I caught sight of something on Digg today that brought me back in time to college and all the bullshit that so called artists come up with. Looking through the stories this morning I happened to see a story on what information is really in a barcode. I’m not all that interested in barcodes, I know the basics of their design, so I skipped over it. That is, until I saw what website it was directing people to. It was barcodeart.com. That site is owned by Scott Blake.

I went to school with Scott. He was in several of my classes. He is a tool.

Technically, there’s nothing “wrong” with Scott. His only problem is that he jumped into the world of conceptual art with both feet and is drowning in his own bullshit. You see, people who can’t make real art (purest would call this retinal art, aka: art you can see – painting, photograph, sculpture, etc) often make up reasons why their conceptual art is actual art AND reasons why you don’t get it. Most of the time these people believe that the “art is the process” by which they created their crap. Marcel Duchamp would be a perfect example of this. For those of you who didn’t take Modern Art History 101, Duchamp is world famous for taking a common urinal, putting it upside down on a pedestal and declaring it art. The idea and the subsequent movement were based apon ideas of absurdity and anti-art. The concept was that something was “art” because the “artist” declared it so and that anything could potentially be art. It was a conceptual evolution of the idea that “beauty (and art) is in the eye of the beholder”.

It’s also complete BS. Alas, my opinion on the matter is not the prevailing one of academia. Art professors creamed their pants over things like this and continue to do so to this day. I like to call this shit out when I see it.

Scott fits perfectly into this category. His “art” takes a basic element and a basic concept of how to execute that element and stops there. The “meaning” behind pieces of art like this are justified only by the artist themselves. “I have created this, and thus it must be art”. Scott takes it one step further, removing the process almost entirely, except for some cheap inkjet prints. You can see this in action if you watch one of the interviews he’s done, as posted on his own website (press – tv and radio – tech tv interview). In it, there are quite a few statements that will let you into the mind of someone who simply doesn’t get art.

“Elvis, I feel like I know him, I read about him in the papers. But what do I really know of him? I know his music. And what is his music? His music is just a bunch of binary data encoded onto a CD.”

That’s right Scott, that’s what Elvis was thinking when he recorded music. That one day his art would be nothing to you but binary data. I’m sure he wasn’t concerned about making anything SOUND GOOD! If that’s what you think about “musical art”, I’ve got a nice CD full of very artistic white noise for you to buy.

“I like all my portraits to be standardized, so that they all look the same.”

Announcer – “It took Blake 6 months to automate Photoshop down to one button. A portrait that once took him four days, now takes him just four minutes.”

I’ll repeat that for those of you who didn’t catch it. He created a Photoshop action… wait for it… to do his art for him. That’s right, his painstakingly created art involves running a script and hitting print. Way to go Scott. You’ve rocked the art world.

Actually, I shouldn’t be so hard on Scott, I’m actually very jealous of his amazing skills. I wanted to be just like him so badly that I went online and found “Easy Mosaic Maker” for $19.99. Now I can be awesome, just like him. But shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, I think I’m actually better than him. My “art” program can do things in color, and he just does things in black and white. I rule!

Seriously though, my main problem with this tool box was always his attitude. In every class I had with him he’d either complete an assignment late, not at all, or completely incorrectly and then use his “artistic license” to explain it away. He was at SCAD on a portfolio scholarship and apparently that meant his shit didn’t stink. As a final project in Modern Art and the Web, he created a cardboard box with a TV in it. On the TV was a video loop of the person in the box. You hit a button and the screen went blank. That was it. According to Scott you were “killing your own self image” in some sort of act of bohemian suicide. I called it TURNING OFF THE FUCKING TV.

I called him out on it several times but unfortunately for every great conceptual artist, there are at least a dozen people trying to suck their wang to appear hip and artsy. Retarded art lesbians who moisten their loins over anything anti-establishment or purple headed multipierced hippies who think anyone who disagrees with them is either stupid or “the man”.

The end result is that people like Scott do these singular art project and then fade into obscurity as the fade dies out. Then, 20 years from now, when they’ve worked their way to “Head Barista” at the local coffee hole, we get to hear all about how no one “gets” their art any more and it’s the world that’s changed and that no one appreciates good art anymore. It’s not that we don’t appreciate good art Scott, it’s that you never made any. Now hurry the fuck up with my double Macchiato.