The current consensus is that art should never claim to give answers; only ask questions. The emphasis of this ideal is due to a fear of actually reaching some ultimate truth, or worse, settling for a false truth. “In The Tibetan Book of the Dead, [where] the departed soul is described as shrinking in agony from the Pure Light of the Void, and even from the lesser, tempered Lights, in order to rush headlong into the comforting darkness of selfhood as a reborn human being, or even as a beast, an unhappy ghost, a denizen of hell. Anything rather than the burning brightness of unmitigated Reality—anything!”(Aldus Huxley). On some level we understand that meaning is found in the search for truth and an ultimate answer would undoubtedly mark the end of that search and consequently, the end of progress; science; art; culture; modernity. However, this fear is irrational and shortsighted- for it is inevitable that with every answer comes infinitely more questions.
Bottom-up design is an approach to information processing that involves piecing together components and systems to form grander, more inclusive overall schemes. Bottom-up processing is how we are able to form a single perception of reality from multiple sources of sensory input. Though this design is one typically involved in synthesis I prefer to apply it to my artistic research process. My research involves specific and in-depth study of a multitude of seemingly unrelated concepts; really, they are just ideas and information I find interesting. Once I have assimilated the information I can use it. Through contemplation I find the unseen connections between the random pieces, and gradually, a larger structure emerges- or rather, my understanding makes me able to perceive the more complex system.
The top-down method is an approach to information processing that involves the breaking down of a concept into its various smaller components thus creating one or more subsystems of the original system. This is typically how we analyze or deconstruct information. Lately I have been taking this approach with my artwork. I start with the very vague concept of a piece and then approach it as though I was solving a math or science problem. As I begin working, I begin to understand some of the underlying concepts and my idea becomes less vague. As I continue analyzing my original concept, it becomes more specific and fine tuned. Subsequently, the piece also becomes refined. Subtle detail alludes to the subcomponents of the main components of the overall piece.
I found myself this weekend at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Despite not ever having really been a huge fan of pop entertainment culture I had a great time and was thoroughly impressed. There were a lot of amazing artists showing and selling their work. I was reminded just how much passion and creativity goes into this subculture; it includes some of many genres often overlooked by more "classically defined" artists (such as myself) as a sort of distant relative to the fine arts community.
So here's to all of the unrecognized artists who give as much of themselves to what they love as any artist can be expected to give. I invite others who were there to give props and share their own pictures and experiences of what C2E2 contributed this year to the world of contemporary art.