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Jun. 15th, 2006

Wondering about the difference between art and craft again.

I don't think of myself as an artist. I think of myself as a craftsman.

To me, an artist is someone who has a special indefinable talent that provides a special kind of aesthetic resonance in the audience. A craftsman is someone who uses the tools of the trade to create things which may have a beauty unto themselves, but have a function, a sense of the concrete rather than the abstract. A fine table, a piece of furniture. A well-written piece of code, a well-lit shot.

Yet when I look at the photography I've done, even though I use the tools of the trade, what I come up with is more in line with art than craft

I think of Ernie Kovacs, who was an absolutely amazing technician with the new world of video and the possibilities that opened up when you could record and play back. What he did was highly technical, but he also had a sense of comic genius that fused with that and created some amazing TV shows.

Is it high art? Not really. It was a TV show, and it's a definite thing of beauty, but it's not hanging in the Louvre with Goya.

It's part of the reason that I enjoy watching movies: I like to see the craft being executed. I really enjoy real behind-the-scenes DVD content.

Part of me longs to be an artist, longs to have the haughty recognition of an auteur. It's the same part of me that longs to be wealthy and have cool toys. Mostly I acknowledge it and move on, because I rather enjoy making things that have a function, things that get used, and I rather like the usedness of the things I do. Not actually a word, but a concept nonetheless.

Ferinstance: the digital effects in the movie. There is definitely both a craft (the using of the software tools) and an art (deciding what looks good and when it draws attention to itself too much). The tools are new and a bit cumbersome for me to use, but way cool tools to play with. The art... well, I think my heart is in the right place, and as I get to work with it more, I'll become more technically proficient. It's more the use of the digital effects to help tell the story, rather than guest starring as effect shots. I'm hoping that at least some of the effects will be completely missed-- most of them in fact. There are a couple that are pretty much impossible to miss, which was me being a bit heavy-handed (hey, still learning the tools, bite my shiny metal ass). But by and large, I think I showed admirable restraint. I most definitely got my favorite reaction from Fearless Leader, which is "wait a minute, did I just see..." (grabs DVD remote, rewinds)... "oh, cool!". I get bonus points in that I kept that particular bit of VFX secret, and that was so very hard.

There are also a couple of digital blood effects. Three of them actually, and they're really very small. Which I know gave avindair a breath of relief since I do like things a bit more visceral than his tastes, but really they were always intended to be accents more than anything. They came out to be a bit more like spices, kind of blending with the image and enhancing it without really becoming conscious of it.

avindair and g33kgoddess know where two of the blood effects are. I'm gonna let them find the third on their own.

I just watched this woman (KT Tunstall) on the Tonight Show who rocked my world. She showed up onstage with a bank of digital repeater pedals, programmed herself in realtime a bass percussion line, a tambourine part, and two parts of a background chorus, then sang over the whole thing with a kick-ass guitar and vocal part. Brought tears to my eyes.

The song is Black Horse and Cherry Tree, and it's yummy.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)
It was a TV show, and it's a definite thing of beauty, but it's not hanging in the Louvre with Goya.

Actually, most Goya paintings are in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. I think the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has more Goya pieces than the Louvre...

[/art nerd]
Jun. 15th, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
See, this is why I should have gone with DaVinci. I just thought it was too Dan Brown-ish.
Jun. 15th, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
And would multiple Goyas be known as Goyem?
Jun. 15th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
I hear good things about your buddy KT.

i had this idea that art is less by design, maybe more by divine.
craft is technique and pattern, the tiniest detail and all ducks in a row, rigid.

like knitting a sweater, big pattern, oodles of colours and rules. multiple needles and arms required. takes weeks. craft.

picking yarn for desired colour/texture and creating something unplanned, wow, it might be a sweater! magic. art.


but I know the art v. craft thing is a toughie for some people I know. sometimes the line between is so blurry it's not even there.
Jun. 15th, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
I've always seen film as collaborative art.
Jun. 15th, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
There is a significant difference between talent and skill, and there is no shame in having both, and knowing how to make them coexist.
That's the goal, I'd think...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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