Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Agree or disagree?
If you agreed, I encourage you to visit the Museum of Modern Art. /s

The quality of writing has also dropped markedly. Read a children’s book from 30+ years ago and you’ll be amazed by the vocabulary that’s taken for granted.
-Benjamin Carlson


I think real art will show its true colors pun intended. I think alternate kinds of art have their place also.

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Agreed. Just don’t call what’s ugly as beautiful. Isaiah 5:20 comes to mind—not exactly the context but it drives home a consistent point.


These days you draw X X X in different colors and it will be considered as a great art if you know how to sell this. :wink:

Unfortunately our kids learned nothing about a real art. Same way they didn’t learn how to hand write to be easily decipher. :grimacing:

Ease of everything rules the World… but we, the older generation know that less educated community is easier to be controlled…

Look at the cartoons watched 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago…

… and theses days:

Screenshot from 2024-06-19 01-24-21

Why the kids cannot see a normal, regular happy face anymore? Oh… yeah… this is a new art for kids… :wink:


Fascinating and thought provoking question. Some personal responses based upon my context.

In the category of “things used to be this way and now they are that way,” I’m not sure superiority and inferiority is always the only right way to assess very different contexts over history. Does this apply to art? Maybe. Maybe not. Art seems very hard for me to assess personally.

Is there a better/worse in art? Undoubtedly. One can look at the complexity of the two images in the original post and clearly see that. So I agree that what was posted is on to something.

I suspect the change in art is also the expression of a change in underlying values and cultural ideology. The historical change in ideology from Plato to the present is expressed in art throughout the ages. So maybe the underlying cause is that culture is less beautiful?

I appreciate the reference to Isaiah 5:20. I think there is an appropriate application. My mind went to Ecclesiastes 3:11. “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.” Beauty is one thing. The ability to enjoy beauty is another thing. That ability comes as a gift from God.

As usual, I’ve rambled.


Seems like I remember the “modern art” used to illustrate books and similar things is part of the woke agenda . You can’t show real people because that might infer somehow that that race or sex is preferred over another. This is why kids are now depicted as blue, pink, green etc and have triangle heads or just blobs on a page. The woke agenda reaches far more things than what one might think.

Just look at the original post. The boy is climbing the tree and the girl is on the ground waiting to catch what’s tossed down. With the woke agenda you can’t have a girl doing a traditional role. She needs to be the risk taker, the strong leader. It’s an insidious evil I think.


I’m not sure I agree with the original premise, that modern artists are not taught the basics. I personally come from an art background, and had a classic art education that led to an early career in graphic design. I moved out of that profession, but that’s irrelevant. My mother was an art teacher, then a commercial artist, and a lifetime brilliant artist. Her work is in some major galleries. My daughter just completed her AA in art and illustration. She’s an outstanding illustrator. I couldn’t have been more happy with the education she got, in terms of teaching the basics and fundamentals.

What I see is this. The same thing has happened to illustratuon as it did to graphic design and photography (another background of mine). The old- school tools were hard to master and took real skill. To get brilliant, unexpected photos with slow speed Kodachrome and a manual Nikon, you actually had to know what the hell you were doing. Now days any phone can read the light, adjust focus and exposure on the fly, adjust sensor sensitivity, automatically stabilize a shaky hand, track moving subjects, and grab 10 shots in a row so you can delete all but the one you like. Where’s the skill in that? All that tech totally ruined photography for me. If you want to step up from a phone, you can grab a nice DSLR for next to nothing. Professional photographers that used to make a living doing weddings and sports have a term: MWAC. Mom with a camera. She’s that soccer mom with the Audi and a $1500 Canon semi-pro camera around her neck that does all the thinking for her, taking pictures for her kids’ team photos and her niece’s wedding.

At every company, the secretary in the front office got a copy of Photoshop and Illustrator, and suddenly she had the exact same tools as the career professional and she’s a “designer,” even though she doesn’t know the first thing about composition, typography, etc.

My point is, there are brilliant illustrators, photographers and designers still out there, but a lot of them are probably not working in those fields because their skills have been so devalued by technology that they can’t make a living. For my daughter, her AA in art was a stepping stone to a more technical future career.


Valid observations in my opinion and the same goes for the garbage that passes for music. No discipline or talent needed to create songs using pitch correction software to string together uninspired lyrics backed by computer generated notes imitating instruments.


I have a daughter looking into graphics design. This is a very helpful perspective and post. Thanks!

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Here the dart which doth pierce mine own heart!

I come from a background in printing, typography, and design, begun at the age of 12 years (more than a half century ago). My father, himself a master printer and typographer, started me out hand-setting lead type and teaching me the fundamentals of design and composition. I can still hear him saying, “Never underestimate the value of white space,” and " Don’t let the ornamentation cloud the information."

I continued in the trade, learning and developing new skills, for many years. I found my accumulated knowledge base to be transferable to other endeavors in life and they have served me well. It is the loss of the fundamental understanding and physical, human skills related to a field of study that does great harm to the generations raised with the automation, computerization, and (now) AI-ization of so many fields. The knowing eye can easily discern the shallowness of modern constructions when compared to the works of as little as 50 or 75 years ago. Computer assistance has rapidly evolved into computer dependence with an accompanying stunting of overall mental ability. That’s not to say today’s young folk are stupid; they simply had the misfortune to grow up wrapped in layers of digital blanketing which obscured the light of the real world.

Just my two cents, and worth every penny.


I first used a composing stick in high school shop class, running a letterpress. In college I set type with the compugraphic. Later on, my first copy of photoshop came on a single 3.5" floppy.

Once the ink is in your blood it never really leaves. You bleed CMYK. :rofl:


And typewash!


Just designed my next t-shirt:

" My blood type is
CMYK pos"


Type setting, and running the (manual) platen press was so much fun in High School!
Clean up… not so much.


Had a type cabinet and C&P 10x15 in my back shed for a number of years. Glory days.


In September my wife (also a printer) and I will be attending the Great Northern and Midwest Printer’s Fair in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Can’t wait!


I got a real sense of the accomplishment Martin Luther must have experienced himself in 1517.


Great documentary about the origins of printing in Europe.


I got a sense of accomplishment just USING a moveable type press. Can’t IMAGINE the sense of accomplishment one would derive from having the skills to BUILD a moveable type press!

Thanks for the documentary, I DID enjoy watching it!


At one time I had drawn a complete set of plans for a wooden printing press of the style first used in colonial America. I based the plan on illustrations and text in “Diderot’s Encyclopedia” from the mid-18th century. The idea was to build one mounted on a trailer to haul it around and give demonstrations at schools and events. Sadly the plans were lost when our house burned some years ago. :cry: :cry: