Hi CA, although I'm not exactly new to this forum, I don't post that often, especially outside of my sketchbook. I would say, however, that I am generally new to art. I only seriously began drawing around a year and a half ago, and this year, I became an art major and I am actively pursuing my art now. Since I started drawing a year and a half ago, my main influences have been one of my friends, and no other than you guys (CA). Consequently, the majority of my efforts in teaching myself to draw have been dedicated to anatomy studies, draftsmanship, perspective, line quality, and the like. I seriously owe it you guys for how much I've improved in this time. Now that I'm taking some art classes here at college, it has become apparent to me that I am a better draftsman than many of my peers. However, my approach to art is a lot different than other peoples'.
Ok, now on to my point... Basically, my philosophy of art is strictly formalist and I'm all about representational art, realism, and "drawing things like look like what they are". I'm assuming (but not generalizing) that most people on CA have a similar philosophy to that, and that's all I've ever known. However, it is becoming apparent to me that that might not be all there is. Viewing art in this way kind of leads to a denigration of meaning. Art no longer means anything, it's just a bunch of pictures that look like what they are, albeit lots of times they look absolutely phenomenal. I like this kind of art. It's comfortable to me. I like looking at pretty pictures. That's what got me into drawing in the first place. However, is art supposed to mean something? Don't get me wrong, I don't really appreciate modern art and abstraction and all that kind of stuff. I don't understand it, but is there some sort of middle ground? For example, when Michelangelo painted Sistine Chapel, it definitely took amazing draftsmanship, skill, and knowledge of anatomy to paint. But, he must have also put a lot of thought into the symbolism and meaning of it.
Basically, I'm a little bit lost right now, and I don't know what to think of art. Because, up until now my philosophy of art has been to paint strictly what I see, study anatomy, study perspective, and I've focused all on the technical side of art. It seems kind of empty this way, because any camera could do my job better than I could the way my skills are right now. I really respect your guys' opinions and I'm wondering what you guys thought.