Art Commentary

Why I Would Have Failed Kindergarten In China


Learning calligraphy appealed to me because I enjoy painting and sketching with ink and brush.  Plus, I bought one of those calligra-pens a while back and impressed the heck out of people with my fancy penmanship.  At this point I should mention that I do not have good handwriting.  Way back in elementary school when we were graded on how well we wrote (not as in how literate we were, but how well we formed the letters of the alphabet), invariably I got terrible marks. So anything that would let me leave this ancient shame behind sounded appealing.

Well, it turns out that writing with a chiseled marker from an art store is NOT the same thing as Chinese calligraphy.  That was a painful surprise.  read more…

Surviving the Business of Art or Sugar Daddy Wanted

By Ellen Rogers, MFA, DVM

A dilemma that plagues artists and designers is where they should be on the continuum from art-making as an authentic personal expression to the reality of selling one’s work to survive.  Must artists be of two minds, two personalities (or even two different people): the idealistic, playful, exploratory creator and the pragmatic entrepreneur? read more…

The Beginnings of Graphic Design

Or    The Writing Is On The Wall

When we consider the first use of graphic design (GD), we have to first clarify what we mean by the term.  Common definitions of graphic Design mention the combination of text and images used as a form of visual communications.  But, written language, or text, is a rather recent invention the 170,000+ year history of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), which would seem to limit GD to the past 5,000 years or so.

However, if we consider text to be a visual mark with symbolic meaning (after all, the marks on a page for the written word “elephant” refers to the spoken word for “elephant,” which in turn, refers to the actual animal “elephant”), this pushes the start of GD back to the first use of visual representation used for communication.

The artists of the caves of Lascaux, France were graphic designers an estimated 40,000 years ago, long, long before written language was invented.  read more…

Earthworks, Earth Fails

Earthworks are human induced changes to the landscape.  Although sometimes called Environmental Art or EcoArt, they can range from basically benign to destructive in terms of the environment they invade.  We may be creating a dialogue about things other than people, but rarely are we actually talking about (or helping) the natural world.

Once art and artists escaped the former boundaries of the four white walls of the traditional art gallery, they spread into different areas and mediums with different purposes.  Using a broad definition of earthworks, you can include artists combining architecture with landscape (landscape with architecture?) and those who speak to nature and our role in the natural world, imposing ON landscape versus dialogue WITH landscape.

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