Essay on Art as Experience

The term “art” can be defined as the conscious and effective use of individuals’ talents, such as skills and creative imagination to produce impressive aesthetic objects.  Since the development and growth of human society, individuals make attempts to enhance their live with various forms of art, e.g. architecture, painting, photography and sculpture. However, there is hardly anybody has used his/her imagination to reflect personal experience of being some form of art. Today, art reflect human experience and helps to explore spiritual subject matters. According to John Dewey, “experience occurs continuously, because the interaction of live creature and environing conditions is involved in the very process of living”(36).  The major goal of this paper is to reflect personal experience of some actions and art forms, including the experience of looking in the mirror for 15 minutes, the experience of being a painting, the experience of being a style of painting, the experience of a photograph and the experience of viewing oneself in advertising. Different forms of experience, e.g. the experience of being a painting, a photograph and an advertisement, reflect different feelings because of certain differences between these images. The differences between images described in personal experiences reflect various values.

My experience of looking in the mirror for 15 minutes

            Studying my face in the mirror for at least fifteen minutes was not an easy task. I timed myself and managed to stare for the entire fifteen minutes. I studied myself with the same honesty as Rembrandt or Van Gogh did. I study myself candidly. For the last five minutes, I stroke several different intentional poses. My experience of looking in the mirror for 15 minutes is amazing. I see different facial expressions, which reflect my mood and my personality. When I smile, my facial expression is light and appealing to the audience. When I am sad, my facial expression is dark and gloomy. I can easily change my facial expression if I start thinking about something positive or negative. I can find some similarities in analysis of Rembrandt’s image, Van Gogh’s image and my own image. I have found that the experience of looking in the mirror for 15 minutes is a valuable tool to increase self-esteem because an individual has an opportunity to highly value one’s own personality.

My experience of being a painting

If I were a painting, I would be in several periods of art history, e.g. Postmodernism (1970- ) if my painting reflects positive mood, or Modernism (e.g. Abstract Expressionism, 1940-1960) if my painting reflects negative mood. These art historical periods reflect my changeable personality. Postmodernism can be viewed as a break from modernism. This art period has some features of modernism, but these features provide more positive views. The following aspects refer to Postmodernism: the individual’s position in the context, the increased role of aesthetic pluralism and meaning of art. My painting would imply culturally, politically and socially. First, my painting would reflect cultural context because culture plays an important role in art. Cultural attitudes toward a work of art explore an individual’s personality. On the other hand, cultural identity of the nation is formed by art. Besides, my painting would imply politically because I would include some political signs or symbols to make it more appealing to political viewed of the audience. Moreover, my painting would imply socially because each element in my painting must be focused on social acceptance. Abstract Expressionism is the highest form of Modernism. I believe that my painting can have some characteristics of Abstract Expressionism, if it is presented in a negative context, e.g. individuality, creativity, unconscious style of representation, the elements of visual formalism. These characteristics are focused on creating the feeling of pure abstraction.

Experience of being a style of painting

If I were a style of painting, I would be landscape. I believe that landscape is a unique style of painting because it reflects the beauty of nature. Landscapes demonstrate poetry in nature, placing emphasis on the intimate expression of various forms of nature. In some way, these forms reflect human emotions. I would be landscape of mountains and waterfall.  I believe that the landscape I would be should include many elements of nature in order to allow the viewer to enjoy the spiritual journey of bold imagination.  Being landscape means make the views feel the beauty of nature, and developing positive emotions and feelings.

Experience of being a photograph

If you were a photograph, it would be romantic style of photography that provides an idealized vision of photography. It would be some peaceful location, soft light colors, some storytelling context and impressive images. The lighting would be intense. It is known that “the intensity of the illumination within the light envelope determines how the final image will look” (Rand 94). The photograph would be impressive if some subjects need more light and can reflect light. Among the most talented photographers, Brian Smith would influence my image. Smith’s advice would help to make a really meaningful and adorable portrait. My photograph would imply culturally, politically and socially. First, it would reflect American culture. Besides, it would be meaningful from a political perspective. It would reflect some symbols of American politics to encourage the audience highly value the U.S. political system and its leaders. Moreover, my photograph would imply socially because it would be socially acceptable.

Experience of viewing myself in advertising

I can honestly view myself differently from how advertising presents how I should look.  I can identify what influences me emotionally. I can not only regulate my emotions, but also understand the feelings of other people. I am influenced emotionally by inequality, injustice, violence towards women and children, and violence towards animals.  In most cases, physical events have a strong influence on what I feel emotionally. For example, I hate racism and racial discrimination. I criticize those advertisements that have some hint of racism.

I can articulate what influences me in an advertisement. I can be influenced by the effectiveness of humor, beauty, strength, self-confidence, tolerance and endurance.  Advertisements have powerful effects on people. However, advertisements influence people without their full recognition that they are being influenced. I can separate what makes me feel good about myself from what advertising indicates should make me feel good about myself. Although I know that advertisement often influences people in undesirable ways, the positive advertisement is more effective than a negative one. I feel good about myself from positive effects of advertisements.  From a psychological point of view, my feelings are reflected in what advertising indicates should make me feel good about myself.

Richard Prince’s description of the Perfect Tense in Chapter 12 does not describe me, because I fall into Thomas Frank’s counterculture rebellion.  I believe that Thomas Frank’s study play an important role in revealing the existing links between advertising and the counterculture. It has been found that the possible consequence of the counterculture would be rebellious consumer behavior. According to Thomas Frank, cultural rebellion is associated with the counterculture. Counterculture attracts attention of many people today. I feel that I am a part of all of it. I believe that I feel myself somewhere in the context of cultural jamming. Culture jamming stands for the so-called politics of representation, which involves advertising in the context of artistic satire. I feel that I can act as culture jamming refiguring various product images in order to raise public awareness of existing problems (environmental problems, or unequal and unjust social practices). I do not fall on the “Advertising Horizon”.

Moreover, I feel capable of constructing an identity outside the parameters of the advertising market. Today the advertising market provides some parameters, which help to successfully read and value some objects, or services, or oneself.  In other words, it sets some limits on human appreciation of an object or service. These limits help to construct the so-called brand identity. I can use my personal attitudes, experience and knowledge to construct an identity that would not be a standard. My identity would not be focused on the parameters of the advertising market. I would create a new form of advertising. I can support this fact by the ability to express my own ideas and desires to achieve the established goals in advertising.

The cultural myths of individualism (the autonomous individual) or love of technology influence my self-image to a great extent. I accept individualism as the key cultural myth. I criticize collectivism because the effects of collectivism may be negative in establishing one’s own identity. I believe that personal self-realization is the basis of one’s own self-image. Besides, love of technology may influence my self-image, making it more appealing to the audience and more effective in interpretation. I completely agree that technology influences the way we think about ourselves, as well as the way others think about ourselves. I feel myself as being a victim of bipolar thinking. In some cases, I feel that bipolar thinking is caused by complex mental processes that may lead to emotional ride of extreme highs as well as deep depressive lows.

Conclusion

Thus, comparing my painting, photograph and advertisement, it is necessary to conclude that there are many differences between these images. These differences reflect the values we have studied all semester because the experience of viewing myself in advertising differs from the experience of being a photograph, or a style of painting, or painting. I feel that the most important information I learned in this class is how to develop the so-called visual literacy, or the ability to “read” and interpret the images that can be found in our information society. I have found that visual arts are important cultural element that the mass media use to obtain the power of representation.

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