January 13, 2010

This Presents an Interesting Problem Caricature

This presents an interesting problem. Caricature has never been taken as seriously as realism. The history of Western art, with the exception of the dark ages and the 20th century, has always been derived from realism, and the art of the dark ages probably had more to do with the loss of knowledge and craft than with a conscious artistic choice. Caricature might be seen as clever, but except for artists, nobody values caricature as more than a lightweight diversion. Disney moved more towards illustration when he went into features. The all-cgi features have pushed their visuals towards greater complexity (which sometimes clashes with their character designs). Video games have also gravitated towards realism. I believe that this has been motivated by a desire to be taken more seriously by getting closer to what Western eyes value in art.

From Mark Mayerson’s thoughtful post on Avatar’s use of mocap versus keyframe animation, why James Cameron and Peter Jackson can do it successfully (and artfully) but Robert Zemeckis fails at it (the zombie-eyed children of Polar Express, A Christmas Carol), and whether the rift between traditional animation and performance capture speaks to something deeper in the history of representational art.