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One Imagination empowers the current and next generation of leaders through written and oral expression. As a collective based in the Long Beach/South Bay area, we believe that through conscious artistic programming, community education and outreach, and leadership development, we can cultivate a world free of hatred, ignorance, injustice, inequality, and oppression.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ryan's Random thoughts at work

I am attempting to work on curriculum for art and the question crosses my mind, what is art? Ahh the eternal question that some really struggle with and snobs utter in public to sound deep. But really If I am teaching art, how in the hell do i explain what art is? Or how does one explain the undefinable. As I browse countless art teacher curriculum pages I stumble across one site in particular that sheds some light on my intended destination. Attempting to read the volumes of information on the page i get it, art is not about looking like art. It is not the practice of copying something down and then shouting proudly i have created art. Art is about the creative process and how one creates something that has never existed before. I have no great experience with art, I took a few classes in high school and that was it, but perhaps that is an advantage. I hate looking at classical art, i would rather just gaze at the graffiti as i ride the Blue line, and maybe thats because visual art, like music and poetry are about connection. Classical art is about a time period long ago for people dead and gone. Does it speak to us as people of that time period understood it?
How do i facilitate the creative process? How do i attempt to teach without teaching imitation? A few thoughts as i try to figure this out.


jumakae said...

Thank you for posting this. I have a group presentation in class revolving around the topic of "Unrecognized Women in Art and Politics" and I asked everyone to come up with a definition that interrelates politics and art. Can they be? Innovative and radical ideas introduced in a political setting is creativity at work, and although it may not be visual is it still considered art when it is verbally articulated? I also have to agree with you with graffiti - we have demonized it so much when we forget the roots of it. Many may stereotype it as a way for gangs to claim territories when we forget how much of an art form others have made it to be, such as hanging over freeways or even risking their lives to bring messages to the world (ie Banksy). However, we are all artists - most people don't realize it and we just need to give them the opportunity to express themselves, to step out of the boundaries of what art has already been defined as and redefine it in our own ways. Others will either imitate what was once created (classical!!) or follow the pathless path which we have chosen! Question 'authority' and what they claim to be true. Peace

matt said...

In a sociological perspective, art is defined by a collective, that it requires the individuals or a convention to decide what is artistic in order to make it art. To claim that a object/performance is artistic requires criticism that could either reinforce or hinder the form being tested. To be called art requires status diffusion, which can only be obtained by another person's compliment/criticism. Status diffusion is the same idea of complimenting a person based on what he/she does. "Because you help others, you are nice." People tell you that you are a nice person, you cannot just compliment or think to yourself that you are a nice person. People have the power to control who you are in society and what you become in society based on your background, which is exactly why not every person can become President of the U.S. because you would only be nominated on your characteristics based on your Race, Gender, Sex, Class, etc.

i.e. If you were (and I only stereotype this example to prove my point) Mexican, short, and female, and you went into the employment offices looking for a job, my guess is that they would offer you jobs such as Fast Food worker, housemaid, gardener, cook, etc. Status diffusion such as being "Mexican," "short," and "female."

Even art can be stereotyped. For one, who may know very little of art, can assume that a painting that "looks artistic" can be assumed to be valuable, even though that may not be potentially true. Sophistication does not equal value, only complexity.

The reason why graffiti is gang-related isn't just because of the media's criticism on the "public violating" art form but also from competition amongst rival gangs and individual's status diffusion. In my opinion, the only thing I think graffiti harms are public areas and objects, otherwise, it's a beautiful form of street art that requires no formal teaching, it's expressed through personal style, even when copied. People relate graffiti to gangs and negativity because of the people the art involves. If you look at the characteristics of people, you'll assume/stereotype that they are colored, poor, uneducated, deviant, etc. These characteristics are looked down upon society based on a level of hierarchy, in which is controlled by upper class. A sociologist named Cecilia Ridgeway created Matrix Diagram that models this concept of stereotypes, yet I'll explain that another day...

Therefore you cannot always claim what you create as artistic to others, but it can always be artistic to yourself even when people do not agree.

-matt n.