Please allow for some nonintrusive advertising. I present: My book! It already has a one star review. Here’s my press release:
Modern art* is difficult. Modern art is controversial. A lot of people say modern art is bad. Look up “modern art” on YouTube, and you’ll see a significant amount of people who disapprove of it. Maybe you do, too. I argue that modern art is an important part of our culture, and that art education at schools should include modern forms of making art.
When I was a school student, I loved my art classes. We were taught to draw or paint buildings, animals, landscapes and people. The main premise was, at least during my first years of school, to get the perspective and the proportions right. Basically, I was taught to draw as realistically as possible. But mimicking reality is not what art is about. It’s about reflecting reality. This can be done via a lot of methods, including (but not limited to) visual art.
This book will show you how you can create modern artworks without a giant budget. This book is full of rather sloppy drawings instead of polished Photoshop stuff: I intentionally chose to publish the ideas in the raw state. This book is about ideas, not about products or existing artworks. This book is a mess. At the same time it’s a practical guide, with included explanations as to why this specific idea works as a modern artwork. It’s supposed to inspire you to make your own artworks and exhibit them. You may use these ideas for your installations. Whether you’re a new aspiring artist, an art teacher or someone who likes thinking about art – you will be able to follow my thoughts, and get your own value out of it.
Since this book is not a novel, there is no need to read it in a linear way. It’s made for browsing and thinking.
*I’m using the term Modern Art when referring to modern in general, as opposed to modernism as the time period extending from the 1860s to the 1970s.
Here I am, back again. After a long time of silence: Hello again, dear readership. You might have arrived at this blog via my Instagram, in that case here’s a brief update:
This blog, and this URL, have been around for many years, but I relaunched the blog and got rid of all old entries. There will be a book called “Common People”, and it will contain things I wrote between 2013 and 2014. Anyhow, who cares about my blog, when the average attention span is something like 0,4 seconds? Instagram is probably the better way to go, but I promise you that I will at least consider a blog post more often from now on.
Manager Woman: Our store managers report customers entering the premises. Gianni Versace: Can you speak louder, please? Manager Woman: I’m sorry. Uh I was saying, customers are discussing the dresses, but not buying them. Gianni Versace: Even after all that publicity? They celebrate my sister, but they don’t buy the dress? I don’t understand. Manager Woman: We are in the midst of a global downturn. Customers are turning away from grandeur and showmanship. They want simplicity and practicality. Gianni Versace: Who wouldn’t want the dress that made my sister a star? Manager Woman: I can only comment on the numbers, and the numbers are bad. Donatella Versace: Hmm, perhaps the dress is perfect for the red carpet, but we need a simpler version for the customer. Gianni Versace: One design, two dresses? Donatella Versace: Yes, one dress to catch the headlines, to get the attention, and another one to be worn. Gianni Versace: Okay. (BOX SLAMS) Donatella Versace: Gianni, please don’t start. I’m only reacting to the sales. Gianni Versace: I’m reacting to the sales as well. Tell me, what do you want to remove? Donatella Versace: Do you want to sell nothing? Is that acceptable for a business? Gianni Versace: Tell me what do you want me to remove from the dress that you and I made. Tell me. Donatella Versace: You want me to wear the dress and talk about female empowerment, and then keep my mouth shut when we are in the studio. Gianni Versace: No, Donatella, a design is a design. It has a heart. It has a soul. It is whole. Donatella Versace: And there is a place for that, on the runway. But there also has to be a place for a woman to be able to wear a dress and not feel uncomfortable. Gianni Versace: Feel uncomfortable? Donatella Versace: Not every woman wants to be the center of attention. Gianni Versace: Well, then this is not the dress for them! Donatella Versace: Why does everything have to be so extreme? Gianni Versace: Why are you whispering?! Donatella Versace: Why are you shouting? Gianni Versace: Am I being patronized? Donatella Versace: All I’m saying is that we are a fashion house, and we have to make clothes that people want to wear. That’s all I’m saying. Gianni Versace: Madame, what are you wearing? That-that-that neat little suit? – Armani, yes? Manager Woman: Well, you cannot expect me to give a sales presentation wearing this. Gianni Versace: Huh? Wearing this? Donatella Versace: What? Gianni Versace: Okay. Donatella Versace: What are you doing? Gianni. (MUTTERING) Stop. Gianni. Gianni Versace: Now. Now. Now it sells? Now it’s gonna sell? It’s gonna sell more, this little black dress? Is it normal enough? – Is it normal enough? – (CLATTERING) (HUFFS) Donatella Versace: Gianni. Gianni Versace: What is it? Donatella Versace: Gianni, you are too tired. Gianni Versace: I can’t, I can’t hear you. I can’t Do you hear her? Antonio D’Amico: I can hear her perfectly. Gianni Versace: I can’t hear you either. I can’t I can’t hear. I can’t hear. Donatella Versace: Call a doctor. Manager Woman: I’m gonna get a doctor. (CRYING): Donatella, I can’t hear. Gianni Versace: Donatella, I can’t hear, I can’t hear. Donatella Versace: It’s okay.
Transcript from American Crime Story Season 2 Episode 7 (Ascent)
Yesterday I watched the seventh episode of American Crime Story’s second season (Versace) and it got me thinking about the struggle that gay men are facing so often. Inner conflicts tied to the situation of being gay in a straight society can be dramatic, and can escalate badly, if an individual feels threatened and paralyzed by society. In the above mentioned episode, a closeted gay man murders his flirt (an elderly man who is openly gay) in an extremely brutal way.
The elderly man didn’t do anything wrong, on the contrary, he is being very kind and inviting, but in a way he represents the forbidden world and points directly to the internal conflict of the closeted man. Not only does he point to the conflict, he activates an intense impulse, so upon a single little touch the closeted man goes from a fight-or-flight state into savage mode in no time and slays his victim with a piece of heavy table decoration.
The way he carries out the murder, it seems like tons of stored pressure is being released. The conflict has been growing over time, reaching unbearable dimensions.
To point out the obvious: There would be no internal conflict associated with homosexuality, if it wasn’t for rigid expectations of the general society. Society has a problem with anything that’s different, unless it can profit from the difference in any way. The world seems cruel sometimes.
Homosexuals are not the only ones facing this kind of problem, but they’re among the first and most clearly outlined groups that come to mind. Some people might feel like they’re not allowed to be different, for all kinds of reasons, so they get tense and unhappy. They try to kill themselves, or they kill other people. In smoother cases, they remain closeted for life, which, in turn, can wake disrespect or disgust among their fellow gay men (who are openly gay). So you can either be a) openly gay and have a problem with the society or b) closeted gay and have a problem with the gay community — and, more importantly, with your own self.
Now, the Versace story took place in USA in the 90s. These days in Europe the overall situation should be more relaxed, though it might be a lukewarm compromise rather than a true embrace of deviations from the average.
I rarely find myself in a conflict with what society expects from me, except for my deep aversion of bureaucracy and its consequences. If I were a homosexual man, I’d probably find a way to live my identity in a way that wouldn’t get me into trouble. It all starts with the right people, and with turning away from wrong people.
Tony Robbins has many jobs, but he’s mostly a motivational coach. Unlike thousands of other motivational coaches he has a direct and immediate wisdom, without any bullshit. I’m grateful I found him. Not that I need coaching.
What he’s saying: If you want to achieve something, you should know that wanting is not enough (and at the same time too much). Wanting to get in shape by going to the gym won’t get you far. You’ll need willpower to go on with your New Year’s resolutions, and willpower never lasts. Most people ditch their resolutions by January 16th.
If you want to get somewhere, you don’t need force. Take a look at what you have already achieved: a degree or your own home, a job or a won competition. Things you have achieved are part of your standards, and thus of your identity. If you think know you’re someone who has or needs a degree, you will get a degree. Your standards make you you. It’s so simple that it makes me dizzy.
Since about a year now I’ve been posting things on Instagram. In the meantime I was watching what everybody else was doing. It took me a long while to realize that not everybody is doing boring stuff. What I consider boring is sticking to the same genre and even subject, doing the same thing over and over again. Someone will only post landscapes, someone else will only post food pictures.
I’m not saying that sticking to the same theme is bad, it can be good in a meditative sense, of seeing a theme in different variations, or light, or perspective. The problem is only that I doubt that people would do it for awareness reasons.
During my research I stumbled upon Instagram groups, which are called pods in the insider circles. This pod thing is going nuts right now, it’s all over Facebook, in fact I think this is getting absurd. Consider the following picture:
The point of the whole thing: If you have a group of people who have similar accounts, they can support each other by engaging in others’ posts. The goal is, as so often, to get more followers, likes and such.
Ultimately this means that all these people are taking their landscape photos, being in a niche, so they can increase their public exposure (to put it nicely).
Now, as a consequence, I feel myself trapped in a conflict: What should you go for, consistency or personal integrity (authenticity)? Are you serving an audience or are you being yourself? Both is kind of legit, I don’t need to explain the being yourself thing, and doing something for an audience makes sense because social relevance is a good point — your work should matter to someone else, that’s why it’s public.
Doesn’t matter how long I think about it, I think that if you want more followers, the content of your stuff doesn’t matter. That thing you’re doing becomes irrelevant.
Of course, you might object, most people don’t do so much thinking. They want fame, and they’re trying to get it. However, as Tony Robbins (who once coached Steve Jobs among others) said, “Wants don’t (consistently) get you anywhere, standards do.” Your follower number can’t be your standard. I actually need to write a separate article about this.
One fine day I saw an interview with Ricky Martin, right after which the interviewer went nuts because she was a huge fan of Ricky Martin. While she was expressing her admiration by going like “Oh my God”, thinking that the camera is off, Ricky Martin was watching the whole spectacle and smiling. Eventually everybody noticed that they were still on air, and started freaking out collectively.
Cute story, but anyhow, Ricky Martin was giving an interview, and it evolved around the 2nd season of American Crime Story, which he was part of. It’s about the assassination of Gianni Versace.
So I went on to watch the American Crime Story trailer and found it so beautiful that it instantly caught my attention. Then I watched several documentaries about Gianni Versace and his killer Andrew Cunanan.
Shortly after, I watched the second episode (accidentally) of American Crime Story, and then the first (and then the third). This non-linear viewing felt natural, as the narrative time of the story is fragmented anyway.
Before I say anything more, see for yourself. Things have to do with vibes and so on.