Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Painting

Nude Lounging
Lyall Brownlee

Art vs, Illustration

A little while ago I was lurking around the reception of a group show which I had some paintings up in. As per usual I was mainly standing in the vicinity of my own work eavesdropping on stranger’s reactions to it. I like getting that kind of anonymous feedback and I believe criticism is important to growing and improving in any field. I usually don't dwell too much on the negative I take note and move on trying to get better at what I do, but on that particular night I witnessed one young women look at my paintings and with up turned nose state to her friend, "Oh this guy isn't an artist, he's an illustrator."
Negative critiques I can process but I've been stuck on this statement for months now. I'm not an artist, I'm an illustrator. What is that supposed to mean? Do I not deserve the title of artist because I use discernable lines, objects and figures to compose my images? Is my style not loose enough to reflect the stereotypical lofty artist personality? Is drawing no longer considered an appropriate form of artistic expression and when did it fall so out of favor with the artistic elite? This guy isn't a painter. That I could understand as I've never identified myself as a painter but more of an artist that colours in my drawings in with paint. But I don't think it is fair to just dump it in a bucket with BBQ assembly instructions and airline safety cards because of the chosen medium, process and aesthetic without even considering the intentions of its creator?
I take responsibility for what I do. I have an artist statement that clarifies my intentions and the rational behind my paintings. I write proposals for shows explaining my work. I create images to work out and convey my thoughts and opinions via an unexplainable desire to make things as opposed to having commercially driven goals. Isn’t this enough to be considered an artist.
Furthermore, although some illustration may not be considered art (see BBQ assembly instructions) can an illustrator not still be an artist? In most cases are they not one in the same? Can there be a clearly defined line between the two? More and more companies are using established fine artists to brand their products, guerilla ad campaigns are taking cues from the popularity of street art and artists need to take day jobs in graphic and web design to pay the bills.
I suppose I will never have answers to these questions as I didn’t reveal myself and engage her as to why in her world I was just an illustrator. The complicated thing about art is that it is a very subjective field and everybody has their own opinions. That definition exists only in that women’s head and I will probably never see her again. I guess next time I should take that step and initiate conversation instead of just being an anonymous lurker who stews over things then rants about them on a blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mr. Wonderful

Another Mr. Wonderful
Lyall Brownlee

Peterborough Election - Fail...

As did many people in the province I went out to cast my vote last night in our municipal election. To my dismay I was unsuccessful. I have never had an issue in the past and I cannot remember a time when it has taken me more then 5 minutes to flash my ID, my registration card and fill out my ballot.
I arrived at city hall around 7pm only to find hoards of people snaking through the hallways and security guards trying to keep everyone in single file against the wall. I was told it was at least an hour wait, I tried to remain patient as people continued to file in and nobody came out. All around me I heard stories of 1 to 2 hour line ups at polling stations across the city all day. After 10 minutes of sweating my balls off in the overcrowded, overheating hallway I left in search of another place to vote, alas all I found was much of the same at Adam Scott and even worse at the Library and as I really wasn't all that passionate about this election I decided it wasn't worth my time and patience so I went home.
For the last several weeks I have been bombarded via the radio with complaints about how poor voter turn out is here in Canada and the candidates urging everyone to get out and exercise their democratic right to elect our own leaders. Alas voter turn out was down almost 3% in Peterborough from the last election and they could not even properly manage the numbers they received. How much of that 3% actually showed up but turned away? How can they expect to get more people to take that initiative when they make it such a miserable experience? What if voter turn out increased? What if everyone did decide to vote? It would have been pandemonium.
In the end Daryl Bennett was elected mayor. A local business man with little to no experience in politics. This fact was used against him extensively by his opponent Paul Ayotte during the race. But after being disappointed by city hall yet again I wonder could it be such a bad thing to have someone in charge that has proven he can run a profitable, successful organization and understands the value of customer service? I guess I’ll have to wait and see how the next four years go but I hope that by the time the next election rolls around in four years some kind of progress is made and municipal services actually start to resemble an effective operation working to serve their shareholders, the public. A man can dream, I guess.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lyall Brownlee.

Self Portrait
Lyall Brownlee

Damn Spam.

I recently signed up for what I though was a legitimate scientific newsletter only to find that it was some quack creationist. Needless to say I was quite disappointed. The ad was on a legitimate science site from which I was reading several interesting articles so when I clicked the link I assumed that I would be receiving more of the same in my email every few days.

It didn't take more then a couple of lines in on the first letter to realize I had been duped, but out of curiosity I continued to read the emails. As I read them day after day my level of irritation grew, not just at the constant berating of Atheists and Agnostics and the obviously low intelligence they must possess for not being able to comprehend the existence of God but the way he tried to incorporate real scientific language and relate twisted portions of real scientific theories into his own pseudo science.

This is the most frustrating kind of religious quack to me because I know there are probably a ton of idiots out there being dazzled by his bullshit. A whole pile of hopelessly faithful people whose views have been trashed by scientist’s findings for years desperate for some kind of scientific sounding “evidence” to throw back at them. I guess if you can't beat it bastardize it and claim it as your own.
I will spare you the pain of reading the entire series and share some snippets of the pure genius that was suppose to be his big EUREKA! moment;

"Every cell in your body contains a message encoded in DNA. It's very simple. Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY come from a mind. Messages, languages and coded information never, ever come from anything else besides a mind. To the person who says that life arose naturally, you need only ask: "Where did the information come from? Show me just ONE example of a language that didn't come from a mind." If books and poems and TV shows come from human intelligence, then all living things inevitably came from a superintelligence. Every word you hear, every sentence you speak, every dog that barks, every song you sing, every email you read, every packet of information that zings across the Internet, is proof of the existence of God. Because information and language always originate in a mind. This riddle is so simple any child can understand; so complex, no atheist can solve."

Maybe it is just my pathetic little atheist brain, but I fail to see how the fact that humans can communicate to each other by creating and sharing information proves that God created DNA and subsequently humans. This is garble and it boggles my mind that this guy believes himself and enough so that he distributes this crap to the masses. This guy doesn't know shit but unfortunately he is and probably always will be convinced that he does. Even more unfortunate is that he will continue to try and convince others that he does and so many people are ignorant enough to fall for it.

Some older ones from that were in the Artspace 50/50 fundraiser in the spring.

Lyall Brownlee.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lost and Found

From the opening night of Lost and Found, at Artspace in Peterborough. A shot of the artists and curator. It was a good night, once I actually got the slideshow for my installation working properly, a lot of wine was consumed.

Lyall Brownlee