Hey there and welcome to BigAppleSchool podcast. My name’s Sam
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about art. So we’re gonna look about what is art in our own individual explanations, what our experiences with art have been in school and in other places, do we go to galleries, do we like modern art, what artists we respect, how we have our own personal art disasters and such questions like that. So, sit tight. Are you sitting comfortably?
I’m so comfortable that I fall asleep
Don’t do that. Well.. So, guys, if you hear him snoring, you know what’s happened. What is art in your estimation? Estimation, Mike
What is art? You know, I pondered this question
No no no, it’s a very important question. It’s something I’ve pondered for a decade before I got an answer
Wow. Guys, this is a decade’s work
Decade’s worth of our pondering. To me, an art is an expression of individual, not a group, but individual, ultimately. Any art.
This will be challenged. This thought will also be challenged as well because of new forms of art that’s arriving today. But an expression of an individual that reflects the artist’s feelings
So, yeah, their fears, their love
A little bit of themselves
Themselves. Inevitably art reflects its creator. And it is usually always an individual in the end. For now. And that’s changeable in the future
I would also say that art has.. I would like to say that it has talent involved. It has thought involved. Maybe planning too, and it’s.. For me, I mean. That’s what I would say. It’s got some talent splayed. It’s my estimation of art. Did you do art in school?
I did do art in school, cause they…
Yeah, no, but I did it as an my year 11 and 12 elective
Yeah, it was one of my great loves
Right. So you were a keen art student?
Oh yeah. But I didn’t truly appreciate art until I became an adult after school
Okay. What was a typical lesson in your school? Art lesson
It was boring. Sorry to say. Art excursions, you know, painting, drawing. You know, stuff..
going to galleries and stuff, yeah?
I mean, yeah. Just ‘sketch yourself or what you feel’, you know what I mean. It was ‘watch a movie and then comment about it’. It’s the usual stuff that, you know, in any school around the world they would teach about
Right. I don’t know how long are the lessons, maybe 45, maybe an hour, I don’t know. But, I remember being sort of just given a little bit of freedom most of the time. Like here are some materials, do something. The teachers were a bit wacky, you know, a bit unusual. Not in a bad way, just really a little bit eccentric. I enjoyed art. It was actually one of my better subjects of..
I make that sound like I was an idiot. It was my best subject actually. Art was my best subject. My teacher really expected me to get highest mark. I didn’t.. I quite.. I kinda fudged that – we’ll talk about that later, but… Art was my best subject, then science and English were very good subjects for me too – I really enjoyed
To be honest, I fudged art too in high school. Yeah, I was getting a good mark in it
So we’ll talk about that in a second. I have a question for that
Did you ever aspire to be an artist?
Yeah, I mean, when I was a little kid, obviously my mother forced me to play piano as many, you know, Korean families do. Right. But obviously I gave that up at some point in my life.
Well, I mean, if you put a piano if front of me, I wouldn’t be able to play it today. But when I was about 20 I started making films, so I’m a film-maker. So I’ve been doing that for quite a long time now.
Not stop motion, video corporate’s commercials, that sort of thing. Videos, basically
Showing people, not animated stuff
No no no, live action what we call
Right. Live action, exactly. Okay. And I mean I agree, it’s a form of art, but maybe other people not fully appreciate that. So it’s an expression of you
You see, this is where my definition may be a little bit different to some people and everybody has their own definition on things, right? So to me, an art is, like I said, is an expression.
So a chef baking a wonderful pie, you know, in his own way. As create an artwork, right?
That’s right. Anything is an art. I mean, fashionism. Garments, making clothes is an art, you know?
Teaching is an art on to itself. Cause everyone there have their own styles, the way they express themselves.
I would even argue that packaging is art
It can be. Almost anything can be art.
Good art or bad art, of course
Yes. As long as it is expression of an individual
What is that is an expression of a company? If it’s a packaging that has been produced..
Okay okay alright alright wait wait wait, so okay, so I would argue that a version of that in film-making is Hollywood, Marvel, and DC films. Yeah, that is..
I know a lot about those worlds and the stories that around it. However, you know..
You feel they’re too generic and produced
As I get older I become more and more anticorporate
I’m the same age as you, don’t.. please, don’t… I guess I say that too ‘as I get older’
I’m becoming more anticorporate culture, so without.. you know, to be honest, I’m not being very fair here often, but anything I hear about corporations - it becomes negative in my mind.
So I have a little bit of prejudice
I’m trying to promote a kind of.. controversial topic here, kind of…
Hey, art is meant to be.. art is controversial. It always has been, it always will be and it has always been a centerpiece of many revolutions
Art is controversial. Okay, I’m trying to be artsy here. So what is the piece of art you’re most proud of? Presuming… As we understand that you’re an artist. I’m a kind of artist, but I don’t do it as a profession, never have. Oh I should’ve answered this question – did I ever aspire to be an artist? I, when I finished school, went to art college. And I hated it. I was there, 16 years old, 17 years old, and I hated it. And because style… some of it was good, some of it was genuinely good. But I just wanted to do art.
It was.. well.. so we had.. we spent a lot of time learning about the history of art
We did do quite a bit of drawing and such like that.. And drawing was fine. Learning about history was actually fine too, I loved learning Leonardo da Vinci.. And I kind of did my own version of some of his stuff – not nearly as good as he, but I kinda did my own version of his sort of stuff and I enjoyed it. I used kind of sketches and I used chalks and then fine liner pens, dark pens over it as well.
It was kinda based on some of his stuff and I really enjoyed that, but honestly, I felt completely outta place all these caps, to mean more posh people, rich kidы and with a different idea and very awe, very philosophical canon about art. And I didn’t fit in with those people. At least not at that time.
I don’t know if I would now.
But I didn’t then. And so I gave up on that pretty quickly. But I did try
You know, Da Vinci is one of my aspirations in life. You know, what makes Da Vinci’s works so wonderfully refreshing to the other Renaissance artists is the fact that the man was just not.. not just an artist, but he was also a scientist
And if you look at some of his, you know, art works, it clearly reflects that this, you know, art at some point was designed with practical application in mind.
The kind of a helicopter thing?
Yeah the flying machine, yes
Way way back before anyone actually built and, you know, built and created a real one for proper use
Of course it’s not.. If we’re looking at it through today’s eyes no one near.. it’s not aerodynamic
But the fact that he had the idea
He had the idea and he married it with art
If you look at the engineering diagram of today you can’t say that’s art. If you look at this engineering diagram of Da Vinci – there’s definitely an artistic aspect to it. There’s an aesthetic to it
All the technicality was art
Correct, correct. And if you have a look at his anatomical drawings, you know, there’s definitely an artistic aspect
As well as, say, you know, scientific aspect to it. So a man was, what they call, I think, one of the first polymaths in history
Sort of a student of various disciplines
And he should be. We live in an information rich world. You can study anything at this age, right? And it’s unlimited
Google it all, gang, google it
So this whole, let’s focus on one thing and one thing only for the rest of our lives – I think frankly is a little bit boring.
Yeah. What piece of art.. So we’re moving on, okay. But I like your thinking. You’re my kinda guy. What piece of art are you most proud of? From what you’ve created, of course
You’re not proud of anything?
And I would argue that most filmmakers are exactly the same.
It never is right. It is never…
And you think it’s your fault when you look back
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a perfectionist in real life. I like things to be well-organized and ordered, but I’m not, you know, I don’t know how to say this, but anal. Anal retentive about everything , yeah? But however, when it comes to your art…
But however when it comes to your art, all you see is mistakes.
All you see is one thing that could’ve been better.
I understand that sportsmen, that top elite sportsmen think the same way
They don’t think about the 98 percent good they did, they think about the 2.20 percent bad they did.
Pushing forever to be better
My mom worked for a while as a cake decorator.
She was … Oh absolutely! If you look at the…
Building and making bells and flowers from a kind of a paste, edible paste
and they looked fantastic. But she used to criticize herself so much. And we would look at them and say ‘that looks fantastic!’, and she would say ‘I see a mistake there and there, it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be’. And I can be like that too as an artist. ‘It’s not as good as that guy, it’s not the way I wanted it, it wasn’t the way I imagined it in my head before I did it’. So yeah we can be critical of our guy, of ourselves
We only see that… So if an artists have trained for years and they’ve become competent at what they do, the audience is gonna look at the art and go ‘Huh beauty!’, they’re gonna see only the beauty
Mostly, right. But the artists themselves are only gonna see the gap
Right. They’ll say ‘That wasn’t the way I wanted”
Have you ever had any art disasters?
Many many many times. I used to… umm… 10-11 years ago. I was a director in a corporate video company, so I had about a little under a thousand guys under me. So I was directing, everybody else was camering, sounding, all that. And.. The disasters almost always come not from the lack of organization, not from the lack of direction, but always from personality clashes.
In any organization, like any business, any small business the problems are always the human ones. So, it’s very simple. You say, you have a team of 10 people – it only takes one guy with a bad energy to ruin a shoot. To ruin the experience
Off with him, he’s got ego issues, he’s always, you know, puffing his chest out and trying to be like a boss in front of everybody.
You know, in art you gonna get that kind of people. Right. So you have people who have, you know, … issues – they’re gonna bring that in. Some of them are drama queens. Some of them start yelling and screaming, crying, if things don’t go their way.
I’ve heard people say that I’m… as an artist, I’ve sorta pulled.. I mean, I’ve heard people say “Artistic people are very emotional”. And I don’t know if it’s true or not, but what do you think?
Are artistic people very emotional?
A lot of them are, a lot of them are, but not all. I would say all of them, at least in film-making, in the areas of performance and film-making, I would argue that all of them are there because they’re missing something in their lives. And they’re trying to fill it with their art.
Except the sound recorders – they just get paid, they’re like tradies – they come in, they do the job, they use their equipment, they get paid, they walk off, right. But everybody else is pretty much screwed up. There’s some area in their life that’s missing that.. they try to fill that hole
It’s kind like poets, right. Poetry – because he feels the need
That’s right. He’s drawn to it, he has to do it, and if he doesn’t do it, he feels that there’s no meaning in his life. And I think that’s often a trap. Because you’re equating your life’s worth with your work, which you are never happy with. Understand? You see that, right?
I argue.. I would argue that I am happy with my art. Not necessarily the result, but I am happy when the process is going well.
I’m happy when I’m in process of creating something. What I haven’t told you yet – and they don’t know, maybe.
Is that I.. What I do in a modern day now is – when I was in school, drawing was my thing
I loved oil, pastels too. I loved, sort of the simplicity of it – you could be very free and you didn’t have to be very detailed. But I also loved drawing where you were very detailed. I wasn’t good at painting. My hands always got paint everywhere. As a boy, I got paint all over my hands and it ended up on the page and I was very disorganized. And now, as an adult, few years ago I started to take up model painting – like Warhammer and tanks of different kinds.
40K. Everything and anything. I don’t do it to play the game, I haven’t ever played the game. Not that I’m against it, I do it for the art.
When you walk into a normal games workshop and it is a gallery of art
It is a Disneyland for artists.
The color, the form, the detail.
It’s everything. Yeah I know, just the arrangement
It just brings your imagination to life. I mean, you can think about a lot of the characters, if you talk about Warhammer, they’re not real, they’re all science fiction. And I love science fiction.
So it appeals to me – I consider it pure art, even though you will never find it in an art gallery, I mean, it would… people would frown upon it
Yeah, it is, but I take and I say “What can I do with it?” And I don’t necessarily change every thing, but I choose my colors, I might add things, or change things, swap models. So I know that part of the skill and talent is already done for me, cause it’s produced, the model is produced.
But I enjoy making the choices and process of building those different models in the way I want, in the color scheme I want. And the result for me isn’t as important. I enjoy and take satisfaction in the process. And the result.. Yeah, sometimes I’m disappointed. The results isn’t as much as I want, but I enjoy the process. For me that’s the main thing.
What I enjoy about the 40K,the universe of Warhammer, is..
I don’t play it, I don’t do the models. But the artistic element that I do love about it, I do engage a lot on, is the story of the world
Right. Do you read the books?
The books, the code X – all that kind of thing. I just find the amount of work that the story artists had put into that particular world is flipping amazing. The Lord of the Rings looks like.. it feels like a work of an individual. But, you know, games workshops of a 40K universe feels like decades of teamwork. Really does reflect it. You know, all the…
I’ve read some of the books
Lots of backstory that built it up
In the 40 thousand, year 40 thousand and onwards all is war, and all of these different aliens are fighting humans and they’re all over the galaxies and universe, all over the universe traveling to different planets. With this one has something that will kill you in a second.. It’s amazing, the imagination. I enjoy, I love science fiction anyway, so
Well it’s the science fiction… The 40K universe is the lore of it taught me that the British can make with science fiction
Red Dwarf – I hated these things, you know, I hated… across the galaxy… I thought it was dreadful. But when I realized that 40K was, quintessentially, British
Yeah. I think.. I mean, that nihilistic viewpoint of humanity – that’s perfected in 40K and Judge Dredd..
Although it’s from Britain, but it’s set in America in the future, so
But I think.. Is the actor that did the last film Australian?
He’s a New Zealander, I think
That’s a real faux pas, isn’t it? To say… to mix those two…
Well, for those who are listening Australia.. New Zealand belongs to Australia. It’s Australian territory. Don’t tell the New Zealanders
They will belong to a federation in a hundred years, I guarantee it
I was taught at school about Australasia
New Guinea will come back. New Zealand will come back. And we’ll form a new nation possibly called Oceania
And Tasmania – it’s part of Australia right?
Yes. That’s the last state, yes
So it’ll be a part of… it’ll be connected
The smallest and the last state
What art… Which artists, or what artists or art do you respect? And this is.. We can kinda…
Oh man, you are… you are.. you are..
What kind of art do you think ‘Wow that’s great I wish I could do that’ or ‘I want to replicate that’?
Unfortunately, I’m not gonna talk about film-making and film-makers in that case, cause that go on forever. You know, I wish I had some musical talent. Because I don’t. But I do love listening to music and I think the one that I listen to most these days are two artists: Joe Hisaishi who’s a composer and a maestro, who do all Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Are you familiar with Studio Ghibli work? Spirited Away?
Not perfectly, but I watched one or two
Spirited Away, things like Howl’s Moving Castle, you know, Porco Rosso
I watched Howl’s Moving Castle
Yes Yes. The British story or the original? There was the British story that Hayao Miyazaki adapted. It was a Japanese anime. And the man who has composed his work for the last, you know, 30-40 years – all these animations, the music is made by this man called Joe Hisaishi. And he is fantastic. He came to Australia a couple of years ago, maybe three.
And I went to his concert and it was fantastic. It was like seeing a man who’s dedicated his entire life to music, just do it. And it’s a real sight to behold. I hope he comes to Novosibirsk one day. To.. the ballet theatre looks wonderful. He would.. He deserved the ballet theatre
I think it is the biggest ballet theatre in Russia
I’ve heard some conflicting views – I think Bolshoi theatre in Moscow might be… might have a bigger stage now. But it was at least, if not now, was the biggest stage in Russia
But maybe because they renovated or something in Bolshoi theatre in Moscow, and it might be bigger now, I don’t know for sure
Anyway, it’s a beautiful theatre. I talked about.. as far as who or what I respect – I mean, I respect an amazing painter Charles Monet. I like Monet, an impressionist. But to me.. I mean, for his day, he was kinda looked upon like a sort of modern artist, where it was an impression. And it wasn’t detailed, and he was kinda frowned upon as I understand.
And yet to me, looking at those paintings, they explain everything you need to know. Not a lot of detail necessarily, but there’s enough of the nature, and the essence, and the atmosphere of the place that he was painting… for me. And.. they’re fantastic. And Leonardo Da Vinci of course
Of course. That’s our favorite. But, you know, interesting talking about artists. I’d be very much looking forward to seeing Russian art. In fact, I did actually go to Russian art gallery this weekend.
Yeah, just near the… there’s a tiny little church at the center of the town that’s supposed to be the center of Russia, geographical
So it was about a hundred meters down, there’s a grey building that has got SSSR logos on. And it is supposed to be some sort of a museum of art. And there was an exhibition of Siberian artists. So, I went in with a friend of mine and we really enjoyed the day. It was good to see. There are multiple levels, I think the first level is painting – traditional just paints and colors.
And right at the top is photography, black and white photography from the Soviet days of this nation in Siberia, Moscow and Georgia. Good times – from the good times of the Brezhnev era down to the fall in the 90s. And you can see the emotions, the … of emotions on people’s faces, going from optimism to just uncertainty.
Right. Was just, you know, amazing
That’s what I may look like before my coffee in the morning
They curated it in that way, so that when you start off with the high and then you see the change of mood
Where’s my coffee yeah yeah, wow
And I think that’s something that more people should visit, like, her and I were the only ones in that place. unfortunately on a Sunday, so, but yeah, and there was a really really excellent artist, I think he’s Siberian, cause it’s a Siberian exhibition, called Dmitry Gusev. And he paints a lot of religious and architectural art as well as Siberian nature.
And I thought that the man had incredible talent. And you can see by his brush stroke that he creates such detail which is simple colors and I think sometimes the best art looks simple, but has incredible detail if you look closely. And Dmitry Gusev certainly captures that
Okay. I must admit that I don’t often go to… I’m not against art galleries, I just don’t often go, choose to go to an art gallery, but… Is art in public places necessary? Art, sculptures… Art in the park
Remember what I said, right? Art is an expression of an individual, right?
We are surrounded by art, like it or not
This thing I’m wearing, the shirt, it was designed by an artist. It is a piece of art. If that was a plain t-shirt, if it was just black and had no patterns on it, I wouldn’t call that art. That’s just technical..
That’s not laziness, it’s just practical utensil or tool
That’s right. I mean if I walked outside right here, the architecture, the building that are around me is art.
The streets themselves are designed… If you look at the streets- they have patterns printed on them
I mean, I’ll give you an example and you’ll tell me what you think of this. In Belfast, which is the capital of my region, Northern Ireland, there is a sculpture, which is two steel balls, one inside the other. And they’re kinda… they’re open, they’re triangular formed and they’re open balls and you can see both of them.
And it was not cheap. I’m not gonna tell you the price, I don’t know. It was built, installed in 2008 which was… or somewhere on that time, when there was economic processual and of course it was controversial as a lot of things can be – it’s just people didn’t have much money at that time. Jobs..
People were losing their jobs and stuff. And they were like “Why do we need this art?” What would you say? Was it necessary at that time? Should it have been kept? Melted down, maybe, or something?
That’s a difficult one. Art or food – that question
Well, it wasn’t.. I mean, people survived, at least I hope so. I mean, people still survived, but they were asking question “Do we really need art?”
You know, I’m not gonna, you know, be <…> and say “art is always necessary in every culture”. Look, I understand the basic necessities, trump artistic endeavors sometimes and I bet you Russia had to deal with that at some point
I bet you Russia is probably one nation to a history at some point had to deal with that: to art or to food. So, you know..
Artists are kinda the soul of oppressed, isn’t it? I mean, the soul of a nation – art.
Art is very important, it is… art is the only thing we will leave behind for the future generation of humanity.
To see us, to know who we are.
Think about Roman art – Romans. Roman culture – why we know so much of what we know today is because they left art works behind, they left writing behind, they wrote things and they actually loved making art
Art reflects the culture. It tells us what those people loved, what they feared and what they hoped. Yeah
And what they valued. And what they despised. Who they despised
So if you look into art, you will see the aspects of that, yeah. So it is very important for us to leave behind that to the future of humanity. So that they can look at us and understand how crazy consumerist… how crazy consumerists we were
So it’s very important to do – leave behind art even though it’s not…
It’s a legacy. And I think if you were hungry and there was no jobs at the time, there should be art that could reflect that period.
So that the future humanity can see that – Belfast at this time, period. If you look at this art, you can see the uncertainty
We should change that sculpture to make it more…
I like any forms of art, I don’t like abstract art unfortunately
Okay. Which isn’t… It’s more modern.. It’s not exclusively modern, but modern isn’t exclusively abstract, but abstract is like a form of modern art, isn’t it?
I just never understood people like Jackson Pollock or Picasso
Someone… someone wrote art on a toilet and put it, like a urinal toilet and put it in an exhibition. Does that? Would that appeal to you? Would you like to look at a urinal at an art exhibition?
Well, it depends on what he wanted to express or she wanted to express.
And what’s the story here?
I honestly don’t know. But I think…
That’s what you’re gonna find out
I think if the artist doesn’t say or show what they’re feeling, maybe it’s not worth so much
Maybe they wanted to say ‘Look! What we…. Even things we use for.. not so honorable things, but we don’t put any honor in’, maybe, he or she was trying to say that they’re still art. I don’t know. But I think modern art is kind of… People couldn’t go any further with just drawings and just copying nature and paintings.
Modern art was kind of a natural necessity to.. in order to be different from the last generation of artists. But I.. if I’m honest, I’m not a lover of it in general. Of course it depends on what it is
But I kinda hope that art changes and goes back to more skillful, thoughtful paints of approach. Okay, we have talked quite a bit about art, we spoke about what is art in our estimation, our experiences in school with art, did we have or want to be artists. What piece of art we’re proud of or not. Our disasters we may have had, is art necessary in public places. We talked about visiting galleries and such like that. So that was the craic about art.