort through deviations in their Message Center based on whether or not the deviations have critique requested. Suggested by tisinrei


Lightbulb Have a suggestion, idea, or feedback? Leave a comment on this article!
Lightbulb Want to keep track of known issues? Check out our Status Forum!
:bug: Find a bug? Report it to the Help Desk(Be as detailed as possible!)

This week's Site Update includes an easier way to explore art on the site!
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The Tree as Beautiful Machine

Wed May 2, 2012, 7:17 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:










While searching deviantART for images for the Earth Day article, I became intrigued with how trees have become not only such a central focus of our current environmental concerns, but also how they play such a central role in our art, whether as background or actual subject matter. There are so many Enchanted Forests on deviantART that it made me wonder if trees, so mundane and taken for granted yet at the same time so vital to life on earth and so steeped in myth, have always been the revered subjects of the world’s artists.





There was one especially intriguing piece of information that I came across during my research of the Earth Day article that seemed the perfect way to feature some of the beautiful artwork depicting trees and forests on deviantART.  Even though most of us know the opening of Alfred Joyce Kilmer’s poem;

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree...
The tree went through a rough patch as being unsuitable as art subject for a period of nearly a thousand years, at least in Europe. This was the Medieval period from roughly 500 to 1450 A.D. The Church controlled artistic expression almost absolutely during that time and anything to do with nature or the woods was too closely linked with the “old religion” that Christianity had just superseded, Paganism, and Pagan animism (the idea of spirits being in all things, including trees) to be allowed to be fulsomely depicted in art. So it was mostly portraits of saints and kings and lots stained glass windows until Giotto kicked off the Renaissance by being rebel enough to put trees as natural backgrounds in his paintings in the 1300s.










A near-thousand year ban?


What is it so dangerous about trees that they could be suppressed for so long as art images to dream on? I suppose that climbing a tree as a kid might be our first great “victory” over the challenge and dangers of wildest nature. And the dark forests of fairy tales are well populated with evil beings and creatures intent on harming wandering children. So there’s always been that primal fear ingrained in us from birth to know the woods can be a “bad” place. But early humans lived and survived in the wild, so they embraced the trees and all the components of nature as the stuff of their religion and their art, making the forests as magical and spiritual as they were potentially lethal. It was only when humans built the cities and began razing the forests that trees became mere raw material to be exploited and the woods became less Pagan “Natural Cathedrals” and more scary backdrops to monster movies like “Dracula”.






Now it seems we’ve finally course corrected on trees and forests both out of practical concerns (our desire to survive) and our current cultural predilections (our insatiable spiritual explorations and the prevalence of fantasy in our entertainment). So whether it’s because we’ve finally acknowledged that the Earth’s forests and jungles are our planet’s “lungs” (and that there are secrets in the bark of the Amazon’s trees that might cure every disease), or if it’s because we need enchanted forests for the faeries and elves and witches of our favorite stories to inhabit, the tree has reestablished its rightful place as both necessary instrument of survival and emblematic icon of our artistic imagination. Trees give us oxygen so we can breathe. But they also provide a sense of mystery and timelessness so we can ponder and draw and dream.






















Questions


For the Reader





1As an artist, writer or photographer, do you think of trees as mostly background or backdrop to your art? Or have you actually used trees as a central subject?


2What’s your favorite work of fiction or movie that really made use of the forest as an actual “character” in the story?


3Do you find “subject-less” landscape photography or paintings generally boring or often compelling? Or does it all depend on the artist’s lens or brush?





4Can you remember a specific tree that played an important part in your own life? Or maybe that still does?


5Is a backyard without at least one tree really a “backyard” (i.e., a theater of childhood dreams of adventure) or just a soulless kid & pet pen?










While searching deviantART for images for the Earth Day article, I became intrigued with how trees have become not only such a central focus of our current environmental concerns, but also how they play such a central role in our art, whether as background or actual subject matter. There are so many Enchanted Forests on deviantART that it made me wonder if trees, so mundane and taken for granted yet at the same time so vital to life on earth and so steeped in myth, have always been the revered subjects of the world’s artists.
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