Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We were about due for one of these

Heh. About once every 7 or 8 months there erupts in the animated blog-o-sphere some tempest in a teapot. We seem to need the occasional controversy over what is good or bad animation, blah, blah, blah. It's like some kind of collective bowel movement of the id or something.

What's the latest hubbub that I've been watching bubble up over the last few days in my Feedreader? A poster for an animation festival. Some people like it. Others don't. Then they argue with each other. How fun!

What do I think of said poster? I dunno. It's OK I guess- if you're into that sort of thing. Not my cup 'o tea, really. But that's OK. I don't need to explain why any more than I need to explain why I don't like mangoes  (which I don't). And it's OK if others like it. They don't need to explain why, either. People like what they like. Why? I don't know. God made us all unique with different tastes. It's all a wonderful part of the tapestry of life. But that's the problem with arbitrary taste. It's, well... arbitrary.

If nothing else this will help divvy up teams if we ever have an animation community dodge-ball game. 


dennis e. sebastian said...

i actually like the poster. maybe it's because i don't understand it.

i also like mangoes. that i understand why. because it's juicy, sweet and tangy, and has lots of vitamin c.

now kumquats... that's strange fruit.


Omar said...

What's with all the hate?
To directly insult the creator of the peice is just childish, and for cartoon brew to then launch a personal attack on the attacker..

Aaaanyway, hey Keith whens the otto short coming?

jim said...

I can't really understand why everyone is so caught up in sharing their personal opinion of the poster; as you said, tastes are personal (and arbitrary).

What bothers me is Emslie's comment that he can't see how it relates at all to animation. When I see the poster I immediately think of independent animators like Norman McLaren (and others at the NBF) who did some pretty crazy abstract stuff. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly part of the rich history of animation.

It's kind of disheartening to see some take such a narrow view of what animation is/should be.

Anonymous said...

here I thought you were going to talk about this old saw that's surfaced again.

Addison B. Chrystie said...

Pure genius. He's got blogs all over the internet talking about a poster with Ottawa Animation Festival written prominently on it. Job well done.
As far as the merit of the work itself. Not my cup of tea either, I don't like mangoes either. In general, I never quite understand this type of artwork and can never figure out who identifies with it personally. As "short sighted" as we may think the teacher may be, he has a point, this, like many other pieces of modern work, is something a 3 year old could put together, so what's the point, other than shock value?
I guess from a social standpoint of the artist has spent years developing some traditional art skills, got bored, and has "branched out" to this, that lends itself to it's own interest, but beyond that, it just becomes work created for one person, yourself, and a handful of people who want to seem more enlightened than 95% of us who don't get much out of this type of work.
As far as the teacher goes, well he's entitled to an opinion as well. Being a teacher doesn't suddenly force you to have this "godlike" open mind. I'd also agree with the critique of "his" artwork, decent skill but derivative and bland would be my summary.
Plus, I think we spend too much time thinking that teachers are supposed to be this "open" forum for students, when actually many students want "real guidance and critique" to develop functional skills. "I want a teacher who is an uncritical guide" is the mantra of students who are either a) ultra sensitive or b) highly motivated and driven to success on their own. This makes up on a fraction of those who go to any school, including animation, most want to "be taught" what looks good or bad, and how to create it. Then hopefully they develop their own style from there.

jim said...

With all due respect, I cringe every time someone looks at abstract art and says, "What's the point? My kid could do this." The implicit assumption is something like this: kids' artwork is simple and worthless, therefore, so is this artist's.

In my experience this couldn't be further from the truth. In his book "Impro" (great read for animators, btw), Keith Johnstone laments how the education system (and cultural expectations) destroy our childlike sense of imagination and creativity. Are kid artists untrained? Yes. Worthless? No. The unique way children see the world is reflected in their drawings and paintings, and I think that's important.

So to say, "Oh, that's bad, a KID could do that," is not only a lazy critique but it also seems a bit silly to me.

C.Fram said...

I for one am sick of all the mango bashing on this blog. I know everyone is on the "pineapple bandwagon", but it's not like it's a papaya or something. Grow up people.

Scrybb said...

I agree with C.Fram wholeheartedly.

Gavino said...

Mango's are great! Super high in fiber too..great for collective or personal bowel you know...:]

Andy said...

Poster? Nah, I'm pretty sure the big stink this week is about this:,25197,25985837-16947,00.html

The part about replacing the animator, etc.

sunny kharbanda said...

Aah, Keith. You probably never tried an Indian mango. It's nothing like the sour, dry, yellow impostor you get here.

Mangoes, Mo-cap, Modern art.. if it weren't for the internet, how would we fight over them?

Anonymous said...

The funny thing to me is that this post comes on a blog that every 2nd or 3rd post is criticizing somebodies work. Apparently there is room for only one opinion. Oh, and Yeah mangoes.

Keith Lango said...

@Anon 11:45--
I never said criticism was bad. You're reading that into things. Plus if you do an honest assessment of my posts you'll find that the far greater majority are dedicated to highlighting things that I like- not criticizing things I don't. However I reserve the right to express a negative opinion as much as a positive one. I don't live in forced sunshine land. :) I like what I like (and vice versa), so I say so. I give everybody free space to do the same. That's what this free speech thing is all about. At no point do I suggest that people ought to keep their opinions about things to themselves- even if I strongly disagree with those opinions. But I'm not sure that you'll find many instances on my blog of me arguing with people about what they like or what I like, or even how they say what they like. I say my peace, they say theirs, we all go for a pizza after. :)

So to summarize: Express opinions about your preferences = good. Tell others their opinions are invalid and resort to name calling and silly arguments = bad.

Hopefully that helps.

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith, I just now saw that you had responded to me. I apologize for not making myself clear in my last post. I was not talking about you being negative. I was talking about the folks at Cartoon Brew. They seem to have a lot of posts that slam work that doesn't meet their idea of good animation. Not that you have been losing any sleep over it, just wanted to make myself clear. Now, about that pizza.. ;)