Friday, May 16, 2008

Accessible art

This week we received a note from Jonathan's art teacher that his art work will be on display at the North Penn high school for 2 nights in their gym. While this sounds like another brag about my son (and I do like bragging about his wonderful talent), it really is about something else entirely.

The art show was for the entire North Penn school district, from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. I was astounded as to the number of pieces of art that was on display. I know that North Penn is a huge school district but the amount of work that was on display from just high school students filled 4 long hallways filled with kiosks. Upon closer inspection I noticed that alot of the art work was digital photography and manipulation of photos.

Most of us have a certain level of creativity and we can imagine designs, pictures and ideas rather easily. Unfortunately, the problem we run into is that most of us can't draw worth a lick to express what ideas we have onto paper. So unless you can draw, sculpt or paint you are shit out of luck when it comes to creating art. (I'm excluding things like acting and writing as "art") Even with training and instruction the ability to create art is mostly innate. While artists will benefit from art schools and courses, unless you have that natural flair that someone like my son, Jonathan has to begin with, it usually won't improve your ability enough to make people notice or have the quality be acceptable to yourself. Most of us don't have that access to create our own art.

It's a shame really. While art is accessible in the sense that anyone can try it and do whatever they want without "rules", it isn't accessible enough that anyone can do what they want and translate what's in their head to the paper, canvas or clay. But after attending last night's show I'm starting to think that has changed.

Aside from clever internet pictures where you put your head on muscled body or make a cat say some funny things, photo-shopping and digital photo manipulation is making the creation of art more accessible to a new generation. You don't even have to have the ability to make a perfect circle because the computer will do it for you. Plus you can even do things that may not have even been possible to do with a traditional art medium. There were some really clever, scary, disturbing, moving and inspiring things that I saw some 14-18 year olds doing with their digital photos. While it may never gain true acceptance into the art world, it does allow us regular schmoes to express ourselves in areas that we couldn't do before.

With accessible art and tons of free internet porn for the next generation I don't feel so bad any more about global warming, peak oil production and depleted social security.


Paul said...

Interestingly, it turns out I'm as spastic with computer graphic type tolls as I am with manual visual arts. Although I am in fact a passable photographer. Good thing I write and talk reasonably well.

Brian said...

I wasn't talking about your generation- you're old and past your time