Is taste subjective?

Is taste subjective?

If you are convinced about a simple answer of “yes”, then reading this article is more or less pointless.

The more complicated answer is — no, taste is an ideal that is objective, only your posession of it is subjective.

When I was a child, I used to visit countless art exhibitions with my parents. My father — a sculptor — used to ask me: “Do you like this painting? Or this sculpture”. I answered with candidness natural to children: “I don’t know” (if only more adults shared similar trait when unsure of an opinion). I really had no idea what painting or sculpture is good and did not know how to evaluate their qualities. My taste was basically non-existent.

However, after a decade of education and personal experience, I can tell you if the art / design piece is good or not and why. The difference between what I know now and back then is simple — immense amount of comparative experiences both in art and design. Now, this is not a place to talk about how I was trained and what I went through to achieve that experience, it is simply to illustrate a world of difference between someone who doesn’t know and someone who went through the effort to know.

We can say the degree of subjectivity of one’s taste is correlated to the magnitude of comparative experience.

The difference is indeed in comparative experiences. Someone who has observed 10,000 paintings will have a better idea of how to evaluate art than the one who glanced at one scribble. Extreme example, but essence of it applies to evaluation of every creative effort.

Based on this, we can say the degree of subjectivity of one’s taste is correlated to the magnitude of comparative experience. However, this equation is still not quite complete. Experience is the major component, but then there is the creativity itself. Creativity elevates the richness of comparative experiences into an active system that can find and create new analogies effectively and flexibly.

Simply said, this means the person will not become stale, conservative and myopic even after decades of experience in a specific creative field. This means the objectivity of one’s taste will be able to evaluate even experiences vastly different from the usual and appraise them more precisely.

How precisely? The accuracy of an articulated (as in described) opinion relies heavily on logic and intelligence. The ability to entitle creative processes and compose them into a comprehensible opinion.

In conclusion, a person can indeed have an objective taste. If the person can logically explain why precisely is something as whole or in parts qualitatively “good” or “bad”, the opinion can be called objective.

Objectivity of a taste is a marriage of comparative experience, creativity as a sum of intellectual +emotional richness and intelligence manifested in logic.

It’s no rocket science.

Cost of design.

Cost of design.

I have been a witness to many cases of wonder and surprise when it comes to how much manufacture of product design cost. This article will serve for better orientation within manufacture and design services costs.

Humanistic role of sculpture in public spaces.

Humanistic role of sculpture in public spaces.

Contemporary architecture, except the obvious differences in aesthetics has over the decades gotten more or less — rid of one concrete element — sculpture in any form. Have we lost a value in public space that can’t be replaced by any other form?

Three qualities every contemporary product design should have. (to be successful).

Archetypal quality — an iconic look.

Archetype is an assamblage of ideal shapes reduced to their essence. It is an iconic, simplistic look that people easily remember — even a simple outline of the design could indicate its origin.

The key and challenge of reaching a certain archetype lies in balancing the simplicity with narrative features and sculptural execution.

 

Case examples:

Success of Apple is based on the premise of a well executed simplicity that is completely neutral and thus, enables the greatest room to “identify” with the product. However, Apple presents the extremity that sacrifices the other two components to reach the greatest audience, a median without a clearly defined taste.


Dyson is an example that goes further in terms of design maturitity. It fuses iconic look with a clear concept of narrativity in its identity and encases these features into smooth aesthetics.


Narrative quality — the story in design.

“Narrativity” in design is all about creating a combination of shapes and materials that create a sense of inner logic that has an epical consequentiality.

Aesthetical consequentiality is built on two pillars — form and function and their context. Historical or classical “design” was built mainly through ornament that carries the motion and intent of a certain narrative aim, function is in this case mostly structural.

In modern or contemporary design, the function becomes the form. The forms may be inspired and thematic, but their existence is derived from the presence of a certain functional element.

Case examples:

The best field to explain this concept is Haute Horlogerie. Complex mechanisms and their numerous functional points lead designers firmly to make the best aesthetical use of them and showcase the function in the best possible manner.

Franck Muller watches

Franck Muller watches

Similar thinking can be applied in any contemporary design — the function leads the aesthetical demonstration and with the combination of a theme, the design will present pure “storytelling”, without any ornament, only through a simple combination of shapes introduced through a function.


Sculptural quality — the fluency and attractivity of forms.

Sculptural in design can be defined as a balance of sharp and round forms. The complexity of such shaping is determined by the degree of presence of an archetype. The more discerning the archetype, the less developed is the complexity of sculptural shaping.

In other words, the more we strive for an iconic look, the less visually intricate will the object be.

For a commercial success of a design, it is necessary to find a rational balance between the development of shapes — their ridges, valleys and “hills” and an iconic look people can understand and identify with. The more precisely we can balance these two aspects, the better we can predict impact of a design to our selected target groups and market.

Case examples:

The best area to illustrate the potential of sculptural shaping and qualities is the automotive world. Nowhere else in design does the mere look bear such a weight in customer’s decision in proportion to price. Cars are the most expensive objects most people can buy and their looks have developed immensely over a century. Another reason to include automotive as the best example is the main factor that streamlines the curves — aerodynamics — the shapes simply have to be arranged according to existence of these forces, this bestowes cars with an inherent functional quality that naturally leads to sculptural shaping.

Porsche 918

Porsche 918

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

Two best examples are the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari, their shaping is the most well executed in terms of logical continuation of shapes and their iconic presence.

918 presents the more staid aestethics and LaFerrari the more dymanic fluency, but both excel in what we can call “sculptural shaping” and thus illustrate the concept the best.

Another example is from product, the leaders of developed shaping in design were the Eames couple. Their works are the best incarnations of the on point combination of iconic looks and developed shapes.

Eames Lounge Chair Wood (Eames LCW)

Eames Lounge Chair Wood (Eames LCW)

Charles and Ray Eames with their Lounge Chair and ottoman

Charles and Ray Eames with their Lounge Chair and ottoman


Conclusive example.

The GJ by Grete Jalk chair, currently in production by Lange productionsums all three describe dqualities and imbues them into an utmost modern, almost a futuristic work (despite the design being over 50 years old).

GJ chair by Grete Jalk

GJ chair by Grete Jalk

The GJ chair at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Danish Design exhibition. Via Gizmodo

The GJ chair at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Danish Design exhibition. Via Gizmodo

GJ chair presents a quality of aesthetics designers should be inspired by and should strive to achieve.

The future of design in terms of commercial success lies mainly in diverting the customer from competition with the sheer visual quality. The technological aspect is currently more advanced than the aesthetics we can manufacture and produce.

To sum up:

If you can divide yourself from a crowd based on a simple, quick glance, you are halfway “there”. The precision of determining the ratios between the three described qualities will help you to achieve the greatest part of success — to establish a dialogue between you and the customer. The rest will take care of itself. Almost. But that is up to another article☺


The single most important quality of a successful person.

I was sipping my coffee as usual when thinking about qualities that helped me to be better at what I do. Qualities that strenghtened both my personality and work discipline. 

The single most important quality is - stubbornness (funnily enough, even the word refuses to have less than redundantly excessive number of letters). Might not look surprising to some, but this quality can be only appreciated when enjoyed to the fullest.

Why did I not indicate perseverance instead of stubbornness? I believe perseverance is only the long term result of momentary stubbornness - to be stubborn is to refuse to quit. It is the firmness and resolutness in your mindset, to carry on, to continue, whatever the current adversities may be 

Stubbornness can also have negative connotations but in most cases, it is a feat that can be trained under strain to absolutely solid personal quality. What do I mean by trained? Put yourself in the most difficult place, situation and deal with it, quitting is not an option.

I had "passed" tests of endurance where I had to work 20, 24 or more hours straight in extremely stressing situations where the eventual success of a large project would rely only on my abilities. I was alone in the office and I knew that the next morning, the success of what will be presented rellies on whether I can keep pushing and find a solution right now. The clock is ticking and there is nothing louder than it at 4 am in the morning. 

These are moments that teach you to rely on yourself. There might not be anybody to save you or to help you, the only help you can count on is your mind. Will you crumble under the weight or will you perservere? If you manage to cope with the problem and push the weight with your own shoulders you will learn one thing - you will be there for yourself when needed.

I usually do not have to handle such big strain on my own now, but I learned that I can count on myself when this moment comes. I can say with certainty – there are not many feelings that can be compared to saying – let's get it on – when you see the big fin in the water approaching right at you. To perservere at any cost, to endure any strain and see yourself victorious is a feeling that makes you a complete, successful individual who knows that in the end, it is only yourself who can truly save you. 

 

What is art today? – Part II. – The shift

What is art today? – Part II. – The shift

The second part of the article will resume questions and thoughts of the first one, mainly the one layed in the very beginning – Where is art today?

The vivid and mostly very rich intellectualization of art that rapidly evolved in the beginning of 20th century in abundance of new forms, styles, platforms, motions and associations infused an enormous boost into productivity and quality of art and artistic forms. 

This period gave life to the greatest production of quality art in our history. Other, auxiliary processes have helped to accelerate this cultural boom – rapid evolvement of industrialization was the most prominent one, it brought scepticism but also opened myriad of horizons, it transformed our lives into a truly modern period. 

All in all, the greatness of the early 20th century was extremely fruitful in intellectual and emotional completion of a modern world.

However, reaching such great heights usually means there will be a downfall nearby. The flourishing, immersive and essential boom of intellectualization in art continued – but began to transform from explaining rich content full of ideas to explaining void.

When did this happen? There is not a precise moment in the history, but it began when ideas and tension of the early 20th century started evaporating and mass media began to take over. 

Now – I am not saying the media was ever the reason for the "void" starting to fill in, it was merely a symptom of a certain cultural weariness that came down after the exhaustive start of the century. After all the cultural and technological advancement, It was a calming blanket of an understandable language. 

This is the era where the shift of creative masterminds will be happening. It starts in the early 50's – precisely when the media begins to take reigns over many aspects of our decision creating process. 

Advertising – How to sell an idea.

The shift begins with "idea" as a qualitative constant migrating from art to product. We are no longer trying to "sell" an abstract idea, we are trying to sell an idea embedded to a functional value – a product.

This is the birth of advertising age. Product and all that is connected with it through its cycles is now a very distinctive part of our life. Necessarily, such extensive and demanding production area requires a lot of combined creative talent. We are probably all acquainted to Mad Men, a show that sheds more light on this period of our history. We can see what kind of intent and will was and is necessary to push out a potentially successful product. 

In reality, it started with prominent figures such as David Ogilvy, who was a man with multi-faceted past and a complex personality enhanced by an undoubtedly exceptional wit and intelligence. Ogilvy was able – with his clarity and intellect – build one of the greatest ad agencies. He was the modern prototype of a a creative thinker, who was no longer an artist, but an opened, creative mind ready to process any kind of creative task. I would recommend anyone having any interest in product or design – to read his books – 1, 2.

A considerable number of creatives and artists were no longer considering art as their journey, either because they were interested in a more stable life or they were tired / dissapointed of the beginning decline of artistic quality and values (this was not the case in the eastern europe, that was more closed and paradoxically, art was supported by law as a "must" inclusive feature to any new architectural building – a topic for a whole, different article).

Other areas, such as film industry were also attracting creatives, but advertising was the most complex mechanism that employed a wide range of creatives. 

 

What has changed?

So what is different from the era of 50's, 60's and so on when art began its period of decline (with exceptions of course)? World has become far more faceted, layered and complex. You can undoubtedly find good art, but probably not presented by any large or widely known platform – for the reasons described in the first part of the article. However, if you dig deep or are simply lucky, you really can find or buy good art, but this does present a certain kind of stretch and labour, usually only very passionate and educated collectors adhere to such difficult routes (I would go as far when saying this is only 2 - 5 % of "serious art collectors", yes, that low of a percentage).

The shift of creative force meanwhile completed itself with 99,99 % creatives working in areas connected to product or design. Is this good or bad? I would say – good. The reason for saying this, is that the today's world is so incredibly polluted with information (most of it is junk), that starting a path in art and continuing it with utmost quality standards in ideation of form or execution is – almost impossible for any beginner.

The thing is – art can not be measured, it can't be even compared with same ease and standards as design, because there is a value of function in any given design – function in some extent helps to guide the quality of design. However, there is no similar guidance in art and if one does not have an absolutely "clean" and "nutritious" environment in terms of information he's getting, he will fail, simply because the world is so extremelly poluted with "bad" information.

This is why I would invite anybody with creative tendencies and mindset – do not be an arstist, be simply a creative person – which means – learn to think first. Learn to ask the right questions and most importantly – think critically

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Creativity has lost its original context and boundaries in art, but we should be grateful to see it in its true contemporary forms – in creative disciplines that bring us excellent products, designs, movies and other stunning examples of the marriage of emotion and intellect.

 

 

What is art today?

shiny and simple

shiny and simple

What is art today, Part I. 

- what has art become? - is a common question of a wider audience, usually pointing out to contemporary works seen in galleries, often exquisitely built homes to works of a very high price tag.

I would suggest a different question that might be able to steer the course to a more precise answer: "Where has art moved?". 

To answer, I need to connect three dots in history that lead to a shift of creative masterminds to areas close by - but distinctively different than the area of free willed creativity - art.

Duchamp - Picasso - Warhol

What has begun as Duchamp's jest and pierced the world as Picasso's creative arrogance, completed itself in the classic american tale of Andy Warhol. 

Duchamp was undoubtedly a genius who was frustrated with boundaries of creativity of his era, Picasso "introduced" ideas and heritage of others in his works, occassionaly revealing cultural shallowness of his audience. Andy Warhol seized the opportunity to allure youth culture in America. 

 

 

Controversy.

All of these artists can be connected by one term - controversy. Naturally, "controversial" art has been here long time before Duchamp or even his early predecessors. The first major and coherent wave that fractured our understanding of art came with impressionists, followed by expressionists, constructivists and abstract art, together with smaller movements.

Controversy in art is something that questions our stances, beliefs and opinions about the subject or the way how is the subject portrayed. Impressionists "introduced" the controversy as a tool that dissected and re-built the way we see the world, which was a process that helped to spark a new era and boom of creativity.

However, the boundaries of general understanding or acceptance what is possible in art have always been slower in advance than the artist's mind. Some creatives, as Duchamp, were questioning the pace of this advance with works that drew a sharp query into finding an answer for "what is art". Many of his works were indeed mere questions with little ambition to find definite answers. Unfortunate result of Duchamp's influence within his followers creating ready-mades and installations is they did not move forward, rather backwards presenting their works as answers, not inquiries to a cultural or historical status.

 

Understandability - tangibility.

Another term that connects these three names is - Understandability or tangibility - how close visually or semantically is the presented object to a general audience. Understandability is one of the conditions of success in all creative spheres. 

Picasso is probably the first name anybody encounters when learning about art. The truth is, Picasso's creative or working flare, perseverance and a certain kind of charisma were the only paramount abilities when we compare the quality of his work to his peers. For example, Braque's complexity and cohesiveness in quality reaches far behind Picasso's works, yet his name and work falls well behind Picasso's fame. 

stylized, but colorful, relatable forms.

stylized, but colorful, relatable forms.


The definining difference that explains this Picasso's status is - understandability. Picasso took fragments of cubism and offered them in a way that could sparkle a dash of controversy in their time, but in a greater picture - offered simple, identifiable forms anybody can relate to and understand visually. Picasso stylized forms, but in a way general public could - in the end - understand and accept.

Duchamp created in his time objects that were above general understanding in regards to art - but not in terms of semantic appearence. Duchamp used modified objects that while presented themselves in different than original meanings - we could all recognize and eventually - accept.

Warhol is the most relatable of them all, as he worked exclusively with real material that was usually not modified or slightly modified or re-arranged. It was a content anybody, even without any art education or education at all - could relate to. 


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Contemporary art.

Controversy and tangibility in regards to art has given us a lot of great and defining content, but has been, and is the reason of qualitative decline in art world.

Simple in form and semantically relatable content that is ideally "controversial" is the leitmotif of almost any heavily propagated work in art, causing unfortunate confusion in general public. There are basically two groups amongst the general public (general defined as with occassional passive / mildly active interest in art).

One visits contemporary galleries because it wants to be "cultural" and carries usually no significant emotional / rational result from the experience or the other group, that usually leaves the gallery with a slight bewilderment or in the worst case - a declinatory, sceptical or even angry stance to "art" in general. 

This is truly unfortunate as many of these people lose an opportunity to discover real gems of art and create a deeper interest in art, that may lead to education to other artistic forms. 


Why is the today's art world so confusing?

Simply because it offers extremeties in terms of quality that are not necessarily in context with their place on the market. One may see a 700,000 £ worth of a canvas with pinned butterflies but may as well discover a forgotten impressionistic or abstract picture in a small gallery worth a couple hundreds, that may be top notch in aesthetical quality and clarity of form. 


Created value and what is easier to manufacture and sell.

So why is this happening? Why can be pinnned butterflies sold for hundreds of thousands but a today's relative of duchamp's abstract forms can't or is sold under price?

The thing is - art is not a mathematic discipline. It can not be counted or measured. This fact opens a room for a speculation - we can "count" art as we please, there is no law nor precise logic of how to define a price tag for an artistic piece, we always "make it up". We can do it in honesty or we can speculate.

The name of this paragraph is tied with the problem of quality vs. its monetary potential on the market - how easy it is to sell. To sell well, it should ideally be visually / semantically relatable - simple - or controversial, ideally both. 

If something is simple and understandable in form and also controversial - it has a lot of potential. The next step is left to curators or owners of galleries who create the marketing allure around the sold subject or the author. You would be surprised how little is the difference sometimes between an "author" and a "product". 

On the other hand, imagine selling and author with intricate, complex and semantically heavily layered work. It is not understandable, not relatable because it is usually too stylized and too hard to "understand". It is not marketable. 

Truth to be told, fabrication of authors or their works may be in some case more of a subconscious search of curators / gallery owners / managers for "what might be successful on the market" rather than calculated, cold blooded stunt for our taste. 

They are simply giving the market what it wants. 


Part II. - The shift - to be continued.









What is art.

What is art.

Many people wander and try find to the closest and most true description of art – only to end up in long, belletristic sentences that end up being perplexing or not describing anything at all. 

I offer a simple sentence that can be decomposed into specific meanings – Art is an intellectual interpretation of force. 

It is intellectual because we process emotions, feelings and information and integrate it with the help of our cognitive abilities through a process of logical or spontaneous thought.

It is an interpretation of force because we portrait and describe either natural or abstract constants and values which constitute and animate themselves in certain proportions and order, this can result in a painting, mellody, sculpture or an object.

What I mean by the "force" is simply the creative energy decomposed down to an atom that solidifies in objects we recognize or "make up" based on logic or emotional charge. Force is an everchanging, continuous shift of energy that transforms objects and their environment, it is a cohesive process where the smallest particles affect each other and also the grand scheme of the process.

Nature is "made" by shifts of energy, our complex imagination can work similarly and create highly logical and creative outputs that emulate the natural processes in their intricacy and causuality. Said simply – we interpret the force. 

Hopefully this can shed more light into a topic that has become completely fogged and unnecessarily complex.

I will soon follow up the description with my stance on what is art today, undoubtedly an actual and heated theme.   

 

 

Spherical Thinking

Sherical thinking presents layering of contexts to create new, original content. The elements - usually recognized / known and their semantics are combined to create new contextual content. The simplest way to describe the methodics of spherical thinking is to envision a sphere with many eliptical rings that rotate in different directions, similarly to an armillary sphere or "spherical astrolabe". 

image credit

image credit

The translation of the armillary sphere to spherical thinking constitutes the rings as trajectories that comprise countless "points" that represent units of a semantical corpus. Speaking metaphorically, the center - the axis of the rings would be the one point that can hold a mass of different semantical units together, the point would be logic, or an archetypal centre of ratio, the axis around which the semantical "bodies" rotate.

Crossing of the points placed on the different, moving rings would mean a creation of a new ring with a new "point" - the new semantical unit. If the semantical units are envisioned as a concrete contexts, their meeting translates into a summation or a different "operation", but the result is always a new unit based on the character of the previously combined contexts. 

Understanding the metaphorical interpretation of the device into the new methodics of thinking can provide an artist or a designer with infinite possibilities of imaginative or visual expansion based on the elements he is working with. 

The visual example of spherical thinking is The Birth of Church which much as explained, creates new semantics based on the widely known interpretations regarding the Catholic church.