Evil Rant #11- Entertainment vs. Art
Despite the fact that I'm responsible for producing all of the images, graphics and site content at TwistedJenius.com, I do not consider myself an artist. Do I create things which could fall under the category of art? Yes. But I certainly would not call myself an artist. I create entertainment. I suppose you could think of this as just a semantics issue, but you should keep in mind that appearance and presentation are extremely important things (especially in dealing with art or entertainment).
There are some definite attributes that are often associated with artists in our culture. Though these things obviously don't apply to all artists, they all are frequently assumed and, many times rightfully so. I believe that many artists acknowledge and even take a certain measure of pride in these stereotypes. There's a kind of general lifestyle that seems to accompany many of the people who work in highly creative fields. A lot of artists are democrats, and aspire to high levels of open mindedness. These types of people are often concerned with larger social issues and enjoy engaging in various degrees of rebellion against more established institutions and ideas. I've also noticed that many artists are extremely serious and humorless about their work. They are very concerned about technique and medium, sometimes more than the message or idea behind the work itself. And artists are infamous for denying the importance of money and condemning greed.
The conclusions that can be drawn from hearing the word artist, obviously don't reflect my sinister views or priorities. I am not the type of person to get wrapped up in larger world issues. When it comes to things that don't directly affect me, apathy is my policy. I also display some distinctly capitalistic tendencies (what's the harm in a little selling out, right?). But, aside from blatant villainy, there are several other differences between me and your stereotypical artist. Anyone looking at TwistedJenius.com will notice the humor and general strangeness of some of our content. This is in stark contrast to how seriously many artists take themselves and their work. As an entertainment site, amusement is of much greater concern to us than artistic merit. Obviously, I want my creations to be nice to look at, but this stuff is for fun, and not the kind of thing that should be scrutinized like a painting in a gallery. It's just entertainment!
Another difference is that the ideas that are represented in my creations are much more important than actual artistic technique. Making interesting, but easily discernible philosophical statements is a priority for Twisted Jenius content. The artistic talent or technique that goes into any of our images is only there to help make the general message more accessible and appealing. There isn't a whole lot of room for interpretation or hidden meanings within the images themselves. You shouldn't sit there and analyze any of my graphics to find subtle symbolism and drama in the shapes I use or lines I draw. All of that stuff is pretty obvious. All symbolism is found in whatever is being depicted within the image, never in the medium itself.
I would say that this is the biggest difference between art and entertainment, art has a much greater emphasis on implementation, whereas entertainment is purely about enjoyment or stimulation. The two can and do overlap, but I think that it's important to judge them each on their own merits. Many people seem to want to gauge the quality of entertainment based on artistic standards (this especially applies to things like movies and video games); however, it seems to me that there is an obvious and growing place in our culture for entertainment that may not live up to the standards of "good" art. It shouldn't have to; after all, entertainment is about stimulation and fun. Even in environments where everyone takes art very seriously, true masterpieces are few and far between. Some people act as though it's a crime to create anything less than "exceptional" art. Are we supposed to believe that creativity should only be expressed for purposes of professional recognition or scholarly notice? It's very interesting to me that in a world where everyone claims to be a "professional", amateur has become a dirty word. Has everyone forgotten that being an "amateur" means that you enjoy what you're doing, and that all exceptional professionals have to start out as amateurs?
As villains, we are in a perfect social position to stand up and question any rigid standards others may place on the quality of our entertainment. "So what if it's kind of shallow or cliché or completely riddled with sex, violence and strangeness; its fun and we enjoy it!" It should be apparent to anyone reading my rants that I strongly believe in the pleasures of entertainment. Despite the fact that I like to present myself as being a royal sellout, the truth is that I'm equally selfish when it comes to what I create for this site. I'd don't make creative decisions based solely on what I think will be profitable. Everything I do, I do for my own enjoyment and passion. And I'm not afraid to admit that I love looking at my own work (what better site to spend your time at, then the one you've created yourself, based on your own ideas and preferences). Perhaps I actually have more in common with real artists than I originally thought. But don't tell them that, after all, I've got a reputation to uphold.
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