All through history art has been a means of communication. From early drawings by cavemen to modern times images have been used to convey messages. In past centuries when many people were unable to read or write paintings were often the only means of spreading a story.
How would we have known about life in ancient Egypt if artists had not hewn images in stone and painted the walls of the pyramids so impressively. Similarly the Romans erected columns to emboss them with the history of their victories.
The church used the arts to tell the stories of the bible. Royalty and the Nobility employed artists to have their portraits painted or to decorate their palaces in the same way that the billionaires of our times spend millions on contemporary art to impress their visitors and demonstrate their wealth. Paintings tell us how people lived hundreds of years ago. If the old masters had painted abstracts how would we have known?
Today millions of photos are taken every minute of the day but will that data survive even the next ten years? Storage media keep changing and data is lost in the process. Have you still got your old negatives of when you used to take analogue photographs? Have you looked at your digital photos of five years ago? Your hard drive has probably died and the CDs you have stored your data on are no longer accepted by your new machine.
The same goes for everything we put in writing. We can still read the stories hewn in stone thousands of years ago. Will today´s prints last that long? Is there any literature or image worth keeping? All this tells us that realistic paintings are still very important to let future generations know about the way we live. So keep creating. Save some information about today´s world for future generations.
There are many ideas, thoughts, and often accusations which the artists of our time can deliver to us all. Art can also remind us of the beauty of nature presenting it in a light that goes beyond excellent photography.
The visual arts offer a universal language which does not need translating. A realistic painting can be equally understood by someone in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
A painting can present the viewer with something a photo cannot give him. It should always show off the artist´s skills and the art of composition which are best presented by studying the techniques of the old masters and taking them into the 21st century. After all a painter can turn a dull photograph into an attractive scene by adding items the camera would miss. You can have cloud formations where there weren´t any. You can have people or animals in an otherwise bare landscape. You can have summer in the winter and much more.
For years contemporary traditional artists and lovers of traditional art have accepted an inferior position in our current world of art. (See our manifesto) However this position has changed. When Pat asked me to join him and form AERA, I was happy to do so in the hope and faith that with you as new members, we can support those proven standards of traditional art, which we all love and need in our lives, and for the educational benefit of others both here and in the wider public domain. You will see our aim is to grow this group, to encourage those past standards of excellence both visually, or academically, and to practically bridge that lost gap in the development of traditional art for mankind today. Whilst in keeping with past romantic traditions, we are very keen to support poetry or prose, for those who are also ignored as ‘old fashioned’ in that mistaken sense today, so please do join us in presenting your words, work and passion. And finally, we also plan a general new opportunity to regularly pen thoughts in presenting traditional ideas; those that are sadly absent elsewhere for all lovers of great classical art, with the ideals and good nature this inevitably encourages. Welcome to AERA – a new change in the world of Art today.
Charles Harris. (January 2016)