Category: Thoughts on Art

Effective Art

As a professional graphic artist, when I work on a project, my job is to listen to what the client envisions and attend the client’s goals for that project.  The goal is usually common: get the target market’s attention, generate interest for the product, service, message, or entity that is the project’s focus.

The client’s goal usually falls into one of two or three categories, and, yes, sometimes several simultaneously:

  • FOLLOW: look a lot like something successful already on the market in order to siphon as much of the desired reward (money or interest) as possible from a clone;
  • COUNTER: provide an alternative to something successful, providing contrast, again to siphon reward;
  • LEAD: present something completely new and different.

Creating the artwork and design to effectively meet any of those goals is the graphic artist’s job…which is identical to the client’s–to fulfill a desire or a need…which is what most things boil down to in this life. 😀

Exercising the Artist’s Muse

When you stay away from doing your own art for a very long time, due to an over-laden plate of work to be done for others, you can figure that the muse is going to take a sabbatical, too. Prodding that muse back into activity can be easy or difficult. It’s easy when inspiration strikes; it’s not so easy when you just want to pick up brushes and canvas because you’ve got the “itch.”

I find the easiest way to engage the muse-gone-missing is to establish a daily routine that demands her presence. In time, even the most reluctant, lazy muse will finally appear and you can get rolling again.

Thoughts on art in general and my own art specifically

What point of view tends to stamp your work and why? Now, while I agree that the subject tends to define the point of view, there is a tendency for one’s own style to begin to dictate a pattern of POV choices. What is yours and why? What is your conscious, subconscious or even unconscious reason for choosing your most oft used POV in a work. Even a sculpt holds a point of view, albeit a very 3D rotational one. I guess what I am driving at here is, what attitude and why that attitude?

My love is the play of light and shadow, the quality of light, the subtleties of what is not seen, or is hinted at, interpreted from what can be seen.

Originally published on various threads on

Copyright 2001-2002 D.L.Keur & F.W.Lineberry, All rights reserved. Reproductive rights granted ONLY if linked and credited.

Favorite Art Quote

Definition of an Artist

What differentiates the artist from the craftsman is the vision.

alexdouglas03 on ArtCritiqueBoard
circa Dec 2001/Jan 2002

On being a “fine artist” and a do-it-yourself-er

Doing art for self is at once fulfilling, but is fraught with the danger of STARVATION. So what is important I believe is to find a balance…at least until and if you make it as a recognized and sought after fine artist, be that balance one of working at an unrelated job, or working at art on a commercial level to pay for the fulfillment of doing your own art on your time off.

Of course you can always just do your art as a personal avocation, but most dream of doing it as a full time profession. And that is the problem. It requires a commitment to self and to marketing. The question is: can you do it, especially in a era where creating art for one’s own project is achievable by the untrained masses for their own pet projects.

I recently observed an indie artist who, well-funded by her divorce settlement and the sale of property, went out and created her entire CD professionally…sort of. She had it recorded and arranged in a professional sound studio, a studio that basically took her 3 chord “songs,” arranged them (as in rewrote them and worked up all the back-up sound to enhance them – an art and the actual “making” of commercially successful music, by the way…at least in this case.) She had a professional photographer take candid shots, sent those to a trained artist, and had her album professionally designed. She “launched” the CD on a quasi well-advertised live gig in a public venue that included radio spots, newspaper stories, and the works. She then convinced her network of friends and supporters to show up and purchase tickets for the affair. It was a moderate success, and she sold a goodly amount of CDs.

Next she decided to “do it all herself.”

So what happened? She printed out “do-it-at-home” advertising flyers, posting them around the town she decided to descend upon. She called in markers to get bigger, more known name artists to join her in the venue. And a moderate crowd of people, including the above named supporters and friends, appeared…and left when her act, the last act as headliner, took the stage. (The majority had come to see one of the other artists.) she did manage to make back what she put into it, plus enough to pay her hired backing band. What she made for all her effort was exactly $100. For 3 months of intensive work coordinating and producing the affair. Not a good, living wage for 3 months of work I’d say.

The point of this is: This is what the majority people with start-out projects out there are now doing (usually badly) with computers as “do-it-yourself-ers” what the professional did before. That means that professional artists, sound studios, etc., have to wait until the do-it-yourself-er figures out that it ain’t quite as easy as it seems before the do-it-yourselfer decides that it might be worth hiring the professional to do what will take them months to learn. What usually happens (if the do-it-yourselfer doesn’t just quit) is that they go out and find a top agency to produce them…if they can.

So that is what you are fighting on both ends as an artist. Are you a top name agency or a top name artist? Can you do the entire production package? Probably not. So they ain’t going to come your way, are they?

And another question: Are you yourself a do-it-yourselfer? Probably. Yet you want others to beat a path to your door and pay you for what you yourself won’t pay for – a trained professional to do what they do that is going to best further your cause within the means you have, enhancing what you do WHILE you do what you do best, in this case art?

Just thoughts and questions.


Excerpted from post originally published on Jan-20-02, 12:06 PM (GMT) on

Copyright 2001-2002 D.L.Keur & F.W.Lineberry, . All rights reserved. Reproductive rights granted ONLY if linked and credited.

So you wanna do art for a living….

There are a LOT of artists on the net. There are even more in RW. And many of them…many of you…think you want to “make a living” doing art. But can you? Probably not.

Over and over through my years on the net and in RW interactions with artists, I hear the cries of the talented and not so talented wishing desperately to “break into” being a “professional artist.” But how many of those have the guts to get out a actually market themselves and their art. And how many are willing go the tedious, boring, frustrating, and mostly thankless miles of commission work that is an artist’s bread and butter? Not many.

Most want to be discovered…for art that is commonplace at best with no real and marketable vision – pretty pictures on the wall is what they paint. And everybody does it. What makes the extraordinary is unique perspective, unique style, unique vision, unique artistic statement (the one imbued in your style, not the one you write.) Sure, a given amount of people will buy your artwork, but you certainly aren’t going to get rich by it…unless you are one of the few, the chosen, and the lucky.

So what does that leave? Everything. But that everything is spelled W-O-R-K. Everything you see commercially produced requires some form of design or art. It requires an eye, a flair, a talent, a skill. And every art CAN be applied to a product – a product the artist produces or a product that someone else produces.

So, here are your markets…if you want to go the miles.
If you are a “fine artist”
1. start your own gallery or community gallery and learn how to play the market, bringing people to WANT to own a work featured in that gallery.
2. get a GOOD gallery to buy/show your paintings
3. become your own agent or get an agent
(this is a long, arduous, and difficult project for those of even uncommon talent)

If you want to produce art for commercial application
1. get a degree and get hired by an Inc.
2. do your own thing on a local and, in time, a regional level -work for hire projects for organizations (churches, small businesses, private parties, community projects, etc.)
3. do your own thing and create a product for your art or sidle up to someone with a product that needs your kind of art, then be ready for the manufacturing phase and the marketing of that product

BUT, always remember – working for yourself, working with someone else, and working on commission basis (work for hire) requires discipline to get through the drudgery. And doing art on demand, especially to the whims of clients, IS drudgery. Are you ready for that?

And even if you work completely for yourself, creating what you want, when you want, be aware that it still can become drudgery. There will still be headaches and the doing will become WORK, no less than that of any job.

The question becomes, can you, will you, do you really want to do it? And can you do it “on-demand” no matter what?


Originally Published onJan-19-02, 05:04 PM (GMT) on


Copyright 2001-2002 D.L.Keur & F.W.Lineberry, . All rights reserved. Reproductive rights granted ONLY if linked and credited.

Experiencing and Judging Art

When experiencing art, I believe one must first view it as itself. Then one must view it as an expression of its creator, tasting of their unique perspective and mind which brought forth their creation. So, first comes first impressions/reactions. Second comes message interpretation.

In a critique situation, I believe it is more important to respond with the impact or effect a work has upon one, rather than to discuss technique or style. When technique is in obvious need of praise or suggestion, then is the time to enter such commentary. As to style, to each his/her own.


Originally Published on Dec-29-01, 05:03 AM (GMT) on

Copyright 2001-2002 D.L.Keur & F.W.Lineberry, All rights reserved. Reproduction rights granted ONLY if linked and credited.