31 May 2008

Old Dogs

Just when I thought OT was going to actually make some positive contributions to the fractal art discussions, they showed that old dogs can't learn new tricks. I praised them for their positive contributions, brief though the period was, so I will now criticize them for their latest volley.

This time they chose to review an image of Keith. But, it wasn't a positive review. It was a harsh critique. It's not so much the harsh critique of the image that is the problem, but that the image was chosen so that it could serve as another tirade against the Fractal Universe calendar. All the old, tired, and bogus arguments were brought up yet again.

There really isn't anything wrong with negatively critiquing images; it's done all the time. But, IMO, it's rather poor taste to post a "review" of a piece of fractal art as a disguise for whining yet again about the calendar. I could critique image after image that the OT authors post on the blog. I rarely find any of them attractive. Regardless of how attractive or unattractive Keith's image may be, I find it more pleasant to look at than almost any image OT has displayed. I just accept the fact that the images they display aren't to my taste. They should learn to do the same.

Apparently, unlike the OT authors, I recognize that every artist produces images different from every other artist. Some I like, some I don't. Some show great technical and/or artistic skill, some don't. What purpose is served by me complaining incessantly about images that I don't like? None really. What purpose is served by me complaining about some calendar that I don't like? None, just as no purpose is served by OT continually complaining about this calendar.

If some artist likes the images they produce, what I think of them doesn't matter. If the publisher sells calendars that contain images I don't like, it doesn't harm or hinder my artistic outlets in any way.

But, what is more curious to me, are the unasked or unanswered questions.

Who exactly is harmed by the Fractal Universe calendar? How?

Is any fractal artist harmed or hindered in their creative efforts by the calendar and the images it displays? If so, please explain how and give a detailed example.

How exactly are the images shallow, juvenile, or tasteless? Are they more shallow, juvenile, or tasteless than images mangled with a block wave filter?

How are the calendar images any worse than marginal fractal images mangled by filters?

How is Keith or any other artist harming themselves or others if they produce images in the style that are likely to be selected for the calendar?

Why must two small events be transformed to suit the complaints of a couple of angry people? Isn't there room for many events that have varying formats and degrees of formality?

Why does the calendar matter so much to the critics? Is it the attention it gets in the fractal community? Is it the excitement people display when they have an image selected? Is it jealousy knowing that one doesn't produce images that are likely to make it into the calendar?

Why do the critics refuse to accept the simple fact that they are unlikely to effect change and instead direct their energies in some direction that might actually serve to create outlets that are run in such a manner that satisfies their criteria?

If you have even cared enough to follow the comments on this post at OT, I'd like to note how OT dodges questions posed by Toby. They challenged him with questions. He answered the questions and challenged OT with questions. OT side stepped and dodged the questions. This is the typical modus operandi there. Not very "professional", is it? I'd say the actions were [insert adjective here], but then they would just complain about how they were called names. :-)

I wonder how long before Toby is called a troll, stooge, etc. and banned again. Probably not very long if he continues to put them on the spot with questions they can't or won't answer.

I'll stipulate that OT doesn't like the calendar. But, I also claim that unless OT can show harm done by the calendar, actual harm not just theoretical "ethical" or "professional" issues, they are just a couple of bitter people attacking something that appears to get more exposure than they do.

As I've pondered their post and this response, I see a couple of new posts have shown up. In one, some amount of time was spent finding other calendar productions that are "supposedly" assembled by a contest process. I say "supposedly" because I didn't take the time to verify the rules of any of them. Why? Because I don't care how they were created and I don't really think the comparison is relevant. Whether you call the process a contest or not is not the point. The point is whether or not the people involved are doing anything wrong. They are not, which is why the fuss OT is making is so silly.

Unless each of the examples follows the same set of "rules" OT wants the Fractal Universe calendar to following, the comparison is worthless. I see a couple of them might have some of the attributes, according to quoted information, but I didn't look at the links to see about the others.

If you don't participate in the calendar process, why do you think you are affected negatively by the process? Why do you begrudge those who do participate?

But, let's even suppose that you call the image submission process for the calendar a contest. Does any one really care? Call it a contest if it makes you happy. Let's move one. But wait, it doesn't strictly conform to Wright's Rules of Contests. Okay, it doesn't. I'm still waiting for someone to actually demonstrate an example of any harm done by the way it is run. I'll be waiting a long time, because there are no exampes. I might as well complain about how juvenile fractal images mangled by filters hurts my creativity and gives a bad impression of fractal art to the general public (who never sees the images anyway).

At the end is a cute little quiz calling anyone who doesn't answer in the OT-correct way an idiot or a liar. Of course, the quiz is stupid, but we've come to expect that. I'll address just one question, #5. IMO, this question is meant to imply that the editor(s) have an inside track to the cover image and the most lucrative cash award by snagging that spot. Why limit it to just 2009? Why not look at 2003? Why is that relevant? Well, I snagged that spot for that calendar, plus another image, and walked away with $600. Did I harm anyone by my participation? Of course not. Plus, I'd rather have $600, or even $200. If you think my participation harms you, show me how. If you think the images are stale and juvenile, fine. I still have my $600.

I also note that none of the people that I know that saw the calendar, or who I gave it to, asked me anything about the "contest" involved and whether or not it was run "professionally". Nor, did anyone comment about how "juvenile" the images were. Granted, this is anecdotal, but it is stronger evidence than OT has ever presented supporting their charges.

Finally, the most recent post gets back to more positive discussion. Well, the fact that it highlights Paul DeCelle, is positive. Paul is one of the most creative UF artists, and fractal artists in general. He is more than worthy of being highlighted. The other aspects of the post are not worth commenting on. It's just more lamenting that the legions of UF users aren't more innovative like Paul, and perhaps by implication, the OT authors themselves.

09 May 2008

Praise When Praise Is Deserved

I figure since I prefer to call a spade a spade, it is only right to offer praise when it is deserved as well. The latest post at OT is one that deserves praise, as well as, the artist that they focused on in the post. This is the first truly positive post that I've seen in many months from OT. I hope they continue to find ways of positive expression.

Kerry is definitely one of the premier fractal artists today. I once described to him that I found his style "disgustingly elegant". I meant that his images often have a simplicity that I react to in a manner like "why couldn't I think of that". Of course, if I had his talent and vision, I could. But, I don't. Just as more complex images take an artistic view, so do simple images.