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Re: computers...and aesthetics

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From: LarrySeiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 19 2005 - 07:06:48 PST


>For your workshop, consider introducing your students to the artwork
>of Andy Goldsworthy. He has a web site and PBS did a two hour movie
>about his work. It was terrific. Also, you might want to look at the
>writings of Peter London, an art educator who advocates integrating
>the natural environment into the art curriculum.

appreciate the suggestions much, thank you...will want to take time this
summer to investigate various options, informations. This course may become
an annual offering and like anything else be streamlined for improvements
over time.

I've been reading and familiarizing myself more and more with art fields
related to the environment such as "ecological artists"...and speaking with
one of our sciences teachers yesterday plucked his interest. The potential
for greater aesthetic appreciation for one with a broader greater knowledge
base such as our natural environment was quite interesting and inviting to
him.

>Consider that computer generated art's aesthetic is fleeting and
continuous.
>It is not the same as traditional art. This doesn't make it any less
effective...
>it is stream of consciousness, it is ongoing, it moves to a different beat.
It
>can be impulsive, fast, short and in and out. This is a different way of
doing
>things that is foreign to many of us...but does that approach or method
make
>it anyless meaningful, powerful....It is just different and perhaps in time
you
>will learn to appreciate the fleeting, rapid fire, impulsive, spontaneous,
quick,
>direct, honest, momentary aesthetic process that can sometimes characterize
>computer art..

No question that aesthetics can be and are a part of this whole process. Of
course without the improvements of graphics alone, the level of exhilaration
in many of todays games would be missed. I myself enjoy popping in Madden
2005, and it can be addicting.

The problem is...I think kids are geared or wired quite naturally to take in
aesthetics in small quick fleeting bytes, as they are wired to do near
everything like that. I do have some concerns that we overly build and play
to what amounts to justifiable impatience. So much of our society today
exists on an immediate sensate gratification level...and I don't personally
see the ability to take in a moment's appreciation contributing to any great
thing. Oh...its good the student can recognize they just enjoyed something,
and better why...but this fleeting thing also carries an element of "so
what?" and "who cares!" Mention..."yeah...it was cool" shrug, and run off
to the next thing that offers a measure of fun.

Take a sculpture. Why pay out $12,000 for bronze sculpture?

I have this discussion frequently with my students because my work is often
on my own personal easel, and ends up going to one of five galleries. "How
much is that one, Mr. Seiler?" is often a frequent question.

Money is always of primary interest while I hardly give it a passing
thought. Value in our society often is the dollar sign, but the intrinsic
aesthetic value is what we press for that a thing has worth based on the
time, the dignity, the passion, the uniqueness, its contribution, the
lifelong commitment to personal development on the part of the artist to
enable him/herself to create such works and so forth.

Whey I say a piece will be priced around $2400...there is often the "yikes!"
expression. I have one piece I bring in every other year or so which I have
that won a prestigious competition worth about $17,000 today and naturally
we can expect the reaction would be, "who would pay that much for art?"

The problem with fleeting moments and fleeting aesthetics is that the
student themselves do not place a high intrinsic value on such and it
disconnects them from the idea of long term growing appreciation. After
all...something that hangs on a wall or sits on the floor in the corner,
"gee... I could ride my snowmobile all winter long for what that costs!"
What value, what joy does such a thing offer in a world of sound bytes and
fleeting moments?

Of course...the answer is we need balance, and I'm preaching to the choir
here. I know you know that. I'm just sharing that nagging incessant burden
that lurks within that always is testing and pressing kids to move beyond
their self-centered "now" and "me" evaluations to assess value.

>Have you tried using Painter? This is a more expressive computer program
>that creates simulations of "real art tools" and adds the capabilities of
computing
>with it. Many computer artists are gravatating to this program. Also many
use a
>digital drawing tablet.

I would love to play with it Diane, absolutely. Unfortunately I have not.
I've seen impressive results.

I have visited and have the students visit www.digitalart.org and encourage
anyone to do so. There are some absolutely wonderful works there. I do own
a Wacom digital tablet and wireless stylus, and am looking to buy a number
of them for my students. I've been quite impressed with what artists have
done using the computer as a tool and working freehand.

I have an older son (28 years of age) that is a professional artist but is
just now attending the Chicago American Art Academy on a scholarship. He is
well known internationally for his caricaturing on a high end level, doing
many magazine covers and such.

Jason had two cartoon strips of his own for a number of years out of a
Chicago based international magazine...and went from drawing and coloring
his own freehand, to drawing and photoshop color by scan. More efficient
for the magazine. Many artists that did that, and used the computer have
opted to go back to freehand. Seems the current trend. However, in all
that time Jason did not have a digital tablet. When he saw mine and gave it
a test run, he was quite envious.

It really is a must to have such a tool as a tablet to return that tactile
total control feeling of drawing and creating. I did a caricature of Jason
with the tablet and stylus totally freehand, not pulling a photo into and
building up but more traditionally with a light sketch and so forth. Like
many caricaturists, Jason has a "Me" page where other caricaturist friends
exchange the doing of caricatures of each other. Jason has my digital
caricature of him, using only Photoshop 7.0 but with the stylus and pad.
I'll share that....here, take care..

http://www.jasonseiler.com/megallery/fullsize25.html

Larry S

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