So, I asked this interesting question on Reddit, mostly to assuage my own doubts and feelings of fraudulence with regards to art projects that didn’t strictly involve me painting literally every pixel (yes, I realized that many creatives have experienced the Imposter Syndrome, but this intellectual understanding didn’t necessarily help me with dealing with it in an emotional, subjective way).
Before we begin in earnest however, first, let’s get some elaboration on the arts referenced in the title.
Collage Art: Bashing different elements (that are often not made by you) together to create a composition.
Found Art: For example, a toilet turned into a fountain. Or just tipped over.
Matte Paintings: An old technique where painting is applied to film strips in order to add elements that weren’t filmed by the camera (ie, painting a Sphinx on a desert). These days, mean any kind of digital environment creation, where some artists would photo-bash a layer that they paint over, or construct a 3D model to paint over, etc. Or just slap 3D models AS the background. Whatever saves time, since this kind of painting is mostly used in applied arts where production must be timely.
My Question on Reddit:
Alright, so recently, I’ve been exploring digital paintings, and that’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been learning a lot of the foundational principles to digital paintings and am making tremendous progress.
However, I also want to explore side projects that involves transforming public domain photos and artworks into new forms. However, these kinds of project feels instinctively strange to me for many reasons, mostly because it doesn’t feel entirely like real art. I know that collage, found art, etc are considered valid art forms, and that concept artists often use matte painting techniques or incorporate 3D models and existing photos into their work…but even so, I would like the public’s opinions.
The kind of projects I want to explore: I want to take existing public domain photos and paint over them to create sci-fi/fantasy environments. I also want to take classical paintings and paint over it/modify it to create something new. And of course collage art could be very interesting.
What are your opinions about such works of art?
And the (somewhat few) folks on that particular SubReddit have this to say—
Not all art is good, but all art is art. Even satirically creating found art is art in its own way. When I see art that really makes me question its validity as art, I quickly realize that the piece is making me think and I usually come to the conclusion that it’s certainly art simply based on that alone.
There’s someone who paints over Pokémon cards, and they’re amazing!
I’m not a visual artist, but I view it as analogous to fan fiction. With fan fiction, you’re taking someone else’s content, transforming it and making it your own. I feel like it’s similar to the art you want to explore
It’s still art. Tracing another image is questionable when you’re just making a painting, but if it’s a collage I feel like the rules are out the window.
These comments actually do help assuage my doubts, and I had expected comments along these lines; mostly because these comments are what I would have said if I had to respond to my own question.
On a related note, a lot of folks often claimed that digital art or digital painting don’t constitute “real” art, when in fact digital paintings are exactly like perfectly ordinary physical paintings in terms of the actual painting process (differing for medium).
This article talked about this bias, but it also pointed out something quite interesting: We digital painters also like to accuse artists who practices photo-bashing and collage art of doing “fake art”. Hmmmm. I admit, I do often see it as a “lesser” art form, even though the difficulty of doing collage art well is beyond me, generally. And of course, found art/erasure art gets accused of this as well, along with things like blackout poetry/found poetry.
Now, below is an example of something I did, to experiment with my idea to transform classical paintings into a different form:
Cardinal de Richelieu (1642) by Philippe de Champaigne
And my experimental transformation of it. Painted over by me.
The rationale here was that Cardinal Richelieu (“The Red Eminence”) was a figure that had caused significant bloodshed with his participation and role in the European Wars of Religion (the 17th century). In all fairness he was a product of his time, and I actually admire him as a Statesman, however with a monicker like “The Red Eminence”, and due to his noble bearing, sheer charisma, and political acumen; I have always though of him as a kind of supernatural creature (like Count Dracula). Therefore, this transformative work was about revealing a supernatural version of the Cardinal.
This is nowhere close to the level of detail I wished to create, but would you consider something like the above to be valid art?
PS: Yes, I missed a day of the Daily Logo Challenge. Don’t you worry, I’ll make up for it.