Concept / Aesthetics / Everything Else


Hi Blog. Lately I've been thinking about how artists perceive and even categorize their work based on the parameters of concept and/or aesthetics. I can only speak for myself and about what happens in my own brain, so feel free to disagree. However, one day in the future I want to sit with my son, turn on my hologram computer with my mind and show him that his dad had an interesting thought once.

I see “conceptual” as an intersection of multiple ideas (top row, left). The ideas cross and create new, hopefully surprising, associations. For the most part, I am a fan of simplicity and I love this type of work to be short, graphic, and to the point. I like getting in a getting out. No muss, no fuss.

Sometimes I like do work that focuses on “aesthetics” (top row, right). To me this is like dancing, where you create a line and the movement creates a pleasing track for the eye. Occasionally I like a rougher aesthetic (second row, left), but the purpose is the same, to achieve a desired effect on the viewer based on the nature of the mark making.

More often than not I attempt a balancing act between conceptual and aesthetic (second row, right). There is an attempt at balance or flow, but with a moment of tension or an intersection of ideas. A lot of editorial artists push for this, and it is difficult for sure. For me, the most important part is the moment of intersection where something clicks with the viewer. As much as I might want something to look “pretty”, communication is my main goal, whether it is an idea, feeling, etc.

If I’m feeling cheeky, I attempt complex interactions between concept and aesthetic that involve a myriad of visual relationships, ideas, thoughts, and feelings (bottom row, left). In my eyes, I fail more often than I succeed, but the ideals remain the same. In my opinion, the acceptance of failure is just as important as the vision of winning, at least when it pertains to this. If I accept the fact that something I created can be the worst thing I’ve ever done, I actually feel better about it. I learn best by doing, and when that is your educational modus, you are bound to fall face-first more than once.

And lastly, sometimes I don't know what the f*ck I’m doing (bottom row, right).

I know, this is an extremely narrow view and does not even begin to describe the scope of possibilities. It doesn't get into other possibilities involving emotions, warmth and cold, or aesthetics as concept. Also, I don't even mention narrative, which is a different monster onto itself. I just want to provide some insight into why I do things, and for my own sake I am attempting to reign in my own ADHD tendencies. Another way of seeing this is as a decathlete’s approach to image making, which is consistency over disciplines with mastery of none. I can draw pretty damn well, but I’m far from the best. Likewise, I can paint pretty damn well, but… oh wait, I’m terrible at that. But that doesn’t stop me from trying, which to me is more important anyway.