THESHADOWBOX.NET

Miscellaneous Ephemera => Scream Of Consciousness => Grey Matters => Topic started by: Kelley on October 30, 2009, 05:38:03 PM

Title: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Kelley on October 30, 2009, 05:38:03 PM
Hello all,

I have to write a HUGE paper for my English class this year (it has to be persuasive), and I'm thinking about doing something about the values of making "commercial art" (for lack of a better term) versus "art for art's sake".

Is it more important for an artist to create things that are in high demand so that they can make a profit, even if it's not something that they feel strongly about, or is it more important for artists to create for themselves, even if it doesn't sell?

I know how I feel about this (i personally am pro-art for art's sake), but I was wondering what everyone else thought about it.. Just thought it would be a good topic for discussion.

ALSO. if anyone has read any books about this topic, or magazine articles or anything, could you please let me know? I need some sources for this.. so far I have three books:

- The Gift by Lewis Hyde
- Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deavere Smith
- Why Are Artists Poor? by Hans Abbing

That's all so far. so please let me know if you know of any other sources that I could use. Also, please discuss, i'd love to get a good thread about it going!

You guys are all the best!

Kelley
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: The Angel Raliel on October 30, 2009, 05:52:32 PM
personally I create because I am driven to do so and am terrible at chargining for my creativity.... there is a fine line to walk between producing art and having a commercial outlet and producing commercial aesthetic items, which take no real thought or truly creative process....
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Kelley on October 30, 2009, 06:07:36 PM
yes, the first chapter of one of the books that i'm reading analyzes romance novels.
there have been studies done that show exactly what kind of romantic storyline middle aged women like the most.
there have been studies done that show exactly what kind of romantic cover art middle aged women like the most.

companies pump these books out like there's no tomorrow simply because THEY SELL. the authors have no say in the creative process or the writing whatsoever. it's not truly THEIR creation.. but they make a shitload of money off of it.

and us sane people are the ones who walk by the books in drugstores and supermarkets and are disturbed by exactly how many fabio lookalikes there are on the covers, and wonder how people could ever read books with titles like, seducing the vampire. i kid you not, i saw that one the other day.

(p.s. i'm not knocking romance novels, if someone's heart and soul are put into writing them, then i appreciate that even though it may not be my favorite. and i recognize and commend them for being creative and expressing themselves. it's just this generic, heartless, money-making deal that's got me worked up.)
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Kelley on October 31, 2009, 04:57:51 AM
so i guess the most difficult thing for me will be coming up with a counter argument..
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: tw2113 on October 31, 2009, 03:55:05 PM
Why can't an artist be on the line between? Make some art for personal artistic reasons as well as create some on commission for others. If I recall right, the great renaissance artists did that frequently.
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Kelley on October 31, 2009, 05:55:30 PM
Why can't an artist be on the line between? Make some art for personal artistic reasons as well as create some on commission for others. If I recall right, the great renaissance artists did that frequently.
d

very true, but will the art that is commissioned be as pure and as genuine as the art that is not? or i guess the question is more, CAN it be as genuine as the art for art's sake?
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: tw2113 on October 31, 2009, 06:05:30 PM
it can really depend. Are you being restricted by what the commissioner wants and does that person dictate the final results(usually true), or did they let you have free reign on all aspects and pay you in the end.
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Kelley on October 31, 2009, 06:15:06 PM
let's go with the latter for now. is art made differently if there's still creativity involved, simply because it's being paid for?
so if someone asked you to create anything that you wish, and they were going to pay you for it, would it still be more restricted than if no one was requesting or paying for anything and you were creating it just because you had the inspiration?
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: tw2113 on October 31, 2009, 07:17:28 PM
I don't think creativity is stiffled or necessarily tainted when you have absolute free reign. The only area may be mentally as you'd be at least somewhat keeping in mind that you want it liked.
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Kelley on October 31, 2009, 09:30:32 PM
i don't know. for me there's just always this pressure when I'm being paid to make something geared toward the person who is paying for it, even if they say that I can absolutely do whatever I want.. A lot of the things that I create for myself I would never ever have made for someone else who was paying for them, even if I personally love them beyond belief. i always feel like i have this odd and unwritten obligation to please before letting my creativity take over. maybe that's just me.
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: J_Beck on November 03, 2009, 01:19:45 PM
Are you talking art as in design for commercial?  Or art specifically made for the "fine art world's" current tastes?
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Morpheus Laughing on November 03, 2009, 06:18:54 PM
Good point… (1)Commercial reproduced art for the masses, (2) meeting the preferences of art collectors. I’ll cover the first point for now but I can think of some things to say about the latter. I’ll focus on some counter arguments even though I am personally uncomfortable producing anything creative on spec…..

There is commercial art that is mostly used for marketing. Typically it is reproduced digitally and in print, perhaps it is broadcast on television etc. There is also mass produced ornamental/decorative art that people buy for their homes. This category might be expanded to include designs that are found repeat-printed on garments, greeting cards and so on. It is possible to go on to further categorise these things and others but I’ll leave it there.

Now a few points to consider about artists working in these areas:

A)
There are artists that delight in their ability to reproduce popular effects and use the exercise to emotionally explore the ideas of the styles and themes. This passion is equally artistic but could easily be shunned for an apparent lack of unique creativity. This brings to mind the issue of the Intentionalists and Anti-Intentionalists. How important is it that we bring the intention of an artist into our experience of the art? It’s open to debate with most people falling somewhere in the divide. If we saw a stylistic imitation before the original, would we reject it as less beautiful? Is the beauty there or not and how much is the observer bringing to it?

An Anti-intentionalist might argue that it is the non-representational aspects we should consider when viewing artwork. This means that illustrative ideas do much less for art than compositional ideas (lines, shapes and colours) do. I suppose that from this extreme viewpoint you could ignore the cliché illustrative component of book covers etc and see if there is compositional merit beneath it. However sometimes the intention is what people identify as constituting the art. I guess that this separation could allow people to take entirely different attitudes towards making art. The illustrative demand need not intrude upon the sentiments of certain types of artists. If you look at other art disagreements you’ll find that the flexibility of the definition of art will allow wriggle room for accepting and rejecting certain things as art.

B) There is an issue of possible desensitisation that might be an effect of experiencing too much of one sort of art. That area might be worth considering, but it has been argued that art (or at least good or great art) grows more beautiful to the observer over time. If you accept this as an aspect of the definition of (good or great) art, it would be possible to claim that commercial art that does not do grow with the observer can be dismissed as not being (good or great) art. In that case, you could ask, “does the art need to be all that good?” Does an artist need or want to spend time planning a composition that is intended to be disposable? If that is the case, maybe an artist is deliberately separating their artistic investment from their technical skill and it is we as uniformed observers who are wilfully defining it as bad art. The artist might be content to use their skills on non-emotionally demanding work.

C)Related to the above point: Items of visual interest may or may not depend on a great deal of artistic input. For instance, it is possible to produce technically beautiful objects/images by deploying simple mathematical rules. This is an example of where the boundaries of art and non-art can be difficult to differentiate. With some creative outputs, you will see technical creativity surpassing expressive creativity. This might be because the creator has an engineering background that lends itself to the blur of art and mathematics. It is possible, although I would say unfair, to criticise this type of creative output for it’s inhuman element. It is perfectly reasonable to concede that a passion for (say) geometry could add something uniquely emotional to the work.

To explore this point further you could look at “so called” computer creativity. It is has been argued that computers can be viewed as behaving creatively when running certain programmes. If you were to accept that computers were behaving creatively, you could then ask at what point does creativity count as art. It is a minefield of consciousness questions so you might just ask questions such as “why can’t art be prescriptive? Is art more valuable when spontaneous?” Again, potentially a minefield of questions.     

D) It is possible for a prolific artist to assemble massive bodies of work that might match a commission or require very minimal amounts of modification to do so. The pressure to produce on demand might not exist for these individuals. A proficient Artist with a passion for sci-fi/fantasy/horror might be perfectly content with the types of work they are doing because what is required matches what they symbolically expect of the genres. Some Artists in those areas do seem to have quite some freedom.

E) Do artists, that have trouble delivering upon request, lack self-belief or over analyse the request? Maybe. I know a guy who told me that his art instructor would screw up pieces of the student’s work so that they wouldn’t feel uptight about making mistakes. Once they accepted that their work was expendable, they were free to generate many ideas and develop the best ones at a later stage.

I don’t know if any of the above makes sense…. Might have to tidy it later. :-\
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: imaginary friend on November 03, 2009, 08:41:37 PM
let's go with the latter for now. is art made differently if there's still creativity involved, simply because it's being paid for?
so if someone asked you to create anything that you wish, and they were going to pay you for it, would it still be more restricted than if no one was requesting or paying for anything and you were creating it just because you had the inspiration?

are you familiar with patronage?

#@!
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: J_Beck on November 03, 2009, 10:05:55 PM
Hell my work for myself or to make into series etc. is all the same.

As for getting hired to do something you basically take their requirements and bend that into your style so they get what they want but you can still see yourself in it, not just random photo A in my case.

As for your comment about art being more beautiful, beauty can have nothing to do with many forms of art, maybe I will take up the old art history/theory style writing on this topic but that will be later if I get inspired  ;)

Form and Content, and you can be anywhere on the spectrum between the 2, many great works are the idea over the actual physical piece.
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: Morpheus Laughing on November 04, 2009, 12:27:10 PM
Beauty, admittedly, does not cover all art. The “family resemblance” nature of art makes it difficult to pin down an ideal terminology. You get the gist…

As for form and content: If an artist has hang-ups about surrendering control of any area of their work, it will suffer (as will the artist). If it tears you up inside to convey a cliché, you are far less likely to succeed or it will cause you so much stress that you will think twice before trying again.  I guess the hard-to-heed solution is - avoid turning the work into a struggle of competing wills. This is not always easy when the clients like to haggle and you have to feel extra confident that what you have created is good enough.     
Title: Re: "Commercial Art" vs. "Art for Art's Sake"
Post by: roboticvampire on November 07, 2009, 09:45:52 PM
Coming from the perspective of an artist, I think that it's important to balance what your ideal output is with how it will be perceived and received by the public.  If you create for fun and are basically a hobbyist, it's not as important to always have this in mind as someone who does it for a living, but it's important nonetheless.  The point isn't to make something that is commercially viable but to make something that is good, and the audience/consumer has to factor into the equation.  Good art should elicit an emotional response, so understanding your audience and tailoring your work to create that response is how you make good art.  Pure creative output that resonates with people and is good is actually a rare thing and difficult to repeat, which is why university programs that focus on the arts (I majored in creative writing by the way) deal with practice, analysis, and revision.  The initial creative impulse is always present, but it's also important to identify what works and what doesn't, which initially feels like creating with commercial viability in mind.  To an extent it is, but it stops when you have to sacrifice the initial artistic vision, and when you focus on the audience before the art.  Pure art for art's sake is going to be hit and miss, and pure art for commercial gain is going to be crap, as art, but still likely be enjoyed (since it exists solely to fulfill the audience's desires).  The best art, that's also successful, always comes from a balance between the two.