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4. "Extreme (Photoshop) Makeover"
5. "Lassie"
6. "You Suck at Photoshop"
Enjoy. Just remember, you're only.. no, you're always.. yes, always.. watching someone's commercial.
BEAUTIFUL LIES : It's All Advertisements For Myself

"Extreme (Photoshop) Makeover" viral video. There are lots of videos illustrating the magic of Adobe's photoediting software, Photoshop™, and much more detailed ones. I just grabbed the first one I saw on YouTube. See (below) some of the larger implications of Photoshop for art and life. A longer version of "Confessions of a Worthless Art Bum" can be found below video 6, "You Suck at Photoshop."

Beauty specialists ask: "But is it Art?"
"The Artist ... As Ancient Trickster!"
[Short Version]

HOW'S TRICKS? Art critics everywhere secretly or openly hate Adobe's Photoshop™ and Photoshop-made art, like film critics railing against the soullessness of movies heavily dependent on special effects. As Richard Huntington put it: "...those oh-so-tricky Adobe-made abstractions that are a plague on the art of photography." I believe the key phrase, here, is "Adobe-made" as opposed to artist-made. Graphics softwaremaker Adobe gets most of the credit, not the artist using it. Photography, too, wasn't considered art once, because it didn't seem to require any special magic called talent to produce photographs of possible artistic interest. Photographs were camera-made, not artist-made. The manufacturer of a high-quality camera gets most of the credit, not the artist using it. This is especially true of ever easier to use point-and-shoot cameras utilizing ever more complex software (that is becoming like ever easier to use point-and-click, drag-and-drop, copy-and-paste software) built right into the camera to produce high-quality images. Cameras are becoming ever-more-powerful-and-simpler-to-use computers. So. Are camera operators artists or technicians? Are they amateurs or professionals? And, no, self-doubt and credibility problems won't be solved by buying bigger, fancier, more expensive, more professional-looking equipment.

Camera Vs. Camera Operator!
"Machines Will Replace Everyone."

MAN VERSUS MACHINE. As the inventors of the software and hardware behind Photoshop and photograpy continue to push the boundaries of modern digital technology, and artists continue to quickly embrace this "industrial light and magic," how much credit will artists take for their inventions? As much as they can get away with, of course. In a recent retrospective of two supposedly seminal photo books, The Americans by Robert Frank and The New West by Robert Adams, art critic Richard Lacayo writes: "Both these books changed what it was possible to show. More than that, they changed what it was possible to see." Taking the liberty to rewrite his words, I could just as easily state: "(The technology behind) books and photographs changed what it was possible to show... and see." Furthermore, I could just as easily suggest that both the technologies of the modern printing press and photography should not only share some of the artists' credit but take most of their credit.

Art imitates life
Brussels Famous Pissing Dog Art

AMAZING DOG TRICKS. Every dog will learn a trick to get a treat. It's sadly stomach-tightening to watch art lovers and critics still genuflecting before some art icon, artist or fame. Every market has its salesforce. Every salesforce has its true believers to get you excited and pump you up about something's value. Every salesforce has its shady scammers to dump worthless crap on you and steal your money. The art market is no different. Its pump-and-dump schemes are just more elaborate. There's always room in the art world for another footsoldier of the art maket to lionize its supposed treasures, dusting off old relics and uncovering new artifacts of esthetic faith in a heroic (or desperate) effort to resusitate and reinvigorate the lost religion of Art, especially Tragedy, all in the name of saving us, saving humanity, saving our lost humanity. Nietzsche believed in the arts. He believed in it more than any other religion. Nietzsche tried to find redemption in, and through, tragic beauty and the arts that specialized in it. But, instead, he became yet another victim, even while ironically becoming Tragedy's most modern, most compelling poster boy for the tragically heroic. Tragically, Nietzsche failed in this effort to reinvent religion through art — this superhuman "revaluation of all values" was the noblest mythical stuff of comic book legends made believable for intellectual realists. Cynics, sceptics, realists, relativists and nihilists scoffed at the naivety of communists, but they found real sustenance in Nietzsche's insights. And while Nietzsche's great imagination failed to deliver him (let alone us) from destruction; it failed in the most truly inspiring and dispiritingly tragic way imaginable. It was almost enough to turn some towards that old time religion. Others have never looked back since.

Man's best friend
Unknown Dog Pissing On Nazi Propaganda

HERO-WORSHIP WITH NO HERO. Nietzsche was no Nazi. Nietzsche was no mere facist or nihilist. Don't believe the strident Nazi propaganda claiming otherwise. His thoughts saw through the simple-minded criminal cruelty of fascists and communists, alike, and derided not only their basic lack of honesty about the baseness of their own cruelty but also the cowardliness of this dishonesty. Though Nietzsche is most often remembered for his attacks on the moral values of Western civilization, people forget his attacks were rooted in his sincere attempt to answer the ancient question "What is noble?" And his answer was not "Nothing." Nietzsche was not just a hero-worshiper without a hero; He was a hero-worshiper in search of a hero. He was not just a disillusioned idealist without an ideal; He died an idealist searching for an ideal. Nietzsche was in search of a more honest ideal—one that was more honest about man's primal power-hungry nature. Every man wants the power to be free, the power to choose, the power to control his life. He saw through man's attempt to disguise his basic thirst for power with the moral trappings of Western civilization. And his quest to find something noble to aspire to was the last intellectually convincing quest for the truly ideal and heroic in man. Nietzsche did not come to destroy man's moral values; he came to rescue them. He came to stop the modern erosion of values that he had the foresight to see. He came to revitalize modern civilization's steadily unconvincing values by reinventing them. But something had to die before it could be reborn. Some believe more harm than good came "in the wake of Nietzsche's savage attack on the West's moral underpinnings." Perhaps we're still in the process of transforming, still dying to be reborn.

ISN'T THAT SPECIAL. Yes, every dog wants a treat. Everyone wants a reward. Everyone wishes to be oh so very rewardingly special. Everyone wishes to be more rewardingly special when others appear to be more rewarded for being more special than him. Everyone wishes to be miraculously gifted with that magical special something we collectively call talent. It's simply called talent because we have no other real name for this strange, precious unknown. Talent is, and remains, a profound mystery. So where is the talent in art photography? Where is the talent in art created with software programs like Photoshop? Photography and Photoshop seem to be more about commonly available mechanical tools, techniques and technology that can easily be used by anyone to produce and reproduce so-called works of art, rather than about uncommon artistic talent and skills possessed only by a unique few. So the people who engage in it don't seem that unique or special. After all, value in the art world is ruled by principles of supply-and-demand just like the rest of the world. If "new technologies enable even amateurs to create sophisticated images," then the glut of these new sources of seemingly sophisticated artistic images will significantly impact and degrade the overall value of those art images that can't distinguish themselves from this glut and no longer offer any real sense of uniqueness, i.e., unique value. For example, the unique value of traditional one-of-a-kind handmade paintings will disappear the moment some new technology (such as a high-quality inkjet printer) can perfectly copy and counterfeit them like paper money.

Life imitates art
Unknown Dog Pissing On The Famous

ART IS UNORIGINAL. "Is it an original?" you ask. "It's not original?" you say. Who cares. Every successful artist is first an instinctive mimic and talented counterfeiter. Art schools everywhere teach students to slavishly copy "the masters" until they have the balls and wherewithal to start their own school. Every artist immitates what he likes and copies what he sees. The realist copies reality. The dreamer copies not only his own dreams but everyone else's. For everyone is fundamentally dreaming the same basic dream: immortal fame—the feeling you know you're going to live forever! Who cares if it's false; It seems real because it feels real. Who cares if it's an illusion. Every artist's vision is profoundly unoriginal because everyone's goal is fundamentally the same: being immortalized —that timeless feeling of knowing you're living forever! It all comes down to fame? Yes, immortal fame. It all comes down to fame because it's all about being immortalized by fame, immortalized by recognition, by massive amounts of positive public and private recognition. It's all about getting recognition—the recognition of one's own immortality. Most of us only strive to get this recognition from our friends and loved one. While others are determined to realize this common dream on a much larger scale. But everyone secretly dreams of great conquests of recognition. Everyone dreams of immortality. Everyone dreams of being famous.

IMMORTALITY'S RECOGNITION VALUE. Nothing's more important than being important. And nothing seems or feels more important than being immortalized by the recognition of fame. Fame may not be a lasting sense of importance, but nothing else lasts longer. Art is never about (the importance of) the subject matter; art is about (the importance of) recognition, lasting recognition. The artist gives his subject a sense of importance by devoting his powers of recognition to it. The more he devotes to it, the more important it becomes (to him). We not only give a sense of importance to everything we pay attention to and recognize; we immortalize it to a degree. The love & glory of star power's intoxicating sense of immortality—found in Big Recognition, Big Love, public and private—is everyone's common goal. Ambition is the same everywhere; no matter where you go; no matter who is involved; no matter what shape, dream or name takes hold. Everyone's chasing Big Love's Big Recognition, in hopes of being immortalized by it. Ambition has everyone chasing the Recognition of Immortality.

Life is art!
Unknown Dog Making Art

DOG-EAT-DOG COMPETITION FOR ATTENTION AND RECOGNITION. Everyone wants Big Love. Everyone wants Big Love in the form of Big Recognition. But every form of Big Recognition requires the participation of others. No matter how content you are devoting all your time and attention to something in your own world, you want others to recognize its importance in order to confirm it. You want others to recognize you and your world's importance and make it all appear bigger and more real. Big Love, Big Recognition, requires others to pay attention to you and recognize you. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to make, and is making, the same demands on you. Everyone must compete for their own and other's attention and recognition. But worse than having to compete for Big Love, Big Recognition, is having to convince or trick others into believing you deserve more love and recognition than them. The worse thing about having to compete is having to make others feel you are more important and valuable than them. Everyone is a tricky-little-dicky out to prove he or she is more uniquely valuable than his competitors. Everyone is a competitor. Everyone is your competitor, for love & money. Whether successful at the con or not, everyone is a con artist out to conjure up and sell an insulting impression that he is more lovable, more important, more praiseworthy.. than you. Everyone is a con. Everything is a con. Everyone is a dog. Everyone is dogfood. Everyone is a cannibal. Time to eat you. I hate all art. I propose... that for no damn good reason: Art = Fashion = Fame = Money.

LOVE IS BLIND. Want to be famous? Shoot someone famous. Start a fight with someone famous. Be seen with someone famous. Make love to someone famous. I don't care how many times celebrity photographer Any Lebowitz goes down on famous photography critic Susan Sontag and changes Sontag's mind, art photography is a mercenary scam... like the rest of the art market. Beyond dumb luck, the only genius at work here (if any) is marketing genius. At best, Liebiwitz didn't need Sontag's approval because she already achieved a level of star power, somehow, without her. But celebrities everywhere love to party and have sex with other celebrities... of equal or greater stature. At worse, Sontag's critical reversal about photography is nothing more than the product of a casting couch: a less important, less powerful or less famous starlet sexually auditioning for and trading favors with a bigger, more important, more powerful star to further her own career. Or perhaps it was just peer-pressure from an art world that ultimately takes its cues from the art market's desire to make money. Why say photography isn't art if you can't make money off of it. Just because Sontag made her reputation and money off of that message doesn't mean the rest of the art world can. It's just more profitable to redefine the concept of art to include photography as a legitamate art form. As Warhol — that calculatedly self-effacing art whore, wise ass and darling of the art world — was man enough to say: "Art is what you can get away with."

Strike it rich! Clean up in the art market!
Unknown Dog Picking Up And Cleaning Up After The Famous

DEMOCRATIZATION OF ART! (More peer-pressure for Susan Sontag.) We all want to get away with it. We all want to get away with as much undeserved praise, profit and happiness as we can. Life is randomly unfair. And the whimsies of art are just as unjust. Life randomly rewards and brutalizes. But the art world brands its own whimsical brutality with extra special seductiveness. We all deserve to be happy. Don't we? We all deserve to be as happy as any of you random successes. So what about the rest of us luckless, artless uglies? Don't we deserve a place in the sun and spotlight, too? What about the whole world's desire to be famously "artistic" without much effort, talent or skill? We want praise and profit from this glamourous pursuit and fun lifestyle, too. We want to feel as good about ourselves as you do. We can't all be as gifted as you and those you approve of. Or can we? Democratize the glamour of the arts! Expand the arts to make everything artistic. Expand your conception of art to make everything art. Give me a golden shower. Make ugly ol' me popular. Make me beautiful. Call me beautiful. Declare my crap is art. Invite me to your party. Make me famous. Make everyone famous. Call everyone beautiful! Spread the word. Spread the joy. Spread the wealth. Spread the love. Make everyone an artist! Make everyone beautiful. Build a museum to house us all!

ART IS A GAME TO BE GAMED. Art is the game of love. It's the most glamourous, most rewarding international competition for the world's love because it's all about fame... and the fortunes made from the fortunes willing to pursue and woo it. I'm not asking you to lower your standards. I'm telling you I want to level the playing field. I don't want to cheat. I want to change the rules of the game so I can win, too. I want to score. I want to be a winner just like you. I hope you lucky winners don't need or want me to be a loser just so you can be a winner. I don't think art needs to create losers just so it can pick winners. I think art can be a win-win situation. Don't you? I said, don't you?! Don't make me come after you. Admire me and I'll kiss your equally admirable ass. Snub me and I'll kick your elitist ass. Do me... right or wrong... and I'll return the favor. It's pay back. It's karma.

Dogs and owners need love, too.
Unknown Dog With Its Unknown Owner Hoping For Best In Show

THE CON IS ON. Make me more famous than you. Make me more lovable than you. Fame is public acclaim. It's public lovemaking. Fame is the show business of love. And everyone in the art world is in the business (of fame). Art is not only in the business of love; art is in the business of showing love. Every art show is a show of love. Every famous art personality, every famous art object, is shown all sorts of love. Fame is art's only real business. Fame is what the art market sells. Fame is the only truth, the only beauty, the only happiness it has the expertise to sell. Fame is a popularity contest, and so is art. The only expertise you need to judge what is art is knowing what you like. But to be successful in the art market, it's more important to know what others like. You need to know what is the most popular of what is popularly known as art. You could say the same about any market. Every market is a popularity contest for your love. Say you were in the market for both truth and happinesss. Say you had to pick between truth or happiness, what would you do? Pick the plain, unvarnished truth; no matter how boring, ugly, hurtful or painful it is? No? So. You pick happiness over truth. Why? Because happiness is more popular than truth. In that case, I'm happy to make fun of you. For as you see: No one chooses truth over happiness. Some just find happiness where you do not. The truth is: Being happy is the only truth worth knowing. So, as always, what follows is meant only for those it pleases:

Artists are dogs. Art is a dog show. And the art market is a dog race run by rats and won by the trickiest rat. So again one asks: "How's tricks?" This art critic says: "Life is short. A very short rat race. Truth is a whore. Beauty is a lie. Enjoy it while you can. Enjoy it any way you can. Enjoy."

I've confessed. Throw me a bone.

CONFESSIONS OF A WORTHLESS ART BUM: "The Artist As Ancient Trickster!" (Sorry. No self-help here for the starving, beleaguered artist. Save yourself. I can't even save myself. Doggy heaven here I come.) Yes, unfortunately, an even longer version of this bum confession can be found below video 6, "You Suck at Photoshop."

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