Thursday, July 14

In Which Stephanie admits that she kinda doesn't get most art

When I saw that this week's topic was "Art," I got all nervous thinking that I'm so not qualified to talk about this at all.

Usually I like to use the word "art" really liberally. I think music, literature, theater, and fashion totally all qualify and I could talk at length about any of those things (well, maybe not the last two as much as the first two) and I know exactly what I like about both those things and can define it. When it comes to the visual arts, ie. painting, drawing, the stuff people really mean when they say art, I'm not very knowledgeable and I don't even really know what I like. I hate to admit it because it makes me feel uncultured, but I feel lost when I go to art museums. I don't know what I'm supposed to be looking for or feeling or supposed to like. I'd totally pick a history or science museum over an art museum. *cringes and hides from all of my artistic friends* Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the beauty of a Dali painting or "Starry Night" and especially the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but it doesn't give me the same feeling that reading a powerful book or listening to one of my favorite albums does. But maybe I'm just not finding the right art?

I have some friends who are artists whose work compels me, though unfortunately I could only easily find 1 persons piece to share. My friend Kevin does some pretty cool ink sketches that remind me of old Gothic novels and my friend Eryn makes paintings that feel as raw and real as the best Riot Grrrl songs. My friend Kasia does paintings of trees that make me want to write otherworldly stories and that is the one I have an example of:

All three of these folks are incredibly talented and I admire them hugely. Since I was a creative kid, I tried my hand at painting and drawing both, even had a cool little easel in my room for a time, but by high school I pretty much knew that I didn't have talent there and I covered that easel with my detention slips.... Oh collages-- that is a form of art I can get into. My whole bedroom as a teenager was a giant collage of pictures I'd cut out of magazines, mainly of rock stars. And speaking of rock stars, the only drawing I ever finished was one I copied from a photograph of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love right after Kurt Cobain died as my way of grieving I guess. It actually took me forever to finish and it's still pretty crappy:

Of all the visual arts I guess it's easiest for me to relate with photography because they are tangible images like of places or people. And as you can see all of my attempts to be artistic (the collaging of photographs and my bad drawing, I also drew a lot of horses as a little kid) are pretty realistic too... and of course my strong suit is realistic fiction. So maybe my inability to be abstract is part of my issue with understanding most art.

One piece of art that I have always loved because it evokes so much emotion for me is a certain painting of Ophelia. I'm so poorly educated about art that I don't even know the artist, but my friend Jenny did get it as a gorgeous tattoo:

Tattoo art may actually be my favorite of the visual arts and I like all styles especially the classic Sailor Jerry sort like this Rose of No Man's Land tattoo that I got in honor of my nurse mother:

My tattoos are all kind of random pieces that mean things to me--again, really intense emotional things--but I've never been able to pull them together well. Again, I don't think I have the best eye for that sort of thing, but my friend Jenny does. Another one of her tattoos--which is more of a piece than just a tattoo like mine--is probably one of my all time favorite pieces of artwork. Check it out:

It really resonates with me emotionally, but once again I have no words to explain how or why.

So yeah, my conclusion is that I appreciate art, especially a certain kind that appeals to me emotionally, but I can't explain why I like it so I have a hard time finding more art that I like and I honestly feel like a moron when I talk about it.

I want to learn though, especially because I have a tattoo (which I got with my friend Jenny) that I want to pull together into something super cool like her tattoo. It's a cherry blossom on my chest that I want to branch on to a creepy old tree on my arm, maybe with a girl reaching up toward the flowers. Maybe my friend Kasia can help me out with the tree. We shall see...

What about you? Can you talk in an educated way about art? Can you school me? Please post links to your favorite pieces or ones that based on my babbling or personality you think I might like! I'm eager to learn!


Wendy Toliver said...

I think tattoo art is so interesting. I don't have one myself but I'm always curious to know why a person chooses a certain picture or word to be on their body permanently. Facinating stuff!

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