Where is the line between art and Porn.

I have been reading a lot lately on social media about people’s perceptions and opinions of what they class as art and Porn.
Having read many opinions on the subject I have decided to run a little experiment to find out what is the general opinion on what some would class as an artistic nude and yet others would class as obscene or porn.
Below are a series of images and I am asking you to decide which ones you see as art and which ones you see as nothing more than porn.

Women Lovers by Charles Blackman
Women Lovers by Charles Blackman

This first image titled, Women Lovers by acclaimed Australian artist Charles Blackman caught my eye as it was recently banned by facebook much to the disgust of the gallery that wanted to display it for auction purposes.  I assume for containing lesbian connotations, nudity a bare bottom and a partially visible breast.

For me, I see nothing wrong with the image. It is a subtle portrayal of a couple who are in love and cherish each others company. It is in no way offensive and portrays what is, in fact, an everyday part of normal life whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

Gustave Courbet. The origin of the world 1866
Gustave Courbet. The origin of the world 1866

This next image by the Gustave Courbet is a highly debated piece which is currently hanging in the  Musée d’Orsay. Its title is The origin of the world and is a realistic portrayal of an erotic female nude which leaves nothing to the imagination.

Although at its time, when first painted I believe it had a more political agenda, for me, its title clearly states that it is an interpretation of what some may consider being, The origin of the world, as without the urge or ability to reproduce there would be no world, for mankind, at least. I personally find this in no way offensive and more a celebration of the female form and its power to reproduce and nurture mankind and therefore I would definitely not class it as porn.

This next painting by BALTHASAR KŁOSSOWSKI DE ROLA, aka, Balthus is titled The guitar lesson and features a young female bent backward over the knee of an older female. There is nothing left to the imagination as it is clear what is happening. For the uncensored image please visit Here

For me, you could raise several arguments over the content portrayed within the painting and argue that it is abusive, obscene, explicit even, but is it still art?

TBC.

 

Art is for everyone.

It is my humble opinion that art is for everyone. To be more specific the creation of art. The actual act of putting pencil to paper or paint to canvas. These are my preferences but art comes in many forms and endless mediums.

Why, because by doing so we are able to leave the world we are in, forget about all our fears, woes, and problems, leaving us free to indulge ourselves in a world of passion, creativity and make-believe.

For me creating art is like reading a book. Once we open the jacket and begin to read the first page we are no longer trapped within the confines of our everyday lives. We are the villains, the hero’s, the lovers and the dreamers immersed in a world of make believe with only our imaginations to limit us. The Dumbledores of the art world with the capability to conjure up infinite possibilities. For a brief moment in time, we are calm, relaxed and at one with ourselves, masters of our own universe with the endless potential to produce whatever we desire with the luxury of being able to be oblivious to all that is around us, and like reading a book we can pick it up and put it back down whenever we choose.

Art is a fantastic free way to destress, it helps you relax. It frees your mind of all the clutter of everyday life and allows you to escape within yourself. It improves your hand-eye coordination and helps you express yourself, your passions, your desires, it channels your emotions into something productive and worthwhile with an end product that you can be proud of and say “I made this”. Yes sometimes it can be frustrating and many times you will mess up but there is no pressure or expectations other than those you put upon yourself and like all things, the more you do it the better you will get.

So come on people, get some art therapy and start learning to enjoy your creativity, start expressing yourselves through art because like I said, art is for everyone.

Author: Arts-crafts-Hobbiesanddiy.com

 

Self observation and self awareness.

We are all in some way conscious of how we look but have you ever stood in front of the mirror and really taken notice of yourself. I’m not talking about your everyday routine beauty check before you leave the house. Or the does my bum look big in this, as you glance over your shoulder. I’m talking about taking the time to really look and pay attention to yourself. To explore your body and look at every detail of what you see. Yeah, right I hear you say.

I mean, when do any of us get time to actually pay attention to ourselves let alone study ourselves on an intimate personal level, after all, we spend most if not all of our time running around after everyone else, trying to please and delight those around us and meeting deadlines within our strict routines, it’s no surprise really that we overlook the most important thing of all. OURSELVES. Besides which, when, or if we do finally get time alone, we are too exhausted to take advantage of it anyway let alone sit in front of a mirror and explore ourselves.

So I’m asking you to indulge me for a moment. If you could find the time to study yourself, and I mean really look and take note of what you see, paying attention to every line, wrinkle, dimple and curve, and all the minute details that we so often take for granted and yet make you so special and unique, could you also imagine yourself as the subject of a work of art, and if so how would you see yourself and want to be portrayed. Throughout history, both males and females have been the subject of infinite works of art, portrayed in many guises and many forms. Some works show full frontal nudity with the subjects positioned in alluring poses that hold our attention and lead our imaginations into a world of thought-provoking fantasy, inviting us to imagine all kinds scenarios while others leave nothing to the imagination, some invite us to look deeper into the soul of the subject, seeking out their personalities and second guessing their very thoughts. Some offer us just a glimpse, barely enough, leaving the rest to our own imaginations.

Throughout history, both males and females have been the subject of infinite works of art, portrayed in many guises and many forms. Some works show full frontal nudity with the subjects positioned in alluring poses that hold our attention and lead our imaginations into a world of thought-provoking fantasy, inviting us to imagine all kinds scenarios while others leave nothing to the imagination, some invite us to look deeper into the soul of the subject, seeking out their personalities and second guessing their very thoughts. Some offer us just a glimpse, barely enough, leaving the rest to our own imaginations.

How would you choose to be seen? Would you choose a specific part of your body, perhaps your shoulders, the curve of your breast or back, your face, an eye or your lips, would you choose to portray your whole body, and if so would it be clothed, partially clothed perhaps in the sexiest lingerie and jewellery you possess, draped in silk or naked, vulnerable and exposed to the gaze of your admirers, would you prefer to be standing, lying or sitting, perhaps posed in a wooden rocking chair with a soft blanket draped across your partially exposed body. Your stockinged leg showing just beneath the cover offering a glimpse of what lies beneath. What mood would you want to portray, perhaps how you are feeling at that moment, fed up, excited, aroused and yet at the same time scared as you feel vulnerable and slightly out of your comfort zone, or maybe you would prefer to be portrayed how you felt before you actually took the time to take notice of yourself. Exhausted, tired, Shy and unaware of just how beautiful you really are.

Don’t be afraid to touch and explore yourself feeling every detail of who you are. The way your body dips and rises. the softness of your skin and all the little dimples, curves, folds, bumps and creases that make up its surface. Experience the sensation of your touch and how it makes you feel. Try to find the mood that you seek then apply it to your work. Once you have decided on how you want to portray yourself, you now only have to decide by what means you wish to do it. There are many ways to capture your image, all you have to do is decide. Perhaps on paper using graphite or paint, or even by a photograph as we all now seem to have the luxury of the selfie.

It doesn’t matter how it looks, this is about you paying attention to yourself. If at first, it looks nothing like what you set out to do don’t worry. Once you have the initial basic idea you can fine tune the details later. This is your chance to portray yourself in a way that you decide, you are in control and can be seen in a way that you want to be seen, so take your time, indulge yourself and enjoy the experience. There are no judgements here.

The most important thing is to be proud of who you are and take pleasure from yourself, your body and what you are seeing. You are the subject, the muse and the centre of your attention, you decide what to portray and how you want to portray it.

Body image and self awareness
Body consciousness

In conclusion.

Not only is this an artistic exercise it is also an exercise in self-awareness and self-confidence. So many of us have low self-esteem and lack the courage to put ourselves out there as we are so judgemental of ourselves that we are constantly paranoid of what others may think of us and so lack the confidence to be around others on a more personal level. this exercise is designed to make you aware of who you really are, a chance for you to step out of your comfort zone and indulge yourself and realise that you are a beautiful being.
I appreciate that all of us are not brilliant artists so if you have chosen to capture your image on paper or canvas don’t be too disappointed if the finished piece isn’t perfect or bears little or no resemblance to what you set out to do. The object of this exercise is for you to see the brilliance and uniqueness of who you are and to become aware of yourself. It’s not about producing a masterpiece or a picture perfect representation of yourself unless of course, this is your objective. At the end of the exercise, you might just be amazed at how beautiful and perfect you are. You may want to keep your work for yourself or to show it to others or you may decide to discard it. It’s your choice. You are in control. You decide. Just take the time. It’s yours after all.

The genuine masterpiece.

I have looked at thousands of paintings, photos and other interpretations of art by various artists to seek out what to me is a genuine masterpiece, but it wasn’t until yesterday that it dawned on me. Are we not all a genuine masterpiece in our own right? Are we not unique, do we not all have the ability to be influential, are we not all priceless and irreplaceable. Every part of us is a genuine masterpiece in its own unique and to a certain extent flawed way. Our uniqueness comes from the fact that we could never be exactly reproduced, in the same way, that with a work of art there can only be one original piece and any reproduction will never capture nor match its unique original quality.

We as humans can have the same effect on a person that a work of art can have, be it positive or negative, and our very presence can influence others who see us, be it pleasurable, passionate, repulsion or aggression. I am not talking about personality as that is a hidden aspect of who we are and can only be experienced through interaction. I am just referring to our pure physical presence, the moment when we are first noticed by a total stranger.

For example.

Have you ever passed someone in the street or spotted someone across the way and, at that very moment in time turned to glimpse them and then continued on your way? Have you thought Wow who was that, and been captivated and held on the spot, did you think, oh my god or thought, I wish I could look like that, did you just ignore them and take no notice what so ever of them or did they for some reason disgust or upset you. Did he or she make you feel happy or sad, jealous or possibly even offended, did you look at that person and find yourself being critical of them, of their appearance or their very existence. Did you think that you would have done something different. Used a different make up or hair color, wore a different outfit or combined different styles, or just have not bothered and stayed out of sight.

What would you have changed if you were them. Have you commented to those around on their appearance and drawn others into your thoughts and provoked a debate about their look or presence, or did their presence have such a profound effect on you that you have returned day after day to the very spot that you first glanced them in the hope to get another look.

All of the above are not dissimilar to how you would view a work of art and the effect it can have on you.

When you see yourself in the mirror what do you see. Do you stand there and criticize your every flaw and try to redesign yourself as an artist would toil over a piece, or do you see the unique masterpiece that you really are. There is, and never will be another like you. You are a genuine masterpiece, a one off and irreplaceable.

There is no price that can be put on you as you are priceless, as no monetary value could ever be legally placed upon you. You are irreplaceable and as with a genuine work of art you have the ability to leave your lasting impression on those who see you once you are gone.

In conclusion.

We as humans spend so much of our time seeking beauty and perfection in all that is around us that we seldom see what is right there in front of us. Our favorite subject seems to be each other, we strive to look and be like each other and yet little do any of us realize, there is no need. We are all in our own unique way a genuine masterpiece, a one-off that can never be reproduced.

Colour usage.

I was recently doing some research into how to make my website more attractive and appealing to my visitors.
While doing so I stumbled upon several articles and studies about colour and the effects they have on our moods. For example, when we decorate our homes we choose the colours according to the mood we want to create within each room. Using perhaps light colours to create the feeling of serenity and space and darker colours to create a sense of being snug and cosy.

This got me thinking about how colour is used in the creation of art and whether or not specific colours are used during the portrayal of a subject as that is what is expected of the artist. Or, then again, perhaps they are used as that is what the artist perceives the viewer’s expectation to be because the artist subconsciously is trying to project a message to the onlooker, to inform us of their inner feelings and emotions during the creation of the piece.

Or is it just simply that certain colours represent certain things,  the sky is blue, the grass is green and so on.  We all see things the same way as everyone else, so the artist just gives us what we expect.

Throughout history, many works have been created using a plethora of colour and portray a multitude of scenarios.
However are we as the spectator if you like, missing what the piece is really about, and what the artist really wants us to see and feel.
Is there a hidden message in front of us, put there and expressed through colour to invoke our feelings and emotions, and that until we really start to examine the piece and take note of the use of colour as a pose to the subject matter itself we will never really get?
It’s a well-known fact that colours can affect and influence our moods.

For example if Giorgione had painted his sleeping Venus  using darker colours, perhaps against a thunderous sky with the trees thrashing in the wind and the hills and houses shrouded in darkness would we still see his Venus as a beautiful young woman resting peacefully on a hill and have that  feeling of calm, peace and serenity when we viewed it, or would we see his venus as a dangerous threat that is to be avoided at all cost.

I pondered on this for a while and then began to think that perhaps an artists choice and use of colour is, in fact, a deliberate way of influencing how we see the work and a way of influencing our mood as we viewed the piece. After all, Venus would still be the same person, an innocent looking maiden sleeping peacefully on a hill, but would we still see the piece this way?

There’s the old saying when you lose your temper that you see Red, suggesting that the colour red is an angry aggressive colour. To annoy or wind up an already slightly agitated person is considered to be waving a red flag at a bull.

So if an artist uses a lot of red and red based colours within their work could this mean that they were venting some kind of anger or frustration through their work, as red is a colour that invokes passion, energy and excitement, getting the adrenaline flowing and slightly raising the heartbeat causing us to react faster and raising our aggression levels.
White.
White is associated with cleanliness and purity, the traditional bride was always wed in a beautiful white wedding dress. The bridal gown is a sign of innocence and her purity, an untouched fruit ripe for her groom. So if an artist’s uses white in their work could this mean that at the point of its creation they were feeling cleansed and pure of heart.

At the other end of the red spectrum is Pink.
Pink, on the other hand, is a mixture of both red and white, it is the colour associated with love and romance. It is a calming colour which causes us to mellow out and relax, draining us of our aggression and letting down our guard. Does this then mean that by using greater amounts of pink in their work the artist was perhaps feeling mellow and was so relaxed that they wished us all to know, or maybe even they were expressing their own feelings of love?

Yellow.
Yellow is the colour of sunshine. It stimulates and invigorates and is associated with Joy and happiness. It stimulates the mind and causes us to want to get up and get to it. It’s a colour that attracts the eye and grabs our attention. It is associated with honour and loyalty but it too has a dark side as it is also associated with cowardice and fear as in the saying “to be yellow”. Could the use of yellow mean that the artist was feeling excessively happy and joyous when they were creating the piece and wished to convey their joy to us the admirer, or perhaps they were feeling threatened and were fearful for their own well being or maybe they had committed an act of cowardice and were expressing their shame through their work.

Green.
Green is another favoured colour. It is the colour of the grass, leaves on the trees, plants in the ground. Greens are colour’s that take us outside and are associated with the environment around us. Greens are seen as being calming, soothing, invigorating colours. They are associated with safety but they also have a dark side as they too are associated with greed and jealousy and are referenced in the saying “the green-eyed monster” or to be “green with envy“.
So could an artist that used greens within their work be expressing their feelings of being at one with nature, a creature of the outdoors with the desire to be free or maybe could it be that they were harbouring feelings of envy and jealousy toward another. Perhaps a rival artist or someone of higher status or standing than themselves.

Blue.
A combination of both yellow and green is the colour blue.
When we are down and feeling sad we are said to be feeling blue, suggesting that the colour blue is a sombre colour, however, this is only true when associated with darker blues, as light blues are favoured by many for their calming, soothing effect. There is nothing more calming or relaxing than lying in a green field looking up at a clear blue sky with the yellow sun beating down on you warming every inch of your body. A lot of hospitals and dental practices use light blues within their decor to create a feeling of calm and serenity in order to relax and calm those within, pre sedating their conscious mind so as to ease any anxieties that a patient may have.
Blues are also said to enhance performance releasing chemicals into the body causing athletes who train in a blue environment to train harder. It is also associated with the purity of royalty and nobility as only the select few are said to be of blue blood.
So if an artist chooses to use dark blues in their work is this because they are feeling a little down or dejected and somehow need to leave a message in their work to let others know how they feel, perhaps seeking a little empathy from the viewer. If they choose to use lighter blues are they doing so as a result of them feeling calm and at peace at the time of putting colour to the canvas. Perhaps in using lighter blues, they are in fact stimulating their own minds and enhancing their own creativity thus aiding in the production of another great work.

Orange.
Orange is a combination of the colours red and yellow. Red being a passionate and aggressive colour while yellow is a warm fun, happy and invigorating colour.
Orange is a warm colour representing heat, fire and the sun. It is an appetite stimulant. Think of a bowl of fresh ripe oranges on a hot day and imagine taking one, carefully peeling it then biting into its succulent flesh so as to release the juice and enable you to quench your thirst. Orange is a colour representative of warm tropical landscapes, it increases the flow of oxygen to the brain causing our receptors to fire more quickly stimulating mental activity and helping us to be more creative. It is a stimulating colour causing enthusiasm, determination and fascination within us.
When an artist uses orange in their work are they trying to get us to see beyond what is in front of us.
Orange like blue is said to be a performance-enhancing colour so like with blue is the artist using orange as a way of getting us to see more than what is actually there, giving them an edge by stimulating our brain activity and enhancing our mental thought and in doing so causing us to be more enthusiastic about the piece and perhaps lull us into a sense of having to own the piece.
Could it be that the artist at the time of its creation was on a high, perhaps feeling invigorated and filled with the desire to create something that would portray to all how they felt?

Purple.
Purple is a combination of both blue and red.
Yet again we have a passionate fiery colour mixing with a more soothing calming colour. Purple like blue is again a colour that has a strong association with royalty. It is symbolic of luxury and ambition and representative of dignity, power, wealth and extravagance. It is a colour used in many mythological and fantasy works being representative of mystery, wisdom and magic. It is a colour that is also associated with independence and creativity so could this mean that if the artist chose a subject containing purples they were trying to express their individualism and creative abilities.

First rendezvous.

I saw you looking.
Scrutinising me with every glance.
Staring with pearlescent eyes and holding my gaze.
What power do you possess that holds my attention and keeps me transfixed on you.
Studying every line and curve of you.
Building an indelible image in my mind so that I will never forget.
I try to portray you, but I am paralysed by you.
I can neither put to canvas nor imagine what I am trying to express.
My intention is there, but my mind cannot perceive the concept.
I will my body to execute, but I am frozen in the moment.
You sense my hesitation.
With subtle intention you adjust your position, changing the light, exposing more of you to me,
The presence you exude with your confident demeanour.
You are exposed and yet unafraid, unnerving my senses.
Quickly you sense the hold you have over me, as you dare my eyes to see you differently.
Teasing my thoughts.
Inviting my scrutiny and challenging me to find your inner soul.
How can I portray such perfection?
The subtleties of colour and line of your body as you sit motionless before me.
The tense heady atmosphere that transpires between us.
You will my hand toward canvas yet I cannot find composition.
Imagining in the moment how desperately I want it and how easily it could be lost.
To know that in a moment, I could capture it and it would always be there, never to be taken.
Held in immortal portrayal for all to see.
The tension is building with every second you are in the room.
Making me want, even more to capture it before you leave and it is gone forever.
We are lost in the moment.
Neither of us knowing the difference between reality and art.
I saw you looking.

 

JH.                                                                                                                                   Copyright © 2009 ACHD

It’s only a tree??

I was out walking the other day when a tree that I have past almost every day for years suddenly caught my eye.
Standing as it has done for hundreds of years in its own private little plot, silent and majestic in the middle of a vast open field. Its giant trunk anchored firmly to the ground by a maze of entangled roots, living tentacles mirroring its immense bulk, burrowed deep into the ground and constantly clawing at the soil seeking out its nourishment, unseen and yet crucial to its survival. Huge branch’s like giant limbs gracefully bowing to the floor playing host to an entanglement of smaller twigs covered with a plethora of individual delicately coloured autumnal leaves in shades of green, brown, yellow, orange and red, with the sun sitting low in the sky highlighting and illuminating every detail of its form as it stands statuesque against the landscape.
As I gazed upon it, I thought, Wow, why have I never noticed it? I have passed this way more times than I can remember and yet It has never demanded my attention before. But, in that moment, there I was, mesmerised and inspired and feeling a huge need to capture the image and commit it to something more lasting so that I could possess it and keep it forever.
However almost immediately after my initial reaction, and completely out of nowhere I thought WHY? Why do I need to possess it, what is it that makes me want to own the moment. Can I not just enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is today? Tomorrow the tree will still be there and there will be a different picture for me to see, and different emotions for me to feel as with the passage of time, all things change.
As I continued on I began thinking about art. Is art really about the moment, an impulse, a sudden flash of inspiration, a eureka moment if you like. The moment when the sun hits the leaves and the tree explodes into colour, demanding your immediate attention and triggering a multitude of thoughts and emotions in the subconscious that initiates the desire to want to capture and possess it so that it will never be forgotten. Or is art more about preconceived ideas, planned conscious decisions executed in meticulous detail by the artist. The privilege that allows the artist to carefully choose and manipulate their subjects and then through exacting technique and use of colour and perspective, present them in a way that suggests to us what they really are and how we should see them. The artist’s way to stop us in our tracks and demand our immediate attention, forcing us to question our own perspective of the piece.

This is a tree. It’s only a tree??

Art on the emotions.

What effect does art have on the emotions?

A work of art can depict many things, document many historical events, tell many stories, and in a lot of cases shed light or provide us with a fleeting glimpse into the lives of the artists themselves. How much passion, guilt, or betrayal is there depicted throughout history in the art world, for example, many of the greats were known or believed to have used their lovers or mistresses as muses in their works. It has often been suggested that Flora, one of Titian’s more poetic images of a young provocative looking women, was, in fact, his mistress Cecilia, whom he finally married in 1525.
Pablo Picasso was renowned for taking his muses as lovers as is evident in a lot of his work.
So when we view a work of art are we briefly being invited to form our own opinion or cast our own judgment not only on the piece but on the artist themselves.

Titians muse Cecilia.

Titian’s Flora c.1515-1520

Is the artist inviting us to view them as more than just artists, perhaps they are desperate to be seen as people, with emotions and desires with pent up frustrations or hidden agendas that can only be expressed and released through their work,
as art, after all, is a form of expression, a way of venting our feelings, sharing our emotions or possibly even confessing what was not at first obvious, and capturing them for everyone to share. With art, there is always a thought process where an idea is conceived, and then a design process where we decide how to best express our initial thoughts, feelings or emotions. It is a psychological outlet that provides both spiritual relief and satisfaction and invokes emotion in its purest form.
So when an artist creates a piece, are they really laying themselves bare to our approval, or are they just giving us a brief glimpse through a window into their soul, letting us know how they feel, confessing their innermost thoughts or fears through their work, regardless of what we might think.

Some, so-called great works of art look as if a child was fed caffeine and sweets all day and then let loose with a packet of crayons or gallons of paint. It leaves you questioning the piece and wondering whatever was going on in the mind of the artists when they created it, what madness could have invoked such chaos and how can this be taken seriously as art? While others leave you feeling mesmerized and astounded by their beauty and composition, inviting you into a world of make believe where fantasy appears to be reality and, for a brief moment in time you are lost in the artist’s world.

Art excites our minds and teases our emotions. Some works can leave you with a feeling of emptiness, sorrow or remorse, while others excite the senses and dare you to look deeper into the piece and imagine what madness, power, passion or desire inspired such an arousing piece of art. What is it that a work of art has that it can lift you to a higher plain, warming the soul and fueling a passion buried deep within?