Thursday, October 25, 2007

RANT of the Week: STYLE

After many conversations with artists about the merits of style in art, I believe that a misconception exists among many artists: the idea that “realism” is outside the realm of style. Most designers I've known tend to categorize designs as either realistic or stylized.

The truth of the matter is that any type of art, no matter how realistic, is only approximating what we see in reality. As artists, we’re interpreting two-dimensionally the response that our eyes and brains have to what we see in life. Images that approximate three-dimensional distance, perceived color, lighting exposure, and visual organization, are really using stylistic modes of representation (like perspective) to approximate a complex visual experience.

This is why I believe there's no such category as "realism" in art. Everything is stylized. Even photos or movies contain only a fraction of the information our eyes and brains unconsciously calculate and organize when we see something. Even the most "realistic" drawings and paintings are still stylized representations of what we see.

Just to be clear, I don't think this means that attempting to give the audience a “realistic” experience is futile, but that we should approach it with this attitude: rather than believing wrongly that we are reaching the impossible goal of realism, we should design with the knowledge that no matter what, stylization of some sort will be the final result. Once an artist understands this, he may use his knowledge of design to manipulate what the audience sees and thereby control how the audience reacts.

Anyway, I'd like to hear what other people think about this idea. I'm still developing my art theories, so feel free to post comments in rebuttal if you see flaws in my arguments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Water Nymph

Also for Don's class. This was a brushes assignment: I was supposed to create some new brushes and paint a picture using them. I wanted to do something that was part Gustav Klimt, part Krista Huot. If you ever feel tempted to do the same, don't. It was a lot harder than I expected. I wanted to take it a lot farther, but I'm so tired of working on it now, I'm declaring it done.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Old Witch

Originally this was an assignment for Don's class, but I was having so much fun with it that I thought it would make a good topic for the Avalanche blog. I feel like the colors and values could still use a bit of work, but I'm very happy with her owl-old lady design and the gnarly hands.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Friday drawing session

Trying something a little different with the model this time---a little more stylization re-posing to bring out a more design-oriented drawing than usual.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stone Golem

Did this for a paper texture assignment for Don's class. I'm happy with most of it, but the mud could be better. It was still a good learning experience, though.