What Do You Think of Abstract Art?
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    What Do You Think of Abstract Art?

    Is abstract art...art? Or is it basically wallpaper?

    Obviously people buy it because some of the most expensive art today is abstract expression.

    Why do you think some people like it and others hate it?

    If a beginner were to ask you to help them learn how to do abstract work, what would you tell them?

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    I belong to the "hate it" group. I just can't understand what abstract art is trying to show.

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    Depends, depends.

    If the abstract artist shows a brilliant understanding of colours, textures and actually has something to say about his artwork that isn't bullshite made for him by art critiques then yes, I like abstract.

    But, like any genre, it's only a handful that'll be incredible, the rest might be unbearable.

    An example of the 'bad' abstract art is the stuff made by pretentious art students to cover up for their lack of skill. Good would be someone who's gone through all the same hard work as the proffecionals and knows his/her way around realism and abstract and can even combine them into something fantastic.

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    For me it just has aesthetic value. You can also express a metaphor through it though only in very general terms and I can't stand people who talk crap to overblow its capacity for simplistic symbolism. All the time they spent talking up their own work could have been better used by making the piece better. But I do love well-done abstract art, I find it soothing to stare at it and look for shapes or just enjoy the contrast and tones.

    It's like looking at clouds, only trippier.

    Last edited by broody; February 20th, 2011 at 11:36 AM.
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    What do you think of music without lyrics?
    Also, do you think this has never been discussed here before?


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    Abstract art can resemble it's own kind of technical proficiency.

    Remember the Elements of Design and compositional theory? Yep, you can achieve that without any kind of realism.

    If you were a beginner and you wanted to do abstract, go learn color theory, Elements and principles of Design, Composition, and psychological color theory. That is what makes good abstract art good images.



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    I hear this forum has a pretty neato search function.

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    I like abstract art especially when done with a lot of focus on mood. More about aesthetic rather than some symbolical meaning. Of course needs to have strong design and color.

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    All 2D art contains abstraction in the sense that it all contains varying amounts of formal aesthetic choices that don't actually contribute the literal representation of the content. Where in the range of completely non-representational art (modern art) to 100% literal representational art (photography) would you draw the line that represents "abstract"? I'd venture a guess that you actually appreciate more abstract art more than you actually realize.

    Last edited by N D Hill; February 20th, 2011 at 08:28 PM.
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    Art comes in countless forms and all are equally valid.
    A good artist does not have to be a good painter or have any sort of understanding in anatomy, a photographer does not need to be skilled in drawing, same goes for many abstract artists. Everyone can do art and every artist comes with a different skill set.
    You can create strong visuals with meaning and emotion without having skill in painting.
    Some artists create images without painting or drawing at all, they instead make use of programing, nature and other tools but no matter how great their art is, it does not make them a great painter.

    Then there is also the business part... i don't even want to start...
    Selling shit for good money is a form of art too.

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    Depends on the painting...

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    Quote Originally Posted by R a n d i s View Post
    Art comes in countless forms and all are equally valid.
    A good artist does not have to be a good painter or have any sort of understanding in anatomy, a photographer does not need to be skilled in drawing, same goes for many abstract artists. Everyone can do art and every artist comes with a different skill set.
    You can create strong visuals with meaning and emotion without having skill in painting.
    Some artists create images without painting or drawing at all, they instead make use of programing, nature and other tools but no matter how great their art is, it does not make them a great painter.

    Then there is also the business part... i don't even want to start...
    Selling shit for good money is a form of art too.
    ^This.


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    Quote Originally Posted by R a n d i s View Post
    Selling shit for good money is a form of art too.
    I have a problem with this sentence. Could you explain how you have come to this conclusion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    I have a problem with this sentence. Could you explain how you have come to this conclusion?
    I think he just meant that takes a certain finesse to do it successfully.

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    On a similar note to randis' final line, there's a saying at my university that we actually take one extra paper subliminally, "Art of Bullshitting 101" which you only practice during assignment presentation time.

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    Some of it is really unapealing to me, but some of it is just gorgeous!







    Those are by Andrew Jones, and a google image search revealed these cool pieces as well:





    And these are from Electric Sheep:





    Abstract art is usually the most psychedelic art as well.

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    Now that's some good abstract.

    No use hating a whole art movement if it means you miss out on something like that.

    Do your research next time you go and make a thread like this. C:

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    Quote Originally Posted by R a n d i s View Post
    A good artist does not have to be a good painter
    ... unless he wants to make paintings...

    or have any sort of understanding in anatomy
    ... unless he wants to create art with human figures in it...

    a photographer does not need to be skilled in drawing
    ... but he needs to be good at composition.

    Don't forget that while all art forms may be equally valid, all artworks are not created equal.

    Alas, for some reason a lot of people think that abstract art is easy to make. So we have a slew of horrible waste of time and art materials, and good abstracts are very hard to find. And historically, abstract art movements had been very vocal and ambitious beyond belief.

    This might explain the negative feelings toward it.

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    It's possible that someone who spends more time creating abstract artwork could develop a better understanding of composition, design, and color theory than the average figurative painter. Good abstract art is very hard to make.

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    Very interesting replies and I'd call this thread a winner.

    I see it hit a few nerves as well...good. Even that tells something.

    Share whatever.

    Oh, about the crack about using the search function...and the other negative comments...did it ever occur to you people that new people join this thread and their thoughts are also important? And too some people gain new perspectives over time.

    I can't help but wonder why when someone claims they hate a thread that they make so many posts to it?

    My opinion is that new threads can give an old subject a fresh start. Well, at least that's how I look at it. After all, how many of the discussions on this forum are totally brand new?

    Last edited by bigpanfish; February 21st, 2011 at 08:02 AM.
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    I think it can be beautiful if it shows eye movement/composition and great color combos. Although it grinds my gears when people claim to be abstract artists when they can't draw at all all and have no understanding of composition. I don't really even like Picasso's work but he could draw realistic perfectly fine.

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    .

    As far as abstract art goes, its hard to beat the surrealists and their cousins.







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    I've always had a thing for abstract art. I did my first abstract drawing back in 1959 or 1960.

    A teacher found my art being passed around the class so she sent me to see our stern school principle who in turn confiscated my art and warned me that any future art action would result in my parents being notified.

    I've often wondered if those drawings are still on file.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R a n d i s View Post
    Art comes in countless forms and all are equally valid.
    A good artist does not have to be a good painter or have any sort of understanding in anatomy, a photographer does not need to be skilled in drawing, same goes for many abstract artists. Everyone can do art and every artist comes with a different skill set.
    You can create strong visuals with meaning and emotion without having skill in painting.
    Some artists create images without painting or drawing at all, they instead make use of programing, nature and other tools but no matter how great their art is, it does not make them a great painter.

    .
    Many of the posts are great but this was the very best comment from my perspective.

    It shows experience and maturity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by That fat kid View Post
    Can someone say what 'law' it is that says 90% of everything is crap?
    Sturgeon's Law. From the great writer Theodore Sturgeon. (Fun fact: Theodore Sturgeon was supposedly the inspiration for Kurt Vonnegut's infamous character, Kilgore Trout.)

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    I absolutely love a lot of abstract art, and as for the art genre in general I really do like it - when, of course, it's done properly (as with anything). I ignore a lot of it, and really don't even begin to understand where the artist is trying to convey in others.

    But either way, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what you're doing, so long as you're trying to do it right.

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    It's real hit or miss with me. I remember visiting the Guggenheim and seeing a great abstract piece that was nothing but multicolor squares and circles and I really loved it enough to buy it printed on a coffee mug. But right next to it was another painting by the same guy that was just rectangles with sticks and I hated it.

    I don't think I'll ever be really interested in abstract art though.

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    The problem with "abstract" art is that it's difficult, if not impossible, to communicate visually. As somebody mentioned, all art is an abstraction. Problem is, we experience the world in a mostly wordless place. People, facial expressions, landscapes, body language, objects.. How can you convey a certain message to somebody, visually, if you're not speaking in a language they understand?

    So, since purpley squigglies and jagged spirally mazes might be the way one person looks at the world, it's hardly universal. Whereas, a sad face is pretty universal in it's expression of sadness. The color red can mean many things to many people (shopping, anger, bullfighting, a target, blood), whereas a person getting stabbed reads instantly. If abstract art is such a powerful communication, why is there always paragraphs next to it; some gibberish about what it's supposed to mean, what the artist intended, the history of some such thing.. If VISUAL ART requires any words to describe it, the description is "ability to communicate visually has failed".

    You just have to ask yourself how powerfully you want to communicate. If you want to be able to communicate powerfully, you have to be articulate, visually.

    If you don't give a rip about saying anything meaningful, by all means, abstract away.

    Edit: I would like to add, another function of Art is that it assigns value. When somebody paints a portrait, landscape, still life, or even a dream, (or writes a poem, sings a song, cooks some sort of food) they are saying "You should look at this. You should contemplate this. You should experience this." Why???? It has VALUE! People have value! The earth has value! Life is worth living! What is the value of a bunch of random squiggly lines??? If it doesn't look like anything I can recognize, how can it have any real value?

    It's impossible to have much of a discussion without discussing what Art is, which is a difficult task in a nearly philosophy-less world. I've also heard it argued that Art is just a reflection of a philosophy, in that sense abstract art is valid. It represents chaos, for example. Well, how many people are enjoying living through the financial chaos we are in right now? So why would we celebrate an artist who is all about chaos?

    This is not to say abstract art can't have a neat design, interesting composition, striking colors... etc. But are those things "Art"? I would say no. (My definition of Art is: To communicate the human experience). So, abstract art is either nonsense (measured on it's ability to communicate) or horrible philosophy.

    Rational thought destroys abstract art, as it does many irrational things; smoking, being grossly obese, yet people make the choice to do those things as well, just as people will continue to smoke or weigh 500lbs.

    Last edited by jetpack42; February 21st, 2011 at 04:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by damascus57 View Post
    Abstract art can resemble it's own kind of technical proficiency.

    Remember the Elements of Design and compositional theory? Yep, you can achieve that without any kind of realism.

    If you were a beginner and you wanted to do abstract, go learn color theory, Elements and principles of Design, Composition, and psychological color theory. That is what makes good abstract art good images.
    I would reccomend beginners to actually learn from everything before doing abstract work.Even doin Abstract genres you need to learn from the basics of the drawings to the history of Abstractionism.

    Theres a frightening amount of people out there that think that paintings are
    either the paintings from the Ninja Turtle Names or Splashes of color on a canvas that their kid can make.

    What they dont realise is that nothing is easy in abstractionism or any kind of art.Abstractionism breaks monotony and showed that everything can be art regardless of its content matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreekDollmaker View Post
    I would reccomend beginners to actually learn from everything before doing abstract work.Even doin Abstract genres you need to learn from the basics of the drawings to the history of Abstractionism.

    Theres a frightening amount of people out there that think that paintings are
    either the paintings from the Ninja Turtle Names or Splashes of color on a canvas that their kid can make.

    What they dont realise is that nothing is easy in abstractionism or any kind of art.Abstractionism breaks monotony and showed that everything can be art regardless of its content matter.
    Very good post and thanks.

    I found abstract to be the ultimate art form for me. I used to be a realism only person. Then one day it hit me how it's all so formulaic. The same old basic process over and over again.

    You're correct about good abstract work. It's not always easy to do, and unlike most realism, the ways of accomplishing it are almost endless.

    I do realism and most people in my family are realists. But when I want to really enjoy myself I do abstract expression work. Actually I see far more in it than in realism.

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