Friday, March 08, 2013

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #51

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 51st review I've received.

I have to admit that I’m not the most savvy or knowledgeable person when it comes to art. There are some artist names and works that I’ve seen and heard about while watching TV, such as Rembrandt, Gough and Picasso. I’ve also draw sketches occasionally in my free time so I am familiar with some simple techniques such as shading and cross hatching. With that out of the way, when I came across Paul Shortt’s art website, it was not what I was expecting. My first impression of Paul Shortt’s art was that it was just a bunch of random photographs and if this was art, well then anyone could do this. There didn’t seem to be much thought put into the stuff on the website. I watched his breakdown video under the “It’s Simple, But Complicated,” category and it just looked like a ticked off lunatic flipping people off. Who was he flipping off, anyway? There were no other cars on the road or people in the video. Maybe it was his subtle way off saying ‘fuck you,’ to the world for screwing him over so many times. I even glanced through the “5 Star Ratings” art reviews to try to get some perspective, but it all felt fake and manufactured knowing that these people wouldn’t have give this website one look if they weren’t being paid to do so. On the other hand, the same could be said for me. A bit frustrated and confused with what I had seen so far, I decided would come back to it another day. After browsing through the website and not really understanding how the content on it could be categorized as art, I considered that maybe I was viewing these pieces from the wrong point of view. I didn’t consider his works “art” because I didn’t see anything technically pleasing or aesthetically appealing. However, after mulling over my thoughts and looking through more of his work, I came to the conclusion that his art had a social aspect to it. I think Paul Shortt’s art looks to connect people emotionally and socially and when I interpreted his works in that manner I was able to understand how earlier reviewers could classify these projects as art. One piece that resonated particularly with me was under “The Car My Father Gave Me.” I particularly enjoyed the video where Paul Shortt’s father is going through all the cars he had owned throughout his lifetime. I particularly liked how the video was shot with the close-up of the pictures of the cars and the most you can see of Paul Shortt’s father is his left hand. As I watched the video, I felt as though I was right beside Paul Shortt’s father as he described the story behind each car he had owned. It was as if I was living through part of his life as he detailed all those vehicles. Another piece I enjoyed looking through and did a great job of capturing emotional and social connections was “Modern Greetings.” It was interesting to see people try out these goofy and whimsical ways of addressing one another. The greetings brought a bit of lightheartedness to the act of welcoming a person and, at least I feel, refines the age old tradition of the handshake. Overall, I am glad I decided to take this assignment on and feel that it empowers the average person to go out there and create their own art.

For more info on this project please check out my website: