What is Art Direction?
Art Direction is the means by which the creative idea can be expressed.
-Nik Mahon Art Direction 2010
Art Direction should help an idea rather than hinder it. Art direction should be a window rather than a beautifully painted wall.
-David Christenson (quoted by Nik Mahon)
“It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother’s hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it — but before I could touch it someone carried me away.”-Joel Peter Witkin on the stemming of his visionary influences from when he was a young boy witnessing a tragic car accident in which a young girl was decapitated.The main themes which an be found in Witkin’s work seem to be the following:
- The shock factor-Witkins most notable work has often featured graphic representations of social outsiders such as hermaphrodites and transsexuals.
- Transgressive nature-Witkin looks to outrage his audience or violate basic sensibilities.
- Death-Photographs containing portions of corpses strengthen Witkin’s ability to disgust his viewers so that innocence is completely disregarded.
- Technique-scratching of negatives in Witkins work looks to provoke and highlight the sinister content featured in his photographs.
- Exploitation-the photographs in Witkin’s work seem to never show its content in a compassionate way, it comes across as highly invasive and somewhat perverted.