Friday, May 24, 2013

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #64

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 64th review I've received.

"At first glance Paul Shortt’s art reminded me of the artists in New York in the 60, 70’s and 80’s with their performance art that only the deepest, hippest thinkers could understand. There were a lot of pretenders with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other squinting and nodding their heads.  Looking harder at Paul’s work I see he’s a Midwesterner. What does that imply? Midwesterners have a history of humility for one thing and are hardly pretentious for the most part. I liked the idea of “Please No Photos”. The message I got from it was the hypocrisy of the most famous for the sake of fame, pretending to hate the paparazzi. If he would have taken this further and gotten someone famous to stand behind the no photo symbol it might have had more impact.  It was a fun idea that didn’t go far enough.

Many of his pieces seemed more psychology than art such as “Three Hour Tour” where he takes 3 volunteers unknowingly to a hospital to walk around and discuss their feelings about it afterward. “How to be Narcissistic”, a sort of workshop on the art of Narcissism, “Contemporary Farewells”, “Modern Greetings” and an early work called “Interactive Signs” are a few of his works that require participation and possibly leave the participants thinking after having a bit of fun. People don’t usually crawl up stairs or hop right and left in front of an exit without a sign telling them to do so. Maybe in this way Paul is giving people permission to let loose a little. I got a chuckle out of “Missed Connections”. This was a project taking personal ads and placing them in odd ways such as on a decorated cake, written with icing in the bakery section of a grocery store (my personal favorite).

“The Car My Father Gave Me” is a piece that felt too personal and too long. It left me feeling that only Paul and his family could really appreciate it to its fullest. The biggest surprise in Paul Shortt’s collection was “Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago”. It was a short description of Paul with a classic hand buzzer shaking hands on a Chicago street, then giving the buzzed a buzzer to continue the gag and so one. He has a few photos on the page of buzzers and a hand holding a buzzer. That’s it! It’s left to your imagination. Maybe that’s the art of it, just story telling where you think the rest of it out yourself. In this day of YouTube I felt he could have gone so much further and made a great video but that would be too predictable I suppose. The series titled “Literally and Physically” is just the New York art I was referring to earlier that I would have expected to see some decades ago. The answer to this might just be that Paul Shortt is this generation’s New York elite, but not in New York."

For more info on this project and to read all the reviews please check out my website:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #63

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 63rd review I've received.

After visiting Paul Shortt’s art website, I was very pleased with what I saw. There are many different things to look at and read. The first topic I want to discuss is Paul Shortt himself. If you go to the about Paul section, he gives detailed information about himself and a picture. What I like is that Paul looks like a very laid back guy. He runs a website that isn’t fancy at all, but calm and relaxing, which a lot of people will enjoy. He has done a lot with painting and is very dedicated about paintings on travels a lot. I noticed that he has shows in Seattle, where I live, so I will have to check that out. Now back to his work. He has done work that is relatable to everyday life. My favorite section is “The Car My Father Gave Me”. He gives me something to enjoy and videos to watch. I never had a great relationship with my father and seeing someone happy with their relationship with their father. There are plenty of videos about the car and pictures about cars. I think cars is a great thing fathers and sons can relate about and a great way to build on a relationship. Paul did a very good job at capturing that essence.

I also like the section “Nimby’s”. I enjoyed reading the signs in front of really nice backgrounds. Some of the backgrounds are simple, but the signs add something to it. The signs make it look like something special. I am sure that the signs have a special meaning. Another part of this website that I enjoyed viewing was the section the artwork people made that was of Paul. It seems like a lot of people enjoy him and are moved by his work. There was a small artwork that said “God Save Shortt!”. It doesn’t seem that Paul had any problem with his work, he seems really popular. There is A LOT of pieces done by other people. He really inspires a lot of people which I really did like. When someone comes along and inspires that many people, you know he did a great job. The artwork has many different styles, so that means a lot of different artists with different styles enjoy his artwork. Some of his early work is really funny also. Check out the early work section and laugh away. Overall, I enjoyed visiting Paul Shortt’s website for the first time. I checked out all of the 16 sections and enjoyed each one. His artwork ranges from humor to meanings. The reason why I think this website and Paul is successful is because a lot of people can visit the website and find something they like. Look at one section, don’t enjoy it? That’s okay go to another section and I am sure you will. Paul has a lot of artwork and videos everybody can view. There is plenty to go around and to enjoy! Great website and great artwork!

For more info on this project and to read all the reviews please check out my website:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #62

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 62nd review I've received.

Paul Shortt is an artist currently pursuing his MFA in New Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His current focus is performance and experiential art. His works in a very contemporary style have much irreverence for what is sometimes deemed art. They bring up the constant question faced by performance art, exactly what is art? Is this it? Or is it something altogether different? Shortt’s works have an interactive style with the audience. In Please No Photos a large red no symbol is placed in places where photos are often taken. People can interact with the photos and then also take photos with the symbols. It is a contradictory act. Literally and Physically also has an interactive aspect. Roll on the Floor Laughing is a large red carpet with the words placed in a way as if the words also follow the instructions. The audience can participate in this act. Corner Piece instructs to put hands behind your back and then put your head down. The participant then might experience whatever feelings that position invokes in them. Does the context of an object give it meaning? If an object has text does it make it more than a rug? How does the experience of rolling and possibly laughing on a red rug change the experience? Does it make a rug into a piece of art? 

Shortt is certainly not the first contemporary artist to use text art, but his simple demands encourage interaction. Some of his pieces seem to be a stretch to call art at all. Missed Connections is a project that uses text from craigslist ads. Shortt created items and put them in the original location of the described encounter. He filmed the locations while people read the ads. It is a reminder of the loneliness of people. This piece in my opinion is less successful than some of his other works. It takes usually entertaining text and makes it more mundane by his focus. The Car My Father Gave Me is a series of videos focusing on his father showing pictures of cars and interacting with cars. The cars are not interesting or well photographed. It is more a video enumeration. He claims it is about his relationship with his father and thus masculinity. Frankly I think it could be better. It is not well executed. Modern Greetings is a short manual of alternatives to shaking hands. The piece is more than just the manual but also is the performance. He had an experience where people volunteered to participate to get the manual. Some of the greetings include a cellphone rub and butt bump. He successfully got the participants to perform the greetings. The photos indicate that people really enjoyed these greetings. Perhaps they have more varied meanings than just hello. Another piece by Shortt is Pay for an Audience: 5 star Ratings. This article is for this piece. It is yet another way for the observer to be a part of the art. In this way Shortt is successful he draws the observer in and then participate. Overall Paul Shortt is a successfully encourages interaction with his performance art. His pieces that are less interactive are less successful.

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

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: