Pete Pinnell on fine art that functions

Pete Pinnell was one of my professors at the University of Nebraska, one of three very strong individuals in a fantastic ceramics program. The following video (external link) is a stellar talk about fine art and function.

Pete Pinnell on cups

Pete is a very good speaker and draws a number of simple but very powerful metaphors as he discusses cups, drinking vessels, in this video. Below I’ve paraphrased some of the portions that really caught my attention:

Art acknowledges and actually talks about life, but there is one great taboo still in the art world, and that is that art still does not take part in life. Art thinks about life, but it does so from the role of the critic, from the observer, from the outsider. I like to joke that art will peek in our windows and rummage through our closets but it won’t sit down at the dinner table with us.

The fine arts world has chosen to forgo touch, but it’s a very powerful means of human expression.

Does having to deal with function limit creativity?

A little bit of dissonance is really required to have something that will hold our attention for a longer period of time.

For the most part I think he hits the nail squarely on the head, but I’d love to hear other’s responses to this 30 minute talk.

About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to Pete Pinnell on fine art that functions

  1. Tim J. says:

    Thanks for posting this. I watched the entire video last week and have been meaning to comment. Some very good points.

    In particular, the remark on dissonance you quote above is striking.

    It seems to me that any really beautiful art makes use of things like darkness, chaotic or unresolved areas, etc… and that these kinds of things serve to bolster the meaning of areas that are fully resolved, more brightly lit and colored.

    Mere prettiness is every bit as much an enemy of beauty as is mere ugliness for the sake of ugliness. The masters of the old academy understood this, but they had many imitators who did not, and so they unwittingly inspired a tidal wave of insipid and over-pretty artwork.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: