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Art Debate

Discussion in 'The Aqua Lounge' started by Supercoley1, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    Does anyone actually think that Amano and the other judges will say that any scape that enters the competition is not art? Would you see any elite artist say to another person that what they see in front on them is not art? The answer would be a resounding NO at both questions.

    I still maintain that if something influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect then it is art, very simple!

    From wikipedia, so you can see that the idea is generalized:
    Art - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Disputes as to whether or not to classify something as a work of art are referred to as classificatory disputes about art.


    Art is sometimes perceived as belonging exclusively to higher social classes. In this context, art is seen as an upper-class activity associated with wealth, the ability to purchase art, and the leisure required to pursue or enjoy it. The Palace of Versailles and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg illustrate this view: such vast collections of art are the preserve of the rich, of governments and wealthy organizations.
    Fine and expensive goods have been popular markers of status in many cultures, and they continue to be so today. There has been a cultural push in the other direction since at least 1793, when the Louvre, which had been a private palace of the Kings of France, was opened to the public as an art museum during the French Revolution. Most modern public museums and art education programs for children in schools can be traced back to this impulse to have art available to everyone. Museums in the United States tend to be gifts from the very rich to the masses (The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, for example, was created by John Taylor Johnston, a railroad executive whose personal art collection seeded the museum.) But despite all this, at least one of the important functions of art in the 21st century remains as a marker of wealth and social status.


    Your comments are trying to bring elitism to the aquascaping hobby, and you may not bee the only one, I have seen it with my own eyes, and that I can assure you that most people on this forum will fight it.

    You say that you been keeping fish for 28 years. You may think that it is a lot, but it isn't that much, I have been keeping fish tanks for almost 30 years, and I am still learning everyday, and I believe that I will continue to carry on learning on this hobby.

    Do not see this a personal attack on you, I do not believe that Andy or the others would do such thing.

    We all need to ensure that aquascaping is open to all, and most people should enter competitions, if not to match themselves against other styles, but to also show to the judges that there is more there than what they are aware of.
     

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  2. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    Guys I think Aquadream is a man of his word and I do believe he's gone.
     
  3. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to say sincerely that is a pity. Much as we have disagreed on the 'qualification' part of the debate, there is still benefit to all of us to have someone who has studied the subject and also ranks highly in the comps.

    Andy
     
  4. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Well, for my part, I praised his scape in the original thread. It us a thoughtful, understated endeavor. However, there is nothing at all thoughtful, understated, or eloquent about his disposition unfortunately. That is the pity here.

    Maybe in real life he is a terrific guy though and the poverty of his language parlayed with the wealth of his emotions just don't translate on the interwebs.

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
     
  5. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Being admin of ASW I have seen tons of scapes from scratch to final picture. When I see a photo of a hardscape or right after planting now, I can easily say rather it is promising or not. My eyes must be skilled to detect good scapes. But sometimes I´m wrong and a black swan turns into a white one. However I can understand both opinions. Let me explain with an example.

    ------------------
    The debate about art is same thing like the debate about good- or bad-taste:

    You can dress cheap but look good (good taste) or spent a fortune on expansive dress and still look like a clown (bad taste). You can give a person with bad taste some tips how to improve, he will stick to them and look good, but fail if he try out. The person with the "born good taste" sometime will break the rules and still look good even if it is against the rules. Because of the "born good taste".

    Here is the parallel to aquascaping:

    There are born aquascapers (good taste), they will rank high on IAPLC just by being creative and some that will attempt by following certain rules and achieve god result, but fail when try out (bad taste).

    Now we need a third party, somebody who is just watching the results of IAPLC, this person has no information who has been creative and who followed the rules. Now imagine the artist and the copycat ranked both top100. Artist just because of his creativity and the copycat because of his craft skills. For the third party person those both works look good and he might call them art, as he has no inside information on how they have been created.

    And here again the parallel with dress:

    A person with good taste goes to the shop and buy a new outfit just by looking at the clothes, getting an idea how they could look good. The person with bad taste meets the persons with good taste on the street and copies his outfit. Now the third party person meets them both, in his eye they both look good.

    So how can the third party judge them just by comparing their outfits or their IAPLC entries. He can´t! Maybe he could by giving them tasks, however this goes too far.
    ------------------

    Long text, short sense: IMO There are true artist out there and some that just stick to rules. They both achieve good results at IAPLC because their works match the taste of the judges, but it is difficult or maybe even impossible to detect each.

    But again back to the debate if the one who is following certain rules, rather being creative is an artist. He might be an artist in the eyes of the third party, because the third party can´t prove how the subject has been done. The creator himself is the only one who knows for sure and if he is honest to himself he can say rather it is true art (creativity) or not (following certain rules).

    ps: catching some of your examples: child´s painting might be art in the viewers eye, but only the child knows for sure rather it is creativity or an attempt to copy something; in the viewers eye a perfect copy of Mona Lisa might be art, but only the author is able to say rather it is art or just a results of painting technique - if you photograph the original painting and then print it - who is then the artist, the person who photographed the original, the person who printed it, or the person who developed the camera and the printer? :p These are just a few thoughts to cool down the hot debate. In truth, everybody has a different point of view, so it makes no sense to fight to convince him. And this was my point of view - You might don´t agree with me, but I don´t care, I might be wrong, this is just my point of view I do not want to convince anybody. Just to share and let you know - there is one more opinion that is different from yours. Please stay polite to each other, we all love aquascaping o:)

    Cheers
    Juri
     
  6. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree totally Juri with the intent of what you mean. however I would (and yes is my opinion and different to others) that Art is decided by the viewer not the creator. The creator only decides if his creation is Art from his viewing so he is also a viewer.

    Therefore for the creator or the copier or the third party they decide for themselves if it is Art from the viewpoint. It isn't Art because it is created it is Art because the person no matter which of the three people they are they decide it is Art for them.

    So the original and the copy are Art to any person that views it and decide it is Art to them.

    The difference is in creativity. The original obviously is higher Art in terms of creativity. The 'influenced by' piece of Art is second in line as it draws inspiration from the original to create something new. The copy is lesser Art because whilst still being Art it is a copy. All 3 are Art but the degree of creativity different and I would suggest the original more skil than the influenced by etc.

    However the artist who's creation is influenced by and the artist that does the copy can move forward and use what they learn to become the creator.

    It's quite interesting tht you use the clothing analogy. I was sat on my wife's hospital bed today reading through a 'woman's' magazine. There was an article in there where 4 ladies dressed in different beachwear and different evening wear.

    Then there were 3 opinions. One from a style guru, One from a woman's magazine journalist and one from a man not connected to fashion at all. Someone like you or I.

    The difference in opinions was not surprising to me. It had quite a similarity to Art where some describe a Picasso as 'looks like a child painting' where others will say they like it and the expert will rave about it.

    The style guru described one of the four woman's choice of beachwear and evening wear as 'exquisite and the perfect 'blend etc'. The magazine journalist like the clothes but chose to comment that the 'fake tan was overdone'. The man like you or I said she was overdressed. didn't like the look, that the fake tan was over the top and too much make up.

    There was another woman who wore more subtle clothing, still stylish but not as 'high fashion' as the other one.

    The style guru slated everything as boring, unexciting, looking like a tramp. The magazine journalist chose to complain that her hair was not stylish. The man like you or I said 'This is my ideal woman. She looks nice and not over the top. She has her own style without needing to wear what everyone else wears.

    So....

    The man like you or I liked the style of woman who went into shops and chose what she like, what she felt comfortable with etc. He hated the style of the woman who bought the top end designer labels just because of what they were.

    The magazine journalist seemed to have little opinion to give other than to criticise hair or tans etc. Asked one question (on the clothes style) he chose to give an answer to a different question which was not asked (on the make up, tan, hair etc)

    The Style Guru hated the womsn who chose what she liked and felt comfortable with and loved the woman who chose the top end designer gear.

    The moral in my eyes and the comparison?

    The man like you or I looked at the woman's clothes. He made a choice based on his own opinion and tastes. This is like you or I at Art.

    The Magazine journalist chose not to listen properly. Was uninterested in the question and picked fault in things other than the question. This is like those who look at scapes and belittle them for no reason other than to have a moan.

    The style Guru looked at the clothes' labels rather than the clothes. He made his choice because he and his peers have decided that X designer makes the best style. This is like the scaper who only looks at the recognised scaper's scapes and ignores all others.

    This is also my opinion of most art critics. They look at a pinting by Van Gogh or Picasso and rave about it because of who painted it. Not because of the quality of the picture. There are some (admittedly not many) works by both these Artists that aren't up there in that category, however they have decided they are great because they have the name to them :)

    The moral to my talking about the clothing analogy? The style Guru 'should' be the one with the natural good taste however if he does he ignores it and flows the crowd choosing the label name rather than choosing a style. He is supposed to be the creator but instead choose to be the copier.

    The man like you and I should be the one with bad taste that follows the crowd, however he sees what he likes, ignores what he is told to like and ignores the crowd.

    The magazine Journalist needs stringing up for not reading the question preoperly, he, he.

    Andy
     
  7. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Not take anything away from ADA's impact.......competitive planted tank competitions before Amano was even a kid FYI.........these just came into the international scene in 2001, this is a relatively new thing. AGA has been doing this for a no# of years prior to ADA(the AGA as a group was a bit more Web savy).

    The landscape art is a general area of judging, Japanese landscapes where copied and then applied to aquariums(this is what Amano has done), similarly, the same was done in Europe with the Dutch scapes which go back to the 1940's. Water scapes have a long history.

    Suggesting it all comes from ADA is a stretch at best or just plain wrong. We shoud question everything, from the masters on down and ask ourselves what makes this better, different more aesthetically pleasing to us?

    This helps us a think and give due consideration.
    Can we justify our choices? I like good questions, I do not like to put people on pedestals, that's always dangerous.

    Can I support my position if I chose something different?
    Can I argue this look is nice for my goal, did I achieve my goal?
    The ultimate judge is only ourselves.
    So we must ask these questions of ourselves.

    Perhaps some in the art field have long forgotten the 1st steps and questions.........I try not to in my area. I remember some of the basic questions I started off with myself and I often still folks to prove the result to yourself, never take my word for it, support and test it, this can be done with Art as well, try and see, look at the result, discuss it.

    Amano seems fairly humble and good about this in person. I found some of the Dutch to be much more picky:)

    Which might seem ironic.
     
  8. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Well, we want more folks to get involved, to have a goal and to ponder the scaping questions.

    My path is very indirect, but purposeful, I try to help folks with the techy crap........so they can then get to their real goal: gardening. Having folks ask the basic questions and answer them for themselves(techy and Art based).

    Allow them the Free Will to decide.
     
  9. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    So can folks "test" their scapes and find knowledge that way? Simply try it and see? Copy someone else a few times, then???

    I'm a big believer in practice makes perfect. Tenacity over innate talent.

    Scaping is a mystery to many folks.

    I think this is one of the biggest issues with the hobby on the Art side of things, the Techy side? Too much light and poor CO2 use. I generally tell folks to practice and give some thought to their hardscape, their plant choices etc. Play around with it, do not rush things. How do we get folks to work more on it? what derails many from this path?
     
  10. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    Practice indeed makes perfect. Practice, good observation skills and common sense.

    Aquascaping art should have no real rules, all should be allowed, and people should feel free to try new things without feeling out of the pack. I know that it is easier said than done.

    For example, I have been "told off" many times for not having glass pipping. But why would I have them? They get dirty often (so I have been told), I am very clumsy, so for sure would break them often, and when I take photos for my portfolio or for competitions I take the kit out. I am happy to use eheim piping. :)

    Also, I do not spend money on ADA Substrate, it is good, but there are cheaper options. Rather spend money on filters, koralias and lighting.

    However I cannot criticise others for doing the opposite, and a tank with lots of glassware looks amazing, lots of bling.
     
  11. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    The use of glassware vs other piping is to me pretty much irrelevant to the art side of things since we are pretty much judging each scape in a virtual sense. There are plenty of high ranking setups that don't use glass pipes for one reason or another. Plenty are still using HOBs and other unslightly equipment when not in front of the camera. The use of glass is really for long-term aesthetic satisfaction. And yes they do get dirty even at ADA.

    Amano like any very successful person had several things fall into place to have such a large influence. His skills as a photographer his love for aquatic landscapes, etc and the timing to present these scapes in this virtual setting.

    Since it is a virtual art form for the most part, the photography side of things is inseparable from the aquascaping side. A good photo can only enhance color, depth, detail which can't be seen with a poor quality photo. Not to say a good scape with a poor photo can't do well, but it can't pick up as much detail that will be part of the appeal of said scape. Imagine Amano's Nature Aquarium World books having poor photos. Would many of us even be here? Those photos communicated a piece of nature that could be in one's home and that was very appealing to many.

    The plant keeping side is really a separate hobby and many have no desire to move their plant keeping skills to the 'Art' side. They simply like to grow plants. Look at the two major forums here in the US. The Aquascaping threads are pretty quiet. I don't thing the Art side of things has a mass appeal and I'm not sure it ever will. Is it really this way in Japan? I would say Amano has a larger influence in Japan and Asia then he does here in the states, but overall I don't think the average fish keeper in Japan is that much different then one in the US. I don't think they really aquascape, I think most keep freshwater like here, with fish being the primary focus, not plants.
     
  12. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    On the issue of "true creativity" being art vs. copying being simply a process, this is yet another debate that cannot be answered, even by the artist, and even if he thinks he's being truthful with himself. Most of us have looked at pictures of aquascapes. How do we know that we're not at least subconsciously copying these elements when we move forward to make our own? We can't. So is copying art subconsciously somehow more noble than copying that same art consciously? And if so, how would one ever manage to measure this?

    Always, be weary of others who think in absolute terms, and especially, be weary of those who would propose that you should follow suite.

    "everyone is looking for something
    and they assume somebody else knows what it is
    no one can live with the decisions of their own
    it seems so they look to someone else
    to tell 'em what to be
    tell 'em what to wear
    tell 'em what to say
    tell 'em how to act and think and compel others compulsively
    until the world is all like them"

    - Graffin
     
  13. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree. however if you consciously look at a piece of art and decide to copy it then of course it can't be as noble as subconciously doing anything.

    You can create music and listen back and it may sound similar to something else. that is more influenced by than copying.

    The copy would be obvious where the sub concious would just bear similarities.

    Andy
     
  14. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I like what Juri said-
    So the onus is for judges to have the experience and memory to spot a 'verbatim' copy. However there should be some leeway in determining if a scape is a copycat, especially if it's vague. IMO Judges have to be in contact about what they feel is a copy and deductions be 'administered'!:-"

    Having seen a lot of scapes and judged a few competitions, it makes me very happy to see outstanding scapes. That makes marking all the much easier. I can honestly tell you that past the 50th place-one's eyes gets a little watery and you have to go back again to recheck the balance. Looking at the back of the pack makes me a little sad. Especially the apathetic ones still with equipment in the tank.

    The top 3 obviously gets the most attention and it would be nitpicking time.

    With regards to IAPLC-it's obviously Nature Aquarium theme. I like it this way.
    Please hold on the fake and contrived no matter how arty it is and dilute this theme.

    There's other competitions with movie themes etc.

    Didn't they say art imitates nature?
     
  15. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    As someone who has to grade papers and test, I'll tell you this....it is much easier to grade well done papers and test, than bad ones.

    I would assume the same applies to Art.
    Still, I'd like to see the Art aspects be more easily accessible without any pretentious notions about it for the hobby, not doing this makes the entire process much much less accessible for new folks coming into the hobby.

    The same is true for the Science aspect.

    Many like to espouse the marriage between Art and Science....this often means more Marketing and less Science however............nice to say, but not really the goal there.

    Then there is the horticultural aspect. This is more the fundamental that applied plant stuff we all must address. And thus this might be a more interesting approach to the art aspect rather than Fine Art.

    Japanese Landscaping design books that are applied and focus on good long term design principles are excellent. Some of hokey and rips offs........and add manure to the entire approach.......JOG in a good English language version of some good opinions and terms used. Seems less pretentious the way Horticulturist and Landscapers discuss it.

    More accessible, which is what everyone involved in this thread, perhaps the very essence of this forum really are concerned about and desire. It would not do justice to NOT look at such design books and see what they have to offer.
     
  16. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    i don't want to be seen as defending copies, but...

    I think we forget the creativity involved in making a copy. yes, i said it, creativity in a copy. unless someone is there to actually witness the production of the original then the copier does not have an exact idea on how the end product was acheived, so here lies the creativity. The copier may imploy alternative techniques and problem solve alternatives to achieving the end result. This is a creative process, which by my very loose definition of art, qualifies it as such. IMO, all things are a take on something that has come before it. All things are essentially a copy in one way or another. How much so is hard to tell without being privelaged to the process. Even in nature a copy may not really be a copy. There are several creatures who, through evolution, devolped organs to see their environment, but they did not all take the same route to the final result and all do not function the same way. An eye is not an eye in the same way (unless it is your other one ;) )

    Again, I don't think they are as impressive nor should be valued equally as the original work, but again I don't think they should be kicked around as garbage either.

    The science and art mix is interesting to think about. Many times I see a very scientific approach taken to scaping and design. The rule of thirds, the grids we see, the concept of triangles, usage of geometry, size, and perspective. All of these are very scientific like methods to creating something that is artistic. Also, concepts that give guidance to newcomers and even veterans. Expectations are set and rules are followed in order to achieve a nice scape. Generally, IMO, breaking or bending one concept at a time within a design or scape can work out nicely and look very original. Ignoring most will leave it a mess.

    taking from other areas with commonalities is a great idea. applying it to something different is creative and a copy. I have taken some of the things I have learned from this hobby and applied them elsewhere, photography, helping my wife plant the garden and pots (although she does a better job of selecting plants for them so she gets to do that next year).
     
  17. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    If the Mona Lisa was copied by somebody- I would still give credit to the original painter- not the copycat.

    Great technique is not creativity unless it was unique. Since somebody else pioneered it then others that follow are paying homage or pondscum. :thumpdown::D [ i kid]

    It may not be garbage but has no value to someone[an observant judge] who has seen it before. Enter it to a contest at your peril. LOL

    Like a movie remake- you take the essential elements[concept & characters] mix mash something new and make something more exciting. Paying homage to something everyone thinks is close to perfect is however risky-could fall flat in your face.

    note: More time passes between the original the better.

    What's Art?

    Quote: wikipedia-Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions and intellect...
    Generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions.

    A copycat stimulates hateful reactions from others! [hateful art?] hahaha
     
  18. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with the point of where credit should go for the work, the original person who created the painting or other art. Are all nature scapes a tribute to Amano?

    my statement is more aimed at the broader picture rather than aquascapes or competitions for that matter. It would be ill advised to enter a knock off as your own original work and expect to do well. Everyone is so harsh on the "copiers" without acknowledging their work and the creative process that person may have gone through. I am not saying it should be considered with the original, if an exact copy, but some credit is due...isn't it?

    I think movies are a poor example because of the sentimental attachment to the original movie inhibits a positive response. Its just like those who have read the book. The first experience with it is usually the better one.

    Countering with an extreme example does not always prove a point. The mona lisa is a portrait, uses particular techniques and tools. How many times had something similar been done before? How do we know? How do we know that it wasn't something Da Vinci had noticed before? How do we know he hadn't seen a similar portrait and got an idea? Renaissance art is classified as such because of the time period and the common characteristics within the pieces. Where do you draw the line as to what is a copy and what isnt?

    Everything has come from something before it. It only varies in the degree to which the next copy differs.

    My point is this, it is so difficult to define these things and draw a line in the sand, that the best thing to do is give some credit to all creative creations not measure the degree of creativeness (unless of course it is submitted for measuring)

    Observe, enjoy, or hate, but recognize it as a work of art.
     
  19. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I see your point as people making it for their personal enjoyment and also their friends and family and as a point to himself that he has the skills to make something a master has done.

    So move on to the next level then! :lol:
     
  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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