Dialogue: art-work, design-work, artisan-work


My view is that art is made without reference to the receiver.
It is entirely ego-centric.
It is thrown out into the world and if someone understands and desires it, it’s a miracle.
Design is made with reference to others — which is why real design is human-centered design.
I want my art self-centered and my design human-centered!


I wouldn’t say, “miracle.”
What would commissioned work be? Artisan work?


Depends on the benefactor
If the benefactor sees the artist’s vision and identifies with it (through that “miraculous” congeniality), it’s still art…
…but if the benefactor doesn’t know how to let the artist do the art, or the artist doesn’t know how to defend the art from the benefactor’s attempts to control the art, it becomes artisan work.
and here’s a new thought…
If a client doesn’t know how to let a designer do human-centered design or the designer doesn’t know how to defend the design from the client’s desire to control the design — what gets done is artisan work.


Update May 21, 2017:

3 types of participants in a creation:

  • The producer – the party producing a work.
  • The sponsor – the party funding the production of a work.
  • The consumer – the party enjoying the benefit of a work.

3 categories of production:

  • Art-work – In art-work, the producer produces work guided primarily by the producer’s own judgment, with less concern for the personal standards of sponsor or consumers. The artist produces as if for himself as consumer, and the work is chosen or accepted by the sponsor, almost as if intercepted, as an artifact manifesting the artist’s personal judgment. In art, the producer (artist) has final judgment.
  • Design-work – In design-work, the producer produces work guided primarily by the consumer’s judgment, with deliberate deemphasis on the personal standards of producer or sponsor. The active judgment in design is empathic judgment: quality of judgment is ability to overcome personal judgment in order to judge by the consumer’s standards. The one using has final judgment. In design, the user (consumer) has final judgment.
  • Craft-work – In craft-work, the producer produces work guided by the sponsor’s judgment, with deliberate deemphasis on the personal standards of producer or consumer (assuming the consumer is not the sponsor). The craftsperson produces for a sponsor to the satisfaction of the sponsor. In craftwork, the sponsor (the one paying for the work) has final judgment.

Much pain in production arises from ambiguity or disagreement over the category of production. A sponsor believes what he is commissioning is primarily craftwork, being produced to his own personal satisfaction, when the producer thinks what is commissioned is either design or art. (A sponsor who lacks pluralistic awareness, due to autistic, narcissistic or naive realist tendencies, will not understand the difference between craft-work and anything else. It will simply become a control issue or clash of wills.)  Or a producer is hired to work as a designer, but sees himself as the final judge of the work. (This is inevitable when the producer lacks pluralistic awareness).

Of course, most work is a hybrid of all three, located in the middle regions of a three-axis gamut stretched between art-work, design-work and artisan-work — but even minor disagreements in the balance point can generate strain.


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