Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Caricature - art

From a young age I have been fascinated by the art of caricature. In art school caricatures were looked at as low art, and I wasn’t allowed to create caricatures there.
After school I got paid to do caricatures for magazines and newspapers.
Although I have always disagreed with the teachers who told me caricatures were not ‘real’ art, it is amazing how much impact their response had to how I looked at caricatures. After a while I even stopped drawing caricatures at all, because I felt I wouldn’t be taken seriously as an artist.
When I realised I started to have the same viewpoint on caricatures as the people who forbid me to draw them in art school, I realised something had gone very wrong. I started looking at the work of the people whose work had inspired me for so long. Caricaturists, like C.F.PaynePaul van der Steen , David Levine, Natalie Ascencios but also painters from long ago. Then I realised there is no such thing as high art and low art. A portrait artist looks at his subject and decides what he wants to express. he chooses what he wants to emphasise, wether it is shapes, colors, textures, attitude… A painter exaggerates. he makes you look at the subject like he does, by showing this to you with his painting. Over time painters have done many portraits in many different ways.
Some of the portraits that are considered ‘high art’ by some, are not much different than how I would have loved to paint a caricature in art school


Lauren Farrow said...

I agree with you that there should not be a distinction between "high" and "low" art in the sense that they are both examples of artists expressing their viewpoint. After all, art is about interpretation. Therefore, something like a caricature may express a unique viewpoint very well.

Actually, this makes me think of how I so much prefer an "abstracted" painting so much more than a photo-realistic painting. Sometimes photo-realistic paintings even make me cringe a little because there is something "artistic" missing-- like individual expression.

For example, I love impressionist paintings because I can see it from a far and then walk closer and notice how the image breaks down into strokes. Like the image becomes liquid the more detail you notice. Then I am reminded that someone's hand put that paint on canvas and it wasn't just a person clicking a photograph.

Art is an interpretation and a way to express our individualism. Therefore, caricatures are important art!

Tom Sarmo said...

Those "high art" portraits ARE caricatures. Thanks for something pretty amazing to think about--that I never thought about before!