purple fish guts

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

One Hour Photo Paintings

Check out this One Hour Photo Paintings story over at J-Walk.

This helps confirm my belief that you "make it" as an artist by either making good stuff or by having a good gimmick that excuses the ugliness of your work.

Mark Takamichi Miller's gimmick? Steal photos of people you don't know and make paintings of them. This is a perfect scam because it takes the emphasis off of the quality of the artist's work. It doesn't really matter if the paintings are good or anything..... because that's not the point. The point is that the photos were stolen and that's why the work should be valued.

It's always fun to read the artistic-intellectual-speak that goes along with stuff like this.

I chose common snapshots as subject matter because I wanted to look very closely at something that wasn't intended to be looked at, except as a quick remembrance of something familiar (in this case a child's birthday party). I also wanted them to be people I didn't know so that I would not have any pre-conceived attitude towards them. In my paintings I tried to follow the pictures as exactly as I could. I attempted to transform them without the freedom to change the major parts of the photo. The painterly application de-emphasizes the story of the people and their party and emphasizes the unintentional formal elements.

These are private photos not intended for public viewing. I looked at them very carefully as I reproduced them as paintings for public viewing. This was an invasive and hostile act and is inherent to the work. They are intentional. They expose as an unwilling documentary the private lives of the subjects and the social rituals they engage in. But they also invade someone's privacy. There is no excuse for it except to say that the abrasive hostile act has always been one of the primary attractions to doing and viewing art. It is both a catharses for the maker and a private pleasure for the viewer. But this does not excuse the action. After doing this project, even I am afraid someone will have done something with my photos I leave for development. However, within the hostility, the paintings marry the engaged to the mundane, and in doing so make something beautiful where it was not.

From http://www.whitelead.com/markmiller/index.html

Uhhh... yeah... the hostility of your actions somehow makes your paintings beautiful. Sorry... not really seeing it.