Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fine Art Comics

Visit Fine Art Comics (the blog)

The Elder Sister, 1869

Fine Art Cartoons refers to the epitome of aesthetic expression reached in which images convey information that forms a narrative in the mind of the viewer. Fine art cartoons are differentiated from traditional comics, which are often juxtaposed by "the arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea" (Will Eisner, Comics and Sequential Art1985) by their beauty and meaningfulness.

© Shenn

The purity of fine art cartoons is achieved when both meaningfulness, i.e., conveyed in relevant historical, psychological, mythological, religious, or otherwise recognized human expressions; and the highest purity of a given medium are perceived as existing in close relation or in harmony with one another. Fine art cartoons can be philosophically equated to Rousseau's highest Noble Savage merging with the highest Eurocentric views of equality, advancement, and refinement.

© Shenn

In Martin Heidegger's wesen (essence) from The Origin of the Work of Artwe recognize the presence of fine art cartoons, found in the questions the origin of the work of art asks us with respect to the work's essential provenance, compounded by the common understanding that springs out from and through the composition, allowing the viewer of the art to know the artist by tracing back the purity or essence of the composition to its original meaning.

This cartoon is drawn with black chalk on 26 sheets of paper and is over two metres high. The cartoon is a final preparatory drawing on the same scale as the finished painting or other work of art. The word, cartoon, is derived from the Italian word for a large piece of paper: cartone. This is one of only two surviving cartoons by Michelangelo. 

All art forms, be they painting, sculpture, pen and ink comics, eventually reach a higher form of aesthetic expression whereby two separate, but equally pure concepts, meet in a harmonious composition. This symbiotically expressed aesthetic, conveyed in a form of artwork, is recognized as both art existing in itself while simultaneously heightened by its mutual relationship to the work.

Portrait of Doña Isabel de Requesens (1500 - 1577)

Derrida, The Truth in Painting, stated that Kant made a distinction between the Greek terms ergon, or "work," and parergon, or "outside the work." Fine art can be described as both ergon and parergon existing parallel or harmoniously close to one another. Derrida further explained that the integrity of the work (ergon) depended on the necessary secondariness of the outside (parergon) or the context, which further solidifies the definition of fine art in relation to its highest expression in works of art.

Probable Portrait of Raphael

While the relation of cartoons to fine art might be considered MAD, a concept historically silenced by, firstly the institution of law, which designated madness as a crime, and secondly the institution of medicine, that saw madness as an illness; cartoons can indeed be examined by their "systems of thought" (Michael Moucault, French theorist, 1926 - 1984) in that one must employ archaeology to investigate the structures and transgressions, i.e., "madness" within the composition of the structure against the revealing aspects of truth that the composition epitomizes.

Notably, one of the most intriguing aspects of cartoons is their entanglement with theory. Masterful cartoon artists, like masterful fine art artists, also integrate research methods and scientific knowledge into their artistic process to such a degree that it even seems to be developing into an independent form of fine art knowledge on its own. This blurring of the lines between art and theory is where cartoons find their entrée into the world of fine artistic expression.

Self-Portrait of Shenn
© Shenn

The spectrum of that which can be substantiated under the term fine art cartoons or comics is just now beginning to be explored. The site, Fine Art Comics, is dedicated to artistic research of the subject, which is, at present, very broad and not in the least homogeneous. It ranges from the simple integration of philosophical or scientific knowledge, to the establishment of artistic research as a form of institutionalized self-examination and scientification of artistic cartoon expression and practice. For this reason, it is advisable to consider information contained herein under the term "artistic research."

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