Inquiry Questions 101 – WHAT IS ART ?

Factual – How has art changed over time ?

Art started off with basic carvings, before we moved on to paintings and sculptures. We started off with basic carvings as a form of art and communication as well like hieroglyphics. We had paintings as a form of expression come up next once we had paint, and then we went to complex sculptures carefully made, such as those made by Michelangelo.  As we slowly approached the modern era, art slowly became more unique. We tried to create different form of expression that went the extra mile – art slowly became more of a diary. Art turned more personal and something that we could connect to more. Art also became more abstract and the meaning wasn’t as shallow. We moved on from recording the scenery and places to recording what was in our heart. In cubism, dadaism, futurism, and what I call “the splashing” artwork (a paining where it seems like the artists just splashed cans of paint on), the message is communicated in an abstract manner. Art has become more meaningful.

Factual – What is Visual Culture ?

Visual Culture is the ways we express ourselves through visual art. It’s about expressing practices, beliefs and our emotions that are deep down in our heart. How we express what we think things should be like, how a home should be decorated to suit our needs. When we talk about visual culture, it’s all about you and what something you truly and personally feel. In the world of visual culture, we can express ourselves in any way we want -it all depends on you.

Conceptual – In what ways can visual art influence or even change society ?

Visual art could change what we think about others. For example, in my montage, I trying to provide hope into people that may not feel confident in themselves. Visual art is one of the mediums of communication that we can use to tell people about not just how we feel, but about a part of society that people don’t know about. This could change people’s thoughts on the matter – from ignorance to sympathy. Visual art changes the relationships between people, because art’s message is very subjective and change almost anybody, as long as they can express the message in a fantastic manner.

Conceptual – How can small things change the world ?

I have mentioned that some scientists predict that if the temperature was to go up by five degrees Celcius, most or all species would become extinct. Juxtaposition is something very interesting, because we get different perspectives into the subject, which is why a montage enhances the message of the original photograph. Some photographers, when composing montages, use different lighting but the same setting and place. Basically, it starts off with a photograph, but using different tones and a rather grid-like artwork could mean a lot. Some photographers may also take the photo of just one subject, but zoom in at different angles and use different profiles that create a very abstract piece. Sometimes the montage could even seem as if it is falling apart, and that is how small things can mean the world to you.

Debatable – Is there ever an original photograph ?

In my opinion, photographs are always original because you take them. You are inspired by your surroundings to take them. It’s not done by the world, but by you. That unique process of thought that you go through is always something personal. Even if you may try to use other’s styles, you will always put a personal message or a unique twist into it that changes everything. A photograph is always original, because the photographs are all about you. If not, they will sill connect to you, right ?

Debatable – Who is the owner of a digital photograph ?

In my opinion, there are two owners of a digital photograph. The first one is you, because you decide where you want to take your picture and the message you put into it in whatever mystical way this is done. The other owner is none other than the camera, because you decide the settings it can take. In a DSLR, there is so much you can experiment with. You could experiment with colors and take sepia photos on the spot using monochromatic mode. You could change your shutter speed and aperture to change the look of a subject. Lastly, you could also change your ISO or white balance to make your photo live with color and focus. A camera could change your photos in many ways, and that’s why it owns majority of a digital photograph – it completely changes it.

Evaluating Different Photo Montages – Different Perspectives in Photography

In class, we had to evaluate each other’s work. What did I think of the different photo montages ?

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Here is the feedback I received for my photo montage.

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SELF EVALUATION

Looking at my photo montage, I can say that the connections between each image are definitely there, since the connections to make a face definitely place the montage on an entirely new meaning. The composition is definitely telling a story, as through the connections, we can see that we need to believe in ourselves, and that greatly influences who we are as a person. It shows a personal journey in life, which is definitely telling a story. Overall, I can say that I have created a photo montage, as the key was the word’s original meaning of “fitting” and juxtaposition. I definitely made it meaningful. However, I could have improved by ensuring that the face was clearer, such that the story could have been communicated better. Many did not get the message until I told them what it was about or they viewed the artistic intention. Even still, I needed to explain it further to them. Therefore, this is I something I could work on to help people identify the main message.

REFLECTION – How does creating a joiner with these photos differ my perspective on the subject of the photo ?

If you originally looked at my photographs, you would just think that the message was light – a bunch of light, at that fact, that is travelling in who knows how many directions. However, now that juxtaposition is applied into the montage, the connections change everything completely from a bunch of light to a personal journey – a face staring into the sky. Something that was originally about light turned into something more personal – self-discovery. Something that anyone could have understood turned into something that some may not feel with or understand. The overall subject suddenly feels a lot more abstract – a lot more mystical. Therefore, a joiner could change a usually seen idea to something that isn’t commonly found, and that’s what makes photography more unique.

My Photo Montage – What’s The Message ?

This is my final product – the photo montage ! I decided to name it “Light Choreography”, because the light seems as if it is dancing.

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Artistic Statement/Intention

Who said light travels in straight lines ? Anything can happen. When you are down, light brings you wonder. When you feel like the entire world is against you, you must remember that there is one thing – light. Life is like a flower, and we start at the bottom, and by shining light on ourselves, we climb up before reaching a petal at the top. When is something we cannot control but where is something that we can change. Remember that the light you shine on yourself is who you are. There is never saying no to hope.

(99 words)

Explanation of The Artwork – How It Becomes More In Depth

If you have noticed carefully, joining up the colorful lines of light gives you a face staring into the sky. The black sky is the face and the colorful lines of light give it an outline and therefore it’s shape. I am trying to say that from this face, the light you shine on yourself represents who you are. The flower was meant to depict that if you rise, light will welcome you. Motion is utilized based on the movement of light in different directions, hence light choreography.

Inspiration

David Hockney was the one that inspired me for my artwork. From his montages, I took the fact that he took many images of the same thing, which resulted in my experimentation with light. Later, he joined everything together that could still give off that aura, which I tried to communicate with a display of light. Here is an example from one of my previous posts. He took photographs of the same subject, but still joined them together, and what could have been an ordinary world turned into a fantasy. In my montage, I tried to do that by trying to make it more abstract, and therefore more of a world of fantasy. I turned the cars upside down and the light into something as never seen before to try and add on to the effect. Therefore, I would say that this work is my inspiration for my montage – something abstract and dreamlike.

Hockney Montage 2

Developing A Photo Montage – Mix and Match – The Art of Experimentation

Continuing from the time I mentioned how I edited the photographs, I will now talk about the techniques utilized and the experimentation involved in mixing and matching the photographs into creating that very meaningful montage. The final montage will be uploaded tomorrow, along with the artistic intention.

Firstly, we have the technique. The photographs taken for my montage were actually from my balcony at night (you’ll see them soon). It’s a very clear city view, with no light displays of any sort. It’s just a scenery where you would find some buildings, lamp posts and a few shop lots and cars along the way. I will be breaking this explanation into three parts (there were three types of photographs).

1. Light Drawing – What I did was using my DSLR, I set my shutter speed to about 1.5 seconds and with an aperture of maybe 5.0. After focusing on the overall scenery, I pressed the shutter and quickly turned the camera 90 degrees clockwise, ensuring that the center still remained. This must be finished before the shutter has another “click” sound. You will find that the camera started from the original picture, but the many lines of light associated with turning the camera are also included, giving an awesome light display.

2. Light Car – Capturing cars that seem to be a quick spectrum of light is pretty easy. By setting your shutter speed also to about 1 to 1.5 seconds, taking the photo will not only capture the shot at that instant, but everything during the 1 to 1.5 second duration, which means that many lines form and these may produce stunning results.

3. Bokeh Flower – By using my mother’s flower on the balcony as the model with the city skyline as the background, I used a shutter speed of about 0.5 or 0.6 seconds and the lowest aperture I could go – 3.5. You must remember that what aperture does is the ability to focus on a subject. A low aperture would put focus on the subject focused on, while a high aperture would give almost equal focus to all elements of the setting. Shutter speed, meanwhile, is how long the camera takes before it’s second click, giving either more time to capture events over a period or giving less time to capture things at 1/4000 second, for instant. By using this effect and a lot of trial and error, you get the flower as such, with the background appearing as circles of light.

Meanwhile for the experimentation, I was quite unclear at first, when I thought of just connecting a few lines together based on the direction of the lines of light. By the end of my first mix and match session, here was what I got. (I am sorry if it wasn’t that clear…)

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However, after this, someone suggested to me that I should connect the lines of light to form the outline of another character – another person, which would make it generally much more meaningful. From my next two experimentations, here is what I got.

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The first one, if you look carefully, is supposed to depict the face of a lonely boy looking into air. Can you picture the lines ? I’ll tell you more for the second one in my next post, as so not to spoil it, as I used this as my base for the final product.

Anyways, I added in some of my remaining photographs in from the light car and put it at the sides, before getting this as my final experimentation.

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The final product is close to this, so stay tuned for tomorrow with the final montage and the real artistic intention !

The Art Movement Beside The Photo Montage

Today, we will be discussing about a few art movements that are somehow linked to the photo montage. We will quickly take a look at each work and respond to them.

First up, we have Dadaism. Since we have already covered this before, I will just explain it briefly. Dadaism was art by the Dada Group after World War 2, where they used the photo montage as a form of anti-art in protest of the chaos that was going on in the world. Their art was like something no one had ever seen before – it defied everything we knew about the world. I have the link to a video here that explains Dadaism very well, and I love this short section where one of the members of the Dada Group spoke about how to make a “Dada Poem”.

“Choose a article. Cut out the article. Then, cut up the words that make up the article and put it into a bag. After that, take out the words one by one and place them in the order they left the bag, and here is a poem that is all about you, infinitely original, and sensibly charming, though beyond the understanding of the mankind.”

It really shows what the function of a photo montage actually was for. They were talking about a GLOBAL ISSUE – the WORLD WAR. Photo montages are made to communicate who you are, while being infinitely original, sensibly charming and yet beyond the original understanding of mankind. This is what I can apply to the the photo montage – by randomly mixing things up to get an unexpected but totally original yet charming composition. As our Statement of Inquiry says,

Changing the boundaries of expected relationships can inspire unexpected compositions.

Video Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=213&v=vK7CWwpFizc

Here are a few examples of art from Dadaism.

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This montage basically communicates all the themes and beliefs of the Dada Group in a way that feels like the world is falling apart. I can see how they took everything, put it in the bag, and spread everything out in some of the most random ways. It feels like all of the buildings and sharp objects are crushing all the people at the bottom – the world is in an utterly state of chaos that cannot be escaped wherever you run to.

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This is basically similar to the montage above, except that I feel this one is like others “kicking” others using their legs. Humans are fighting humans for their own survival. In the meantime, we suffer great misery, and much suffering.

Our next art movement is Cubism. Cubism, which was in the early to mid 1900s, was more about geometric shapes used to resemble the subject being taken. It was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The shapes are used to create a rather mystical aura which is still understood by mankind. The way the painting is broken up is supposed to help in the communication of the message of the art. I describe cubism as “breaking apart and shuffling around”. It’s a little like Dadaism but it isn’t the chaotic type.

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It feels like the violin player is stuck in a statue. The shapes make her look very fixed and as if she cannot escape playing the violin for the sake of money. You can see it from the determination yet sadness in her eyes.

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This artwork clearly shows that a guitar has been split up into many parts. There are many guitars, but no perfect ones. There is nothing that is complete and whole and something we can call perfect – just like us humans.

Now looking at the photo montage, Dadaism aims to communicate something as random as possible yet has a lot of meaning. That’s what a photo montage should communicate – something like the global issues going on around the world. For example, I read about tax evaders from companies, who try to ensure that the prices of their shares are as high as possible, which is why they do not pay tax. It’s an issue that hampers the government’s funds and ability to develop the nation into a better place to live in. Dadaism communicated on the global issue of war, which is how both are similar.

For cubism, the fact that everything is rearranged for the sake of deeper meaning is exactly what the photo montage is about, like this task of creating a photo montage. The “geometricness” of the shapes give it a very fixed meaning that is often, no, always circulated around lines. As mentioned before, lines draw us into a photo, creating composition, and that’s how cubism relates.

The art movements inspire others. Have they inspired you ?

A Process of Editing – Telling A Story

As I compiled a few photographs for my photo montage with my DSLR based on my theme of curving light, I was looking through them and found that editing actually made the photos look really cool and refined them, enhancing the message (and wonder) of the photograph as a whole. Through two simple steps of editing by using the “neon” and “boost” features on Picasa, I managed to make the photographs look more abstract, while adding a nice touch of red to them. I have a few screenshots of the editing process. I will reveal more of the original photographs and edited ones later, as I don’t want to end up uploading repeats or spoil the montage for both the audience and the teacher, including the techniques used to capture them !

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