The artless dodger

All through human history its obvious that people like Art— paintings, drawings, music, decoration, poetry, dance, sculpture, and so on. While different individuals may have different “tastes” in Art or they may argue what is or is not Art, people like Art.

Here I am stepping on a piece of Art, off to the side there is a sign that says “Please take off your shoes“ but I did not. Not intentionally, but when I realized it, I did not come down immediately, it was too much fun.

In pre-digital graphic design, art (small “a”) referred to anything which was pasted up on a board, photographed using high contrast film which was used to burn an offset printing plate to be put on a printing press.

Along Alameda Creek Levee , I walk everyday, well not exactly everyday, but very close . . .

We know the universe through our five senses, and and, maybe in some part, reason—another human created tool. In Art sensual feeling is another way of knowing. The eye of the visual artist feels information about the qualities of things and expresses those qualities.

Its been over five months since Covad 19, everyday walking along the creek levee with my little Nikon 8200 camera.

Where for most people what they see goes through the eye to the brain which defines what they have seen—I see a house!. But for the visual artist the image does not go to the brain, but stays on the eye and is known visually as line, texture, color, shape, gesture, and the relationships between them —the visual qualities.

Art does not have to be anything in particular, it can be political, it can be decorative, it can have hidden meanings or superficial meanings, it can serious, it can be light hearted fun. Its often said that Art is in the eye of the beholder and rules are made to be broken.

But there are some rules to Art. Visual Art, like music, is about creating tension and resolving it, visual art creates a visual tension and resolves it visually; music creates an audio tension and resolves. it.
In visual art, the tension— a visual question which seeks an answer— attracts your eye like an accident on the road attracts rubber neckers. The resolution is when the visual question is visually answered, and when this process is successful the viewer feels it instantly. for and if this is not resolved the reader moves on.

Design is different than art . . . Design is how how the pieces fit together and often what the pieces are.

Design is a part of Art, but also it is its own distinct and separate thing. Artists are often good at design, but not necessarily and designers are designers, not artists by intent. Art may often pose visual questions but commercial or graphic design, such as in designing an advertisement, or a brochure is not about posing visual questions, but eliminating visual questions. NO reader of an adorable a brochure should ask “Is this an ad Isthis a brochure? Where do I start reading? or How do I read this? What is going on here?—yet all may be legitimate questions for the Artist .

On weekends its crowded with bike riders, and a general increase in dog poop.

For the commercial designer, design is an end in itself. In marketing communications design, marketing has an objective (hopefully) and a strategy to realize that objective (hopefully). The work of the designer is to visually implement that strategy to realize the marketing objective—the feel of the visual experience of the ad should communicate through feeling any questions about how to read the ad—such as this is an ad (its not an editorial or article) ; where to start reading; where to go next; where to end reading; where is the message—it wants to get you to the message which you may accept or reject.

The goats are back again along Alameda Creek. A goat herd is hired to eat up the growing stuff along the creek and sides of the levee. Sheep were there last month.

The designer wants to minimize the time spread between the moment the viewer initially experiences the ad and the viewer getting to the content of the ad—unless the strategy of the visual experience of the ad is make that difficult. These are decisions made instantly by feelings. This is when you are reading a magazine and you turn the page “without thinking” —you are not “thinking ” but you are “knowing by the feeling of the page and instantly have made a decision to go on that honest page. The opposite is true too, if there is something on that page that interests you, you will know that by the feel of the page and make a decision without thinking.

Maine is cold in the winter time

A painting or drawing hanging on my wall would be very boring if everyday I had the same visual experience with it. Visual Art needs to have a visual experience which grows with the viewer.

When I see images of the cold in Maine I remember the fun snow is , but then the memories of the reality are automatically recalled.

Photographs as Art have their own situation, people commonly associate a photograph as a visual record of a real moment in time. If they do not recognize what they see, they begin thinking about What is it? and alienate themselves from the visual experience.

Finding out who you are can get very competitive and introverts like myself tend to try to hide among the feelings —if yuo saw me here you would think I was someone else.

On the other hand an advertisement wants to create a common visual experience. The purpose is not to encourage the viewer to have their own independent experience but to have the same experience as everyone else an dwhen that works is that common experience positive towards the content.

At the cross roads where both choices go up

We may expect the artist have the skill in their own hands to create their vision. For the designer its the vision that matters and the designer, as art director, may use others for their skills to realize their vision. This is reasonable as the designer is a “commercial artist,” their vision is to design a solution which works for others while the artist is about creating their own vision. How close do you think the artist should be to the skills needed to produce the art?

Before I came to California in 1979 I lived in Cambridge MA. Once a year Philip Guston would hold an evening presenting works, comments and taking questions,— I attended once, he showed his klan series. Link to a new exhibition of Philip Guston. In his early career before this style he was known as an abstract expressionist.

The artist practices their skill to respond to their feelings without thinking.

Daruma is the historical character of the man who brought “zen” from India to China in the 6th century. More specifically he brought Dhyana to China which became Chan and in Japan is Zen. A KnoWay Daruma .

When Japanese get a new Daruma “doll” there are no eyes in it, just two white circles. Make a wish, draw in an eye, if the wish comes true draw in the second eye. Many people buy a Daruma at New’s Year or at Jindaiji Temple Daruma Doll Fair where people come to buy a new Daruma and burn an old one.

Sometimes to much of a good thing makes yo stop wondering.

There is another interesting use of the word “art.” When a skill or profession for which there is very specific training yet some individuals have a special “knack” outside of and beyond that specific training is described as “the art of” —the art of the medicine ; the art of sales; the art of carpentry. In the West that is what often some use to separate Craft from Art.

An Acoma bowl, maybe 1950s or later? Acoma is one style of Southwest Indian pottery. If you are ever about 45 miles west of Albuquerque on Highway 40 stop and buy some pottery. If you take the tour you may get the opportunity to purchase inperson from the artist.

The sense of Art is that its a meaningful human expression beyond the ability of words. Except that using words is an Art, or is the writer just a craftsman with unexplainable word abilities, a wordsmith, theocrat of writing and only some of them have the Art of writing? (That’s a joke.)

Gary Holt , chawan, Berkeley potter, It was one of his early “soluble” (I think that was his term) chawans. It felt like Miro to me.

Last night I broke a piece of pottery, every once in awhile it happens, it tears out a piece of my heart, it reminds me how impermanent is my life—but then there is the zen of it, I buy a pottery because I like it, I enjoy using it, when it breaks, because it will, get another one.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, bodhi svaha

From my collection of “functional pottery ” which includes work from Berkeley potters during the 1980s, other local areas of San Francisco, four Chinese bowls with hand painted roosters, one bowl from Roswell NM, purchased as a set of four from the local Art Museum and one bowl from an Old Town pottery store which featured local potters around Albuquerque.

Whatever is Art, knowing what Art is is not as important as having it.

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