Realism is for hacks.

Have you ever noticed that if someone can copy something with a paint brush or pencil with skill they are considered a good artist?

I am not here to debate the skill it takes to copy something with high accuracy. I am not here to tell you those people are not great painters or… draw-ists?

I am here to ask if all you can do is copy something that is already there, does that make you a great artist?

If you are such a great artist and so skilled and talented, why do you need to look at something to create art? I have been in shows at my local art museum and all I see is realism. People love realism. They hate abstract. My work gets no attention. I would like to think I am just too great an artist to be understood in my time. I think I’m wrong. I just think people are idiots and they cant tell if something is beautiful or not if they have never seen it before.

Think about it. Would you think a girl is pretty if you have never seen any other girls? Or guys. Or… whatever you are into. You would have nothing to base it on except for your own barometer. Isn’t it easier to tell if someone is good looking if you had something to compare that person to? Think about beauty pageants. They are the true test of attractiveness, right? Right?

Well, they line women up and compare them to each other and determine who is the most beautiful. This is inherently flawed, as we can all agree upon, I imagine. I hope. Unless you are a beauty contestant, then yes, you are the most beautiful flower of them all. And you beauty queens out there have already won. You are the prettiest.

My point here is that beauty is something that people need something else to compare to. A test. Is this more beautiful than that?

Realism is a beauty pageant. Look at this painting of a rose, it looks so lifelike. It is beautiful… Look at this landscape, the sky is so beautiful, it reminds me of…

We’ve seen it before, so we have something to compare it to.

Imagine an alien walks into a beauty pageant. Imagine it is considered the most beautiful of all of that alien race. It is gorgeous. But people don’t have another alien to compare it to, so how can we tell? It doesn’t look like the others. What category do we put it in?

Enter art. Real art. Not a copy of something. Something created purely out of force of will. Pulled from the ether into this realm of being. Something no one has ever seen before. What do we have to compare it to? How can we tell if it’s beautiful?

This is where people lose their minds. They can’t handle it. Their brain breaks. Wait! What is this? How do I process this? How do I place my belief system on what is beautiful if I have nothing to compare it to?

Most of the time this happens: But wait, this is a representation of something I have seen before. I know what this is. I can name it. I can tell if its beautiful or not.

What if something comes along that doesn’t represent anything? How do we categorize it? How do we assign it beauty? Lazy minds think like this. It is easier to move on to the next painting of a bike than it is to sit and contemplate the beauty of something we have never seen. Today is too busy, I don’t have time to think. I need my art in a bite-sized portion and then I can go back to the gram where everything has its place.

I am not saying my art should be beautiful to you. I am not saying I am the best. All I’m saying is – stop for a second and think about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bryan Fowler

Recent Posts