What’s Wrong with this Picture?

I’ve long given up trying to be uber-popular at the place that hosts my gallery. I’d love to be one of those artists who uploads something and it immediately goes viral, garnering craploads of views/comments/favorites. But it’s just not going to happen. I’ve received more than my fair share of DD’s, and always enjoy a boost in popularity after them, but it quickly dissipates. But I have a nice, loyal core audience (many of whom are talented artists themselves), and some pretty intense fans, as well, who really *get* me. I occasionally sell prints…so the way I see it, I don’t have a whole lot to complain about. Plus, you know, I’m an adult, and an adult worrying about “Favorites” seems a bit unseemly to me. But, I’m sorry, I really must complain about this.

Here are two works, each using the same stock photo of a girl holding a golden egg. One has 290 comments and over 200 Favorites. One has under 30 comments and 101 Favorites. But which one is clearly, objectively, superior? In every way?



I mean, I barely consider the top piece a manipulation.

Which piece is more lush, more evocative, more creative, more whimsical? It’s no contest*.

Eh, I’m used to this. It just gets frustrating sometimes.


*Oh, wait. It’s ALWAYS a contest. Life is a contest! VALIDATE ME! VALIDATE ME! VALIDATE ME!


16 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with this Picture?

  1. Obviously I’m voting for the one with the beetle. And the Lament Configuration.

    Also too the upper one is in the style of Bouguereau, i.e. vapid, unchallenging, predigested visual pabulum, boo hiss. Ernst Gombrich had some truly vicious things to say about Bouguereau which I can’t be arsed looking up right now.

    On the other hand, thanks to Bouguereau we have the entire genre of brilliant Phop reimaginings.

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  3. ((I intended to leave that last remark as a reply to the Doctor; don’t know why it didn’t indent.))
    Dr. Ken, Artist:

    Several years ago I wrote a long–and highly complementary–review of “The Tao of Me”. I tried to explain WHY I found your work so stunning, pointing to specific areas and illustrative details in praise of its composition, coloration, textures, manipulation of light….and how these facets of your artistry *blended together* perfectly in the mysterious, aloof, and sensual Central Woman. (For me, she radiated a mythological quality.) “The Tao of Me” was riveting. The more I looked at the work, the more I saw in it.

    “Tao” was bold and technically challenging: It was set *underwater*, where Her hair and ribbons and jeweled nets moved in response to currents, not breezes. Instead of a lighted sky, “Tao” had a distant ‘sea-surface’ as a lighted background. Bubbles in the water transformed in strings of pearls. And yet from this underwater landscape there magically arose a mighty terrestrial tree with rough-textured bark. So you know I admire and appreciate your artistic talent and the stunning effects you can achieve.

    Nevertheless, I may be one of the viewers who doesn’t *get* it. The thing that throws me: The out-of-proportion heads/hair and distortions of facial features (e.g., expanded foreheads, compressed lower face). [My guess: Perhaps this conveys young childhood wonder/innocence within adulthood? I dunno.] For me, the disproportionate heads/hair and facial distortions are features which break the spell and dream-like quality of the works. They *force* the reader’s attention to the Central Figure, rather than *draw* the reader’s attention there.

    [Redacted: Confession to being an old representationalist fuddy-duddy. Also digression into being blown away by El Greco…. despite his elongations of faces and bodies.]

    I know these features are part of your artistic signature (as it were); yet I hope you will–every now and then–still explore representational heads for the Central Figures

    Oh, and about the question in your post: Your work is *infinately* superior to the pedestrian, superficial, and supremely dull “Fairy With Poorly-Pasted Wings Holding the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.” (And, ain’t no nevermind about the Fairy’s proportional haid, neither; that can’t possibly redeem the sheer tedium and banality in “Fairy With Grenade”.)

    • I know some people probably find my big heads off-putting. It never occurs to me to find them so, because I just think they look like cartoons or children’s illustrations. And I do it because a.) I like the way it looks and b.) I can. (Most can’t.) It’s fun and challenging and I think it takes my pieces to another level.

      But I thank you for your thoughtful critique. 🙂

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