This is one of my favorite photos of my wife. Maybe one of my favorite photos. It was taken way back in ’77, before we were married and living in a light filled upper duplex in the city. She’s 23. I didn’t realize it at the time but the photo comes out looking like a vermeer painting. Young woman working in the kitchen with soft light coming from a window on the left.

Now here’s my question. I’ve been working lately on what I call “photopaintings,” taking photographs and manipulating with Photoshop filters to give them the look of paintings. I really love the results, but what makes art, results or process? By he way I’ve also made an actual acrylic painting based on this photo.
One could argue that minus the years of hand skill developement and the tedious investment in time building layers of real paint on a surface, there is no art. The famous “My three year old could do it” argument. Which I don’t buy. First there’s artistic choices to be made in capturing the image. I sometimes use stolen images for practice, but wouldn’t publish them or call them my own. The photos are either taken by me or someone in the family. And then there’s the skill involved in the knowledge of the software. And the choices made in the process. I do this very experimentally, trying different avenues, keeping some results, discarding others…I guess that’s one of the keys. I derive the joy of artistic experimentation from it. So I’m calling it art. I do miss the smells of a painting studio though. When I retire, I think I’ll go back to real paint.

6 thoughts on “

  1. Of course, you’re asking a question that is far from settled even among the people who are widely recognized as creating “good art.”  So they gave Andy Warhol the title of “pop artist,” because somehow he wasn’t a “regular” one.  Whatever.  Art is art, and there’s a reason why it’s on the other end of the continuum with science, right?  Because it’s not a science and what makes art, art, can’t necessarily be quantified.  Personally, I think that art involves a process where a person attempts to distill some part of his or her experience in a way that can be digested and appreciated by others.  If that’s what you’re doing, then I suppose the process is an artistic one.  A three-year-old’s inadvertent creation of something similar wouldn’t fit the bill in the first place, even if it could fool a few people here and there on one occasion. 

    Yes, and I want to thank you for subscribing and participating on my site.  I used to be able to get around to people better than I’m able to today, but thought I’d mention that your contributions aren’t lost in the volume.  I’m especially flattered, though, to find myself among others in a small SIR list.  I appreciate it!

  2. Good answers! This really helps focus my thinking on where I want to go with my creative work. And the interaction with other highly creative people is very inspirational. I got the inspiration, now I need to come up with the persperation

  3. The proclamation makes it into art. Do we really need to go that far, back to the notorious Duchamp? If you call an object ‘Art,’ then art it is. More accuratly, it is both intent and declaration that transform objects and substantiate them as Art. Of course, this is, as Trout suggested, an intense debate in Art Critisism and there are many who will argue otherwise. I say, let them. Let critics argue about art, and let artists create art, peacefully.

    Your wife is beautiful, the photograph is beautiful, and the entry is also beautiful. You see, I’m easily pleased. 🙂

    Apropos of everything and nothing at all, I want to direct you to an interesting blog I think you will appreciate. I believe the man behind that blog, hiding under the nickname ‘ifso,’ will have an interesting suggestion or two to make in the subject. But even if not, I somehow sense it’s a blog you will enjoy.

    Ciao ~

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