In my bedroom at my parents’ house, I still have a blown up image of H.R. Giger’s portrait of Deborah Harry on my wall.  I think most the reason I put it up is cause I think it symbolized both my teenage angst and how Blondie is one of my favorite groups.   My parent’s understood it, but the image itself kind of scares some people the first time they see it in all its glory hanging on my wall.


H. R. Giger, Brian Aris. Accessed on 8 Feb. 2014. Used here under educational Fair use only

However, I was in a discussion once with a person who is a self-proclaimed artist about the image, Giger’s work, and his art aesthetic.  When asked what medium was used, I said it was a photograph that was airbrushed.  The person responded with, “airbrushing is a not a real artist.”  I was confused and unable to think of a counter example, cause, really, I could not really think what made an artist an artist and what what did not constitute as art.  Sure when we hear about airbrushing, we usually associate it with magazine covers, taking something that one person could view as perfect and making it more perfect, but the Giger example is almost the exact opposite.  He took a photograph that one could say was perfect and made it a lot uglier — but is there a difference between a person doing touch-ups on a magazine or a person completely changing the visual, emotional, intellectual, etc aesthetics of an image?  Could the same be said about another artist such as Andy Warhol (who also did a digital painting of Deborah Harry, but that is for another blog post) who would take every day items a person could find in the grocery store, in the home, or on the farm and turn them into works of art.

Jeffrey Bardzell synthesizes on page 29 of his paper titled Commentary on Tractinsky’s ‘Visual Aesthetics’ in The Encyclopedia of Interaction Design that aesthetic experiences and/or responses, “…contributes directly to human knowledge and understanding of the world.”  What I am trying to say here is, Giger took a medium that we know for getting t-shirts made at the mall with and completely changed our  connotation as to what it can be used for.  He challenged our understanding of the world and made us see a medium and the image many people had for a singer in a new light here.  Warhol did the same thing.  He made us realize that everything we have in our lives, that someone designed or created that, and that is could and should be seen as art, whether it be an airbrushed image or a reproduced Brillo box.