Lecture 21/01/2011

Today’s lecture was on two main subjects. First of all about taste and than about how a piece of art or design becomes famous. I’ll try to answer a couple of questions about taste first.

Where your opinion comes from?
Have you ever told someone what he or she should like or do?
Is good taste genetic?
Do people or your environment influence your taste?
Do you think you have good taste?

My opinion comes from my mind of course, based on my experiences so it doesn’t mean they can’t be changed in a couple minutes. If I have an argument with someone on a topic I try to stay open and listen to the other people. I don’t think I have any opinion which can’t be changed if I speak about it with an intelligent person and I find his or her argument stronger than mine. In that case I feel I learnt something new. So my opinion comes from my experiences, they aren’t fixed but in certain subjects they are very strong.

I really don’t know if good taste is genetic or not. I think it can be but definitely depends on the environment around us as well. I would say our parents have a huge impact on our taste because they decide what we wear, what we eat and what we think when we are children. Of course it can be changed later on by other people around us. For example my sister and I have very different tastes. I don’t really know why, maybe because we look very differently as well, total opposites, like fire and water. Perhaps we got our different looks from different relatives and our taste coming from the same route.  I also feel she always followed other people’s taste and opinion much more than I did. We used to hang out with the same groups and she picked up the group’s style very quickly. Maybe because she likes to concentrate more on one thing at the time, for example I never had a typical girl friend relationship with anyone, when they do everything together and I never settled down with any groups either. I just don’t feel it is necessary to be a part of a group or have someone beside me who agrees with me about everything. That would be boring for me but she needs a strong background as a support. She also cares more about what people think about her. I criticise her look quite often because I know her history and as an older sister I feel I have the right to do so. I wouldn’t criticise other people’s taste though. I just don’t feel that’s any of my business. I believe in freedom in fashion, there’re only two things what disturb me but I can always look away. First if it’s improper like doesn’t cover what it should cover and when it obviously has no personality behind it like if a group of people look almost exactly the same. The last one what I usually criticise about my sister because she’s too suggestible and she pick up too many trends and behaviours from her environment. The funniest thing was when they bought exactly the same coat with her girl friend without even seen each other’s or talked about it.

So I think environment definitely has an impact on people’s taste but it depends on the person how much. I found something interesting about the roots of our taste. I think we start to care about fashion and clothes during high school and that background gives a basic judgment for us. In my high school almost all of us wore boots, jeans and baggy/knitted jumpers. We went for kind of an alternative rocker look. We had no uniforms like here which gave us total freedom but one way we were still very similar. Not all of us of course. You always find people in a group who come from totally different background and look quite different too. Here girls wearing uniform so they have to find their way to alter that look into something else.  They wear accessories and (if it’s allowed) very short skirts so they can look wilder and I think that’s what teenagers want to achieve. The two founds are very different so do the outcome a couple years later. We all pick up things from our environment later on as we join to different groups based on our hobbies or interests, different universities and get know many new people. But the found base stays the same. I think our ‘final’ taste depends on how open minded we are. If I’m interested for example in tribal cultures, sports and arts I will pick up different bits and bobs from the different interests so my taste getting more and more complex and interesting. But if I would spend my life at the same workspace after I finished high school hang out with the same group of people at the same pub or watch TV and be a couch potato my taste would be dull. Travelling, reading and being interested in the world makes our taste more sophisticated.

I do think I have a good taste but who doesn’t? If I wouldn’t be happy with my taste I would change it. Well we all change it as time fly by because we follow new fashion trends even if we don’t know about it. It’s like when someone having a chocolate beside me I will suddenly feel that I need one too, maybe not the same type though. We all pick up new trends and adjust them into our personality. But how we decide what to buy during a shopping trip? For me choose the right clothes has two main assumptions. If I go shopping because I need a pair of jeans I will buy the cheapest one at TkMax (so I don’t have to bin it after a couple month because it torn) that fits all right and kind of match with my taste. But if I am not looking for anything in particular just having fun looking around I buy clothes what ‘speak to me’. I have to feel something strong about it, an excitement. It could come from the pattern, the colour or just from my memories but has to be something special about it. This is why I felt really depressed this Christmas when I went home and the airlines managed to lose my bag (they still haven’t found it). I feel they stole a part of my personality, a part of my life. It was full with my favourite jewelleries (lot of them handmade) and my favourite clothes. I just realised how much they meant to me. They can’t pay me enough money to make me feel pleased. I can’t buy them again they were like a collection for me. They weren’t expensive but I had an emotional link to them they were a part of my identity.

The other subject was about who and how decides if art or design piece is good or not? Why certain works get famous and others don’t even if they are better than the well known ones? Where the values of a piece of art come from? We talked about Andy Warhol’s screen prints which worth a lot but you can’t be sure if he made them or not. A huge group of people worked in his studio, it was almost like a factor. But because he’s work was very unique in that time and he was kind of a weirdo -which was a good thing in the 70’ s- 80’s in new York- so it helped him become known and famous. Being innovative and unique is always a good thing but on the other side he killed the spiritual part of art and made it into a production line. For me he was more like a genius businessman with a good taste than an artist.

There’s another thing can make you famous very quickly if someone influential buys your piece, the Queen for example. Certain people have a huge effect on public taste, whether if it’s a gallery owner, an art critic, a powerful people, or a film/pop star. I think we can’t really change it. But nowadays we have tools like blogging that makes it easier to spread our work and show it to the client directly without these certain people’s judgement. I think craft markets have a similar function but they usually appear in bigger cities. They just have a special atmosphere what I don’t think blogs can replace but unfortunately markets have no future because of shopping centres but blogs do.  Although in bigger cities market type of places can exist like the art squat Tacheles in Berlin but governments don’t seem to be happy about them. They try to close the building in Berlin, which would give no chance to the artists to sell their art. So keep blogging and if you are interested in the Tacheles here’s a little information about it.