saddleman15

Do you consider yourself an artist?

Recommended Posts

You should tool everything!! It’s so fun, you can definitely get the hang of it if you give yourself time!!

I personally think people overestimate "inherent ability" in artists. Most of the time what appears to be an innate “talent” is actually the result of hours upon months upon years of grueling study and practice and failure and practice and observation and more practice. Everyone starts out with stupid useless baby hands- translating your thoughts through your hands/body is a demanding skill developed over a long period of time. Not to mention say, someone that doesn’t practice a visual skill, but has a lot of experience in focused observation might have an faster time picking one up. Aaaaaand! A lot of core visual skills translate through mediums! So there are a lot of factors at play in any given human being.

There is a quote that I find interesting (but don't necessarily agree with) by Louis Nizer: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

The term “art” is so complex and open for interpretation, that people can basically get degrees in theorizing about it! I am not educated enough to make any call on “art” vs “craft” or the implied worth of either title. It’s hard for me to consider myself an “artist” even though I’ve spent my entire life making anything I can get my scummy little mitts on. “Artist” also has a lot of baggage associated with it. I generally don’t interpret anything I make as “art”- as opposed to what it literally is, which is more like “a creepy drawing of a hairy nipple with teeth on a post it note” But draw enough hairy nipples with teeth on post it notes and almost certainly someone, somewhere will call you an artist…where was I going with this?

I prefer forward and technical terms like “painter, illustrator, leatherworker, ect”. The “art” aspect is usually nebulous and problematic to define. I think "artistic value" is what most people interpret as the skill level combined with what individual choices the creator made with the medium. And those choices become better informed with experience (with the skill and in life)- so get to tooling, my friend! Go ahead and start making bad decisions today- they will get better! In fact, start your day off with a piping cup of bad decisions! If anyone questions you, stare at them intently and yell "ART" until they go away!

 

Apologies for this long, rambling , pretentious response!!

P.S. The value of a piece is determined by the observer and you’re all artists in my book please please keep making things this forum is so fun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, immiketoo said:

Nige, I'm not at all comfortable with my name being bandied about with the likes of those you have listed.  In fact, I am decidedly UN-comfortable.  However, I am comfortable with the application of the word art being applied to a functional item regarding the imagery I put on things.  Calling a piece of work art is ultimately up to the viewer, but I stand on my statement that I am not the artist.  I apply other people's art to leather in a skilled way.  BIG difference.

And your work is at such a high level that it could also be considered art.  Making plain things is much more difficult than making them fancy.  Nowhere to hide, as it were :P

Art?:

Related image

The Keen stuff was popular in the 60s and is now seen as a cultural artifact 50 years later. The Rembrandt has always been "art" as it transcends the cultural aesthetics of the time. Rembrandts are worth $50M plus, Keens going for <$500.

Related image

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/17/2018 at 6:51 AM, Dangerous Beans said:

Right... I am jumping on the Mike is/is not an artist bandwagon. 
I have some little credibility in the leather world... some... he is an artist, a wonderful one, I am bigger than he is so that rule stands.

I am now going to take umbrage on being referred to as a 'performer' I am a maker, a little tongue in cheek but this comes up in conversation quite frequently with students.
I would define (within the realms of leatherwork) an artist as someone who creates something of artistic value and as so eloquently mentioned, evokes emotion by the viewer.
In the medium of leather, people like Michael Dale, Peter Main, Britt Nantz, Al Stohlman and many more too numerous to mention are: artists. 
As for I, the performer, I do not create anything of artistic value, my work is functional, strong, yet aesthetically pleasing. It looks nice, but you would not hang any of my items on a wall or put them on display, by that rational, I am not an artist, an artisan perhaps.

There is a quote, "art is art if someone calls it art" by that measure, anything can be called art, and often has, a cow in vat of formaldehyde was seen as art, that, I do not get, to me, art is the application of talent and skill to create something wondrous. 
Mike, that ticks that box and you have no foundation to argue the point.

To now take ownership of this tirade and answer the original question, I am not an artist, I am not a performer, I am a maker, I make stuff, I am proud to be a maker. if someone wants to call my items art, that is their right to do so and I will defend their right to do so, but I think they are wrong.
Art is a subjective subject, quality is not, just because something is bespoke, well made using traditional skills, does the job and is aesthetically pleasing does not alone make it art. If you then adorn that item using your talent and skill you add artistic value.

Just my subjective opinion.


Still not a performer :-)

 

Nige
 

 

Nigel, my sincere apologies.  I looked back at my post in this thread and it was I who referred to yourself as a "skilled performer" .  I meant no disrespect.  In fact, I remember a video you did some time ago where you demonstrate making a tub and there is only background music, classical guitar, I believe.  That to me was a performance.  Something to sit and watch, mouth agape while you demonstrate skills and techniques I can only hope to achieve some day.  Your instructional videos are responsible for whatever success I've had in learning the saddle stitch.  I'm sure same could be said for many others.  So again, I did not mean "performer" in a disparaging way or in any attempt to cheapen what you do.  Quite the contrary as I consider myself one of your biggest admirers.  Keep on making and I'll keep watching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, BDAZ said:

The Keen stuff was popular in the 60s and is now seen as a cultural artifact 50 years later. The Rembrandt has always been "art" as it transcends the cultural aesthetics of the time. Rembrandts are worth $50M plus, Keens going for <$500.

Hmmm. If what you’re saying is that one is art and the other isn’t based on what it sells for, I definitely can’t get on board with that.

Some artists are better than others - that’s undeniable. But Keane and Rembrandt are both artists in my book. 

I heard many years ago the phrase “learning to draw is not a matter of learning to draw - learning to draw is a matter of learning to see.” This, to me, is one of the things at the heart of art. In its various forms, it is created by those who have learned to truly see, and have taken the time to do so. This skill and mindset can be applied to leatherwork as much as to oil paints.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Retswerb said:

Hmmm. If what you’re saying is that one is art and the other isn’t based on what it sells for, I definitely can’t get on board with that.

Some artists are better than others - that’s undeniable. But Keane and Rembrandt are both artists in my book. 

Totally disagree. Keen was an illustrator with a formula that found a market, Rembrandt was an artist and his vision is still unique and valid hundreds of years later.

I heard many years ago the phrase “learning to draw is not a matter of learning to draw - learning to draw is a matter of learning to see.” This, to me, is one of the things at the heart of art. In its various forms, it is created by those who have learned to truly see, and have taken the time to do so. This skill and mindset can be applied to leatherwork as much as to oil paints.

I totally agree. Learning to draw (or carve) is a skill and a craft, but what one draws or caves may or may not be art.

No, what I am saying is that Keen is NOT art, it's illustration, craft, which was designed to sell. I was a tenured Fine Arts professor at a major university, and taught both graphic design and fine Arts streams. I used to tell the fine art students that their program would help them develop their art and vision, and prepare them for a career flipping burgers. The Graphic Design students were there preparing for a career in practical art and ended up working in advertising, print and graphics production, etc.

Being able to draw is NOT an indicator of an artist, as demonstrated by all the technical draftspeople out there. I think the same can be applied to leather. There are many leather artists that create beautiful and aesthetically pleasing designs that express their personal vision, and then they posses the skills and mastery of the craft to create that vision in leather, Then there are crafts people like myself, that can copy a pattern to produce a competent item in leather, but it's not art, just craft and style. I personally don't do it as an art but because I like working with my hands and it produces an income stream.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool thread. I have artistic skills but I'm not an artist. I'm more of a "wanna-be-an-artist". Who knows... I'm still young... I have some time to get good and become famous!!! Get my autograph while it's cheap!!! :rofl: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rolandranch said:

Cool thread. I have artistic skills but I'm not an artist. I'm more of a "wanna-be-an-artist". Who knows... I'm still young... I have some time to get good and become famous!!! Get my autograph while it's cheap!!! :rofl: 

Fame is overrated. Most artists don't become famous until they are dead. Where in Tucson are you?

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bob,

I agree. And the famous ones are famous because they committed suicide... well... sometimes.

I live in the Drexel Heights area. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 A lot of it has to do with the unavailability of more work from the artist. Most of the music artists you refer to (I worked for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in the 60s) didn't commit suicide, they OD'd, victims of their lifestyle. The few that have hung in there like Jager, deserve it.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2018 at 7:44 AM, BDAZ said:

Keen was an illustrator with a formula that found a market, Rembrandt was an artist and his vision is still unique and valid hundreds of years later.

...

No, what I am saying is that Keen is NOT art, it's illustration, craft, which was designed to sell.

I guess this is where I’ll agree to disagree. I tend to think those lines are a lot more blurred than you’re making them out to be, with much crossover.

Thanks for the conversation! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Retswerb said:

I guess this is where I’ll agree to disagree. I tend to think those lines are a lot more blurred than you’re making them out to be, with much crossover.

Thanks for the conversation! 

Well maybe a more palatable stance is that one is art and one is Fine Art. Anyone who would put a Keen in the same plane as Rembrandt is either  ignorant or on drugs...really good drugs!

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think of myself as a craftsman. What I do with leather is a skill. And skills can be taught and learned by anyone (To a greater and or lesser degree). 

Ah but art. The mind and talent of an artist is a thing that has been hashed and rehashed form the start of language itself. But i see it as a form of magic, alchemy the ability bring forth something that previously was not into being through the force of will. My uncle was a painter and he was good. But Klempt was an artist. That special ... something that one in a million have. 

If I could bring into being what is in my head I would be an artist. And one day may be. But for now I'm a craftsman. And that's no small thing.

That is not to say there not artist in leather work. There indeed are but I am not one.

Are you?

If you think you are then you are. At least as far as I figure it.

Edited by Grumpymann
Clean up language

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Grumpymann said:

I think of myself as a craftsman. What I do with leather is a skill. And skills can be taught and learned by anyone (To a greater and or lesser degree). 

Ah but art. The mind and talent of an artist is a thing that has been hashed and rehashed form the start of language itself. But i see it as a form of magic, alchemy the ability bring forth something that previously was not into being through the force of will. My uncle was a painter and he was good. But Klempt was an artist. That special ... something that one in a million have. 

If I could bring into being what is in my head I would be an artist. And one day may be. But for now I'm a craftsman. And that's no small thing.

That is not to say there not artist in leather work. There indeed are but I am not one.

Are you?

If you think you are then you are. At least as far as I figure it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/6/2018 at 10:53 AM, immiketoo said:

Not me.  People who create art are artists.  I recreate art on leather.  More of a craftsman, really.  

I like this answer. I'm certainly creative. I reproduce and combine things in different ways to give my work a decorative flare. but that to me is just something that adds to my craft and value of the item.  cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now