This article will contain expletives.
You have been warned!
(all works used with Artist Permission)
With that out of the way let’s talk about “Fuck Smoothness.” A while back Alfonso Giraldes AKA Banshee asked me what this meant to me. This is something that I take with great seriousness as I consider Alfonso as a friend and mentor. Here is my answer him and you:
(Please remember you are entitled to your opinion. You don’t have to like rough work, just like one can think smooth work can be boring. More importantly than any of that, I ask you to keep an open mind. Lastly, this article is not implying that one style is better than the other. It is meant to cultivate an understanding of our diverse artistic community.)
Here’s what “Fuck Smoothness” means to me. It means the right and permission to explore and experiment without fear from my peers or superiors.
Believe me, I’ve had people tell me,
“Don’t experiment so much”, ” work on your smoothness”, “you’ll never win competitions”, “people are not ready for this yet”, or “your work is ugly.”
But I’m in love with what I do so I continue doing it.
First let’s start off by exploring the definitions of both words “fuck” and “smoothness.”
Definition of “fuck” from Merriam Webster:
a. Usually obscene: copulate
b. Usually Vulgar : mess – used with with ex. Fuck with
So, just in the definition, we have two things that could conflict. To copulate or fuck is to make love. It is something of great beauty, intimacy, and sensuality but that can also be something aggressive and rough and at its worst, hateful. So we have both ends of the spectrum, love and rage, with the whole spectrum of emotion in between.
The next part is dealing with messing with something.
“Fuck with it!” “Fuck around with it.” “Fuck you!” “Fuck your idea.” “Fuck with you.”
The first two encourage experimentation, change, and revolution. The last two are outright challenges. In our case it is to the status quo, we want change, to not be bound to the same repetitive mode of thinking the previous generation of painters held. The third leads us back to the beginning. It can be intimate or sinister depending on your interpretation.
Smooth or smoothness is what we all know.
Definition of “smooth” from Merriam Webster:
1. having a continuous even surface
2. even and uninterrupted inflow or flight
So when you combine the two it can mean whatever you want it to, really. That you want to embrace and make love to smoothness or you want to be a little rough and passionate with your love.
I’m done reading from a dictionary now, I promise.
Fuck smoothness is not a new concept, the fine art world has seen it as Avant-garde since the late 19th century.
Right – John Singer Sargent “Madame X” 1884 Left Claude Monet “Woman With Parasol aka Study of a Figure Outdoors” 1875
Or the Modern art movement breaking from the precision of traditional realism to basic and simple form.
Left – Diego Valazquez “Las Meninas” 1656 Right Pablo Picasso ” Las Meninas” 1957
Left – Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simone”Doni Tondo” 1506 Right – Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (The Taking of Christ) 1602
Each of these shifts revolutionized the art world and were not necessarily accepted early on, while others were accepted with open arms. Nonetheless, it changed the way the people considered their work and art in general. Each change brought forth new beauty and ideas.
Left – Kirill Kanaev “US WWII paratrooper 101th division Currahee” 2014 Right – Alfonso Giraldes “#fucksmoothness series. nº1” 2015
For a long time miniature painting was stuck in the same place as so many other arts. Pursuing “realism” in perfect blends and nice soft lighting. But as with even traditional art there is no way to achieve something perfectly realistic. One can come close. Year by year, we see a slow progression in this end of the artistic spectrum by miniature painters and I applaud them and their passion! These works are simply astonishing!
Left – Michal ‘LAN’ Pisarski “The Warrior” 2016 Right – Pepa Saavedra “Athena” 2016
This new take on miniature painting deserves its place in this world though.
The expressive, the emotional, the ambient, the course, and the graphic.
Left – Jeroni Camarona “Khorn Juggernaut” 2016 Center – Ken ‘Macca Chung’ Lim “Hal Jordan 2016 Right – Roman Lappat “Old Barbarian” 2016
Just like the diverse “traditional” art world that we grow closer to, we need these new forms of painting and sculpture. They breathe life into an art form when stagnation threatens. We have already seen it in some communities and competitions where the overly strict judging had become less and less inclusive for newcomers.
“Fuck Smoothness” is not permission to just be messy. There should still be some kind of logic to the work that is being done, in the story, color, or sculpture. Too many times have I seen people jumping right into “Fuck Smoothness” from the beginning, never bothering to learn fundamental principles of color, composition, and how to define volumes with light. The same thing happens with contemporary art and the results can be a lifeless mess.
Left – Anthony Rodriguez ” Polish Lancer” 2017 Right – Anthony Rodriguez ” Anonymous #3 in Impasto
Even though I love sketching and painting in Impasto, one of my goals is to paint smoothly. It is a technical achievement worthy of pursuit. It’s important, I think, to be well-rounded in your knowledge of technique, color, and composition. If you can perfectly blend and paint a model and have in the past, but decide to paint in a rough style, people will understand that there is intent and logic behind the brushstroke.
I’ll end here with a common quote that applies to any pursuit.
“Learn the rules, so you can break them.”
Here’s to the future of Miniature Art!
Finally, thanks once again to Alfonso! You have really helped me find my voice the past year. My mind often drifts to our time and talks in Madrid.