Art and Fear is a book that looks to describe problems artists have in the creative process and give advice on how to overcome it. The author outlines two types of obstacles which are internal obstacles and external obstacles. Internal obstacles look into the idea of fear within an artists about their work, originality and how other view their art. External obstacles look into practice ideas within the art world like time management, production, the art community, teaching and the art network. One concept I found very interesting in this book dealt with the internal fear of others. The book looks at how deeply personal art can be and looks at how that effects an artist in being accepted by others. Personally, I think I resonate strongly with the fear of others especially when making personal art. Specifically I think that my fear of others as an artist’s pushes me to pursue less personal issues of comedy and humor. The book describes how art is expected to be intimate and in so reveal a certain amount about your personal feelings and opinions. This causes fear in artists because the people who view your intimate pieces form judgments about you that may or may not be correct. Another concept that stuck with me was the idea of pretending to be an artist. The book talks about the idea that many important artists seem like they know what they are doing and know their art is good. This intern causes artists like me to feel we aren’t creating real art because we are still learning and using influences to create. The last concept that I think is important for any artist to remember is artmaking involves skills that can be learned. The book talks about our perception of artmaking as something you are born with or that is innately apart of the artist. While some might be born with certain skills that help them in their art, the majority of artists have to go through the process of learning to achieve the art they want. It is important to remember art is a practice and like any practice you get better the more you try. Artists are constantly getting discouraged because art is seen as a gift. As one thinks of art more as a practice the less discouraged they will be and the more inspired they will become to practice to get to that level.
Researching Charlie Kaufman brought up some interesting facts and opinions about his creative process. Kaufman is most known as an American screenwriter, producer and director. He has written films such as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Synecdoche. Two of his films that bring out much of his style and influences are Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Kaufman created the story of this film first by just thinking about the idea of a married man falling in love with someone who isn’t his wife. The plot essentially follows a guy named Craig as he discovers a portal into john Malkovich head and peruses a co-worker named Maxine because he is falling in love with her. Craig’s wife Lotte also is told about the portal and begins to fall in love with Maxine as well. The storyline and style deals with many common themes Kaufman works with in his writing. Those films being life, morality, love through a different version of reality. Kaufman’s use of a reality or world that is different such as being able to go into a portal to john Malkoviches head, create the ability for his characters to reveal aspects of human beings that many people relate to or feel through alternate and fiction narratives. Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind has much of the same style and themes within it. The story essentially follows Joel as he undergoes a procedure to erase the memory of Clemintine whom he loved because he is heartbroken. The story is similar in that it looks at a different reality where erasing memories is possible to reveal aspects of human behavior and feelings that many people go through. The story was similarly conceived by a simple idea from Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth looking at what would happen if one had the ability to erase memories about another person. It also similarly looks at the ideas of love, morality and the meaning of life through a different reality.
I also researched Sophia Coppola which also proved interesting because I previously knew little about her. Coppola comes from a family of filmmaker most notably her father Fransices Ford Coppola. Sophia Coppola got started in film making by acting, modeling and designing. She sites these three backgrounds as having some major influence in her work through the fashion and design aesthetic she creates in her films. Her works, included films like The Virgin Suicides, Los tin Translation, Marie Antoinette, Somewhere, The Bling Ring, A Very Murray Christmas and The Beguiled. She has also helped create music videos commercials as well as an acting career in small parts in movies like The Godfather, the Cotton Club and Star Wars. The two works of hers I found most interesting were Mary Antoinette and The Beguiled which both show some of her style and methods. Marie Antoinette is a historical drama film that follows the life of Marie Antoinette as she matures leading up to the French revolution. This film won an academy award for costume design which shows Coppolas fashion influences. The film also deals with concepts of youth and specifically girl youth and maturity. These concepts lead to another one of Coppolas influences of femininity and her drive to create films that she thinks a younger demographic of girls would want to see. The Beguiled also shows Coppolas influences of femininity. The film looks at the story of an school teacher during the civil war who helps a wounded union army soldier recover from a leg wound and falls in love while hidding him from the Confederate Army. Coppala wanted to outline and show all the ways women were traditionally raised to be there to care for a man. She was inspired by the narrative of Gone with the Wind but wanted to explore the narrative in a different era.
The three documentaries I watched were The Power of Nightmares, The Times of Harvey Milk and Kate Plays Christine. I found each one had different aspects that created an interesting story but also had some similarities between them. The Power of Nightmares had a very interesting way of telling a story through mainly archival footage and narration. There were many aspect of the archival footage that created messages the viewer pieced together without a narration. It can be hard for a visual with no narration to tell story but many times in this documentary visual footage was used with no narration to drive a point home. The narrative also was told in a way that gives the viewers a sense of parallels between what occurs in the middle east and what occurs in the United States. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Neo-conservative movement, had this idea that their society was becoming to individualistic and materialistic. Both sides believed that their society must unite together and focus more on community than individualism to stop society from “rotting away.” The Power of Nightmares has a strong ability to switch between these two countries to show how this thinking manifested inside the minds of different groups of people. It created a narrative that simply put focused on the power of words and ideas and their ability to shape, deceive and transform not only our society but the world. The Times of Harvey Milk also had very strong messages about our society and issues we face still to this day. This film outlined the life of Harvey Milk and how he was able to forefront the fight not only for LGBT rights but the rights of all minorities in San Francisco in the 1970’s. This film was interesting in its ability to tell an emotional story about the struggle for human rights. The films use of interviews with people who worked with Milk or knew him gave the viewer an inside view to his life as well as an inside view to what many LGBT community members in society were feeling. The conversation that happens between these two films is one of empathy and apathy within society. Both films look at historical events that were caused because of the worry that our country or society was headed in the wrong direction. They both look at how a group of people come together to create and idea for how they believe society should function and what must happen for society to get back on track. The films differ in that one looks at the idea that deception is a necessary tactic to create a universal and more connected society. The Times of Harvey Milk looks at the idea of openness to combat deceptive ideas to create an universal and connected acceptance of all people. Specifically, The times of Harvey Milk shows how a group of people started to create a more connected and accepting society through openness and breaking down serotypes. The Power of Nightmares shows how a group of people were able to create a more connected society based on false facts and deception.
For the 4 websites, I researched I felt like each one had a different aspect of interesting information and tools I can use in the future. When researching these websites I looked at how each one might be able to help be gain influences or inspiration in my own projects. Creative Mornings was an interesting website that gave that I want to use to just further learn about the creative community and learn more about design. Being a media design major, I think that creative mornings has a lot of good talks on design. One thing I found helpful is they have a section called skills that showcases videos teaching people certain skills. I particularly liked the videos on typography design because it is an area that I’m interested. The next website called nofilmschool, I think can help me in my video and film interests. One thing I particularly liked about this website was the articles about simple or cheaper easy to achieve and aesthetic effect in your videos such as cinematic lighting. Being a college student quality and cost is always in my mind when creating video works. This is a good resource for getting better quality while not increasing the cost by a significant amount. Researching this website also made me think more about my interest in video. Film and video work is known as being costly along with requiring a large amount of people and equipment to produce. Many student filmmakers are intimidated by the myth that it takes a lot of money and a lot of people. However, after looking at this website I think that with some simple tricks students can create films that don’t cost a lot and that they can be proud of. For the New York Times op doc and Music Videos on Vimeo, I primarily focused on looking at researching these websites as a tool for influence rather than technical abilities. I especially think that music videos can be a good influence for a film make in terms of effects, angles and camera movements. Music influences the way the video will look and many times prompts the use of different effects, angles or movements. Using a website like vimeo to look at these effects can be helpful not only for ideas but to try and emulate the movements to improve technical skills. The New York times op doc I think can be helpful to gain more inspiration and examples of good content or interesting subject matter. This website has a lot of great videos that focuses on the storyline rather than the effects like in music videos. Looking at the subject matter they tackle and the way they tell the narrative can be a good way for artists to develop ideas of stories as well as develop their narrative style.
Researching is extremely important especially for a creative trying to go into the field. It gives the create the ability to learn about famous or important pieces of work they may not have ever seen otherwise. I think for students especially it is important to learn about major works and artists to further your creativity. Many people like myself learn from emulating someone they enjoy or creating works that may be similar to their favorite artist. Emulating inspirations can be a very important thing for students to learn not only technical skills but how to create their own ideas or themes they wish to work with. However, I do think that to be a creative there must be some sort of initiative within the person to research on their own and not because they are required to by class. I also think that being required to choose from a designed list of artists, films, websites and reading can help creatives. It helps creatives because it gives them a list of resources that they may not have found on their own. For researching there have been a few things I have found that I might want to incorporate into my creative practice. I was interested in how Kaufman used different realizes and visions of the world to drive home a message that I so universal and that everyone goes through. I have the tendency to think of how I can tell the story in a straight forward manner. I would like to incorporate using different scenarios or reality’s to still give a message and not tell it in such a straightforward manner. After reading Art and Fear, I would also like to become more personal with my artistic practices. I tend to take a safer and less reveling approach to many of my projects and think that I could further my creative abilities if I take more risks create pieces that are more personal to me.
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