a bit of both

I’m looking forward to seeing the documentary Art and Craft, about Mark Landis. His legacy as an artist is one as a forger… and the instigator of one of the most elaborate, longest-running hoaxes in the annals of Art. As one of filmmakers puts it, “I was immediately interested because of the potential to explore all sorts of fundamental questions about art itself: how we determine value, how we interpret originality, how we define and protect notions of creativity, authenticity and authorship.”


Read more here.


perspective drawing

Mad skillz is what I see:


Odeith knows how to write it. More here.

whose vermeer?

Obsession of the very best kind. Tim Jenison went to incredible lengths to recreate the exact room where Vermeer painted The Music Lesson, leaded glass windows, northern light and all. And then he spent how many hours actually painting the thing?! While looking through a special lens he created, in his belief that that was how Vermeer actually painted his works, ultra-realistic in a time before photography.

The result? Incredible, particularly when you learn that Jenison didn’t know how to paint at all. He’s an inventor. Some might dismiss his painting as nothing more than an elaborately conceived forgery, with no value beyond a kind of proof of concept of his optical device. If that is the only thing it is, the effort was worthwhile.

Vermeer lived and painted in 17th century Netherlands, but Tim approximates more closely a Renaissance man. He can now add Art to his list of accomplishments.

Check out the trailer for Tim’s Vermeer here.



art in your brain

“What you thought was your soul swooning at Starry Night is actually just a bunch of neurons firing away? Well, that’s how it is. But the transcendence and mystery of art shouldn’t be diminished by knowing what drives our particular thrills. If anything, these findings should inspire new and more wonder.”

I agree. Neuroscience will not be the end of art; more likely it will provide new avenues of expression for artists. Read more here.

the art of the book

Here’s a guy who likes books – as opposed to digital readers – for all the right reasons:

“I go to bookstores in every city that I visit, no matter how short the trip. Whatever the language is, I like looking at books, both the newest ones and the antique ones. I like to have them in my hands, simply because holding them wakes more senses than only the gaze. I enjoy looking at them, at the invention or purity of the typography, and the high qualities of the image reproduction. I like to see both hard- and softcover books and examine the diverse printing or embossing techniques. I also pay attention to the size of the book, the heaviness of the paper, the coated or uncoated surfaces, the almost unspeakable smell of the ink and the palpable noise of the pages as I go through them.”

The speaker is French graphic designer Philippe Apeloig, who has a book of his own due out this spring. That’s one I’ll be sure to pick up and smell…

luck of the draw(ing)

Is the Mona Lisa any good? It’s widely regarded not only as the most famous painting in the world, but also as one of the greatest. But why? Is there something inherent in a work of art that makes it recognizable as great? Or is there something else at play? Something like chance…

Here’s an interesting piece on a guy who devised an experiment that would allow us to see how works of art would fare not in just one possible world, but in many:

“He would create a series of identical worlds online filled with the same pieces of art, then get thousands of people to choose which they liked best.

If the same art rose to the top of every world, then he would know that success was driven by the inherent qualities of that work. If not, he could conclude, success was essentially random.”

The results may surprise you. Or maybe they are what you expect… But a couple of caveats are in order. First, the art used in the experiment was music, not visual art. And the subjects doing the judging were teenagers. 30,000 of them were recruited to judge 48 songs in 9 identical online worlds. The only difference was that one of the worlds was the control, in which the subjects could not see which songs were popular, whereas they could see this in the other eight.

I can see some potential problems with this experiment. 30,000 is a good number, and they were randomly assigned to the 9 worlds, all of which contained the same 48 songs, so the methodology seems fine. But beyond the nagging suspicion that what is being measured here is actually peer pressure among teens, we aren’t told where the teens are physically located. Nor their gender, or race, or other socio-economic or cultural factors. If we want to know about the universality of great art, these would seem to be relevant.

I want to see the results of 30,000 geographically, culturally, economically diverse people of various ages and genders, all presented with the Mona Lisa…