Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Oh my goodness, a rant!

Art has been the tool of those who want to make a statement, arguably since it's inception.    I'm flicking through one of my art history text books for examples; statements could be just a mark on a cave wall, proving the existence of its maker, it could be showing the piety and devotion of its owner or it could be sending a strong revolutionary message.  Whatever the message may be art can be a great catalyst for thought and change.

Today there is no lack of art making a point.  It may be less obvious and you might feel that you are being made fun of sometimes, but it is certainly still making a great impression.

That is until it comes to one of the largest issues of our time, the environment. 

Issues about the environment have become very stigmatized.  There are many reasons for this, not least are the "environmentalists" who have perhaps done their cause more damage than they have helped it.  In efforts to shout their concerns to the world I feel that they have made themselves seem over emotional, irrational and out of touch with the the modern world and it's other issues.  This seems to have created a perceived divide between those who call themselves environmentalists the rest of the world, who don't care.  I have to confess that I did feel that this was true for a short time, but the more research I did and the more I learnt and listened, I began to realize that this isn't true, though only a few are romantic idealists, most people do care. 

Creating any art, marketing or literature on this subject is very tricky, I know because I've tried.  But most of it seems to focus on the idea that people either only care about the environment or that they do not care at all and therefore need to be given a reason to care about it, such as "for future generations" or further consumption of natural resources "conservation".  There is also a lot of overzealous imagery; I was truly disappointed to see posters at a zoo with the words such as "MURDER" written in huge red letters over the face of an orangutan.  I find that a lot of this marketing is making its viewers feel guilty, it's as though the makers are saying "why don't you care more!?" Is it taking a superior attitude to its viewer?  As though the viewer is being made to feel that they are stupid for not being involved more, or having the same opinion. 

I started researching this when I was illustrating my thesis, and I'm still working on it two years later.  My ambition is to find out how to create imagery that will help rather than cajole and intimidate.  This could be for issues beyond the environment.  I don't have a solution yet but all I do know is that the audience needs to be viewed as intelligent and capable of independent thought.  Removing bias, opinion, and idealism from imagery is a good way to do this.  Presenting some visual information that will lead to questions and thought is much more progressive than telling people that they are evil for driving a car and eating meat.

Though I have much more to say this rant is over, but I'm sure that there will be more on this subject!

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