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Two videos on art.

Great analysis by this guy, it was his first few videos on Youtube but I think they were really well done and make some valuable point and furthermore…

*insert more vague lauding here*

Some beautiful pictures to help inspire the artist in you.

Not all of the photos are necessarily inspiring of course but I do like a lot of them.

The photos can be found here

Fucking Art, how does that work?

Alan Moore on how art can be seen literally as magic.

Art and Life: A commentary (With help from Thomas Knapp)

Recently I’ve talked about how Life imitates Art and not the other way around, well it seems that also recently the writer Thomas L. Knapp who can be found at the Center for a Stateless Society has written two commentaries on two events to do with politics, both of which The Art of Bureaucratic Noise and McMahon Senate Run: Life Imitates Art, Badly can be also found on has I feel strengthened my case for such a hypothesis that was also stated by Oscar Wilde.

In the Art of Bureaucratic Noise, Knapp writes of the disaster politics causes to art, a man named Lewis Greensburg in St. Louis Missouri was sentenced for 20 days, his crime? The local bureaucrats don’t like his art, citing it a “danger to little kids” but as Knapp writes:

“Greenberg and his attorneys point out that many houses’ Christmas decorations are at least as “dangerous,” and that no injury complaints have every been filed (not to mention the fact that in order to be injured by Greenberg’s art, one would necessarily have to trespass on his property).”

And indeed other people’s ridiculous ornaments for Christmas or other holiday could just be as obnoxious or dangerous to little kids if they tried to mess with it in some way, so why pick on Greenburg? Well apparently the sculptures he has in his own backyard (not that politicians care about what belongs to who, if  “the public” begged enough any art constituted “dangerous” would be destroyed if they had their way. And if art is nothing spectacular except when it inspires people in life to imitate it and challenge life in no ways then art would almost be completely finished by the atrocity called politics and it’s accomplice the deluded public which is a direct by product of politics.

And as Knapp notes,

“In previous columns, I’ve noted that local government has both the potential and the tendency to be far more oppressive, in many and different ways, than higher levels of government. Ballwin is a prime example of this phenomenon.

The last time the city made it onto my political radar, its government was driving restaurants and bars out of the city limits with a smoking ban (and thereby either reducing the government’s budget or raising the remaining businesses’ and citizens’ taxes).”

And so he notes the direct cause of politics, that is government limits the people’s choice of what they can smoke, where they can eat and for a while not even including this case the government is now limiting the art one could see, a wonderful power of the people is once again executed in the name of getting rid of something “dangerous”. But I wonder what people could tell me what this world would be without anything dangerous? I’m fairly certain the world would become the highest dangerous thereafter! People live to be entertained and if all activities are made safe then what’;s the point of living, there’s no fun left to have, people would just drop like flies from sheer boredom and death, and without any art people would drop even faster.

Because as I’ve said before art is whatever you can derive value from generally in some abstract sense but not necessarily. And a lot of people derive some sort of value for violence and danger usually negative but without the values derived from a major part of life people would feel as if a meaning of their lives has been stripped away from them eventually this “new and safe world”  would drive people insane and more violence and danger would be more prevalent then ever before. Perhaps this is why crime still continues despite the activities of these “busy body” parents and politicians who want the world a much “safer” place for everyone. Now I don’t oppose safety or advocate universal danger but I do think when these people are “advocating” a more “safe” world all of their saftey results in loss of individual freedoms and we’re no safer than we were before and if there’s one value people can find in it’s freedom.

Now as far as life imitating art, and in this case poorly (as is always the case, though Knapp’s focus is not that specifically) Linda McMahon one of the executives in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has decided to enter the world of politics, unfortunately as Knapp points out the two aren’t too much different,

“Professional wrestling, as exemplified by WWE, is the purest imaginable distillation of the political ethos as art, specifically theater. Its executives have created a fantasy world in which they and the other actors fight an ongoing series of epic battles — extended wars, even — over imaginary issues.

All of it completely fake, of course — but just try to take your eyes off it once you start watching. You can’t do it. The story may be ridiculous, but it sucks you in and gets you deeply emotionally involved, or at least jonesing for more fake blood on the turnbuckles.”

The same works with politics as an art, many people even in politics itself draw no value from it besides negative values and while these are necessary for positive values to exist and excess of either one lead to an unbalance in the way things go in a specific line of life. If politics is an art it is the worst art imaginable and should be destroyed by the public immediately in The Soul of Man Under Socialism Oscar Wilde explains how art is destroyed by politics and if art is destroyed by politics how could politics be an art itself? Politics compliments art as much as anything else does, which is to say almost nothing of a contribution. This is because art is it’s own contribution, it is itself and really nothing more except what you make out of it.

This kind of life imitating art as McMahon tries to become a politician instead of an executive for a popular business is a really bad portrayal for as Knapp points out,

“Unlike government, pro wrestling is clearly and unambiguously marketed as entertainment, purchased by willing customers who feel strongly that they’re getting their money’s worth. And who can say they aren’t? Under the leadership of Linda McMahon and her husband Vince, WWE knocked down revenues in excess of $500 million in 2008.

There are only two ways to stay in business for as long as the McMahons have, and to make as much money as the McMahons do: Deliver a product that customers are happy with and want more of, or find a way to force people to buy your product whether they want it or not.

Which, of course, is the key difference between the US government and World Wrestling Entertainment.”

McMahon is taking a step down from where she was before because of the way the revenues are gathered for both organizations, once again life tries to imitate art and falls short.

If all art is quite useless then all of life without art is nothing.

Gotta Catch This! (lol?)

Gengar and Haunter by Nojo

Years ago, in a time of childhood (early teenage) joy, there was this game called Pokemon – some of you may have heard of it. Now, I’m what you would call a casual-serious gamer. I don’t play video games that often, but when I do, its not football. Casual gamer geek? Call it what you will. However, Pokemon contained a world full of wonderful creatures that you could imprison in tiny balls and then force to fight other creatures for defense or sport. It was the game to engage my imagination! I played Red and Blue for probably around 150+ hours. Seriously. I caught all 150 original Pokemon, trained half of them up to level 100. Then, it all ended. Boredom. But, I never lost my nostalgic love for Red and Blue and they remain one of the most played games in my history.

Now, one thing that made me interested in the game was that I was fascinated with the pokemon which would not have been possible without character design that I loved. To be cliche, I would LOVE a Pikachu as a non-human companion.

So, when I was sent a link to a reinterpretation of the Pokemon (original 150(1) and more) in the style of traditional Japanese art – one of my favourite art styles – I instantly fell in love. To the point of wanting to get a tattoo of one of the pokemon from these images.

The artists site is in Japanese so I don’t know anything about them except I think they go by Nojo. If anyone can translate, do so!

Awesome Pokemon Art

-Madeleine Burleson

A look at Oscar Wilde: The Decay of Lying by Nick Ford

Oscar Wilde was a great writer, a poet and sometimes better known for his personal life then his writings, from his failings in friendships, in love, and in his opinions. But what I shall focus on for now is one of his better known works which is called the Decay of Lying. I read it first in De Profundis and other readings by Oscar Wilde where I first realized the importance of art to begin with and although I had been an artist of stuff making poetry, playing music, writing short stories, etc. I had never really appreciated the more abstract parts of art, the discussion of it, the theory behind it and the universal implications of the matter. Once I started reading Wilde I immediately realized how important art is, and art was and how it should be considered more important than it currently is. But enough of a back story my chief concern with this piece is a look at The Decay of lying and there’s no real need to summarize the whole thing or go over it bit by bit for there are only a handful of central ideas in this writing. The Decay of Lying is a dialog between two characters named Cyril and Vivian, Cyril is supposed to be seen as uninformed one and Vivian as Wilde, the experienced and cynical (do the two go together? Maybe for a post of another time) writer.

1.  In Wilde’s nature his writing here takes opposition to any sort of “normal” or expected sort of point of view that is seen in society as something widely accepted this is seen right from the get go with Cyril trying to simply converse with Vivian and Vivian almost constantly disagreeing with Cyril’s suggestions or accusations about what is or Vivian should do or be doing.

2. The artists of the day are boring precisely because they consistently tell the truth about things and make it all so life-like and droll that the read is ultimately disinteresting and irrelevant, things must be said in lies at times to make it relevant to our lives. Or as said in V for Vendetta, “[A]rtists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.”

3. Art is many things but it’s not one thing that people are necessarily interested in and this is actually a good thing, for once people find purpose and meaning in a subject it’s true character is lost the import of it is forever tarnished and to be scrutinized, taken apart, pulled down, and made a farce of by so many individuals that it’s original meaning will be ever afterwards gone from human history and if it does survive it’ll be a sham of itself in most people’s minds. This idea is relevant to a quote I had come up with recently, namely, “All ideas are misinterpretations of other ideas.” And what a true idea this is! And what is meant by this is in application all ideas are done to varying degrees to what was intended and even when thought on by others they are misconstrued in some way by the individual trying to explain it at some point. The degree of misconstruing does not concern me here it is merely the idea that all ideas are misconstrued in some way is just a basic fact of life. All ideas are based on misconstruing of other ideas and therefore the cycle goes on ad nauseum. This is not to say however that ideas are useless, ideas are what drive people to live in most cases, they are in conjunction with thoughts and are their big finale. That is to say that an idea is the sum total of a thought and therefore is necessary but often times misunderstood even by the person delivering the idea.

4. Nature and Art are not necessarily best friends in the abstract sense. This point is brought up quite often by Wilde, he goes as far as to say, “If we take Nature to mean natural simple instinct as opposed to self-conscious culture, the work produced under this influence is always old-fashioned, antiquated, and out of date. One touch of Nature may make the whole world kin, but two touches of Nature will destroy any work of Art.” What Wilde may mean by this is that if nature is reduced like it is by many to just be the base of all human beings and it has no futher descriptive sense or use then nature is quite useless in the abstract discussion or for that matter any  meaningful sense. Art on the other hand is meaningful because things are meaningful and for me when things have value to others they are art. This leads me to the (perhaps controversial) opinion that everything is art. All people derive value from all things, be it negative or positive since art isn’t necessarily a good things just necessarily a value-based thing. You may complain that I am generalizing or painting with too broad of a brush here (parson the pun) but that’s exactly the point! All of life is art, is life and art the same thing? I’m not so sure there but I am sure that art encompasses the main aspects of life if not all of it, if any amount of value can be drawn from life then art can exist and can be found in life as well.

5. Life imitates art, not the other way around. This is one of the most important ideas in the whole piece of writings. What Wilde says here is in direct conflict to what most people tend to think about art, that art exemplifies what life is all about but Wilde says this is plainly false. As Wilde says, “A great artist invents a type, and Life tries to copy it, to reproduce it in a popular form, like an enterprising publisher.” With this life tries to make it’s own and have other individuals reproduce the idea and thus misinterpret it and the piece of art is ruined for as Wilde has also said, “All art is quite useless.” And this is precisely why, because when art goes to the public it is faced with so many severe challenges (least of all the public, such as nature and life) that it usually falls prey to some fault or another in the public’s eye. Do people really adore the Mona Lisa? No, they know of it, but what is remarkable about it is the artist who put it up and the misinterpretations and lines drawn elsewhere about the who, why, what and where of the situation. The style is lost, the idea is lost, the color, the texture and so on etc. is lost to the public and opposed by nature and life and destroyed by one of the three. Nevertheless life and nature both imitate art in their own ways, whether there ways are actually effective imitations is not really a concerning topic as it’s easy to see that most imitations are just that and usually n0thing more. To prove his point Wilde points two different stories, one about a man changing his identity to get away from a mob and another a women who based a lot of her life on art and her actions. The first reminded Wilde of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde saying that the new identity should have been called such and the second the women who did some of her actions was based on artistic readings she had done. In both cases life imitated art and not the other way around. Art was the center of what happened in those people’s life and is the center of many of our lives, who does not relate to the jealousy of Othello? Or seek the revenge of Hamlet? Or want the dashingly suicidal romance of Romeo and Juliet in some way? Do we all lust after nature? Surely not, we lust after our own lives and therfore art.

6. Nature also imitates art. And so if life imitates art it necessarily follows that the other enemy of art nature will as well, and so the public imitates art the best and the wost because the public is a necessary cause of life and nature, without life the public would not be sand without nature the public might as well not be. But without art nothing may as well be, not nature nor life, life and nature imitate art and so if there is nothing to imitate nature and life must imitate the other and what a cruel world this would be! The green meadows and the snow capped mountains would all entail great tragedies and comedies and nothing would be taken seriously or would be taken far too seriously and as a result nature and life would destroy each other before the end of the night. Their opposition to art is the only thing keeping this from happening. Thusly nature also imitates art because it must necessarily do so for it and life to exist. Wilde puts the imitation of nature in these words, “For what is Nature? Nature is no great mother who has borne us. She is our creation. It is in our brain that she quickens to life. Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced us.” The beautiful scenery you may see only looks like the way it does because art has already captured it and made it beautiful, nature is not beautiful on it’s own and if it was there’d be no need for art to exist for it to be appreciated but without art the cancelling out of nature and life as I’ve have already said is imminent.

7. Art expresses nothing but itself. This all being said what does art truly represent if mere imitations of nature and life? Unlike life and nature and the public art does not imitate anything but the sum total of people’s thoughts, again which are ideas. These ideas are value based, they are based on a want and psychological need for expression of the mind and art supplants this need in a versatile way in which nature and life has failed man time and time again. Wilde uses examples of artwork of other people, what does it express? Surely, he posits you do not believe it actually expresses the person do you? This seems on the face of it plausible but then Wilde asks how can this be so? The pictures of certain Japanese people or people in the Middle Ages were surely not as precise as the artist may want you to believe for as Wilde points out an artist is not an artist if he tells it exactly how it is, his job is to misinterpret the world in order to gain a better understanding of it and pass it along to others.

8. The lost art of lying must be revived. If art is to have any chance, artists must recant the truth and start lying to discern the truth, if we know the lie then we know the truth and the world shall be better for it. If artists truly do lie to tell the truth then lying should be the forte’ of any good artist. Sadly most art these days revolves around the truth of the matter and not the art itself, not the part of art that used to contain falsehood upon falsehood which woulds teach the man much more than any truth would. But how to reclaim this? If the audience is lied to who can it trust? IT can trust art! It can trust the subject that it knows is lying to it to tell the truth and not the people who tell the lies just make a mockery of lies themselves, a good example of this is modern-day politicians in which liars are constantly found but good and moral liars are nowhere to be seen. But what is meant by a moral liar? Quite simply:

“It’s interesting to note that although lying is seen as something highly immoral in present day society when people do lie they usually do it with morals in mind, trying to make the lie as moral as possible. This being said lying is actually where morals are most considered at times, certainly not the case for all but in some cases lying can be the moment where morals are the most thought on.” [Self quote, taken from my FaceBook status]