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What is Art?  What is Fine Art?  What and why is there a difference?  I have a degree in Fine Art and an Inter-disciplinary minor in Art History and Religion, which is convenient, since the subject matter of what is Art, and what is Fine art are tied up some in all these subjects.

choosewellyourfight

This piece is a representation of a work of art by myself, Ellen M. Latta, completed in 2017.  It is rendered in oil paint on masonite. The title of the piece is “Choose Well Your Fight”. This particular painting has an original poem painted on the back of the panel also created by me. It would be an interesting detail in any Certificate of Authenticity as in no other place would this poem be rendered in oil paint written in cursive by the hand of the artist.  It is better than a signature, which is easy to forge. The hand-painted poem is not so easy to forge.

The word “art” simply means to make something, thus anything that is made might be called art. Craftsmanship means it’s made to a standard that is recognizably excellent, and possibly repeatable in the same manner. Knitters and crotchetiers are examples of both artists and crafters. Custom furniture makers are another example of artists and crafters. Industrial designers are artists, and the processes that produce the designs are craftsmanship. I salute all the artists and crafters of designs for their excellent contributions to our high standard of living.

Back when Michelangelo was a lad, the landed gentry were not supposed to get their hands dirty. Doing craft work, painting, masonry, carpentry, wagon making, wheel making, blacksmithing, all of these were considered menial labor not to be performed by those who were in charge. That was considered peasants work.  It might be skilled work, but it was still a lowly occupation. The landed gentry learned swords and maces and all sorts of deadly fighting skills, and control tactics.  One of the control tactics then as now, was information and the manipulation and suppression of the same.

As a young lad Michelangelo had watched a stone mason working sculpture and developed a passion for it. His father did not approve, but Michelangelo was not so easily dissuaded.  In order to make the work of his son not be looked down on, Michelangelo’s Father came up with a brilliant plan to separate the craftsman’s work out and created an entirely new field of work approved by the landed gentry for their offspring.

Since information and the manipulation of ideas was part of the landed gentries stock in trade, “Fine Art” was set apart from craft work by the introduction of symbology that conveyed a separate message contained within the work. Sometimes the symbology was hidden, and sometimes it was blatant, but always it was present in the work. Modern Art still contains these requirements to meet the threshold of Fine Art, thus the publicized write up by a recognized art critic is essential.

There are whole books dedicated to the language of symbology.  Certain things present in the work are meant to convey specific meanings. Fruit, flowers, geometry, numbers, or quantities of items all have specific meanings. Animals can represent ideas and concepts as well. Colors always have affects, but also may convey other things depending on the context of the piece. A line may be just a line, or it may point to something.  A shape may be meant to convey a form or a specific idea. The roughness or smoothness of a piece may also convey more than one type of meaning, or such treatment may be meant to provide a more subtle provision.

Fine art lies at the intersection of politics, high-finance, communications, psychology, and craftsmanship; the latter consideration being of less importance than the former. An officially recognized work of Fine Art becomes a vehicle for the protection of or the transfer of wealth. The major fine art auction houses are the international facilitators and officially sanctioned record keepers of these financial exchanges. Museums, and art galleries are secondary vehicles of these transactions.

Art is one of the things that is not taxed in the same way that most property is taxed. It can be used to protect an amount of money. One person may convey an amount of money to another person through the means of a Fine Art purchase as well.  The item purchased should have an authentic seal of approval of it’s possible future value through the use of officially sanctioned Fine Art critics who publicly proclaim an artist’s work to be worthy of the title of collectible.

If a person is conveying an amount of money between parties through the use of Fine Art, it is generally preferred that the art is difficult to make forgeries of.  Documentation is required.  A gestural work, in art’s language, is a rapid stroke that roughly draws a subject.  Gestural Art has found a particularly important niche in the fine art world, as it’s nearly impossible to make a good forgery of a truly large gestural work.

This latter form of abstract art has landed some confused criticism from many who proclaim that their five-year old could make better art than that seen in some museums.  Indeed, it may be true that the five-year old might make a better representation of something; however, the five-year old is not officially sanctioned by authorized critics within the art world to make symbolic art for sale to collectors; thus the sloppily drawn noodles of line that depict whatever fancy has struck the sanctioned artist become a cashable check for those looking to protect their assets with something non-taxable.

When the average person attacks the value of a work of proclaimed fine art, based on the lack of representative craftsmanship, they misunderstand the purpose of the piece. It likely is a representation of money and power and sometimes even position. To treat it as anything else is to threaten the financial stability of many of the world’s top fortune collectors. This was more probably the reason for the Bonfire of the Vanities than the purported religious excuse that was used in the destruction of much of Europe’s Fine Art collections in the middle ages.

One need not actually destroy the works themselves to destroy the financial footing of those who own the work. One needs only destroy the officially sanctioned recognized value of the pieces to drastically reduce the net worth of the individuals who own them. Hitler’s Degenerate Art exhibition, staged by Adolf Ziegler in 1937, was an instance where the acclaimed value of some types of art, or works by individuals who were not approved of by Hitler’s regime, were devalued by proclamation of a Nation state. The devaluation of these artists work, instantly reduced the net worth of many art collectors within Germany and their occupied territories.The more certain method of this destruction though, is to destroy the works themselves, as there is no coming back from that.

Some people are purchasing Fine Art through the Auction houses and immediately shipping it into a vault underground.  This is a form of tax safe haven, and a hopeful insurance check against possible disaster. As with most investments, it’s not guaranteed to pay off, but there is historical precedent for the idea of getting value back at some time in the future.  One might want to store up the auction house catalog as well as the certificate of authenticity and the letter of provenance to the piece as an additional set of proofs of the value of the work.

The certificate of authenticity is a form that the Artist may provide stating that the work in hand is indeed their work and not that of a forger or rogue print maker. The letter of provenance is a detailed history of the trail of owners, verifying that it is legitimately owned and not a stolen work of art.  If a work has been stolen and found and returned to the owner, these details are included in the  history of the work.   With a true work of Fine Art, the certificate of authenticity and the letter of provenance are as important as the work itself to maintain and verify the value of the work.

This is a very general explanation of the realm of Fine Art. If you found this information helpful, write in the comments below. Let me know if there is more you would like to know about the subject of Fine Art, or any particle field  of Fine Art.  I will be happy to provide more detailed information.

 

Ellen M Story, Ellen M. Lattz at emariaenterprises, llc. January 2019.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story, Ellen M. Lattz at emariaenterprises, llc with appropriate, and specific direction to the original content.

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I was listening to my daughter and her friend as they talked about their homework.  They had been given a list of movies to watch about wars.  We had just watched Pearl Harbor.  It was a well made movie that neither promoted nor ridiculed war, but simply told a story that gave a decent impression of some of the real human suffering that occurred here in the states, and told some of the reasons for what happened. The fact that Japan had Imperial ambitions in China and needed the oil that was being embargoed was the main reason for their attack on Pearl Harbor.

A world war is never started by just one thing, though there is often enough a catalyst for it.  We have many of the factors in place now for another one to blossom; we are just waiting for the catalyst now.  So let’s look at some of the factors that make for a road to world wide ruin and destruction.  Some of you are probably thinking that the bad economies all over are it, but that’s not enough by itself; in fact, that won’t do it at all, if people are sensible and pull together, but we have a Much more solid reason than that hanging over us now, and it has been for at least a decade.

We have become a bloodthirsty people.  We are all looking for a fight.  We are all ready to pick a fight over the stupidest things.  The rhetoric for it has been in place for a while.  You can see it in the comments after news articles, and entertainment pieces, and sports stories.  We Want to Hurt each other. People all over the world want to hurt each other.  We want to do it here in our own country, and when you throw a reason to hurt someone in another country at us, we have all kinds of people ready to jump on that as well.  It doesn’t have to be a good reason, just any reason.

Then you add a bad economy into it.  Not enough jobs, and those that are available are too low paying to make the rent, let alone the other bills.  Two paycheck households are becoming a necessity, and three or more is becoming more popular, as families move in with each other.  Tensions run high under these circumstances.  Rats in a cage… lobsters in a pot ready to boil.

Now we get to throw in radical weather patterns that squeeze people in all kinds of new ways (and I’m not talking about global warming).  Too cold or too hot requires larger and larger amounts of energy to power an electric grid or a heating oil demand that shoves the price up for lack of ability to meet it fast enough.

Because oil prices go up, food prices go up with them.  Prices that we Have to meet, because we have to have this to survive.

Now we get to add in a nuclear fear.  One emanating from a country that has had at it’s core for many years, the ideal of wiping off the map another country.  One that it restates almost daily, like a mantra, to pacify it’s people, so they won’t blame their own poor government for the mess they are in.  Now the world, that is, most of the European neighbors, Israel, and the United States, and maybe a few others as well, want to impose economic sanctions against this country, because they think that if they choke it enough, it’ll cry uncle and give up it’s nuclear ambitions.

I’d like to point out,that Europe tried that with Germany after World War I.  They were choked good and solid.  As it happens, squeezing a country until the economic life is nearly choked out of it, does Not prevent a country from being able to develop a military, nor prevent it from creating weapons, nor stop it from wanting to get back at it’s neighbors who are choking the economic life out of it.

As it happens, this country is in an ideal location to put a hurt on not only it’s neighbors, but the rest of the world as well, should we think of opposing it in it’s mad rush to get strong enough to actually follow through on it’s rhetoric of wiping out another country; never mind that in doing so, it would also wipe out people it claims to support (Palestinians).   Iran is situated in such a way that with only  a little effort on it’s part, it can close a small shipping passage that happens to carry a large amount of crude oil traffic through it out to the broad, broad world.

Now the brilliant minds out there are thinking, the price of oil will go up, and we have oil here, and I could just buy shares in oil stock and get rich off this dastardly result (heh, heh, heh…).; But this isn’t all folks, yes, just like the famous Ginshu knives, there’s yet another sharp blade in this package.  If you look at a picture of the map where the Straight of Hormuz is, you might notice that on the other side of that large land mass that is the Arabian Peninsula, there is a little country called Yemen.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed any of the news out of there lately, but I have, and it’s not pretty either.  They are a poor country, and as a result, they have a serious problem with terrorists.  The government of Yemen is working closely with other governments to keep the problem in check, but as we have seen more than a few times before, the more we try to stifle a problem, the more it struggles to rise up and bite us.  If this one rises up and bites, it could put another whole lot of hurt on us all, and wouldn’t you know it, but they might get some help for their struggle from someone else we are trying to stifle.

Yemen also sits on an oil shipping  choke point.  At the point where the Gulf of Aden buts up to the Red Sea is another narrow passage of water.  Now Yemen isn’t by itself perhaps such a threat, but what if it gets help from a bigger, more well equipped neighbor?  How long would a stand-off at those two choke points take to bring the rest of the world to the overheated boil that always signals war?  I’m betting it wouldn’t be as long as anyone would like to think.  Probably not as long as any of the government think tanks would give us either.

The repercussions of a sudden choking off of regularly delivered and expected flows of oil into countries that had ordered it, and were waiting for it would be devastating in a very short amount of time.  It wouldn’t Just be gas rationing. Not Just long lines at the gas pumps.  It would be shortages of such magnitude that it would imperil the shipping of food supplies, vital repair parts, needed and necessary supplies to finish projects already underway, and would utterly prevent any new projects from being started.

Public transportation would be affected.  Labor difficulties and job layoffs would be exacerbated by it, housing difficulties would expand, and riots would occur as food became more difficult to obtain because no one has the gas to get where they need to go; not consumers, not retail suppliers, not wholesalers, and not even the farmers could get their product to the market.

Sure, you could make a killing in the oil shares, but what good would that do you when the food riots will destroy the city you live in?  Better make sure you have what you need to eat first, then make a killing in oil and natural gas futures.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My youngest daughter and I read an article about a girl who video-taped her parents form of discipline and then saved the video for 7 years before releasing it the day after her father reduced her funding and took away the Mercedes she had been allowed to drive. The headlines were all about an eight minute video which recorded a beating with a belt she had received when she was 16 years old from her Father and Mother. The comments were Mostly about outrage that anyone, let alone a Judge, would use that form of punishment on their child. It seems that if the statute of limitations had not already run out on this event, that the Judge might have been brought up on assault charges.
While I would agree that disciplining while you are angry (which the Father certainly was) is unhealthy, and unwise (but who of us with children have not at some point been guilty of that?) I had to take a step back and think this one through. This is the same form of discipline that many of us grew up with, and we did Not complain that it was abuse. It was largely the norm for discipline through several decades of the 20th Century at least.
When I was a child/teenager, I distinctly remember thinking at least once that I would prefer the long hard spanking that was my Father’s tool, or even the “go out in the yard and get me a switch” routine that my Mother employed, to some of the other loss of privilege options that might have been used for discipline.
A spanking (even the long hard ones) are over after a bit (maybe you can’t sit for half an hour after, because it burns). Even the switch marks (because you chose a skinny little green branch thinking it would hurt less than a thicker branch) will go away after a couple of days; but a loss of privilege usually lasts a lot longer. In our household, there weren’t many privileges, and those we had were shared among many siblings. A loss of privilege left you with precious little to do.

The girl had apparently been downloading some things which she should not have been downloading.  Illegal file sharing…. tut, tut, tut.  I’m sure she knew better.  This activity would also put her parents in a bad position, hence, their anger.
My youngest daughter thought that maybe the Judge should have taken her computer away for a couple of months, and wiped the hard drive instead.
I agreed that that would certainly have been an appropriate response, but mentioned that this girl seemed to have a distinct dislike for loss of privileges. If given a choice between the two at the time, she probably would have picked the whipping. Who knows…. maybe she was given the choice, which is why she had time to turn on the camera. Then she saved it…..
She must not have felt all that tortured or she would have revealed it to her teachers in school at the time. And she must not have felt all that tortured after that while she was at home either, because she still didn’t reveal it to anyone. Not until she was out of the house, having been granted the privilege of going to college (no doubt paid for by her parents), and driving one of their cars, and being given additional support for this effort, did she reveal it. She claims it was Not a revenge move in response to having her funds reduced and the car taken away after she dropped out of school.
All in all, I think it was a pretty ignorant move by the girl. She is not likely to have access to those privileges again, especially now that her father’s income will get reduced as well, in response to the criticism he is now receiving.

When one complains about what life dishes out, one should keep in mind what the options were, including your own part in it.

hope she likes her new lifestyle. She is likely to be enjoying it for some time to come.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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