Digital Art – Is It Real Art – My Case For Digital Art

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The controversy over digital art remains as a contention between traditional artists and digital artists web-wide.

When speaking of digital art, I refer to art which is painted stroke by stroke in a program such as Artrage or Corel Painter, and not a cloning program which I don’t consider original art. There is a massive difference between the two, and that is a valid point I feel the puritanical traditional artists need to be able to see in action, or even try for themselves before they can legitimately state that digital art is not art.

What are the main reasons given against digital art?

1. There is no original.
2. There is heart and soul in the traditional work which is created by a human hand.

Before I get deeper into my own opinion on this matter, I wish to state that my first love is traditional art, but not for the reasons other’s give. I love traditional art just for the love of the mess, smell and feel. I’m also developing an allergy to some of the products which are forcing me to study the digital realm in depth and ask myself the same question about digital art. Is it art?

When I open Corel Painter or Artrage, I am faced with a blank canvas, and from there I paint stroke by stroke gradually building up my underpainting, getting in all the darks and lights before I lay on more paint to bring the work closer to the finished product. After a time, I forget I am sitting at a Cintiq with a graphic pen and am totally immersed in my Painting. Time is lost. My brain can no longer feel a difference between digital or traditional because my entire focus is switched from mechanics to heart and soul.

The description above equally applies to traditional art except my original digital file is immediately printed out at full size, then backed up and it is MY original. Please do not tell me there is no heart, soul, or human hand lacking in digital painting.

It took a lot of thought to come to the conclusions I have regarding digital art. I didn’t arrive here by some miracle, but by deep and serious introspection and the need to leave behind any pretence.

My mind meandered to singers, dancers, composers, and writers.

Firstly, lets take the almighty composer Beethoven. His final performance was a failed attempt to play his own artwork Piano Concerto #5, otherwise known as the Emporer.
That very final performance was the very last Original of Beethoven’s works if we compare traditional art to music.

Can you then explain what this gentleman is playing? Or maybe tell him his piano work is a mere derivative, or not real art because there is nought but a recording left after he has performed, and oh my, the recording is a mere digital and cannot be considered art, and lo and behold, it doesn’t smell. I love playing devil’s advocate even against myself, and did, and am playing that very role in order to arrive at these conclusions.

Shall we move on to writers? MS word? That’s digital. Ouch. Sorry. Singers who once the huge high C is sung are left without an original????? I think you get the idea.
If not, it’s your choice to remian in what I see as a closet with your blinkers on. All of this is my own opinions and not meant or intended to convince you, which I couldn’t be bothered to waste the time with. I had enough problems convincing myself until pure logic, humility, and a total lack of prejudice forced me to see reason.

There more I think about it, the more digital art is closer to the other art forms than traditional art. After completion there is nothing left except a digital copy of the work perfomed, or a recording as such.

Does that make tradition art divine? No, although on many forums the traditionalists who would never paint digitally [their words, not mine] speak of their traditional art as if it was the holy grail and yet would do anything to sell a Digital print of said work.

The one thing I can say is that despite all the traditional art training I have had, and still undertake, the very first time I sat in front of a digital canvas and tried to paint was a total and absolute disaster. It took me about 5 years to learn how to apply all my traditional skills to the digital world, and that was a long 5 years and still going. I’m at a point now where I love to combine the two worlds, loving each of them.

To me, both digital and traditional art are most certainly art. Neither worth more than the other in the heart and soul of the creator. Both deserve the recognition for their hard earned efforts.

And as the day draws to a close, I shall forever love traditional art, I just don’t worship it, or believe that it should be idolized or worshipped at the expense of other forms of art. For myself, the outcome and emotional feeling I gain from viewing another’s art no matter how it was created is what means the most. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, that is all that counts : the effect on the viewer.

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Another Form of Art In Winemaking Is In Blending

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Wines are like people; some of us need a lot of love – an advocate that brings out our best in us,” says Richard de los Reyes owner winemaker for Row Eleven Wines and the Riddler. “That is what wine blending is all about-bringing out the best in individual wines.”

For years I thought of blended wines as being inferior to the varietal labeled wines; no real reason to feel that way, it had crept into my consciousness as a fact. Even in my local wine store, they have a small section specifically labeled as “Blended Wines”. The implication to me was that blended wines were less deserving. Now I started asking myself, why do some people, including myself, respond to “Blended Wines” as if they were of a lesser quality and heritage? Then I read an interviewed with Mr. Richard de los Reyes, a highly respected California winemaker, where he said, “… by blending, winemakers can make more complex wines”. Wow, that is a bold statement from a winemaker with 40 years experience making fine wines.

I am convinced; the average wine drinker is oblivious to the fact that most wines, in all price ranges, are actually blends (even when the label denotes a specific varietal). Even my favorite Petite Sirah is a blend incorporating 3 other varietals; yet the label clearly identifies it as a Petite Sirah. That is because the wine meets the TTB arbitrary standard that 75% percentage of wine is from a single varietal, the other 25% of wine can be from other varietals. Below 75% varietal, the winery must call it a red or white blend.

In France, Bordeaux wine is regulated by the government; “the name Bordeaux is primarily associated with the red wine blend. (Red wines are traditionally those used in blending.) The most famous of red blends are Red Bordeaux’s made from blending 5 different varieties, though the proportion of each depends on the geographic location of the winery that made the wine,” as noted by Vine Pair website.

Buying red blends with fancy names is contrary to the American consumer habit of buying wine by their varietal names. Many consumers hesitate before purchasing blends, wondering if the wine is as good as a 100% varietal. But, the category is growing. This means there must be something to be said for blends.

I found a blended wine that I truly believe is one of the finest wines I have ever drunk. It is a blended riddle of 7 different red varietals that make for a very complex wine. It is appropriately called “the Riddler”. Because none of the varietals used in this wine make up more than the arbitrary 75%, it is relegated to being a step-child called a red blend. It is this wine that got me on a campaign to understand why more people doesn’t appreciate blended wines regardless of blending percentages and focus on what matters-aroma, taste, texture, and mouth feels.

A sommelier acquaintance also commented about Richard de los Reyes and his work in high end wines as the owner of Row Eleven Winery. Most Row Eleven wines are sold primarily through restaurants. “We concentrate on restaurant sales, because sommeliers are the best way to introduce new wine to wine lovers. Restaurant’s with sommeliers allow the consumer to taste wine with an expert standing by to help guide them,” says de los Reyes. If you are new to a particular wine or new to wine in general, this is the best way to learn. Offer the sommelier a glass and let them taste with you. Take advantage of their knowledge.”

“This next statement is probably sacrilegious to the ””great wines are made in the vineyard crowd””, but I happen to believe all wines benefit to some degree by blending,” he continues. “Blends don’t always have to be made from different varietals. Sometimes they can be different fermentation variations of the same varietal.”

I am learning that this is the artistic side of winemaking, and that practice makes perfect because there is no recipe book for blending a great wine. I am beginning to understand that making wonderful wines requires an accumulation of experiences. One must know the vineyards, what the vineyard is expressing each vintage, and how to blend those expressions into something better than the original. Most people believe that blending is to keep consistency in taste. While this is true, as is blending for overcoming a wines deficiency, Mr. de los Reyes uses his blending skills to create new and different wines.” In my conversations with winemakers about blending, one point has stood out for me. If you want to create a new wine that is special, the wines you use to make up your blend need to be good.

It’s clear a talented winemaker can blend not only to create something new but to enhance, soften or increase the different characters they want their wines to present, such as alcohol content, tannins, acidity, and aromas. As a consumer, this explains why I have never enjoyed a Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon; the taste and aromas are just too edgy for me. There the options are even more restricted. In Argentina regulations dictate the varietal be at least 80% so that does not leave a lot of room to get creative in blends. I am realizing the art of blending has a lot more creativity involved when there is room to work the art of blending.

Laws around the world dictate the levels one can blend. Burgundy red wines are made from only Pinot Noir grapes; they are not blended with other varieties-regulation is the reason in this case. Many U.S. wineries produce wines that are 100% varietal. The appellation of Bordeaux is often viewed as left bank and right bank with distinct wines from each. Talk about regulations: In Bordeaux “each appellation is governed by Appellation d’origine contrôlée laws which dictate the permissible grape varieties, alcohol level, methods of pruning and picking, density of planting and appropriate yields as well as various winemaking techniques,” as pointed out by Oz Clark.. The same laws that are created to protect the consumer, grower and estate often dictate winemaking style. Many of these laws are simple examples of politics (domestic and international), but all affect the process of making and labeling wine.

In my conversations with winemakers about blending, one point has stood out for me. If you want to create a new wine that is special, the wines you use to make up your blend need to be good.

Even consumers can experiment with wine blending. Feel free to experiment with the process; you will be shocked with what can come from experimenting. I have heard of some wine bar encouraging patrons to experiment with combinations of wines.

Here are some general approaches for the do-it-yourselfers:

· Have a profile in mind for your new wine; commit your profile to writing as a constant reference.

· Because the first experience with a wine is the aroma, that is probably the best place to start a blending experiment.

· Focus on taste that includes: sweet, bitter, salt, acid, and alcohol.

· Research and know the vineyards from which you have chosen your wine combinations.

· If you are going to blend using wines you have experiences with, ask the winemaker/winery the yeast he/she used. It isn’t important when you first start out blending but it is fun to know for future references. Yeasts bring a lot of enhancements to taste and aroma.

· Start with small batches and keep great notes on the formulas and the corresponding results.

Push the envelope. Don’t be afraid to order red and white blends and aggressively look for the labeled “blended wine”, many have fun names, and you will find a whole new world of wine experiences. Try and pick out the varietals the winemaker used that contribute to the taste, aromas, texture (mouth feel), and color in the wine. Mostly, just have fun.

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3 Simple Rules For Framing Art, Prints and Posters

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I’ve been designing framed and matted art for almost 10 years and have I got some great tips for you! First of all, don’t feel bad if you think you don’t have the “eye” for design. Framing and matting art is definitely a learned skill, combined with a bit of flare.

I’ve had the luxury of working in an art framing facility which has allowed me to spend endless hours matching artwork to mats, mats to frames and frames to art in dozens of colors and sizes. So, without further ado, allow me to share some simple rules that will make your final decision pain-free….and beautiful.

1. Choosing your Artwork: This is so personal. All I can say is that there is no ugly piece of art. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Remember this one rule – let the artwork speak to you. It may remind you of something, someone or some place that comforts your soul or simply puts a smile on your face. Maybe the colors alone uplift your spirit or soothe your mood. The rule is simple – if it touches your heart, then to you, it is Art.

2. Choosing a Mat: In the art framing industry, we call the border around the picture the “Mat Board” (“Mat” is the short-version). Adding a mat is a personal choice. The only way to know for sure if a mat is necessary is to try it. If you are at a store, hold the mat beside the print. Sometimes, you will feel that the artwork or photograph simply doesn’t need a mat. Keep in mind that there is an added cost to consider.

On the other hand, mats can be quite complimentary and should never be overlooked without consideration. Here is the simple rule for choosing a mat if you like the look of it around your art: select a lighter tone or neutral color. You can look for a paler version of a color that is within the print itself, too. If the mat color is too dark, it will overshadow the image, making it appear lost. So, I prefer lighter tone mats. I find they always accent the artwork beautifully.

I also love a black mat, but only on certain occasions. When I use a Stainless Steel frame, I find that the black mat is gorgeous. BUT, the picture is almost always a photograph and mostly a black and white image. If you want to add a mat to your artwork, play it safe and choose cream. If you want to save a few dollars and you feel the artwork is beautiful all on its own, then leave the mat out.

3. Choosing a Frame: several key questions to ask yourself before you can make this selection.

a) Is the artwork contemporary or traditional? Contemporary is a fancy word for modern. It is always abstract or photographic, but it can also be floral or scenic – as long as the artwork has clean lines, trendy colors and a current, up-to-date feel. Traditional is somewhat “old fashioned” and can appear “time-honored”, as if it were created many years ago. Still life drawings, mature landscapes, Victorian children are all good examples.

Contemporary artwork suits black, brown (including bronze) and metal frames, while Traditional marries well with the champagne, silver or gold ornate frames.

b) What is the style of the room that your artwork is going to be placed in? This is not nearly as important as matching the frame to the art, but it is still a consideration. For example; children’s rooms are vastly different from dining rooms, while a contemporary kitchen has a different style to a traditional family room. It is worth mentioning here that the trend for 2009 is in mixing it up. Traditional rooms are inviting modern frames and contemporary rooms are welcoming traditional frames. So, focus on the artwork and hang your framed print in whichever room you want!

c) What is the size of the artwork? Whatever style you choose, keep this rule in mind. Never select a large frame for a very small print. Frames are supposed to compliment the artwork in a subtle way. In simple terms, the frame should be understated, rather then overwhelming. Personally, I only use frames that are 2.5″ – 3.5″ in width for artwork that is 22×28 and larger.

Thinner frames (0.5″ – 1.75″) are ideal for art that is 18×18 and smaller. Although I have seen thinner frames on much larger pieces, I feel that it doesn’t do anything for the artwork. Either you go big on large art or you minimize the frame completely, opting for a Flush – Mounted frame or a Stretched Canvas finish. In the end, everyone has their own unique taste when it comes to Framed Art and all I can do is offer you my simple rules as guidelines. Remember, you’re the only one who has to love it, because you’re the one who has to live with it!

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10 Ways to Sell Your Art, an Overview of Selling Options

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As an Artist you know there is no greater thrill than seeing your artwork on someone’s wall; knowing that they love it, that you have brought joy into their world. Whether you’re a part time hobby artist, a full time professional or somewhere in between there is always opportunity to sell your work. You may find that one or more methods work well for you. Pursue them. Hone your skills. Reap the rewards! Remember the old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained …” 

     Your Local Art Community

If you haven’t already done so, check out your local ‘art scene’. Many communities have organizations designed for the budding Artist. They offer classes, exhibits, information on local events (booth opportunities) and general art related resources. You may also fine resources through the Chamber of Commerce and your local Colleges and Universities. It’s a great place to start.

    Word of Mouth

Everyone loves to sell by word of mouth. It’s free and you know people are talking good things about your art. Great word of mouth is every seller’s dream.

Advantage: Someone else is marketing for you simply by giving their recommendation to a friend.

Disadvantage: In order for “word of mouth” to be affective, people have to know about it first!

Conclusion: It takes time to develop ‘word of mouth’ selling. Produce good work, conduct yourself with integrity and a great reputation will follow! It is worth its weight in gold.

     Commissioned Work

With commissioned work, you sell it before you create it.

Advantage: You can pretty well expect to get paid for the job, assuming you deliver as promised.

Disadvantage: You have to market yourself to get the job. And you are obligated to paint within someone else’s parameters rather than yours completely.

Conclusion: Working within boundaries forces you to solve the problems it presents. It forces creative solutions. Many of us do our best work when presented with unique challenges!

      Event Booths

Event booths can be a fun way to sell your artwork and participate in the community.

Advantage: Booth rentals can be relatively inexpensive. You get to talk with people and promote your work. You get instant feedback. You know immediately how people feel about your artwork; everything from style, content, size and price. You get a ‘feel’ for the market. You have the opportunity to get the word out about you and your art; give out business cards or email contact.

Disadvantage: You have to deal with how you will accept payment (credit card, cash, check). You don’t want someone to walk off with one of your paintings and find out their check was bad. You need to sell enough to cover your expenses. Event opportunities may not come around often enough to suit your taste or you may not have enough pieces to warrant having a booth.

Conclusion: Consider these – renting a booth with other Artists if you don’t have enough work to fill the space; excepting credit cards or cash only; selling low price point prints or cards of your artwork to passers by (for spontaneous sales). Market yourself to the hilt. Tout your web site. 

     Your Own Web Site

Nowadays everyone seems to have their own web site. If you have anything to sell, people expect you to have one.

Advantage: It’s fast, convenient and you’re not confined to any one location. Your artwork is available for people around the world to see 24/7. Getting online can be done on the cheap. If you’re willing to do the research, the world is literally at your fingertips to learn the In’s and out’s of being online.

Disadvantage: Getting on the web is one thing. Getting found by people searching for your product is quite another. Getting listed on page 158 on a Google search doesn’t add up to sales. Unless your prepared to take on the full time job (and expense) of marketing your site, you will most likely only be found by people to whom you have personally given your web address. You will also need to have a payment and delivery method. And work out things like who pays shipping.

Conclusion: If at all possible, at least get a web page. Give people a convenient way to see your work and contact you by email. It’s expected.

      A Hosted Website

Showing your artwork on a hosted web site is a fairly fast and easy process.

Advantage: When you show your work on someone else’s web site, you don’t have to market your art or your website. It is relatively inexpensive. There are online companies that will ‘host’ your artwork and often for free or a small annual fee. Buyers are then directed to you; where you handle the sale and shipping, etcetera…  Some of them even take care of accepting payment, shipping and returns if you sell prints of your art that they produce (for a fee of course). Luckily many are able to print on demand, so you don’t have to ‘buy’ the print until someone places an order for it.

Disadvantage: The hosting site makes the bulk of their money by selling their services to you (hosting and producing prints), not by selling your original pieces of art. In other words, they do not target sales to a specific market of art buyers; but rather you, the Artist. You may have to provide your own digital capture. If you want to offer larger prints you will need to use high end capture methods (professional camera or scanner). The hosting company may also take a % of the sale for themselves.

Conclusion: It’s a fantastic way to get your art ‘on the web’ without a lot of time or expense involved.

      Art Shows & Galleries

Art shows are often hosted by galleries and organizations that can attract lots of interested buyers.

Advantage: The event is advertised by the host, so you don’t have to. Art shows can be a great way to introduce yourself and your art to the local market (and possibly larger, if a licensing agent sees your work). You have the opportunity to sell your work or walk away with an award. Everybody loves an ‘award winning’ artist! Many Artists get their start via shows and galleries.

Disadvantage: You may not be accepted into the Show or you may have to pay to enter. Galleries are very particular about the work they carry. Once you are accepted, if you are accepted, you can expect the Gallery to take 40-60% commission right off the top. You must do your homework and deal with reputable galleries only.

Conclusion: The Internet is great, but it’s impossible to beat the ‘real thing’ when it comes to viewing art. Viewing the original up close and personal is the true art experience. The high end sales are still made in the galleries. Go for it.

      Sell Prints

Selling prints of your original art is easier today than ever before.

Advantage: You can sell prints of a popular piece at an affordable price. You can sell the original as well or choose to keep it in your own private collection. Fine art printing companies are widely available on the Internet and elsewhere. Many of them do digital capture as well as the printing itself. Depending on your budget, and quality of digital capture, you have control over the type and quality of the Giclee Prints created. You also have choice of selling limited or open edition prints.

Disadvantage: You have to invest in the digital capture and printing services and hope that you can re-coup those expenses through the various methods of selling your art.

Conclusion: Whether to sell prints or strictly one of a kind, originals is a personal decision. The advantages are obvious, yet for some, it goes against the grain. Follow your heart.

      License Your Art with a Company

Your “license” is your permission for someone else to market and sell images of your work. How the image is used is agreed upon in the contract.

Advantage: Your art continues to work for you long after you have created it, generating a passive income.

Disadvantage: These companies usually  license art only for their own use. Meaning the art is used strictly for that company’s product.

Conclusion: Once you have a contract it is a no hassle way to sell your art. Be sure to sell your license, not your copyright!

     License Your Art  with a Commercial  Licensing Agency

With this type of licensing your image is contracted out to manufacturing companies through the Agency. How the image is used is agreed upon in the contract. It could be used on anything from mugs, dishware, cloth, napkins, art prints, T-shirts stationary and any number of things in the manufacturing industry. Licensing art with an agency is the professionals’ game.

Advantage: Once you create the original artwork and sign a licensing agreement, you can return to the art of creating great Fine Art, all the while earning passive income.

Disadvantage: The licensing market is highly competitive. Agents will only license what they believe they can sell because it literally costs them thousands of dollars to land good contracts with manufactures, publishers and various agencies. They need art they ‘know’ they can sell. Some licensing agents will ask you to put up a significant sum of ‘good faith’ money to help off set their expenses. Then you both cross your fingers that it sells. If the agent doesn’t get paid, you don’t get paid. You get 30-50% of the contract price the agent makes with the purchasing company; about 4-10% of the wholesale price of the product (not retail sale price).

Conclusion: Even at a fraction of the wholesale price, the profits can be huge. If you are talented enough to play that game, my hat goes off to you. Well done!

I am sure you have noticed these selling channels are interrelated. Many Artists will participate in event booths; selling prints, handing out business cards with their web address, drumming up commissioned work and developing a good ‘word of mouth’ reputation all at the same time! And why not?  The more you put your work ‘out there’ the more chances you have to sell it. Whether you just dabble in art or make it your bread and butter, there are selling opportunities for you. Some obviously require more time and effort than others. The great part is, between the Internet and  local organizations you can get as little or as deeply involved as you want. Keep it fun and enjoy yourself!

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Ancient Roman Art

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Roman art includes sculpture, painting, architecture, and mosaic work, as well as luxury glass objects, gem engraving, metal-work, and ivory carvings. Roman artists were very creative, and often borrowed artistic styles from several cultures, including Greek, Etruscan, native Italic, and Egyptian.

Sculpture and figure painting were considered the highest forms of art by the Romans, but unfortunately, while a great deal of sculpture has survived to the present, very few paintings have survived. The best known and most important paintings to have survived are the wall paintings from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other nearby sites. These paintings show how wealthy residents of a seaside resort decorated their villas in the period preceding the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, which decimated these areas. A large number of paintings from 3rd century CE Roman Catacombs, parts of painted rooms from Rome and elsewhere, and Fayum mummy portraits from Roman Egypt have also survived (prior to 200 CE, the themes of Catacomb paintings were pagan in nature, but after that, Christian themes were mixed in with the pagan themes).

Roman painters used a variety of themes, including portraits, mythological subjects, animals, still life, and scenes from everyday life. During the Hellenistic period, scenes of the countryside were common. These scenes included rural mountainous landscapes, shepherds with their herds, country houses, and rustic temples. Also, erotic scenes were quite common.

Roman sculpture borrowed heavily from both the Greeks and the Etruscans. As a result of the Roman conquests of Greek territory, many Greek sculptors were enslaved by the Romans and it was reported that, by the 2nd century BC, the majority of the sculptors working in Rome were Greek. Because of the vast numbers of Greek statues that were imported into Rome, and the large number of Greek sculptors working there (and presumably using their Greek training and experience in producing their works), it has been very difficult to identify which of the surviving sculptures were of Greek design and which were of uniquely Roman design (even Roman temples were often decorated with re-used Greek statues).

The Romans did not attempt to compete with the magnificent free-standing Greek statuary. Instead, they produced historical works in relief. The most famous works of this type are the great Roman triumphal columns, which were made with continuous narrative reliefs winding around them (the columns commemorating Trajan and Marcus Aurelius still survive in Rome).

All forms of luxury small sculpture (often of extremely high quality) were very popular, as well as molded relief decoration of pottery vessels and small figurines.

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Types of Graduate Degrees in the Arts

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First, it is important to note that many schools offer graduate certificates (sometimes called “non-credit”) which are less extensive than masters degrees, but offer some focused expertise in a certain area. With the exception perhaps of art history, most of the degrees listed below can be obtained as a graduate certificate or a masters degree. Certificate programs are ideal for the arts professional who doesn’t have the time to commit to a full masters degree. New York University, for instance, offers a non-credit professional certificate in arts administration that is separate from the NYU Masters in Visual Arts Administration.

It is also worth mentioning that some programs offer different types of masters degrees: for instance, Boston University awards an M.S. in arts administration–not an M.A. And not to confuse my readers, but some programs call their graduate degree an M.F.A. even thought it’s not a studio art program. These distinctions may be superficial, but worth paying attention to.

Art History: The masters in art history is a very useful and flexible degree to have for the arts. Coursework for degrees in art history tend to solely focus on academic subjects, comprising a fairly well-rounded curriculum of world art–that is, there will likely be few to no “real world” courses, such as art law, or financial management, or other like-minded classes. That is not to say that art history classes are impractical: if you’re interested in being an art specialist of any kind–a curator, or auction house appraiser, for instance–you will need a sound and solid foundation of the stylistic history of art in order to make creative judgments, or set a price on an object. This degree is highly recommended for anyone considering a fine arts curatorial career. And remember, there are also even more specialized graduate degrees in art history, such as degrees in film studies.

Arts Administration/Management: Arts administration degrees focus, as one might guess, on the administration and managerial side of the arts. These types of degrees offer flexibility in that you can apply the skills you learn to management of fine arts, performing arts, music, and other public and private art sectors. Coursework for degrees in arts administration vary from program to program, but you will usually find a heavy emphasis on “practical” real world classes related to administration, finance, and business aspects of the arts, whereas elective courses may give you an opportunity to take an art history or studio course to supplement your degree. With these credentials, you will be well-qualified especially for development, grant-writing, and other administrative departments. Requirements and curricula do vary from program to program, so I encourage you to do the research necessary to find the one that suits your needs. The arts administration degree is an option for anyone who has an eye for museum directorship, someday.

Museum Studies: This kind of degree is similar to the arts administration degree, but of course, it is more specifically tailored for the student seeking a profession in museums, and less so in galleries, auction houses or other institutions. A museum studies degree offers some flexibility in the type of museum you can work in: anthropology and natural history museums, science museums, children’s museums as well as fine arts museums. With a museum studies degree, you may also find yourself able to work in various museum departments, such as a Registrar’s office, or in Museum Programming. Depending on the curricula of the program, you may acquire credentials that open up the door for more curatorial or exhibition design opportunities for non-fine arts museums, but again, if you’re looking to be a fine arts curator, the masters in art history is the way to go.

Curatorial Studies: As the name states, this type of degree focuses on the history and practice of curatorial work. Along with museum studies, this degree will offer flexibility in that you can curate or design exhibitions for various types of museum institutions. In curatorial studies programs, you may find the curricula to have more of a balance of academically oriented courses (in art history, theory, criticism, etc) and the practical courses on curatorial practice than you would with a masters in arts administration. For instance, the rigorous curatorial studies program at Bard College, which is well-regarded, is a good example of a program that balances the academic and professional applications of art. The Institute of Fine Arts, the doctoral program of NYU, interestingly has a Ph.D. program in curatorial studies, which is unusual. I must emphasize again, however, that for someone interested working in a fine arts institution, art historical or stylistic specialization will be more valuable, and thus the art history degree is recommended.

Art Education: If you know you’re interested in teaching the arts, a masters degree in art education could be a smart career move. This degree can land you a job as a museum educator: sometimes we forget that museums are educational institutions, and working in the education department of a museum can be extremely fun and rewarding. You can also teach art in schools or community centers. Although it is more geared for an artist, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in conjunction with Tufts University, offers an M.A.T.–Masters of Art in Teaching in Arts Education.

Art Business: For someone who views the art market as just that–a market–a masters in art business will give you the business acumen you need to compete in the international business of buying and selling art. These degrees are fairly new, founded on a new sensitivity to the globalization and commercialization of art, although I do believe a the more versatile M.A. in arts administration opens the same doors as an M.A. in art business. A degree in art business prepares someone well for a career in the commercial sector of art–i.e. an auction house or gallery. It is no surprise, then, that Sotheby’s Institute of Art offers a masters in art business. Sotheby’s, and Christie’s as well, does offer some specialized graduate degrees (in contemporary art, design or arts of china, to name a few examples), and as might be expected, the programs are very object-oriented and geared for professional development. Ergo a degree from Christie’s or Sotheby’s of course can set someone up very well for a career in their own institutions, although their websites do boast to have alumni in museums and galleries too.

Art Therapy: Interested in the psychology of art? It is an undisputed fact that creating art and interpreting art are both powerful methods of self-expression and recovery. With a combined focus on the visual arts (and sometimes music) and psychotherapy, programs in art therapy that can train you to help people use art to express themselves, or to use it as a tool for recovery from medical procedures or trauma. Patients can range from children, to the mentally-disabed, to the elderly in senior care centers or assisted living homes.

Combined degrees: It is becoming more popular for top art administrators to get joint degrees–M.A.s and M.B.A.s–so they can be truly well-rounded leaders of cultural and non-profit institutions. The University of Cincinnati and Southern Methodist University, for instance, both offer an M.A./M.B.A. in Arts Administration. For someone interested in being a deputy director or director of an arts institution, this may be the type of degree you want.

There are scores of graduate degrees one can pursue in the arts–these, I would say, are probably the most common and popular. But you can also get a Masters in “Modern Art, Connoisseurship and the History of the Art Market” from Christie’s. My point is that there are other specialized degrees out there, so do the research you need to in order to find the program that best fits your career interests. Good luck!

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The Dehumanization of Art – Ortega Y Gasset’s Pernicious Theory of Art

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Because I have admired the Spanish philosopher and art critic Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883 – 1955) for many years, I have been reluctant to review any of his books. His writing style offers a peculiar angle of vision about culture, philosophy, and art. As a result for years I’ve been a consumer, always taking from his work and never giving anything back.

But now it’s time to give something back. So, here are some very personal likes and dislikes.

Ortega’s title of the book -The Dehumanization of Art- is now a constant in music, literature, aesthetics, and philosophy, having come to mean that in post-modern times human-shaped mimesis (representation of the human) is irrelevant to art.

According to Ortega, the arts don’t have to tell a human story; art should be concerned with its own forms-and not with the human form. The essay, divided into 13 subsections, was originally published in 1925; in these brief sections Ortega discussed the newness of nonrepresentational art and sought to make it more understandable to a public much benumbed with the traditional forms of art.

A search for the substance of traditional art

In the first section entitled, “Unpopularity of the New Art,” Ortega draws from his political credo which one can say it is elitist, aristocratic, and anti-popular. His analysis concludes with the belief that some people are better than others; that some are superior to others: “Behind all contemporary life lurks the provoking and profound injustice of the assumption that men are actually created equal.”

That unbending political point of view colors his aestheticism.

The masses, he holds, will never understand the “new art” that was emerging with Debussy and Stravinsky (music), Pirandello (theater), and Mallarme (poetry). A lack of understanding will mobilize the masses -a term that Ortega uses frequently to refer to the common people- to dislike and reject the new art. Therefore, the new art will be the art for the illustrious, the educated, and the few.

To bring that kind of divisive tool -the few versus the many, aristocrats versus democrats- into the arts seems not only narrow minded, but also disingenuous. Yet my main objection to Ortega’s analysis and conclusions is more fundamental. In my estimation, ‘understanding’ in the arts is of secondary importance. The arts are created by humans to reach out and touch other humans by means of appeals to their passions and emotions-through their senses.

When I was 14 years old, by accident, I heard a musical composition that was so different and strange to my young ears that prompted me to call the radio station to find out about that piece. It was Appalachian Spring, a ballet composition by Aaron Copland. What 14-year old boy from the Andes (Peru) can be familiar with ballet or Aaron Copland to even begin to understand the composition? Yet, I liked it. And that is all that mattered to me.

Understanding that piece of music, or even knowing the name of the composer, was as far away from my mind as was Einstein’s theory of relativity, since I had no idea who Einstein was either. Delight, enjoyment, and rapture one feels without expressed understanding.

By extolling the new forms and promoting the vanguard artists and their efforts to produce non-traditional art, Ortega’s book had a significant influence in the rejection of realism and romanticism. So seductive and convincing was Ortega’s prose that many artists and critics began to equate both realism and romanticism with vulgarity.

To allow a brilliant writer to exert so much authority should be a sin. For years Ortega’s authority has bothered me. Yet, despite that inner annoyance, my respect for the man’s writings inhibited me from protesting. So, by stripping Ortega’s dazzling prose of its seduction -by “bracketing” and performing a phenomenologist reduction- we can see it in its own nakedness for what it is: an elitist and harmful point of view.

People should never be made ashamed of their taste, likes, and dislikes in art. We should enjoy that touch of aesthetic delight whether it comes from primitive, Greek, Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, realism, or romanticism, surrealism, or any period or movement.

Ortega advocates the ‘objective purity’ of observed reality

Following Plato’s division of reality into the forms (universals) and their simulacra, Ortega invents his own corresponding terms: ‘observed reality’ and ‘lived reality.’

The representation of real things (lived reality) – man, house, mountain- Ortega calls “aesthetic frauds.” Ortega totally dislikes objects be they man-made or natural: “A good deal of what I have called dehumanization and disgust for living forms is inspired by just such an aversion against the traditional interpretation of realities.”

In contrast, the representation of ideas (observed reality) is what he views as the true art. Therefore, he praises the new art as the destroyer of semblance, resemblance, likeness, or mimesis. In that destruction of the old human forms of art lies Ortega’s “dehumanization.”

Yet one must recall that more that more than 2500 years ago, the pre-Socratic philosopher Protagoras said, “Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not.” Ortega’s will to “dehumanize” art will always run head on against Protagoras’ wall. Art by definition – anything that is man-made- is profoundly human and cannot be otherwise, Ortega notwithstanding.

Even in the stark canvases of painters such as Mark Rothko one feels the artist’s humanity in search of the human soul through color and luminosity. Even in the random drippings of Jackson Pollock’s works one can sense man’s struggle for freedom. And what is freedom but a human aspiration?


Whenever I look at the shapes of primitive African art, the Paleolithic images of animals in the caves of Lascaux, or even the colorful and balanced grids of Mondrian-I’m in awe of the human spirit. And at such times I feel that labels, signs, markings, and explanations and descriptions (theories) are totally unnecessary.

What we need are theories of art that can unite people rather than divide them. Ortega’s “dehumanization” is a toxic theory not because it advocates a detestable elitism, but because it attempts to deny the pleasures of art to the common people.

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Source by Marciano Guerrero

The Fine Art Of Nude Photography

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Many people don’t consider getting involved in the fine art of nude photography. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are against this form of art, rather they just haven’t seriously considered it because they didn’t know of anyone who would want to pose for them. Asking someone to pose for a nude photo can be a very difficult task. However, there is a different between nude photography. Be sure you differentiate the difference when asking someone to pose. You don’t want a risqué or explicit photo rather you just want to take something tasteful. Once you have someone who is willing to pose for you photos then you can begin. Consider the following tips to get the best possible nude photography.

The first step in nude photography is to be prepared. Look up some examples in magazines or on the internet of how to pose for the shots you want. Decide on a pose you want and a part of the body you want to focus on before you start shooting. When you know the type of shot you want to achieve you will have greater success in nude photography. You can’t simply grab a camera and start taking pictures; rather you need to take some time to properly prepare.

Next consider doing your nude photography is black and white pictures. Even the most beautiful of model you can find will have some blemishes on their skin which can come out in photos. For this reason it can be a good idea to shoot nude photography in black and white. This will completely change the look and feel of your photos. The shots will become more about the shape, lighting and shadows rather than on the body in the shots.

When it comes to nude photography anonymity can work for the photo as well as the model. Often photos with the face turned away or not shown will help make the pictures more photogenic. This doesn’t mean the model isn’t pretty it is simply the fact that the face can detract from the fine art of the photo. It can also add mystery to your photos. For the first time model this can also make it a little less uncomfortable for them as well.

It is also helpful if the mood in the room is as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Even under the best of circumstances, nude photography can be a nervous experience for everyone. Even if you are friends with the model it can be a good idea to make the location as relaxed as possible. Make sure the environment is warm and funny this way it will be a lot easier to move beyond the awkward stage and be able to get comfortable with the situation.

Doing nude photography is a great way to expand your photography horizons and learn new experiences. You may decide not to nude photography again or you may choose to continue exploring this fine art form. Either way it can be helpful to use the above tips to get the best possible nude photos.

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Mastering the Art of Polarity

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We all know that we live in a world of duality, whether we are all aware or conscious of that, however, is another story. Knowing and being aware are two different states of consciousness. Did you know that the Law of Polarity is one of seven of the most important Hermetic Cosmic and Universal Laws? This Law of Polarity states simply, that everything is dual in nature and everything has its pair of opposites. It states that opposites are the extremes of the one and the same thing. The difference is in the degree of their intensity. According to this law everything is and is not, at the same time. Every truth is half false because there are two sides to everything. There is heat and there is cold, and although they are opposites, they are really the same of the one thing, the difference is in the degree of temperature, the difference is in the rate of the vibration of the form. This is again in accordance with another law, namely the Law of Vibration as everything vibrates in nature.

The same goes for all the opposites, hard and soft, high and low, love and hate, good and evil. Change the rate of the vibration and you change the state of the form. One very good example is the energy of love and hate. Most of us have experienced personally how quickly feelings can change from hate to love and from love to hate. Why is that and how does that happen and where is that line between the two that divides, meaning at which exact moment does love stop and hate takes over or the other way round? This is impossible to pin down. According to the Hermetic teachings, rather than you being swayed by your moods and feelings here and there, being thrown from one extreme swing of the pendulum to the other extreme side, you can change this by becoming the Master of circumstances through the use of your Will to change the state of your Mind. When you change the state of your Mind you can change your environment and your role therein. This is known as Mental Alchemy.

Hermes Trismegistos is referred to as the ‘Scribe of the Gods’ and all the fundamental and basic teachings embedded in the esoteric teachings of every race may be traced back to Hermes. He is the ancient of the ancients. The most famous quote that is known comes from him ‘As above so Below, or as Below so Above.’ To escape persecution his teachings were embedded in mystery and constituted the basic principles of ‘The Art of Hermetic Alchemy,’which contrary to the general belief, dealt in the Mastery of Mental Forces, misunderstood by many who believed it to mean the transmutation of material forces for example metal into gold, but the teachings were well understood by all students of true Hermeticism. True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art. This was what was taught in Hermetic Mystery Schools several thousands years ago and it still holds today because it deals with a Universal Law that is infinite. The secret Hermetic teachings were all about mental work with one goal only in mind, to advance the human being to a higher divine being through self transformation.

Good and Evil are but the poles of the same thing, and the follower of the Hermetic teachings understands the art of transmuting evil into good by means of applying the principle of Polarity. The Art of Polarization becomes a phase of Mental Alchemy known and practiced by the ancient and modern Hermetic Masters. Understanding this principle will enable you to change your own Polarity, as well as that of others. This is the principle of Mentalism which is ‘The All is Mind, the Universe is Mental.’ To change your mood or mental state, change your mind, by changing your vibration. This is the way it’s done. To kill out a negative quality concentrate on the positive pole of the same quality and the vibrations will gradually change from the negative to the positive until finally you will become polarized on the positive pole instead of the negative. To change the quality of fear, to rid yourself of any fear, concentrate mentally on the opposite quality of courage. Breathe courage, think it, live it, constantly in your daily life and in time you will polarize yourself at the other end of the pole, that of courage. It needs time and study to master the art but it is possible if you are willing to exercise your will power and excel your mental focus.

By changing your polarity you may master your moods, change your mental states, change your state of emotions, build up your character and gradually master your environment. Much of the mental mastery is due to this application of Polarity, which is one of the important aspects of mental transmutation. The mastery of Polarization is the mastery of the fundamental principles of Mental Transmutation or Mental Alchemy.Unless we acquire the art of changing our own polarity, we will be unable to have any affect on our environment. We can only achieve this by devoting the time, care, study and practice necessary to master the art. The Universe is wholly mental in its substantial nature, therefore, it makes sense that it may be ruled only by Mentality. If the Universe is mental then Mind must be the highest power affecting its phenomena. Nothing has changed since ancient times and the requirements of the student are still the same, PPP, persistence, patience and practice. The only thing that has changed is that the results are achieved much faster in our time today. To eliminate the undesirable concentrate mentally upon the opposite pole of what is desirable. This is Mental Alchemy. Remove the undesirable by changing its polarity. This is done by an effort of Will, by deliberately fixing you attention upon the more desirable state. Cultivate the art of concentration, of focus, of attention by means of the Will.

We are spiritual beings having physical experiences and in that itself we live a schizophrenic life, a life of duality and paradox. A part of us, the spirit, lives a life of higher existence on higher realms and a part of us, our physical body, lives a life on earth deep in the material world and we are torn between the two. Some settle down to the easy way out by denying one or the other realm and so live half a life only, because they have blocked out half of themselves. They either live a harsh materialistic life void of all that is divine, spiritual and good or they live in the other extreme, in an airy fairy space floating about without a purpose in the physical world. Some sway back and forth in constant search to find a balance between the two not sure which one is right for them. The material world is competitive, harsh, painful, distrustful, unjust and promotes separatism, whereas the spiritual self is driven by love and unity. So while living in the material world if we focus our attention to the higher self, a very real part of ourselves, that dwells on the higher planes, it makes sense that we will gradually acquire these feelings of love and unity which can make our life on the physical plane much more bearable. Our Higher Self connects us to the Universal Unified Field of Energy,it knows it is a God Divine force, and it is aware that it creates its own reality in a friendly universe that is supportive, it also knows it can access all the knowledge and information it needs from the universal field of energy. We are here on earth and our task is to blend the two and to move from a life of ignorance or less awareness, to a life of higher awareness and divine knowledge, and this we can do by focusing on the Higher part of the Self.

Both Energy and Matter are subordinates to the Mastery of the Mind. An old Hermetic Master wrote: ‘He who grasps the truth of the mental nature of the Universe is well advanced on the path of Mastery.’ And these words are as true today as at the time they were written. The wise one, it is said, serves on the higher realms, but rules on the lower realms. They obey the laws from above and rule below them and in so doing they form a part of the principle instead of opposing it. The wise one falls in with the Law and by understanding its movements operates it instead of being its blind slave. A good example is the skilled swimmer who masters the waters, by swimming in any direction desired, instead of being carried away with the waves unable to take control with a possibility of drowning. A negative example is the one who is too lazy to take responsibility for his/her own mental state of mind, thoughts and actions and allows him/herself to be brainwashed into false beliefs, depending blindly on religious dogmas and other destructive forces to run his/her life. In other words live a life of slavery and a victim of circumstances.

Spirit is universal, infinite and a living Mind, in which we live and move and have our being. We live in a Mental Universe and we, with our God given intelligence, can apply great mental laws to our own advancement and well being instead of using the energies in a hap-hazard ways. With our every thought and every action we are activating the universal laws, the difference is if we are doing this blindly to our own detriment and that of others around us or consciously for our wellbeing and to the wellbeing of all concerned. My challenge to you is this, how aware are you of your own thoughts and actions and the affect they have on your environment and fellow human beings. Are you putting your mental abilities to good use and activating the Law of Polarity in your life? Are you the Master of your life? Or are you a slave and victim to circumstances and the indoctrination of others and if this is the case, what are you doing about it? Remember no one has control over your thoughts, only you can control your thoughts. Only you can control your mental world only you control your Mind. This is your birth right and no one can take that away from you.

We are all living witnesses to a very special time in our earth history and the history of humanity as one family on this earth. This requires us all, each and every one of us, to be aware of our own individual mind and our mental powers. Through connecting with the Higher Self and the Universal Mind, we can activate our mental powers to put them to constructive use for the good of all humanity and mother earth.

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Source by Margo Kirtikar Ph.D.

Fine Art and Display Lighting

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Fine art and display lighting requires excellence in three arenas. First, it requires top quality equipment that will maximize artistic expression and not inadvertently damage art or create fire hazard in the process. Second, it requires trained, licensed electrical professionals who know how to install the equipment for safe and reliable performance. Third, and perhaps most overlooked in our industry, it requires the installer to view the project with the eye of an artist to achieve the maximum aesthetic outcome. For twenty-seven years, Illuminations Lighting and Design has built a reputation as Houston’s premier lighting design firm equally skilled in the technical and creative aspects of fine art museum and display lighting. Our trained and certified staff of electrical contractors has worked throughout greater Texas illuminating works by premier artists from around the world. Our team consists of experts in all types of accent lighting, display lighting, and fine art illumination.

We have consulted and lighted some of the world’s most prestigious public and private art collections, including works from renowned artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, Rockwell, Salvador Dali and Rembrandt. Many of these pieces are one of a kind and extremely sensitive to certain elements of light. Poorly installed equipment and inexperienced lighting design can damage these works of art irreversibly, so careful consideration needs to be taken when contracting an organization for display and fine art lighting services. It is essential to find a team like the one here at ILD who knows the destructive characteristics of the invisible light spectrum and that can harness and control infrared and ultraviolet radiation to prevent deterioration and fading of priceless art. Illuminations Lighting brings to the table an impeccable wealth of knowledge in fine art and display lighting fixtures combines with years of hands on experience working from one end of the lighting design spectrum to the other. Our expertise ranges from the very best low voltage accent lights on up to the complex Wendelighting™ optical projectors.

In addition to distributing only the most sophisticated fine art and display lighting equipment from the world’s top manufacturers, we also manufacture unique projectors and strip lights found nowhere else in the fine art and display lighting industry. Our Phantom Contour Projector dramatically highlights fine art work and sculpture on display by shaping the light to follow the exact contour of the object, producing a lighted look from within. Many premier galleries in Houston prefer the Phantom Projector as the optimal tool for fine art and display lighting because the projector itself installs above the eye line in the ceiling and produces a magical effect that brings out the full beauty of the world’s finest creativity. Regardless of whether you have a simple painting, a grouping of paintings or a tapestry, or a collection of three-dimensional art and sculpture, the results are simply spectacular.

For custom display lighting, Illuminations invented and patented the Phantom Strip Lighting System, which is marketed and distributed worldwide. Phantom Lighting is a low-voltage strip lighting system that illuminates coves, furniture, bookcases, breakfronts, and built-in displays. This patented adjustable shelf lighting method makes it possible to move and relocate individual shelves without the need for tools or rewiring while the light source itself remains hidden from the field of view. It also provides the perfect solution for bookcases and kitchen cabinetry with permanent or adjustable shelves. From a ballroom’s perimeter to very small spaces, such as coves, niches, corner cabinets and window valances, Phantom Lighting is the ultimate choice in residential and commercial linear illumination.

Whomever the artist and wherever the artwork is located, you can trust the professionals at Illuminations Lighting Design to design and implement a fine art lighting theme that will showcase your collection in the best possible light on a budget you can afford. Let a trained art lighting consultant help you with your collection.

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Source by Russell Neal