Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Feeling and Art

Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics explores the relationship between text and image and demonstrates how the two can be used to engage the reader and convey a message. The ability of comics to express emotion by the shape of a simple line (McCloud 125) is fascinating; the comic form seems so universal and unlimited. However, the expression of emotion in lines also made me consider the limitations of the comic form. For example, how or could a blind person appreciate comics? I have heard about blind artists before so I decided to search online and see if I could find examples. One blind artist, Esref Armagan, has been blind since birth, and another, Lisa Fittipaldi, became blind as an adult. Both of their paintings are incredibly realistic and rich in color and emotion. Their paintings may be viewed at the following sites:



One site I found quoted two renowned artists who both stressed the importance of feeling to emotion. Neither artist felt that vision was the primary sense used in painting; feeling seemed to be the essential component of painting. Pablo Picasso said, “Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen,” and Jackson Pollock said, “The modern artist is working with space and time, and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.” The works of Armagan and Fittipaldi are not as abstract of those of Picasso and Pollock, but feeling is essential to their works. Fittipaldi said, “The images in my mind's eye became clearer as my sight diminished. Now, by hearing or experiencing something, I can picture it in my head and paint it.” The ability of these artists to still experience art despite an inability to physically see it made me reconsider the creation of art and the senses that inform it.

On pages 132 and 133, McCloud demonstrates how emotion can be expressed in the background of a frame. The frames that McCloud uses as examples demonstrate that the creation of visual art is not about seeing at all, but about feeling, just as Armagan and Fittipaldi demonstrate in their works. The background images of fuzzy swirls demonstrate the overwhelming confusion and disorientation that people feel with or without sight. I am not sure how a blind person could read a comic because the text cannot have the same effect without the images; however, the comic does demonstrate that the creation of art is not dependent upon sight, but upon feeling and emotion.

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