wat is art?

interviews and the artist perspective


Fresh from winning a recent challenge at Redbubble.com, I recently asked SanjaXOXO a few questions about her own art:

TR: What does ART mean to you?
To me…ART is the expression of oneself (emotionality, mentally, spiritually) through a subjective medium….ART to me is pure emotion and feeling…which in my case, is captured in a photograph or my writing

TR: What inspires you?
SX: Life, love, emotion, people, culture….those are my inspirations…I’m like an emotional sponge…lol (not always a good thing!)

TR: Are you spontaneous with your process, or do you plan an outcome?
SX: It really depends…if I am working with a client, then the process is more planed . I just always want to ensure that my clients get the best experience they can and that the memories I capture for them, are ones that are meaningful to them. I have to take into consideration who that person is, what is important to them, what are thy comfortable with…. because that makes the shot more natural and real…and ultimately it ends up fulfilling both my vision and theirs. In addition…. I do many self-portraits and with that I know exactly what I want to achieve before I even start the shoot. That being said, photography is such a passion of mine that there is nothing quite as satisfying for me as capturing a spontaneous moment in time…that is the beauty of photography.

TR: Your work tends to focus around people and the close-up human form. What’s this fascination about? 
SX: People are full of emotion….so I tend to gravitate towards that as I am a pretty emotional person myself. I find myself pulled into capturing those special moments, little smiles etc. because those are the things that pass us by in life…these are the moments that we cannot get back. Faces, the human body, emotions…there is nothing more beautiful and complex in life than that….so I take great pleasure and pride when I can showcase that emotional and physical complexity and beauty through my photographs.

TR: Do you have any big projects on the cards?
SX: LOL…I do =) ...I’m working on a large shoot showcasing female faces, make-up and diverse cultures. The shoot will be used for a calendar and (potentially…still in the works)...for promoting make-up products for a large Canadian based cosmetics company. I have 12 great models and some crazy ideas….and am super excited about the upcoming shoot….the calendar will be available on Redbubble in the coming weeks…and I’m sure you’ll see a journal (or two) from me if the whole project is a success =)

TR: what is art anyway?

MT: Art is something that sits inside many things. There is an art to conversation. Some people have it, some don't. There is an art to selling something someone doesnt need. Sometimes Art resides in a painting, photograph or certain sequences of sounds. Why this is the case no one knows. Art is as much the process as the end result.

If you took a painting, a great one, and burnt it with an audience - the painting would no longer exist, but perhaps the Art would have changed from painting to the Ash of what was once great.

Thats Art, its slippery.

TR: You work across a lot of mediums, including music, video, and design. What motivates you?

MT: Well, for me it is to leave a legacy of something behind after my inevitable death at some point in the future. A day spent doing nothing is truly a wasted day.

TR: What surprises you about other peoples reactions to your work?

MT: When people say they are transfixed by my music. Or when they genuinely burst out laughing at my tshirts or videos. Having people say they are my greatest fan (i already have that happening woohoo!) Having met people over the world now, its just great to have all these people who look at my stuff and can in some weird way identify with it.

TR: Are there any subjects or inspiration that you keep coming back to?

MT: I have so many influences, and i often just shuffle and change between them. So for my music, having world music sounds is something i love coming back to. Merging electronica and phat loops with instruments in a way that they were not intended for is a lot of fun for me. I cant see myself stopping that anytime soon.
Likewise with my tshirts - I think i'll always come back to my hand drawn works whilst im scribbling in front of the news or something. So whilst i may experiment with vectors and 3d programs, its my most basic of skills in drawing that i come back to. So more robots, crazy beavers, mutants with many fingers, birds with attitudes and dr seuss style neon fish.

TR: Where do you see your art evolving to?

MT: More live shows! moving the music out of the studio and internet and into the real world. Adding visuals to the show in a similar manner to my videos i produce now, but done in real time like the music. More tshirts ! many more tshirts.

Ideally, and in the long term, i want to get into the computer game music area or the music for films - cinematography. Composing music for films or games i believe would be great fun and my music is well suited to it.

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watch his videos on YOUTUBE
hear his music on REVERBNATION

Studying architecture in university. I’ve been on an eight months internship from January-August 2008; The type of art I’ve been enjoying most was folding miniature origami; though I doubt I’ll be doing much of that while in school, though you can expect more photos and drawings

TR: You have taken an ancient art form and brought something quite unique to it. How do you describe your art?

MT: I would say it is like another world.

Origami itself is a rather spiritual form of art; the most typical being the peace crane, which comes with the legend that if you fold a thousand your wish will come true. “Ori” means fold and “gami” means paper, but can also mean God; hence while “origami” means folding paper, it can also mean a “Folding God”. My art is also very small so while it is a spiritual world, it is also a small one. I take photos of my origami with my hand to present the creator and the creation. We can only understand size, fragility and significance when we compare two things. When we think, for example, how big the world is, we’re like tiny speck of sand, or even atoms, to the eyes of a God holding the earth in his palm. I am an “Ori-Gami” who does origami. I call my creations “Tiny Treasures” (actually it was Karin Taylor who came up with that name; she is a great support who always appreciates my work.)

TR: When did it all begin for you?

MT: Back in elementary school my teacher read to our class the story of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. While Sadako Sasaki was in the hospital, friends and family saved scraps of paper for her to fold paper cranes out of. In one particular moment of the story, Sadako’s mother paid a visit and gave Sadako a piece of paper which her sister saved for her. Sadako takes the paper and says “Mmmm, smells like candy. I hope God likes chocolate”. Everyone laughed including Sadako.

After being read that story I went through an origami obsession; I saved bits of paper and candy wrappers, then did origami out of them. Candy wrappers were often rectangular, so I’d cut the biggest square I could out of them and fold candy wrapper cranes. Afterwards I’d make smaller cranes from the left over bits of the candy wrappers, and then attempt to make even smaller cranes from the leftovers of the leftover.

I have recently come back to my childhood passion of folding tiny cranes and attempted to fold the smallest cranes I possibly could. It began around the start of April 2008; one day I took a random strip of paper and cut a square to fold a crane out of. I was daydreaming so I wasn’t paying attention to how small the paper was.After completing the crane I realized how tiny it was. This was the crane I used for my photograph “Born from the Hand”

Since I was able to accomplish that I decided to try going even smaller. From then on I began doing a series of miniature origami.

TR: How difficult is it to for you to create your artwork, and then photograph it?

MT: That all depends on what I make, how big it is and what paper I use. “Born from the Hand” was pretty easy to fold, but I certainly struggled a lot with the photography! In many attempts the photo came out blurry because it was difficult to keep both hands still (one holding the cranes, the other holding the camera), and sometimes the crane fell off my hand as I snapped the picture; it is difficult being both the hand model and photographer!
Typically the smaller my origami is, the more difficult it is to fold and photograph. That rule applies when folding the same thing at different sizes, however a smaller origami of one thing isn’t always harder to fold than a bigger origami of something different. “Bloomed from Finger” was more difficult to fold than “Born from the Pinky” despite being folded from a paper more than twice as big; it was easy to photograph though.

There are a few other exceptions. For example, I find a normal sized sailboat is easier to fold than a normal sized crane, but a really tiny sailboat (like the one in Sailing Along The Lifeline is harder to fold than a really small crane of similar size. With practice I have gotten better; in both origami and photography.

TR: Does anything surprise you about how others perceive your art?

MT: Despite that the “wow” factor of my art is its tiny size; the most popular one is my biggest crane; but then again it is easier to appreciate art that is more visible :P

TR: what does the word ART mean to you?

I had to think a long time about this one (thankfully this is not a face to face interview where I am expected to respond right away :P). Art is a very subjective term. Nowadays so many things are being called art while they may be very similar to something else which was never called art. But somehow so often we can look at two very similar things and know which one is “art” and which one isn’t. Therefore I think the word ART is personal; the artist’s aura artist has to somehow be felt in order to know that it is art. If the artist’s intention was an honest one; where he/she truly wanted to create a work of art that people will view or speculate on as an artwork; I believe the stronger those intentions are, the more likely they will be called art; whether they are appreciated or hated; but no matter what there is a reaction from an audience.

TR: Is there a special project you have been planning?

MT: I’m still doing my post-secondary studies right now, and while I aim to finish my degree and pursue my career; I would most certainly love having the opportunity to exhibit my art. I already have so many things I want to do but life is too short!

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I like illustration, but I never finish anything. I make videos sometimes. I don’t use my flickr the way it’s meant to be used. I also have a blog.
Here I am doing the dishes.
Does 2 make a series? If so, then consider my series entitled: What are elephants?

TR: How would you describe your work, Paul?

P McC: Oh I think the best word to describe my work is haphazard. I’m all over the shop, no central theme or focus, or even technique. I’d say it’s all fairly dark, in the sense that even the cutest little robot monster is a little bit evil inside. But it’s all really just silly.

TR: You often use pastel shades and simple colour structure. Is this something that you do consciously?

P McC: Yes, I’m conscious of my limited pallet. I’ve never been great with colours, so I try to limit my use of them, I figure if I use just a single colour then I’m less likely to screw it up. Also, my canvas, being primarily shirts (which come in a limited range of colours), dictates to a certain degree the rest of the pallet.

TR: How important is it for you to include a message or social commentary in your artwork?

P McC: Sometimes it’s the only thing that’s important, other times there’s no message at all. Sometimes I do my scribbles for no other reason than I just wanna doodle something, other times I have a very specific reason for doing something. While social commentary is an important part of art, I don’t think it should always be the focus, otherwise it’s boring. There’s no reason to be a sad-sack all the time.

TR: What surprises you about other people’s reactions to your work?

P McC: Well, I’d have to say the biggest surprise is that people buy it. I’ve also managed to make connections with people through these scribbles, and that is nice.

TR: Would you call yourself an Illustrator?

P McC: The term illustrator denotes a level of professionalism that I sadly lack. I therefore cannot and will not refer to myself as an illustrator until I actually illustrate something like a book. I’m secretly working on making this a reality at the moment. Shhh… secret.

TR: what does the word ART mean to you?

P McC: Absolutely nothing. :D

Art is either subjective, in which case it’s meaningless—just a word, or it’s an actual level of achievement that can be measured objectively, in which case I want nothing to do with it. So where does that leave me? I have no idea.

I’m pulled in both directions. I want to side with those that say art requires proper training and skill. That there is a line we can draw to determine what is or isn’t art. That art used to actually stand for something. People used to give there lives to art, spent their entire existence refining and creating great masterpieces… but then, the world we live in at the moment doesn’t allow a person to exist solely for one purpose. While that means that we may not produce the “geniuses” that previous centuries produced, how could we? How can any average person be so irresponsible? I think the democratisation of art is a good thing. I have limited respect for elite artists who were afforded the opportunity to create what they did, when so many people were never given an opportunity.

Umm… that and, I can’t afford a University arts degree.

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Photo[art]grapher, Graphic Design, Web Design & Publishing
in pursuit of Sustainable Lifestyle & Manifesting Dreams into reality
mother, graphic artist, web design, promoter, volunteer, photographer, dooferologist, friend, ideas person, traveller…

TR: How would you describe your art?

WG: All of my art and pretty much all i do in like is first and foremost thru my Intuition, hence why now i call myself an Intuitive Digital Artist. I dont have a ‘picture’ or any sense of direction of what im about to create.. I put on some music and kickstart my tools (computer, photoshop, etc) and just begin… Most of my art tends to stay within catergories of Nature, Visionary, Psychedelic, Spiritual energy types.. and also i love playing with fractals.

Even my photography, its all by instincts as im quite clueless with the technical side of photography, but i seem to be good at creating ‘something’ with the shots i take and photoshop.

TR: You’re quite prolific in your creativity. How do you explain that?

WG: Once again, it comes down to listening to my inner heart vision.. Instincts. Im all self taught (whilst i raised my four kids on my own) and i jump from one style to the other, inspired by the day im having, the music im listening to, or images i see in books and online that must seep within my soul over the years.. which doesnt neccesarily comes out straight away.. I think what i absorb sits within me and comes out when the time is right.

TR: What surprises you about other peoples reactions to your work?

WG: Everything! CuZ for a long time, i didnt see my art as worthy of any accolades. I think this is because i see others better than me, and they’ve been fortunate enough to go to art school, train, study – and i always assume what i do/create is easy peasy, and that anyone can do it too…... if they have the utmost belief in self, which ive come to realise (and been told) that i have extra than most people. Belief and trust in self and the universe.

TR: Is there any subject or inspiration that you keep coming back to?

WG: All of nature, Music and the energy music gives out, especially dancing and how both music and nature’s simple energy can change everything around us..

TR: What are your personal goals in your work?

WG: Pursuit of a Sustainable Lifestyle.. to follow the words of Rumi “Let the Beauty of what you love, be what you do”. To give my heart and soul to creating art of all kinds in total belief that it will then love me back (look after me) as in financially.. so that i have just enough to pay rent, eat, and travel, and with that it also (work/art) nourishes my soul and makes me wake up each day, looking forward to something new that i may see or create.. to share, sell or inspire others…

TR: What makes something ART to you?

WG: ART to me is made when we shed all the material things we THINK we need to make art.. Its not the expensive cameras, or the $8000 art school/courses. When someone can take everyday things, or even thrown out things and see the beauty in it that others dont see/take for granted – and make people stop to look and reLook, think, feel, evoke energy and emotions.. that to me is ART.

Art is one of humans form of communication, the very first, i think.

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"When it comes to styles of photography I don’t specialise in any particular subject although I do have a fondness for landscapes, abstract details and dabbling with montages. I’m also quite keen on photographing the weather."

TR: So, what is art anyway?

DP: I know this probably seems rather unkind considering the title and the aim of this weblog, but it isn’t intended that way. For me, personally, I think it’s a terribly boring question — at least I think that’s the case when trying to give anything other than a technical answer.
Besides, I tend to think that there’s two questions in one there. One of the questions would be “what is art” when asked of someone who self-identifies as an artist and it would be asking them about their output and why they offer it as “art” rather than something else.

The other question would be “what is art” when asked of anyone in relation to other people’s output.

I’m not sure I really have an answer to either of those questions. I’m afraid they’re not really interesting to me. There is art I like and there are artists I like, but I don’t really worry about if their works are art or not. What matters most to me is if I like the look (or the sound) of the output. Or, in some cases, if the output speaks to me in some way.

TR: You say you don’t really fall into the “artist” category. How do you perceive your photography then?

DP: I suppose it’s not so much that I don’t fall into the “artist category” as much as I don’t really self-identify as an artist.

I guess I perceive my photography as just that: photography. I take all kinds of photographs. Some are just straight records of what was in front of me. Some are taken to try and capture how I felt when I saw something in front of me. Some are taken to make a point.

TR: What surprises you about other peoples reactions to your work?

DP: When people like the photographs that, personally, I don’t. There’s been a couple or so times when I’ve uploaded photographs to my main site or my Flickr stream as an afterthought, where I almost didn’t upload them, and they’ve turned out to be quite popular with others.

TR: Is there any subject or inspiration that you keep coming back to?

DP: The sky. Especially single objects against the sky. I’ve got a set going on RedBubble called Against the Sky which contains many images that are mostly sky and just feature a single object. It happened more by accident than design but it does seem to be a common theme that’s emerging amongst the chaos of my output.

TR: What are your personal goals in your photography?

DP: That’s easy: to keep enjoying it. To keep learning. To keep improving. To have fun.

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