Monday, May 20, 2013

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #61

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 61st review I've received.

The modern art of Paul Short takes a radically different approach to most contemporary forms of art. Having a diverse background in many styles of mixed media, Paul uses a mixture of performance, abstract, sculpture, drawn, painted, and created forms with a constant background layer of photography which binds all forms of his work into a story. With each new inspiration stemming from people, social interaction and image breaking, Paul uses his art to break free from the social expectations, and introduce new and interesting expressions. Using his photographic examples of signs placed in various scenes, he takes an image that might not be memorable to the average person, and turns it into a story which raises more questions than answers. For example, his piece “I’m Fine Thanks, 2010” takes a look at a landscape scene with a white wooden fence that has a break in it. Ordinarily, this would be accepted as some sort of standard farmland entropy, not adding any concern to the observer about the broken fence. However, in this case, three words are able to raise a myriad of questions such as “who is fine?” “What happened that would leave them not so fine?” “Was it something to do with the fence?” “If they are fine, but the fence is not fine, did someone else end up not so fine as a result of the incident which un-fined the fence?” 

It’s very thought provoking with only a minor adjustment to the landscape. There are also some extremely funny works that take a humorous approach to everyday occurrences. My favorite example is “Contemporary Farewells” which shows how people might greet or say goodbye to one another in lieu of a formal handshake. The best example which blends modern society to these ridiculous greetings is called “The cell phone bow” in which both parties, engaged in their individual cell phones glance up at one another to make temporary eye contact before returning to their phones again. This shows the contrast between the standard bow in which two people will be facing up, maintaining eye contact at first, then bow slightly for a moment and return to their upward position. It’s extremely funny to think that this has actually become a common practice despite the clearly inverted pattern from centuries past. Paul also uses a number of videos to add perspective to what seems like a routine occurrence in our day to day lives. The first in one series entitled “It’s Simple, But Complicated” takes a look at someone raising an American flag up a pole. He encounters a number of issues which he rather interestingly overcomes in the most complicated way possible. The video is done in a rather vaudevillian style with fast motion, and a light and humorous music in the background, but in contrast, shows the importance to the individual in making sure the task gets finished, because it must have a strong significance to him. The second is also very funny because the actor has a roadside breakdown, which seems straightforward until you realize that it is not an automotive breakdown as you would expect. In fact, he has a mental breakdown in this short, which is a wonderful use of irony. All in all, the work done by Paul Short is creative, funny, interesting and thought provoking. He is truly a free thinker, and artist and a philosopher who uses various forms of expression rather than verbal communication to convey new ideas, social commentary and humor.

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