The ultimate blog challenge today recommended going to http://ezinearticles.com and using one their articles to republish on your blog. This worked fine for me today since I had a very busy day with helping my daughter move and then going to a memorial for my uncle, and didn’t really have enough time to write something myself. The following article is the work of Mike D Johnson I, and is printed unchanged from its original form onhttp://ezinearticles.com.
The question of whether graffiti is art or vandalism is one I see often, and usually from students working on school reports… and have fairly strong opinions about. This is really a two part question: Part 1. Is Graffiti Art? and Part 2. Is Graffiti Vandalism?
Part 1 – Is Graffiti Art?
I think it’s first important to understand that “art” itself is tough to define. But if you move past formal definitions, art is typically an expression of oneself or a message that an artist is trying to give to the viewer… and it may or may not appeal to other people. Others think art is perhaps an expression of the artist using colors, textures, sounds, etc. to convey the message. Let’s look at a few of pieces of well known art.
1. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci. It is painted on a piece of wood and is framed. Why is this art? Shading, the depth, the landscape, the enigmatic smile, etc. Would this be art if it were painted on a brick wall on a side street in Italy? Of course. What makes it art is the picture, not the medium.
2. Guernica by Pablo Picasso. This may be Picasso’s most well known piece of art. Painted mural size on a piece of canvas. Of course, this is art. Would it be art if Picasso painted directly on a wall on the side of a street? Yes. What if he did it without permission? Still art… but illegally painted. You like it?… well it doesn’t matter if you do or not, it’s still art.
3. Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michangelo. It’s art and it’s on a ceiling.
Graffiti art is a style of art. It “fits” the bill to be defined as such and often expresses a very distinct message from the artist (as an example, check out the political messages of Banksy ). Artwork that is painted in this style is absolutely considered art. It can be painted on wood, on canvas, on ceilings, on brick walls, on sidewalks, etc. It is still art regardless of the medium.
Part 2 – Is Graffiti Vandalism?
If the street art (graffiti) is painted legally, meaning on property owned by the artist or with permission from the owner, then it is legal street art.
If the street art is painted illegally, meaning on property not owned by the artist, and without permission, then it is still art… but the artist has committed the crime of vandalism.
So, if DaVinci, Picasso, and Michaelangelo were hanging out on 115th Street one Tuesday night and throw up the Mona Lisa, the Guernica, and the Sistine Chapel art work on the side of a laundromat… It is art. But it’s also vandalism. It can be both… it is not an “either / or” question.
Hope this helps you guys if you’re doing a report on “Graffiti Art or Vandalism” or “Is It Street Art or Vandalism”.
This article was written by Mike Johnson of BuyGraffiti.net blog [http://www.buygraffiti.net/blog/2010/10/graffiti-art-or-vandalism/]. For unique and interesting pieces of original Graffiti Art for sale that can provide an exciting urban image to your home or business, please visit BuyGraffiti.net and support Graffiti Art
The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for day 20 was to post something controversial. Normally, I try to stay away from controversy on my website, especially political controversy. I figure that if no matter what political side I take, I am probably alienating 50% of the people who see the post. So, why would I want to do that? However, some of the stories I’ve seen on social media in the past few days had me thinking about this topic, so I decided to write an opinion post on…
Should Art Be Funded with Government Money?
When we talk of publicly funding anything, or government funding of anything, I think it helps to put in clear terms, it is taxpayer funding of the item at hand, the U.S. government has no money except what we the people have paid out in taxes, except of course what has been borrowed from other countries, which is, technically, debt belonging to every single American citizen. So, whether you support or oppose government funding of something, its good to understand that American People are actually the ones funding, or not funding it. With that in mind, lets look briefly at both sides of the issue.
Some oppose any taxpayer funding of the arts.
Those who oppose public (taxpayer) funding of art say that our taxes should be spent on more essential things, that funding the arts is not important enough to spend tax money on. They say that paying for things like defense or healthcare is more important. Or they may say that cutting back all unnecessary spending, and instead taxing people less, is the way to go. They also believe that if arts are going to be funded, it should be done through donations by those who want to see more of the arts in society.
Some support all taxpayer funding of the arts.
There are those who think that the government should be spending more on the arts. They feel that if the government would offer support of art and artists, it would free up artists to create. They believe that art enriches lives enough that it should be supported by tax dollars. They want grants and endowments given for artists. They want the government to pay to put up sculptures in public places. They want a slice of tax payer money to go to museums, theaters, and musical ensembles. They like art, and therefore they feel that government should support it. They also don’t think the government should really limit the kind of art or the subject matter, if large numbers of taxpayers are deeply offended by what is payed for, they figure that those people just need to get over it.
Some fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
Then there are people want to see some funding for art museums, some funding for public art, some funding for art, theater, and music in the schools, but they also believe that there should be limits to what is funded. The exact limits may vary from person to person, for example, one person may believe that only traditional art should be funded, another may feel that only the most modern, cutting edge art deserves such an honor. Some may believe that Art Education in grades K-12 should be fully funded, but that if one wants further education in the arts, one should pay for it themselves.
My own opinion on public funding of the arts.
Art is Valuable to Society
Of course as an artist I believe that art can do a lot to enrich society, I also believe that art can be useful in drawing attention to and raising awareness of various issues. Besides, art is just fun. What a boring world we would have without art! Want to type up a letter? We would only have one, very basic font available, because all of the fancier fonts are thought up by artistically minded individuals. Advertisements would be text only, no pictures to draw attention. Packaging would be black and white, no pictures. Just a white label with the name of the item in black. A can of soup and a can of dog food would be identical except for the words on the can. Even names of products would be boring because no one would be creative enough to come up with clever names.
No music would play anywhere, because music is an art form.
No theater, no TV, no movies.
Yes, society needs art.
Arts Education is VITAL for Children
There are numerous studies that show that children who are exposed to the arts, including classical music and visual art, benefit in ways that go beyond their understanding of the arts. They do better in math, they think more creatively and therefore write more creatively, they think more deeply about things. They are better able to visualize information from their History and Science texts. They do better socially. Exposure to art, music, and drama helps them in so many areas because it helps their brains to grow lots of varied neural pathways, many of which can be used in other, seemingly unrelated subject areas. In short, it expands their minds and keeps their brains flexible and growing.
For that reason I believe that the arts should be funded in every public school, from Kindergarten to grade 12. Every grade level should have enough good art, music, and drama teachers that every child in elementary school should experience these subjects every year, at least one day a week, in the elementary grades, every student should experience all of these subjects, unless they have some physical barrier preventing that (for example, a deaf student wouldn’t be able to participate in music class). It should just be expected that every student gets at least a basic “literacy” in all three of these areas in elementary school. That doesn’t mean every student will be producing a masterpiece or playing an instrument, for some students music might consist of simple rhythm instruments and music appreciation, and art should be done for the process not the product. Drama class builds public speaking skills and confidence, even if the school play isn’t performed to perfection. So in elementary school it should be required that every student participates in all three areas if there isn’t a disability preventing it. In Middle School and High school though, every child should be able to pick for themselves which of these three areas to focus on every year, and there should be plenty of choices in all three.
The arts should be funded in K-12 just like math and reading are, and incidentally, all subject areas need better funding than they now get, especially in the area of teacher pay.
Arts degrees should receive equal access to financial aid.
To me this is just fair, if a person who dreams of being a doctor can get financial aid, and a person who dreams of being a political analyst can get financial aid, and a person who dreams of being a journalist can get financial aid, then a person who dreams of being an artist, actor, or musician should be able to get financial aid. I do think that someone who changes their mind and changes majors over and over again should perhaps lose financial aid, but that is another issue. Once a person shows that they qualify in all other respects for financial aid, it shouldn’t be denied based on what they want to become when they are finished with their education. So, while I am not sure whether college should be or should not be funded with taxpayer money, if it is going to be, then arts students should get their fair share of that funding.
Community Arts Organizations should qualify the same as other community organizations do for funding.
If there is a non-profit community group that does good for a community, helps other organizations, provides a valuable asset to the community, then they should be funded equally to other, non-arts community organizations would be.
For example, if there is a community organization that consists of a group of artists who seek to be an asset to their community. Offer educational programs for kids, help raise funds for charities, provide social activities for elderly or disabled people, they should be given funding on the same basis that any other organization doing such things would be funded.
If a science museum that offers kids classes and summer camps qualifies for funding, then an art organization that offers similar things should be funded.
Arts funding should have rules and limits
This is where I depart from a lot of artists. I am all for government funding of arts education, especially in grades K-12. I am all for funding of community organizations that enrich their neighborhoods. I am all for grants for art, music, dance, theater, or literature. But I think there should be some lines drawn.
If someone thinks its artistic to drip pig blood all over the Koran, I call foul. I say they have just disqualified themselves from any government funding by committing such an act of hate and mockery of another’s religion.
If someone thinks its artistic to take photographs of a child in a sexually compromising way, I say that person has not only disqualified themselves from public funding, but that they have committed a crime and should be arrested.
If someone thinks that it is artistic to drop a crucifix into a glass of urine, again, I call foul. I say they have just disqualified themselves from any government funding by committing such an act of hate and mocker of another’s religion.
I also don’t think that publicly funded art should side with a specific political candidate or party. Just like religious organizations can’t do so if they wish to remain tax exempt, if one wishes to receive tax money for art I think that art needs to be politically neutral.
Understand though that I think artists are free to do all of the things listed above, on their own dime.
I also think that federal arts funding really should be limited to education, to museums, and to community organizations. Other funding such as putting sculptures in a city park should be voted on by the local people who use that park.
And public funding of individual artists, well, I think it needs to be limited to artists who are giving something of value back to the government. For example, the government is funding a library, and the library will purchase art for its walls with some of that money. The artist who creates the art will be paid for their work. So in a sense that artist has gotten public funding, but the artist has gotten in exchange for something that was needed by the library.
This is different from an artist who enters a publicly funded art contest, wins, and is awarded a grant to spend however he or she wants. I really don’t think that kind of taxpayer funding of art should exist. For one thing because there is no requirement that the winner does anything beneficial to society, and two because it is, by its nature, unfair. For every artist who gets funding their are thousands more, just as talented, who never will.
I also think that public funding of the arts needs to be kept in perspective, if there are disabled veterans who are homeless, and the choice is putting a sculpture in a park or housing them, then I think the sculpture can wait. If there are children in school who haven’t had a decent meal in three days, and there is a choice between feeding them or buying paints for their class, then feed them first. But really, it shouldn’t be either or. So much money is spent on useless bureaucracy in this country and in its education system, if that money was not being thrown away, there would be enough to do both.
Today, for the ultimate blog challenge we were supposed to share about the last movie we watched. Well last night I watched E.T. for probably the 20th time, and recently I’ve watched Doctor Strange, while I enjoyed both of these movies, neither were astonishingly inspirational for a new piece of art at this time. So I decided to try to think of another thing to write about. I surfed the web looking at other art blogs hoping for inspiration. I’m tired, and inspiration isn’t coming. I revisited the move idea… E.T. was pretty impressive in its time for the special effects, which are an art form in themselves… but E.T. is also a pretty old movie, and by today’s standards the special effects it employed seem a little lacking.
Finally I started thinking that instead of trying to write about one specific movie and its effect on me, I’d write about how I tend to respond to movies and T.V. shows. Like everyone else, I get into the story, but for me I pay a lot of attention to another aspect of the movie.
My reaction to what is shown on the screen.
If I’m watching an animated movie, I pay far more attention to the artwork than the story. Often I’m impressed at how skillfully the background in an animated movie has been drawn.
If I’m watching a drama, a family comedy, or action movie, I often find myself distracted by the art on the walls in the background. Everyone else might be wondering who killed the victim in a crime show, and while I wonder too, I’m also wondering where the investigator got that awesome painting of a dark figure standing in a doorway casting a long, menacing shadow into the room. AS I’m watching a romantic comedy, and as the couple are delightfully falling for each other at a local coffee shop, I’m looking over their shoulder at a painting on the wall, impressed that somehow the artist used a simple silhouette of grass and managed to convey a feeling of peaceful solitude.
Usually, I keep these thoughts to myself, mainly because people tend to give you strange looks when, instead of being appalled at the blood soaked floor dismembered body parts of the movie crime scene, you suddenly exclaim, “Wow! Look at that awesome painting on the wall!”
In my last post I expounded on how decor and art, while they overlap sometimes, are not automatically the same thing. Today, I am going to look at a few quotes that seem to expound on what makes art special as compared to a scarf or a piece of wallpaper that was put in frame, and looks quite visually appealing, but is not art.
Art Changes Us
“What makes people the world over stand in line for Van Gogh is not that they will see beautiful pictures but that in an indefinable way they will come away feeling better human beings. And that is exactly what Van Gogh hoped for.” John Russell
While a pretty scarf from your local department store may look beautiful in a frame, may catch the eye, and complement the rest of your decor perfectly it isn’t going to dramatically improve your understanding of the human condition, or move you with sympathy for the downtrodden, or open your eyes to the oppressive nature of some powers-that-be, Much art, on the other hand, does do these things.
While a piece of wallpaper wrapped around a canvas might accent your carpet and furnishings perfectly, and look stylish and chic, it isn’t likely to make you stand in awe at the beauty of nature and contemplate its origins, or impress you with thoughts of the vastness of the universe and the smallness of humankind. Van Gogh’s Starry Night has been known to elicit these responses in many though.
That is also what I meant when I said that the statement that Duchamp made with his “Fountaine” was more artistic than the piece itself. He sat out to make a statement about the art establishment, he wanted us to ask the question, “What is art?” by showing us something that definitely was NOT, but that was presented as such. At that he succeeded. He showed us non-art presented as if it was art, and therefore forced the art world to examine its definition of art.
Art is (At Least somewhat) Unique
“Someone who copies a Van Gogh does not therefore become Van Gogh, and the same would go for Mozart or anyone else who contributed something that was original.” Daniel Tammet
Art will have some uniqueness to it.That isn’t to say of course that art is always completely original, almost all art is a remix of previously used styles or concepts, but it is at least a unique remix, rather than a facsimile. Even if it is inspired by another’s work, and even if it borrows some theme or element of style from an earlier artist, it will show some unique interpretation of that work. Van Gogh painted many works that were based on the work of other artists, but never did he try to do an exact copy, he always brought his own unique vision and style of brushstroke to it.
In a similar way, I sometimes borrow elements of a style or composition from Van Gogh, but I inject my own elements, subject matter, and style to it as well. While I could probably produce a decent reproduction of Starry Night, if I did so I would only offer it as a reproduction, I’d never try to claim it as wholly my own art.
Can someone learn to reproduce almost exactly the work of another? Yes, but that is, in my opinion, not true art. It can be a good skill building exercise, but it never reaches the same level as a unique piece will. Reproductions have their place, as learning tools, and as decor, but they have a different status from true, original compositions, from true art.
Art is Driven by Passion
“I love what Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Jesus all said – that love is really the driving principle of the creative act. In fact, they would say that great art is always inspired by love.” Erwin McManus
Art is driven by passion, the quote above says it is love, and perhaps in a sense that is true. It may be driven by anger, by frustration, by sadness, or by joy, but what, other than love elicits all these emotions so passionately? When one is angry it is usually because something that person loves and values has been in some way violated. It may be their love of justice or humankind or the environment, the same could be said of frustration or sadness, even these negative emotions are usually brought about because something or someone we love has either been violated or has let us down in some way.
Regardless, all art is driven by passion, while framing a scarf is probably driven more by a sense of style.
So, art goes beyond just looking pretty and moves into the realm of passion, originality, and transformation… and that is why is transcends simple decor.
In the world of art, a lot of it is very aesthetically appealing, and therefor makes nice home decor. From a quaint landscape or subtle still-life, to a mind-bending surreal piece, there are many artistic selections that you can use to enhance your living space. Perhaps that’s why people seem to often confuse the concepts of decor and art. I see it a lot.
Not all Wall Decor is Art Though.
Articles online that encourage one to take a piece of nice wallpaper and wrap it around a canvas to make custom “wall art” for their living room. Now, the images on the wallpaper were someone’s art when they were first drawn… but surely a person can see the difference between wall paper and an actual piece of art?
Other examples exist, from “frame a scarf” to “cut circles from paint chips and glue them down overlapping to make a scale like texture” the internet is replete with ideas on how to make your own wall decor that matches perfectly with your paint and furnishings. But are those things art? Well, I guess that is somewhat of a matter of opinion. After all to Marcel Duchamp, and to many art critics, this was Art:
But I don’t see the thing above as art, though perhaps the statement he made with itcould be seen as art, and I don’t see simply wrapping a piece of cloth or wall paper over a canvas or sticking it in a frame as art either.
Now, perhaps if one took that wall paper, and then added other elements on top, in a unique and custom arrangement, perhaps then I would see it as art.
Or the paint chips made into a fish scale texture, that is at least coming a little closer to art… but if all one does is copy exactly the how-to article on it, I’m not sure it qualifies. Perhaps if one adds their own spin to it, making a pattern of two colors with the circles, or something else to set it apart from the one in the diy article… I guess I’d see it more as art.
Why do I care if its art or just decor?
Well, if you simply talking about decorating your living room, I don’t really care. Do what works best for you and fits best in your budget!
However, I do care when people buy mass produced decor or slap together something from a DIY article, and think that is art, and then go to an artist and expect to see unique, one of kind creations valued the same as those.
Art is so much more than decor. Though visual art is sometimes used to decorate, it also represents the heart and soul of the artist, not to mention hours of creative thought and work. Also art encompasses so much more than visual art anyway. Drama, music, dance, and visual art is all so important for society, and should be valued higher than a mass produced product from your local WalMart. The arts should not be neglected in schools, or in culture, because the arts have an element to them that can change lives, give direction, discipline, and hope.
First off, I want to say that I really do love almost all art. There are exceptions, of course. I’m not a huge fan of Marcel Duchamp, for example, but most visual art styles I do like. I may not like every piece in that style, as sometimes subject matter can be off putting, but I see something in almost every style that is admirable.
Of course, I do have my favorites though.
Post Impressionism In the Lead
While it is difficult to nail down a specific style that is my favorite, I’d have to say that post impressionism is definitely in the lead. I like impressionism too, but most impressionists had very soft, natural looking colors in the art, and tended to paint very nice, quaint, pretty subjects, such as children playing in a grassy field, or women holding flowers. While they used brighter colors than those before them, they used very normal looking colors, impressionism still clung to many constraints of realism, just with a softer look. Nothing wrong with that, and it is very nice looking, but it doesn’t quite grab me the way the brighter and often arbitrary colors and bold brush strokes of the post impressionists did.
Of course, one of the most famous post impressionists was Van Gogh, and as anyone who reads this blog often knows, Van Gogh is my favorite painter of all time.
If I made a list of my favorite styles in order of most favorite to least, I think it would go like this.
1. Post impressionism, an art movement that took place after the last impressionist exhibit and until the birth of Fauvism. Roughly from around 1886 to around 1905. Expressionism overlapped Post impressionism, and many works such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night, are considered both Post impressionistic and expressionists.
2. Fauvism. Fauvism is what followed post impressionism, and some see it as a specific kind of post impressionism. Brighter colors, painterly brush strokes, even more deviation from realism and into abstraction. Expressionism also overlapped into this movement, and many works of the fauvists are also considered to be expressionist.
After the Fauvists, I guess my favorites would go back in time a bit to the impressionists, then leap forward again to the surrealists, abstract expressionists and cubists. But I won’t get into all of that, I’ve listed here my top two favorite styles, and with that I’ll sign off. I’m sure if you browse through my work, you’ll see the influence of these art styles in my use of bright colors, my willingness to sometimes depart from realism, my imaginative fantasy based work, and my use of art to express feeling.
If you are one of those people who says, “I’d love to do art, but I’m no good at it.” Or, “I’d love to do art, but I can’t draw.” I’d like to offer you a piece of advice, be brave. Just start creating. Don’t worry about if your work is as good as the next person, just start. Explore different mediums, explore different styles, remember, there is more to art than realistic drawing, and there is more to art than just painting.
Get a book on mixed media art and start exploring the techniques, there are many, you can crumple tissue paper and glue it down to a board or canvas with acrylic medium, rub some acrylic paint on a piece of bubble wrap and then press it on top of part of your canvas to leave a design, go align and fine public domain images and cut out parts you like to arrange on your piece, glue down pieces of fabric, add in some little jewelry findings, some artificial leaves or real preserved flowers and leaves. If you have a camera go take some photos and cut them apart and add them to your piece. Just explore, rearrange things until they look pleasing to you, and only then glue them back down.
Randomly splash watercolor or ink here and there, glue down lace. Pick colors you like, or that you think will go with your decor.
Here are some videos you can watch that show some ideas and techniques you can use to create awesome art, even if you can’t draw a stick figure!
So, I took my two seal shaped rocks that I posted about earlier today, and painted them. If you read my first post about Kitsap Rocks, you’ll remember that the rocks I had planned to paint looked like this:
They were odd shaped rocks to say the least, and while I distinctly remember finding them on a beach, they looked more like river rocks to me, but regardless of whether you call them beach rocks or river rocks, they were about to become painted rocks!
After painting, they looked quite different.
Here is the chubby little guy on the right in the picture above.
Here is more slender little seal on the left in the top photo.
This isn’t just about painting though.
Of course the point in the Kitsap Rocks group isn’t just about painting rocks. I could paint rocks, turning them into seal art, and put them up on etsy and who knows, they might sell, but then I would miss the fun.
The fun of the Kitsap Rocks is that we hide the rocks so other’s can find them. Yes, hiding rocks is the name of the game!
So I took the rocks to a local beach and hid them… then I posted to the Kitsap rocks Facebook group that I had released two seals into the wild at a beach in Kingston, I posted that along with some photos of the hiding places.
The Story isn’t complete until they’re found.
Well of course the story of my little seals isn’t complete until the seals are found. This is after all, a form of treasure hunting! Not just rock art creation! … and here they are, in the hands of the finders. I didn’t show the faces because I would never show the faces of other people’s children online without their permission, but rest assured, both faces were quite happy!
To be continued…
Of course, as I left the beach, I picked up two more rocks to paint. So I’m sure I’ll spend a lot more time painting rocks, hiding rocks, and finding rocks too! Next time, I might not be doing seal painting, who knows, my next rocks might be flowers, or birds, or houses, or abstract!
To all my fellow painted rock hounds, have a happy treasure hunt!
There is a new trend in my community in which people paint rocks and hide them. They leave clues online so that other people can go find them. I think this is an awesome activity, and I found my first rock just the other day. I have yet to hide a rock though.
I think this trend is great on many levels. I mean, it gets people exploring their creativity, and sharing it with others, and it gets them out in their communities, looking around. Honestly, I see it as a low-tech and more creative version of Pokémon Go, but it has actually been around longer than Pokémon Go.
Rocks turn up in surprising places.
Here is the rock I found, I wasn’t expecting it, I was actually just at the post office to mail off a package from my Etsy shop, when there, right on top of the blue mailbox, was a rock. Since I’d already joined the Kitsap RocksFacebook group, I knew right away what it was and deposited my package, took the rock, and drove on.
When I got home I posted on the Facebook group that I had found this rock, then I scrolled down the page to see if anyone had posted that they hid it, and I found that the person had left some pretty obvious hints, but that I’d found the rock before seeing any of the hints.
Now, when you find a rock, you can keep it, or re-hide it. I decided to keep this one since it was my first Kitsap Rocks find.
Rocks bringing community together
Not only are lots of families getting in on this creative action, but it is also bringing the community together. Yesterday, the co-op art studio that I’m part of hosted a free community event for people to come and paint rocks. The studio provided some supplies, and also invited participants to bring their own. People from all over the county showed up to paint rocks.
Sadly, I was unable to attend this event, because I had prior obligations to drive my children and their friends from one end of the county and back again, and then back again and again, but I was glad to hear the studio got involved with this.
Rocking out some memories
So all of this rock painting activity caused me to remember something I’d forgotten. Several years ago, at a beach, I found some very uniquely shaped rocks, these rocks absolutely demanded a coat of paint, but I found these before I discovered my love of painting. So even though I had a clear idea of how I’d like to see them painted, I put them up and forgot about them.
Now though, with seeing all these rocks being transformed into works of art, I remembered these rocks. I already know exactly what I’m going to turn these into, they BOTH just beg to be seals!
Now, the only thing that troubles me is that I’m not sure I’ll be able to just give these away after painting them… but I think I’ll give away at least one of them, I might want to keep one myself.