• Fur Affinity Forums are governed by Fur Affinity's Rules and Policies. Links and additional information can be accessed in the Site Information Forum.

Does artwork NEED to be deep and meaningful?

Frroat

Member
I got in a bit of a discussion with someone about art (and I've gotten in a lot of discussions about art) but this guy claims that my artwork isn't credible if it doesn't include some kind of deep, convoluted meaning to it; it needs to "say something". In my defense, let me start by first saying that most of the stuff I enjoy drawing is cartoons, dragons, robots, fantasy art, and of course, anthros. I like that crap. But I'm not so passionate about those things that I feel like I need to come up with some kind of psychological undertone to the drawings I make—that'd be dumb. My favorite professional illustrators, a few of them make fantasy art; I have some of their books, and even they're just like... we like this shit. I'm not setting out to be Matthew Barney or Roxy Paine or to have my work exhibited in an art museum... I want to work in the industry someday. Yes, I want to make artwork for myself, I do it all the time—but the meaning goes as far as just liking it... and that's it! Anyway, sorry if this seems like a bit of a rant, that guy pissed me off a little.

What do you all think about meaning in your artwork?
 
Last edited:

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
A masterpiece would.

Highly Acclaimed work would.

There's commercial art, and fine art.

Sometimes commercial and fine art meets the above 2.

But many other kinds of art are meant to be somewhat disposable and just get a message across (which is the purpose of art as well as decoration)

That does not mean it's not art you can't enjoy for other reasons. It may not even be good art, or a masterpiece by standards.
 

Thaily

Member
A masterpiece would.

Most of Art Nouveau would disagree, they had some meaningful pieces but aesthetic was their highest purpose.
And bringing that beauty to the masses.

Meaning is highly subjective, a piece might have great meaning to the creator but none to the viewers. Or viewers might ascribe great meaning to something which had none intended.
And to suggest art should have meaning? Just creates a tidal wave of bullshit of people who make shit up to supposedly give their work validity, either to stroke their ego or cash in.
 
L

LizardKing

Guest
Sounds like the kind of person who uses their "deep and meaningful explanation" to hide the fact that the actual piece is trash. An 2000-word description full of pompous waffle should not be a requirement for a work of art, nor should it be the primary focus. I'm pretty sure there's no hidden dialogue and the secret to the meaning of life in most of the famous portraits throughout the centuries. Oh yes, clearly the way the artist has carefully shaded the left nostril of this French general highlights the struggle each man faces in the light of uncertainty. Rubbish.
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
Most of Art Nouveau would disagree, they had some meaningful pieces but aesthetic was their highest purpose.
And bringing that beauty to the masses.

Considering that Mucha is the first one mentioned most people remember those works but his masterpieces are something like the Slav Epic.


To give you an idea of their scale. It's pretty impressive work. The fact he does have something like gives it comparison to his other works.



That doesn't make Nouveau bad art. I think though that Alphonse Mucha is considered a master due to his ability. It wasn't just the style of posters and sculptures. He is a more than capable artist.

Someone like Gil Elvgren I can consider his works highly regarded not sure if I would call it a masterpiece in the deep and meaningful sense vs Rockwell who had a few of those though done for political reasons and beliefs. Both are fantastic commercial artists however. which you can see an artist like Alex Ross take from. I'm referring to masterpiece in the OP sense btw.

But as you said the definition of meaning can vary from person to person.

This will also change in historical sense too.

William Bouguereau is a great example. Historically speaking "a nobody" and his art fell out of fashion for quite a while. Now many people look to his work for reference and inspiration.


http://www.unshod.org/pfbc/bgmaur.jpg


I should though remove "highly acclaimed art" art from the OPs meaning though. I masterworks (highly acclaimed work) usually have meaning because the person wouldn't have drawn it otherwise - with great intent. It means someone can get paid to do the work, but I think if the artist felt no connection with creating it - it would show.
 

Thaily

Member
That's not the majority of Mucha's work, the majority was commercial; ladies with cigarettes, bicycles. All masterpieces, perhaps more so than pieces like Duchamp's "Fountain", which was just a urinal turned upside down.
He had a valid point, which he then inverted by exploiting his work commercially to an extreme degree.

And just because other people don't remember other Art Nouveau artists other than Mucha doesn't mean he defined the genre; Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt, Jan Toorop, Theo van Hoytema, Heinrich Vogeler to name a few.
Lot of illustrators by the way, which is another branch often unjustly brushed off by "real art" snobs; beautiful, gorgeous, iconic work without great spiritual meaning, but masterpieces nonetheless.
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
That's not the majority of Mucha's work, the majority was commercial; ladies with cigarettes, bicycles. All masterpieces, perhaps more so than pieces like Duchamp's "Fountain", which was just a urinal turned upside down.
He had a valid point, which he then inverted by exploiting his work commercially to an extreme degree.

And just because other people don't remember other Art Nouveau artists other than Mucha doesn't mean he defined the genre; Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt, Jan Toorop, Theo van Hoytema, Heinrich Vogeler to name a few.
Lot of illustrators by the way, which is another branch often unjustly brushed off by "real art" snobs; beautiful, gorgeous, iconic work without great spiritual meaning, but masterpieces nonetheless.


Correct. I think we're agreeing here that art doesn't NEED the deep meaningful purpose that the OP is mentioning. I'm saying however, most masterpieces are meaningful. The artist didn't just "eh fuck it' and doodle something. There's still purpose and intent even if it can't be explained through psychobabble. It was constructed with more feeling and thought even if an audience doesn't necessarily connect to it.

This is despite the intent of it being commercial art or otherwise.
 

Thaily

Member
I doubt Mucha was spiritually invested in advertising tobacco, but his Job posters are still masterpieces.
I don't think there's any 1 criteria that defines art, if there was, there wouldn't be so much discussion on the topic.

Personally, some of my artwork has deep spiritual meaning to me, but it means bupkiss to most other people.
I've produced work where I went "Eh, fuck it" and others have ascribed deep personal meaning.

Just ignore that guy and make art.
 

lostfoxeh

No! I must Dance
How do you define art? Well the best definition I can think of is who cares, if I like it I'm going to look at it, now move you are blocking my view. Truly is what you make of it.

Coming from my art instructors, it isn't uncommon for practice sketches that look like nothing but scribble, not deep in the slightest, to be given some poetic name. Then if a viewer doesn't "get" others scoff at them when they themselves don't get it. When it comes to what is and isn't art, things get stupid.
 
Last edited:

Deo

The hatred of FAF personified
Fuck no.

Otherwise all the Paleo-Illustrators, the Archeo-Illustrators, the Biological Illustrators, the Scientific Illustrators, the Medical Illustrators, the Museum Muralists, and the archival illustrators would not qualify as producing "art", which would be utter bullshit considering their skills and contributions.
 
I don't think so. Some people like to draw even if they suck ass at it (me :c) be it through deep message conveying, skill, or both.
 

phasma

commotus observator
Art in my opinion is for the one who painted it first i,e self expression. Its what they make of it. Critical people be critical :I
 

FireFeathers

Mr. Red Flag
http://firefeathers.deviantart.com/journal/A-Rant-about-Abstract-Art-298473876 Sorta relevant kinda maybe?


to me, art should evoke an emotion. Even if that emotion is "AWESOME", it works. Does it need to plot out the universes destiny in each notebook scribble? No. Inane doodles, i'd consider them more candy then a moral meal more then anything else, but they still hold weight.

Sounds like your friend has a case of Pompous Artistic Douchebag-itis. It's pretty common and it generally leads to the "commercial" vs "Fine" art debate.
 

MythRat

Countess
So far both my practical art classes and my art history courses define art using three criteria: 1. deliberate, 2. creative, 3. meaningful.
However, "meaningful" does not necessarily mean "deep" or even "emotional", and is judged by the intention of the artist not by what viewers can draw from it. Much of art is practical in nature from study sketches to office buildings. Meaning can be anything from "I wanted to convey the sense of awe one experiences when watching a sunrise" to "I wanted to practice drawing hands" to "I felt like being a smart ass and seeing if you would accept this as art." That last one is the reason that this spends time sitting in art galleries (the same artist also did this, so you can see the artist has talent in areas other than sarcasm, he did "Fountain" specifically to ruffle feathers of snooty critics who kept claiming "REAL art has to be X").
If the "meaning" in art had to be deep and powerful for it to be considered art, then landscapes, portraits, sketches, and most architecture wouldn't be considered art. Seeing as how all of those examples are famous works that I've had to study in my classes, I'd say art doesn't have to have some deep strike-at-your-soul kind of meaning to be considered art.
The meaning is whyever the work was created, whether that's for study, aesthetics, function, or just to push peoples' buttons.
 
Last edited:

greg-the-fox

Well-Known Member
That notion is absolutely ridiculous imo. If I want to draw a still life of an object I pick it because it's interesting or pretty and I just want to capture that, I have no real idea I want to express other than "look at this thing. it's pretty". No meaning. Still art. People take their own meanings from art anyway so I don't see the point of trying to come up with this grand statement when most people are going to miss it or misinterpret it anyway. It shouldn't be the focal point of the art. I like art with open-ended meanings where there is no explanation from the artist, it is up to you to make sense of it. And I think the way something is expressed through how it is drawn is just as important or maybe more so than the subject matter itself. Beauty is meaning.
 

Jw

PINEAPPLE ACCOMPLISHED
Meaning tends to come TO art more successfully than it is forced there in the first place.

If you're feeling it, draw it. If you're not, why put it in there? In the same sense that if you were drawing an arrangement of flowers you wouldn't include a person because "all great art needs people". If it's valid, apply it. If it's forced in, then it'll detract from the work.

Sounds that your friend is understanding the creative process in a convoluted way.
 
Top