Welcome to the Springfield Township High School Art Blog. The purpose of this forum is to inspire discourse surrounding your artistic experiences while building writing skills, exercising your art vocabulary, and refining descriptive language relating to art. In your writing, you may choose to discuss museum and gallery exhibitions, publications, articles, professional works, student works, or responses to each other’s ideas and investigations. Additionally, participants may want to pose questions or react to artistic predicaments, sharing the trials, frustrations, solutions, or the general excitement we feel when we make or look at art.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What's behind the "Cool"

Film has become a popular and entertaining form of time based art because they give us a lot to look at on the big screen, it comes with a powerful sound track, and a plot.  Also it’s over pretty quickly.    We get the point.  The producers make sure you have varying levels of visual, aural, and intellectual stimulation regularly; in other words, something to keep you awake.  Other traditional forms such as poetry, literature, music, dance, and theater may require more concentration.  Although each art form can exist independently, they are usually, with the exception of literature, interdisciplinary (combined).  Can you think of a film without words or musical accompaniment?  They do exist, but not usually in the mainstream.   It is the unique exceptions, experiments, or curious combinations of these time-based forms that we start to consider as art.  By that I mean the work has greater meaning beyond the obvious; or a work of art will suggest multiple interpretations, its point being somewhat elusive.  If it’s art it should invite discussion or investigation into its motives or production. 
That is why I frown upon shallow exclamations like, “it’s cool” or “it really pops,” because I believe the artist offers more than a clever one-liner. We need to look a bit deeper into a work if we are going to discuss it as art.  We could come up with thousands of cool examples of film shorts from Youtube® alone. It would be a lot of fun. The technology is just so easily accessible now that, given the right concept; one could create art with their cell phone.  There are a lot of people putting scads of visual information online daily.  Youtube® and the internet in general have made it easy for anyone to show his/her work.  So as budding artists we attempt to discriminate between what is pretty clever and entertaining and what we can discuss as art.  Hopefully, some of you have already experienced work by the performance teams at Philadelphia’s Fringe Festival or other well established performance artists like Laurie Anderson.  Their multidisciplinary productions and experimental methodology make full use of artistic license, and are good examples to discuss.  But, let’s dig a little deeper into the details that define a work as art when we discuss it.
            I’m interested in your response to a practical kind of time based work, animation.  The following work builds a bridge between the studio techniques you’ve learned in school and animation.   […It’s funny.  I am always fascinated when students interested in animation shun the idea of having to develop a 2-D portfolio when applying to an art school.  Perhaps these two artists will enlighten.]
1.      I was watching Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett and although the movie may be worth discussing critically, the end credits are what bowled me over.  The background scene behind the print was a combination of painting and still photographs from the movie produced through analogue animation rather than digital (although, I’ll bet in the end there was some digital monkeying).  Analogue animation is the kind Walt Disney and Looney Tunes used to do, where separate frames are sequenced like a flip book.   Gianluigi Toccafondo, an artist from Prologue Films (a collective of designers), is responsible for the work.  If you look up, “Robin Hood Prologue Films” You’ll see what impressed me.
2.     Also check out Danny Yount’s work.  He is a self-taught graphic artist who transitioned between some pen and ink drawings and still shots when he animated the end credits for Sherlock Holmes.   Among other works, he is also the graphic artist responsible for the credits on Iron Man and Iron Man 2.  Click on “work” at:  http://www.dannyyount.com/