Perfidious Talk

The Sun Never Sets

Part of my “I need inspiration, so I watch movies”.
I just watched “The Sun Never Sets” and it was actually pretty good. The reason I watched it is because of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. There needs no other reason.

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He is the truest definition of “handsome”.

The story is about people in Colonial services in Africa and a person (my guy Fairbanks Jr) who doesn’t want to join the services but end up in it anyway. Then, there is a person who claims to do a scientific research but is in it for exploitation + politics and they have to uncover who it is.

It’s quite sad that they made the movie relating to war and it was very close to WW2. [The movie was released in 1939] To me, the movie was good because it had a lot of possible events like conflict between work and family and the relationship between the characters. All of it were believable and convincing. I love how Fairbanks Jr at the end revealed who the cause of the wars was. He was “smart” in a way. The “propaganda” parts they depicted seemed very genuine. (Again, considering the time it was made, they could get it to be at the maximum feels because they were living it)

There were some parts with memorable/deep quotes, like this:

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“Did it ever occur to you that it only takes one generation to make a dictator?
It could be anyone: a paper hanger, a fruit seller, a sign painter, perhaps even a scientist. It all depends on the man and his purpose.”

A lot of truth in that.

If I have the time to, I will watch this movie again.

Need Inspiration

Well, what’s new.
So to correct that, I am watching some “random” movies in hopes to get inspiration. I’d like to think that I don’t watch just a fixed genre for movies. I like psychological horror, musicals and silent films, mainly. The recent movie I’ve watched is the 1972 “Cabaret”.

I didn’t know what it was about or even the setting and only decided to watch it because a part of their song was briefly sung by one of the characters in the movie “Dead Man on Campus”.

It’s set in Berlin, during growing Nazi influence. It’s about a girl who performs at a club and has dreams to become a famous actress. She meets this guy, they fall in love, yup yup yup. The movie in general was not so much a musical as I expected it. I thought it would be the type of musical where they sing certain parts instead of talk it. But this instead has the music incorporated within to act as a narrative and supplement the whole storyline, but isn’t to be the main focus. Liza Minnelli’s voice is also very nice to listen to, even though I am no cabaret fan.

The music parts are mostly in the club itself, which makes it not so out of place. All except this song, I believe.


I found out that the boy singing in this one is not the real singer. The real singer is Mark Lambert, this one is just an actor.
This part of the movie was very intense for me, as it shows how everyone was supporting the Nazis, as the boy was singing. The song is quite nice though. I enjoyed it more than the others.

In some other parts of the movie, they also showed some Nazis beating up an old man, presumably the one that ushered some nazi guy out of the club. That was quite painful to me. There was also a highly relatable part in the movie, although they didn’t expand on that idea much. (Not that it was entirely important to the story) It’s  where she was talking about the relationship between her father and herself. This vid shows it:

Overall, this wasn’t so bad of a movie, but I wouldn’t say that it’s my favourite or will I watch it again. It’s a decent movie to pass the time.

Good Early Morning

Good Early Morning by Keo Titia 2

Born in Kompongchnann, 1971, Keo Titia is a Cambodian artist who has a fascination for painting landscapes. It is possibly a means for him to record and document his surroundings. It’s a typical village life scene and rural landscape, an expected subject when I think of paintings which are exhibited in galleries. Somehow, this subject must appeal to people since it is a recurring theme. It could be that people living in urban areas are in awe at a life they never lived or rather it invokes nostalgia in them, but I’m sure that to people from rural areas, the visuals are not something new. This then poses a challenge for the artist as to how they would they make their landscape painting stand out from the hoard of similar themed paintings.

Normally, I wouldn’t be interested in these types of paintings, but this particular painting by Keo Titia had attracted me, not because of the subject matter but because of the colours. Most paintings are usually more painfully vibrant warm colours but in “Good Early Morning”, it feels more calm. The saturation is still there, but it doesn’t repulse me. Instead it attracts me to look closer. This tranquil colour choice suits the idea of how it is like in the mornings, when there is little to no activity.

The scene painted is ordinary, just people on boats, possibly at a fishing village. The arrangement, however, is quite appealing. Each shape is placed very carefully and in a well-ordered rhythm. They’re all, essentially, a repetition, but it is made more interesting with the nuances in colour and form. You can see it from the yellowish and brownish tones of the roofs which centrally disperse to cooler tones of blue and purple. It’s almost like he is giving personalities to each everyday object.

The best part of the painting is in the intersecting lines and how he has managed to keep them so neat and precise, without making them too unnatural. It’s ethereal how a spotlight shines on the lines as well as the roofs and not as much on anywhere else, like a centre of activity and life. It’s crossing a point to the other but without obstruction. “The universe is both silent and cacophonous” – those lines he painted could convey this message.

My attention now moves to the bold strokes, his palette knife technique, which appears to be his identity in his consequent paintings. It’s amazing how he made the sky and waters to be very identical, just like the perfect reflection it should be. But the fact that the colours of both are too similar makes it seem more dead than it actually is. It makes it feel less of a reflection, more as though the little village is falling in an ice-like void, which does not resonate with the calmness implied in the centre. I feel that if either of it were a tone lighter, the piece would be more alive, instead of sending the audience this “trapped feeling”.

Despite painting mostly landscapes, Keo Titia is able to make each one of his paintings unique and different from the other, this painting included. All of which are generally aesthetically pleasing with his distinct impressionistic strokes. “Good Early Morning” is a very light and casual piece which is easily enjoyed without having to stress on too much thoughts when viewed. It’d definitely be a nice addition to people’s homes where they would relax and enjoy the freedom after work.

Scintillate

This time it is a post slightly different from my usual… in a sense that it talks about other people’s artwork rather than my own.

For the most part, art is often a subject related to beauty and aesthetics. Many artists try so hard to redefine and show beauty. They want to feel good about having a “unique” idea on what beauty is when the fact is that beauty is only a guess, it is far from being a fact. At the very least, beauty is a shallow assumption. This is my belief.

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“Within” by Delaram Shafaei

“If I were an artwork, my counterpart would be ‘Within’ by Delaram Shafaei,” I think to myself. Its exterior, the soft peachy-toned fur, reflects a relaxed and cheerful emotion, beautiful in common perspective especially when lit, juxtaposed with the rougher insides which contain dried leaves and pieces of iron foil. It is an artwork that can be viewed when lit or when it’s off. This makes the viewer able to see it in different ways, with different context and meaning but still, it remains as two sides of the same coin.

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Alternate image of “Within”

When I first saw the artwork, a lit up fluffy lamp, the first thought that came to mind was that it looks like a fancy decoration, perhaps to serve the purpose of further embellishing an interior. It is like something that came out of an interior design magazine. The material also made me think of what a better life would mean and what it would be like to not suffer – a life I’ve never known. The fact that it isn’t too overdone or uncomfortably bold, makes it easier on the normal mind to analyse. Undeniably, the pastel colour of it gave the idea of cute but not in a childish manner, befitting the age and personality of the artist herself. But all these guesses were made solely at a glance without bending forward to dissect the artwork.

Upon further inspection, I read it as a message to the audience that someone with a fashionable appearance may not actually be that interesting or beautiful in character. Similarly, it is as though subtly saying: no one is who they appear to be. Everyone hides behind a façade and people change according to different situations. Everyone lies. You can’t trust a pretty smile. But the soft colour seems to disprove these conjectures. “Maybe things are not as bad as I think they are,” it says. “Maybe luxury does not equate to arrogance.”

The artwork is as though a reminder to never judge a book by its cover. It illuminates us more on the inner thoughts (the humbler although noisy interior), as this is where the light is brightest and more focused. It makes an attempt to divert our attention to what’s inside compared to the attractive visage. It whispers gently: the appearance does not make the character, but rather, the opposite.

Although the implied message seems generally pure, I can’t help but find that the glow of the light from the lamp emits a horrifying feeling of ephemeral endearment and splendour. I feel this way because: just like the lamp, these feelings will eventually die out when the motivation (or power) is lost. You could say that I am seeing it from a different light because the original intention of the artwork was, in fact, to show that everyone is, in their own way, unique and that what they are like inside makes their outward image in some way whether consciously or not.

Ironically, something so close to us, which is “Within” feels so distant to me, like a dream, a memory of something that never happened, despite it meant to be about ourselves and who we are deep inside. But like most dreams, I find it difficult to forget.

Art is Dead

I saw something:
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I think that art should be something done for fun rather than money, where the focus is on emotions, not so on being paid.

It’s okay to be paid for some but then when it involves money, the feelings in it become less sincere/true to the artist (well, for the most part) because when artists first started out drawing (such as when they were young), I doubt they’d think of making money out of it.

The only thought was that it was enjoyable.

It’s the truest form of passion, to make something without really expecting anything in return.
For paid artworks, it could still appear to be an impressive piece but, for me, the quality of art is measured by how much the artist values it in non-monetary form.
I do understand that materials aren’t cheap and that knowledge isn’t free… but…
Money makes it commercialised, no longer emphasising on its meaning and changing the intention of the artwork.
And saying that artists aren’t machines, but then adding that part with payment makes it seem ironic.
When did art focus on money, and why… when it used to be more on arbitrary thoughts? Is it not an expression? Or has the interest in it among artists faded so badly that all they could think of is just money?
Wouldn’t that mean then that art is a dead idea?

 

Fine Arts, Fine Deceit?

A part two of introduction.
Some of my old art before college (2010 – 2013). Adding images to arouse interest, hopefully. My art has changed greatly since then.


Let’s begin with the fact that I am currently in my final year of Fine Arts.
(Fine Arts that I speak of is visual arts only)
Why did I choose Fine Arts? In Malaysia (or perhaps other parts of the world), this is a very unknown territory. You see, this was my initial plan in life:

1- Get good grades in primary and secondary school.
2- Take Foundation in Science > Degree Medicine > Psychiatry
3- Contribute to society by helping emotionally troubled people like me.

I did the first one. I got straight A’s for all the major exams. I was just starting number 2 when I… basically had an extreme burnout. I won’t go into the details but let’s just say that the university that I started the Foundation course in, is… well, not as friendly or comfortable  as I thought it would be. I still have some interest for Medicine, but… the way my life is, it’s just not meant to be. I’m not smart enough I guess, despite what others say. After thinking and considering the many options, here, I am, in college studying Fine Arts, battling with the feeling that I don’t want to continue, every day.

At the starting of the Fine Arts course, everything seemed interesting. The idea of being able to “freely express myself” appealed to me. I felt like I had a lot to say about myself and the world. But as the course progresses, I realise the hypocrisy in art.

When we were young, we drew things and didn’t care about composition, technique or colour choice. It was a hobby, we loved it, we’d stay up late at night just to draw. The feeling is just magical. I always imagine myself giving life to my characters as I colour them. The moment I colour their hands, I imagine them being able to move their hands, while the uncoloured part remains “unalive”. And people praised me for my talents and of course, that felt great!

But as life goes on, suddenly, art becomes something you need to be good in, in order to survive. Why? Money. If it’s the only skill you have to make a living, art becomes a chore, work and thus, stressful. You could argue that it’s all worth it in the end. But for what purpose do we make art? What is our true intention? Not for enjoyment anymore? Both work and fun perhaps? Depending on perspective and personality. For me, I like to make art just for art, not for commercial purposes.

Honestly, I don’t think art is something you should pay for. Wait! Before I get murdered by a bunch of angry artists, I say this because besides fun and aesthetics, what purpose does it have? “Raise awareness” to the public? The public doesn’t know much about art in general so how could we do so? And to raise awareness you first need to have fame and influence. Rather than spending thousands on a landscape painting for a living room decoration to out-posh the other, I’d say that we should spend money on… let’s say vaguely, helping the environment. Most organisations would need some money to start doing anything but yet I don’t see people wanting to donate to such causes. (Ignoring the climate change deniers.)

The concern here is art is as though a “distraction” to the real world and all its problems. If it were only as a “temporary escape”, that’s fine but in fact, it brings more problems – jealousy, dishonesty, greed. It’s alright if people only appreciate it but don’t waste their money on it. Artists spend so much on material itself, most of which are not exactly environmental friendly… like oil paint (since everyone loves this old medium) and acrylics. The worst part is that most artists (or shall I say, students too) don’t know how to properly dispose paint. They just wash away their acrylic paints into the river, drains, etc. Some dried acrylic paint should actually be disposed with normal trash because it is, essentially, plastic. It’s similar to throwing plastic bags into the ocean. Although not as bad, accumulated it will be terrible, as with most human activity. I won’t even start talking on wastage. That’s enough there.

I guess you could say I’m against art made for money because it’s basically adding more trash to an already damaged planet. It is “fighting a pointless battle”. Don’t count on finding other planets like Earth to “move” to. That, and the nonsense gallery commission thing that overprices artwork and all the possible slander that comes with.

TL; DR:
I joined Fine Arts because I had to.  I thought it would be fun since I like drawing but then I learned the truth of its hypocrisy and now I despise it. Yet, I still have to continue because I have 2 semesters left.

P/S: I’m not saying ALL of Fine Arts or Arts is bad. But what I imagine would be ideal and good is if we do art, only if we like it, and for ourselves, not to impress others. That is the truest form of art. I don’t hate my artwork. I just hate doing it “because I have to”.