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Digital Illustration vs. "Photobashing"

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  • Digital Illustration vs. "Photobashing"

    I was wondering what is everyone's opinions on the illustrative form of "photobashing" - as some have recently come to call it.

    Photo bashing is a type of digital illustration in which photos/pieces of photos are manipulated together, sometimes along with digital painting, to create a final piece. In the industry, this technique is used by many artists to get their work done faster, but it is heavily looked down upon especially by members of the fine arts community. It is part of the larger argument that digital art is not "real art" (see links below).

    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2014...-real-art.html
    http://jiyu-kaze.deviantart.com/journal/poll/4470714/

    The technique of cutting out parts of photos and editing them to create a new image was one of the very first things I taught myself in Photoshop as a teen, and have used it to create quite a few personal pieces - even using my own stock photos.

    I believe it is an acceptable art technique and is a digital counterpart to early Pop art - for instance Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? by Richard Hamilton, who used cut-outs from various magazines to create an entirely new image. However, I hate the term "photobashing" and would rather it be called something else, like "photo collaging".


    Thoughts?
    -----
    "You have no friends, you have no enemies, you only have teachers."

  • #2

    Never heard the term Photobashing. We just call it "photoshopping." Or something that sig artists and mix tape cover creators do on a regular basis with little regard for propriety or purpose.
    Art snobbery aside...

    Grabbing other people's photos, cutting parts of them out and putting them into new "art" quite probably violates the copyright of the original photo owner. Do a little research into how many artists have been sued for big bucks for doing this (Jeff Koons, Shepherd Fairey and yes, even Andy Warhol...)

    You might believe it is a digital equivalent to Pop Art. But if you can't convince others, you either continue doing it because it makes you happy or you try to come up with a way to make it more "Art-like." Pop Art has already been done. They only like you when you do something completely new and different.

    Are you Muddycolors?
    Looking for a little free copy?

    Comment


    • Voltimand
      Voltimand commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree that it does violate copyrights if you are taking images that aren't yours, for sure. Badly edited pieces also don't work as art either if it doesn't look right. But what if the photos are yours and it is edited very well, and the intent of the piece is not commercial?

      I don't know what your last two lines about Muddycolors or free copy is referring to... though Googling brought up Muddycolors as a fantasy art collective.

  • #3
    You sound like an art student studying design at a fine arts college in a university. I know the symptoms since I did much the same many years ago.

    After two separate fine arts degrees and having worked professionally as a designer for over 30 years, I can finally state with some authority that much of the attitude that's common in traditional art schools is built around a certain amount of bullsh--t. The fact is that neither design nor commercial illustration have much in common with fine art. The standards that apply to one do not apply to the other. They're really two very separate things that share only superficial commonalities.

    One is about meeting business needs and making money, while the other is about pretty much anything the artist wants it to be about. Hamilton's 1950s collage, like much of pop art, was interesting because of the intentional elevation of supposedly tasteless popular culture into the rarified realms of high art. The "fine art" wasn't so much in the work itself as it was in the sardonic merging of two opposing and conflicting ends of the cultural spectrum.

    Those kinds of intellectual subtleties are missing in the professional world of commercial art. Instead, the subtleties in design and illustration are more about those things that help accomplish client business objectives. Hamilton's collage is a great museum period piece that landed him a permanent mention in the art history books, but in the professional world of design, he would have only managed to get himself hauled into court over copyright infringements.

    Comment


    • Voltimand
      Voltimand commented
      Editing a comment
      Not at all, I'm a graphic designer working full-time who studied graphic design at a liberal arts school. I happen to have learned to create images using pieces of photos when I was in high school, and my senior project was a piece that used only my own stock photos.

      I definitely agree that fine art and commercial art have nothing in common, and that the attitude held up by fine artists/students is BS, but when does digital illustration stop becoming art just because it's on a computer or uses photography bits?

      It's been argued that work can be creative and expressive regardless of the medium, though the remixing of images is susceptible to copyright unfortunately. It reminds me of music artists such as DJ Shadow and The Avalanches who create their music through heavy mixing/editing of samples.

  • #4
    Never heard the term Photobashing before, sounds like something poorly executed in Photoshop or what I like to call Photoslop.
    Design is not decoration.

    Comment


    • Voltimand
      Voltimand commented
      Editing a comment
      I hadn't head the term myself until a year or so ago.

      In some instances it can be [poorly executed], but I've seen some wonderfully manipulated/edited pieces. Some of them were for commercial work, some were for art collective sites like DepthCORE.
      Last edited by Voltimand; 02-21-2015, 10:02 AM.

  • #5
    Thank you guys for your comments. I just want to make it known that I am not a student though; I'm a Jr.-level designer who studied design but had made art in the past using photo mixing/editing techniques, so I am curious to know what people's opinions are on such techniques as an art form.

    Digital painting can have its place in the art world, but "photobashing" is a trickier technique to defend. As mentioned above it can violate copyrights, look bad through poor editing, etc. But what if the piece is executed well and using the artist's own stock? I suppose the obvious answer is "sure, call it art, then." but I feel the attitude towards it won't change.

    This type of art was featured on "art collective" sites such as DepthCORE and Slash3. Some people say these sites, while producing "nice images to look at", lack any emotion or (ironically) real depth.
    -----
    "You have no friends, you have no enemies, you only have teachers."

    Comment


    • #6
      Originally posted by Voltimand
      I definitely agree that fine art and commercial art have nothing in common, and that the attitude held up by fine artists/students is BS, but when does digital illustration stop becoming art just because it's on a computer or uses photography bits?
      So what do you mean by "art?" Fine art? Commercial art? I don't think there's any debate on whether or not digital art is actually art; digital art might even dominate commercial illustration. I think the debate is simply among those who create the kind of art that you've mentioned and those who feel as though that kind of artwork is lacking and undeserving of being considered fine art.

      In the visual fine arts world, head back to Paris in the 1860s when the decider of what was and wasn't good art was the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Anything innovative was rejected as inferior. Younger artists who wanted to experiment with new styles, technologies and techniques were routinely rejected from participating in the Académie's annual show, the Salon de Paris. Instead these artist began putting on their own shows that were ridiculed and sneered at by the academics and the critics. Even so, the uneducated public began liking their work and attending their shows of rejected art.

      Decades later, few people remember the artists whose work was accepted into the Salon. Most everyone, however, remembers those whose works were rejected: Monet, Renoir, Manet, Sisley, Cezanne, Pissarro, Degas, Cassatt and others.

      Just my prediction, but several decades from now, I'd be willing to bet that film will be seen as the great art of the 20th Century. Now and, especially, going forward, digitally created works of various sorts will obviously dominate in some way or another.

      Even so, considering everything I've just said, a huge amount of current digital illustration is done by naive beginners who like to make fan art, fantasy illustrations and sentimental depictions of various adolescent concerns which stigmatizes, to some extent, the more mainstream digital work being created.

      I used to do quite a bit of work for a 3D software company whose 3D illustration software was really just a means to support their real money-making business -- selling 3D clip art to dress up their 3D models whose clothing could be mixed, matched, downloaded, colored and combined with various other downloaded accessories, like dragons, demons, chains, swords, unicorns, aliens and various other bits of fantasy silliness. They made a fortune selling this kind of home hobbyist clip art to people who thought they were creating high-end artwork.

      I guess what I'm getting at is that there's a reluctance by the established fine arts world to accept those things that don't fit their current definition of what fine art should be -- computer-generated artwork being one of those things. Photography has faced much the same battle, but certain approaches to photography have gradually gained ground toward being accepted as a legitimate fine art.

      There's also a stigma in the world of fine art that's attached to most anything that's embraced by popular culture. The sentimental paintings of, say, Thomas Kinkade, that are loved by the masses are despised by those with a formal art education. Computer-made fantasy and fan art pretty much lies two or three levels beneath that. Most anything that even hints at leaning in these directions is immediately written off as junk -- even when it's actually pretty good. Eventually, though, something will mature out of it that will be recognized as good -- even by fine art snobs, like me.

      Comment


      • #7
        I have been on various environments where digital art is actually considered quite cool.

        What I see is a chance to explore creativity, in many different ways.

        If we want digital art to be valued we have to make an effort to defend our work and present it in the best way.
        Last edited by sketxz!; 02-26-2015, 09:11 PM.

        Comment


        • #8
          Guess I'm not an art snob. I actually like Kinkade's "work" even with a formal art education.
          LOL.


          The stuff I call Sig Art on the other hand...If computers had the capabilities of today back in the 70s, I might have done a lot of Sig art back then. I did a lot of inked illustration work for various fanzines at the time. It was a hobby. And a means of getting free fanzines.
          But you grow out of it. Eventually. It isn't art to any gallery potential. Today it's worse with the clip-art image mashup look, and crazy needless effects in the attempts to look "cool". There is very little originality or skill in photoshopping images together and adding internet supplied brushes.

          Comment


          • #9
            Ok, I see. Then what are the current trends in galleries?

            Messing around with photoshop could be a part of anyone's workflow in creating anything. It doesn't have to be directly present in the final result.

            fanzines look awesome, I must find some.
            Last edited by sketxz!; 02-27-2015, 11:16 AM.

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by B View Post
              In the visual fine arts world, head back to Paris in the 1860s when the decider of what was and wasn't good art was the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Anything innovative was rejected as inferior. Younger artists who wanted to experiment with new styles, technologies and techniques were routinely rejected from participating in the Académie's annual show, the Salon de Paris. Instead these artist began putting on their own shows that were ridiculed and sneered at by the academics and the critics. Even so, the uneducated public began liking their work and attending their shows of rejected art.

              ...

              There's also a stigma in the world of fine art that's attached to most anything that's embraced by popular culture. The sentimental paintings of, say, Thomas Kinkade, that are loved by the masses are despised by those with a formal art education. Computer-made fantasy and fan art pretty much lies two or three levels beneath that. Most anything that even hints at leaning in these directions is immediately written off as junk -- even when it's actually pretty good. Eventually, though, something will mature out of it that will be recognized as good -- even by fine art snobs, like me.
              I agree with this, people attach a lot to how they associate various styles based on where they've seen it before.

              Also, some methods people are so familiar with that they can understand why they're meant to like it: for example, if you ask someone if they like a painting, they can probably say yes or no fairly quickly because they've seen paintings around so much that they believe that they know what it is, what its general purpose is etc. Whereas some other techniques people may believe that in order to conclude whether they like it or not, they need to know how to like it and what its for (which often isn't the case in my opinion). E.g. performance art can sometimes be unpopular because people may be asking themselves 'but what is it and what is it for?' rather than 'do I find this enjoyable/invoking?'

              Sometimes also with certain methods, some people may not realise how much effort it takes to create something, and could conclude that things such as using photography might be 'cheating', because they think that the beauty comes from the effort of the creator pouring over it by hand. Therefore this can lead to an abrupt dismissal of the piece before asking ones self whether its enjoyable in any way.

              It is, however, very possible to create something that people will love using any medium, I think, if you consider what the stigma behind that medium is and how you could potentially break those associations with the audience. Perhaps Warhol and Jeff Koons were so well accepted because they embraced something 'tacky' and embraced new techniques (and mass production techniques) with such an openness and gumption - people had to question why. in the first place, these techniques/themes were so much at odds with the techniques/themes that one expects to see in 'fine' art.

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by Clare View Post
                Perhaps Warhol and Jeff Koons were so well accepted because they embraced something 'tacky' and embraced new techniques (and mass production techniques) with such an openness and gumption - people had to question why.
                The thing that makes Warhol interesting to me is that he took the supposedly tacky and commonplace, dressed it up in a tuxedo, then gave permission to world of fine arts to embrace it as visually enjoyable -- and all with just enough mocking cynicism to make it acceptable.

                The fine arts world regarded him as a genius, but I think he was just a peculiar person who like to hang out at parties and who thought it cool to paint things he found in his cupboards and in magazines. Despite the similarities, Jeff Koons seems a whole lot more calculating. Where Warhol's work seemed naive and playful, Koons is more purposeful and manipulative.

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by B View Post

                  The fine arts world regarded him as a genius, but I think he was just a peculiar person who like to hang out at parties and who thought it cool to paint things he found in his cupboards and in magazines. Despite the similarities, Jeff Koons seems a whole lot more calculating. Where Warhol's work seemed naive and playful, Koons is more purposeful and manipulative.
                  That's true, I've always attributed it to a difference in the cultural place of advertising during the different generations

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident anymore, not its inner life, not its relation to the world, not even its right to exist.
                    Theodor W. Adorno

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      A medium for art can be any clay. dirt on a window, graphite on paper, stone, mathematical algorithm, plaster, grass, pigment, bark, music, oragami..... and the list goes on..

                      To rule any one out means to rule out others. How about all art is art and non are ruled out?

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        I've never heard of photobashing but it sounds like photo manipulation. I am not sure if that's an obsolete term or maybe they're two different things completely. I like to work digitally I am mainly into vector based works but I've been trying to explore more traditional techniques.

                        I am a pen tool guy and my style usually has a heavy "inked" look to it. I am sure to someone who inks with a brush would think that the pen tool is cheap. It's easier to use because it's endlessly forgiving while a brush definitely is not. Digital art is definitely art to me but with every new generation of illustrator I feel like my skills are depreciating. Newer tools make doing the same things easier and they are continually taking skill and knowledge out of the equation. Now you automatically draw curves by just clicking points and you can add width to your strokes just by clicking and dragging. Back when I started if you wanted to create a line with varying thickness you'd essentially need to draw it as a shape. Photobashing sounds likes a similar issue to me. People are using new technologies to find shortcuts to doing things that other people have had to work very hard at doing in the past.

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