Saturday, Arti and I drove up to SF to check out some art that some folks were showing as part of Open Studios.

This is a great event, and is held in a lot of places around the country. Artists interested in showing their work register with the Open Studios organization, who then includes them on their maps and in their annual catalog. Each artist is assigned a “weekend” where their home / studio will be opened to the public.

It’s a great chance to discover new local talent, and most of the time to actually speak with the artist about his/her work. This really adds personality to artwork, which we usually only experience far far away in space and time from the person who made it.

Derek and Emily arranged for us to all go to the “Kick-off Party” last Thursday, where we could look at one small example piece from everyone involved.

The SF Open studios is pretty fancy – with a full-color catalog produced every year. On Friday night, we went thru the catalog and put a star next to the artists we were interested in. Total of six for this weekend, and a couple for next weekend.

We saw some neat work, and ended up getting a couple of pieces – one from a guy we went to high school with who is friends with Em and Mark.

We saw some really cool photography (yes! photography that i liked!) from <a href=http://www.jeremieroux.com />Jeremie Roux</a> (nighttime light and motion studies) , <a href=http://www.rena-b.com/photo>Rena Buchgraber</a> (industrial photo transparencies mounted on brused aluminum) and from Damon Sneed (digital mirror-manipulation; no web site yet). Very <a href=/pictures/20041002-nighttime/?9>inspiring</a> stuff.

Open Studios really presents a diverse body of work – from things that I really dig, to things I think are “not art” to (especially in SF) things that I’d put squarely in the “porno” bin.

And this really hammers home an important point: Art is personal. Anyone who tells you “this is art” or “that is crap” or “you don’t know art” doesn’t know what’s up. Something is art when you have an emotional reaction to it. The lack of a reaction to something made skillfully puts that something into the “craft” bucket.

But here’s the deal – one man’s craft (or porno for that matter) is another man’s masterpiece. Art is all about YOU. Don’t see the point in why Picasso is highly regarded, well no big deal! It’s not art to you! However, maybe after learning about why others hold his work in high regard, your feelings may change, and you may see things in the work you didn’t see before. Great! You have new art!

It’s rare for me to feel something from photography. Photography is a tricky medium – since the barrier to entry is quite low (unlike painting or music), photography-as-art for me is difficult to come by. Most things I see in museums are nice portraits, landscapes, or candid “moment frozen in time” type journalism shots. For me, these are good demonstrations of either photography as craft and/or good luck.

However, innovative artists like those I mentioned above, who combine mastery of their craft, creative impulses, and who do it in a manner I like – well, now that’s what I call art.

So I picked up some good inspiration this weekend from the work I saw, and took the camera out a couple of nights. There are a <a href=http://nobot.2y.net/pictures/india_art/>few</a> <a href=http://nobot.2y.net/pictures/20041002-nighttime/>new</a> <a href=http://nobot.2y.net/pictures/20041004-grasshopper/>photo</a> <a href=http://nobot.2y.net/pictures/20041004-baynight/>galleries</a> to look at as a result.