Saturday, January 31, 2009

Art: Short Word, Incredible Beauty - Part 2

Form - while words create places for our imaginations to go, form can take that imagination and turn it into something everyone can see and experience the same way the imaginer does. Form may present itself as paintings, architecture, or even movies (or as I should call them - motion pictures).

I'll start with paintings. One of my favorite paintings is Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. For one reason, I love stars. For another, I'm not a painter. The only experience I ever had with paint was elementary school, and that was only using paint as you would crayons - to color in pictures. But what I did learn out of that was that it was extremely hard to put the right amount of paint into those pictures and keep it neat. So when I see a painting like this where this obviously a lot of strokes, I am amazed. There is incredible detail in this painting, but it also looks like an illustration for a children's book. While it is all just paint, the night sky easily jumps off the canvas and gleams. All in all, it's a beautiful piece of work.

To architecture and I had quite a time choosing among my favorites. I went with one that is quite simple and yet amazing - the St. Louis Arch. I visited this massive creation back in 2002. And even though it stands high above the rest of St. Louis, it's extremely hard to get to. But it was so impressive to see this awesome piece of work up close and in person. And while it's design looks simple, it took a lot of genius to create a structure that, though thin, can withstand the highest winds and carry tran units to the top like a subway. Beyond those accomplishments, it reflects in a mighty way what St. Louis is - the gateway to the West. This structure represents a bygone age of adventure and exploration into lands unknown and stands as a testament to those times and the men and women who started courageous new lives in the lands beyond.

Lastly, motion pictures. I love movies and watching how movies are made. Therefore, I have a fairly high standard for films. Rather than pick out one movie above all the others, I would rather applaud a company. That company is Pixar Animation Studios. That's right - movies made for families, appealing to children. Why? For starters, anyone can make a movie by simply picking up a video camcorder and filming, though obviously you need more than that to make a good one. But Pixar starts just like a painter - with an empty canvas. Every building, every prop, every character, the smallest piece of dust, every single sound - all of it has to be created from scratch. The animators painstakingly work on each character's actions and the framing of each scene. The second reason these films are art is because Pixar is made up of first and foremost great story writers and tellers. No one else finds a way to tell stories like what toys do when we aren't looking, bugs and their lives, monsters who scare for practical purposes, a fish crossing the ocean to find his son, a family of incredible superheroes trying to live the not-so-super life, a car that slows down enough to see someone other than himself, a rat that believes he can be a great chef, and an old robot who finds love and gives himself to show it. Pixar and John Lasseter, its creative visionary, have tapped into the magic that made Walt Disney so good in the old days of hand drawn animation. They have simply used this incredible piece of technology called the computer to tell these tales. From the story writing to the story boards to the animators to the lighting to the musical score, these films are first class pieces of art that are second to none.

Form - invisible imagination turned into visible beauty.

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