The “What Do I Think About Art” Tag

In which Kana unwittingly opens the Pandora’s box of all my thoughts about art philosophy. I’m sorry. You did nothing to deserve this.

The “What Do I Think About Art” tag was created by My Mind Speaks Aloud. If you haven’t already checked out her blog, you should! She’s really thoughtful, and she posts about music a lot.

Huge thanks to Kana at The Halfhazard Wanderer for tagging me! I love her blog so much. Her stories are full of wit and humor, and she draws the cutest little pictures to go along with her posts. I was so excited to be tagged! This is my first tag on my blog, and my love for analyzing art is only rivaled by my love for analyzing sound devices in poetry.

So, let’s get to it.

Rules:

  • Copy the piece of art given to you by your nominator into the post, as well as these rules
  • Analyze the piece of art given to you and what it means to you (you can be as abstract as you like)
  • Nominate 5 people to analyze another piece of art of your choice.

Art:

banksy

This piece is by Banksy, a famous British graffiti artist. First I’m going to analyze the art as it is, pretending that I don’t know anything about who created it. Then I’ll critique the heck out of analyze Banksy’s art as a whole. Remember, this is intended to spark a discussion! You don’t have to agree with everything I say.

My first reaction is: cool! It’s creative of the artist to extend the double yellow line up the wall and make it into a little doodle. It adds a pop of cheer to the ordinary cityscape.

Then you see the man in the corner of the wall. He’s seated on a yellow can of paint, holding a roller with yellow paint on it. He looks tired and grumpy–not the kind of guy you’d expect to go around painting flowers on walls. My interpretation is that the man’s job is to paint the double yellow lines, but he was tired of the same old thing. In a burst of defiance rather than cheerfulness, he kept going and painted a flower. Now he’s sitting on the can holding his roller, like, “Yeah, I painted a yellow flower on the wall. You got a problem with that?”

It’s not a bad painting. The message stops you and makes you go, “Huh.” Nothing great or especially beautiful about it, but it’s not bad.

That’s more than I can say about everything else Banksy represents.

Banksy is a good example of middlebrow art. His work is ironic, easily accessible, pseudo-intellectual, and unsubtle. People who know nothing about art think that if they like Banksy, they are smart, so they collect his work as a status symbol. Some of his work isn’t even art, such as this message painted on the back of a truck. (Warning: contains mild profanity.)

Is it funny? Yes. Is it true? Sure. Is it art? No.

Since the DaDa art movement in the 1910s, people have tried to “push the boundaries” of art. Most notably, Marcel Duchamp turned a urinal upside-down, signed it with a pen name, called it “Fountain,” and entered it in an art show.

That was in 1917, and maybe it was clever and original back then. But 100 years later, we still haven’t seen the end of this. The problem was, Duchamp’s work was completely misinterpreted. Duchamp’s point was that people would accept anything as art, even if it wasn’t; not that anything could be art. As a result, “artists” are pooping in cans (warning: profanity), putting a glass of water on a shelf and calling it an oak tree, and having people cut off their clothes. This stuff goes in art museums and is worth ridiculous amounts of money, while talented freelancers struggle because they’re not “original” or “edgy” enough.

Maybe Banksy isn’t quite as bad as that, but his ironic, irreverent work continues in that same vein. Much of his work hits you over the head with a message. Some has no meaning–it’s just trying to provoke a reaction.

That said, I don’t hate all Banksys; I actually like the yellow flower piece. Banksy has a few good pieces every now and then. I just think that, overall, he’s perpetuating the 100-year-old “pushing the boundaries” thing. The boundaries are nice and pushed by now, thank you. Can we please go back to creating beautiful art?

OK, rant over! Once again, thanks to Kana for tagging me. I tag…

L.E. Hunt

Simply Megan Joy

Kayleiyah Prose

Anna @ Cozy and Pink

Mismatched Socks

And here’s the piece I’d like you to share your thoughts about! (Note: You don’t have to analyze the heck out of it if you don’t want to. I went way overboard!)

snowstorm steamboat off a harbour's mouth

“Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth Making Signals in Shallow Water, and going by the Lead. The Author was in this Storm on the Night the ‘Ariel’ left Harwich” by Joseph M. W. Turner. Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Most people just call it “Snow Storm–Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth.”

And I’d love to hear your thoughts about my interpretation of this Banksy piece and Banksy in general. Do you agree with me? Do you think I’m completely wrong? Am I too cynical? Let me know in comments!

Featured image background from Unsplash.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “The “What Do I Think About Art” Tag

  1. The urinal XD I like edgy art, but not art that’s edgy just for the sake of being edgy. I want to look at something and think “that’s genius” not “they saw the chance and tool it.” Great analysis! And thanks for the tag 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. orchidsarefascinating says:

    I like your interpretation, and I totally agree with the whole pushing the boundaries thing. It’s gone way overboard. I went to a museum once and int he modern art section there was this one piece that was one real branch from like a tree and a copy right next to it in bronze. How is that art people??? Anyway, great post and thanks for tagging me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this is a better analysis than I was expecting!! Thanks for doing the tag 🙂 Okay, okay, so my thoughts: I completely agree about Banksy being very repetitive and condescending in his art, to the point where we’re like, “We get it. Society sucks.” For the other artists you mentioned, their pieces require pretty much zero skill. So you’re right, what happened to simply beautiful art?

    Does good art need to have a message? Do you have to be talented to be an artist? Personally, I prefer my art like how I like my poetry: where there is beauty on the surface level but also another, deeper layer that provokes thought and discussion. Just as much as I don’t think art should be edgy for the sake of being edgy, I don’t think it should be pretty for the sake of being pretty. To be great, I think there needs to be a balance between the two.

    I still like Banksy, though. Although he might not really be changing the definition of art, I think he at least changed the definition of graffiti. And yes, he’s overrated, yes he’s irreverent, and the majority of his messages are obvious enough that anyone can understand it. But a part of me admires that he dares to continue what is essentially vandalism. Which probably shouldn’t be encouraged. But I secretly find it kind of cool.

    Anyways, fun discussion! Thanks again for doing the tag and doing 10 times more than I was expecting 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I completely agree that art needs to strike a medium between “purely conceptual” and “purely aesthetic.” And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think it was cool how Banksy can get away with vandalism 😉 Thanks for tagging me, this was loads of fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, i want to thank you for liking The desert road at http://www.roadandwell.wordpress.com. Next I am not an artist and dont follow art. Dont know who Banksy is but I learned some new things by reading your post. It was well written and kept my interest even though i am not into art.
    Side note on your interpretation. I like how you picked up that the guy was painting lines and got fed up. I dont know where bansky is from but in america, where i am from, the double yellow lines are in the middle of the road. So i dont know if its important that the double lines are against the sidewalk almost to say he is going the opposite direction.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I couldn’t agree more with this. “The boundaries are nice and pushed by now, thank you. Can we please go back to creating beautiful art?” This is me and my husband have been discussing about. I am strongly nodding with your statement.

    There are lots of artists who have been underrated. But people are people. Art is very subjective and evolving ( for better or worst? Idk. Depends. ) Me and hubby don’t see the same thing and have come up our own opinions lol and we are both not knowledgeable with art. But we know what we like to see hehe. Sometimes it’s a masterpiece, genius or plain silly and ridiculous. Thanks for tagging me. I’ll write about this soon. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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