Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 26

Thread: Did it help to descend from "peasants?"

  1. #1
    Ilaekae's Avatar
    Ilaekae is offline P.O.W.! Leader, Complete Idiot, Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,140
    Thanks
    8,241
    Thanked 5,595 Times in 1,789 Posts

    Did it help to descend from "peasants?"

    The thread on how many people in your family are artists got me thinking about something I haven't thought of for years. This may go nowhere because I AM a bit older than most of you and the world has changed drastically over my grandparents/parents/my time, but...

    I always believed that "peasants" and the like, the perennial toilers under the "rich and powerful" over the last few centuries actually had more innate "creative" skills than their "lords and masters" because they HAD to survive no matter what. There was no second chance to fall back on.

    They all had to...

    Cook (literally from butchering to preserving, and at all levels from breakfast to celebration feast)
    Sew, produce clothing and house goods, weave, and embellish textiles
    Decorate ANYthing
    Work wood, pottery, leather, baskets and metal
    Farm successfully
    Construct their own home usually
    Entertain themselves and their neighbors
    Create from scratch anything their community needed for a religious/educational/social purpose

    As civilization changed, I always suspected that these people had a slight edge in an "artistic" sense over their "masters," most of whom often couldn't tie their own shoes without a road map. My mother's family is descended from a 14-year-old Slovak immigrant "witch" born when it was part of Hungary, and a true peasant. She built her first house by hand the first year she was in the US...before she was 15. My father's family were all miners and iron workers from French Elsace, again a working-class area in the 19th century where even "good reading" was often considered a luxury.

    I KNEW these people, and learned from them when I was small, as did my parents and their siblings. Now I notice that the generations after me are becoming truly "Civilized" and have lost most of the abilities we took for granted. Many of my classmates laughed when they discovered I could repair my own clothes in early grade school--a reaction that I couldn't comprehend with my Euro-peasant/US upbringing.

    To cut this short and get to the point because I think you have enough of an idea of where I'm trying to go with this...

    Question: Allowing for the great advances in technology since my own birth, I see more people involved in what could be called "art" in some fashion, but...even a few time on this board...I see so many things failing at their core, no matter how well executed, because the "creative" spark is missing. The original thought that made the piece necessary seems to never have gelled properly, if you know what I mean.

    I see this across all aspects and levels of our society, and I wonder if it's because we've forgotten HOW to be peasants. How to live in constant need to DO just to survive, and to DO as efficiently as we can. We've obviously lost much, if not all, of our "cross-referencing" between differing aspects of our lives--if your shirt loses a button, the first thought is to toss it rather than repair. In a modern disaster, many of the younger generation may not even know how to cook a basic meal from "scrounged" items because their microwave is now a doorstop.

    Is this mentality affecting our profession/vocation? And if it is, should we even worry about it? Are we losing the ability to be truly creative at the core root because we no longer have to?

    Did any of that make sense?
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Ilaekae For This Useful Post:


  4. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    3,234
    Thanks
    860
    Thanked 848 Times in 457 Posts
    How about it doesn't make you more creative, but more able to apply the ideas you have? Being able to understand how stuff is made makes it possible for you to come up with plans that work and think that you will indeed see them through completion.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Qitsune For This Useful Post:


  6. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    585
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 27 Times in 23 Posts
    Hey, I was descended from royalty! Longford Quinn's were the dukes and bishops of ancient Ireland, and now, most of the people in my family are artists and inventors. So I dont think who your descended from matters much.
    FUCK YOU YA PRETENTIOUS DICKS!! BAN ME!!
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  7. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    887
    Thanks
    957
    Thanked 492 Times in 226 Posts
    Reminds me of Hegel's master slave dialectic. The part where the slaves start to overtake their masters

    They all had to...

    Cook (literally from butchering to preserving, and at all levels from breakfast to celebration feast)
    Sew, produce clothing and house goods, weave, and embellish textiles
    Decorate ANYthing
    Work wood, pottery, leather, baskets and metal
    Farm successfully
    Construct their own home usually
    Entertain themselves and their neighbors
    Create from scratch anything their community needed for a religious/educational/social purpose
    I'm amazed at how quickly these skills are disappearing. The difference between what my Grandparents knew how to do, and what I know how to do is staggering. They weren't peasants, but their level of self-sufficiency is completely beyond me. I think this is maybe what happens when we entrust the education of our youth to institutions which are for the most part indifferent. K-12 education is almost entriely focused on preparing children for the arbitrary goal of attending "college", and for most people college is just a quick way to get burried in debt before you even realize what's going on. Many parents are too busy working to be very involved with what their children are learning, and the people who are involved aren't particularly invested.

    By some accounts, every American living above the poverty line has the energy equivelant of about 400 chattle slaves at their disposal - this due mainly to the over-abundance and accessibility of cheap fossil fuels. Talk about decadent... Just think how many people it would take to push your car to work, or to build your computer from the dirt of the earth. It's pretty mind boggling
    Last edited by Jasonwclark; March 7th, 2008 at 03:15 PM.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Jasonwclark For This Useful Post:


  9. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    1,623
    Thanks
    650
    Thanked 819 Times in 305 Posts
    Have to agree with Qitsune on this, I think.

    I am one of those lucky bastards that's still (well, mostly) young, as I'm hitting 30 this year, but have three grandparents still living. One of them already hit 95, another one doing the same this year. And my ancestors closest to me, has been fishing and farming people. The farm I come from was a really, really big one back in the day, with several paid helpers, but everybody had to do the same work, owners family included. Now it's just us running it.

    My grandparents have learned me very much that I'd never picked up just by myself. Picture weaving, for one, as mentioned in the artistic family thread. That came from her doing weaving for fabric and carpets, and turned into something else. I can sew, I can knit, I can crotchet(?), I can mend a chair, I can do leatherwork, I can make kids toys in wood and fabric, I can make clothes, I can cut panels for ornamentation in wood, I can change my lightswitches and check my plumbing myself. I can even resole old style shoes myself.

    What I *do* find a little hard, is to draw a line between artistic and handwork/handcraft. My great grandfather was a blacksmith, and his forge is still where it's always been. He went from tools and horseshoes to actually MAKE carparts all by himself when the first cars came around, and broke down. Some of those carparts he made mechanics wrinkle their eyebrows in sheer confusion, not to mention they going long ways to find out how he made the car BETTER. He invented tons of different thingymabobs for the farmer/fisherlife, and improved what was already around. And he made twisted iron lamps, gates, etc. Was it artistic skill? Or would you call him an inventor? Or just a good survivor? I especially love the stuff that wasn't technical, but that was what he would call a part of his profession, he never called himself artistic, from what I've heard.

    I've grown up on a farm, and as Qitsune said, the sheer possibility to use all these skills is how I've learned them. Sitting with grandma mending huge tablecloths that took my ancestors weeks and months to make. Helping out fixing furniture. Making chicken and rabbit areas. Fix the leather ourselves because there's no time to lose. Actually, there you have some of the point, I think. A lot of it was learned because we didn't have time to wait for turning something in to get mended by someone better at it. Or it was a waste of money if someone around already knew how to do it. And as my grandparents and parents before me, I learned out of necessity.

    But, the more I think of it, these skills were never considered artistic. It was a way of life, and needed in the same way that you need someone to bake your bread. I can't remember any in my family calling themselves artistic. My grandma keeps referring to me as the only one with artistic skills in the family for generations. My dad usually say I inherited all his artistic skills, that's why he has none left. I am starting to disagree more and more with them, as today, half of what they know and can is not everyday knowledge, and therefore must be kind of artistic. Like blacksmithing as earlier mentioned. If I started to do that right now, and did not only do factory parts, or punch holes in disks for machinery, I'm sure I'd be called artistic. When I make furniture, I don't call it artistic. I'm sure the bits and parts I do with a knife to make it a bit ornamental would be, though. In todays society. A 100 yrs back it would be called a profession, and not considered artistic though, someone doing it well would just be really good at his profession.

    Anyway, what I was getting at.... I don't think that people with farmer ancestors has more artistic skills. They didn't call themselves artistic. But maybe, in giving some knowledge down the generations, they awakened the need to create. Even if it was just a wooden tray for breaddough. The need to create is where all artists start, isn't it?

    Phew. That turned out to be a whole friggin school report or something. Tomorrow I'll write "What I did in my Winter Vacation". Or something. Maybe.
    Last edited by Sorknes; March 7th, 2008 at 03:03 PM.
    "The fact that no one understands you doesn't make you an artist"

    Sork's SB - Crits appreciated - not getting updated atm
    C G H U B SB Thread
    Blog
    Facebook, please send me a message about your username
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Sorknes For This Useful Post:


  11. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Posts
    3,685
    Thanks
    239
    Thanked 967 Times in 600 Posts
    I saw all that kind of stuff coming up out of a Scottish/"Pennsylvania Dutch" background (Indiana). It's amazing the beautiful quilts my grandmother could make out of used up clothing.

    I think that since the industrial revolution people have been gradually trained by industry to consider waste and consumption to be the norm. People who had no means, and could take pride in their direct relationship to the land and their skills, were more resistant to the whole "Theory of the Leisure Class ... pecuniary emulation through conspicuous displays of leisure and consumption" thing (that tends to glorify waste). Thus the people who had such ancestors got to see those skills employed to a later date than the skills were remembered by the bourgois types.

    I think this trend has reached the exponential peak in these mass media days of rapid information loading, and the video games now training kids that all decisions are to be made in a split second. Today we have tons of people who make a mark on a paper and then at once decide the drawing is without merit. The idea of spending days making an underdrawing for a painting that may take a month or more to execute is foreign to the generations coming up. This is where the people are coming from who want to know the "secret to drawing [insert whatever] well."

    Actually (1) taking the time to learn what you are doing, and then (2) taking additional time to plan what you are doing, and then (3) taking time actually to execute what you are doing is all just one great big WTF? to somebody who has been trained to expect instant gratification. (("Time? What's that?")) To such a person, any other result than an immediate and perfect drawing leads to an inexorable need to consign said drawing to waste. (I know what I sound like, but I am over 50 and I really did have to trudge through the snow uphill both ways to go to school, so there).

    People interested in pursuing this kind of thinking as an art theory will be very interested in "The Arts and Crafts Movement" of about 100 years ago. It was a reaction to the same perceived degradations caused by increasing industrialization of society.
    Last edited by arttorney; March 7th, 2008 at 03:14 PM.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  12. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to arttorney For This Useful Post:


  13. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    At my Desk
    Posts
    1,136
    Thanks
    567
    Thanked 336 Times in 112 Posts
    Today we have tons of people who make a mark on a paper and then at once decide the drawing is without merit. The idea of spending days making an underdrawing for a painting that may take a month or more to execute is foreign to the generations coming up. This is where the people are coming from who want to know the "secret to drawing [insert whatever] well."
    Wow, this is so well-said and should be read by so very many people.

    It's amazing how many kids think you can just click a button in photoshop to digitally paint ><


    As far as where I come from - my grandmother only checked one branch of our family, but they were dutch farmers all the way back. I don't know that I'm very creative, but I certainly am not afraid of a little elbow grease.
    “It is enough that we set out to mold the motley stuff of life into some form of our own choosing; when we do, the performance is itself the wage.”
    -Learned Hand

    "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." ~Albert Einstein

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  14. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    ON, Canada
    Posts
    810
    Thanks
    159
    Thanked 127 Times in 76 Posts
    Ilaekae, you reminds me of Asimov's "The Feeling of Power" where a future scientist discover how to do simple arithmetic without a computer and he became the great inventor of his age.--- Maybe a few hundred years later from now people who can grow their own food might be the geniuses of that century (seems ridiculous but fun to think about).

    For me I don't have anything to add because I'm one of today's kids raised by videogames.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  15. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    with Dagon
    Posts
    1,016
    Thanks
    167
    Thanked 473 Times in 187 Posts
    Interesting thread, cool idea for discussion. To start with I don't think it matters who you "descended" from if they arn't part of your immidiate life while you're growing up. Things like industriousness, resourcefullness, inventiveness, and general self sufficiency arn't biologically inherited traits, they're taught by parents, grandparents and community. I also have to agree with attourney regarding the change in attitudes about waste and consumption being brought about by the industrial revolution. Another thing happened because of it too, the idea of craftsmanship took a huge hit. In order for most things to be mass produced they need to be simplified and stripped of unnesseccary ornament, they also need to be made from materials that are conducive to assembly line production, and mass fabrication. This kind of cuts into the learning of skills to create and repair things like furniture, clothes, leather goods, etc.

    Another interesting thing to consider when talking about pre\post-industrial revolution is that before it, and in nearly every more traditional soceity I can think of, down to tribal village groups. Art exists AS craft, the furthest it ventures from that is maybe home decoration, but even then typically it takes the form of religious tableuxs or sculptures, textiles or simply, painted decorative designs. There really was no art for the sake of art, except perhaps as practice for the artisan leading up to making something functional. Even european painting up untill the late 17th hundreds was primarily either a decoration production business, or a religious iconography production business...in both regards its still primarily done as a service. Honestly I think craft is a more honest expression of creativity than "art for art's sake" which is really verging on intellectual masturbation...but hey wanking's fun right!

    I have more, but this post is getting long, and I'm at work :p
    Ia Ia Cthulhu Fthagn

    The Sketchbook Lives AGAIN!

    Darkergreen, My environment, and concept art portfolio

    "Its all Fish-Men in the end anyway" -Sara, my wife

    "Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure."
    Bertrand Russell
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Cthogua For This Useful Post:


  17. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    2,689
    Thanks
    405
    Thanked 1,130 Times in 479 Posts
    I sort of agree with Ilaekae and Arttorney here

    Places like Deviantart (sorry to bring that up..) only make matters worse in that area, as not only do a lot of people want instand gratification, they now actually get it there as well

    The whole food analogy is funny though, as I was discussing this lately with some colleges and friends of mine. One of them had a member in their family that was responsible for tasting food and mixing new flavours in a food processing factory. As I dislike most chemical mixed food that seems to pop up more and more here in Holland, I commented that I wondered whether that person had actually ever tasted the real thing when he made stuff like candy with a strawberry flavour. Those sweets taste quite horrible, but most kids seem to prefer it above a real strawberry. Project that image a couple of generations in the future and I wonder what food and flavour we end up with.

    Still, there will always be people dedicated to their craft who stubbornly give a damn so I wouldn't worry too much.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to yoitisi For This Useful Post:


  19. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Uk
    Posts
    1,907
    Thanks
    179
    Thanked 297 Times in 191 Posts
    Blog Entries
    6
    We could in the future make computers that can do all our creative chores for us.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  20. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    2,597
    Thanks
    106
    Thanked 1,497 Times in 746 Posts
    Income inequality fuels art.

    If the difference in wealth between the rich and the artisan class is great, the rich won't mind paying an artisan's living wage for a year to carve a mantelpiece or paint a portrait.

    That's my theory.
    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  21. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Stoat For This Useful Post:


  22. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Fallingwater
    Posts
    5,082
    Thanks
    1,529
    Thanked 5,197 Times in 1,728 Posts
    This is a huge topic.

    I will skip explanation and go right to opinion.

    Art is the synthesis of life tension with aesthetics in order to symbolize life. We symbolize in order to understand... possibly to understand that there are many tensions in life that will simply never resolve. Burke said "Story is equipment for living" and it is my opinion that all art is narrative, thus all art is a kind of "equipment for living".

    Of course a master toolmaker is a going to offer you a hell of a lot better piece of equipment than an inexperienced nimrod.

    And since inexperience produces nimrodification, we have a problem...

    The cradle of civilization is keeping people away from serious fucking life tension for longer and longer and longer and head-faking them with video games and photoshop. So now every punk ass bobo thinks they're Ninjas who can paint like a photograph. This goes on and on until it is far too late for most of them to get on board the art medicine tent show hands-on home-made life revival.

    They go straight from the cradle to video games to prozac. The Matrix scenario.

    Those of us who have come out of homes rent by bitter fucking divorces that lasted for most of their childhoods, or were raised by single-mom artists, know full well the meaning of peasant crafsmanship. The old world is alive and well, don't you worry.

    And thank god for GARAGE SALES!!!!

    kev
    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=101106

    My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
    http://www.myspace.com/kevferrara
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  23. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to kev ferrara For This Useful Post:


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. SketchBook: Art_Addict :: """"""""""""" PRAHA DROP """"""""""""
    By Art_Addict in forum Sketchbooks
    Replies: 105
    Last Post: March 26th, 2010, 03:43 PM
  2. NEWBORN- Guilt of the Father: "Birth of NHUME" and "Summoning MESSIAH"
    By Josif in forum THE CONCEPTART.org 2009 Newborn Contest
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: July 21st, 2009, 09:10 PM
  3. 3 Shorts : "Open" "Grow" "Robot Ali"
    By kingsley in forum ART CRITIQUE CENTER
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: December 12th, 2007, 05:18 PM
  4. Replies: 16
    Last Post: September 7th, 2006, 09:25 AM
  5. Art: Cthulhu : "the forest laughs" and "private treatment center" (updated)
    By mime in forum FINISHED ART & ARTWORK
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: April 9th, 2005, 01:33 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

There are no members to list at the moment.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • 424,149 Artists
  • 3,599,276 Artist Posts
  • 32,941 Sketchbooks
  • 54 New Art Jobs
Art Workshop Discount Inside

Developed Actively by vBSocial.com
SpringOfSea's Sketchbook