Probably the first painter I appreciated was Salvador Dali, and that's purely because I thought he was funny.
"Ha ha! There's a lobster on that telephone! That's mental!"
As I've gotten older, my tastes have changed. Now I can appreciate Dali's skill and technique... but find most of his ideas unambiguously lazy.
Here's how Dali described his Lobster Telephone in his autobiography:
"I do not understand why, when I ask for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, I am never served a cooked telephone.
"I do not understand why champagne is always chilled and why on the other hand telephones, which are habitually so frightfully warm and disagreeably sticky to the touch, are not also put in silver buckets with crushed ice around them.
"Telephone frappé, mint-coloured telephone, aphrodisiac telephone, lobster-telephone, telephone sheathed in sable for the boudoirs of sirens with fingernails protected with ermine, Edgar Allen Poe telephones with a dead rat concealed within, Boecklin telephones installed inside a cypress tree (and with an allegory of death in inlaid silver on their backs), telephones on the leash which would walk about, screwed to the back of a living turtle... telephones... telephones... telephones..."
I've not even made that up.
Why don't you get telephones served in restaurants, Salvador? Because they're not edible. Here's another conundrum for you: When you're talking about your art, why does it seem like your words are coming out of your arse?
Surrealism is well easy. I bet I could come up with half a dozen ideas - off the top of my head - that are just as good as Dali's. Here you go:
A fish tank full of floating bums; A cat with a potato on its back; A Bible with a wyvern in it.
Likewise Banksy. I used to think he was cool, and thought-provoking. Over time, though, he's either become lazier and more obvious, or I've become better at seeing his ideas for what they are: the most on-the-nose, sixth form, "Yeah, whooo, down with everything!" sort of tripe imaginable. Let's do some Banksy ideas:
A ringmasters hat full of peanuts, that a little elephant is drowning in; A tree in a forest, painted in camouflage pattern; Donald Trump eating a taco, and wiping his mouth on the Stars and Stripes, while sitting on a Muslim.
Obviously, art is subjective. Even the matter of whether video games can be considered art is a debate that has raged almost since the beginning of the industry. Clearly, some games strive to be art more than others.
Leo Tolstoy, whoever that is, described art like this: “To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling - this is the activity of art.”
Which is so far up itself it's practically poking out of Tolstoy's nostril, but it implies that art is personal. Given the team-led nature of so many video games, whose purpose is entertainment rather than emotion, there's little effort by the creator(s) to convey feeling. But there are are exceptions. Journey. Her Story. Ico. The Beginner's Guide. To name but a few.
And now you can add to that list the game Inks, from the team behind the beautiful Lumino City.
Inks is a pinball game. It's also interactive art. And it succeeds at being both simultaneously. There are no lives, no continues, no scores, no obvious challenge.
You punt your balls up the table, and have to trigger ink pads - which explode in technicolour splatter patterns. As your balls roll through the ink, they leave a trail behind them - decorating your table in colourful scrawls.
If you lose too many balls, you're penalised with a disgusting black ball, which leaves a trail of scribbles over your masterwork - like a three year-old has tried to write their name on it.
The tables become more complicated - adding ramps and holes and other bumpers - but the only goal here is to make your table as pretty as possible. It's art for art's sake, while also managing to be a maddeningly addictive pinball game.
And that's all there is to it. It's a game which manages to be beautiful, while allowing the player to simply enjoy what it offers.
The subtleness of the challenge comes from within the player - from our own response to aesthetics.
Going back and re-doing a table, because we've left black streaks over it. There's something quietly, modestly, profound about it.
SUMMARY: How did they resist calling this 'Paintball' I'll never know.
SCORE: Green lobsters out of brown melting spanners.