Sunday, February 7, 2016

Watch an artist make incredible 3D drawings

Best of Stefan Pabst's 3D DRAWINGS

People often email me links to YouTube videos. Actually, I receive these when my name and email address are included in one of those long lists of people to personally send stuff to that many of my friends and fellow educators maintain. And now that I think about it, more of these folks have started post those videos on Facebook instead. 

Part of this desire to share noteworthy videos, I think, is simply motivated by having discovered something  that so impresses them that they feel they want to share it with the people they know. This is just plain old human nature, you find something and the first thing you want to do is tell other people about it. And, of course, sometimes related to that is the thought that something is just so good or interesting or offers such a possible enhancement to life that sharing it almost seems like a responsibility. On the other side of this, I think a lot of this behavior is innocently ego driven. People who probably don't create things themselves (and even some who probably do), see sending a link to what they believe is an incredible video that their recipients haven't seen already as an opportunity to get some center-stage limelight. We humans, being the social creatures that we are,  hope to get something of the same reaction that we imagine would be forthcoming if we were write and publish an article in an airline magazine, create a cartoon for the New Yorker, invent a famous new chocolate chip cookie, or have a gallery exhibit of paintings; a little light admiration from others, if only for the few moment it takes for our "audience" to open our email, click a link, and smile at their screen as they enjoy the video we got their attention to watch.

So, instead of "Hey, I just found a new Chinese restaurant over by the park!", or "I found the greatest way to get gravy stains out of shirts!" People email links to videos with statements like "Have you seen this one about Prince Charles  Twerking at the LGBT reception?" or "Here's how our favorite overweight movie star lost 20 pounds in just 2 weeks on the new Profiterole Diet to prepare for his new role!" And of course, today's social media, which includes YouTube, makes it so easy to share videos that move us with so many people. 

Whatever the motivation, my friend in Marin sent me a link to the video above today. These 'Trompe L'oeil' 3D drawings really are something to look at. And as I clicked the link he had pasted in his email, I thought how this one is actually part of a relatively common genre of video that is shared this way.  These feature attention getting visual art, things like sidewalk chalk drawings that seem to open spaces for passersby to fall into, or super elaborate and large scale ice sculptures or sand castles,  or perhaps carvings of elephants done on a single grain of rice, or animals carved in fruits and melons by chefs... that sort of thing. You know, stuff that has instant, high visual impact and that derives it,  in large part, from the impressive  technical chops it requires of the artists. Having spent many years in Art school, I look on these things suspiciously, though. What makes something Fine Art as opposed to simply eye catching craft is a commonly debated point in Art school. The answers may vary, but generally, those who emerge from such ponderings and discussions agree that mere technical mastery of craft and technique does not Fine Art make.and so I wrote back to my friend (Yes, sometimes I am moved to respond to the mailings of links to videos with 'Thank You"s for sharing - mostly sincere ones, I'll point out - or observations about what I've seen or perhaps, links to other videos that I think my friend will like, making for something of a video exchange or conversation):

" OK, I agree this is cool... a couple of points, though...and feel free to take issue or share these:

1) The realism is obviously something that artists have been doing for a very long time, and

2) The 3D aspect of the realism, by that I mean the shadows that the painted objects cast on the surface on which they are drawn, that, too, is a technique that is well established, but

3) One way this artist moves this whole concept forward is by cutting away the rear portion of the surface (paper) so that the image appears to protrude beyond it and looks like an object that has height (in 3D) and that rises above the level of the surface it’s drawn on, and above all

4) There’s the  “YouTube factor” at work here, which allows the artist to create just enough distance between the viewer and the drawn object so that the craft aspect of the image rendering is disappeared. By 'filtering' out those marks he would have made in creating the image that would have 'tugged the sleeve' of the viewer to the fact that it is a drawing and not a real thing, he greatly heightens the illusion... and then, and THIS I think is VERY interesting, by having real people in the video interact with his drawings and, in a way, acting out the feeling of reality the establish by the human reactions to them, the illusion and its impact are really driven home.

Q: Is this Art?
A: That's always subjective, but my take on this is that while there may be some question about the drawings, themselves, being Art as opposed to Craft, I feel strongly that the video that presents the drawings, very much is!

Thanks for sharing this. I will be thinking and writing about it further.


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