All posts by hyoshida2014

Art and Research

Combining Creative Practices with Research is a double-edged sword. To address this agruement I will reference to my own field of Creativity and my practice in the Visual Arts, specifically Painting.

Artists, in the Post-Modern world that we currently live in, face the existential crisis that it has in fact all been done before. Painters are left rubbing their heads as to what their role is, now that our world is literally saturated in aesthetically pleasing imagery, thanks to everyday technological devices with the ability to capture, edit and share the world that surrounds us.

Since cameras became accessible to the masses in the early 20th century, the role of the painter has been made seemingly redundant. This can be seen in the Art Movements that emerged thereafter; these movements display a ‘working out’ of the medium. They moved away from representation, which the camera could capture with more accuracy, opting for imagination, expression, ‘things’ from the unconscious and explored the materiality and tactility of the paint itself.

These movements included: Cubism- the visual deconstruction of a subject, Dada- the rejection of traditional standards and approach to visual practice, Surrealism- irrational scenes of the unconscious with photographic precision, Colour Field- large fields of flat, solid colour allowing pigment to become the subject

Today cameras are even more advanced and art-like mediums such as Photoshop and Instagram are saturating the visual field, and Art is left questioning its role. Contemporary Art sets itself apart from these pixel-based images with theory and research, which has created both opportunities and wicked problems (Crouch, 2012).

Research and theory approach to Art means that everything within an artistic context becomes art, and consequently art can be anything that artists decide it to be (Andersson, 2009). This liberates the traditional ideas as to what constitutes subject matter within art allowing more room for curiosity and exploration, however it breeds further uncertainty both inside and outside of the artistic community as to what art is and its role.

Another problem/opportunity in this methodology is that the two fields have a fairly shallow knowledge of each other (Andersson, 2009). This can create opportunities for expanding interest in Art from people who are primarily research based, and allow artist to approach their practice in a new academic or scientific ways. In saying that, this reciprocal ignorance creates artists that are ‘multi-disciplinary’ or ‘jack of all trades, masters of none.’

It is problematic that this approach to one’s practice privileges both hats, creativity and objective research, which tend to contradict each other. Ontological questions as to what Science and Art are, get meshed with questions of method, what the practice should be, or is, within the respective field, and epistemological questions, how is meaning and knowledge formed within the fields (Wilson, 1996).

Contemporary Artists should let research inform their practice where it can, but they need to be aware that it is their practice. Research has radically altered our culture and will continue to do so, as will Art. Artists should not act exactly like researchers. If they do, it’s unlikely that they would make any unique contribution in either field, but furthermore they will continue to distance Art from its own cultural importance.


Andersson, E. (2009). Fine Science and Social Arts – on common grounds and necessary boundaries of two ways to produce meaning. Art and Research: A journal of ideas, contexts and methods , 2 (2).

Crouch, C. &. (2012). Doing research in Design. Oxford: Berg.

Stephen Wilson. (1996). Cultural Importance of Scientific Research & Technology Development. San Francisco State University, Conceptual Design. San Francisco: San Francisco State University.


Creativity + Industry

The reads and lecture this week covered the topic of ‘Creativity + Industry,’ these texts discussed the importance of collective management of creatives within the industry, in order to produce a cultural text. To nurture (read manage) creativity within an industry, there needs to be an environment of open communication, judge free spaces, freedom to display individuality and communal spaces for sharing ideas (Catmull, 2008). The way I see ‘Creativity + Industry’ is the way in which creativity can be affected by money.

I come from a visual arts background; ‘Industry’ in my field refers to patrons, philanthropist, commissions, sponsors, grants and residencies. Art and patronage have had a long-lived history, it was most prominent in the Renaissance, where the Artists’ patrons were mainly the Church and Aristocracy. Art was a source of prestige, wealth and power; the Church used art to lure people back into Faith after the Age of Enlightenment, whereas the Aristocracy wanted to display their wealth and to look like gods. However most of these artists were ‘catering’ for their patrons, selling their artistic integrity and freedom. Everything was discussed between artist and patron, down to how much blue would be used in a painting, as at the time the blue pigment Lapis Lazuli was the most rare and expensive.

Artist without patrons did not have to sacrifice their creative integrity. However they lived their life in poverty, and the value of their work was established only after their death. In his lifetime Vincent van Gogh sold very few works, 5 months before his death he sold his first painting for an amount that would equate to about $78 today; today his estate is worth over 670 million dollars and he has become a household name, his work has had a far-reaching influence on 20th century artist, and is still relevant today, he is one of painting’s most significant fathers. But for Van Gogh, the artist, not only did he not get the money his work produced, but in his lifetime he never received the approval of his peers or seen the impact of his work (Mcnee, 2013).

Today’s model of ‘Creativity + Industry,’ allows the artist to make money now as opposed to after they are dead, which is good for the creative but more often than not, it shows in the work as they cater to the audience; their work becomes very ‘POP,’ very commercial and very “sellable.” Damian Hirst is the second richest living artist being valued at 350 million (Huffpost, 2013). Like most ‘successful’ contemporary artists, he is known for works that are provocative, shiny, and larger than life, becoming more of a spectacle than art, but this is what gets people through the doors of galleries and makes money. For me I can’t help but find this type of work anything more than titillating buzzwords and ‘isms’ being hyped into existence.

According to Bourdieu there are two models for approaching ‘Creativity + Industry.’ The first is the Autonomous Model, consisting of self-governed artist like Van Gogh. These artists act independently and in accordance to their own ethical code, this is often referred to as ‘art for arts sake.’ The second model is that of the Heteronomous, where artist like Hirst work for money, and so their work is held under constraints of forces external to them (Fensham, 2002), this model has been criticized for ‘selling out.’ But there is a third position, where the artists has the freedom and ethical code of the Autonomous model, but they can make money while they are still alive, this is a model of ‘ Ethical Reflexivity’

Ethical reflexivity is being aware of the relationship between cause and effect, and navigating your own practice in a way that accurately reflects your values and beliefs. It’s true that art remains a source of prestige for its patrons, however the new patrons are transnational corporations, with their own agendas of making money (Madra, 2006). When merging creativity with the industry, the individual creative needs to think carefully and ask themselves questions for example: how do they benefit from the positive light of philanthropy? What is the creative work endorsing? Because it is now branded by their company (often by copyright laws and ownership laws (you represent them and vise versa)) what does their company stand for?

A relevant example of artist demonstrating ethical reflexivity is the current Sydney biennale, funded by (among many sponsors) ‘Transfield,’ a billion dollar Australian corporation, who holds a 2.1 billion contract to operate off-shore detention centers, holding asylum-seekers. 28 of the commissioned artists sent an open letter to the directors of the biennale, threatening to boycott the show, refusing to be a part of a show that supports the no boats policy (Rowley, 2014).

They acknowledge that the arts are reliant on private finance, which can create difficulties, for the directors. But there still needs to be some level of ethical awareness. I believe the actions of these artists will create a ripple effect across the art field, inspiring more artists to navigate their practice in an ethically reflexive way.


Catmull, E. (2008). How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity. Hardvard Buisness Review. Harvard Publishing.

Fensham, R. (2002). Understanding Bourdieu. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Huffpost. (2013). Top 5 world’s wealthiest artists. Retrieved 2014, from Huffpost arts and culture :

Madra, Y. (2006). From Imperialism to Transnational Capitalism: The Venice Biennale as a ‘Transitional Conjuncture’ (Vol. 18). Routledge.

Mcnee, L. (2013). Artist who died before their art was recognized. Retrieved 2014, from Fine Art with Lori Mcnee:

Rowley, J. (2014). Biennale artists dubbed hypocritical as Transfield exits. Retrieved 2014, from Hijacked:


Some argue that the current generation of creatives, because they have always lived with technology, when it comes to their attitude towards copying: they haven’t got one. From a practical or ethical standpoint, they don’t see copying as problematic (Garnett, 2013). However on the other side of the argument, the older generations feel too sentimental about what they loose with technology, that they cannot see the beauty and creative potential ingrained in technologies. This generational clash may be the reason why issues of copyright, particularly when it comes to technology, are so heated and unrelenting

The issue of copyright is neither black and white, nor is it objective. I’m 5 years older than Google, so as I write this, I am aware that I come from a background that is more or less native to the current technologies. But it’s too easy to dismiss someone’s opinion once knowing the full extent of their youth, so hear me out: I grew up with ‘snail mail,’ I didn’t have a computer in my house until I was 12, or a mobile phone until I was 15, I played in the garden, ate slugs, I went on ‘jungle book’ adventures, I loved spot the dog books (and I only now, as I write this, understand the double meaning of that title), I used encyclopedias to write school reports that were hand written, badly drawn and collaged on A2 card, I was an analogue child that had to learn, as well as the ‘adults’ how to navigate new technologies, they were introduced to me, it was never inherent. So when I talk about technologies, I have a rounded idea of the full extent of these technologies, their applications and their implications.

Copyright and creativity have a long-lived history; people have this Romanic idea of the artist being an isolated eccentric character dedicated to their vocation. 17th Century painter Anthony Van Dyke prodigy of Peter Paul Rubens assumed the exact same technique and aesthetic of his teacher. Egon Schiele surpassed his teacher Gustav Klimt, picking and choosing like a buffet the techniques of his mentor. Bridget Riley, ‘Op Arts mother’, had multiple assistants and hardly ever worked on her own pieces. Issues of authorship, appropriation, copyright and legitimacy have existed as long as people have been making things. Recently there has been a sort of historical amnesia where we are led to believe that these are new issues brought on by new technologies.

It is true however that new technologies have blurred the lines of authorship and ownership. As the medium of accessing and gathering information changed, our perception of information changed (Garnett, 2013). Participatory reblogs like Tumblr, photo-sharing sites like Flickr and deviantArt, and all manner of social media as I will demonstrate later, has perhaps predisposed the ethos of the new generation of creatives and their practice of ⌘+C ⌘+V, dragging and dropping onto our cluttered desktop. Art today has seen a decline in studio-based art and an upsurge of research and theory, in many ways the internet has become its own medium, allowing new possibilities to recontextualize, to copy, repurpose and to share.

Historically, artists have referenced, appropriated, and quoted from the world around them as well as from other artists in order to produce new meanings and contexts (Garnett, 2013). We are all appropriating artists, if we didn’t reference the past, it would be like having a conversation with a completely new, unknown language. We use culturally understood symbols and references to establish new meanings, from oil painting to fashion, all require some form of copying, but has come to be seen in a negative light; the harsh light of online reality.

It would be difficult to find a creative that doesn’t freely admit to taking inspiration or influence from other artists, because when it comes to visual communication, one needs to have all the information before they can start to have their own dialogue. But sometimes it’s hard to see when the lines blur. We already have copyright law in place, but with creative works in particular, it really needs to be judged case by case, which is what spawned the ‘Fair Use’ policy, which judges the appropriating work based on whether it has been ‘transformed’ enough, into something new and different (Robertson, 2013). The implications of the appropriated work is also assessed, if the value of the work has not decreased both ethically and monetarily, then the appropriator will usually be found to be not guilty.

Last year I personally came in contact with the ethical dilemmas of authorship and appropriation. A new friend I had made at Uni added me on Facebook, during a routine Facebook stalk I saw that he was passing of artwork, with a strong likeness to another Artist friend of mine, as his own, even worse he was submitting the works in class for assessment. At that point I had no personal alliance to either of the artists, nor could I be 100% certain who was the original creator of the works. It took me a few days to do anything with the information, but I eventually decided that if it were my work I would want to know and set things right. I helped the appropriated artist gather the material needed to put a case together to present to the head of Arts and the appropriator was faced with the consequences. (See below for images)

After that incident one would assume I would be against infringement of copyright. But issues of legitimacy are never black and white. Brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman created as series of paintings entitled ‘If Hitler had been a hippy how happy would we be’ the series consisted of the two artists painting rainbows and smiley faces on top of the original watercolours of Adolf Hitler (Whitecube, 2008), a body of work I cannot ethically fault.

I can see both sides of the issue, as a creator who wouldn’t like their own work to be appropriated or used out of context and one who creates in a world saturated by imagery, imagery that often demands further exploration. Anti-copying propaganda tries to snuff new forms of Creativity, but navigated thoughtfully and ethically, ‘infringing’ on copyright can be a good thing.
Garnett, J. (2013, Oct 8). They are the World. Retrieved from Art21:

McIntyre, P. (2011). Issues fro Media Practice. In Creativity and Cultural Production (pp. 176-177). Palgrave Macmillan.

Robertson, A. (2013, April). A legal victory for ‘appropriation art’ expands when artists can remix each others’ work . Retrieved May 2014, from The Verge:

Whitecube. (2008). exhibitions 2008. Retrieved 2014, from White Cube:

If Hitler had been a hippie how happy would we be
If Hitler had been a hippie how happy would we be
Left: new work Right: original work
Left: new work
Right: original work
Left: new work Right: original work
Left: new work
Right: original work


What role does technology play in the process of creating?

It is true that we live in a technologically saturated world, and in many cases Art reflects the world we live in. But what is the relationship between Art and Technology?

In the early 19th century in England a group of factory workers protested the introduction of labor-saving machinery. Fearing the effects that the advance in technologically would have on their lives, they destroyed and burnt down the machines, this refusal of technological ‘progress’ was called the ‘Luddite Movement.’

Frame-breakers, 1812
Frame-breakers, 1812

Plato of Socrates in the Phaedrus considers technology and its relationship to us. He tells of the king of Egypt Thamus, who was approached by Theuth who invented numbers, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and letters. Theuth brought his inventions to Thamus, saying that they ought to be imparted to other Egyptians.

Thamus asked what use there was in each, Theuth explained each use, giving praise to letters “this invention will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered” (Plato, 1917, pp. 561-5).

Thamus replied “one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another… you have been led by your affections to ascribe them a power, the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise” (Plato, 1917, pp. 561-5).

Socrates, as well as the Luddites expressed a fear of new technologies where we change as a result of using and depending on them, and old skills are lost in the process. Centuries from the original Luddite movement, the relevance is still there. Neo-Luddism is not a rejection of technology, but a perspective where our relationship to technology is critically examined; technology gives opportunity, but it also states the conditions (Coulthard & Keller, 2012).

The problem I have with technology is not the dependency we have on electronic devices, but the lose of mental understanding and ability because we use technology as a crutch. The social ecology of technology is changing us, and the way we view and access knowledge.

In class I refused to participate in an activity that required the use of ‘Photoshop.’  While I acknowledge the relevance of this activity, I reject the idea that the absence of this skill would be crippling to my creative career. I enjoy the ‘fresh’ and ‘relevant’ teaching approach at ECU, where the educators move towards a teaching method that engages with the novel, immediate and that which is directly relevant to the current environment, creating flexible, adaptable students/citizens (Coulthard & Keller, 2012).

My refusal to participate was not an act of defiance but rather self-preservation. My practice as a Painter is defined on my ability to see things differently and to express and communicate to others abstract ideas. The introduction to a ‘cheat sheet,’ I believe would hinder my imagination, which is the magic of what makes a creative mind truly special. Already through ‘relevant’ teaching at Edith Cowan I’ve lost my patience for drawing, as the use of projectors and photographs are not only accepted but endorsed.
Kranzenberg states that technology is ‘neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral’ (Kranzberg, 1986).

Particularly, in my generation ‘Generation Y’ and those that follow, knowledge is seen to be as something that is ‘over there’ something that is next to us, rather than being a part of us. We don’t gain knowledge or wisdom; we simply know how to find it on the Internet. I am concerned with how much we, as humans are changing, with myself in particular I try to control how much exposure I have to unnecessary technologies. And while some may be critical of this approach, I think it would be defeatist to not, at least,  try.


Coulthard, D., & Keller, S. (2012). Technophilia, neo-Luddism, eDependency and the judgement of Thamus. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society , 10 (4).

Kranzberg, M. (1986). Technology and history: Kranzberg’s laws. Technology and Culture , 27 (3), 544-560.

Plato (1917), Plato with an English Translation,W. Heinemann, London (H. N. Fowler, trans. Vol. v.1. Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus).

The Creative Personality

The Creative Personality is complex in that it has the ability to move from one extreme to another. I wanted to see how many of the 10  polar traits described by Csikszentmihalyi, I exemplify in just 24 hours.

Today I did my install at the Mundaring Arts Centre for the ‘Watch This Space’ exhibition. This exhibition is show casing hand selected works from the 2013 Graduate Shows in the Perth region. I was lucky enough to have my works chosen.

1) The Creative is both physically energetic and often at rest. Robert Davies gives an anecdote about his father who accredited his success to his desire to have a nap everyday after lunch, and that impulse drove him on (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). I see the same drive in my own practice. It’s a personal goal of mine to never wake before 10.30am, this is not due to a particular hatred for the morning, but rather a tendency to work long hours either in my studio or at the bar I work in. So despite the Mundaring Art Centre opening at 9am, I set my alarm to 10:45.

2) There is a lot of deliberation whether the Creative is smart, I see this particularly amongst people my age when I tell them I study Visual Arts, they generally ask “An Arts Degree, what are you going to do with that?”  But there is a difference in Convergent Intelligence, which is measurable by IQ and Divergent Intelligence, which is more about fluency and flexibility.

Being intellectually brilliant “can be detrimental to creativity…as it hinders curiosity” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). If “naiveté is the most important attribute of genius” as Goethe says, then my assumption that I could get to a place I had never been to before without map-reading abilities or adequate tools to guide me, I must be a genius.

3) There is a paradox of playfulness and responsibility that is seen in Creatives. Despite being lost and disheartened somewhere in the strange web of Perth highways, I was installing my work. I knew my own limits, if I kept driving I would work myself into a frenzy, so I pulled over and waited for a friend to take me themselves. I encounter many obstacles in my practice, hard work and perseverance generally see me through, thankfully today I could lean on someone else. To make light of the situation I made a playful ‘road trip playlist’ while I waited for my backup.

4- When I made it to the gallery, after the trauma of being lost, I had to get into my ‘Artist as a business person’ mode. In the Art world especially, networking and appearing professional in front of the ‘gatekeepers’ is integral to ones career. The ability to switch between being intro- to extro- vert plays a huge part in my Creative Personality.

5- I feel that I escape rigid gender roles and stereotyping as my practice requires me to get messy and do quite physical, almost carpentry work. I am still very feminine, but I do tend to be more dominant, aggressive and self-confident than other women my age.  The set up of my work took just over an hour, thanks to my pre-made template that I stuck to the wall and nailed into.

6- The work that I was installing was about the need for a dialogue in Australian Ideology, particularly when it comes to ‘outsiders.’ My work is quite rebellious, in that I openly scrutinize Australian Identity within a traditional framework of oil painting.

7-The Imagery within my body of work is abstract, but rooted in reality. I came up with representations of different attitudes towards Australia. My viewer may see dead kangaroos and an Australian Flag on a windless day, but I see my values being questioned and the shame I feel for the country I was born in.

8-My relationship with what I create goes backwards and forwards between passion and detachment. Even now I am still passionate about my body of work, however to get there I had to be objective and look at it with a ‘new set of eyes’ so that I could edit and change, to make the work stronger.

9- Re-exhibiting old work I feel both humble and proud. Being aware of the historical impact of other political art, for example Goya’s ‘The Third of May, 1808’ or Picasso’s ‘Guernica,’ certainly puts my work into perspective; while other artists were getting arrested, I was winning awards. Since then I have moved onto other projects and looking back, I can only see flaws. However I am extremely proud that my work was selected out of hundreds of students, and being re-exhibited only strokes my ego.

10- There is this idea that the artist is this eccentric, anxious character that creates in a response to their vulnerable, raw emotion. I would say that is a characterture of the reality. I am sensitive to subjects that do not slight others. This particular work spawned out of being asked where I am from, based on my ‘mongrel’ complexion, at least twice a week, as it made me feel othered.

Being exhibited, is opening yourself up to criticism, responses to my work often make me feel misunderstood as a communicator. But painting is what makes me happy, I get enjoyment out of the process of creating, and that enjoyment erases my doubt. When I paint, I know that’s what I am meant to be doing.

Conclusion: While I do agree with some of the points given by Csikszentmihalyi, I am skeptikal that it is these personality traits that make a Creative. I find this list rigid but also vague and horoscopic, as though anyone can insert their own personality onto this list. I agree with Bourdieu’s theory that the field generates dispositions, and those within the field think and act in ways approved by the field. To suggest that we can identify consistent dispositions and behaviours of Creatives is merely a stereotype that dominates popular imagination. The idea that the artist is ‘not like’ the ‘rest of us’ is integral to the artist’s capital, and more importantly the value of their work, monetary or otherwise (Fensham & et al, 2002).
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity. New York: HarperCollins.

Fensham, R., & et al. (2002). Understanding Bourdieu . Sydney: Allen&Unwin.

Sternberg, R. (2006). The Nature of Creativity. Creativity Research Journal , 18 (1), 87-98.

Domino effect

The Age of Enlightenment is the Period that I find most interesting. This period spawned out of the Middle Ages. It was a time when creatives and intellectuals stopped reiterating the formula of their precursors and started to question and think for themselves.

The Renaissance coincides with the Age of Enlightenment, this is significant because for the first time in Art History, Artist began to understand how to create linear perspective, to render the Third Dimension and manipulate stone to create smooth and highly detailed sculptures.

For the first time, things that were considered ‘normal’ were being scrutinised, especially the systems of power such as the Monarchy and the Church. As people turned away from the Church, the Church found new ways of luring people back into faith, they did this by commissioning grand art works that glorified God and depicted the ecstasy of faith, a period we now call Baroque.

Middle Ages> Age of Enlightenment>Renaissance> Baroque>Rococo>Neoclassic


In week 2, a reoccurring idea was being questioned within my tutorial group and that was the notion of being creative and being derivative, to the point of plagiarism. The period that we are living in, that is generally referred to as ‘Late Modernity,’ there is this notion that it has, in fact, all been done before.  That culture was a domino effect of history and Art periods, that has now come to a crashing holt, and all we can do is reiterate or appropriate what has already happened into new contexts.

Like any good debate, there are strong arguments for both sides.

AGAINST ‘so-called’ Contemporary Art: The past 50 years of Art History has seen a fundamental realignment of intention, structure and meaning of what it means to create Art. This can be seen in the decline of technique and criticism, and the ascent of philosophy and theory. Contemporary Art schools replace studio-based units with research, and practical technique with abstract problem solving.

What differentiates Modernity from Late Modernity is the ideology of Modernity being an age of perceptual change, progress and avant-garde; an ideology that has been usurped by the recognition that it has now all been done before. What remains is a novel reiteration of Art’s History for the benefit of the market and its various profiteers (Hansen, 2010).

The emphasis on art as a commodity has to a great extent displaced critical discussion.
Artists have to decide, consciously or not, what relationship their work will have to the global audience, as any ‘anti-global’ aesthetic could result in the exclusion from the international art system (Mateer, 2013). With this in mind it’s difficult to understand art’s role and its ability to make meaningful and honest contributions to Contemporary Culture.

FOR Contemporary Art: Visual Art can be about visual communication and not just a sign of prestige for its patron. Art is powerful; it has shown that in the past. In an oppressed society, the Artist and the Writers are among the first to get censored and imprisoned because of what Art can do, see Ai WeiWei as a Contemporary example in China.

I often get jaded, being in the Contemporary Art scene, and I question the reason why I create, its purpose. I then reflect on a scene from Margret Atwood’s ‘Oryx and Crake:’ “When any civilization is dust and ashes,” he said, “art is all that’s left over. Images, words, music. Imaginative structures. Meaning—human meaning, that is—is defined by them. You have to admit that.” (Atwood, 2003)

In terms of human meaning, art is very special. There are copper etchings in space, greeting intersecting life forms on the Voyager Golden Record, that is powerful, and I do have to admit that.


Atwood, M. (2003). Oryx and Crake. McClelland and Stewart.

Hansen, D. (2010). Show Me. Art Monthly Australia (230).

Mateer, J. (2013). My Tone of Uncertainty. Perth: PICA.