So i guess this has been a gamer-nerd atrocity committed by Roger Ebert in what seems to be an old man's elaborate trolling effort to start a gentleman's flame-war. Whatever.
This is a really old argument that has all the diseased symptoms of a familiar affliction, and already more has been said about it better than I ever could, but it's a deep-fried dinner that's just too rich to pass up. Ever since the pace of invention and innovation has sped up to make gigantic leaps between and even during generations, it's been the solemn duty of older people to impune, ridicule, or trivialize whatever younger people are doing or enjoying or expressing. In the same way, I suppose, that every generation figures it's living the hard end-times, and when the world fails to end and goes on humming, they feel disenchanted and less important, and the younger set is perceived at not having endured or encountered anything like the hardships suffered by those who played the game before the newest patch. Kids these days don't even have to pay through the nose for epic mounts and there's flight paths all over the place. Hmph.
"Video games can never be art."
I feel stupid for even letting this kind of rhetoric into my brain, really. Because broad, declarative statements with that level of certainty about such nuanced topics are bound to hit a wall sooner or later, and their only purpose is to incite indignation or retaliation and make noise. I even suspect the old coot might not even believe what he says. Maybe he's grown bored with talking about cozy old criticism and just wants to engage and infuriate people with some hardknuckle arguing, sort of like dousing an old house in gas, striking a match, and watching it burn. And there's no need whatsoever to make an effort to change his mind. It's his opinion, God bless him. Have a Coke and a smile.
If I said "Humans can never be artists", setting aside the definition of "art" and all its complexities for a moment, what kind of statement would that be? Certainly, a majority of humans do not possess the skills to become "artists"; the skillset for any specialized trade is a minority. So even if one doesn't consider MOST games to be art, it must certainly be true that some can aspire to greater things that would accommodate one's stuffy definitions of what constitutes "art".
Really, it's just a flawed statement reflecting a deliberately insulated worldview based on a subject that he has only an outsider viewpoint on. I wonder how he would treat the opinions of someone who has never watched a movie who made a similar statement. Would he criticize their lack of experience or knowledge before making such a bold claim?
Just kind of bums me out. Usually I like what the fellow has to say, and i've often looked to his opinions for support of why I like stuff. You don't need a critic's permission to enjoy something, but critical acclaim, the honest, discerning kind (and you could argue how discerning he is, but whatever) in a world of subjective entertainment is nice to have, to help articulate your own feelings or dig deeper into what makes a piece of entertainment. It's a kind of superfluous, arbitrary validation that can guide your own ability to evaluate something.
And there's no prize for video games being "art"...I always just figured they sort of were, since they had all the traits of what I've always understood to be art. And true, maybe in 200 years, or 500, no one will remember a lot of games. But we won't remember 98% of all the films that have been made, all the books that have been written (I'll wager the new Oprah book won't be treasured by future generations) or all the music that's come out. It's ephemeral. Maybe that's where the old codger's gripe comes in. Games make you, the player, a protagonist. You are part of the work. And because it's you, and you, and countless others, the constructed character itself isn't always a single icon, and the story isn't a closed-off, automatic experience. It's not a single image, or a linear story; games create worlds, and the best ones make believable, compelling worlds built upon the skills of many artistic minds. Sight, sound, function, story...these days it's so far beyond the Pac-Man/chessboard principles that are Ebert's only analog of experience that I guess it's not surprising he could reduce this intimidating wall of new entertainment into such a dismissive blurb.
Cave paintings paved the way for a lot of stuff, and it took singular, immensely talented minds to take the first step in an evolution of ideas that is still going on indefinitely. But they're still godawfully craptastic representations of animals when you get down to it. Just imagine if that was where we stopped at calling stuff "art" when some bright spark stopped drawing on walls and started passing around images you could hold in your hand.
Additional related info rendered in blistering detail below!
Thanks to everyone for your interest so far! I'm happy to announce that all 5 slots are spoken for, and I've begun work on the requested pieces. To those who have expressed interest but didn't get in on round 1, I'm keeping track as best I can and will notify you before opening up shop again to give you priority on round 2.
So thanks again, art-friends and degenerates!
The bleak winter is upon us, and outside my door I can hear the baying of bloodthirsty predators, their hunger sharpened by starvation, their steely weapons gripped by icy hands whose veins veritably pulse with desperation. I have seen their hoary shadows twitching in the night, encircling me as their drums beat louder, and their wicked tongues dancing behind their fangs. They are the grim specter of debt, and they demand blood.
So it follows that I've decided to open myself up for commissions!
Some time ago I approached my journal while apparently in the throes of madness and said "I'd like to take requests!" This was stupid, not because people don't deserve to have their ideas illustrated or because I have a festering hatred of humanity, but because I foolishly didn't consider what actual interest might mean. As a consequence, I had a ton of people request all kinds of stuff, more than I could honor in anything resembling a reasonable amount of time, and the end result was maybe one or two pieces of (free) work and a whole lot of "oh yeah...i should really do that sometime..."
I'm not sure how much interest this will spark, and regardless, I'd like to take it slow to start with, in the interests of figuring out how this will affect my schedule, how much I can get done, and what people are going to ask for
So before we climb into the snakepit, here are the ground rules:Commission slots:
This is the biggest concern for me, as I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. So for starters, I'm going to offer five (5) spots. Note me here on dA or contact me at email@example.com to request a commission. If it should happen that all 5 slots are filled, I'll make a note of your request and contact you the next time commissions are open if you're still interested. I'll post and update pending commissions in my journal as I go along.Media:
For the moment, I plan to work these pieces out digitally, meaning I'll provide a hi-res file of the completed work to the client. In the future I may do physical pieces and send the original artwork, but for the purposes of exploring this endeavor (and to keep shipping/ material costs out of the picture) the production and end-product will exist only as data Content:
I'm open to a variety of commissioned requests, and prior to accepting any work I'll notify you if the request falls out of my area of expertise (i.e. asking for architectural drafts of skyscrapers or combustion engines) Pornographic or explicitly violent imagery is also a no-go. I realize that's a matter of aesthetics for some; basically what I mean is that requests for lecherous, no-holds-barred hentai or chainsaws ripping through innocents won't be considered. Laughed or chuckled at, perhaps, but not considered. Essentially it's down to my own discretion, but it's not likely that i'll green flag anything that falls within those lines.
I should also point out that I plan to display completed commission works in my gallery, so if you wish a piece to remain private for any reason, please notify me. (I don't know in what scenarios this would be a problem, but maybe you just don't want the world to know how dearly you love penguins or something)Deadlines!!!
As with any extracurricular activities, finishing times for works will be affected by life, jobs, and acts of God. That being said, I'm shooting for 3-4 weeks per batch of 5 to allow a generous amount of completion time, to be adjusted based on performance for future reference. Prices:
Now for the fun part!
The following list pertains to a limited set of compositions with a fixed rate. If you have a request that doesn't fall under these descriptions, contact me and let me know the details and we'll make an arrangement.Full Character / no background / inks: $40.00
Full Character / no background / colors: $50.00
Full Character / background / inks: $60.00
Full Character / background / colors: $70.00
Half character (torso, head-shot) / no background / inks: $20.00
Half character (torso, head-shot) / no background / colors: $30.00
Half character (torso, head-shot) / background / inks: $30.00
Half character (torso, head-shot) / background / colors: $40.00
Whew! There's more than one way to skin these cats, though, so again, if you have a different notion regarding what you want, feel free to ask. Payments can be made directly via PayPal (in advance, please
And there you have it. I feel like i should close with an appropriately hokey local car dealership-type slogan or something. But i won't, because i'm classy