Art’s sake

I can’t tell the difference between a Van Gogh and a Monet. Never could. Though I did study art in school I never got the hang of appreciating art which didn’t look real enough for me. I really don’t care to try and figure out what the artist was trying to say. If he wants to get a point across to me, he has to hit me on the head with a reality hammer. Even my wife accuses me of not being able to read between the lines. Somehow I have gotten by without it so far and now I don’t feel the need to look for deeper meanings when in all probability it doesn’t exist.

So recently when a client came to get a catalog made for an art exhibition in Ahmadabad, I didn’t pay too much attention to matching the colors except the usual look at the sample. It looked right enough. But according to the client, the six-a.m.-misty-morning-smoggy-orange-at-the-base-of-the-mountain didn’t turn out the way the artist had painted it. It was closer to the seven-a.m. version. The man was not happy. He admonished me long and hard about how the change in shade would completely undermine what the artist had originally intended for his viewers to experience.

Woop-di-doo! I wish I had paid more attention in class. Not that it would have made any difference in this case but I least I would have been able to argue with the man about the various themes he went harping on about. Most of these paintings my two-year old daughter could have painted better. It took every ounce of imagination I have to figure out that the stick figure, pregnant tribal woman was coming out of a lily in the painting and that somehow the title ‘rebirth’ meant rebirth for both the woman and her would be offspring, and I told him so. The man stared at me as if I was a retard who couldn’t grasp the obvious. The whole painting had maybe ten or twelve strokes total, and pretty shaky ones at that. I have never seen an orange lily. ‘But that’s the whole point,’ my client told me, ‘the orange colour also symbolizes morning, another kind of rebirth for earth. And now its ruined.’

But I think he will come back again. Because when he was done with his litany, it was my turn. I took him to the press floor and showed him how the system actually works. I went on about changes in color due to humidity, atmospheric pressure, temperature – even down to the mood of the operator who may inadvertently have pushed the yellow and the magenta levers one notch higher. I explained to him that even if he was to get the same job printed twice at different times and using the same plates, there would always be some variation. We have no way to control what the dye manufacturer mixed for that particular batch. Then I explained that while the artist may have had hundreds of thousands of colors to choose from his palette, we had only four and all the rest of them had to be ‘birthed’ from them.

Then I told him how much it would cost, both in terms of his money and his efforts, to get absolute color calibration done for his job. I mean, we could do it if he wanted to pay for it. Suddenly, the variation didn’t seem that much to him. And now we are both happy.

Comments

  1. Bro.

    It looks like you’ve kind of decided that “art” is just random and the people who see more into it than there seems have nothing better to do with their time. Hmm. It’s worthwhile to sometimes just sit and stare at a work of art for long periods of time. Trust me, meanings start pouring out. And it will look bigger than it seems. Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters. It’s only a fantasy that one day I shall be in a position to acquire an actual Van Gogh. Ah… what a day that will be. Indeed.

    View art with an open mind. It cannot be viewed any other way. If you see it, I mean really see it, you will emotion like never before.

    It’s like meditation. By merely closing your eyes you are not meditating. There’s a great deal more to it than that.

    mic

  2. Bro.

    It looks like you’ve kind of decided that “art” is just random and the people who see more into it than there seems have nothing better to do with their time. Hmm. It’s worthwhile to sometimes just sit and stare at a work of art for long periods of time. Trust me, meanings start pouring out. And it will look bigger than it seems. Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters. It’s only a fantasy that one day I shall be in a position to acquire an actual Van Gogh. Ah… what a day that will be. Indeed.

    View art with an open mind. It cannot be viewed any other way. If you see it, I mean really see it, you will emotion like never before.

    It’s like meditation. By merely closing your eyes you are not meditating. There’s a great deal more to it than that.

    mic

  3. Hmm, I disagree. Art is supposed to be a window to the artist’s world. It is not supposed to be a mirror. If you stare long and hard at anything, meanings will start to materialize. But that is not the art, that is your own personality reading into it. It is retrospective but does not say anything about the art or the artist, just about yourself.

    For me, I don’t want to look at abstract shapes and colors to create meanings that are based on my own thoughts. I want to be able to see through to the artist’s own heart and be able to feel his thoughts. Can’t do that with abstract because all interpretations in it are fabricated by my own mind. I already know who I am and how I feel, I would much rather delve into the artist mind and imagination. No matter how hard I will look at sunflowers in a vase, it won’t mean anything more than what is there – sunflowers in a vase.

  4. Hmm, I disagree. Art is supposed to be a window to the artist’s world. It is not supposed to be a mirror. If you stare long and hard at anything, meanings will start to materialize. But that is not the art, that is your own personality reading into it. It is retrospective but does not say anything about the art or the artist, just about yourself.

    For me, I don’t want to look at abstract shapes and colors to create meanings that are based on my own thoughts. I want to be able to see through to the artist’s own heart and be able to feel his thoughts. Can’t do that with abstract because all interpretations in it are fabricated by my own mind. I already know who I am and how I feel, I would much rather delve into the artist mind and imagination. No matter how hard I will look at sunflowers in a vase, it won’t mean anything more than what is there – sunflowers in a vase.

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