Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #36

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 for 500 words. This is the 36th review I've received:

Paul Shortt is an eclectic visual artist and his work has much pizzazz and flair. Take for example his “No Photos Collection”. This interesting array of images shows individuals in various setups and different backgrounds, with an ominous “no photography” sign. What immediately stands out is the clarity of the pictures, followed by the interesting backdrops of where the photos were taken. The photos snapped on 14th street in New York City were very striking, particularly a photo of Paul Shortt leaving a store with a “no photo” sign leaning up against a structure. It is the colors and the staging that jumps out at you. The other image that is compelling is the “no photo” sign right underneath a statue in front of a building. There are layers of depth and the black and red colors pop out up against the dull shade of the building. The images speak for themselves and play on the notion as Paul Shortt states the “no photos” symbol implies a prohibition on photography and questions the constant surveillance of public spaces.” Additional photos such as the symbol in front of the Champaign County Courthouse and manufacturing plant invoke a subtle social message as well. Contemporary Farewells is an intriguing collection of abstract and humorous images on the Paul Shortt website. The idea behind the photos is to push the envelope of non-conventional ways people can say goodbye. An example of an outrageous and funny way to say goodbye is The Backwards Clasp. This technique has two individuals facing backwards and moving towards each other until their hands meet. Although not practical, it is definitely witty and clever. The other method of saying goodbye that pokes fun at the culture of today is The Cell Phone Bow. You have two individuals, staring at their cell phones, then look up at each other and back down on their cell phones. The images are in the form of silhouettes and done in black in white, which make the visuals very gripping. 

The Car My Father Gave Me is a more introspective look into the father son relationship that Paul Shortt has with his own father. His father’s account of owning Mustangs and other cars is simply amazing. Conversely, the second video shows the cars that Paul Shortt has owned. In addition, there is another video of Paul Shortt’s father giving a tutorial on how to drive a stick shift to Paul at the age of 30. How To Be Narcissistic highlights images indicative of a very common characteristic, vanity. The first image tells the story, as we see 2 young ladies holding a cell phone in a coffee shop. It sounds ordinary until you look closely at the level of focus and pure joy they have tapping on their phones. There is some cultural irony here as we live in a day and age where cell phones are a necessity. The next images are of handwritten messages on paper that blatantly embrace the meaning of self-arrogance and high-mindedness. Paul Shortt’s photos do several things; they tell a story and have a message. His work embodies a combination of everyday people, inanimate objects and more importantly the message he wants to get across.