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Do Now #59: Is it Art?

| January 22, 2013 | 28 Comments
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Photo by Wes Naman

Photo by Wes Naman



To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

Take a look at Wes Naman’s portraits of his friends faces distorted with tape. Do you consider these portraits to be fine art? Tape up your own face and take a picture. Do you feel like you engaged your creativity?

Introduction

Photographer Wes Naman created some images using his friends’ faces and clear tape. Using the tape to distort their faces, Naman asked his subjects to try to remove the tape using only their facial muscles, then snapped close-ups to create his “Scotch Tape Series.”

Soon after the photos were posted, they went viral, catching the attention of the media and the company that manufactures Scotch Tape. The distorted-face portraits have been called both funny and horrifying. Take a look at Naman’s photographs and gauge your inner reaction. Do they make you feel a certain way? Does the fact that they’re high-quality, close-up photographs affect your perception of them in a different way than a candid shot taken in someone’s living room?

Many photographers use masks or facial obstruction to communicate a message in their figurative images. Ralph Eugene Meatyard is an early 20th-century photographer known for creating images that were both haunting and humorous, some featuring small children wearing Halloween masks.

Do you think Wes Naman’s “Scotch Tape Series” should be considered art? Why or why not?

Resource

CNN segment Sticky tape portraits go viral – Jan. 11, 2013
A photographer’s series of portraits with faces squished and distorted using Scotch Tape has gained worldwide attention.


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with@KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to tweet their personal opinions as well as support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can…and any contribution is most welcomed.


More Resources

Mitra Fabian’s Scotch tape sculptures on KQED Spark
After looking at Mitra Fabian’s work, it’s not surprising to learn that she got her start fabricating sculpture for the HBO series “Six Feet Under.” She works with everyday materials creating forms that mimic or hint at organic growths.

Jason Mecier’s junk drawer portraits on KQED Spark.
Jason Mecier’s art is certainly one of a kind. It takes somebody with an unusual amount of imagination and humor, not to mention patience, to create a portrait of Martha Stewart entirely out of vegetables, Demi Moore from dog food, the Spice Girls with candy, and Sigmund Freud from tablets and pills.

 

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Category: Arts, Do Now, Do Now: Art and Popular Culture

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About the Author ()

Kristin Farr produces arts videos for KQED and writes monthly features for Juxtapoz magazine. She lives in the East Bay, and her favorite color is all of them.
  • http://www.mcdonnellenglish.info Mr. McDonnell

    This is a great example of white, ethnocentric postmodernism.

  • http://www.mcdonnellenglish.info Mr. McDonnell

    This is a great example of white, ethnocentric postmodernism.

  • Bailey B.

    In my opinion I think this picture is very creative and cool looking, but I do not think it is art. All the guy did was distort his friends face with tape and take a picture of her. There is no real talent in doing that.

  • Bailey B.

    In my opinion I think this picture is very creative and cool looking, but I do not think it is art. All the guy did was distort his friends face with tape and take a picture of her. There is no real talent in doing that.

  • kristiana c.

    i think this is art is is showing a possiblely beautiful women potrayed in a new awkward and weird way. they are many people who are not as fortnate to look beautiful as anyone else. so yes i do think thhis is art.

  • kristiana c.

    i think this is art is is showing a possiblely beautiful women potrayed in a new awkward and weird way. they are many people who are not as fortnate to look beautiful as anyone else. so yes i do think thhis is art.

  • Victoria T (west jeff)

    I do consider the portraits of Wes Naman art. In my opinion, art is creative skills produced by the artist. Since this piece of art created by Naman has never been done before, his imagination and thoughts have created what is called scotch tape art. His art work is unique and has creative thoughts put into it so therefore it is considered art. Even though some people might not like the art work they will never know the thought and imagination that was in Naman’s mind as an artist. That is why I think Wes Naman’s portrait is considered art.

  • Victoria T (west jeff)

    I do consider the portraits of Wes Naman art. In my opinion, art is creative skills produced by the artist. Since this piece of art created by Naman has never been done before, his imagination and thoughts have created what is called scotch tape art. His art work is unique and has creative thoughts put into it so therefore it is considered art. Even though some people might not like the art work they will never know the thought and imagination that was in Naman’s mind as an artist. That is why I think Wes Naman’s portrait is considered art.

  • Tan N

    I do believe that the “Scotch Type Series” should be considered art. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form. Anything anybody create is art. It may not be as beautiful as famous paintings and potraits, but the creation should still be considered and art. These days, artists can splatter paint on a canvas and it will be displayed in art museums. Even though it may be weird and ugly, art is just one’s creativity.

  • Tan N

    I do believe that the “Scotch Type Series” should be considered art. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form. Anything anybody create is art. It may not be as beautiful as famous paintings and potraits, but the creation should still be considered and art. These days, artists can splatter paint on a canvas and it will be displayed in art museums. Even though it may be weird and ugly, art is just one’s creativity.

  • andrew dove(west jeff)

    the portarit is considered fine art because it is entertainment and is a picture and pictures are considered art

  • andrew dove(west jeff)

    the portarit is considered fine art because it is entertainment and is a picture and pictures are considered art

  • Katherine Hunter

    I think that Naman’s portraits should be considered art. Reason being is that he took a dive and decided to think outside the box. The idea to tape up your face and take pictures may not be a pretty one, actually it’s kind of creepy, but it’s one that is quite original. Personally I think it’s part of the “artistic charm” of the pieces. Naman’s inventiveness makes his works art in their own right, that’s my take on the matter.

  • Katherine Hunter

    I think that Naman’s portraits should be considered art. Reason being is that he took a dive and decided to think outside the box. The idea to tape up your face and take pictures may not be a pretty one, actually it’s kind of creepy, but it’s one that is quite original. Personally I think it’s part of the “artistic charm” of the pieces. Naman’s inventiveness makes his works art in their own right, that’s my take on the matter.

  • Mariah T.

    Yes its’s art because he did something that was original and different.

  • Mariah T.

    Yes its’s art because he did something that was original and different.

  • http://msbisonline.edublogs.org/ Ms. Burton

    I have always felt that art like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. True art causes people to stop, think and reflect. This collection is striking, unusual and … artistic.

    I don’t think that I would put any of these prints up and I am not willing to tape up my face but I can appreciate the fact that Norman’s pictures make you strike up a discussion. Some of us jumped when the first picture loaded and some of us laughed; but everyone had something to say.

  • http://msbisonline.edublogs.org/ Ms. Burton

    I have always felt that art like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. True art causes people to stop, think and reflect. This collection is striking, unusual and … artistic.

    I don’t think that I would put any of these prints up and I am not willing to tape up my face but I can appreciate the fact that Norman’s pictures make you strike up a discussion. Some of us jumped when the first picture loaded and some of us laughed; but everyone had something to say.

  • Richan M.

    I do not think this is a good example of fine art. Looking at these pictures I wasn’t amazed. I found nothing interesting about this art.

  • Richan M.

    I do not think this is a good example of fine art. Looking at these pictures I wasn’t amazed. I found nothing interesting about this art.

  • mia h

    Viewing these photos, of supposed art i believe that the above pictures are no art in fact they seem to be portraits degrading the beauty of human faces.

  • mia h

    Viewing these photos, of supposed art i believe that the above pictures are no art in fact they seem to be portraits degrading the beauty of human faces.

  • Ashleigh T(West Jeff)

    I don’t find that portrait above to be fine art. It is, however, creative. I feel that fine art requires physical talent, some of which may involve sketching, painting or sculpting. I feel like other opinions of fine art has drastically changed over the years. Fine art has become a competition of who can try and stand out the most instead of it being about the art.

  • Ashleigh T(West Jeff)

    I don’t find that portrait above to be fine art. It is, however, creative. I feel that fine art requires physical talent, some of which may involve sketching, painting or sculpting. I feel like other opinions of fine art has drastically changed over the years. Fine art has become a competition of who can try and stand out the most instead of it being about the art.

  • John Watney

    Fun thing that would keep children busy – even adults. But Art? No NO NO

  • John Watney

    Fun thing that would keep children busy – even adults. But Art? No NO NO

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/christopher_ayers/ Chris

    I do a lot of photography myself, and while I personally wouldn’t (probably ever) do something like this, it might be art to others. Fine art, no. Relatively speaking, the composition is good, and lighting seem fine. I am not a super artsy photographer (I do sports mainly, portrait work, and sometimes abstract) but again, artistically, I don’t think it is artistic. Creative, sure it is.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/christopher_ayers/ Chris

    I do a lot of photography myself, and while I personally wouldn’t (probably ever) do something like this, it might be art to others. Fine art, no. Relatively speaking, the composition is good, and lighting seem fine. I am not a super artsy photographer (I do sports mainly, portrait work, and sometimes abstract) but again, artistically, I don’t think it is artistic. Creative, sure it is.