What is arts true purpose?
The Center for Academic Study and Naturalist Painting (CAS) has always had one goal in mind, to train realist artists who will ultimately create “art that serves the public, elevates society and reestablishes the standards of art as a visual language that can be understood and felt beyond any boundaries.” How is this possible or why is it necessary with today’s technology? What is the purpose of art in today’s society?
According to the CAS’ director, Ryan Brown, painting is more alive and relevant than it’s ever been. Brown is the founder, director, and head instructor at the CAS in Springville.
Brown, a Utah native, attended BYU after high school. He struggled to find meaning out of the various movements and mediums he was exposed to through the university curriculum. Overviews of the liberal arts and jumbled theory were the core of the program, but skill based understanding seemed to be lacking.
“The teachers didn’t have the skills I was looking for,” Brown said. “They were the parrots of poorly comprehended ideas. Although they had bought into a lie, I couldn’t do it. I never had what it took to believe in depth that wasn’t there.”
He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002, but realized that the education he acquired in college was insufficient to support a career as an artist. Soon after this realization, Brown entered the Florence Academy of Art, where he received his first taste of Academic training. The organized, intense and concise training of the Florence Academy provided Ryan with what he considers the beginning of his understanding of the craft of art. This training not only gave Brown a deep understanding and love of drawing, but also developed in him a strong self-discipline and work ethic, as well as an insatiable appetite for learning. He returned to Utah, excited to pass on the skills he had gained in Italy.
Brown opened an art academy in Utah County after graduation to teach the classical traditions of drawing and painting to aspiring artists, but realized that he, too, needed more education. In 2007 he and his family once again moved to Italy so that he could finish his education at the Florence Academy of Art. Upon graduation two years later with a fuller understanding of skill-based art training Ryan moved home once again and opened the doors to the CAS.
The CAS’ reputation and student base have grown steadily ever since. It is one of only 69 academies from around the world approved by the Art Renewal Center, an organization devoted to propagating excellence in visual art. The CAS has also recently welcomed two new instructors, Katie Liddiard and Brock Alius, academically trained artists themselves.
The students at the CAS receive daily critiques based on the foundational principles and skills of art passed down from generation to generation, thus continuing and progressing upon the lineage of knowledge.
According to Brown, when the Abstract Expressionists turned their back on reality, they turned their back on humanity. Those artists began creating work that was too empirical for the general public to understand, and the underlying purpose of art—communicating—began to erode.
Society became fanatical about the newest fads in art, but all were fleeting fascinations as the next new thing hit the market.
“Modern art was never meant to last,” Brown said. “Most of it was merely an immature attempt to get noticed. As a result, most contemporary art is like a magazine—very forgettable. The one thing that will make painting obsolete is if we continue on the road that modernism set us on. Modernism shunned the public that art was originally meant for. Its whole purpose is to mock and shock the general public.”
Brown stands with a new movement of artists, renouncing “the idea that development in art requires destruction of boundaries and standards, pointless emphasis on ‘newness,’ or pursuit of the bizarre and ugly.”
“Beauty, craft and discipline are constant ideals,” Brown said. “Knowledge-based and craft-based ideals will always have a positive use in society.”
“A real artist must have knowledge and skills to speak. Only by discipline can an artist use art for its true purpose— feeding the people.”
To learn more about the CAS and its curriculum, visit www.cas-utah.com and www.ryansbrownart.com. Prospective students may also call 801-822-8802.
New Discoveries by Ryan Brown