Mr. J.V. Presogna
Presogna Productions

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The Tree of Expression

Not all expression is art.
On the contrary, most expression is not art.

Non-Artistic Expression

Artistic Expression



To speak, teach, demonstrate,
or otherwise persuade.

To enlighten, to entertain, or
to sometimes educate.

Real World Actions

Staged in Some Form




Telephone, newspapers, television,
posters, signs, magazines, and

Photography, cinematography,
illustrations, cartoons, paintings,
sculpture, artwork and crafts.



Manuals, textbooks.

Books, short subjects, poetry, lyrics.



Blueprints, maps,
technical diagrams.

Stage performances, dance, concerts,
public performances.

Other Communication

Auditory Expression

Codes, slang, electronic.

Music, speech.

Direct Example: A politician may be quite entertaining in the speech spoken from the podium, but the intent is to communicate or persuade in the real world, not some staged production. The comedian, on the other hand, who can be both enlightening or entertaining, is an act, a production put together for the stage, outside of real world communication. The comedian's real intent is to make us all laugh. There is a genuine difference between real world communication and the productions for the stage as entertainment.

The Art Test

In law, forms of art are regarded as speech, in that a book speaks for a writer, a painting speaks for a painter, a song speaks for a composer, and other pieces of art speak for the particular artist responsible for them.

Yet, even though we have freedom of speech, which includes artistic expression, not all speech is protected. Libel and slander are not protected forms of speech. Shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater, when there is no fire, is not protected speech. In art, pornography and obscenity are restricted in public places based on local community standards.

The most basic reason that these forms of expression or speech are not protected under law by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is that they are all an assault upon the truth.

In other words, what the artist is expressing must be valid, outside of the forms of comedy dealing in absurdity, or it would be a corruption or perversion of the truth. In fact, even humor regarded as satire deals in exposing folly or wickedness, and therefore is related to the truth.

Although untruths may be considered expression, the philosophical point would be that art must reflect life, be it ugliness or be it beauty, and to corrupt such things --- that is, to make ugly what is beautiful, or to make beautiful what is ugly --- would be, to a certain degree, inartistic, or failed art.

Granted, not all failed art is pornographic or obscene. Much of it is merely bad art, or simply expression which does not qualify as art.

Art, however, has been affected by an invention. That invention is the camera, which allows people with no artistic talent for painting to become artists by way of taking pictures. There is a huge difference between a true artist who paints a nude figure study to demonstrate the talent of rendering the human form in motion while the form is naked, and the photographer who snaps a quick photograph of a naked romp on the beach.

The photographer does not need any talent for painting the human form. It is all in the eye of the camera.

Therefore, a photographer has several different rules than a painter. While a painter can demonstrate talent of rendering, the photographer must be concerned with composition. Why is the photographer taking the picture? Surely it is not to study a figure like a painter would.

As a matter of fact, unless there is some purpose or theme to a photograph, in that it may be staged or casual, questions would arise concerning the content, more so than any painter of nudes in an art gallery. Although a photographer may take part in what are called figure studies with nudes, the photographer has a much more limited range of possibilities.

All artists are guided by several determining points in their productions.

Every artist must be concerned with 1) The intent in creating something, 2) The artistic merit of the production itself, 3) Whether the production is acceptable in its aesthetics or it is an accurate portrayal of something ugly, 4) The focus of the production, and finally 5) How all of these things are related in the final product.

One test you could perform concerning art would be to take any painting you have and imagine it as a photograph. Would it still be the same art?

In a sense all pornography would be outside of art, although not all depictions of nudity would be pornography. The guidelines are clear and simple outside of photography. It is only with a camera that people find trouble.

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