Sunday, December 06, 2009

HOT SCANDAL BREWING

Stanley Meltzoff was a brilliant artist, scholar and author. At the peak of his powers, he painted a masterpiece for the cover of LIFE magazine: the legendary battle of Thermopylae, where a handful of Greek heroes sacrificed themselves to save their homeland.


Detail

After Meltzoff spent weeks perfecting the colors and composition, some moron from the marketing department decided LIFE might sell a few extra copies by slapping a bright yellow banner across the painting promising a "hot scandal."



Henrik Ibsen said, "To live is to war with trolls."

I could offer a thousand other examples of art that has been cropped, altered, vandalized or shrunk to make more room for a client's logo. An illustration passes through many hands before reaching the viewing public; clients, editors, art directors, printers, all serve separate functions but with the unified purpose of squeezing maximum revenue from the art. In fact, many of them got their jobs by recognizing that "hot scandal brewing" sells more product than artistic grace.

Even today, unscrupulous bloggers use these lurid words at the top of a blog to attract additional readers.

The illustrator Robert Fawcett once insulted his clients with a typically blunt "challenge to the advertising and publishing fraternities." He scolded that, "those who would pander to the lowest common denominator or make obeissance to expediency for temporary profit will stand revealed in their mediocrity...." But Fawcett also reminded his fellow illustrators that this was part of the deal they had made:
This is regrettable, but seemingly inevitable, in a group which has chosen to ally itself with industry, and having tasted the fruits of that alliance has no right to ask exemption from the conditions of survival which govern all business and industry.
Fawcett was a smart guy, and recognized that the "incubus of client dictation" is not limited to commercial art:
We always had the choice of a career of drawing and painting pictures for exhibition, but we would then have been subject to the vagaries of a career as competitive, and dealers in many cases no less venal than is charged against some of our present friends.
There is no question that fine art too has more than its share of morons. Consider Rembrandt's masterpiece, The Nightwatch, which was clumsily cropped by the owners to fit the wall where they wanted to hang it.

During World war II, some of the biggest morons of all were threatening the greatest art of the Italian Renaissance during the battle for Italy. The entire inventory of the Ufizzi gallery in Florence was hastily moved to a remote country villa to protect it from bombing. A young soldier named Stanley Meltzoff was stationed at that villa. Everyone else had evacuated the villa and Meltzoff was all alone while the shelling continued outside. He made his way down to the room where hundreds of defenseless masterpieces had been stacked against the wall. There he discovered Botticelli's famous painting Primavera-- the arrival of spring-- showing the beautiful Flora scattering her flowers.



Years later Meltzoff recalled, "I stepped up and kissed my ideal of beauty full on the lips...."

Meltzoff understood that art is not protected by its beauty.

To the contrary, the lips Meltzoff kissed were highly perishable. Art will always be susceptible to tampering by advertisers, art directors and fascist dictators. I hope his early confrontation with this reality consoled him decades later when he watched his own painting defaced by the editors at LIFE.

In my view, artists have to abide by the compromises and limitations that fund the creation of art, and also accept the mortality of the finished product. But those parameters still leave a lot of room for people who value beautiful things to defend them in the creation process and to speak up for them once they exist in this wicked world.

46 Comments:

Blogger Gregory Becker said...

Great post. Very intelligently put.

12/06/2009 4:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Fastner said...

I know that what you describe happens,and I can recall times when bad cropping hurt a painting,but the Life cover close-up cropping would be acceptable to me if they printed the uncropped painting on the inside of the magazine.Did they?

12/06/2009 8:53 PM  
Blogger Nick Name said...

HOT PRIMAVERA MAKE-OUT SESSION!

12/06/2009 10:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

lol, it's when she slipped him some tongue in return that Meltzoff vowed he would never ever roll a joint out of a masterpiece ever again.

And strangely enough, word verification at this moment is hashist.

12/06/2009 11:21 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Meltzoff was always a hero of mine and a big influence in my understanding of pictorial composition. By recounting the touching Primavera story, you made me realize the very big gulf that exists between dedicated artists and, in Ibsen's prescient pre-Internet comment...the ongoing 'war with the trolls'...slipping him some tongue, indeed!

Awaiting the screams of the anonymous grotesques, I continue to shine a light on the beauty and ugliness that is in the human soul.

..."slipped him some tongue"...GAAACCCK! (but very revealing)

12/07/2009 6:34 AM  
Blogger Don Cox said...

The most common form of vandalism is splitting a picture across two pages, so that a great big line appears down the middle. This happens even in books about art, but the National Geographic is the worst offender.

12/07/2009 6:49 AM  
Anonymous college singles said...

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12/07/2009 1:40 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Gregory-- Thanks very much!

Steve-- I agree that a cover picture serves a different purpose than an interior illustration; a cover is intended to grab the attention of the casual bystander, so an interior illustration might legitimately be cropped to serve that purpose. LIFE did print a larger (less cropped) version of the painting inside as a double page spread. The part that I find hard to defend here is that bright yellow banner about the scandal.

Nick and Matthew-- I gather this means you won't be disputing my point that audiences gravitate toward trashy, lurid headlines? It's good to see that, even when the illustration market collapses, so many among us have the skills to write captions for People Magazine.

12/07/2009 2:11 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Rob, to take your comment in a slightly different direction: Ever since the days of Robert Weaver, many have argued that the new school of illustration does not need to pay as much attention to technical skill or traditional talent because the job description has changed. Today's illustrator is valued more for his editorial observations than his wrist movements. Therefore, I was told, it does not matter if an illustrator doesn't draw very well or digitally samples other people's work, because illustration is now more an intellectual, editorial game.

That sounded pretty good to me at first, because of my innate prejudice in favor of smart things. But eventually I discovered that many of the new "editorial" illustrators seemed simple minded compared to some of those old school guys who painted covers for potboilers. Meltzoff was Exhibit A-- an astonishingly cultured, erudite man, a published scholar, smart as a whip and finely nuanced. Another example is Leonard Starr who drew On Stage back in the 1950s-1970s-- absolutely brilliant, literate, with the most encyclopedic knowledge of music I have ever seen. When you compare the way these guys think and talk with, for example, Weaver's explanation of the symbolism behind his Kennedy illustrations, Weaver sounded positively puerile (again, in my judgment).

It is because of artists like Stanley Meltzoff that I occasionally take a gratuitous poke at the "I'm-so-smart-I-don't-have-to-draw-well" crowd. Meltzoff proved that you could do both, and no artist should be let off the hook so easily.

12/07/2009 3:15 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Don, I take your point although there is clearly a trade off involved here-- if you want to get the largest possible image, you will overlook that unfortunate seam in the middle.

College singles-- it's not that I doubt your sincerity (I'm sure many people down there at the University Love Connection were eagerly awaiting your forthcoming blog post on the defense of integrity in commercial art forms) but I do have to wonder what kind of education you and the other hot Swedish bikini model coeds are getting these days, as your web site is encrusted with typos and grammatical errors. ( "If your in college and wanna find college girls and college university guys...") I'd recommend that you skip one or two of those sorority house orgies you have every afternoon and spend more time working on basic syntax. And if you're looking for more traffic, rather than leaving links on my blog I recommend that you change the name of your site to "Hot Scandal Brewing."

12/07/2009 3:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

I must apologise for my use of the term "slipped him some tongue". I can only say in my own defense that i am an Australian, and therefore I am genetically inclined to the less genteel phrases (having descended from common criminals and all that). I now know that I should have used the more polite vernacular of "passed him some tongue", much like I imagine the Queen at her breakfast table might say to her husband "Pass me the tongue dear".

And I must apologise specifically to David for slipping completely of topic.

12/07/2009 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

David, thank you for this touching story.
It is a shame the art directors cared so little for the original artworks after the publication was printed.

12/08/2009 12:50 PM  
Anonymous college singles said...

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12/09/2009 12:24 AM  
Blogger Nick Mullins said...

Thanks for that great Meltzoff story. It reminds me of something out of The English Patient. Art and beauty in the midst of the basest of human affairs.

12/09/2009 2:11 AM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

Re: "trashy, lurid headlines" & "Even today, unscrupulous bloggers use these lurid words at the top of a blog to attract additional readers."
just wanted to say, to be truthful, the title of your post perked my interest...:-)
g-onthiscolddayB

12/09/2009 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I'll take the opposite tack.

What's Stanley Meltzoff or anybody else complaining about when their artwork is put on a national magazine cover? Who is Stanley Meltzoff to complain that he didn't get enough space? Does he own the magazine?

If he painted this illustration on his own and tried to get exposure for it, he'd never get it into so many hands, or get as many eyeballs to look at it. Poor baby, that he has to settle for less than he had dreamed.

Fame and fortune are the banes of all art forms. There are so many egomaniacs screaming for their apple that it makes the whole field look shabby.

Ask yourself how much attention the guys who put togehter your car get, or the slave laborers that made your shirt. Are there any individual signatures on 99% of everything you buy? Nope.

The vast majority of people work and produce without any kind of recognition at all. And surprisingly, they are not egomaniacs about themselves or their work.

It would be a good thing for most artists to understand that.

And what do you expect anyway for selling yourself to a corporation or money making enterprise?

If you want some kind of purity, separate money from making the work. Otherwise, don't complain. The artist isn't the one paying the bills.

12/09/2009 2:29 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Matthew, it's not that you folks in Oz are descended from criminals but that you are living upside-down on the planet. Just one look at the globe explains that all of the blood has rushed to your head.

Damn, you're enjoying summer while I'm shoveling snow...it's unfair, I tell you.

12/09/2009 5:41 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Uhh Thomas, perhaps a bit of remedial reading would help. Read David's essay. Meltzoff was not the one doing the complaining. It was mine host.

12/09/2009 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

Thomas, I think you missed the point here.

12/09/2009 5:44 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

David, I definitely get your point but, as usual, I am of two minds on the matter (the curse of being a Libra).

Back in The Olden Days, I was struck by how well read and erudite so many illustrators were. Many of them entertained original insights...the sort one gets from direct observation such as Galileo did, not from larding books and articles with references and bibliographies citing other people's observations...the sort of fact-gathering we see on Wikipedia and confuse with intelligence.

With the proliferation of such heavily circumscribed forms as anime and sci-fi fantasy, there's very little room for original thinking. In a way it's like the corporate art styles that are emblematic of tightly controlled societies...ancient Egypt and pre-18th century Japan spring to mind.

In the period in which Meltzoff worked, all of the artists had a solid understanding of abstract art and the emerging color theories. I suspect that very few who now consider themselves to be artists have any idea what "notan" is; yet it is one of the more powerful elements in pictorial composition and one that Pyle stressed to his students.

In truth, the concept of pictorial composition as the underlying emotion-builder in a picture is completely unknown to most people who now characterize themselves as artists.

I think that we have to revive the term "commercial artist." It reduces puffery to a minimum. Now that every secretarial school and community college is teaching courses in "graphic design," that once noble field has been reduced to something just this side of graffiti. Emotion-producing compositional elements are unknown to most of those who call themselves illustrators and, sadly, the revered standards are more often comic books than carefully wrought illustrations.

That said, there is and has been a steady, as William James would say..." a dead heave of resolve" in book illustration. Some of today's practitioners are among the very best who have ever taken up the genre. They know what it is to tell a story...to create a mood and to do it with unsparing attention to every square inch of the picture. Every square inch works and works hard in concert to create and overall mood. Andrej Dugin, Gennady Spirin, Kuniko Kraft, among other stellar artists demonstrate that serious and superb illustration is alive and healthy in their hands...and minds. All are born storytellers who take the reader away to an other place.

I doubt that many of the sci-fi/anime crew have the story-telling abilities to keep a troop of Cub Scouts awake around a campfire.

Sure, the manual skills are lacking in most of those who characterize themselves as artists and illustrators. That's just a flashy term that might get them laid, whereas the title "commercial artist" might impress a laundress but not much else. But back when we were all commercial artists we certainly did know how to put some interesting pictures together.

A lot of it has to do with economics. High stakes makes for competition and that makes for excellent art. Back then, part of the fun was in beating out the competition. Competition was not a bad would...nor was judgment. Back when we were mere commercial artists, the US Department of Labor had a list of the top paying professions in the US. At the top of the list, beating out doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs was the profession of "illustrator." We were the highest paid professionals in the country. Admittedly, there weren't many of us, but we ranked high. The old CA (originally Commercial Art before the work got worse and it became Communication Arts) magazine had a cute cartoon of an illustrator...an artsy guy with a smoking Balopticon projecting on a canvas with one foot on an overflowing cash register.

You can believe that there was a lot of competition to get the foot on the cash register and that's what made great art in the Renaissance, the Baroque era. If you have a problem with money, illustration was not the place to be.

12/09/2009 6:35 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Rob, I am enjoying a heatwave with a squally little newborn son, a wife whose mood changes with any slight change of breeze, no aircon, and fans constantly chewing into our power bill. Give me some snow, please (never seen snow, but it looks nice and fresh on tv).

12/09/2009 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

The point I was making is that only in the arts would this question even come up. Everybody else expects that their work is dictated to them and that they are anonymous producers. Fame and fortune aren't even considerations.

That's my point.

12/09/2009 7:35 PM  
Blogger Steve Fastner said...

At the risk of drifting from the main point that layout and/or art directors have made(and do make) some lousy choices,I googled the "Rockefeller scandal" and found it refered to N.Y. officials taking bribes for liquor licenses,which seems like legitimate news,and isn't as sleazy as celebrity affair stuff.The yellow stripe was a teaser,but Life was mostly a news and photo-feature magazine.If they had some photos of that battle,they would have used them.

There's also a Meltzoff self-written article in the August 2004 Illustration magazine with this quote,"With the fee from one Life series I paid off my mortgage and began to feel secure.The climax of this happy period was when AT&T decided to do a single telephone book cover..."(with his art).That seems like a practical attitude, without being greedy.

The final sentence in the article was"It may be that working as a picture maker saved me from the abstraction and solipsism which dominated the High Art of my time."

I've heard somewhere that Meltzoff had some hard financial difficulties in his old age caused by less illustration assignments,which is a shame.

Sorry about the overkill,but I overlooked the 'scandle' thing in my first post and I'm still a little embarassed about it.The Life cover looks a little like a True Mans Adventure magazine cover(although the painting is more tasteful),but the banner doesn't kill it for me.

12/09/2009 8:33 PM  
Blogger Steve Fastner said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/09/2009 8:41 PM  
Anonymous A. Brill said...

Thomas, a freelance illustrator has only their name, and the work that name represents to help them make their living. A staff artist (remember them?) could remain anonymous because they had salaries, maybe even benefits. If the people who assemble our cars and clothes work fast and keep their mouths shut they continue to get to do piecework and draw their paychecks.

The issue is not whether some spoiled egomaniac of an artist can't stand to have their great picture defiled by banners (gasp!) or cropping (NO!) or something else. The issue is that if their great picture looks lousy because of those things than the people who hire illustrators won't hire them. They get to do more work because someone likes their work.

The internet has changed a lot of this, because anybody can post a site of their work, published or not, but back in the day you had your portfolio (reproductions of your best) and tearsheets of printed pieces, to show Art Directors and Buyers. If the published piece was badly printed, or botched in some way then you were unlikely to show it to prospective clients. To make a living at it it's important to have your best work seen, and for people to know who did it. Believe me, the credit line is as valuable as the paycheck.

Great Blog, David. Very thoughtful posts.

12/09/2009 8:52 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Thomas, I see where you're coming from.

It's important to understand that back when Meltzoff was plying his trade, more often than not, the publication kept the original paintings. They owned them lock, stock and barrel and could do with them as they wanted. It was the checked-pants Honkie mentality of the late fifties and sixties where whoever did the buying did the dictating.

A big change happened when G.A.G. (Graphic Artists Guild) began publishing their Industry Standards and Pricing Guide. Then we all had little contracts demanding the art be returned, it was for one-time use and all subsequent usage had to be renegotiated.

Then, adhering to Newtonian Physics, came the equal an opposite reaction with the ascendance of the Mac and the empowering of Everyman into an illustrator or designer. Sure, Everyman really sucked but the important thing was that he was hungry and could crank out smoothly finished work as a fraction of the price.

The illustration market is now operated by art directors who have never done a real paste-up or hand-made comp, let alone study the "voice" and "color" of different typefaces...Jan Van Krimpen, Robert Granjon, who are they?

With those computer-trained buyers, it's no wonder that strange gallimaufry of techie and artiste has emerged. Just as architects don't know art well enough to be artists and don't know engineering well enough to be structural engineers, the Mac-enabled "artists" aren't good enough artists to stand on their own or good enough techies to design the programs. They're like Beaverbrook's description of the middle class...not know where they belong and what they should do, they simply fake it with bluster and bullshit.

That's where "commercial art" is now and because of that insecure bluster and bullshit, we see much more concern with a banner being placed over an illustration. hey folks, it's just a freakin' Life magazine cover, not the Sistine Ceiling.

Meltzoff was happy with the result.

On those occasions when i run a class, there are two trash cans near the door when you enter the studio. One is labeled "EGO" and the other is labeled "PERFORMANCE ANXIETY." That would never have been required in the 50's. We've changed. We're pampered. We now worry about being too fat. Back then we worried about being too thin.

12/10/2009 8:09 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

why did he do a front cover in landscape format anyway ?

12/10/2009 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Rob Howard and A. Brill,

Thanks for your responses. I was fishing a bit. You both gave some good insight into the issue.

FWIW I think Meltzoff was a really great painter and illustrator. I sure wish that the same kind of work was being done today.

12/10/2009 12:08 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>why did he do a front cover in landscape format anyway ?<<<

He didn't, Laurence. All of the illustrations in that series were double-trucks. The A.D. simply cropped an eyecatching section for the cover.

12/10/2009 2:53 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

i see.

i must admit i quite like the yellow banner... it looks as if the warriors are eager to slash through it with their swords.

12/10/2009 4:57 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Matthew-- "on topic" is a rather amorphous concept around here, and people seem to like it that way!

Valentino and Nick-- thanks for writing.

Einbildungskraft-- do I know my audience or what?

Thomas-- as others have pointed out while I was away (and thanks to them for doing so) Meltzoff did not complain as far as I know (at least not out loud; he was a strongly opinionated man but I understand he liked to eat on a regular basis). What you read was my complaining on his behalf. As a general matter, I agree with Fawcett's quote: you either play by the rules of your chosen profession or you choose a different one. However, a lot of the compromises and challenges imposed by editors and publishers didn't even serve their commercial objectives-- they are just the bad judgment of tasteless and unimaginative bureaucrats philistines. Quality art is hard enough to achieve without throwing additional unnecessary obstacles in its path.

12/10/2009 5:34 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Rob-- between Valentino's list of graphic novelists in response to my last post and your list of book illustrators here, this is my month to investigate new talent, which is one of the real joys of this blog-- thanks for your suggestions (I blush to say that I new only one from your list.) As for your larger point about commercial art, I am ready to adopt it but I would have a hard time finding art that was NOT commercial. As you suggest, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo were all commercial. I am one of those for whom "commercial art" has no stigma. I recognize that it might not go over as well at cocktail parties, and that by itself has value... but perhaps that was your point.

On the subject of art that is the product of controlled societies, I even like that. For me, much of ancient Egyptian art and floating world art is sublime, whether despite or because of their conventions. If the archetype is right, the art built around it can be truly extraordinary-- even if manufactured on an assembly line.

12/10/2009 5:56 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Matthew-- my "squally little newborn son" has just left the nest. You will look back on these moments as the very best.

12/10/2009 5:57 PM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

The crime scene tape fits perfectly with the carnage depicted. The headline should read Bay of Blood!

12/10/2009 8:09 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Laurence and अर्जुन, whoops! I used the picture of the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Thermopylae bridge by mistake.

Steve, I commend your resourcefulness in looking up the particular scandal / scandle involved. Perhaps the odd juxtaposition of modern NY politics and ancient Greek wars on the cover was the inevitable result of a magazine struggling to find its market niche as the golden age of magazines came to an end. There were many issues of LIFE that were devoted primarily to arts and history. And I agree with you that LIFE was generally not a scandal sheet. If you compare a copy of LIFE from the 1960s with almost any magazine today (with the possible exception of the Economist) you will weep at our loss of literacy. Even in a "picture" magazine, there were more words per page and more complex ideas than you see anywhere today.

12/11/2009 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Valentino said...

David, you must be joking... I don't believe a connoisseur like you did not hear for Kinuko Y. Craft, Andrej and Olga Dugin(a) or Gennady Spirin.
OK, since Kinuko must be 70 by now, I guess she is the one you're fmiliar with. In regard to Dugin couple and GS; I recommend that you pick up any children book illustrated by them. You just can't go wrong. When you get "Brave Little Taylor" (a true masterpiece) or "The Adventures of Abdi" prepare to be amazed. Words can not properly describe that level of mastery (and heights of imagination).

12/11/2009 12:31 PM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

Einbildungskraft-- do I know my audience or what?
Yes. methinks you were wondering if i would notice.
On another topic, unrelated to the hot scandal brewing; I remember the post you did on the "line" in a work by Rembrandt. I thought I would mention that in today's Journal there is a quiz: 'How to spot a real Rembrandt'--apparently very few of his drawings were signed. Kinda like Stuart. Anyway, thought you might be interested in the article.
g-onthisrainingdayE

12/11/2009 6:24 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

David, one of the things Valentino overlooked mentioning was the obvious love these illustrators have for the art. As a lover of great illustration and a father of young children you must buy some of these books. The Brave Little Tailor is beyond delightful...it's transporting. It's a chance to see that greatness does exist in our time.

12/13/2009 8:39 AM  
Blogger mark morris said...

David,

Are you this David Apatoff?

http://www.arnoldporter.com/professionals.cfm?u=ApatoffDavidB&action=view&id=1

If so, thanks for the time you put into this blog. You are certainly a busy man!

12/14/2009 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for such an interesting blog, at first.

I agree with your opinion in general. Masterpieces of art aren't safe just because of their beauty. But in this article I've found two very different categories of that "trolling": 1) making defective reproductions of an artwork or changing them without respect (as cropping "Primavera's" photocopy to "suit" the cover of the magazine; this kind of "trolling" is the least harmful, because it does not ruin the real piece of art, but only shows the bad taste of the cover designer and could be compared with columning, that hurts and creates a wrong image, but does not "kill" literally; however, that also may cause the spreading of bad taste in public, because it is mostly done by popular media;2)damaging the original (real, not virtual, cropping of some paintings or destroying them as incompatible with contemporary politics, etc.; this is the worst and often irreversible). There could be a third category, too: changing or asking to change an artwork or totally dictating the rules for the artist, as in sovietic or nazii regimes or even nowdays in politically or economically sensitive situations. But in this case, there, I think, we should put the distinction between illustrative and decorative art, that simply in its origin is tend to be "client-,customer-,reader- and so on"-friendly, coordinated with main design stream, layout of magazine, and so on, and the "serious" art, that should be protected form any "cropping". But illustrations sometimes are more than only decorative graphics. I dont really know, how all that process of cover making goes, maybe it only seems to be simple, but as I imagine, there should be possible for illustrator to deal somehow with the layout and designer, because illustration's existence is due to some article, book or smth(???) How does that process go? As I imagine, if a person is asked to make n illustration in a magazine, all the parameters should be said in advance? or maybe this is much more complicated? Would be interesting to know from you. Thank you.

12/31/2009 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for such an interesting blog, at first.

I agree with your opinion in general. Masterpieces of art aren't safe just because of their beauty. But in this article I've found two very different categories of that "trolling": 1) making defective reproductions of an artwork or changing them without respect (as cropping "Primavera's" photocopy to "suit" the cover of the magazine; this kind of "trolling" is the least harmful, because it does not ruin the real piece of art, but only shows the bad taste of the cover designer and could be compared with columning, that hurts and creates a wrong image, but does not "kill" literally; however, that also may cause the spreading of bad taste in public, because it is mostly done by popular media;2)damaging the original (real, not virtual, cropping of some paintings or destroying them as incompatible with contemporary politics, etc.; this is the worst and often irreversible). There could be a third category, too: changing or asking to change an artwork or totally dictating the rules for the artist, as in sovietic or nazii regimes or even nowdays in politically or economically sensitive situations. But in this case, there, I think, we should put the distinction between illustrative and decorative art, that simply in its origin is tend to be "client-,customer-,reader- and so on"-friendly, coordinated with main design stream, layout of magazine, and so on, and the "serious" art, that should be protected form any "cropping". But illustrations sometimes are more than only decorative graphics. I dont really know, how all that process of cover making goes, maybe it only seems to be simple, but as I imagine, there should be possible for illustrator to deal somehow with the layout and designer, because illustration's existence is due to some article, book or smth(???) How does that process go? As I imagine, if a person is asked to make n illustration in a magazine, all the parameters should be said in advance? or maybe this is much more complicated? Would be interesting to know from you. Thank you.

12/31/2009 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for such an interesting blog, at first.

I agree with your opinion in general. Masterpieces of art aren't safe just because of their beauty. But in this article I've found two very different categories of that "trolling": 1) making defective reproductions of an artwork or changing them without respect (as cropping "Primavera's" photocopy to "suit" the cover of the magazine; this kind of "trolling" is the least harmful, because it does not ruin the real piece of art, but only shows the bad taste of the cover designer and could be compared with columning, that hurts and creates a wrong image, but does not "kill" literally; however, that also may cause the spreading of bad taste in public, because it is mostly done by popular media;2)damaging the original (real, not virtual, cropping of some paintings or destroying them as incompatible with contemporary politics, etc.; this is the worst and often irreversible). There could be a third category, too: changing or asking to change an artwork or totally dictating the rules for the artist, as in sovietic or nazii regimes or even nowdays in politically or economically sensitive situations. But in this case, there, I think, we should put the distinction between illustrative and decorative art, that simply in its origin is tend to be "client-,customer-,reader- and so on"-friendly, coordinated with main design stream, layout of magazine, and so on, and the "serious" art, that should be protected form any "cropping". But illustrations sometimes are more than only decorative graphics. I dont really know, how all that process of cover making goes, maybe it only seems to be simple, but as I imagine, there should be possible for illustrator to deal somehow with the layout and designer, because illustration's existence is due to some article, book or smth(???) How does that process go? As I imagine, if a person is asked to make n illustration in a magazine, all the parameters should be said in advance? or maybe this is much more complicated? Would be interesting to know from you. Thank you.

12/31/2009 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so so so sorry for pasting my comment several times, its just some error. Thank you for deleting the repeats

12/31/2009 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Don't loose sight of the purpose of commercial illustration. It is not for a gallery wall but to sell product. While it may be difficult to compromise the integrity of a work, the artist should always remember if it wasn't used to sell something, it may have never existed in the first place.

1/02/2010 7:42 AM  
Blogger Benitta said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://toddlergirls.net

2/08/2010 6:28 AM  
Anonymous Craig said...

I've attended several Meltzoff's exhibitions in NY, his paintings are marvelous, unfortunately the price for me it too itchy

9/14/2011 10:20 AM  

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