Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Soul?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Soul?

    I find myself in a reflective mood this morning (you have been warned).

    As I try to do as often as possible, I was out on the web to explore what creative folk are putting in their galleries (using "gallery" in the loosest sense of the word, since it's not limited to just photos or just music or just movies or just anything at all). I'll usually start with a wild hair concerning some new software or technique, then get google all over it until I lose interest (sometimes quickly, sometimes it takes the real world to drag me away).

    But I do tend to be attracted more to the enthusiast sites rather than commercial sites.

    Which brings me to my topic. This morning's batch of galleries left me technically impressed but emotionally empty. I pondered if the fault lie in the medium or the message (or me). I saw clever, and I saw sentimental, and I saw imagination, and I saw skill. But what I didn't see was...soul.

    Not soul in the sense of syncopated beats or the pain of an unfaithful lover, but soul in the sense of having life. Of being wholly and separately alive on its own. Lacking that Promethian spark, all that remains are remains. Piles of dead art-like objects. Post-composition, but without the capacity even to decompose.

    Now perhaps my expectations are too high. Perhaps, even, it's my own fault for limiting my search to enthusiast work (after all, if they were "good", they'd be more than enthusiasts, right?). However, I (being me) think there's more to it than that. Which is where you come in.

    Can an image or song or sculpture or movie have life on its own? Is that the last step in the creative process, beyond concept, beyond technical mastery: imparting soul? Or am I just overly caffienated?
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    Re: Soul?

    Originally posted by Doug Nelson
    ...
    Can an image or song or sculpture or movie have life on its own? Is that the last step in the creative process, beyond concept, beyond technical mastery: imparting soul? Or am I just overly caffienated?
    In my experience, there are images, movies, songs that have changed my mood without my "permission". I would say these have "soul", a "life of their own", or some extra spark that does NOT come from within ME. When I am in a good mood, or just a normal mood (nothing going on around me that makes me unhappy/happy etc.), then I am affected by many images, songs, etc. partly because I am working with them to perceive some emotion. When I am in an unhappy mood, or an angry mood, and do not wish to perceive anything other than sadness/anger/hopelessness -- whatever, there have been times that I have been brought out of that mood unexpectedly by music, images, or even a movie -- it seemed to me that those songs/images had such power that they changed my mood without my intention. I do believe in the power of artistic creativity to stimulate something in my very core being, or soul. Each person might be touched by something different, but there are those images that reach across cultures, genders, time -- that are able to touch our humanity.

    There is no such thing as being OVERLY caffeinated...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Soul?

      Don't know that I understand what either of you are talking about (but then I'm not really an "Arty" type).

      There have certainly been images and sounds that have affected me at the time, but how much of that was down to the piece, and how much was simply the frame of mind I was in is impossible for me to say.

      I've never yet seen or heard anything that's had any really profound and lasting effect on me, but then perhaps I just don't have that type of imagination. I certainly have never seen or heard a piece with a "soul" of its own.

      For me it's just good or bad, liked or hated, with a series of graduations between the extremes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Soul?

        Originally posted by Gary Richardson
        ...I've never yet seen or heard anything that's had any really profound and lasting effect on me, but then perhaps I just don't have that type of imagination. I certainly have never seen or heard a piece with a "soul" of its own....
        I don't know that a "lasting" effect is necessarily a criteria that I would use -- the effect is usually repeatable when I view the same image again, but I might not think of it for months at a time, just like I don't think of some people that I don't work/live with for months at a time -- but when I do think of them, I feel the connection again.

        Any feeling of real connection with these?

        http://www.pbase.com/clarkwil/image/41663445

        http://www.pbase.com/dave1/image/67274151

        http://www.pbase.com/annapagnacco/image/50722030

        http://www.lanting.com/fineprints/ especially http://www.lanting.com/fineprints/detail.php?fpPage=4
        Last edited by CJ Swartz; 03-05-2007, 02:20 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Soul?

          That's what you get for "reflecting" on a Monday morning!

          Seriously, however, ...
          ...technically impressed but emotionally empty
          ... is a good way to sum up the modern world.

          In the "golden" (artistic, that is) years, you spent your whole life studying technique; you had to be devoted to you Art; you would spend years as an apprentice to a master. (and make our own paint)

          Now I can come home from work (not much Art in finances and accounting) and do a clone painting, arrange some music, pose some 3-D models and still have time to watch the latest Battlestar G. before going to bed.
          It's just too easy to produce something.

          It's a lot harder to produce something with "soul", and to be honest, how many people (ruling out Doug on a Monday morning) would see any difference?

          ....

          I've heard that a good remedy for over-caffienation is to have a good hot cup of coffee. Always works for me!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Soul?

            Any feeling of real connection with these?
            Nice pictures CJ, technically proficient and enjoyable to view, but I wouldn't say they have "soul", because I don't believe an inanimate object can ever have soul.

            Sure some images can sometimes evoke emotions, but I believe that is a long way from what Doug was trying to describe. But as I said earlier I don't believe I have the type of imagination that would ever make that kind of deep connection.

            But hey the world would be a really boring place if we were all the same, and if it works for you I'm happy it does.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Soul?

              interesting reflection Doug


              first you remind me my gallery needs to be updated...
              then I am reminded that there probably isn't much soul reflected there
              what I hope is perhaps observable is that there has been some exercise in creativity... some spark of potential

              I also observed a similar feeling of my own is what draws me to collaborative projects... perhaps they do still lack soul, but there's some life, something spontaneous and intangeable.. perhaps out of control... in them...


              meh... maybe not soul

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Soul?

                >>>>>>> Which brings me to my topic. This morning's batch of galleries left me technically impressed but emotionally empty. I pondered if the fault lie in the medium or the message (or me).

                My thought here is that it is your mood today that is influencing your emotional responses to what you are seeing. Not the pictures.Why? Because you say that everything seems lacking. A general sense of disappointment in the work you are seeing. A person's mood can color everything. Looking at photos last week was exhilerating; today - blah. Doing your laundry one day can be magical and fun, the next time - a crushing burden.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Soul?

                  Yes. I can't even say anything. Just, yes. Love, Meg Happy Monday!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Soul?

                    I agree with byRo. Not everyone will notice or care, but some art is just too easily put together to truly have soul. You can have technique without passion, and passion without technique, and hard work without the other stuff and vice-versa, and all will usually leave you feeling flat. It's when all these (and maybe something extra, intangible) meet, when a piece of art is really magic.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Soul?

                      ah, and finally someone hits the meat of the matter. it is interesting that you shld raise this topic at this time, doug. i've been reflecting on my own work a bit. i noticed something 'peculiar' not long ago and have been ruminating on it ever since. i noticed that my photo art in particular, when done strictly in filters, often had a techinically good quality to it, but, and this is the kicker, when i worked completely in brushes and individual tools, putting in all those little touches by hand rather than a global filter, the work was better, at least to my eye. and moreover, i was generally more pleased and i'd often get more comments, shld i happen to post it. and to me, that is a bit of that 'soul' you are referring to.

                      i've noticed it in woodworking as well. you can use power tools galore and produce a really, technically, high quality piece of whatever, but when you work in hand tools, touching the wood, feeling the textures, hand planing and smoothing, and rubbing the wood down by hand, there is a distinct and palpable difference. and others will often notice it as well. it is like something of you is imbued into the wood. and moreover, the piece may not be technically as accurate as the power tool piece, but it is almost always the more desirable piece. i have seen wood done with incredible technical skill where you would swear that it was designed on a computer and cut with lasers, but it will rarely, if ever, beat something done almost entirely by hand. i have seen wood that almost glowed when worked by hand and it never ceases to amaze me. these pieces are always more valuable.

                      art is expression. it is communication. it is also about the quality of that communication. but if you sacrifice the communication for the quality, you are in error. if the filter or power tool is the primary means of achieving that communication then that is often what is doing the communicating. whereas, if it is YOU communicating, this is more real, more desirable and more 'soulful'. it's simply more directly from you rather than from the tool. so, something OF you may not be perfect technical quality, but it will often communicate better.

                      when you watch an actor, especially a good actor, you will see them live the role. they are not acting; they ARE the person, not portraying the person. the last good movie i watched was 'the last samurai'. both lead actors LIVED that role. you didnt have to be 'convinced' they were the person; they were simply the person. they felt the passions, the emotions, the drama and that just communicates directly. there is no 'interpretation' the lines have to go through. they are simply spoken. that movie had 'soul'.

                      i was watching that tv show where they were casting for the next stars of the broadway show 'grease'. i kept hearing the judges say things like 'let yourself out', 'be open', and i kept thinking about what that meant. and i remember doing drama back in school and it was always a bit interesting to find that i did well when i wasnt 'acting' at all. i did well when i was just being me being in that scenario. it's really quite amazing to play a drunk on stage and suddenly find yourself a bit drunk. THAT conveys!

                      so, if i were to interpret 'soul' here, i would say it's simply you in your work, whatever the medium. it's a portrayal of you through your work. it's a communication from you through your work. if you put a lot of filters or power tools or 'acting' in the way of that communication; if that communication has to go through all those artificial things, it tends to get watered down, lost.

                      now, i'm not about to throw away all my filters and plugins and power tools. i like my toys but i do find myself using them more judiciously these days.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Soul?

                        Understand what you're saying Craig, but I just don't happen to agree with you.

                        A piece is either good/bad, beautiful/ugly emotional/flat independent of the technique used to achieve it. A viewer looking at it usually has no idea how you achieved your result, and mostly doesn't care, they judge the work not the "angst" you went through to get it.

                        As the artist you may feel that you need to be hands on to get feeling into your work, but most viewers will be blissfully ignorant of your struggle.

                        As for the Power tool vs Hand tool approach, either can be good or bad, just depends on how you use them.

                        I'm not trying to be confrontational here, just expressing my thoughts on what I've read.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Soul?

                          Doug Nelson: "This morning's batch of galleries left me technically impressed but emotionally empty.

                          C.J. Swartz: 'In my experience, there are images, movies, songs that have changed my mood without my "permission".'


                          Gary Richardson: "There have certainly been images and sounds that have affected me at the time, but how much of that was down to the piece, and how much was simply the frame of mind I was in is impossible for me to say."

                          smak: "My thought here is that it is your mood today that is influencing your emotional responses to what you are seeing."

                          "Soul" is a very subjective thing. "Soul" is in the artist as well as in the eyes of the beholder. The artist may have felt he had "soul" when he created the work. He may have poured his heart and soul into the work, but the one who looks at the finished s=work may not feel the same way. This may be due to his general mood or to his understanding of art or the artist's intent. He simply may not be "moved" by it. This does not mean that it has no "soul" or deep meaning for the artist or other observers of that particular piece of art.

                          We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences and different ideas of what is good or bad, what has meaning for us. This does not make the work good or bad. We can all look at the same work of art and get something different from it. All our reactions will still be valid, if not for everyone at least to each one of use, individually.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Soul?

                            Gotta agree with all of the above.

                            I think back on "subjects du art" that have crossed my path and there are some that were experienced years ago that stand out in my memory. For example the Afgani woman's picture on the cover of National Geographi. Those piercing eyes, an understanding of women's plight in the region. A combination of things that has kept that image in my mind for years.

                            I can still hear the National Anthem and it will bring tears to my eyes. Not a really "great" musical composition by any means, but every time I hear (or sing) it, It evokes a deep sense of gratittude to all who, through generations, have sacrificed so much to keep that banner waving or the land of the free and the home of the brave.

                            These are just two examples of art that, for me, have SOUL. They move me, inspire me.

                            Comment

                            Related Topics

                            Collapse

                            • thomasgeorge
                              Is it worth it?
                              by thomasgeorge
                              All my working life I have been involved in the saving of lives, first as an RN specalist in Critical Care and Emergency Medicine and for the last part as a Firefighter/ALS Paramedic. One of the less "nice" things I and all other Medical and Public Safety folks study is mass casualty managment--triage,...
                              09-17-2001, 12:37 AM
                            • Doug Nelson
                              Moulin Rouge
                              by Doug Nelson
                              God, what a mess.

                              In junior highschool we had this guy, Tod, who would mix his lunch all together. Gravy, peas, pudding, soda, whatever, and eat the whole thing with a spoon. "What's the difference, it all goes to the same place"

                              Moulin Rouge tries to be hip by...
                              05-11-2002, 07:36 AM
                            • jeaniesa
                              Hey Arura! (about travel in Viet Nam)
                              by jeaniesa
                              Hi Arura,

                              I thought I'd move the discussion of VN travel over here so that we don't clutter up the Critiques thread with off-topic discussion. Anything goes over here in Salon though!

                              Wow - 5 weeks to see VN! That sounds about right. I brought my mother with me in...
                              06-14-2002, 01:28 PM
                            • Doug Nelson
                              "Make" vs. "Create"
                              by Doug Nelson
                              This is not a semantic discussion, so negative brownie points to the first commenter who quotes a dictionary. This is philosophy, so get out your pointy hat.

                              Can you sense the difference in nuance between "make" and "create"?

                              I seem to regularly get...
                              01-14-2008, 05:09 PM
                            • drode
                              If it's not good, I don't want to fix it
                              by drode
                              This was a quote from Jay Maisel in a recent video with Scott Kelby. It struck me as profound on two levels.

                              First and most obvious was the idea that one should start with a quality image and go from there. One will rarely take a poor image and make it great and a mediocre final image...
                              07-26-2011, 12:37 PM
                            Working...
                            X