Real Artists do this....

Real artists paint in oils.
Real artists use film cameras.
Real artists don't photoshop.
Real artists use stone lithography.
Real artists use physical instruments - not digital beats.

Finding a trend here? Me too - This was the conversation I had with an art critic from Saskatoon, Sk. I had come across his article reviewing a local artist who painted in oils and he stated that "real artists paint in oils". Since I'm an acrylic artist, I found it hard to swallow that I wasn't a real artist so I contacted him to see why he made that opinion.

Turns out, he was taught in oils - a more traditional medium than acrylics I suppose but I think budding artists are taught to think a certain way. For example, I grew up in a small town where art was good if it was an exact replica of reality. Art just wasn't art if it had a narrative or if it was abstract. So I practiced and practiced realism, trying to get it just.....right.

When digital cameras came out I was used to SLR film cameras and felt that the digital camera was cheating. Now everybody could be a photographer. When a friend of mine went to college for digital art, I secretly thought "that's not real art". Quite frankly, I'm a bit like the critic I spoke of earlier. I cannot grasp digital art being a "real" art form. Why? because it's not how I was taught and it's not what I love. I cannot help but to favor my art form. But that cannot excuse me from accepting a new age of art mediums.

The new era of art encompasses processes that make new art that perhaps a traditional medium just couldn't do. Let's appreciate that. You don't have to like it, but we can still appreciate it. I have noticed that in a lot of "fine art" competitions (whatever that means), oils are still the most popular winners. I scroll through the competitors and see all kinds of works that to me, "stand out" more than the oil winner. Most of the oil paintings that win look quite the same....heavy, impressionistic brush strokes...landscapes or portraits. Why is that?

I was once in an art competition where I placed second next to a figurative artist (I paint architecture). The judge was a figurative artist and when I asked what could make my art number one the next year, she simply said - maybe a new judge. She knows how to judge figurative art, not architecture so partially, her bias got in the way. could that be said for a lot of judges in these "fine art" competitions? Maybe, but I can't say forsure.

I will be so bold to say to art critics and adjudicators - step out of your mould and try to understand something different. We as artists are being told to push the limits and enjoy new media, so why can't the judges?

What do you think makes an artist a real artist?