I don't understand 'happy' art.

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  1. #1
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    I don't understand 'happy' art.

    Just wondering if I'm alone here.

    I've been in a block for a good while now, wasting a lot of paper and materials. All my attempts have been at what I'd call 'cheerful' or 'happy' art. Lots of bright colors, movement, stuff people generally like. Of course, none of it's worked for me.

    Becoming distraught over my inability to create art, I visited my local art museum for inspiration. While browsing, I found a lot of nice pictures, all very pretty, all showing the talent of the artists, but none spoke to me or made me feel any kind of emotion. All of it just felt empty.

    A biography on Andy Warhol was playing, so I decided to sit and watch. The works of his they showed brought the same feeling as before, leaving me frustrated.

    But then, they got into his 'darker' works.

    Images of a woman committing suicide, gruesome car wrecks, the face of a grieving wife at her husband funeral. As I watched, it literally brought me to tears. I can't describe what I felt, but it was so intense that it made me realize:

    I only understand art about suffering and pain.

    This also makes things a bit difficult for me, as an artist, since I am best at portraiture. Also, I don't have much experience in color...

    Anyways, am I alone in this? Is this normal? I'd hate to become one of the stereotypical 'dark, morbid artists,' but I'm afraid it might be all I know.

    I imagine I could have been more to the point, and I apologize if you felt reading this was tedious.

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  3. #2
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  4. #3
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    My art never speaks to me either. It gets lonely since I spend so much time with her.

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    Meh. What woman isn't from time to time?

    But in all seriousness, I have a pretty okay life. I've been happy for a long time.

    I haven't been able to make art worth finishing (in my eyes) since I graduated highschool in 2010. Nothing speaks to me unless it is ugly or subtly perverse in nature. I think I'm just a cynic, if I'm using that word right.

    Example:

    Five soldiers die, America mourns for weeks.

    Nobody mourns for the homeless dying of hunger. Nobody mourns for the children raped and murdered daily in Africa.

    American soldiers have been known to brutally abuse and torture foreign prisoners while on the night shift as prison guards. And THESE are the people they cry for.

    Ugh. It's the things people don't want to see that I want to bring to light. They NEED to know what the world really is, but I can't find a way to convey it...

    That, and I don't get 'happy' art.

    Hahahah.

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    Stop whinging and get painting.

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    "...the ideas are what matter most" Doug Chiang
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    ur rilly deep

    Take two of this and call me in the morning:



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    I once knew a girl named April, she was an awful person.

    Because of this experience, and because I see you love applying blanket statements, I can assume that you're an awful person because your screen name has April in it.

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  12. #8
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    i can show you some bright colors and movement that would not be considered acceptable by most people.

    It's completely normal to be absorbed by one facet of the arts or another for a while. Dark art is especially attractive if you have a deficiency in that spectrum of your personality. Sometimes it's the only way to eject the backseat drivers of conditioning and psyche that try to run our art.

    "Happy" art is an expression of joy, however in order to be poignant it must also be sincere. There are so many works out there intended only for business and suckering people out of cash. (they are not the same thing) This is the kind of art when we find examples, it is sterile and underwhelming - a weak joy for people who feel little. The idea of portraying misery and suffering requires at least an element of fringe, since it is not socially acceptable, so I would reasonably assume the art on the darker spectrum is going to be of a higher quality as a general rule.

    I wish Elwell wouldn't troll. It's discouraging when everyone else on CA is doing it as well.

    Last edited by Izi; October 7th, 2011 at 12:07 AM.
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  14. #9
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    You probably just dont understand the technique, color and light theory behind it to appreciate it or make it. Dont take this as an offence. I am not claiming im any better than you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AprilDarlene View Post
    American soldiers have been known to brutally abuse and torture foreign prisoners while on the night shift as prison guards. And THESE are the people they cry for.
    what is this comment

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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AprilDarlene View Post
    Of course, none of it's worked for me.
    So... have you tried actually drawing/painting morbid art now that you know you like it better?

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  19. #13
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    Just out of curiosity.
    Does it have to give a feeling in order for you to like it?
    Are you one of those people who lurk around /b/ on 4chan hoping for gore threads to see if you'll have any feelings from what you see?

    If you want to make happy art, but can't because it gives no feeling, try give the painting a bittersweet story. Maybe a silly idea, but it might help a little?

    If you prefer to do dark art, do dark art. But its good to give other things a try every now and then

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  20. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie G View Post
    That being said, how dare you judge which deaths are "worth" mourning! A death is a horrible thing, no matter what. The reason why soldiers deaths are mourned is because they are risking, and in this case sacrificing, their lives for the good of the people mourning them...
    Julie G, don't be so quick to shoot from the hip about these things:

    We make judgements about who is worth mourning all the time - if we didn't we wouldn't make it through the day.

    "How dare you judge" that death is a horrible thing. Death is a fact of the principles of existence and is independedent of value. Our view of it, like those we choose to mourn, is entirely and by definition, subjective.

    The reason soldiers are mourned by the public (as opposed to their next of kin) is due to sentimentality. We do not tend to mourn the death of steeple jacks, oil rig engineers, tunnel builders, test pilots or heavy engineering workers, to name just a few of the occupations that are known to be risky and and doing a vital job for society, because of this reason.

    In point of fact, in terms of people who 'give their lives' for the benifit of others, I would (personally speaking) place nurses, doctors, care workers, teachers higher up on the list than soldiers. I would also place those who do the shitty, unglamorous jobs high up on the list as well - jobs like sewerage workers, garbage collectors, road workers - without which our society would fall apart within weeks. "Giving your life" means many things and can be "given" in ways that don't involve dying and without the media halo of glamour.

    Last edited by Chris Bennett; October 7th, 2011 at 04:36 AM.
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  21. #15
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    My point is that our feelings about death are an ENTIRELY subjective matter.

    Mourning for someone close to you is a very truamatic experience, one of the worst we humans can go through (I nearly lost my father this week, so you do not have a monopoly on grief at the moment either) but it is an emotion based on your subjective feelings for a peson you have become objectively involved with.

    Mourning for others outside this condition, that is to say, those you have no objective experiencial involvement with, whether they be soldiers, miners, or whatever appearing on the news, is sentimentality. Emotional posturing dressed up as 'empathic grief'. I would even go so far as to say that for some it is a sort of pornography of grief. In my view this does a greater disservice to the memory of those who have died than a balanced, dignified view of what has taken place.

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    OP, just take it easy and don't let the people being needlessly snarky get to you. The only problem I can see is that you think there IS a problem in your taste in art. Why do you feel like you *have* to like happy art or like there's something wrong with you if it's not to your taste? It's no big deal. And judging from your post, it's not like you can't appreciate the good things in the "happy" art that you see--it's just not something you happen to find emotionally moving, and I don't think that's anything to get worked up about.

    Think about it in a different way. If this were music, and you found that you didn't like pop music but you were really into death metal or something, you wouldn't be going, "I don't like pop music and I don't find it to be emotionally compelling enough for me! Is there something wrong with me??" It's just a matter of personal preference.

    Less worrying about inconsequential things that nobody else will judge you for. More drawing. Go!

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  23. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie G View Post

    It also doesn't apply in this case as much as we're not talking about natural deaths, we're talking "preventable" deaths. Are you trying to say that it's subjective whether an early preventable death is a bad thing?
    This is not an absolute either.

    It could be argued that not using contraception is a way of avoiding 'preventable' death - in this case the death of sperm.

    It could be argued that banning cars is a way of avoiding 'preventable death'.

    It could be argued that overpolulation will cause more deaths (through social catastrophy) through using treatments to keep people alive.


    Of course none of these things makes sense to us as individuals - they even seem ludicrous. But from an objective perspective, i.e. in terms of the good of the species, they make absolute, undeniable sense.
    But our subjective views of death contradict this.

    In fact, the individual's subjective view on this matter is in direct opposition to the objective standpoint of the species in general.

    So I believe you have a very confused and hazy idea as to what you mean by 'objective' in this matter.

    Last edited by Chris Bennett; October 8th, 2011 at 05:49 AM.
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  24. #18
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    ....could it be that in darker themes and colours it's easier to get away with bad technique?

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  25. #19
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    you only get out what has been put in.

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    Chris, I can't argue with your reasoning, but I don't think almost losing someone is a great justification to go Sheldon Cooper on someone who has.

    Last edited by Vermis; October 7th, 2011 at 08:08 AM.
    ...which is only my opinion.
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    April honestly don't worry, each to their own, whatever floats your boat, another mans rubbish is another mans treasure and all that. Check out Beksinski or Francis Bacon, they've made great livings focusing on the nightmarish qualities of life. Plus all art is (apart from sex drawing ) in my opinion, is the artist trying to make sense of the world by representing the things they are naturally drawn to in a way that communicates directly to the soul...or something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naomi Ningishzidda View Post
    I wish Elwell wouldn't troll. It's discouraging when everyone else on CA is doing it as well.
    You're absolutely right.
    (Although it is an awesome vid. I probably should have posted the seven minute version instead of the fourteen, though.)


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  29. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vermis View Post
    http://gothsinhotweather.blogspot.com/


    Tristan Elwell
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    If you think you might be depressed, go to see a professional.

    And why worry about art? Plenty of brilliant artists have made and are making a living from painting dark stuff.... Gottfried Helnwein, HR Giger, Odd Nerdrum, etcetera.

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  32. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AprilDarlene View Post
    I haven't been able to make art worth finishing (in my eyes) since I graduated highschool in 2010. Ugh.
    .
    This is your problem right here, you just graduated from high school and now you know you have to grow up and become an adult at some point. Anything you do from here on out will require lots of hard work and dedication if you want to succeed. The choices you make over the next five years will determine the rest of your life.

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  34. #26
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    Oh, I didn't catch that you graduated from high school last year.

    In that case yes, it's pretty normal to feel empty and confused. It's also pretty normal to feel that you need some kind of emotion to sustain your art because you don't yet have knowledge, direction, and a workflow. But really, it's impossible to be emotional about all the studies you have to do to become a successful artist and if you do any longer-term projects, well, if you were sad and angry at the start it's pretty unlikely that you're still sad and angry at hour 8 or hour 20. And if you wait for inspiration to strike then when it finally does strike you turn out shit because you haven't been practicing. You have to find a way to produce work regularly without needing to have a revelation every time.

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  35. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie G View Post
    Thank you for comparing the death of a soldier from being shot to the 'death' of a sperm. I think that's all I needed to hear.
    Then you heard wrong unfortunately.
    Julie, the argument was a quite seperate one and made in order to demonstrate a point you have completely failed to understand.
    Talking about the preventability of death does not automatically involve comparisons between life forms be they bacteria, babies, boyfriends, bunnies, blood cells or bison. Or for that matter a comparison between soldiers and sperm.

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  36. #28
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    WTF is going on in this thread?

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  38. #29
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    Drama. It's contagious.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Last edited by Psychotime; October 7th, 2011 at 12:44 PM.
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