and notices contained on this website are intended as
general research and information and are expressly not
intended, and should not be regarded, as medical, financial
or legal advice. Copyrights for the creations themselves
belong to Thomas Rucktenwald but the copyrights for
the subjects and characters, titles and images belong
to and are credited to the copyright owners of said
items. The articles are from free sources.
Rucktenwald dot Com
A New Concept in Art
Presentations that make you remember, reflect,
and laugh about some things that you have loved
from your past, some people that were or are famous,
or some classic film, TV show, or event that,
for you, is worth that moment of recollection.
Showcase of Matted Autograph Presentations Created
Showcase Areas on This Site
great enjoyment that Thomas had with
Doctor Who translated into the first
matted autograph presentations. The
Gallifrey One conventions in Los Angeles
were the first shows where he presented
this work. The art shown in this section
is available and will likely be shown
at an upcoming art show.
With the success of the Doctor Who
product, Thomas has specifically developed
matted autograph presentations using
movies and TV shows as the theme.
These have enjoyed great success at
art shows such as San Diego Comic
Con. The art shown in this section
is available and will likely be shown
at an upcoming art show.
Restaurants, Work Locations, Family
Thomas is, by request, developing
art based upon art themes of, decorating
restaurants and work locations, and
creating custom matted artwork for
families and individuals that want
that special touch. The
art shown in this section is provided
as example work where the prospective
client might imagine some possibilities
for their own custom development.
Showcase of Art That is No Longer
The art linked to this page is no
longer available to the public, either
because it has been sold, donated
to charity, or is now part of a private
collection. None of the items shown
through this page is available to
the public. It is, however, interesting
four main areas shown for this site detail product
that is available as well as products that are
of historical interest, even though they are
no longer purchasable.
is the original. As this site was made, there
is no other provider that generates the detail
associated with the topic matter. These art
creations evoke laughter, smiles, remembrances,
recollections, and fun.
for the creations themselves belong to Thomas
Rucktenwald but the copyrights for the subjects
and characters, titles and images belong to
and are credited to the copyright owners of
IS THIS SITE ABOUT?
titles below are links to product connections
site was created solely and wholely
as a showcase. Thomas Rucktenwald participates
in many art showings and private arrangements.
The site was originally created as a
location that would highlight the work
and allow others to see what could be
by what had already been done.
site also provided credibility and has
allowed Tom to enter a number of different
website is intended to remain that showcase,
displaying a multitude of art, both
available now and historical, as well
as creative projects.
DO I NAVIGATE THIS SITE
site contains many hot links, either
text or image, that will allow you to
get to a new page. There are 4 major
sections of the site and layers below
each of those sections. Clicking the
title "HOW DO I NAVIGATE THIS SITE"
brings you to a portion on this page
where both the pictured numbers and
the titles are links to the product
described by that number, title, and
is also a page that features new
creations and products, but since
it draws from the 4 major pages, it
is not listed as a primary destination.
It will be commonly used by fans to
see what Tom has most recently created.
Many of these items are headed to the
next convention, so this page will allow
fans in that area to quickly see some
of the new art that they will see in-person
at the show.
on each of these pages will take you
to named/titled products.
FROM THIS SITE In
the past, this website did not allow
for direct sales from the website. Tom
is still interested in utilizing this
site as a showcase only, however, many
items shown are offered for sale online
Rucktenwald has arranged with a new
sales site, Incredelicious, to sell
a number of the items displayed on the
site. The Incredelicious site is located
at this link - Incredelicious-Thomas
link will take you the Thomas Rucktenwald
main art listing, allowing you to see,
in one place, all items listed on the
site. Individual items that have been
listed for sale through Incredelicious
will display that link on the individual
page of this site.
Offerings and Listing
Tom Rucktenwald is always
working on new matted autograph presentations
or on custom projects. The new offerings
and listings page provides you with
the latest in matted autograph and custom
of these will be scheduled to appear
at art shows. Some will be available
for the public prior to or after a show.
Please see the information associated
with the new item.
items will also be listed under their
The show that started
Tom creating matted autograph presentations
requires a special space. So many items
have been created for this category
in the past. So many are being collected
now or are ready-to-make. So many are
in stock, ready for display or, in some
Doctor is a hero worthy of legend. He
is a man that travels in a machine that
is bigger on the inside than it is on
the outside. It travels in time and
space; it can go anywhere in the universe.
Doctor is more than 1,000 years old.
With age has come wisdom, as well as
courage and action. He is the character
that kids love and admire and grown-ups
pretend to be.
actors and actresses that play roles
in this TV program are normally warm
and gracious. Conventions like Chicago
Tardis or its predecessors, and Gallifrey
One in Los Angeles, allow fans an up-close
and personal relationship with the people
that made this show come to life. Unlike
American actors, British actors and
personallities normally answer their
own fan mail; it is part of the culture.
If one writes to some of the actors,
some that are large stars and personalities
in the UK, they will write back personal
and sometimes lengthy messages including
anecdotes about the show. Communication
with them is really a joy; meeting them
in-person is even better. Tom is blessed
to have received several hundreds of
autographs from these kind and generous
personalities through the years.
and TV Shows
Thomas Rucktenwald builds
matted autograph presentations for movies
and TV shows that he enjoys. Since this
activity is something that he does because
he enjoys it, making these movies and
programs is a lot of fun.
enjoys Joss Whedon's creations, finding
that he is normally ahead of society's
demands and desires. Old sci-fi movies
are also great fun; the 30's and 50's
sci-fi creations are great fun. Classics
are normally of interest, but new and
creative shows are also fascinating.
is putting more concentration into this
area since joining the Comic Con art
show. A good balance of product has
served very well
Creations, Public Sites, and Work Places
A new area of creativity
presented itself within the last year.
Tom had been framing artwork for friends
and relatives for a few years. In 2012
and 2013, Tom decorated the ICONS Room
in San Clemente, CA, a dsplay of over
a hundred framed items, many having
autographs. The restaurant celebrates
iconic people, places, and things that
made our life fun and memorable. Every
15 to 20 minutes, your waiter or one
of the others would sing a classic tune
as a famous singer or personality might
of work within these two restaurants,
Tom has received requests for custom
personal/family creations. One request
includes an audio system that will reproduce
quotes and sayings from family members.
A description for this will be on the
site soon; a description will allow
a potential buyer a greater understanding
of the product and quality that can
be expected from the end result.
some cases, these items can be recreated
for a customer. Requests may be honored
if supplies of the autographs are available.
Tom does keep some stock of autographs
that hold future value for other matted
autograph presentations. Please ask.
with any questions or requrests.
that are sold are gone. The historical
pictures of the item are of interest.
In some cases, another matted autograph
presentation might be created. However,
since each created item is unique, the
next matted autographed presentation
of the same title will be different
than the one pictured in this section.
Rucktenwald habitually donates these creations
to charity auctions. Several thousands
of dollars have been raised for charity
through the years. In terms of recreating
an item with the same title as the original
matted autograph presentation, the same
holds true as in the items that have been
you have a particular charity, where an
item will assist in a successful charity
sale or auction, please
Tom. All requests will
be considered, but unfortunately, not
all requests can be honored.
of the privately held items are owned
by Tom or a family member. The likelihood
of any of these items becoming available
is close to zero. However, times and opinions
change. So, Tom encourages communication
and requests that you email
Rucktenwald holds a Bachelor of Electrical
and Electronic Engineer and a triple Masters
Degree in Acoustics, Music, and Electronics.
He co-created a digitally-driven waveform-based
music synthesizer as a senior project
during his Bachelor degree and created
a violin-tone synthesizer with a violin-based
electronic controller as a Master' Thesis.
The combination of degree topics allowed
him gainful corporate employment for his
holds two patents.
invented automatic harmony generation
for electronic musical instruments in
1975. The invention was a boolean algebra
based implementation of Johan Sebastian
Bach's rules of music theory. Tom was
doing a lot of writing and arranging for
local bands and the invention was in response
to a question asked by one of the musicians
that he worked with within the corporation
where he was employed.
second invention was the audio receiver
for a system called FMX. Tom's invention
allowed the receiver to work within a
invented several toys while employed by
a large conglomerate that owned 7 toy
companies. Because of the competitive
nature and conceptual theft problems within
the industry, toys were not commonly patented
at that time, but created and manufactured
under trade secrecy.
During his corporate career, Tom thrived
on creating new products by taking what
his employer did well and combining it
with some concept or technology that was
outside the normal sphere of his employer.
an example, Tom is the grandfather of
the HD Radio(R) encryption system, the
FIRST fully integrated but distributed
encryption system that anticipates worldwide
coordinated usage. Any receiver can work
with any radio station across the country
or across the world. The creation allows
for the implementation of a personal radio
station, with songs and the playlist generated
from your preferences and broadcast programming;
it included DVR-like ability to skip ahead.
This system also allowed private/member
broadcast, where members of an NPR station
would not have to listen to the Pledge
Drive, and pay-per-listen events and concerts.
What if we found that Elvis was still
alive? Could Howard Stern return to terrestrial
radio with the material that he now uses
HD Radio usage at the time of this creation
was within the home. This creation was
intended for the car, where most radio
listening occurs today!
same distributed architecture should be
used for broadcast HD TV for mobile applications.
Tom worked for a major Record Company,
one that owned two major labels. His work
was used for high-speed digital duplication
of cassette tapes. He assisted his employer
and an architect in the construction of
the recording company's new recording
studios in NYC.
was an expert in studio recording and
digital hard disk recording, the latter
being a brand new topic at the time when
he was employed in this activity.
Tom owned a small recording studio, Uncle
Tom's Cabin, while living in Fairfield
County, CT. Primarily aimed at serving
local artists, one nationally released
and distributed album was recorded there,
Richard Brooks "Violin Electric."
Outstanding musicians were guests and
customers, including rap group Above See
Level, singer/songwriter Tom Conlon, and
jazz flute player Ali Ryerson.
studio featured one of the first implementations
of digital hard disk recording as well
as some top notch studio effects and reproduction
equipment. Tom was an adept studio engineer
and incredible sound editor as well as
a highly skilled music arranger and synthesizer
Tom owns at least 75 copyrights for original
music. Implementation of these songs was
assisted through the studio, where demos
of the songs were created to present to
accomplished local music groups. Examples
of these recordings still exist.
is also adept at arranging and often was
employed by groups to work on their musical
arrangements and improve their "sound."
This arranging talent was highlighted
in the studio work that he did for other's
Tom authored a number of articles published
in professional trade magazines that serviced
the industry where he was involved or
was frequently quoted by respected publications
including Radio World, Billboard, and
The Wall Street Journal.
is presently working on a book entitled
"What If It's True." He expects
that, when it is finished, it will spawn
a video/DVD that will partner with the
book, and a CD of the music that will
be used in the video presentations.
Tom is the primary stockholder of That
Great Day, Inc., a business advisory.
Tom is a business expert and accomplished
"Build Your Business Plan" workshop
has been re-presented with recorded scenarios
and vignettes. The recording is presently
in postproduction and will be offered
as product when completed and approved.
A NEW ACADEMICADVENTURE
Tom is one of the principles, starting
the University of San Clemente, a new
concept in advanced learning that allows
the student to learn, understand, and
apply at brain speed. Primarily envisioned
as an online implementation, the intention
is to teach each individual student in
a manner that they learn best. The system,
when fully implemented, will include an
artificial intelligence that will mix
learning methods so that the student maximizes
comprehension. The system will constantly
test, measure, analyze results, and adjust
University incorporated in October 2013
and is proceeding ahead as planned.
So, it is natural, when looking for a
new and creative outlet, that Thomas Rucktenwald
would create a new and unique art, matted
autograph presentations. While others
might matte autographs with a picture,
Tom's presentations represent an entire
to this art is strongly positive. In larger
art shows, Tom's work is frequently a
top seller. For some conventions, fans
are awaiting his arrival to see what he
will present at the show.
is pleased to donate to charity. If a
charity will benefit from selling or auctioning
one of these works, Tom is primarily positive
about participating with them.
ONLINE Tom intends to keep the site updated
with the latest art created. Sometimes,
that is difficult, as often there is
a push before an art show. Art created
before a show is most often intended
specifically for that showing and is
not available for purchase online at
that time. Should the piece not sell
at the show, online availability will
pieces are created that are not intended
for a specific show. Tom has a significant
number of presentations where the raw
materials have been collected but the
art has not yet been created. Information
concerning those waiting in the wings
may be contained on the New Offerings
Listing page. Tom often requests that
fans help to decide in the build priorities.
that are available will have a link
to the site where purchase may be made.
Thomas has a deal with a new online
sales site, named Incredelicious. Incredelicious
provides links to PayPal payment.
is via UPS Ground. Tom has had a primarily
great experience with UPS, as they are
normally very careful. The art is framed
and the frame has glass. All items are
double-boxed, with the inner box providing
a cardboard covering over the artwork.
The outer box normally provides a space
of at least 2 inches on each side; packaging
and styrofoam supports provide structure.
Tom has shipped many times using this
method and this has been successful.
Should any damage occur, repairs will
be made. All shipments are insured. ART
does participate in Art Shows at conventions.
A list of the conventions is behind
a link at the top of the site entitled
"Art Shows." The Adobe Acrobat
document should be up-to-date.
participates in shows that are primarily
in the Los Angeles to San Diego, CA
area. If you have additional suggestions
or would like to promote his participation
at another show or in another area,
please email Tom.
All offerings are comprised of
planned and organized art, including but not
limited to autographs, where appropriate, pictures,
items and remembrances, matted together to create
a display. Every aspect is carefully planned
and then created. Each item, even when the topic
matter is the same, turns out somewhat different,
so each created items is unique.
All autographs are authentic. Tom is particular
and meticulous concerning authenticity. He is
a member of the Universal Autograph Collector
Club, an organization that swears by honesty
and authenticity. We will never knowingly include
a fake into one of our art pieces.
item is backed with our guarentee. If it is
not right, or if it is not authentic, we will
refund your purchase. Every item should have
either our listing and certificate on the back
or the certificate from the original provider,
or both included with the item. As the creator
of the art, we stand behind each piece and we
As may be pertinent, a Certificate of Authenticity
may be present from a provider. In many cases,
an autograph has been obtained in person; in
some cases, it was received through the mail.
Knowing the authentic signatures of the personalities
included in the presentation is our business
and we back that with documentation and/or our
Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding
Making this artwork and including autographs
that are authentic means that we have the connections
and the acquired knowledge to back what we create.
Dealing with others means that we attempt to
assure their credibility as well. Often, there
is a story that goes with each item. We try
to attain that information and use it wisely.
We understand the business of autographs, and
while there are those that would provide less,
we steer clear of any of that because we understand
how those are presented and why.
Thomas Rucktenwald spent his entire business
and corporate career in the entertainment field.
He met many famous people and obtained autographs
from several of them.
also is a regular convention attendee and meets
famous people at those events.
is a culture and ettiquette in requesting a
signature. Tom is sensitive to that and as a
result, the sincere and honest approach to famous
people is often well-received.
For those that are looking at this site, we
invite your feedback and participation. Please
write or call. Please purchase with confidence,
knowing that our knowledge and honesty are included
with each matted autograph presentation made.
want you to enjoy this art. Laugh, muse, reflect,
and remember those things that you enjoyed about
the topics and subjects of the art that we make.
Testimonials: What People are
Saying About Thomas Rucktenwald...
was extremely happy with the matted autograph
presentation that I purchased. The art fit the
wall and decor of my home; it exceeded my expectations.
Visitors often comment and compliment the work,
sometimes sharing their recollections of the
show and their experiences. I intend to buy
again in the future as I have some additional
space set aside for the next purchase."
never expected that I would buy art work at
a convention, but I saw this piece and had to
have it! It was my favorite episode from my
favorite show, Doctor Who. Thomas Rucktenwald
had boxes that allowed me to protect the art
for the journey home. I am very impressed with
the art as well as the artist's preparation
for my purchase."
WORTH THE MONEY!"
have never seen any artwork quite like this.
The detail and care in putting something like
this together blows my mind. It must have taken
forever. I am a big Joss Whedon fan. The matted
autograph presentation that I purchased had
all the major stars that were in the show along
with character pictures that told the story.
This was well worth the money that I spent.
I love this!"
Questions? Please give us a call:(949)
Us at TOM@THOMASRUCKTENWALD.COM
Please let us know what
your questions are, how we can help you. Remember,
we are only a phone call or an email away.
Art is a diverse range of human activities
and the products of those activities; this
article focuses primarily on the visual arts,
which includes the creation of images or objects
in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking,
photography, and other visual media. Architecture
is often included as one of the visual arts;
however, like the decorative arts, it involves
the creation of objects where the practical
considerations of use are essential—in a way
that they usually are not in a painting, for
example. Music, theatre, film, dance, and
other performing arts, as well as literature
and other media such as interactive media,
are included in a broader definition of art
or the arts. Until the 17th century, art
referred to any skill or mastery and was not
differentiated from crafts or sciences, but
in modern usage the fine arts, where aesthetic
considerations are paramount, are distinguished
from acquired skills in general, such as the
decorative or applied arts.
Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis
(its reflection of life), expression, communication
of emotion, or other qualities. During the
Romantic period, art came to be seen as "a
special faculty of the human mind to be classified
with religion and science". Though the
definition of what constitutes art is disputed
and has changed over time, general descriptions
mention an idea of imaginative or technical
skill stemming from human agency and creation.
The nature of art, and related concepts such
as creativity and interpretation, are explored
in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.
Art and Fine Art
By a broad definition of art, artistic
works have existed for almost as long as humankind:
from early pre-historic art to contemporary
art; however, some theories restrict the concept
to modern Western societies. The first
and broadest sense of art is the one that
has remained closest to the older Latin meaning,
which roughly translates to "skill" or "craft."
English words derived from this meaning include
artifact, artificial, artifice, medical arts,
and military arts. However, there are many
other colloquial uses of the word, all with
some relation to its etymology.
In medieval philosophy, John
Chrysostom held that "the name of art should
be applied to those only which contribute
towards and produce necessaries and mainstays
of life." Thomas Aquinas, when discussing
the adornment of women, spoke on this restriction
in terms of ethics: "In the case of an art
directed to the production of goods which
men cannot use without sin, it follows that
the workmen sin in making such things, as
directly affording others an occasion of sin;
for instance, if a man were to make idols
or anything pertaining to idolatrous worship.
But in the case of an art the products of
which may be employed by man either for a
good or for an evil use, such as swords, arrows,
and the like, the practice of such an art
is not sinful. These alone should be called
arts." Aquinas held that art is nothing
else than "the right reason about certain
works to be made," and that it is commendable,
not for the will with which a craftman does
a work, "but for the quality of the work.
Art, therefore, properly speaking, is an operative
habit." Aristotle and Aquinas distinguish
creation from the related habit of prudence.
The second, and more recent, sense of the
word art as an abbreviation for creative art
or fine art emerged in the early 17th century.
Fine art refers to a skill used to express
the artist's creativity, or to engage the
audience's aesthetic sensibilities, or to
draw the audience towards consideration of
the finer things.
Within this latter sense, the word art may
refer to several things: a study of a creative
skill, a process of using the creative skill,
a product of the creative skill, or the audience's
experience with the creative skill. The creative
arts (art as discipline) are a collection
of disciplines which produce artworks (art
as objects) that are compelled by a personal
drive (art as activity) and convey a message,
mood, or symbolism for the viewer to interpret
(art as experience). Art is something that
stimulates an individual's thoughts, emotions,
beliefs, or ideas through the senses. Artworks
can be explicitly made for this purpose or
interpreted on the basis of images or objects.
Although the application of scientific knowledge
to derive a new scientific theory involves
skill and results in the "creation" of something
new, this represents science only and is not
categorized as art.
Often, if the skill is being used in a common
or practical way, people will consider it
a craft instead of art. Likewise, if the skill
is being used in a commercial or industrial
way, it may be considered commercial art instead
of fine art. On the other hand, crafts and
design are sometimes considered applied art.
Some art followers have argued that the difference
between fine art and applied art has more
to do with value judgments made about the
art than any clear definitional difference.
However, even fine art often has goals beyond
pure creativity and self-expression. The purpose
of works of art may be to communicate ideas,
such as in politically, spiritually, or philosophically
motivated art; to create a sense of beauty
(see aesthetics); to explore the nature of
perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong
emotions. The purpose may also be seemingly
The nature of art has been described by philosopher
Richard Wollheim as "one of the most elusive
of the traditional problems of human culture".
Art has been defined as a vehicle for the
expression or communication of emotions and
ideas, a means for exploring and appreciating
formal elements for their own sake, and as
mimesis or representation. Art as mimesis
has deep roots in the philosophy of Aristotle.
Goethe defined art as an other resp. a second
nature, according to his ideal of a style
founded on the basic fundaments of insight
and on the innermost character of things.
Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect
means to communicate from one person to another.
Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood advanced
the idealist view that art expresses emotions,
and that the work of art therefore essentially
exists in the mind of the creator.
The theory of art as form has its roots in
the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and was developed
in the early twentieth century by Roger Fry
and Clive Bell. More recently, thinkers influenced
by Martin Heidegger have interpreted art as
the means by which a community develops for
itself a medium for self-expression and interpretation.
George Dickie has offered an institutional
theory of art that defines a work of art as
any artifact upon which a qualified person
or persons acting on behalf of the social
institution commonly referred to as "the art
world" has conferred "the status of candidate
for appreciation". Larry Shiner has described
fine art as "not an essence or a fate but
something we have made. Art as we have generally
understood it is a European invention barely
two hundred years old.”
Sculptures, cave paintings, rock paintings and
petroglyphs from the Upper Paleolithic dating to
roughly 40,000 years ago have been found, but the
precise meaning of such art is often disputed because
so little is known about the cultures that produced
them. The oldest art objects in the world—a series
of tiny, drilled snail shells about 75,000 years
old—were discovered in a South African cave.
Containers that may have been used to hold paints
have been found dating as far back as 100,000 years.
In Byzantine and Medieval art of the Western Middle
Ages, much art focused on the expression of Biblical
and religious truths, and used styles that showed
the higher glory of a heavenly world, such as the
use of gold in the background of paintings, or glass
in mosaics or windows, which also presented figures
in idealized, patterned (flat) forms. Nevertheless
a classical realist tradition persisted in small
Byzantine works, and realism steadily grew in the
art of Catholic Europe.
Renaissance art had a greatly increased emphasis
on the realistic depiction of the material world,
and the place of humans in it, reflected in the
corporeality of the human body, and development
of a systematic method of graphical perspective
to depict recession in a three-dimensional picture
In the east, Islamic art's rejection of iconography
led to emphasis on geometric patterns, calligraphy,
and architecture. Further east, religion dominated
artistic styles and forms too. India and Tibet saw
emphasis on painted sculptures and dance, while
religious painting borrowed many conventions from
sculpture and tended to bright contrasting colors
with emphasis on outlines. China saw the flourishing
of many art forms: jade carving, bronzework, pottery
(including the stunning terracotta army of Emperor
Qin), poetry, calligraphy, music, painting, drama,
fiction, etc. Chinese styles vary greatly from era
to era and each one is traditionally named after
the ruling dynasty. So, for example, Tang Dynasty
paintings are monochromatic and sparse, emphasizing
idealized landscapes, but Ming Dynasty paintings
are busy and colorful, and focus on telling stories
via setting and composition. Japan names its styles
after imperial dynasties too, and also saw much
interplay between the styles of calligraphy and
painting. Woodblock printing became important in
Japan after the 17th century.
The western Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century
saw artistic depictions of physical and rational
certainties of the clockwork universe, as well as
politically revolutionary visions of a post-monarchist
world, such as Blake's portrayal of Newton as a
divine geometer, or David's propagandistic paintings.
This led to Romantic rejections of this in favor
of pictures of the emotional side and individuality
of humans, exemplified in the novels of Goethe.
The late 19th century then saw a host of artistic
movements, such as academic art, Symbolism, impressionism
and fauvism among others.
The history of twentieth-century art is a narrative
of endless possibilities and the search for new
standards, each being torn down in succession by
the next. Thus the parameters of Impressionism,
Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism,
etc. cannot be maintained very much beyond the time
of their invention. Increasing global interaction
during this time saw an equivalent influence of
other cultures into Western art, such as Pablo Picasso
being influenced by African sculpture. Japanese
woodblock prints (which had themselves been influenced
by Western Renaissance draftsmanship) had an immense
influence on Impressionism and subsequent development.
Later, African sculptures were taken up by Picasso
and to some extent by Matisse. Similarly, the west
has had huge impacts on Eastern art in the 19th
and 20th centuries, with originally western ideas
like Communism and Post-Modernism exerting a powerful
influence on artistic styles.
Modernism, the idealistic search for truth, gave
way in the latter half of the 20th century to a
realization of its unattainability. Theodor W. Adorno
said in 1970, "It is now taken for granted that
nothing which concerns art can be taken for granted
any more: neither art itself, nor art in relationship
to the whole, nor even the right of art to exist."
Relativism was accepted as an unavoidable truth,
which led to the period of contemporary art and
postmodern criticism, where cultures of the world
and of history are seen as changing forms, which
can be appreciated and drawn from only with irony.
Furthermore the separation of cultures is increasingly
blurred and some argue it is now more appropriate
to think in terms of a global culture, rather than
Genres, Media, and Styles
The creative arts are often divided into more specific
categories, each related to its technique, or medium,
such as decorative arts, plastic arts, performing
arts, or literature. Unlike scientific fields, art
is one of the few subjects that are academically
organized according to technique [dead link].
An artistic medium is the substance or material
the artistic work is made from, and may also refer
to the technique used. For example, paint is a medium
used in painting, and paper is a medium used in
An art form is the specific shape, or quality an
artistic expression takes. The media used often
influence the form. For example, the form of a sculpture
must exist in space in three dimensions, and respond
to gravity. The constraints and limitations of a
particular medium are thus called its formal qualities.
To give another example, the formal qualities of
painting are the canvas texture, color, and brush
texture. The formal qualities of video games are
non-linearity, interactivity and virtual presence.
The form of a particular work of art is determined
by the formal qualities of the media, and is not
related to the intentions of the artist or the reactions
of the audience in any way whatsoever as these properties
are related to content rather than form.
A genre is a set of conventions and styles within
a particular medium. For instance, well recognized
genres in film are western, horror and romantic
comedy. Genres in music include death metal and
trip hop. Genres in painting include still life
and pastoral landscape. A particular work of art
may bend or combine genres but each genre has a
recognizable group of conventions, clichés and tropes.
(One note: the word genre has a second older meaning
within painting; genre painting was a phrase used
in the 17th to 19th centuries to refer specifically
to paintings of scenes of everyday life and is still
used in this way.)
The style of an artwork, artist, or movement is
the distinctive method and form followed by the
respective art. Any loose brushy, dripped or poured
abstract painting is called expressionistic. Often
a style is linked with a particular historical period,
set of ideas, and particular artistic movement.
So Jackson Pollock is called an Abstract Expressionist.
A particular style may have specific cultural meanings.
For example, Roy Lichtenstein—a painter associated
with the American Pop art movement of the 1960s—was
not a pointillist, despite his use of dots. Lichtenstein
used evenly spaced Ben-Day dots (the type used to
reproduce color in comic strips) as a style to question
the "high" art of painting with the "low" art of
comics, thus commenting on class distinctions in
culture. Pointillism, a technique in late Impressionism
(1880s) developed especially by the artist Georges
Seurat, employs dots to create variation in color
and depth in an attempt to approximate the way people
really see color. Both artists use dots, but the
particular style and technique relate to the artistic
movement adopted by each artist.
These are all ways of beginning to define a work
of art, to narrow it down. "Imagine you are an art
critic whose mission is to compare the meanings
you find in a wide range of individual artworks.
How would you proceed with your task? One way to
begin is to examine the materials each artist selected
in making an object, image video, or event. The
decision to cast a sculpture in bronze, for instance,
inevitably effects its meaning; the work becomes
something different from how it might be if it had
been cast in gold or plastic or chocolate, even
if everything else about the artwork remains the
same. Next, you might examine how the materials
in each artwork have become an arrangement of shapes,
colors, textures, and lines. These, in turn, are
organized into various patterns and compositional
structures. In your interpretation, you would comment
on how salient features of the form contribute to
the overall meaning of the finished artwork. [But
in the end] the meaning of most artworks... is not
exhausted by a discussion of materials, techniques,
and form. Most interpretations also include a discussion
of the ideas and feelings the artwork engenders."
Art can connote a sense of trained ability
or mastery of a medium. Art can also simply
refer to the developed and efficient use of
a language to convey meaning with immediacy
and or depth. Art is an act of expressing
feelings, thoughts, and observations.
There is an understanding that is reached
with the material as a result of handling
it, which facilitates one's thought processes.
A common view is that the epithet "art", particular
in its elevated sense, requires a certain
level of creative expertise by the artist,
whether this be a demonstration of technical
ability, an originality in stylistic approach,
or a combination of these two. Traditionally
skill of execution was viewed as a quality
inseparable from art and thus necessary for
its success; for Leonardo da Vinci, art, neither
more nor less than his other endeavors, was
a manifestation of skill. Rembrandt's work,
now praised for its ephemeral virtues, was
most admired by his contemporaries for its
virtuosity. At the turn of the 20th century,
the adroit performances of John Singer Sargent
were alternately admired and viewed with skepticism
for their manual fluency, yet at nearly the
same time the artist who would become the
era's most recognized and peripatetic iconoclast,
Pablo Picasso, was completing a traditional
academic training at which he excelled.
A common contemporary criticism of some modern
art occurs along the lines of objecting to
the apparent lack of skill or ability required
in the production of the artistic object.
In conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain"
is among the first examples of pieces wherein
the artist used found objects ("ready-made")
and exercised no traditionally recognised
set of skills. Tracey Emin's My Bed, or Damien
Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death
in the Mind of Someone Living follow this
example and also manipulate the mass media.
Emin slept (and engaged in other activities)
in her bed before placing the result in a
gallery as work of art. Hirst came up with
the conceptual design for the artwork but
has left most of the eventual creation of
many works to employed artisans. Hirst's celebrity
is founded entirely on his ability to produce
shocking concepts. The actual production in
many conceptual and contemporary works of
art is a matter of assembly of found objects.
However there are many modernist and contemporary
artists who continue to excel in the skills
of drawing and painting and in creating hands-on
works of art.
Purpose of Art
Art has had a great number of different functions
throughout its history, making its purpose difficult
to abstract or quantify to any single concept.
This does not imply that the purpose of Art is
"vague", but that it has had many unique, different
reasons for being created. Some of these functions
of Art are provided in the following outline.
The different purposes of art may be grouped according
to those that are non-motivated, and those that
are motivated (Lévi-Strauss).
Functions of Art
The non-motivated purposes of art are those that
are integral to being human, transcend the individual,
or do not fulfill a specific external purpose.
In this sense, Art, as creativity, is something
humans must do by their very nature (i.e., no
other species creates art), and is therefore beyond
1. Basic human instinct for harmony, balance,
rhythm. Art at this level is not an action or
an object, but an internal appreciation of balance
and harmony (beauty), and therefore an aspect
of being human beyond utility.
"Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature.
Next, there is the instinct for 'harmony' and
rhythm, meters being manifestly sections of rhythm.
Persons, therefore, starting with this natural
gift developed by degrees their special aptitudes,
till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry."
2. Experience of the mysterious.. Art provides
a way to experience one's self in relation to
the universe. This experience may often come unmotivated,
as one appreciates art, music or poetry.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is
the mysterious. It is the source of all true art
and science." -Albert Einstein
3. Expression of the imagination. Art provide
a means to express the imagination in non-grammatic
ways that are not tied to the formality of spoken
or written language. Unlike words, which come
in sequences and each of which have a definite
meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols
and ideas with meanings that are malleable.
"Jupiter's eagle [as an example of art] is not,
like logical (aesthetic) attributes of an object,
the concept of the sublimity and majesty of creation,
but rather something else – something that gives
the imagination an incentive to spread its flight
over a whole host of kindred representations that
provoke more thought than admits of expression
in a concept determined by words. They furnish
an aesthetic idea, which serves the above rational
idea as a substitute for logical presentation,
but with the proper function, however, of animating
the mind by opening out for it a prospect into
a field of kindred representations stretching
beyond its ken." -Immanuel Kant
4. Ritualistic and symbolic functions. In many
cultures, art is used in rituals, performances
and dances as a decoration or symbol. While these
often have no specific utilitarian (motivated)
purpose, anthropologists know that they often
serve a purpose at the level of meaning within
a particular culture. This meaning is not furnished
by any one individual, but is often the result
of many generations of change, and of a cosmological
relationship within the culture.
"Most scholars who deal with rock paintings or
objects recovered from prehistoric contexts that
cannot be explained in utilitarian terms and are
thus categorized as decorative, ritual or symbolic,
are aware of the trap posed by the term 'art'."
Functions of Art
Motivated purposes of art refer to intentional,
conscious actions on the part of the artists or
creator. These may be to bring about political
change, to comment on an aspect of society, to
convey a specific emotion or mood, to address
personal psychology, to illustrate another discipline,
to (with commercial arts) to sell a product, or
simply as a form of communication.
1. Communication. Art, at its simplest, is a
form of communication. As most forms of communication
have an intent or goal directed toward another
individual, this is a motivated purpose. Illustrative
arts, such as scientific illustration, are a form
of art as communication. Maps are another example.
However, the content need not be scientific. Emotions,
moods and feelings are also communicated through
"[Art is a set of] artefacts or images with symbolic
meanings as a means of communication." -Steve
2. Art as entertainment. Art may seek to bring
about a particular emotion or mood, for the purpose
of relaxing or entertaining the viewer. This is
often the function of the art industries of Motion
Pictures and Video Games. The
Avante-Garde. Art for political change. One of
the defining functions of early twentieth-century
art has been to use visual images to bring about
political change. Art movements that had this
goal—Dadaism, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism,
and Abstract Expressionism, among others—are collectively
referred to as the avante-garde arts.
"By contrast, the realistic attitude, inspired
by positivism, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Anatole
France, clearly seems to me to be hostile to any
intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it,
for it is made up of mediocrity, hate, and dull
conceit. It is this attitude which today gives
birth to these ridiculous books, these insulting
plays. It constantly feeds on and derives strength
from the newspapers and stultifies both science
and art by assiduously flattering the lowest of
tastes; clarity bordering on stupidity, a dog's
life." -André Breton (Surrealism)
3. Art as a "free zone", removed from the action
of the social censure. Unlike the avant-garde
movements, which wanted to erase cultural differences
in order to produce new universal values, contemporary
art has enhanced its tolerance towards cultural
differences as well as its critical and liberating
functions (social inquiry, activism, subversion,
deconstruction...), becoming a more open place
for research and experimentation.
5. Art for social inquiry, subversion and/or
anarchy. While similar to art for political change,
subversive or deconstructivist art may seek to
question aspects of society without any specific
political goal. In this case, the function of
art may be simply to criticize some aspect of
Graffiti art and other types of street art are
graphics and images that are spray-painted or
stencilled on publicly viewable walls, buildings,
buses, trains, and bridges, usually without permission.
Certain art forms, such as graffiti, may also
be illegal when they break laws (in this case
6. Art for social causes. Art can be used to
raise awareness for a large variety of causes.
A number of art activities were aimed at raising
awareness of autism, cancer,
human trafficking, and a variety of other
topics, such as ocean conservation, human
rights in Darfur, murdered and missing Aboriginal
women, elder abuse, and pollution.
Trashion, using trash to make fashion, practiced
by artists such as Marina DeBris is one example
of using art to raise awareness about pollution.
7. Art for psychological and healing purposes.
Art is also used by art therapists, psychotherapists
and clinical psychologists as art therapy. The
Diagnostic Drawing Series, for example, is used
to determine the personality and emotional functioning
of a patient. The end product is not the principal
goal in this case, but rather a process of healing,
through creative acts, is sought. The resultant
piece of artwork may also offer insight into the
troubles experienced by the subject and may suggest
suitable approaches to be used in more conventional
forms of psychiatric therapy.
8. Art for propaganda, or commercialism. Art
is often utilized as a form of propaganda, and
thus can be used to subtly influence popular conceptions
or mood. In a similar way, art that tries to sell
a product also influences mood and emotion. In
both cases, the purpose of art here is to subtly
manipulate the viewer into a particular emotional
or psychological response toward a particular
idea or object.
9. Art as a fitness indicator. It has been argued
that the ability of the human brain by far exceeds
what was needed for survival in the ancestral
environment. One evolutionary psychology explanation
for this is that the human brain and associated
traits (such as artistic ability and creativity)
are the human equivalent of the peacock's tail.
The purpose of the male peacock's extravagant
tail has been argued to be to attract females
(see also Fisherian runaway and handicap principle).
According to this theory superior execution of
art was evolutionary important because it attracted
The functions of art described above are not
mutually exclusive, as many of them may overlap.
For example, art for the purpose of entertainment
may also seek to sell a product, i.e. the movie
or video game.
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