Thursday, September 20, 2012

Please No Photos

The free buttons I will be handing out as part of my performance in AIOP: Model 
just arrived from

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #33

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the 33rd review I've received:

Sometimes life can be taken to seriously. There is no enjoyment out of the things you see around you. Paul Shortt makes me appreciate the artistry that he sees in everyday life. Art is supposed to enrich our lives. It is supposed to make us laugh, cry, and ponder. Art gives us a way to be creative and express ourselves. Paul Shortt does this and more. Glancing at Paul's art, a person may question is this really art. That is what I like about Mr. Shortt. He makes us stop and think about it. It is art. My hair can be art. My car can be art. Furthermore, he gets you involved in his art. The work entitled Literally and Physically were quite enjoyable because it made me think. One of the pictures said "please do not climb the sculpture". I automatically thought this is exactly what you see on some art displays or statues. However, people still go ahead and climb despite the warning. Paul turned that common warning into art. 

The piece entitled "rolling on the floor" had me thinking also because most times that is a figure of speech. However, he turned it into an interactive piece of art. I was really rolling on the floor when i saw the picture with the words "Put Your Hands Behind Your Back. Then Put Your Head Down". When you visit art galleries often times that is what you see as people ponder over the work of art. So Paul created art of what he sees people doing as they view artistic creations. I find this gratifying. People often feel creative but there work is not the typical elaborate paintings of what many think is supposed to be art. Mr.Shortt brings about a place that allows people to appreciate the fact that anything around you can be art. It is all how you view it. Art means something different to every single person. 

Another thing I truly value in Paul Shortt is that his art is not expensive. Many times people will give up on their dreams of becoming an artist because they feel they can not afford the supplies or lessons. However, Mr.Shortt shows you how to take value in everything that is around you. If you open up a can of food, make something out of it once you are done. Do not let people make you think you can not create art because you don’t have the art pencils or paint to make elaborate drawings. Drawings are not all there is when it comes to art. Mr.Shortt is opening doors for those who see beauty and creativity in the simplest of things. Paul’s art is like creating a history of common occurrences of everyday life. You can look back on his art after years and say to yourself I remember doing that or seeing things of that nature. Therefore, take the time to not just glance at Paul Shortts art, but to look deeply and ponder over it. His art will surely make you laugh, possibly cry, and think. Paul Shortt is truly an artist that shows value in everything.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #32

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the 32nd review I've received:

"Please NO Photos" is a work of both photographs, and film media. There is a large, maybe six foot diameter picture of a camera with a red line through it, which, on the face of a picture, seems to be added by digital design. When a man, Paul himself, presumably, walks on-screen to take away the image which instruct the viewer not to take a picture, which is, in fact, an object the artist is photographing in various public areas. The fact that the courthouse and police station are in use seems to be political, but there is nothing else to let the viewer know how the artist feels about court or police. The total lack of direction is a bit unnerving, and leaves the viewer having to think, something we don't always automatically do. Supposedly raising the cultural awareness banner and shaking it about, Paul has a series of videos of himself doing simple yet poignant acts involving culturally relevant activities. In one such video, he is on a ladder attempting to unstuck an American flag which won't comply with his wish for it to fly at full mast. The music playing in the back ground is an accordion, lending a sort of frenetic air to his inability to raise the flag, and seems to underscore the viewer's own (mounting) anxiety as the pole leans all the way over and Paul raises it while the pole is about three feet off the ground. Strange, but strangely true. 

The artist allows his audience into his private space, he seems to want to show them his failures, and just how lovely failure can be. At the very same time, the boundary of what is relevant and acceptable is being pushed in videos in which the artist simply gets out of his car and gives the wide, corn-eating world, the bird. Is it a comment on driving? Consumerism in America? Loneliness? Anger and depression? Paul has been good enough to leave that to us to decide, for now. There are pieces of art that are supposed to be taken away by the audience and photographed when installed at new locations. The posters, some, only have words on them, and point out that, to change social convention, all the viewer has to do is laugh out loud, hum, or chew with food in their mouth. Most of Paul Shortt's work is of the sort that is tongue in cheek asking its audience if it can laugh at itself, because, indeed, Paul seems readily able to laugh at himself.

Mechanical Turk Review of My Work #31

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the 31st review I've received:

Shortt’s Shots Paul Shortt is a photographer from Kansas City who has been in shows across the country, from Seattle to New York City. He received his BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute, and is now working on his MFA in New Media from U of I Urbana-Champaign. With an esoteric mix of photography, sculpture and print media, he continues to explore new ways of expression through the arts. The first gallery that caught my eye was “The Car My Father Gave Me.” As I used to work on cars with my father, this title certainly plucked at the heart strings. This is a set of videos relating the various cars that Paul and his father have shared or owned over the years. It clearly meant a lot to him, and it means a lot to me too, as I identify with it closely. 

The next gallery that I HAD to take a look at is Calvinball. For those who don’t recognize the term, Calvinball was a game mentioned repeatedly in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. The rules changed every time it showed up, but it was always clearly a blast for Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes. I was very curious to see how Paul would go about bringing this sport to life, and loved the collection. Playing the sport with people who came in off the street, this was a wonderful example of interactive art bringing something from the printed page to life. I really wish I had been there that night. Nimby’s is a very interesting collection of photos with different signs in each. Starting with a sign stating “I’m Fine Thanks” in front of a broken fence, the collection continues on through various signs Paul has placed to try to draw attention or get people to think. My favorite was Big Box Potential, which has the word Potential printed on a cardboard box sign in front of an empty big box store. What a wonderful, hopeful message in front of a type of store that often draws ire from the communities around it. In counterpoint to that hope, Generic Empty House Sign simply states Empty House in a dry lawn, with an arrow pointing to the house. This is certainly a poignant message and commentary on the housing crisis. 

Missed Connections is another great contemporary collection. In this one, Paul takes personal ads modeled after the “missed connections” section on Craigslist and uses them to create handmade text-based pieces. From a sheet cake with an ad written on it, to a beautiful handwritten note in a book in a bookstore (the missed connection in this case mentions Barnes and Noble, so where is it more appropriate to place it?), the collection covers a huge variety of media and locations. My absolute favorite in this case was the piece written in mustard on a Jimmy John’s sandwich and wrapper. If you are reaching out to someone you saw in a sandwich shop, nothing can be more appropriate than this. With a wide variety of media and some amazing creativity, Paul Shortt reaches out to all of his audience members in one way or another. His art shows an active imagination and a real love for connecting with people. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest browsing his site, or if possible, making it to one of his shows. There is sure to be something there for every taste.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #30

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the 30th review I've received:

The artwork of Paul Shortt is a combination of humor, social commentary, and a small touch of the Conceptual Art movement of the 1960's. Shortt's work ranges from mediums to photography, installation, and performance art. Shortt's work is mostly reminiscent of the Fluxus art movement of the 1960s as well as the art "happenings" of Alan Kaprow. Shortt breaks down the fourth wall present in so many gallery installations today, and he heavily involves the audience, making them extremely integral to the works that he presents to the public. Examples of this are the piece "Three-Hour Tour" and "Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago," both of which require the active participation of the audience to ensure that the pieces are completed per his original vision. At the same time, both of these pieces involve a sense of humor in art not seen since either John Baldessari or even Andy Warhol. In "Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago," the artist shocks audience members with the age-old gag of the hand buzzer, but then also provide the audience member with their own buzzer, allowing them to become a part of the work and also part of the artist as well. However, while Shortt does use humor a great deal in his work, there are also pieces that show a human side to the artist, and allow audience members a glimpse into him as a person. 

In the piece "The Car My Father Gave Me," Shortt explores the similarities between his father's profession as a car mechanic, as well as his own profession as an artist. Shortt explores not only his interpersonal relationship with his father, but also the larger issue of the artist as a creator, manipulating pieces of every day to make a greater, better machine. As a whole, Shortt's works aim to analyze societal issues, either through the way we interact with each other as a society, or the rules that have been arbitrarily established and followed for what we call "polite social behavior." Shortt is constantly attempting to not only analyze these behaviors, but challenge them and their veracity, like he does in his piece "it's Simple, But Complicated" in which simple tasks with larger implications are performed by the artist. Also, the piece "Contemporary Farewells" is a good example of analyzing societal behaviors, in which the artist proposes new way to say farewell from social situations. These proposed methods are sometimes a simple commentary on society today (in which the two parties simple look at their cell phones and walk away) or a method called "The Shoulder Bow," which seems silly but could easily been used as a method to bid farewell fifty years from now. Overall, Paul Shortt presents the art world and the larger world as a whole with a humorous, gentle nudge to the ribs view of the way society carries itself. Shortt's sense of humor is kind enough to not be cruel or alienate the common man, making him one of the more accessible artists that is creating work today.

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #29

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the 29th review I've received:

Art is a an abstract way for expressing inner self. Photography is one of the most known art, as music and painting are. Paul Shortt’s art combines many styles of photography, styles which, being combined, define a new style, original and very authentic. There are lots of creative ideas, simple and also complicated. All the photos express different emotions and thoughts and they are made in very different ways. A very good example is “Modern Greetings” series, which expresses joy and the pleasure of meeting new people in a different manner, instead of shaking hands and other common styles of greeting someone. A hospital tour might represent a type of art, especially when it is reproduced through photography. Each man might see a different thing in a photo and it can transmit everyone different feelings, thoughts and maybe old memories. Contemporary Farewells consists in new ways of saying goodbye. They’re different and absolutely authentic. Everything can be art, from painting and music to any action that has a special meaning. It can express whatever someone wants to express, because it can have a large variety of meanings and it can be represented in a lot of different ways. There are also many feelings and ideas that can be expressed this way. All the work that can be found on Paul Shortt’s website is a different species of art. Workshops like “How to be narcissistic” is an authentic collaboration between people and it was carefully prepared by Rhiannon Birdsall and Paul Shortt, as well. It was attentively organized, having all details spick and span, from picking egotistic statements to the red carpet and awards. “Please NO Photos” work combines the fun with an ordinary idea of “don’t take any photos” sign, which can be found in many locations. The result of this combination is an original idea. All the photos are made in a professional way, having all the details very clear and a great focus. The “Literally and Physically” work is a very authentic, interesting and complex idea. All the participants rolled on the “Rolling on the floor laughing” red carpet, as an entertaining part of this series. The “Please climb sculpture”/”Please do not climb on the sculpture” is a very interesting and tricky idea and so is the Corner Piece, which is a very funny project for all the participants. “Nimby’s” series is a very original way for entertainment, with signs like “Just looking”, “I’m Fine Thanks” and many others, which are funny not only for the participants, but for every person who sees them. Having all these kinds of arts in a perfect combination, the result consists of a very impressive, authentic and new art. With all three photography, workshops and sculpture in some cases, Paul Shortt’s creations combine entertainment with ordinary things, like the series with the signs placed in front of some buildings. And so another style of art has been created, a new and fresh one, which will develop and improve.