Robin Urton: dimensional paintings on glass


Art and Context


Tibetan Buddha, 13th c.

African Funerary Statue

Raphael Madonna, 17th c.


One of the first things to consider about a given work of art is the context in which it was produced. The images above are easily understood within the cultures from which they were produced, but require further education of the symbols and beliefs of that culture to anyone outside of that culture. Being born into a specific culture provides an in-built education of the archetypes and symbols of one's own culture. 

Paleolithic Cave Drawing, Lascaux, France 13,000 BCE

Keith Haring, NYC Subway Drawing 1980s


Consider some of the differences between the above works of art in terms of when, where and why they were created:

Paleolithic Art

- created over 15,000 years ago, deep in a cave

- an expression of a culture

- intended for a limited audience, private viewing

- magical purposes related to the hunt

Keith Haring's Drawings

- created within the last 25 years, in NYC subway

- expression of an individual

- seen by thousands of passers-by on a daily basis

- celebration and/or criticism of urban life?



Is Graffiti Art?



Do ALL Graffiti Expressions Qualify as Art?


Another Question to Ponder:

Does The Issue of Personal Property Relate to Qualifying Art?




Children's Art: The Beginning Of An Impulse to Create


Jazz G., 3yrs, USA

Hugo Y., 7 yrs, Canada

Chrystelle S., 8 yrs, Lebanon

Benjamin M., 10 yrs, France

See Virtual Gallery of Children's Art


What is Creativity?

Rene Magritte, The Blank Check 1965


Traits That Foster Creativity:

Sensitivity - heightened awareness of what one hears, sees and touches; responsiveness to feelings of self and others.

Flexibility - ability to adapt to new situations and to see their possibilities; willingness to find innovative relationships.

Originality - uncommon responses to situations and to solving problems.

Playfulness - a sense of humor and ability to experiment freely.

Productivity - the ability to generate deas easily and frequently, and to follow through on those ideas.

Fluency - a readiness to allow the free flow of ideas.

Analytical skill - a talent for exploring problems, taking them apart, and finding out how things work.

Organizational skill - ability to put things back together in a coherent order.




Art as Therapy


Elizabeth Layton

Began painting in her 60s, came out of a long depression, and has been exhibited at the Smithsonian.



Anthony Papa

"15 Years to Life"

"Nightmare of My Reality"

Anthony Papa was sentenced to prison for 15 years for a non-violent drug charge. He earned 3 degrees and learned to paint. He now works as a paralegal.


Outside the Mainstream: "Outsider Art"

"Outsider Art" is a term used to describe any art forms which are created outside of the mainstream of the art world of museums and galleries. Usually, this means that the artist-creator has little or no knowledge of, access to, or interest in the history of art or in the art market. It is a fairly broad term, however... and can encompass art of the insane, of prisoners, or just eccentric persons. It also has loose associations with the worlds of folk art and naive art (terms explained below).


Art of the Insane

Adolf Wolfli, Swiss patient

Adolf Wolfli



Leonova Podovskaya "Woman Coming to the City"

I.Sergeev "Angel" (Aspiration)



Folk Art/ Naive Art

Greek Tama (charm)

Henri Rousseau, The Dream, 1910


Folk Art = Artwork of a specific regional culture, made by artists without formal art training. Usually involves traditional craft processes (ceramics, weaving, quilting,metal-smithing,etc.) and has a utilitarian or ceremonial function. More Folk Art.

Naive Art = Artwork created by individuals who have no formal art training and whom are alienated from a traditional culture. Their works are usually obsessively detailed, often rich in patterns, and stem from a childlike impulse to create. More Naive Art.



"Art Environments"

"Beer Can House" in Houston




Simon Rodia, "Watts Towers", Watts, CA.

Edward James, "Las Pozas", Xilitla, Mexico


Next: Art and Aesthetics