MADE BY @simp-lex:
She made this amazing simpsonwave piece for me and she’s a pretty good simpsonwave artist overall, so if any of you guys are into that I _strongly_ advise checking her out and following her!
Line art for a 1-pg Bart Simpson strip, “Big Bad Brother Bart”.
This was one of the earliest strips I drew as well as wrote for Bongo, and I was still working hard to get the hang of the style. I wasn’t asked to mimic the Simpsons model art – at the time Bongo was hiring cartoonists like Peter Kuper, Gilbert Hernandez and Sergio Aragones, and letting them work in their signature styles – but my OCD kicked in, and I decided I wanted to get my drawing as close as possible to “on model” as I could. I got a copy of “The Simpsons Handbook”, which was really well-done and a lot of help, and we were provided with an extensive character color guide for Sarah’s coloring work.
I ended up doing a batch of stories for Bongo over ten years or so (iirc), some co-written with Sarah, and some of which I did the art for. It was an extended learning experience as well as a great gig, hard work (trying to get the style down, and overworking the panels, as always) but mostly enjoyable and rewarding. And everyone at Bongo was great to work with, to boot.
“Mr. Spockuru” – Drew this a year ago but never posted it till now. He’s saying “Live long and prosper” in Japanese. I still quote Leonard Nimoy’s lines from his fantastic guest appearances on The Simpsons.
There is absolutely NO consensus on what is art. Every artistic movement that ever existed spawned because they disagreed with the definition given by the culture and society where it began. That said, we can analyze the most common definitions used in our current time period and society:
“Art is a form of self-expression”
This is probably the most common one, and also one of the most recent ones. I might be wrong, but I think this line of thought became popular with the Modernist movement, in the early 20th century. It also leads to other questions. If art is self-expression, how do we define what kinds of self-expression are art and what kinds are not? Is ALL self-expression art, or does it require an artistic intent? Of course, this definition invalidates @fullten’s claims that advertising and packagins is art, because there things are not means of self-expression of the artist, but simply work made in return for money, in which the artist often doesn’t even have any creative control.
“Art is anything that’s beautiful”
While people don’t say that outright, this seems to be also a really popular definition. We often call, in popular language, things that are exceptionally beautiful “works of art”, even if they’re natural phenomena (e.g. a beautiful sunset) and therefore devoid of intent or purpose. This definition, though, doesn’t sustain itself in most periods of art movements. While some artistic movements hammered hard on the beauty aspect (I’d cite Art Deco and Art Nouveau, though there was a political reason for that, and of course, Aestheticism), but there are also art movements and pieces that are made with the explicit intent of being disturbing and/or nightmarish. One of my favorite “classic” examples of this is Goya’s painting “Saturn Devouring his Son”, which is undisputably considered art, but no one in their right mind would consider it pleasant to look at.
“Art is communication”
Another popular contemporary definition, and the one I’d go for if I was @fullten, because by this definition, advertising and propaganda can be considered art, since they ARE made with the explicit purpose of conveying a message. Sometimes the message is a really mundane, dull one, like “buy cheetos”. Sometimes it’s something terrible, like “immigrants are stealing our resources and must die”. But if we go by this definition, we can broaden a lot what we can consider art. The problem I see with this definition is that it’s too broad, because pretty much everything we say and do is meant to convey a message. We are social animals. When, for example, I wear a t-shirt that has a reference to a videogame that I like, I am giving out a message (I like this game) and inviting communication (if you can get this reference, you and I have something in common, we like this game). But it’s so broad and mundane that it’d dillute the “art” category completely. So let’s see the next one.
“Art is mastery”
By this definition, art requires a certain level of skill by the artist. If someone pays me $5 to draw some fanart, and I make a shitty stick-figure drawing, it’s not art. But the Sistine Chapel ceiling is art, because Michelangelo did some damn good bible fanart up there and he was a very skilled painter (even though he didn’t even like painting - so we can cut out the “self-expression” factor there). But then it leads us to more questions. Does the theme matter? If my stick-figure drawing is of a bible scene, does it make a difference? Most of us agree that a poorly-drawn stick&poke tattoo of Bart Simpson is not art, but is a masterfully done, full back tattoo of a Simpsons scene art? Is The Simpsons itself art? And also, where do we draw the skill line? How do we measure accurately an artist’s skill level so we know the difference between a “real” artist and a wannabe?
“You’re a real artist if you’re living off your art”
Then Van Gogh was a fraud and you can all stop reblogging those Starry Night cupcakes. Next.
“Art is anything society considers art”
As shitty as it is, I believe this is one of the most accurate definitions. And it sucks. It sucks because, if you analyze history, what was considered “true art” depended a lot on who was doing it. There’s a reason why painting is considered “fine art” but embroidery is not. There’s a reason why European works are considered fine art and worth of study, but African and Native American works that are contemporary of those are buried in history and ignored. The definition of art is inseparably linked to the biases and prejudices of the society it spawned from.
Michel Duchamp’s famous “Fountain” sculpture (the urinal one, you’ve seen it probably) was a criticism on this phenomena. He wanted to point out that the only criteria we used to define if something is “art” or “not art” is whether the artist is already renowned. A lot of Modernist works have this same theme, like Piero Manzoni’s “Merda d'artista“, where the artist canned, labeled and sold his own feces to prove that people will buy any (literal) crap as long it’s from a famous artist. And he was right, because his cans o’poop reached prices up to 125 thousand euros.
Ironically, the only reason why these criticisms were even considered, and later called “art”, is because the artists mentioned were white european men.
And this leads to my personal favorite.
“Art is political”
Quoting 20th century dramaturgist Bertold Bretch,
“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate,
he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political
events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the
fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all
depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid
that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The
imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the
prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad
politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational
This is not just a criticism of the average “good citizen”, but also of previous generations of artists and thinkers who were completely detached from political matters. Brecht believed that art had to serve a social function, a political function. More than conveying a message, art needs to attempt to instill change in the enviroment where it’s created.
I like this definition a lot, and I believe that what separates art from other disciplines is this sense of social responsibility. Be it for good or bad, you gotta be trying to change something. Art must defy the status quo somehow. I believe that if your art is comfortable, it’s not art.
Of course, I’m open for discussion, and the definition of art is a subject where I believe we will NEVER come to a conclusion. This is how it has worked all through history and it’s not going to change now. It’s also valid to point out that, while I do have a solid background in art history, my main formation is as a designer, and my school followed a very School of Ulm, function-over-form line of thinking, so of course this affects my current view. Due to my background I’m inclined to believe that art must have a function. Disagreements in this subject are not about who’s right and who’s wrong, but often are just about what’s your background as an artist.
Or sometimes you’re just some ignorant kid with a big mouth and an “edgy18+” blog who doesn’t know what the fuck you’re talking about but eh, to each their own, right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Attention, everyone. This is Principal Skinner. Some student, possibly Bart Simpson, has been circulating candy hearts featuring crude, off-color sentiments.Well, let me tell you something, Valentine’s Day is no joke.