Monthly Archives: April 2017

Difference Between Art and Design

The subject of what separates art and design is convoluted and has been debated for a long time. Artists and designers both create visual compositions using a shared knowledge base, but their reasons for doing so are entirely different. Some designers consider themselves artists, but few artists consider themselves designers. So what exactly is the difference between art and design? In this post, we’ll examine and compare some of the core principles of each craft. This is a subject that people have strong opinions about, and I’m looking forward to reading the various points of view in the comments.

This post isn’t a definitive guide, but rather the starting point for a conversation, so let’s be open-minded! Perhaps the most fundamental difference between art and design that we can all agree on is their purposes. Typically, the process of creating a work of art starts with nothing, a blank canvas. A work of art stems from a view or opinion or feeling that the artist holds within him or herself. They create the art to share that feeling with others, to allow the viewers to relate to it, learn from it or be inspired by it. The most renowned (and successful) works of art today are those that establish the strongest emotional bond between the artist and their audience.

By contrast, when a designer sets out to create a new piece, they almost always have a fixed starting point, whether a message, an image, an idea or an action. The designer’s job isn’t to invent something new, but to communicate something that already exists, for a purpose. That purpose is almost always to motivate the audience to do something: buy a product, use a service, visit a location, learn certain information. The most successful designs are those that most effectively communicate their message and motivate their consumers to carry out a task. Another difference between art and design is how the messages of each are interpreted by their respective audiences. Although an artist sets out to convey a viewpoint or emotion, that is not to say that the viewpoint or emotion has a single meaning.

Art connects with people in different ways, because it’s interpreted differently.

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has been interpreted and discussed for many years. Just why is she smiling? Scientists say it’s an illusion created by your peripheral vision. Romantics say she is in love. Skeptics say there is no reason. None of them are wrong. Design is the very opposite. Many will say that if a design can be “interpreted” at all, it has failed in its purpose.

The fundamental purpose of design is to communicate a message and motivate the viewer to do something. If your design communicates a message other than the one you intended, and your viewer goes and does something based on that other message, then it has not met its requirement. With a good piece of design, the designer’s exact message is understood by the viewer.

Art Economics

Economics of the arts and literature or cultural economics (used below for convenience) is a branch of economics that studies the economics of creation, distribution, and the consumption of works of art, literature and similar creative and/or cultural products. For a long time, the concept of the “arts” were confined to visual arts (e.g., painting) and performing arts (music, theatre, dance) in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Usage has widened since the beginning of the 1980s with the study of cultural industry (cinema, television programs, book and periodical publishing and music publishing) and the economy of cultural institutions (museums, libraries, historic buildings). The field is coded as JEL: Z11 in the Journal of Economic Literature classification system used for article searches.

Cultural economics is concerned with the arts in a broad sense. The goods considered have creative content, but that is not enough to qualify as a cultural good. Designer goods such as clothes and drapes are not considered usually to be works of art or culture. Cultural goods are those with a value determined by symbolic content rather than physical characteristics. (For further considerations, see also Cultural Institutions Studies). Economic thinking has been applied in ever more areas in the last decennia, including pollution, corruption and education.

Works of art and culture have a specific quality, which is their uniqueness. While other economic goods, such as crude oil or wheat are generic, interchangeable commodities (given a specific grade of the product), there is only one example of a famous painting such as the Mona Lisa, and only one example of Rodin’s well-known sculpture “The Thinker”. While copies or reproductions can be made of these works of art, and while many inexpensive posters of the Mona Lisa and small factory-made replicas of “The Thinker” are sold, neither full-size copies nor inexpensive reproductions are viewed as substitutes for the real artworks, in the way that a consumer views a pound of Grade A sugar from Cuba as a fully equivalent substitute for a pound of Grade A sugar from United States or Dominican Republic. As there is no equivalent item or substitute for these famous works of art, classical economist Adam Smith held it was impossible to value them. Alfred Marshall noted that the demand for a certain kind of cultural good can depend on its consumption: The more you have listened to a particular kind of music, the more you appreciate. In his economic framework, these goods do not have the usual decreasing marginal utility.

Key academic works in cultural economics include those of Baumol and Bowen (Performing Arts, The Economic Dilemma, 1966), of Gary Becker on addictive goods, and of Alan Peacock (public choice). This summary has been divided into sections on the economic study of the performing arts, on the market of individual pieces of art, the art market in cultural industries, the economics of cultural heritage and the labour market in the art sector.

Powerful Works of Public Art in the World

The history of powerful public iconography is long—and fraught. Here are eight works across the world that startled audiences and began other important political discussions.

Banksy’s Flying Balloons Girl

Roll your eyes if you will at the still-anonymous artist’s provocations—they do grab attention. An early, powerful work of Banksy’s, Flying Balloons Girl, uses the trope of the innocuous young girl, much as the bronze Wall Street sculpture does. The stenciled work of a young girl such as you might see in an old time-y children’s book appeared in 2005. She’s holding tight to a bunch of balloons as they begin to carry her afloat. But in Flying Balloons she’s spray-painted onto the wall in the West Bank that separates the Palestinian Territories and Israel.

Pussy Riot’s Punk Prayer

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich—better known as Pussy Riot—were arrested in 2012 after disrupting a church service in Moscow. The impromptu performance of the band’s song “Punk Prayer,” in which they shout “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away,” protests the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for Russia’s president, whom the trio see as an imperialist autocrat. The feminist band was sentenced to two years in prison on the charge of “hooliganism” because they offended churchgoers and “had intended to insult the Russian Orthodox Church and undermine public order.”

Olafur Eliasson’s Ice Watch

Sometimes a simple demonstration works best. Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson teamed up with a geologist named Minick Rosing in 2015 to import from southern Greenland 12 icebergs, which he arranged like the 12 digits on a clock. During the Paris Climate Conference he installed them in Paris’s Place du Pantheon, so onlookers could watch them melt, in his site-specific work Ice Watch. The 12 blocks took 12 days to disintegrate—the length of the conference. The ten-ton pieces of ice traveled via shipping container to Denmark and then ten hours by truck to reach the City of Light, according to a report in The New Yorker at the time.

Ai Weiwei’s Berlin project

Early last year dissident artist Ai Weiwei made waves in an unnamed follow-up installation drawing attention to the refugee crisis in Europe. (It may have been damage control after his previous work on the subject, a photograph where he substituted himself for the image of the drowned Syrian three-year-old without much embellishment, fell very flat.) Last month, Wei, whose family was taken to a Chinese labor camp when he was only a year old, strung up about 14,000 bright orange life jackets used by refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and seeking refuge in Europe along the columns of a well-trafficked Berlin concert hall. While it might seem like a misplaced effort—Germany takes in more refugees than any other country in Europe—the piece was mounted to coincide with the Berlinale, a massive film festival that attracts Hollywood power brokers, celebrities, and the press.

The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi

The rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is generally a place of respite, where simple sculptures are installed in the summer and visitors can gaze out at the city after a long day wandering through the institution’s massive collections. But in the summer of 2013, artist Imran Qureshi, who hails from Lahore, Pakistan, transformed that space into an explicit war zone in his installation work And How Many Rains Must Fall Before the Stains Are Washed Clean. Painted all in blood red, flowers and intricate patterns emerge from what looks on its face like the scene after a bombing. Qureshi explained that the grand metaphor in the piece is that violence can obscure but not extinguish life.

How to Make a Mind Map

Sometimes coming up with ideas for an Art project takes place within the classroom – an interactive discussion between students and teachers; on other occasions students formally document ideas within their sketchbooks. Humans have a tendency to think in a multi-dimensional way – that is, with lots of things occurring simultaneously, triggering further ideas. Rather than attempting to record thoughts in a sequential, linear fashion (i.e. writing these down in lists or paragraphs), students can find it helpful to collect, record and organise ideas graphically, using visual diagram such as a mind map. If this brainstorm is submitted as part of assessment material, it is essential that this is presented well.

Guidelines for Art Students

When brainstorming ideas for a high school Art project, remember that:

  • Single words are unlikely to express an idea adequately. As you think though possibilities, it is likely that you will want to jot down whole phrases and brainstorm possible ways of beginning or approaching a subject. Intentions and possibilities should be clear to someone else who reads the mind map at a later date
  • Images should be sourced first-hand (i.e. drawn or photographed yourself) or clearly referenced, and should be integrated within the mind map in a visually pleasing way
  • The appearance of the mind map is crucially important. This is likely to be one of the first things an examiner sees when opening your sketchbook – first impressions count

Creative mind maps and visual brainstorming

Please note that although some of these presentation methods are more complex and time consuming than others, this not does mean they are better. Sometimes a quick, expressive splurge of ideas upon paper is all that is needed.

  • Take a beautiful photograph to place in the centre
  • Use painted areas to contain text
  • Draw lots of small pictures to illustrate ideas visually
  • Overlay words digitally around a central image
  • Integrate a mind map with an ‘incomplete’ image that extends across the page
  • Collage torn images, textures and surfaces together
  • Create mind maps from flowing painterly forms
  • Draw over an abstract watercolour ground
  • Create a simple mind map using text, with circles and dots for emphasis
  • Record a stream of consciousness using handwriting and images
  • Brainstorm ideas using chalk on a blackboard and photograph it
  • Make a mind map on small pieces of paper and cardboard
  • Attach images and notes to a pinboard
  • Hand write ideas over a photograph
  • Create a mind map online
  • Make a textural collage of ideas
  • Produce a sprawling hand-drawn mind map
  • Use illustrations and colours to communicate and emphasise ideas
  • Organise ideas visually in a grid formation
  • Combine a mood board with a brainstorm
  • Used multiple coloured pens