I enjoy creating abstract imagery despite the unusual creation process.
Usually there is less planning and more of "going with the flow" - just to see
what shows up on my screen. The funny thing is that the older I get, the more I
appreciate this kind of art. I guess it's the unusual freedom of expression that
makes abstract pictures what they are.
When I first started doing abstract pictures I did
it mostly because I liked the patterns
or shapes and combination of colors that sometimes
would emerge when I was doing texture work. Some of my
early experimentation is actually based on some of those textures.
Abstract art is a rather unusual form of art.
Not only due to its abstract visual nature, but also because the
need for the type of skills commonly found in other painting or
illustrative arts is often limited or none.
I sometimes wonder about the origins of abstract
art. What forces brought it into existence?
I actually have a few ideas based on personal musings.
The prehistoric cave paintings of altered
states of consciousness as experienced by shamans could
be called the first form of abstract art.
But the roots of what we commonly understand by abstract art
are found in the nineteenth century.
And here are some of the ideas that I think
might have been influential in giving rise to and
shaping abstract art.
1) The established norms were too laborious. Popular art styles of the nineteenth century
were too laborious for the changing times, so new styles emerged that were
less time consuming. This evolution of styles kept progressing until it got to
the point where some styles got increasingly abstract, which eventually also lead to total
abstraction, or what today is commonly called abstract art.
2) Out with the old. The natural need for change to
avoid boredom and stagnation.
3) More freedom, equality, and increased competition.
The social and cultural changes during the past hundred years
or so, resulted in unusual amount of freedom and independence.
Which in turn led to more ideas and competition between them.
Usually, the winning ideas are either the best improvement over the
preceding ideas, or something radically different that
gains acceptance. Abstract art can be seen as a successful
deviation thanks to the cultural freedom and openness
to new ideas in modern times.
4) The disintegration of the psyche.
The negative consequences of modern life caused by human vices
compounded by increasing industrialization and rapid technological
progression: fast-forward cultural norms, too much change happening
too fast, egotism and arrogance, bureaucracy, corruption,
and vast amount of highly diverse and often contradictory information.
All this creates confusion, lack of meaning and direction in life. Abstract
art can therefore be a reflection of the insanity of modern times as
experienced by the psyche of the artist.
5) Attention becomes increasingly fragmented. This is
very apparent today where so much competes for
peoples attention. Fragmentation of attention results
in less sustained concentration, so there is less time
to concentrate on a task. Rate of change and therefore
pace of life 100 years ago was much slower than today,
but was much faster than 500 years ago.
Abstract art is very compatible with modern times in
that it does not require long periods of concentrated
effort. It can be, and often is, done quickly with
little creative effort and minimal planning. Which by
no means makes it less of an art form, it is just
radically different from its predecessors. The
rapid production process can easily lead to higher
productivity, and increases chances of artist's survival
in an increasingly competitive environment.
6) Incidental beauty. Artists have probably been noticing
this for ages, that sometimes when mixing paints on the palette,
visually pleasing colors, shapes and patterns would emerge.
But it was first very recently that one could do this on
canvas and call it art.
7) The invention of photography in the 1830s changed the way how artists painted. Photography
could create pictures more realistically than painting ever could. Artists began to work
on new styles of expression.
More to come...
I consider this article a work in progress and therefore
will update it with new ides as I
come to think of them.
Art and Illustration Studio.
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