Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2008
    Over in the Fantastika!: SF & Weird category in The SF Magazines discussion a new and interesting point was loosing the original thread. I thought it deserved it's own place.
    Authorkadrey Commented, in regards to an Interzone cover that Mr Ellis posted:
    Yeah, but the cover of a magazine isn't art. It's about design and creating a sales tool. For me, and most of my snobby friends, a giant bug on the cover says, "I'm a magazine for 12 year olds in 1956." If they were going for pulp irony, why not go all the way and design the cover to look like a Campbell-era issue of Astounding? If they were going forgiant bug allure, well, fuck it.
    While I agree, it is about attracting the reader, I disagree that it isn't art, however much I don't like the illustration. I think the artist who illustrated the cover deserves a little more respect than that.
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2008
    I definitely think that magazine covers can be art. After all, ideally at least, art and commerce aren't mutually exclusive. That said, SF mags aside, not many magazines feature original cover illustrations, and I might be less enthusiastic about including the bad photoshop cut'n'paste covers in the 'art' bracket.
  1.  (1729.3)
    Whether or not its art would depend on whether or not there is art put into it, I think. A cover can be good looking and draw your eye, plus a couple of other things that its required to do, as its basic function. The majority of the time, thats what you'll find. However, thats kinda the same as saying that comics only tell a story or paintings just show an image.

    Without having read the corresponding thread this was sourced from it seems like the point made was that, whether it be art or not, a cover should still perform its basic function of being an attractive sales tool...
  2.  (1729.4)
    In what way is there a distinction between art and design? In what way is art not art if it's also a sales tool?
    Let's actually define "art" before this conversation goes on otherwise it'll turn into a useless semantic game of hokey cokey.

    If you're wondering whether a magazine cover is a deliberately planned and coherent piece of visual design, (illustration/photography/typography combined) then the answer is yes. I'd call that art.
    If you're wondering whether the addition of informational text to an illustration or photo somehow stops it from being art, then slap yourself and think of comics.

    On a more interesting note though, I do like to draw a line between what I loosely think of as 'industrial' and 'non industrial' artwork.
    Industrial being designed to distribute on a large scale... animation, illustration, graphics, comic book art, web design...
    Non industrial being personal work, work designed to be displayed in a gallery or privately, work with only one copy, or where the original piece is the emphasis.

    Although from Andy Warhol onwards, various things (including the internet) have been thoroughly shafting this distinction.
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2008
    Covers are a sales tool first, and if they happen to be art too, that's good. So art that is a cover and works is still art. This appears obvious. See the works of Royo.. it'd be pretty damn hard to call his covers not art, especially as a good many of them end up as posters on people's walls across the world.
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2008
    people buy books that collect covers and i think they do this because they consider it to be art. i suppose one could argue that they have been re-contextualised when presented in such a way but that seems a bit pedantic. warhol blurred the distinction between commerce and art for sure, but so do people like egon schiele, and fuck, if you think about it artists would paint murals on commission to sell themselves as an idea so that people might buy more of their work. you have people like tibor kelman to consider. as far as some magazines go some of sleaze nation's covers were great art, dazed and confused get there sometimes. i think all art has both an intrinsic aesthetic quality and a commercial value in and of itself and as an advert for the artist's art.
  3.  (1729.7)
    That would be the point I would've stopped discussing the subject with that poster. If you're going to declare an entire category of artistic design "inherently not art," we don't have enough opinions in common for us to reach any sort of understanding.

    It's like saying, "I didn't really get into Scott Pilgrim," and then expecting me to date you.
  4.  (1729.8)
    This comes up occasionally with arts and e lawyers, being creatures who don't create much other then memos, its easy to become quite are protective of the arts (and artists). Yet, because non-profits like the one I used to work for need definitions of some sort to figure who can be helped funding wise..."what is art" gets kicked around. So, warning, this is going to be a bit pedantic. And its really just what I walked away with from law school about art. Scary that.

    Art is something created through skill and craft, with the either intent (artists seeks to create art) to cause a reaction or sometimes the happenstance that a reaction occurs (viewer defines art). This reaction is a broad idea, but it usually means a strong thought or emotion. Utility is not the primary goal, of course utility is often present, but the former intent is at least its equal. Something might be fine art, shocking art or industrial art. It could be a chair, which has utility but has design beyond utility. It could be a commercial. It could be a just plain bad.

    But if the intent is there - it is still art. If the reaction is there - it is still art.

    If a cover screams out to you "buy me - you need me" its incredibly successful advertising art. If it says - "go away this is awful" - then its a failure.

    But either way, it is still art.
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2008
    Winther commented
    I definitely think that magazine covers can be art. After all, ideally at least, art and commerce aren't mutually exclusive. That said, SF mags aside, not many magazines feature original cover illustrations, and I might be less enthusiastic about including the bad photoshop cut'n'paste covers in the 'art' bracket.
    There are still quite a few SF magazines that feature original cover art - in fact I'd say most of the ones I'm familiar with do. What I failed to mention was that the original discussion was specifically talking about short story SF magazines and not the high-street glossies.
  5.  (1729.10)
    It's not a question of "Is it art?" as much as "Is it serving it's purpose?"

    These are commercial magazines, meant to sell a product. If they turn off the buyer, don't attract the eye or convey the wrong message entirely they fail.

    Look at Brian Wood's covers for DMZ. Here's a serious, heavy, political book. Wood uses stylish, bold covers that provoke curiousity. Look at it sometime on the comics rack, it stands out so much you can't help but look at it. Catching the eye, that's a big step.

    Considering the dire state of SF mags, you'd think they be doing everything and anything to jump off the stands and bite readers in the face.