Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Paper is fiber too

Now follows a little whining and ranting.

I have been looking at some inspiration for ATCs (Artist Trading Cards - miniature art works in size 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. I have been at Flickr and most people there make their ATCs in collage and using many different techniques and mixing different media. Most of the people are very creative and produce art. I am really bad at this sort of art. My collages just don't work. My Dearest Husband is very good at this. He just throws together a bunch of pictures that don't seem to have anything in common, and the result is amazing... my sister has this talent too. I don't. I am really envious to all these people, simply because I don't have it... And I have been sitting here, looking at the wonderful collage ATCs and feeling poor, untalented and miserable...

Then I got the idea of looking elsewhere... I googled "ATC" and "ACEO" and found out that the original form of these little artworks was indeed a miniature artwork. No, I don't do collages, but I can draw and paint. Now I feel relieved - and very stupid :-D
I have also made my first ATCs :-)

But - even though the majority making ATCs ARE artists, there are people who are not. I get angry when I see the "ATCs" made by taking a picture of an existing artwork, fitting it into the format and then claiming that's "my" ATC. Some people do "try to hide" this fact by embellishing the picture a little, but one of the worst examples of this I have seen was a picture cut from a calendar, glued on a 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 piece of cardboard and that's it. The person didn't even glue on any flowers, rhinestones or glitter... At least she admitted that that's what she did.
I also don't think it's art to cut a person from a picture of a well known artwork and glue it on pretty paper, but it's better than not even do that. Nevertheless, there are some copyright issues with this too... It's one thing to do that with 19th century (and older) art and a totally different to do that with a contemporary artist who's trying to get a living with her art...
I am not sure what I think when a person prints the picture on fabric and enhances it by embroidering the flowers and adding some beading and such... I suppose it is skillful and the cards are very pretty, but... I'd still want the person to create an own picture.
I also don't think it's art to cut a photo from a magazine, glue it on the cardboard and add a quote or something to it. Unless, of course, it's your photo - meaning, you photographed it.
Also, taking some pretty paper and stamping a pretty stamp on it... that's really not art either.
Or just whacking some color on paper and writing with your own handwriting the color's name on it... Er... That might have been art like 40 years ago. I really wish people would put a little more effort on the things. Especially if it's a question of a swap. Some people actually do a lot of work and try to make the receiver happy. Now, if the taste is different, that cannot be helped, but don't send anything you wouldn't be overjoyed to receive. I wouldn't even bother making such an "ATC". (On the other hand, I know how to make calligraphy as well... such an ATC made by me would be worth it... ;-))

The thing with ATCs is that they are supposed to be ART.
*sigh* But I suppose there's room for everyone and every idea. If making "ATC"s make people happy, go ahead. I can fully understand that some people create very beautiful images and it would be lovely to have them with one in a handy pocketsize version. I also understand that some people are more creative, artistic, imaginative and inspired than others, and when it takes a lot of work for some people to embellish a pretty image taken from a magazine, it really IS one's "own work" after that... I shouldn't be using myself as a measurement on others' creativity and work. Besides, I'm not supposed to be some art police and tell people what is good taste and art and what is not. If they are happy with their work and publish it, good for them.
Nevertheless... *sigh* Sometimes I wish people would take art a little bit more seriously and allow the artists to get the appreciation they deserve and leave the art making to artists.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

You know, your opinions make me smile. I don't always agree completely, but you always hit on at least one point that makes think or look at a subject differently.

Art is definitely in the eye of the beholder; I think that one of the things that sets an artist apart from a dabbler or "just" a crafter (sorry for that) is a sense of style. Or rather, a consistent style.

If you're "just" pasting someone else's pictures onto heavy paper, where is your style in that? But if you start with someone else's (copyright free, of course) pictures and embellish them in a way that enhances them or make some sort of statement -other than 'this is the best I can do'- then maybe that is art.

Check out this blog, just for fun. There's not a lot there, but the artist definitely has a sense of style! (okay, I admit, it's one of my offspring, but I think I'd like her style anyway!)