Top 10 Films About Contemporary Art

Visiting art galleries and reading art magazines and books is great. But sometimes you just want to lie on your sofa with a cup of tea and relax watching a good movie. Now that it’s winter, you might feel this desire more often. A movie can be an art form and when it is a movie about great artists and art, it’s like watching ‘art squared’, so to speak. So don’t miss out, give it a try – you won’t be sorry.

Here is a list of movies about contemporary art to get you started. Some are old, some new, but all are really inspiring. I have listed the movies alphabetically, and I haven’t given any of them a personal rating since as far as I’m concerned, all of them are worth watching. This is just to inspire you to watch these films, and perhaps move on to others afterwards.

Art School Confidential

Who said anything about talent?

IMDb rating: 6.3

Director: Terry Zwigoff

Production year: 2006

This movie is a comedy rather than drama, and it focuses on the story of an art student who had spent all his life dreaming about being a great artist. Although the film makes fun of the contemporary art world in many respect, it also shows its attractive side, and gives an idea of the dedication artists can feel to their work.


In 1981, A Nineteen-Year-Old Unknown Graffiti Writer Took the New York Art World by Storm. The Rest Is Art History

IMDb rating: 6.8

Director: Julian Schnabel

Production year: 1996

This is an absolutely unforgettable movie about American street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It gives you a deep view of Basquiat’s world, his life, friends, love and works. Julian Schnabel is an artist himself, and so has personal experience of the world he’s looking into, something that adds an unusual and meaningful level of validity to the movie.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

The incredible true story of how the world’s greatest Street Art movie was never made…

IMDb rating: 8.2

Director: Banksy

Production year: 2010

It is brilliant movie, which keeps you guessing and puzzling right through to the end. At first sight you may think that the film is about street art documentary filmmaker Thierry Guetta, but actually it is about world famous graffiti artist Banksy. I won`t be surprised if after watching this film you want to hit the streets with a spray can.

Factory Girl

When Andy met Edie, life imitated art

IMDb rating: 6.1

Director: George Hickenlooper

Production year: 2006

Although the movie is dedicated to the life of underground film star Edie Sedgwick, and this aspect of it is certainly interesting, much of the appeal comes from his explored relationship with Andy Warhol. Watching the movie will give you the a fairly comprehensive impression of the Factory, a place where artists of any genre met and created what became a game-changing part of modern art.


Prepare to be seduced

IMDb rating: 7.3

Director: Julie Taymor

Production year: 2002

This is a fantastic biographical story about the life and work of an extraordinary and immensely strong woman, the well-known Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The film is like her works: colorful, full of love, powerful and unique.

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

IMDb rating: 6.2

Director: Steven Shainberg

Production year: 2006

This is a sincere look at the iconic American photographer Diane Arbus and her real love for Lionel Sweeney, who helped her to become an artist who came to help define photography in the twentieth century.

The Great Contemporary Art Bubble

IMDb rating: 7.3

Director: Ben Lewis

Production year: 2009

This is an extremely interesting BBC production, by a UK art critic, Ben Lewis. It will take you on a journey into the contemporary art world, with all its secrets. You will visit world famous auction houses and galleries, and even the homes of art collectors.

How to Draw a Bunny

IMDb rating: 7.2

Director: John W. Walter

Production year: 2002

This is a documentary about Ray Johnson, who has been called “New York’s most famous unknown artist,” and is about the mysteries of his life and art, and of course his influence on the Pop Art world.

My Left Foot

A film about life, laughter, and the occasional miracle

IMDb rating: 7.8

Director: Jim Sheridan

Production year: 1989

This is based on the fantastic true story of Christy Brown, painter and author, who could control only his left foot. It is the only film in this list that won 5 Academy Awards, – Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Brenda Fricker), Best Director (Jim Sheridan), Best Picture and Best Screenplay (Shane Connaughton and Jim Sheridan). With that recommendation, how can you fail to give it a go?


I thought I knew all the outstanding artists in New York and I don`t know Jackson Pollock

IMDb rating: 7.1

Director: Ed Harris

Production year: 2000

Wonderful movie about world famous American painter Jackson Pollock. This film demonstrates his great talent and difficult nature, and the way he tried to combine the two.

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Marketing – Art or Science?

Is marketing an art or a science? The answer is yes. Marketing is both – an art and a science. Enjoy this point and counter point about the art and science of marketing. Use the strengths of both arguments to better understand and improve your marketing.

Marketing Science
Marketing is a science because marketing is about understanding and influencing behaviors. Psychology, the science of behaviors, studies how people react to certain stimuli in predictable ways. This is similar to Newton’s’ third law – cause and effect. For every marketing action there is a reaction. The science is in anticipating the reactions to your actions.

Marketing Art
Marketing is an art because marketing is about appreciating the nuances of human behaviors. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is art.

Marketing Science
Marketing is a science because marketing is about measuring and analyzing the numbers. How many prospects do you reach? How many people read your message? How many do you convert to buyers? How much do they spend? How many buy again? These are mathematical questions and answers and important to the success of your marketing. Math and accounting are important sciences to your business.

Marketing Art
Marketing is art because marketing is about creating a demand for your product. Some of that demand is immediate and some of it is in the future. You can try to use science to predict the future part but you might pick a number based on art. There is always an unknown aspect that we attribute to art.

Marketing Science
Marketing is a science because the most common question is “How much money should I spend on marketing?” The business owner and the accountants want the answer to this question. It’s a good question but the more important question is, “What return can you expect from your marketing investment?” That’s an important question and it is measurable like science.

Marketing Art
Marketing is an art because there is the issue of branding which is difficult to measure. To generate a good return on your marketing investment requires a creative approach. That means that you need to apply the art of marketing. That is difficult to measure but it is necessary.

Of course the argument of science versus art could go on. Is it art? Is it science?

I believe that many marketers try to portray marketing as art when they can’t measure their results. Hence they give up responsibility for their marketing programs. They suggest that marketing is all chance. Many self-declared branding experts talk about the art of branding and refuse to face the science of measurement. Don’t be fooled by that hocus pocus.

I believe that marketing is a science that should draw upon the art. Never let art dictate the direction of your marketing. Use science to determine major decisions and use the art for the nuances.

Is marketing a science or art? I believe that it is both art and science. Most importantly the science should lead and measure; the art should inspire and create.

That is the art and science of marketing.

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What is the Significance of Art

Art is such a simple term but it is difficult to define. To a child, art is drawing and coloring. For celebrities, art is acting and entertaining. For designers, art is trend and fashion. The definition of art can be very objective.

Different sectors have their own definition of art. They have various standards too. For a mother, the drawings of her children are works of art. For museums, art is the genuine creation of a significant artist in the past.

Just like its definition, its significance also varies. There are various forms of art today, and each is important to the artist involved. A good example is a musician. Music is a good example of art. That is why singers are called artists. For a songwriter, each song has a story that he wants the people to hear. For most writers, this is very personal.

For various artists, art is way of expressing themselves. You may have seen an abstract oil painting, although you cannot recognize the patterns and strokes of the artists, it is very important for the painter. For him, it represents his emotion and his character. It can symbolize his anger and frustration. However, it can also represent his love and compassion. Anyone who sees it can also use it to represent how they feel. Strokes and colors can evoke certain emotions from other people. This is why most people want to buy pieces of artwork.

For others, it represents their dreams. The television today has produced several competitions that opened the doors for various dreamers. There are dancers across the country who lined up to audition because all their life they wanted to dance in front of an audience who appreciates what they can do. Many have gone to school to enhance their skills so that they can be among the best dancers in the world.

Like music, dancing is a form of art that can evoke various feelings. Aside from love, dances can also evoke sensuality, excitement, fun, passion, anger, and happiness. Art here is more than entertainment and talent. It is more of touching people lives through their moves and choreography.

Today, art also symbolizes comfort. You can see art in many beautiful and comfortable homes. Interior designers are also artists in many ways. They match things to provide a wonderful space for their client. Seeing the overwhelming reactions of their clients gives them satisfaction. To them, that is the most rewarding feeling.

Art has also transcended in foods. Many cooks and chefs have proven this. Some maybe predictable but others are like the abstract oil painting. You do not care what is in there as long as you like the taste. For them, being able to feed and satisfy their customers is all that matters.

Art is very significant in today’s generation. Since it has taken various forms, it has earned the respect of almost all the artists. Musicians respect their instruments. Painters respect their brushes, paints, and canvass. And, chefs respect their ingredients and utensils.

Art is significant because of the sense of fulfillment an artist feels every time he finishes a masterpiece.

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Developmental Learning in Art

Developmental Learning in Art

Human developmental theories can be found in education, society, and even in peace research: cognitive, developmental, social learning, and socio-cultural developmental theories all have contributed to the educational system that is present today in the United States of America. Researchers such as Darwin, Freud, Erickson, Piaget, Watson, Skinner, Kohlberg, Bandura, Vygostsky, Bowlby, Bronfenbrenner, Gilligan, among many other scientists have done extensive research that today has influenced education throughout the content areas. The purpose of this article is to analyze two human development theories and create a lifelong learning curriculum for the art education throughout the lifespan of a learner.

Cognitive Developmental Theory

To understand is to invent, or to reconstruct by reinventing.                           

  Piaget (1972, p. 24)

Jean Piaget

Even though some critics say that Piaget’s theories are not correct, others support his research. To understand a bit better where the theories originated from lets discuss the origin of Jean Piaget. In 1896, born in a French-speaking part of Switzerland a child was born to a medieval literature professor called Arthur Piaget. According to his father, Jean was a precocious child who developed an interest in natural science (biology and the natural world), and even published a number of papers before he graduated from high school about mollusks. His lifelong passion was to understand how humans create knowledge. Piaget’s efforts founded the discipline of genetic epistemology (biological foundations for knowledge), and established a framework that continues to affect the way teachers are trained and students are taught.

He served as a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva from 1929 to 1975 and is best known for reorganizing cognitive development theory into a series of stages, expanding on earlier work from James Mark Baldwin: four levels of development corresponding roughly to (1) infancy, (2) pre-school, (3) childhood, and (4) adolescence. Piaget spent years observing and interviewing young male children in an effort to further his theories about the construction of knowledge. According to Nagarjuna (2006), Piaget “thought that by observing the ways that children create meaning, he could learn more in general about the development of knowledge.”

Development from one stage to the next according to Piaget is the accumulation of errors in the child’s understanding of the environment; theses errors eventually causes such a degree of cognitive disequilibrium that the structures within the child require reorganizing. According to Murray (2007), “All development emerges from action; that is to say, individuals construct and reconstruct their knowledge of the world as a result of interactions with the environment.”  According to Nagarjuna (2006), “Cognitive structures are understood to be the ways that young people make sense of the world, given their lack of adult sensibilities.”

Jean Piaget viewed intelligence as a process that help an organism adapt to its environment and proposed four major periods of cognitive development. The four development stages described in Piaget’s theory are (1) sensorimotor stage, (2) Preoperational stage, (3) Concrete operational stage, and (4) formal operational stage. Each cognitive structure in Piaget’s theory is defined by a series of traits, and corresponds loosely to specific age. These chronological periods are not rigid rules, just approximate values to set the stages in an order starting from birth to 2 years of age defining the sensorimotor stage, where the children experience the world through movement and senses and learn object permanence. The preoperational stage starts from the age of 2 to 7 years and the child has an acquisition of motor skills. In the concrete operational stage starts from 7 to 11 years and the children begin to think logically about concrete events that are taking place in their environment. In the formal operational stage begins after the age of 11 and it is when the child develops of abstract reasoning of the world around them.

            Based on his life long research, Piaget felt that “students should not be seen as empty vessels to be filled by expert teachers, but rather active participants in the building of their own knowledge” (Nagarjuna, 2006). According to Murray (2007), Piaget concluded “that schools should emphasize cooperative decision-making and problem solving, nurturing moral development by requiring students to work out common rules based on fairness” (p. 2). Even though the explanations offered may be incorrect today, according to the latest adult sensibilities and research, but “the fact that children do offer explanations for these things shows that they are actively working to understand the world around them” (Nagarjuna, 2006).

Following Piaget’s line of reasoning, Selman (1980) examined children’s cognitive understanding of the social world. To understand relations and interactions between people, children need to understand that others also have an internal state which influences how they are behaving. Selman reported that rather young children realize that different people have visual perspectives which are independent from their own. . . . Implying Piaget’s insight in peace education would ask for an active, exploratory process in which conflicting information and social dilemmas are allowed to exist. In such a process, learning to understand the underlying perspectives (visual, social, or emotional) of other people would broaden our possibilities of being confronted with and understanding differences.

Hakvoort (2002)

Lev Vygotsky

The second theory that will be used to write the art curriculum for the lifelong learners is the cognitive theories of Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky insists that children’s minds are shaped by the particular social and historical context in which they live and by their interactions with adults, explaining why educators will never be replaced with technology no matter the advances that we reach. His social development theories play a fundamental role in the development of cognition. Vygotsky (1978) states:

Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals (p.57).

Vygostsky’s theory of art developed a “dynamic overall approach by (1) the writer’s intentions, era, and background; (2) the form, content, and symbolism of the literary piece; and (3) the readers’ experience and interpretation of the work” (Lindqvist, 2003). Vygostsky did not regards art as something spiritual and metaphysical, which raises the artists genius above the shape and contents of the work being created. Instead, he saw art as a reflection how society touches the people’s lives and how society developed. Art is an excellent tool for studying not only society, but emotions, and psychology. According to Lindqvist (2003), “Vygostsky regarded the psychology of art as a theory of the social techniques of emotions. His analysis reflects the artistic process.”


The Britannica Online defines art as “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others.” The first and broadest sense of art is the one that has stayed closest to the older Latin meaning, which roughly translates to “skill” or “craft,” and also from an Indo-European root meaning “arrangement” or “to arrange.” In this sense, art is whatever is described as having undergone a deliberate process of arrangement. Art can describe several things: a study of creative skill, a process of using the creative skill, a product of the creative skill, or the audience’s experience with the creative skill. Art is something that visually stimulates an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas. Art is a realized expression of an idea – it can take many different forms and serve many different purposes.

Using this last definition art would be a good tool to used to help students acquire a sense of belonging in their environment. According to Wekipedia, the common characteristics displayed by art are:

  1. encourages an intuitive understanding rather than a rational understanding, as, for example, with an article in a scientific journal;
  2. was created with the intention of evoking such an understanding or an attempt at such an understanding in the audience;
  3. was created with no other purpose or function other than to be itself (a radical, “pure art” definition);
  4. is elusive, in that the work may communicate on many different levels of appreciation;
  5. may offer itself to many different interpretations, or, though it superficially depicts a mundane event or object, invites reflection upon elevated themes;
  6. demonstrates a high level of ability or fluency within a medium; this characteristic might be considered a point of contention, since many modern artists (most notably, conceptual artists) do not themselves create the works they conceive, or do not even create the work in a conventional, demonstrative sense (one might think of Tracey Emin‘s controversial My Bed);
  7. confers particularly appealing or aesthetically satisfying structures or forms upon an original set of unrelated, passive constituents.

Art Educational Program

But if you ask what is the good of education in general, the answer is easy; that education makes good men, and that good men act nobly.


            Many schools are now learning how to deal with the diversity among the student and teacher population. Greenman (2007) suggests that art, music, and language are a good way to embrace cultural diversity. Art teachers, need to incorporate the art of other cultures throughout the schools curricula. Just as the scientists that wanted to change the world with their theories on human development artists, art teachers, art historians and other enthusiasts appreciate and value the art of other countries, so perhaps we may facilitate the education of others. Since according to Greenman (2007), “We’re all aware that when you know and understand something, you come to appreciate and value its uniqueness.”

Design, Implementation, and Teaching

A child’s education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Infants. Infants are children classified from birth to 2 years of age. Through the use of many practices, specialized schools, and educational program for parents, caregivers can start educating their child from infancy using art. Art exposes the child to a world of imagination while it introduces him/ her to the riches of our world (plants, animals, places, etc.). Since infants can’t speak exposing them to bright colors, pictures, cartoons, and other forms of art is the best tool to use. During these delicate years of infancy, the child is developing their sensorimotor skills (uses of all the five senses). Color are the best way to help develop hand and eye coordination by obtaining toys, tools, education material that is bright and contains the main primary colors: red, blue, yellow, green, white, and black. The exposure to more colors helps the students learn to define and identify not only the colors but the objects containing the colors, using their appropriate names if taught by the caregivers.


Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

Oscar Wilde

Toddlers. Toddlers in the other hand are children from the age of 2 to 5 years old. These children are active and have been able to identify colors, shapes, object, and their functions. As the child’s caregiver this is time to expose the children to watercolors, colored pencils, crayons, long white walls, mud, clay, and so on. The student will learn to make lines and circles, which are the basic principals for writing. The use of watercolors, brushes, and color pencils will refine the motor skills they will need in the future. The crayons would teach them to stay in between the lines while making their own masterpieces to share their feelings and their view of the environment.


Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.


Once a child enters the school system it is the teachers task to become the second parent, the guide need to enhance the lives of the children. At this stage of development, the children are able to identify and recognize variations in their environment. They are able to create art, enhance it, mimic it, copy it, and interpret the art, the culture, and the origin of it. The students learn how to express their feeling, emotions, sentiments, problems, solutions, and soul through their colors. At this ages they also try to experiment by creating their own colors, mixing and matching to create their own identity.


Education is not received. It is achieved.


Adolescence. Teenagers are a strange bread of individuals not quite adults, yet not quite children. These students are full of energy, passion, rage, anger, emotions, problems, and should be taught to use art as a means to release, fix, or neutralize these emotions. The students can at this age create a art festival in which they show the techniques and skills they have learned in previous years. Since art teachers are natural leaders according to Greenman (2007),  high school students can create an “International Festival” in which they can exhibit various works of art from diverse countries, make creative bulletin board of different languages, have a dance contest in which P.E. class are incorporated, use diverse cloth from different cultures, after-school activities, special meals, among other things. As a high school teacher, “students could wear special costumes from their country of origin at the event. The colors, designs, and patterns would add much to the festive occasion. Wearing art from around the world … a feast for the eyes” (Greenman, 2007).

The Classroom experience is changed when you’re close to the age of the professor and bring similar life experiences into the leaning process.

Gay Clyburn

Young Adults. As a young adult, there are many ways that you can enhance art education among the students population. Personally, the students are looking to enhance their knowledge of the world and environments around them. As the instructor a creation of a diverse art curriculum that includes making colors from scratch, how to make paper, in depth study on how colors where used in Egypt, Greece, Paris, US, Latin America, China, Japan. In these courses, go into depth on how to interpret, appreciate, and create art piece that could teach the students how to blend in to a diverse settings. Teach how to tell a story through time using only colors and art.

Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.

Henry Peter Brougham

Senior Citizens. As an educator, while teaching an art to senior citizens incorporating acrylic painting, watercolors, and other techniques to help them express what they have seen, lived, and experience through life. Learning how to leave a legacy of love for their loved ones, long discussions on the topic will lead to philosophy, acquisition of others knowledge and the teacher would become the students and the students would become the teachers since their experiences would be much greater than the educators. A deep discussion on the Mona Lisa, could lead us to solve the Dan Vinci code, while trying to create their own mysteries, while realizing that “If you educate a man you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you educate a family” (Manikan).

In conclusion, art education has many benefits for the students and world that we live in, but what has the educational systems have been doing to ensure the survival of these programs since they seem to be the first eliminated when the budgets are cut in schools. According to Holcomb (2007), “as a growing consensus of policymakers, educators, and parents agree that the arts are integral to learning, some districts are seeing a policy shift on the local and state level. In California, education and arts organizations have worked to secure a windfall arts budget that, in theory, would guarantee arts education in every public school in the state. The monies – $105 million in ongoing funds, and a one-time, $500 million line item for classroom equipment – are a legacy of the California Teacher Association’s successful lawsuit on education funding.”


Clyburn, G. (2006, November / December). Listening to Students: Dusting Off a Life of the Mind. Change.

Ferrari, M., Pinard, A., and Runions, K. (2001). Piaget’s Framework for a Scientific Study of Consciousness. Human Development, 44: 195 – 213.

Hakvoort, I. (2002, January). Theories of Learning and Development: Implications for Peace Education. Social Alternatives, 21(1): 18 – 22.

Holcomb, S. (2007, January). States of Arts. Art Education. Retrieved February 1st, 2007 from Neatoday.

Greenman, G. (2007, January). Tried & True tips for Art Teachers. Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

Lindqvist, G. (2003). Vygostsky’s Theory of Creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 15 (2-3): 245 – 251.

Lourenco, O., and Machado, A. (1996). In Defense of Piaget’s Theory: A Reply to 10 Common Criticisms. Psychological Review, 103 (1): 143 – 144.

Malerstein, A.J., Ahern, M.M., Pulos, S., and Arasteh, J.D. (1995, Spring). Prediction and Constancy of Cognitive-Motivational Structures in mothers and their adolescents. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 25(3): 197 – 208.

Murray, M.E. (2007). Moral Development and Moral Education: An Overview. Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved on January 25, 2007 from

Nagarjuna, G. (2006) Tracing the Biological Roots of Knowledge, in Rangaswamy, N.S., Eds. Life and Organicism. Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC).

Piaget, J. (1976). La formation du symbole chez l’enfant. [Play, dreams, and imitation]. Neuchantel, Switzerland: Delachaux et Niestle. (Original work published 1946).

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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The Four Basic Methods of Fine Art Printing: Refief, Intaglio, Planographic and Screen Printing

Fine art printing is about printing images using artistic tools that have a long tradition behind them and therefore excludes the new digital printing technologies such as the giclee print which is a fancy ink-jet print. Fine art prints include those by the great masters of the last five centuries as well as a multitude of talented artists whose work is less known.

The four basic methods at the disposal of fine art artists are relief, intaglio, planographic and screenprinting.

Relief printing is the oldest of the four. The artist uses sharp tools to cut away at the surface of a material they want to use to print with. At first artists used wood and created the woodcut. They would gouge out slivers of wood out of a woodblock using their knives to leave only raised edges. These raised portions could receive ink which with a laid piece of paper on them could transfer an image on to the paper, creating a print. To get an even pressure on the wood to transfer the ink a press would be used. One could also use a spoon or rounded tool to put pressure on the paper to receive the inks. Centuries later linoleum would be used as well creating the linocut print.

Intaglio printing is pronounced “in-Tah-lee-oh”. It is essentially the opposite of relief printing as ink is in the grooves rather than on the raised relief of a woodcut. The prints made using intaglio printing are mainly engravings and etchings.

Engravers use sharp tools called burins to cut into a metal plate made of copper and later steel. By incising minuscule grooves in the metal the engraver creates an image that can be printed. Ink is rolled onto the metal plate, the ink penetrates the incisions and the excess wiped off. Paper is applied to the metal plate and under great pressure from a press an engraving is pulled.

An etching is another type of intaglio print in which the artist applies a varnish substance to a metal plate and then draws with needle-like tools on the metal plate. The tools expose the metal by removing the varnish, called ground. Acid is then applied to the metal plate and the acid cuts into the areas of the plate that have been exposed by the removed ground. The metal plate is then inked and an etching is pulled from a press.

Planographic prints is the domain of lithography, which uses a stone to apply the art work. The artist can draw immediately on a lithographic stone with oily pencils and crayons. A substance is then layered on top of the drawing that will allow the drawn area to accept inks. The stone is then inked and then a lithograph print is pulled. This method was discovered in 1796 by Alois Senefelder in Austria.

Screenprinting is the most recent addition to fine art printing, it is also known as a serigraph. It is much like a stencil in which the artist stomps out the area not to be printed on a screen with special glues. Screenprinting is often associated with commercial printing but American pop artists loved the ease it offered in creating art.

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Is Craft Really Art?

During my 21 years of teaching art and craft in secondary colleges in Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria, I have constantly heard hot discussion on what constituted art and what was craft. Questions fly around: is painting fine art? Is craft really art? The answer often depended on what medium the debater was using when expressing their own creativity.

I made the distinction thus: art is when you generate an image, idea, concept or design using your creative skills; and craft is the medium that you choose to express your creative design with. Craft includes painting in various mediums, sculpture, ceramics, fabric, photography etc.

Those who believe that Art should simply come from a deep seated soul and simply burst forth, using whatever is at hand to create it, may have trouble with my definition.

Another regular question I get asked is Can you teach creativity? My response is yes. Of course there are people more skilled than others and some have greater natural abilities than others. But basically, creativity can be taught.

My experience with teaching is that the more structured you are, the greater the creative skills become. I no longer believe that you simply have to express yourself, whenever and however you wish. Those who are prepared to build on basic skills such as observations, drawing, colour, and tone, will more quickly come to a creative solution to a problem.

And that brings me to another point. If you have a problem to solve, you not only are more likely to be creative, but you can also expect more satisfaction from your endeavours. So how do you find a problem when all you want to do is paint a picture? Van Gogh certainly had a problem he wanted to solve. He wanted to capture the aggressive movement of light and colour in an ever changing landscape of wind and rain and dust. He did not go out simply to paint a landscape, he wanted to solve a problem.

I think this is the biggest dilemma of teaching art in schools. Teachers try to teach a skill such as ceramics or silk printing, but the results are often most unsatisfactory because students were not given a problem to solve.

Let me give you an idea of what I mean. I wanted to teach a class to use air brush to create a strong design image on a large canvas. They were not told what the medium was going to be. First of all I collected a large number of balls and had the students draw groups of balls for 4 hours (over two weeks). This was their research. I specifically made them aware of drawing the negative space (background) as well as the positive space (the actual balls).

Once the research was completed I gave them the problem to solve. They had to create a design using two colours only which emphasised the negative space. The best designs came from those students who began to treat both the positive space (the balls) and the negative space (the background) as abstract shapes. By using a light box, they got the shapes more and more simplified until a truly beautiful and creative balance of two colours was achieved. The final job was the craft, the airbrush and tape technique.

So,is craft, art? Well, I do not think so, as I see a lot of good craft with no real art awareness. But I do believe for you to be successful and produce worthwhile work you have to marry both art and craft in a sensitive and insightful end product of your Work of Art.

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Source by Barbara Gabogrecan

The Revolution of Pop Art

Pop Art was an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950’s in Britain, and in the late 1950’s for the United States. The British artists were the product of the independent group (IG), formed in 1952. The members resisted the institute’s commitment to modernist art, design and architecture. It was the Americans however that really gave increased awareness and success in the Pop Art movement.

Pop Art used the visual commodities of popular culture within the movement of fine art. English Critic Lawrence Alloway used the term ‘pop’ as art that made use of objects, materials and technologies from mass culture, to bring out the yields of the industrial society. It was characterized by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture; such as comic books, packaging, advertising, television and film.

Pop Art evolved at a crucial time in society, post World War II, which saw an enormous economic growth. This was the beginning of commercial manipulation, celebrities and exhibitionism. It wanted to bring art back to the people in their everyday lives, working with simple everyday objects.

Around 1962 Pop Art established itself as a serious recognized art form. It marked the end of modernism and the beginning of the postmodern era. It merged the divide between the fine arts with the media and advertising commercial arts; a divide that had been prominent for hundreds of years. Pop Art soon became one of the biggest movements of the 20th Century. It was beautiful, polished and glamorous, even though it was mass produced on a low budget; it caught the changes in society perfectly.

Andy Warhol was one of the biggest American Pop Artists around. It was Warhol’s paintings that made him so famous worldwide. His painting of Campbell’s soup tins which was used commercially has become extremely well known. As well as his screen-print of Marilyn Monroe which depicts Warhol’s own insight on American fame.

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Source by Louise Gandolfi

Shading Techniques in Art

Shading is the technique of showing tones or values on an object through gradual gradations for it to look ‘solid’ and have a three dimensional effect. Shading techniques allow you to weave layer upon layer of pencil marks to add a convincing form to your line drawing. Shading adds a sense of substance to your subject and produces a convincing tonal relationship. Drawings take on a three dimensional form when shaded properly.

To render shades correctly on drawn objects, the artist must carefully observe the source of light that is striking various values of tones or shades on the drawn objects. After realizing the source of light, the artist must study closely the reflections of the light on areas of the objects to know the lightest and darkest sections. After establishing the endpoints or extremes thus the lightest valued areas as well as the darkest valued areas, the remaining area with a mid-half tone between the two extremes is the middle value.

The tones are adjusted as many times to make it look realistic. It is advised that artists step back periodically to look at the drawing and the subject in a distance to view and adjust the tones accordingly. This would make the values depicted on the drawn objects more realistic. In the rendition of cast shadow, the artist must take note of the light source and the striking or reflection of the light on the objects. If the light is far above, the shorter the shadow is (try checking out your shadow at noon – 12:00PM) whereas the lower the light, the longer the cast shadow will become. The rule is that the darker the shadow, the brighter the light source. As the shadow is drawn further from the object, the lighter it becomes. The shadow takes on the shape of the item it comes from. Notice that to make the shadow, all you have to do is create a triangular shape from the top of the object to the ground and back to the base of the object. According to the light source, make your shadow fit accordingly.

There are various ways of rendering shades on a drawn object. Some of these are:

1. Hatching: This is a shading technique that employs one set of line either vertical, curved or horizontal lines in rendering shades on a drawn object. These lines are drawn beside one another to give the illusion of a value. Depending on the hatching shading effect one want to achieve, the artist may decide to make the individual lines in hatching sets far apart or close together.

2. Cross-hatching: This is a shading technique made by the use of lines that crosses each other at an angle in rendering shades on an object. In cross-hatching, one set of line crosses over (overlaps) another set of line to create a shade on a drawn object.

3. Stippling/Dottilism/Pointillism: This is a shading technique that employs dots or series of points in rendering the shades on an object.

4. Circularism/Squirkling/Scribbling: This is the use of circles, squirkles and scribbles in rendering a shade on an object. When squirkle sets have noticeable spaces between the lines, they work beautifully for shading various textures, such as fuzzy fabrics and curly hair. Squirkles can look like a solid tone when the lines are drawn closely together, and are great for shading lots of different aspects of people, including skin tones.

5. Tonal gradation/smudging: This is the rendering of soft tones on a drawn object and blending the tones together with the thumb, a piece of paper or a soft cloth.

Rendering shades on objects using any marking or drawing tool is an interesting practical exercise in art. However, to achieve successes, artists must learn the rudiments in shading so as to render shade on drawn objects based on the accepted rubrics of art.

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Source by Dickson Adom

The Importance of Titles in Art – An Overview

The importance of Titles in Art is immense, as it gives a meaning and a purpose to the artwork. In fact, the Title of an artwork is one of its most artistic and important things. The meaning of the Title usually is interwoven throughout a piece of art and is often times hard to understand. If the Title of an artwork is not mentioned, it becomes the observer’s challenge to interpret it. All this goes on to emphasize the importance of Titles in art.

Framing an Art Title depends on the type of artistic image you are working on. Make sure that your Art Title is in harmony with the theme of your artwork. The connoisseurs will be able to appreciate an artwork better if they have clarity about what they are looking at. The following are some key importance of Titles in art:

o Art Titles are very convenient handles for analyzing, reviewing, and addressing art.

o Most Art Titles are axiomatic, yet perceptive, inducing one to look a bit deeper.

o Most Art Titles have an intentional play of words that make them interesting.

o Sometimes the Art Titles are needed to convey what a viewer thinks of an image.

o The Art Titles are important as they help people remember the particular piece of art they are attached to.

To arrive at an appropriate Title for an artwork, one should primarily consider its purpose. Artists should seek answers to the following questions in order to frame an apt Title for their artwork:

o Is it a piece of a project with a name?

o Is it just a single shot, or an art form that has caught your attention?

Usually, an artwork should have one or two sets of Titles. The first Title should be a ‘Working Title’ in combination with a File Number. The second Title is derived from the fragments of what you were thinking while making or processing the piece.

Framing a relevant Art Title is as responsible a job as it is important. A wrongly Titled Art can be quite damaging to the perception of artwork. It can lessen the impact of an image, especially when excessively cute Titles are used to depict the image art. In addition, some abstract Art Titles hamper the imagination of a viewer, when it tends to delineate too much or tries to lead in a direction that the art is not supportive of.

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Source by Annette Labedzki

In Native American Rock Art, "Rock" Is More Than Just an Adjective

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When looking at the sentence “In Native American rock art, “rock” is more than just an adjective,” I immediately begin to consider why the “rock” in “rock art” might have more meaning to Native Americans. When thinking about the “rock” as only an adjective, I would only see that the type of art is done on rock. The word “rock” allows me to picture the art more clearly in my mind but it is a very limited way of viewing this Native American art form.

Looking beyond “rock” as an adjective, we can find a deeper meaning. First we must ask ourselves “If rock is not just an adjective, what else could it be?”. I think that rock is something important to Native American art because it is the surface upon which they can tell stories and create and preserve images. It is very significant because without the rock, there can be no art. It is the place where the art is done. Rock can be a setting.

Since the rock is essential to the art, I believe it is also essential to the Native Americans who produced the art. The rock is needed for them to tell their stories and express themselves and their culture. Rock is a necessity for cultural expression. Because of its function, I believe that the rock can have an artistic and spiritual value. The Native Americans who selected the specific part of rock on which to do art, made a decision about their composition and the presentation of the art. So the rock that they chose to do art on contains an artistic value.

The rock might also have spiritual value based on what is being depicted and its importance to the Native peoples. Many times, the art being done on the rocks serves more than a purely artistic purpose. It is to tell a story or explain an important idea. I believe that many times, the story or idea is connected to Native religion and spirituality. So creating an image related to Native spiritual beliefs may mean that rock also has some sort of spiritual value.

So besides acting as a descriptor of the type of art being created, the word “rock” in “rock art” can also imply a certain artistic and spiritual meaning related to Native American beliefs. It can also be seen as essential to cultural and artistic expression in Native American culture as well as a setting or canvas for art.

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Source by Shirley H Lee

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