What it means to be a writer in the age of information

What is elemental here is the study of the arts and how it may be elevated to the next level with the help of technology and information. Here is case of trying to convince the self of an argument, which one may extrapolate that logic may meander through devious geographies of the mind in order to reach at the summit of conviction, however there is no denying the distance traversed, the questions asked, the skins adorned, the minds borrowed, and explanations, oh dearly explanations that show the way to this summit of conviction. With distance comes the weight that makes the mass, drive that pushes ahead, undercurrent thinking otherwise, surface tension holding it together, and whatever forces that may be, and there is only as much dousing your own apprehensions.

While I’am trying to plead the case of a writer, my own thoughts somehow circle back to the musician, or the painter telling me – ‘ its all the same’, and there again goes a trail of necessary self argumentations that pleads for the writer. There’s a sense that coyly catches up to me, like a rumbling motor pulled over for speeding, that the writer is in need of help, more so compared to the musician, or the painter, to make a mark in this age of information, and this help considering this to be a common serviceable commodity,  is all the more difficult to come by.

Beyond the client requirements, target audience of the employer, an egotistical editor, or even an unreasonably vindictive critic, one cannot help but overlook a slew of judgements on a generic plane – prove your sanity, social acceptance, intellectual relevance, contemporaneous sustainability, commercial feasibility. Before my mind throws me the proposition of all the suffering and poverty of Van Gogh, I quietly tell myself that we are talking of the information age here. Consider him on Instagram, and then Nietzsche or a Kafka on twitter, garnering an audience for their craft.

The writer in the information age is simply at the gates of El Dorado of information. There are fortresses, galleries, museums, libraries, universities, marketplaces, dark alleyways everything for them to reach out. There are gates that will open, there are doors that will allow passage, yet there is the otherwise. The writer not only has the variety at disposal, but pursue the depths that they may seek. Easier said than done, because with choice comes the surety of getting lost, even your own backyard can be a labyrinth of indecisions, all you need is sprinkle of choices. Depth in pursuit can simply be marred by Search Engine Optimization algorithms. You may never hit the page that you want to be at, or that information you are looking for may be too widely scattered, further made inaccessible through payment gateways, simply not worth the money if you don’t have it. There is no all-knowing librarian who can tell you the alley and shelf as they indifferently adjust their reading glasses. What you can to have, or rather become because in most cases, as a writer you would not have the resources to employ one – a search engine wizard, with all the contacts in dark net and what nots.

Then my dear writer, you are not just the only person at the gates of these hallowed grounds. There is every other honourable or otherwise, god fearing or not, with intentions questionable or philanthropic, nonetheless citizen of this cyberspace, with all the accesses, and rest assure much more resources, for the writer is self-assured in his trade, and over his head to forage such for base tricks of the future, when his chosen vocation has stood up to the test of time for eons. However, these aforementioned citizens, with the resources that will just suffice and the skillset to put a paragraph together, and the added technology to even be a critic to your work, will do the job, minus any obligations to the spirit of creation, move ahead in life making the way for countless others to follow suit. There you have a generation of writers in the age of information.

A writer today, who has turned his back to world, and doing it all over again is not very much different, when you think of the — censorship of Doestovsky in Tsarist Russia, or Bulgakov desperate for acceptance in the age of Stalin, Ginsberg pleading for the brightest minds of his generation, and the right to be queer of course, Emerson in his belief of the limitlessness of the ‘private man’, paving the way for Thoreau. The countless revisions made on Leaves of Grass, the immortal collection of poems of Walt Whitman, even as he reached a grizzly old age, Tennyson and Dickens in their Victorian charm or the lack of it, Virginia Woolf pioneering instant prose, which later Kerouac made relevant to his time, Faulkner in his celebration of America, Hemingway with his disregard for context or Rushdie in his exile, or some personage of the future when Elon Musk has occupied Mars and made language as relevant as camp fires. They all had had to, or would have had to fuel their fire, channelize the steam, prove their relevance, and keep doing it, and this is true across the arts.

The artist has always been faced with the infinite, in the scope of possibilities in expression, the consequent expansion of the mind, the perils to the upkeep of mental health, the ways one can deviate from their true calling. The writer one argues forms the vanguard against this infinitude, because one the evolution of the craft is very idealistic per se, more technical and less paraphernalia, as you can only think of a keyboard, or a speech to text app, and at best a grammar checker, an e-dictionary that also tells you synonyms and rhymes, and that is as much of technology in 50,000 years of language. Two – the age old filters that the work must go through like coherence, or censorship, has undergone not a very steep evolutionary curve. We humans are never short of imposing restrains on all inhabitants of the planet, more so on our own kind. So the awkward writer is not much displaced from the first of it’s kind, not as much as a choice, as he may like to believe, but that is where the state of trade is at. The coming of the age of information has only meant for the writer, that this gaping abyss of infinity just opened its arms wide open.

Pop Art and Roy Lichtenstein

Pop Art looks out into the World. – Roy Lichtenstein

 Pop culture as a phenomenon is a product of the twentieth century west. It is a conglomeration of ideas, expressions and opinions that garnered enough public interest to be considered mainstream. Broadcast and publicity makes the phenomenon an integral part of common life. Muted down so could be heard, compromised so as to fit in, yet intricate, and exciting. In its finery to make a show out of life and how.

Pop art is here to stay, here to celebrate existence and meander away from the orthodox and assimilate the rebels into its ever swelling streams. Conceived by the west in the 1950’s, constructed from the essence of irony in the mundane necessities of life. Pop art presents itself to the audience as a celebration of the humdrum. Everyday objects like a tea cup or a refrigerator, peripheral sections of the newspaper like comic strips and advertisements create the reference image on which the artwork is elaborately based. The reproduction of the otherwise obscure imagery into something magnificent through the application of expert techniques, laced with generous overtones of irony. This is what makes Pop Art, the on your face, million dollar extravaganza that it is.

While other art movements from the 20th century like Dadaism, Expressionism and Surrealism, evolving from the aesthetics of cubism, impressionism and likes, now depended heavily on the contents of the artist’s soul, deriving from the elements of  the spontaneous sub-conscious, defeated conscious and meticulously dysphoric mind. Pop art, also a brainchild of the 20th century, in its modest ways begged to differ. Drawing life source from the forgettable, yet easily recognizable, everyday images in circulation. Comic strips and images from advertisement columns are of paramount importance in this regard.

In their selection of a materialistic medium as inspiration, pop art may have pursued the footprints of dadaism,a movement which preceded pop movement by a few years. Yet in its influence to the mass media, pop art surely went the longer distance.

Pop art like Abstract Expressionism was conceived on the bedrock of the post world war II civilization. Abstract Expressionism on its part drew from the psychological emptiness that was still prevalent among the population, while Pop art drank from the spring of industrial and commercial boom.

Thus pop art induces a rather interactive ambiance among a more varied audience compared to the other mentioned art movements which may attract the attention of few of the industry fanatics. Among other critical commentary on Pop art, it is often stated that the intentions of the artist is to strategically promote the cause of capitalism.

The ideals of Pop art may have surged across the common consciousness of different cultures at different points of time. Yet today what we speak of as Pop art is with respect to the American context.

Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg among others are the American pop art masters.

Roy Lichtenstein and Pop Art:

 

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Roy Lichtenstein (Image:tate.org)

“ Pop Art looks out into the world. It doesn’t look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself. ” as quotes Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein was a creator of million dollar enterprises. His 1963 artwork, ‘Torpedo Los’, in the year 1989 fetched a modest $5.5 millions at an auction in Christie’s. A personal record for the artist in the time. The piece which now could be considered a pop classic was sourced from an image from DC comics, with necessary meaningful alteration made by the artist. From 2010 on wards, paintings of Lichtenstein have constantly crossed the $40 million mark, with pieces like – ‘Ohhh Alright’, ‘I Can See the Whole Room…and There’s Nobody in it!‘, ‘Sleeping Girl’ and ‘Women with Flowered Hat’ . In 2015 with the sale of, ‘Nurse’ to an anonymous buyer at an auction at Christie’s, for an astonishing $95.4 millions, the artist broke his previous record set by, Women with ‘Flowered Hat’ which sold in 2013 for $56.1 millions. All painstaking creations of pop art.

From among the author’s body of work, special mention must be made of:  ‘ Whaam’ – 1963 Tate Modern Art, London; ‘ Downing Girl ’ – 1963, Museum of Modern Art, New York; ‘Look Mickey ‘ – 1961, National Gallery of Arts, Washington DC. Pieces which paved the way for the artist’s fame and are considered absolute corner-stones in the pop art repository.

Among other prominent artworks by Lichtenstein is the ‘Brushstroke Series’. A series of paintings embarked upon and accomplished by the artist in 65/66, which depicted in different ways the artistic rendition of a brushstroke. Imagery on the lines of Abstract Expressionism. A homage to the brushstroke, with its bold outlines, Ben day dot mastering, meticulous presentation and comic book inspiration, the smoke is all about Pop Art.

A true Pop artist at soul, who understood his creations, Roy Lichtenstein also showed artistic bias towards the mirror, late in 60’s. As counter culture was approaching its peak, while art critics still received their paychecks, it was the artist’s attempt at surrealism.

Born in a well to do Jewish family, Lichtenstein was first introduced to art and graphics in school. Through out his life he remained a student of the subject, with reproductions been the driving element of his body of work. His rendition of Van Gogh’s, ‘Bedroom at Aries’, in the early 90’s, more than a hundred years after the original was painted, through its bold outlines, bright colors and an overall remastering appeal, depicts organization, efficiency and evolution of the arts.

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Desk: Wheat-field with Crows’ – Vincent van Gogh -Art Discourse.

Wheat field with Crows by Vincent van-Gogh

This is Verses Inked, for now and forever, as much elaborate, as is ambiguous.

To elaborate is to explain, understood. Yet Ambiguous!, about what, still ambiguous. Meet Monsieur Mystery alias Dr Dilemma.Call them indecision, uncertainty, and some more words worth their weight in nibbles of information across some far flung data channel.

As and how suits the drive towards existence, accordingly perhaps, ambiguity as well defines itself . For instance, what drove the ducks elsewhere. Them ducks from central park, NY, of the Catcher in the Rye. The ducks who went some place warm every winter.

Ambiguity lingers on, perhaps like death, or perhaps as would some pagan belief, or a creative expression- a piece of creation, albeit thought have it, like the messengers of death – Crows. Ain’t the Lord made them ambiguous.At least of speech and composition. At least when you judge them like an anthropology nerd. They are indeed everything ambiguous,as is your faith in the judgment. Much like when a body catch a body coming through the rye, and perhaps not merely meet each other.

Explains of a difference in between two potentials, rather than simple serendipity. As would the teenage protagonist of the, ‘prosaic’, piece of literature have it, rather than the ephemeral musings of a troubadour. Ambiguity settles into the minutest of crevices. The thin line in between catch and meet, and an entire universe is set into motion.

George R.R Martin – “ And the crow once called the Raven black. Ambiguity, presides, settles in. This particular case of grays. Who knows black or white, or how much of either and each.

Here we have this very interesting case of, ‘The wheat field with crows’. Excuse the authorship,if you may of the elaboration. In Discourse is not just any humble wheat field, spotted by a murder of crows participating in perhaps some hobbit philosophy. Modest pride, for those who realize it, is what brings to you, this most glorious wheat field, brought to life by the brushwork of the post-impressionist master, the one, the only, Vincent van-Gogh.

Atop the produce, is this flock of birds. These crows, in flight, some in their mutual arrangement of their travel together are more nigh to a bevy of migrating swans, than any species of their own kind.The freedom in expression, that creation demands,if you may say so. Rather thank god so, the authorship agrees. Yet ambiguity prevails, as some credible van-Gogh critic would have had rather visualized the birds, in flight, in disarray. The authorship laments, and thus chooses not to contemplate over the intellectual projections of the road, or the simmering tumult waiting to explode, from within the very breasts of the sky.

The piece as a whole , including all accounts is and must be considered an emblematic creation, of the the post impressionist influence. Similar brush strokes constitute the wind sweeping over the wheat crops, as well as the mysteries within the depths of the sky. The objective of the post impressionists,as we must believe, was to move on ahead from under the shadow of the impressionism and its obsession with reality. In that glorious case dear readers, the rest as we know it as, is just history, and heroine. Taking it all the way down to the bone yard. Thus while imagined slightly skewed on the horizontal plane, the crows assuredly appear to be in array like the swans, albeit slightly messy. Ambiguity somewhat abates. There is no questioning a mind fried on opiates.

Yet ambiguity reigns supreme, as the piece in discussion is sighted by some to be the last painting to have graced the artist’s lifespan. The list of contenders is long when it comes to be exclusively anointed as the last painting of the master. Time is all we have, and we rather choose to be ambiguous, and thus conclude this particular discussion without any prior notice. Until next time.

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The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso – Art Discourse – Verses Inked

Fine Art-Art Discourse-Verses Inked
The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso-
The Old Guitarist is an oil on canvas, which stands at an impressive four by two, two thirds of a feet. The piece was created by Picasso, sometime during 1903-1904, and rests at The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
The delineations of the image speak for themselves. A frail, wizened, careworn man, possibly blind, or just might have struck the note of his life. Fashionably beat, with his ill-fitting robe, which on its part is much worn at the shoulders. Something Ginsberg would have been proud of perhaps, and Burroughs for sure would have never got out of.  The frame of the man is anteriorly bent over his guitar, which he almost holds in an embrace, as it gently rests over his laps. Your average, abated Barcalonian.
It is matter of no wonder that Picasso, during his post fame days would spent the entire day at some Spanish bar, doing what he probably did second best. At the end of the day, he would doodle something on a paper, perhaps tissue, and tada, the check was served. Something it must have been to be Picasso, as it had been most certainly to be Burroughs, Ginsberg, or Chengis Khan for that matter. As it is every bit to be the Old Guitarist of Picasso.
The Advent of Cubism: 
pablo-picasso
Pablo Picasso along with Georges Braque, could be said to be the founding fathers of Cubism, a popular art movement from the early 20th century, which implemented the use of geometric patterns, to bestow upon the image its dimension. The Girl with the Mandolin-1910, Portrait of Daniel Henry Kahnweiler – 1910, Figure dans un Fauteuil (Seated Nude, Femme nue assise)-1909-1910, Juan Gris, Portrait of Picasso, 1912 among others may be said to be examples of Picasso’s work during the cubist era.
Yet during the time when the Old Guitarist came into existence, Expressionism was what, which was considered avant-garde. A movement which was itself influenced by Modernism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. The same span of time in the artist’s life coincides with his blue period, which was influenced by his indigent living conditions, and the committing of suicide of a dear friend. The period in between 1900 and 1904, when the artist compulsively took to monochrome, using mostly shades of blue and green, with occasional presence of some other colour, to subtly soothe the scene every once in a while. The Blue Nude, The Blind Man’s Meal, Melancholy Woman, Woman with Folded Arms, among others could be sited as examples of creations from the blue period. Not to forget, the Old Guitarist itself.
the-old-guitarist
About The Old Guitarist:
The Old Guitarist on its part was created just after the death of the friend, Casagemas, a time when the artist was particularly sympathetic towards the state of the poor. More empathetic if you may kindly say so.   The image also espouses a certain degree of distortion, which is clearly depicted in the posture of the seated man. The torso been reclined at a skewed angle to the crossing of the legs. The brown guitar, is the only break from monochrome in the entire image, and adequately fills up the space that encompasses the desolate man.
There is a mysterious presence of an overlapping image on the old guitarist, which as per assumptions are the lines from a previous sketch of a woman, which Picasso had started out at, but decided otherwise. The limbs and head of which could not be totally done away with, even since the idea was rejected, and still make their apparitions felt.
There is this poem, you all might be interested of. A certain Wallace Stevens, who was inspired by the painting, had composed a piece of poetry which went by the name of, The Man With the Blue Guitar. A piece of virtue, as it is, what however the authorship seemed to have found on the internet is a piece by the one, the only, the Allen Ginsberg, which on its part goes by the name of, ‘a desolation’.  The lines of the piece pretty much speak for themselves, and may be subject of much heated discussion some night of yonder. What however, the readers may note is the similarity that they may think of in between the old man of Picasso with his guitar, and the canvas, and the beat man Allen Ginsberg with his beat Harmonium and…Well we can just call them Ginsberg Verses.
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