Sincerity is a Non-Value in Art

Earlier this year I bought a book, “101 things to Learn in Art School” by Kit White to inspire future blog posts. I was getting tired of my other “go to” books “Steal like an Artist” and “Art and Fear’; plus I was interested in seeing what I missed in my own early art education.

There are a few potential posts brewing in my head from this book, but right now I keep coming back #35:

“Sincerity is a non-value in art.” – Robert Storr, lecture at Pratt Institute

Once a work of art leaves the studio and arrives in the larger world, your sincerity is a weak predictor of the work’s success. Outside of the studio, your work must stand on its own and reveal itself without your being present to defend or explain it. A sincere artist can make weak work, and in insincere artist can produce masterpieces. Don’t try to defend a work’s shortcomings with protestations of good or sincere intentions. It isn’t part of the larger world’s criteria of judgment. – Kit White

Continue reading Sincerity is a Non-Value in Art

What Else Did I Miss?

I have always felt that a university education is wasted on the young. I went straight to college after graduating from high school and I always felt this was a mistake. So when I picked up a new book last month called 101 Things to Learn in Art School I was intrigued to see what I had missed the first time around. It turns out a lot.

File this under things I have never thought about:

Photography forever altered our compositional sense. 

“The camera with its viewfinder that samples a portion of the world, changed our relationship to the frame. The understanding that the frame is artificial and that the world extends beyond it affects the way we compose images. Painters, such as Degas, allowed the frame to cut into figures and objects, implying that part of the subject lay outside of the view of the image. This was a radical change from the centered image of traditional painting where the space inside the frame was a metaphor for the world. Now, we see the edges of pictures as being vital and compositionally active, not dormant and arbitrary.” ~ 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Kit White

This seems at once so obvious and yet so completely foreign to me. In the photography world you hear so much about the Rule of Thirds, but that is only one approach; and a rather safe one at that.

As I move forward into the new year and continue to practice the art of toy photography, I will be paying more attention to this frame and its relationship to the subject. It is time to move beyond the old standard “rule of thirds” and be a little more daring.

I wonder what else I missed in art school?

~ xxsjc

Resistance is Futile