Saturday, March 19, 2011

Commercial paintings

I like this painting, I like the composition and the freshness of the colors.
I'm wondering, though, if what the painter is not mostly doing is dazzling us with his superior skills. "Oooh, look what I can do with only a painting knife."
Don't get me wrong, his skills *are* superior. You try and and make a painting like this with a painting knife, wow, damn near impossible. I'm sure he's been doing it for at least twenty years. ... The detail in the buildings, the tones of the Eiffel Tower, the sketched coats and legs, the quick details of the umbrellas, the reflections in the wet pavement... very damn impressive.

Though the technique reminded me of paintings I just saw today in a furniture store. They were small original painting, framed, being sold for ludicrous prices like twenty dollars each. They were painted with quick tools like painting knives and such. And the thing is that a trained painter can make one of them in like ten minutes. He can spew out 40 in a day.
So you're basically paying just for the materials and for something to make your wall look less boring. Which, admittedly, may be what most paintings are sold as, unless they are investments in a famous artist, hoping he will appreciate in time.

My dad saw such an artist work once. He had ten big canvasses lined up next to each other. Then he took a big roller and applied green paint to the bottom of all of them. Then another roller and applied blue paint to all of them. Then he painted in a couple of trees, all a bit different, on all of them. The foliage was hinted at with texturing and a few detailed leaves at strategic places. In the end, these things were sold at very good profit in low-end galleries and shows.

The problem of course, is, how do you know what is "good art" and what is hack work? If for example it turns out that the artist above makes twenty paintings like this every day... but I just really like it, it speaks to me... who's to say it's not "serious art"... for me?


Philocalist said...

Quote: 'The problem of course, is, how do you know what is "good art" and what is hack work?'

To me, it's always been very simple ... If I like it, it's good art ... if I don't ... who cares?

Anonymous said...

Don't discount this guys work. Here is an artist that you could have bought in the 60's, 70's and 80's for little more than $100 for a 24 x 36 inch canvas.

His work now sells at auction for $30,000 +.

TC [Girl] said...

Found a mother lode of Edouard Cortes paintings, here. Quite the prolific dude!

Jes said...

Well,I've never liked the idea of distinguishing between "serious art" and whatever isn't serious art. You end up placing restrictions on creativity, which is practically a sin in my book. And we all got different preferences. That's one reason I don't like critics, I always feel like they're trying to tell me what I should like and why I should like it.

Basically, I agree with Philocalist. If I like it, then not much else matters to me.

eolake said...

Yes, it's a good point.

I've made some controversy here in the past though by using the word "art" to apply to any art no matter how "bad" or "good". To many people, bad art is not art.

ttl said...

What constitutes good art?

Now, there's an interesting topic, and one which we haven't discussed on this blog hardly at all before. At least this week, that is. ;-)

Anyway, good art is one which has been produced by a double-blind process. That is, neither the artist nor the publisher is aware that art is being created.