The Education of Simon Jones in the difference between art and Art (and the gaps in-between) by John Coombes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

hello - anybody there?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


One way to become an artist is to copy other artists. Apprentices did this for years by way of learning the trade, and it was no bad thing. But they then went on to create their own stuff. Today it seems it is enough just to copy and present the results as your own.

Photographer Naoto Kawahara

copying Balthus

Saturday, January 26, 2008


here you are

Martin Parr

look and learn

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What have this man

and this screwed up piece of paper

got to do with the Turner Prize?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Good artists copy, great artists steal" Picasso

- discuss

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cy Twombly

How did he get where he is with stuff like this?

1. go to art school in Boston
2. join the Arts Students League in New York
3. meet Robert Rauschenberg
4. go to Black Mountain College
5. meet John Cage
6. get taught by Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell
7. do your time in the army as a cryptologist
8. stick your neck out.

The question we must ask, I feel, is how many other students went to Boston Art College, joined the Arts Students League in New York, went to the Black Mountain College, and spent their time scribbling large on big sheets of paper, but pissed Motherwell off by spilling their coffee on his notebook, and never made it?

Surely for every Cy Twombly there are hundreds of others doing stuff just as bizarre, that don't find the crack in the pavement, that don't manage to squeeze through between the billboards, that don't reach the Tipping Point.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Jeremiah Johnson - Sidney Pollack, 1972
Three Days of the Condor - Sydney Pollack, 1975
Once Upon a Time in the West - Sergio Leone, 1968
Once Upon a Time in America - Sergio Leone, 1984
Bitter Moon - Roman Polanski, 1992
Satyricon - Frederico Fellini, 1969
Red Road - Andrea Arnold, 2006
Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - Tom Stoppard, 1990
True Stories - David Byrne, 1986
Hotel - Mike Figgis, 2001
Jubilee - Derek Jarman, 1977

That'll do for the time being,
questions will be set
and answers will be expected.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The law of understatement.

"You all know that a simple outline doodle by Picasso or a nude by Rodin or Klimt can be much more evocative than a full colour photo of a woman. Similarly the cartoon-like outline drawings of bulls in the Lascaux Caves are much more powerful and evocative of the animal than a National Geographic photograph of a bull. Hence the famous aphorism in art: "Less is more".

But why should this be so? Isn't it the exact opposite of the first law, the idea of hyperbole, of trying to excite as many "AHAs" as possible? A pinup or a Page Three girl after all has much more information. It's going to excite many more areas in your brain, many more neurons, so why isn't it more beautiful?

The way out of this paradox is to consider another visual phenomenon, called Attention. It's a well-known fact that you can't have two overlapping patterns of neural activity simultaneously. Even though you've got one hundred billion nerve cells, you can't have two overlapping patterns. In other words, there is a bottleneck of attention. You can only allocate your attentional resources to one thing at a time.

Well when you look at a Page Three girl, the main information about her sinuous soft contours is conveyed by her outline. Her skin tone, hair colour after all is no different from anyone sitting here. It's irrelevant to her beauty as a nude. So in the realistic photo you have all this irrelevant information cluttering the picture and distracting your attention away from where it's needed critically - to her contours and outlines. By leaving all this out in a doodle or sketch the artist is saving your brain a lot of trouble. And this is especially true if the artist has also added some peak shifts to the outline to create an "ultra nude" or a "super nude"."

Prof. Vilayanur Ramachandran

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Obscentity is a cleansing process, whereas pornography only adds to the murk" Henry Miller.

"Eroticism is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken" anon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Art v art

What what what happened?

Can we have the chalk board illustration of art vs Art please?