Did it help to descend from "peasants?"

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  1. #1
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    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?

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  4. #2
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
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    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"

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    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.
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  13. #7
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    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.”
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    "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

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    We could in the future make computers that can do all our creative chores for us.

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    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).
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    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!!!!

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  24. #14
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    Well. That's what I calls a manifesto.

    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).
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    Hmm.... they say that necessity is the mother of invention.
    My father was a blacksmith, then a miner, then a nurse. His father was a miner,- one of his uncles was a stonemason who worked on Manchester Cathedral.

    On the distaff side, my grandpa was a career soldier who worked for the local council when he retired from the army. My grandma was the daughter of crofters who couldn't sign their own names. She worked as a nursing assistant in an era when women weren't supposed to work, as well as raising seven kids. She could literally knock up a meal out of nothing. My grandpa was probably the more artistic of the two. I still have a set of the lasts he used to repair the family's shoes, and he knitted all the christening shawls for his children and grandchildren. (That may sound odd, but many of the old-school Scotsmen were able to knit, and pretty intricate stuff, too). He also was a self-taught carpenter who could make anything from a shed to a cot. His father owned one of the very first garages in this area; but my grandpa was a truly frightening driver (great fun when you're a kid)!

    My mother was possibly the worst cook you could ever meet, despite her own mother's abilities; all I learned about cooking I've learned from books and culinary disasters,- but she was a good, self-taught dressmaker and she could embroider.

    My dad used to grow vegetables for the family, and could turn his hand to most things; welding, carpentry, etc.

    I think you're right, Ilaekae. When your budget is limited, your inventiveness grows exponentially. Growing up, I learned to embroider, knit, sew, cook (purely out of self-defence), garden (because I enjoyed my dad's company and it was a way of spending time with him).

    When I moved out on my own I learned to do simple household maintenance tasks (although the first time I wired a kettle plug and watched it light up and flash on the sink drainer was educational), wallpaper (yes, even a ceiling), lay tiles, and so on...

    Does that make me artistic? I dunno; does it matter? What it has made me is resourceful, and curious, and determined not to be beaten, and willing to try my hand at anything. When I'm struggling with anything I have this image of the people who went before me saying "So? What are you going to do about it?"

    These people found solutions to problems and ways of providing what they needed. I've always admired them for it, and until your post, I didn't realise how much they'd taught me by example.

    Thanks for reminding me, Mister Mistoffeles!

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    This was interesting to read. Thanks Ilaekae, you and all the contributors made me do a lot of thinking.

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    Ilaekae, I think you are partly right. The experience (and a lot of different influences) part is 100% true but the peasant part is probably more related to you personally.

    Different things can be learned in a lot of environments, yours taught you a lot but if you look a bit further into "history" then you will find a lot of polymath academics/inventors/scientists developing new and creative stuff in a lot of different fields just because they did not have to fight for survival like the peasants.

    They had the luxury of choice because they were part of church and/or royalty and their curiosity and need for intellectualism (and especially the need for separation from the peasant) in the end paved the way for the downfall of clergy and royalty, as well as the rise of the manufacturing class all the way to todays middle class.

    The real problem are these kids who just start painting after high school without regard for anything else around them. It is nice that they are so passionate about something but some sort of balance and moderation is needed. They can't just focus on the visible part (the paintings) of their idols. There is much more to being a human being (or artist or "Artist" or however you want to call it) than applying a colour to canvas or pixel. Just because they don't see the rest of their idols life doesn't mean that there is nothing more besides their job and the infrequent (because of NDA's) conceptart.org posts.

    Some if these kids don't care about literacy because "painting is what they want to do in life" and they don't need to how how to rite (or wrighte, or however they manage to mutilate the written language) for that. And mathematics (uncreative/science/not interesting/next stereotype) are totally useless too, that is until they need it to calculate their hourly rate and even then it's easier to just post on some forum and ask again and again because they don't have the simplest clue about calculating anything that surpasses the complexity of a shopping list.

    Focusing on something is not bad but focusing so much that you push aside curiosity for anything else is what destroys any (creative) profession. I know that Jason Manley (and some other) push this "paint 70+ hours a week" thing (extreme simplification on my part so don't jump on me fanboys), and they are right (to some degree) as it helps with your muscle memory and your observational skills (if you are painting from life). But that is not everything that is to it.

    Yes, you can aim to become a "brush machine" but you won't be a happy human being when you are painting armours, boobs, skulls, and spikes for more than ten hours a day every day till you drop dead. In the end a client pays you for the creation of something and the application of paint or manipulation of pixels is just the very last step of this creative process (sending the finished work and getting the rest of the fee are part of the process but the the creative part).

    So back on topic (with a summary of my rant): No the peasant part is not needed but diversification in the education process is needed. Just learn to be curious about stuff even if you are not interested in it.

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  30. #18
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    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.
    Example please =)

    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...(the list)
    All that was done by them subpar. First of all, a simple 2 layer society wont do. Even the dark age had at least 3. Guess where the prolific "Artists" came from? Second, define "creative spark" or "be truly creative at the core root" and finally "creativity" (I looked up at Wiki but didnt read through ^^). Third (its a list here to ^^), imho the genetics are responsible for "creativity". Forcing a survivalist (like "need to sew in new ways cause the material sucks") view on to gfx or anything else besides itself doesnt work well. And finally always the intellectual elite created "stuff". "Peasants", if belonging to that elite (see genetics), creative, intelligent, whatever, your call, didnt had the time or money or both. Wealthy people did. So to summarize: peasants didnt have more innate "creative" skills. Because innate and skill are contradictory. Masters had professinals doing creative work who excelled (focused) on few skills like drawing for example. Comparing the number of skills to the quality does not work.

    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.
    Be happy, you'll have more chances to survive =P

    Is this mentality affecting our profession/vocation?
    Not considering what I said before about masters, peasants and elites and now looking at anime. Cheap drawings, few "creativity". True.
    Did simple hiphop beats change the commercial landscape of the music industy? Yes. Did the different/classy/creative music survive? Yes. Does it have a large audience? No. Is the audience now smaller then before simple hiphop beats? No, I guess it's bigger. Does creative music make more money then before? I guess, it does.

    Everything said is IMHO.

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  32. #19
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    Digital, bear with me. It will take me a while to answer because I'll have to track down examples of where "I'm coming from" and I don't want to offend anyone inadvertently.

    I do think you misunderstood a few of my comments, though. Will explain.

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  33. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    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
    Those points sound a lot like my life. I've spent the first 11 years of my life in east berlin (inner city, not the outter districts!), where most of the things you listed were part of everyday life for poor people.

    Okay, we didnt have to butcher animals for food, but we had to preserve food most of the time and we surely had to be inventive.. as for farming.. there were a lot of small gardens in the backyard areas of the buildings.. people were growing anything from carrots to tomatoes there.

    half of my clothes back then were 3rd and 4th hand items that had to be repaired once in a while.. some of my clothes were sewn by my mother. we had to create a lot of houshold items from toys to furniture too. Many of those who were lucky enough to get a small piece of garden land built small houses ("datsche") themselves..

    a lot of "modern" technology (like colour tv, video recorders, microwaves, etc) either wasnt available or it was too expensive for normal folks.. for instance: my family had a black and whte tv set with 6 channels and no remote up until 1992, that had to be repaired twice by my father.

    to cut a long story short: a lot of what you mentioned was a part of everyday life behind the iron curtain. we valued, produced and repaired everything we had. we buiilt what we wanted (at least in my neighbourhood) and entertainment had a lot more to to with creativity and inventiveness than today. people with ideas and skills were more valued back then- and that was only 19 years ago.

    without those years and a family of "selfproviders" like mine, I doubt that I would have the same mindset and skills I have now. Right now, I'm surrounded by either recycled or self built furniture, stacked with leather, metal, plastic, ceramic and cloth items I made myself.

    i'm wearing a self knitted pullover, sitting on a blanket woven by my father, in the middle of "the eternally young city" Berlin... and there still are many of those "know to be a peasant" people like me left here.

    I just hope that this "peasant" mindset doesn't die out that fast- nothing worse than a world of consumer "throw-it-away-instead-of-repairing-it" zombies. But I know that a lot of people (inlcuding me) will not allow that to happen, encouraging younger folks to sharpen their nearly dormant abilities, so dont worry.

    cheers,
    Etienne


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  35. #21
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    Its unfortunate (in a way), but I think suffering creates better art. Actually maybe a better way to say it is that suffering and struggle amplifies the humanity in art. It's also been said before in this thread but want fosters inventiveness, necessity is the mother of invention.

    The music of the 20th century has the most obvious examples of innovation coming from the lower class. Infact it is essentially the entrance of black influence on popular music. One could argue that lots of innovation has come from the upper class in the form of the developments of the great composers of the 17th and 18th centuries....however if you read anything about these guys many of them were pretty tortured individuals, and thus endured suffering of their own varieties. Blues grew out of a desperatly poor group of people combining melodies that had been passed down through their families and in their churches with the rawest, cheapest instrument that could be found to create a music that was a portrait of their suffering....and to get Buddhist for a moment...life IS suffering. So art borne out of suffering is going to be more emotionally present, more empathic, more moving. I think hip hop is another good example of people with no means, excluded from the more affluent things in society, creating their own culture out of what they could. Obviously hip hop has grown far and beyond what it originally was, for good and bad, but it has irrevocably changed the musical landscape of the 21st century. The same goes for the roots music of Jamaica, sure there's gangterism and materialism in it but theres also a depth to be found in some of it that transcends anything The Backstreet Boys could've churned out. Alrighty, well I have to cut this short as other things are demanding my attention....but I shall return!

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    Its unfortunate (in a way), but I think suffering creates better art. Actually maybe a better way to say it is that suffering and struggle amplifies the humanity in art.
    Once you start to look for it, almost everything that resonates with us does so for this reason. Not just in painting, but in music, literature, film, and just about every other creative endeavor we undertake. People respond to pain, and especially the triumph over pain, in a powerful way. Suffering grants moral authority too, but I think its even more primal than that. It's like we're all junkies for human suffering, and the deeper its rooted - the more authentic it is - the more potent it becomes, once you learn how to channel it in other directions.

    You have to ask yourself: what does it take really? What does it take for someone to create a masterpiece (of any sort)? To sit there for hours and hours, usually alone, planning things out, dreaming it, perfecting it in mind and then working to actually realize it. Happy people don't usually have the time for this sort of thing, because, when life is good, most of us are too busy just trying drink it in and enjoy it while it lasts. On some level though, I think we all know that suffering is the natural state, and we always return to it. Even the famous, the fortunate in love, the rich and powerful, everyone can relate.

    Even now, I can't trust life. It did too many awful things to me as a kid.
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  37. #23
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    I could make an argument that takes us in the opposite direction from Ilaekae. Art is a luxury item. It is something you indulge in when necessities such as food shelter and clothing are comfortably available. To learn and spend time in artistic endeavors you have to be at least rich enough to not be preoccupied with survival. Additionally, you need a patron with disposable wealth. The Italian Rennaissance did not spontaneously arise from the peasant class, it arose from wealthy patrons who sponsored those with artistic skills.

    I come from peasant stock that traces its lineage back to the swamps and caves of northern Europe (about one generation in my case!). I can tell you that my mother was the first in our family to show any artistic ability, and then only after her life had gotten to the point where raising kids and putting food on the table were no longer a daily crisis.

    I don't think we should confuse reasourcefulness with artistic creativity. My father was very good with his hands, and could build anything, but I wouldn't call him artistic. He might have made a good engineer though!

    I am probably as old as Ilaekae. Well, maybe not quite that old! So, to compare LOST arts, can anyone here, besides me, operate a slide rule?

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    but first it's gonna piss you off!

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    I've lived a sheltered, privileged, middle class life. I can't sew or grow or fix or build much of anything. I can barely cook pancakes. I haven't suffered a day in my life.

    Geez, my art is screwed.



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    I agree with what you said and believe that yes, it is coming to that. I can do all of those things you bulleted above, namely because my grandparents raised me. So, not only did I have the "old-school" teaching, upbringing, respect, etc, I was also taught survival. Needs over Wants, "Can I DO without this?" mentality, and to cherish any and everything you have. Now, before I rumble on like a cenile old kitteh, I think that if people would sit back and think about why they are creating their "art", then they would know what they needed to do in order to get their.

    As Arttorney mentioned, people are in a rush nowadays and expect that if they come to this site, look at the work being created here, and then attempt it on their own, they've somehow mastered it and nothing else can bring the light to their eyes. I used to be in a hurry with my art but now I just take my time and go through my paces. Still a long way from being where I need (should be), but it'll come in time.

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  40. #26
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    This really has nothing to do with anything, but, just as a note:

    I was raised completely in the lap of luxury, went to boarding school, was given everything i wanted, yada yada yada, but:

    I know how to fix my own clothes, chop wood, build a fire, cook... Just because my parents thought that these were good skills to know, despite the fact that they had enough money to ensure that I didn't actually *need* to do any of that.

    not really my two cents, more like a quarter cent, but. there you are.

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