The ramblings of a Californian, living in Nashville, going to Art School, looking towards the big city...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


...the obstacles that stand between you and your dreams seem enormous. Especially when stacked against life's pre-existing problems.

I finished my summer book-making class today.


I start school Aug 20th,

(In no particular order)
Shoot off Gallatin at least 3 more times.
Use my 4x5.
Write a better statement.
Go to Illinois to deal with my ticket.
Have a life.
Think about my future.
Save money for a new computer.
Develop above mentioned film.
Try and get involved in the artist community here in Nashville. (I can't go straight to the museums right?)

So whatev, we'll see.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fine/Commercial Artists

Don, Nashville 2009 © Aaron Shapiro

So, a lot of my "thinking time" has been occupied on the differences between an exclusively fine vs. an exclusively commercial artist. The differences are (in my humble opinion) as follows:

1. A fine artist's concern is primarily focused on the message (also read concept), something that is determined by, financed by, and marketed by the artist. Conversely, the commercial artist uses his gift as a means to earn a living. The commercial artist has some say in the message true, but usually there is an art director peeking over his/her shoulder making sure the "message" is in the best interest of the (company, ad campaign, non-profit, what-have-you).

2. The commercial artist's concern is the bottom-line, maybe not exclusively, but they have overhead, they gotta cover their nut essentially. While the fine artist will create their work usually at their own expense (sometimes subsidized by a grant). Once again the fine artist wants total control over their work, not offering any influence to financiers. A commercial artist does their work for someone else, the message in their work is dictated by their clients.

I mean... these are my opinions. I want to be a fine artist. I'm hoping to, and am willing to work another job (hopefully teaching art) in order to finance my work. I have a lot of friends who want to be commercial artists, and that is just as great, as respected, as valued. I guess we all have our preferences. Even commercial artists, once they've gained the respect of the industry their vision is trusted. Think of Avedon, Leibovitz, Schoeller, and Seliger. I doubt (I don't know) but I seriously doubt that an art director breathes down their neck now.

So anyway. That's what I've been thinking recently.


Friday, July 17, 2009

The greats.

So, when I started this blog, I was writing primarily and showing primarily the new, young artists out there. I think this is valuable, however at this point in my career I think it's vastly more important to look at the past and present masters. I am not going to write about any individuals tonight.

I am however going to talk a little about a movie I watched this morning. Meet the Robinsons. Yes, it's Disney kids movie, but I was overwhelmed and slightly misty eyed at the inherit theme throughout the movie. The story is about a young boy that loves to create inventions, and through many crazy capers and silly antics he's shown that anyone can accomplish anything if they just keep trying and "moving forward." I deeply believe that we are capable of great things, and it's the human nature of our's that allows us to settle for the average. Anyway, we could use more "entertainment" that had messages like this.


Monday, July 13, 2009


It's been about a week since I got back from Chicago. The trip was filled with different levels of excitement, stress, and overall enjoyment. Carissa and I were ticketed for running across train tracks, we saw an Alec Soth in the Art Institute, and spent some time with some good friends.

Something that I've been thinking about, especially when I see art hanging in museums is that I often feel like I am wasting my time right now, or that I'm not working hard enough. But I keep forgetting, I have years... I need to finish school, see what my life will entail, and the work will come with time. Very few if any of the artists hanging in the Art Institute, or in New York are 22. I have time, I just need to keep working on it.

Here's what I saw in Chicago.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

BravoTV Artist Reality TV Show

Have you guys seen this? I don't even know what I think about it yet...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

French Photo Contest Scandal

I came across this story on Chase Jarvis's blog, and it shocked me a little. I'll let you read the full story and description from Horses Think but suffice to say I don't really know what to think about it. It's not brilliant photography, but perhaps it IS brilliant artwork.

"Paris-Match awarded their annual Grand Prix du Photoreportage Etudiant this week to two French students who submitted a photographic story that apparently presented images documenting the precarious lives of students today and the things they must do to survive.

When the two winners, Guillaume Chauvin and Remi Hubert, both art students at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Strasbourg, stood up at the Sorbonne to claim their trophy and prize money, they announced the true nature of their work. The images were not photojournalism but staged images featuring many of their peers.

The winners claimed that the idea was hatched a year ago when they looked at all the work students were competing with for the 2008 prize. They realized that the “world view of this work was limited and seemed more like vacation photographs as opposed to photojournalism. The photographs depicted small children with big wet eyes in order to illustrate the misery abroad.”

Speaking to Le Figaro, Guillaume Chauvin confided that they “wanted to enter the contest in order to show the codes used too often in photojournalism and to prove that something real could be translated into something staged.”

Unfortunately, I could only find this on Le Figaro’s French website and had to use some of my own as well as some automatic translation to get the full gist of the story. If you read French, you can go to Le Figaro to read the rest.

To see the full set of staged photos, go here.


The British Journal of Photography just posted a brief write up about the story."

(Image and Story courtesy of Horses Think.)