In the past two weeks of taking the course Design 1, a common theme that I have found to be precarious is the idea of creating thought provoking art, while remembering that at the same time it is just that: art. The first instance of this idea was the introduction of René Magritte’s painting The Treason of Images.
The French inscription of “Ceci n'est pas une pipe” translates to “This is not a pipe.” The inscription is correct, it is not a pipe. It is a painting of a pipe. Why was it necessary to point out that what is painted is, in fact, just a painting?
The same idea was reiterated in Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.” McCloud addresses the same idea by using Magritte’s painting as an example, but he translates it into the world of comics. Comic artists simplify the human face to get different effects.
With Magritte’s The Treason of Images in mind, he uses the human face and brings it to its' simplest form.
What constitutes a face? Eyes and a mouth.
Humans want to personify anything and everything. We see objects with two dots above a line and instantly see life. He goes on to say that we are incredibly narcissistic. But, that is what designers and artists are made to do. Creating something out of nothing is what we do. Breathing life into the lifeless is what we do best.
A very charming example of this is Kirsten Lepore's animated film, "Sweet Dreams."
The main characters of Lepore's story do not have qualities that create a face, like a mouth or eyes. But, she creates life with motion. The food items have legs and/or arms, which create a life-like reality. She even connotes emotion through timing and heedful choices in composition. Through watching the short, one will come away with an emotion. What emotion that is will vary from person to person. But, in actuality, all you really did was watch a 10-minute film of animated food. But, Lepore cleverly created a life-like storyline out of that food. It is the human condition to relate to others, whether or not it can talk back.
Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art":
More of Kirsten Lepore's Animations: