Today’s “Art” (1st April 2016)

As I mentioned earlier today, I have decided to use the beginning of this new month as an opportunity to break free from the bourgeois shackles of traditional art and become a conceptual artist instead.

I present two of my inaugural conceptual masterpieces here today: “Yearning Of The Cosmos For The Zeitgeist Of Postmodern Thought ” and “Gossamer Memories Of Paperback Perdition”.

These works form two halves of a coherent whole and are a post-structuralist critique on the existential meaninglessness of traditional knowledge forms, as well as a sharp critique of the shape of Anglican church collection plates in the years 1901-1903.

Lest these bold anti-capitalist works lose any of their inherent multi-million pound value, this two-part masterpiece will not be released under a Creative Commons licence of any kind.

Happy April Fools' Day everyone :)

Happy April Fools’ Day everyone 🙂

(Happy April Fools’ day everyone 🙂 Don’t worry, I’ll post some real art here tomorrow.)

Four Revolutionary Tips For Making Conceptual Art

2016 Artwork Conceptual art April Fool article sketch

Well, it’s the beginning of a new month, so I thought that I’d talk about how to make an innovative and revolutionary new type of art today. An art form that I have often sung the praises of, but have never really discussed in detail.

Unless you’re the kind of archaic philistine who clings to outmoded reactionary ideas of artistic beauty (and who frequently spews ignorance-laden bile such as “artists need to practice to get good at making art“), then you’ve probably heard of conceptual art. If you haven’t, then you should be ashamed of yourself!

Conceptual art is a bold paradigm-breaking genre of art that is a clean break from the oppressive traditions of the past. It began in 1917 when Marcel Duchamp bravely placed a urinal in the middle of an American art gallery and, right then, a silly fad a bold new artistic method was born!

For almost a century since then, countless artists have kept this bold new urine-taking tradition alive in order to strike back at the stale old artistic traditions of their parents’ generation.

The idea behind conceptual art is that the concept behind a piece of art matters more than what the artwork itself looks like, or even what it’s made from.

For example, if you think that a discarded drinks can you just found in the park is the perfect metaphor for modern capitalism then, thanks to conceptual art, you can make a bold anti-capitalist statement by selling that worthless piece of rub.. boldly political piece of found art to any modern gallery for at least a five-figure sum.

So, how do you make this bold and revolutionary paradigm-breaking type of art? Well, here are a few tips:

1) The statement: Although writers often swear by the old adage of “show, don’t tell” – artists are not writers and, as such, it would be horrendously insensitive for artists to follow this simple piece of writerly advice!

As such, when making a piece of conceptual art, you need to accompany it with a long-winded statement that explains precisely what your work of art means. Allowing the audience to come to their conclusions about your art often also allows reactionary ideas, incorrect politics and other heresies to slip into the discourse.

So, in the interests of freedom, you must pre-emptively stamp down hard on all audience interpretation with an iron fist and ensure that there is only one way that your masterpiece can be understood. You do this by writing an artist’s statement.

Of course, if the idea of writing your own statement offends you, then there is thankfully a helpful website that will generate a pre-written artist’s statement for you.

2) Art school: Although I have unfortunately never attended one of these fine institutions myself, at least a few modern-day art schools are on the vanguard of this bold new art movement. Well, from everything that I’ve read at least.

Gone are the repressive days where art schools would cruelly force their students to learn. Gone are those horrendous times when attendees of art schools would be made to *ugh* practice outdated “skills” like “drawing” and “painting”.

At least a few modern art schools are now thankfully safe havens where all forms of artistic creativity (except for anything that isn’t conceptual art, of course) are valued and supported. So, if you want to be a conceptual artist, then attendance at one of these schools is almost mandatory!

Not only will you get to meet many of your other fellow conceptual artists if you attend one of these modern convents of creativity, but you will also be inducted into the esoteric mysteries of how to understand and discuss other works of conceptual art. No longer will you be a foolish member of the uninitiated, prone to heresy and blasphemy. You will be a conceptual artist!

3) Dealing with criticism: Unfortunately, due to the old-fashioned concepts of “free speech” and “humour”, it is likely that cynics, traditional artists and other undesirables may feel that they can mock and ridicule your conceptual masterpieces with impunity. This should not be tolerated!

You should not give these heretical “opinions” any platform! You are the artist and they are not! Loudly denounce their “opinions” for what they are – outmoded expressions of stale traditionalism!

Don’t even think about “accepting the fact that other people have different opinions”. Any words or non-verbal expressions that indicate that your conceptual artwork is anything less than a fully valid, excellent and magnificent work of art are ghastly heresies that must be silenced immediately!

Be wary of mild praise too! If someone says that your conceptual work is “ok”, then this actually means that they don’t understand your unique artistic vision!

4) Actually making the art: No, silly! You don’t “make” conceptual art. You find it. If your artistic process even vaguely resembles the act of “making something”, then you’re doing it wrong! You heretic!

But, of course, you knew that already, didn’t you?

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Happy April Fools’ day everyone 🙂 Normal articles will resume tomorrow.

You Need More Than A Good Concept To Make Good Art

2016 Artwork You need more than a good idea sketch

As regular readers of this site probably know, I posted a slightly failed painting on here in mid-January.

This was a painting titled “Skeletons With Sledgehammers” and, despite the fact that it both had a really cool horror movie poster-style idea behind it and that I’d edited it quite a bit after I’d made it, it still ended up being something of a disappointing failure.

Seriously, it could have been so much better! In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:

"Skeletons With Sledgehammers" By C. A. Brown

“Skeletons With Sledgehammers” By C. A. Brown

So, why am I mentioning one of my failed paintings?

Well, it’s mostly to prove the point that making good art involves a lot more than just coming up with good ideas/concepts. Although I don’t want to talk about *ugh* conceptual art too much, the idea that the concept behind a piece of art is a work of art in and of itself is – in my opinion – absolute nonsense.

Even though good concepts can be challenging to think of, a concept isn’t art. Art is art. Anyone can come up with a good concept, but it takes an artist to turn that good concept into a good piece of art.

It takes an artist to re-create that good idea either on paper, on canvas, on a computer screen or through traditional sculpture. Merely re-arranging a few pre-made objects (to illustrate an interesting idea that you’ve had) isn’t really very creative in the strictest sense of the word.

Although good art usually needs to have a good idea behind it, there’s a lot more stuff that an artist has to do in order to transform a good idea into good art. They have to come up with a good composition/ layout, they have to make the decision to use an appropriate colour scheme, they have to know the correct level of detail to include in a painting, they have to use an appropriate art style etc…

These are all things that my “skeletons” painting failed to do on one level or another (especially with regards to the composition/layout of the picture). So, although I really liked the concept behind this painting – I failed to translate that good concept into a good piece of art.

If I wanted to turn this concept into a good piece of art then, thinking about it, I should have made a few changes. For starters, I should have included fewer (and more prominent) skeletons and I should have also found a much more dramatic way to include the unwitting couple at the bottom of the painting. I should have also thought of a more interesting idea for the background of the painting too.

Likewise, I should have chosen to either use a more striking colour scheme (eg: blue/orange or possibly red/black), a much more limited colour scheme or possibly even just a black & white colour scheme. I should have also tried to fully use my cartoonish art style to my advantage (rather than setting out to make a “serious” movie poster-style picture).

Part of the process of becoming an artist involves learning how to turn your good ideas into good art. One of the main ways that you learn how to do this is by failing often and, more importantly working out why you failed.

Just having good ideas isn’t enough. Knowing how to use those good ideas is far more important.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂