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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:56 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
Lyrics are not part of the music. The melody is.


The dictionary disagrees

1 a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:37 am 
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I can't believe you pulled the dictionary out. Anyway, there's a huge gap between vocalism and lyricism. It's fairly rare in music to be vocal without also being lyrical but it does happen and the two are distinct from each other, think Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky" off the album Dark Side of the Moon that features Clare Torry's powerful but wordless vocals. That being said lyricism is certainly integrated in what most people would define as music.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:11 am 
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I would agree with Vllad's statement that lyrics are not part of the "music". Vocals are, but if you sang the national anthem and replaced every syllable with "la" (la la-la la la laaaaaa...) you'd still have the same song, musically.

Changing the words doesn't change the music, though it can certainly impact the entertainment value of it as well as the story it tells.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:37 am 
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When most people say music they are referring to songs, which include both the instrumental and lyrical elements that make up that song.

As I said, if you take narrow enough definitions then yes, but taking the narrowest definition is of little value to any discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:42 am 
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Jakensama wrote:
Vllad wrote:
Lyrics are not part of the music. The melody is.


The dictionary disagrees

1 a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony


I hate to sound like I know more then your dictionary but in this case your dictionary is wrong.

Let me pull from Websters.

1. (of poetry) having the form and musical quality of a song, and esp. the character of a songlike outpouring of the poet's own thoughts and feelings, as distinguished from epic and dramatic poetry.
2. pertaining to or writing lyric poetry: a lyric poet.

The word that means the ordering of tones or sounds is melodious not lyric.

While the meaning of lyrical certainly is pertaining to the use of employing singing there is a clear difference between lyric and melody.

The lyrics are the words/story told in a song. The words don't become music until you employ a melody to those words. Lyrics alone have no musical context.

My Row Row Row Your Boat reference should explain this perfectly.

The US national anthem is another perfect example of this. Please see the attached link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner



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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:00 pm 
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Jakensama wrote:
When most people say music they are referring to songs, which include both the instrumental and lyrical elements that make up that song.

As I said, if you take narrow enough definitions then yes, but taking the narrowest definition is of little value to any discussion.


I am not saying the story told in songs are not important but when you talk about "music" specifically we are not talking about a narrow definition. We are talking about all music created today vs. 200 years ago.

In our example the story told is irrelevant from a musical perspective. With all of the pieces that go into creating music the lyrics are not only not neccessary but the story is limited based upon the music being used to tell the story.

IF we can agree that most popular songs today is basically all the same musically then the only real difference is the lyrics. IF that is true then one can make the argument that originality is gone from music.

Your point of view just answers the question. Music itself has run out of idea's from a popular perspective and really the only difference from song to song is now just the story.

Does that not answer the question that Art is limited?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:16 pm 
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I just have a hard time separating art's physical medium from the human psyche ingesting it. For me to accept that art is limited, I have to accept that human experience is limited and I just don't see that as being true. End thought.

New thought.
By your own admission, music is math. We say that music must have structure based on math in order to be considered music. When we think about structure we think about 4/4 or 7/8 beats per measure but this is structure based on fairly simple math and its simplicity is appealing to the human ear. Isn't it conceivable though to write music based on more complex math that might sound like total shit to the human ear but still have structure? There are infinite aspects to mathematics. They even have a symbol for it ∞. We learn this in very rudimentary math classes. Why couldn't a composer apply infinite math to sound to create infinite music? Just because our brains couldn't handle the complexity of infinite music doesn't mean that it wouldn't be music. Wouldn't that make art limitless?

Quote:
In mathematics, "infinity" is often used in contexts where it is treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: "an infinite number of terms") but it is a different type of "number" from the real numbers. Infinity is related to limits, aleph numbers, classes in set theory, Dedekind-infinite sets, large cardinals,[2] Russell's paradox, non-standard arithmetic, hyperreal numbers, projective geometry, extended real numbers and the absolute Infinite.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity

Back to the first thought.
If you are going to make the argument that music is math that must be appealing to humans then again I argue, how can you separate art from the human psyche?

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:49 pm 
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That's a good point to make:
Even if the production of art is limited, the interpretation of art may not be, because the interpretation varies with the circumstances of the viewer. To fully appreciate an item of art, wouldn't you have to experience it in a variety of circumstances? e.g., some music I dislike if I'm just sitting there listening to it but it's great to play games or drive to. Similarly, movie soundtracks that go great with the movie can be pretty dull if you're just listening to it without the movie. Or a picture that says nothing to me right now might have significance to me later. Circumstances of encountering the art change perception of the art, therefore perhaps we should say that art is only limited by your ability to find new circumstances in which to experience it.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
We say that music must have structure based on math in order to be considered music. When we think about structure we think about 4/4 or 7/8 beats per measure but this is structure based on fairly simple math and its simplicity is appealing to the human ear. Isn't it conceivable that art is limited, I have to accept that human experience is limited and I just don't see that as being true. End thought.ough to write music based on more complex math that might sound like total shit to the human ear but still have structure? There are infinite aspects to mathematics. Wouldn't that make art limitless?


Good point but Music is more restrained and not infinite to the human ear. Sound has finite properties.

First the boring part for geeks like me. Skip to below if math is not your thing.

*******************************************************
Sound is built from 3 properties, Pitch, Loudness and Timbre. Pitch is in a fixed scale. It is measured in Hz (sound wave size or vibration speed).

We have assigned lettered values to these pitches which we call notes. Middle "C" for example (Which is the note most instruments are tuned from) is 440Hz and the basis of the measuring system. (By the way it is called middle "C" because it is the exact middle note of a piano keyboard)

The formula for determing diatonic scales (say C Major) is p=69 + 12 * log2 (f/440hz).

What this means in simple english is pitch has 12 semitones. If you are going up semitones you will go up 12 before you reach 880Hz which brings us back to C again.

This is called an octave.

We devide Octaves into 8 note scales that provide no dissidence with relationship to the starting note. (Dissidence is created when two notes (tones) are played in conjunction that create conflict with the listener. That conflict creates tumbling strains on the ear or recording device. This means some or both of the tones can cancel each other out by the Hz wave crossing. It is actually straining to listen to.

This is the most common effect when playing certain tones that are very close to each other like B and C or D and D sharp. Two tones next to each other in an octave for example.

Other notes create overtones and blend with each other. Like 3rds and 5ths. We call those Harmonies.

**********************************************************

Rather then continuing to make your eye's bleed on the boring shit above in a nut shell when it comes to sound you have a finite amount of options.

You have 8 notes per octave (Key) that can work in harmony with each other. You have 12 notes per octave that can possibly be played. You can jump up to other octaves however the realivte pitch is still the same. 880Hz is the same as 440Hz just a higher pitch.

There is a finite amount of combinations that 8 or 12 tones can be used.

Yes you can create music that sounds like shit by combining all possible 12 tones. The Indian Sitar music for example. They follow the rules of sound however the only difference is the vibrato of the notes are so large because of how the instrument is made it creates a vibrato that stretches from one tone to another really close to it creating dissidence. So yea you can build music with structure that incorporates sounds that would be difficult to listen to. The phone company does that with Touch Tone sounds.

Total Restrictions:

You have 8 possible notes (in a single key) played in a time signature per measure. The Time Signature (4/4. 3/4. 2/4. 7/8) is how many beats per measure. The measure is fixed (you can't change time in the middle of a measure for example)

How you play the notes is either by whole or fractions. Whole note is one note per beat, half note is two notes per beat, quarter note is 4 notes per beat, 8, 16, 32 etc.


Put all these mathematical rules together and it just isn't infinite even if you apply all of the rules that make it impossible to listen to.


Hoofhurr wrote:
Back to the first thought.
If you are going to make the argument that music is math that must be appealing to humans then again I argue, how can you separate art from the human psyche?


I guess that is the big question isn't it?

Music is limited to the ability of the human ear to comprehand sounds. What sounds good is strictly based on human physical limitations.

If some Alien Race came to earth and heard our music it may hurt them significantly. The same would probably go if we heard there music. If they were physically capable of processing half tones next to each other there music would probably hurt to listen to as humans.

Maybe Art isn't just a psyche statisfaction but it is a physical one as well.


Vllad


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:09 pm 
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Are books really dying out? I've actually started reading more of them in the past year or so simply because there's rarely anything good on TV, and Hollywood these days typically only puts out crappy re-makes, straight-to-DVD's, movies about teen/20-somethings that somehow save the world, or somewhat decent movies made from best selling novels.

And if the only good movies these days are the filmic version of a book, and since nine times out of ten the book is better than the movie, I jump to the book first.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:16 pm 
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Yep. Some really interesting stuff can still be done with music or sound. I'm fascinated by ultra-sonic and sub-sonic frequency applications. Elephant herds are said to communicate over distances of tens or hundreds of miles using sub-sonic frequencies while there are companies out there that are developing high frequency/ultra-sonic frequency technologies in weaponized form. Imagine using mozart to debilitate rioters?

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:24 pm 
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There is more to music than Math, there is also Soul. One example is, there have been many very capable and talented guitarist since Hendrix that have attempted to duplicate his sound and although the notes may have been played perfectly it's just not the same.

In my opinion there are big differences between artists and performers. Artists create with heart and soul and what is produced is unmistakably non-reproducible. Performers play notes from paper leaving no distinguishable difference from one performer to the next.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:29 pm 
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Thudz wrote:
There is more to music than Math, there is also Soul. One example is, there have been many very capable and talented guitarist since Hendrix that have attempted to duplicate his sound and although the notes may have been played perfectly it's just not the same.

In my opinion there are big differences between artists and performers. Artists create with heart and soul and what is produced is unmistakably non-reproducible. Performers play notes from paper leaving no distinguishable difference from one performer to the next.


I agree with you that people like Hendrix should be commended for doing something original.

Soul and music however is a myth. You can duplicate everything he did musically and if you weren't watching the performance no one would know the difference. While every musician has his/her unique properties, they can all be copied if that is really what you are looking to do.

The one thing to keep in mind with recorded music that can't be duplicated is sloppyness. Great guitarist like Satriani can't duplicate Hendrix because he is light years ahead of him in talent and doesn't make a ton of mistakes. These mistakes that were put on vinyl people listen to and get use to hearing them. This gives the impression that Hendrix is doing something Satriani can't. Actually it is the other way around. Ironically not even Hendrix could recreate it because most of the time you can only create mistakes once when you are a sloppy musician.

The only exception to the rules are the very elite.

Anyone on this board can learn to play 80% of the "popular" music played in the last 50 years with in a year of picking up a guitar, keyboard or drums. With in 3 years be able to master 99% of it.

However there is some music that no matter how much you practice on the very few can play it. Step outside of the popular styles to Jazz (Not inpromto) or classical and only very best of the best can actually pull it off. Your Hendrix example is not one of those that qualify.

Listen to this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF_TTe2R ... re=related

The amount of pianist that could actually play this that live in the world today could probably counted on two hands. Most people could practice 8 hours a day the rest of there life and still would not be able to copy this.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:27 am 
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Eh, grab an old techno guy, give him the sheet music and 30 minutes alone with his computer and he can duplicate it...

Maybe he can't duplicate the talent but he can certainly duplicate the music. (Part of why I like electronic music is that there's no bounds on its complexity. One guy can create an entire symphony and play it by himself, given enough time and talent at writing music.)


I'm still not sure, for the original question, whether we should be talking about techniques, content, talent or appreciation. Techniques for charcoal on paper are surely limited. Content of charcoal on paper is surely unlimited (assuming unlimited sizes of paper). Talent for charcoal on paper is probably a "soft cap", like any other art. Appreciation of charcoal on paper is unlimited, in a universal, if not individual sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:24 am 
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Vllad wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF_TTe2R ... re=related

The amount of pianist that could actually play this that live in the world today could probably counted on two hands. Most people could practice 8 hours a day the rest of there life and still would not be able to copy this.


Which goes to show that ability to play difficult music does not equal the ability to play asthetically pleasing music.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:59 am 
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grizzle wrote:
Are books really dying out? I've actually started reading more of them in the past year or so simply because there's rarely anything good on TV, and Hollywood these days typically only puts out crappy re-makes, straight-to-DVD's, movies about teen/20-somethings that somehow save the world, or somewhat decent movies made from best selling novels.

And if the only good movies these days are the filmic version of a book, and since nine times out of ten the book is better than the movie, I jump to the book first.



But seriously, as a writer who has been considering jumping fully into filmmaking, I'm wondering about this. Do none of you read books anymore? Do you hear about great books but just sit and wait for them to come out on film? I can understand the teenager/20-something generation with their ADD mentaility not digging books, but do people in their late 20's/early-30's on up not read books anymore?

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:31 am 
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I was doubtful of that claim too. My desire to read comes and goes, where I'll read for a period of months, then not read for a period of months, then something will catch my eye and I'll pick up reading again. That's been my personal trend forever.

It wouldn't surprise me if "generation ADD" read significantly less than older people, but I'm not sure.

That would be an interesting poll. Just "do you consider yourself to be a Frequent/Occasional/Non reader of major publications like books and magazines?" Then have results broken down by age.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:16 am 
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I used to read all of the time before computer gaming. When I gamed I played games on specific times because you had to pre-set gaming time to play long term board games. You had to because you had to schedule to get 6 guys in the same room.

When computer gaming came around I stopped reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:30 am 
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I read a victorias secret catalogue on the toilet this morning, does that count?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:47 pm 
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Quote:
When computer gaming came around I stopped reading.


That's funny. I used to do computer graphics. Some people would call it art. I just called it playing around with computer generated imagery.

Whatever you want to call it, I pretty much stopped the minute I logged on to EQ for the first time.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:12 pm 
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It's not that funny. I stopped doing a bunch of stuff that made me more well rounded when I started gaming. Playing guitar, writing, composing music, reading, showering, brushing my teeth, sleeping, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
It's not that funny. I stopped doing a bunch of stuff that made me more well rounded when I started gaming. Playing guitar, writing, composing music, reading, showering, brushing my teeth, sleeping, etc.


Playing video games was actually ruining my relationship with my wife and was a huge drag on my professional career.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:24 pm 
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Definitely. When it sucks up every free moment of your thought you neglect a lot of things that would otherwise be prioritized differently, or at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:39 pm 
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Since this discussion everytime I go to a museum or even see my sister paint I can't help but ask this question to myself. I have tried to find things in older mediums that are unique but I haven't seen or heard anything original that hasn't been done before.

This last year I have been teaching a class on logistics at UB. Last month in a staff meeting I ran into some professors of the arts at UB. I brought up this same topic. They pointed out to me that artistic mediums do run in long term cycles.

When the mediums are first created they strive to become more and more complex. Occassionally savant talent shines through and the complexity of the said medium reaches its peak. Those peaks are often not surpassed even with the onslaught of technology. Typically at that point the medium then moves towards more simplistic versions that are more unique. Say a Monet to a David for example. I asked "if mediums become more simple over time isn't there a point where that medium no longer has any fresh or new idea's?" I said to them point blank, "does mankind only have a very limited idea's when it comes to artistic ventures?" If things get simple eventually when do we stop calling a dot on canvas art?

These professors were taken back that I would suggest art mediums are in-fact very finite in their unique idea's. They gave many of the same arguments that many of you gave in this thread. I asked them where these new and unique artist were and which mediums we were talking about but everytime they brought up an example I was able to show how those artist were not unique at all. Needless to say the conversation was not as fruitfull as I would have liked.

A Dr. Davis (can't remember is first name) overheard our conversation. He is an Astronomer. Dr. Davis said to me that if I wanted to find infinite unique idea's coming from our species the only place to find that is in science not art. He hypothesized that art is our species way of dealing with and expressing emotions. As we become more civilized and less brutilized we have less need for artistic realease and our artistic mediums become more sterile.

I asked him "so you are saying if we don't live in a world where we aren't always worrying about starving, dying at age 28 from the pox and being oppressed, raped and always in fear of our overlord we can't be good artist? He said "no, you can still be a good artist but the one thing you can't do is appreciate art like someone who lived 1000 years ago. Basically the importance of a good meal is lost on someone who has never really been starving. The importance of all artistic mediums means less to society so the craving to create something unique dies with those cravings.

The more modern and civilized our society gets the less importance art has on society and the more sterile it becomes.

I said "If that is true then how do you explain the Cardassians? He said "it is a slow process..."


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:41 pm 
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I think you may be deciding things aren't unique based on overly broad categorization. It's like defining a shirt as "a thing you wear on your torso and put your arms through" and then declaring that all shirts are alike and there is no such thing as a unique shirt.

At the other extreme, every shirt is unique if you look at it through an atomic microscope. One molecule out of place and it's unique. One note different on a popular song makes it unique, technically speaking.

So where should the line be drawn? What defines uniqueness?

Or maybe more importantly, why is uniqueness important for art?


I do, occasionally, buy a work of art. I don't care who did it or when it was made or how it was made. I don't care if it's unique in any way. What's important is that it speaks to me in some way. There's some emotional connection I make with the artwork for whatever reason.

I think looking for uniqueness in art is like trying to see how many ants you can stuff up your nose just because nobody else has done it. Uniqueness should not be a goal in itself. The goal of artwork should not be uniqueness, but rather, expression. While it's likely you would be expressing something that other people have expressed, using similar media, it's still going to be your unique presentation of it.


(Daredevil, the show, had some great quotes on art I wish I could remember. Fisk was basically staring at a painting that looked like someone randomly patted it with white paint and ended up having a pretty good conversation around the concepts of art.)

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