Simplicity with a Story

The Question

The question "what type of art do you do?" is universal. The answer automatically becomes a label. The art, however confusing it may be to the individual, is now suddenly understood. Although good for marketing, being tagged constitutes a danger to creativity. A gallery or portfolio of similar “looking” work merely demonstrates a formula of repetitive, redundant thinking.

The following is an excerpt from the book “Creativity, Inc.” Ed Catmull

“The first principle was ‘Story is King’ by which we meant that we would let nothing-not the technology, not the merchandizing possibilities-get in the way of our story. We took pride in the fact that reviewers talked mainly about the way Toy Story made them feel and not about the computer wizardry that enabled us to get it up on the screen”.
To tell a story with the utmost honesty, integrity, and truth demands uncertainty, rawness, and vulnerability. Otherwise the art piece is nothing more than a self-indulgent exercise in skill. The answer to the question, “What type of art do you do?”, is “Art that uses simplicity to tell a story.” Technique, style, media, and format are modified according to the narrative presented.

"I have never seen an angel. Show me an angel and I will paint it."Gustave Courbet

In the time of a realist painter working in the 1800s, Courbet's statement makes sense. How do you depict something you’ve never actually seen? Perhaps he was interested in showing events of daily life; a simple story of something he observed or experienced. Approaching that quote from another view point, an angel in a vapid mind forever remains an obvious cliche regardless of technical skill; another vision of a super model with feathery wings. The problem of "what does it look like?" is simple. To solve it in a different way is the inspiration.

"I do the impossible because the possible, anyone can do."Pablo Picasso

There is something to be said about the fearlessness displayed in the art done by children. Their focus is in communicating and expressing the idea (story) and not about showcasing their mastery over a prescribed technique. The idea is allowed to take on what ever format they wish. Rendering in absolute realism is a learned and practiced skill acquired over time. Genuine creativity is about taking that skill or any other skill for that matter and do something with it that has not been done before or at the very least, something the artist/designer has never done before. Innovate or just repeat? Seems like an easy enough choice.

“The most sophisticated form of expression is simplicity.” Da Vinci

The call to simplicity requires the discipline to resist the superficial. A shack covered in coloured lights is still a shack.

“Less is more.”
Robert Browning

Simplicity is an attitude. There is no place to hide.

The VJP Story

VJPaluck self portrate

Winnipeg Man. (oil on board)

Self portrait


Artist, designer, teacher
B.F.A. honours, University of Manitoba, Canada
B. Of Education, University of Toronto, Canada

VJPaluck is originally from Winnipeg, more specifically, from the city’s north end. Remaining in the city, at the time, was not a career option, so a simple toss of a coin determined which direction, east or west, he would go. Upon arriving in Toronto, VJP pitched his portfolio and freelanced as a graphic designer and illustrator. This flexibility gave valuable industry level insight and experience in advertising illustration, animation, architectural rendering, fashion/costume illustration, medical illustration, commercial photography/video, and theatre set design/construction. Along with a colleague, a partnership in an advertising/design venture was setup and with that came the hard lesson of realizing how fearlessness in creativity without sound business savvy was not enough to survive the overwhelming politics of running a company. Adapting to the circumstances, VJP enlisted in the education profession. A period of constantly juggling the two mindsets of art versus teaching pursued. It was a good gig but the true passion won out and VJPdesign was born.

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