So a current theme in our drawing class has been what influences us... it has got me doing some serious contemplation. I really feel that what's encouraged me to flourish the most has been the supportive people in my life, mainly my family. My older sister has always been my hero. Ever since I was little I always looked up to her... and she happens to be an incredibly talented artist. Without her there to guide me I really don't know where I'd be right now.
I am grateful every day to have a mother like mine. I think we often take for granted how supportive mothers are. This woman honestly let me go out of the house looking like a box of paints threw up on me sometimes. She never stifled my creativity, she just let me be me. I love her so much for that.
In one of my art history classes last week we were discussing the Dada period, basically the birth of conceptual/ modern art, aka what most people think is crap. Inevitably, one of the non art majors in the class verbalized the one phrase that endlessly urks me: "how is that art? I could do that."
...Yeah. But you didn't.
Modern art is one of the most controversial topics in art culture. People say it just takes up space. It's usually not pretty. What is it? What qualifies it as actual art? What qualifies anything as actual art? In my opinion, the problem is not necessarily with the art itself, but in the way people are looking at it, or not looking rather. In our society, art relies way too heavily on superficial value. I admit that when I'm looking at something in a gallery, I think to myself, "this is not so visually pleasing... next?" Because that is the way our society has conditioned us to judge, and i'll admit, I am a visual person and I like surrounding myself with things that are nice to look at. However, the reason I am so intrigued by conceptual art is because it completely challenges this way of thinking and judging. It actually necessitates that the viewer use their brain to decode the message that the artist is expressing, but the thing is, the artist doesn't usually care if you understand it or not because he didn't create it for you, he created it for himself. That is something I respect. But the question stands, what defines something as arbitrary as a literal pile of cow feces, or a chair in the middle of a field as art? After reading the book about Squeak Carnwath, I came upon this definition: "Conceptual art elevates a quotidian object or action to the realm of art by the decision of consciously observing and isolating it- distinguishing it as outside of the regular and imbuing it with a meaning we then decode through our own personal associations." I see art as both scientific and poetic; experiencing, observing, absorbing and then recording the process of examination and the expression of experience. This process is what makes it art. Not the fact that you perfected the rendering of a human nose, but WHY and how this is an expression of something below the surface. What I love about art is that there are so many ways to define it, and that's the beauty of it.
More quotes from Squeak Carnwath's book:
Art is proof of human majesty Art is an act of devotion, a practiced witnessing of the human spirit. Art is trust... trusting your instincts. To believe, to observe, to borrow, to create, to become. It is not the job of art to mirror. Images reflected in a mirror appear to us in reverse. An artist's responsibility is to reveal consciousness; to produce a human document. It makes our invisible visible.
As the semester is coming to a close, I think this is a great opportunity to look back at everything that has happened thus far and really reflect on where we are going. The final assignment for drawing really tied it up for me in forcing me to think about who I've become as a person. Everyone was able to pick two things that they felt has brought them to pursue art. I find this exercise important because though we are constantly experiencing events in our everyday lives, I feel that many of us fail to really "look" at what is happening around us (and to us) in terms of the grander scheme of things. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of getting from one point to another that the whole journey is lost in a blur of activity.
What I've struggled with all semester was trying to keep myself from growing indifferent toward my life and what I'm doing. They say we're young and we should live it up, but there are many people who just breeze through college without ever thinking about what really mattered to them. Those people end up not fully realizing what they want to do with their lives. This can be a big problem, because the world is much more demanding and we have to be prepared for it. On the other hand there are people who are like zombies; semi-numb towards everything...those kinds of people also miss out on a lot. I've found myself falling towards the latter part in that I was loosing sight of why I choose to be an artist. I think this drawing class has really help me rethink everything that I'm doing in my art and in my life. I have a school girl crush with art. By maintaining my passions and constantly reflecting on all that I do, I feel myself falling in love with art all over again...reminding myself why I want to be an artist. Every drawing has to matter, we have to have interest in all that we do (even the little things), otherwise what's the point?
So I hope that everyone can look into themselves and their work and remember their goals. It's the simple but hard questions that must be answered..."where are we going?" Even if the question cannot be answered just yet, simply acknowledging these finer details will get us there. With that said, I hope everyone has a good a summer! Go do ART!
Today is the last Blog posting and I must say to everyone in this class how much I thoroughly enjoyed it, meeting everyone and consider it one of my favorite classes. As I mentioned in my first posting, I was very nervous returning to school (since it had been nearly 27 years) but you all made me feel right at home and a part of the class. You were all certainly “DIPLOMATIC” when it came to the critiques, for that I thank you. Barbara, I have learned quite a lot regarding elements of drawing, value, quality of line and the fact that we really don’t need nor are required to draw with just line or line at all. Value and variations of value can be utilized well to define form with out the use of line. We learned and discussed the importance of composition, balance and proportion. I must say that the last assignment to me was hands down the most interesting to me. The reflection process was a very personal one for me, returning me to a life filled with sharing, love, happiness, support and encouragement. How fortunate for me. I was blessed. Although life wasn’t always a bed of roses, we certainly had our down times; it just supports the fact that we all can be a product of our environment and how important the role of mental and physical support can play in our lives. You don’t have to have all the material possessions to have a free spirit and look at things from a different perspective. If I have learned one thing, it would be to continue to LOOK hard and see the detail, and appreciate it through your ART.
Today I thought that I would write a little more about life and how as an artist it is very similar to be an artist in “Life”. Actually, the similarities of being an artist and the experience of life. As an artist you tend to be look upon as different (thank God) and having a sense of perspective that most people in this world don’t (Thank God, again). The fact is that we look at things, I really mean look at things! Most people go through life seeing but not? What I mean by that statement is that most people view things but never really take the time to see things for what they really are. An example would be: Most people see a spider’s web in their garage or outside between bushes, their first thought would be to knock it down, possibly kill the spider that made it and move on. As artists we perhaps would see it, move in closer and start looking at the intricacies, think about the composition and the time it took to design and create such a masterpiece. Literally overnight! Wow, what a feat. Most people could have the same approach but choose not to .What a shame. They really don’t know what they are missing. Slow down, Hell; STOP! LOOK and LISTEN. Draw on the beauty around you. It could be something as small as a pebble at your foot. The sounds of a leaky faucet dripping ever so lightly at night when you lay down for bed. The point being, “take full advantage of each and everyday”. One never knows when it will be our last. An old cliché perhaps but oh so true!
I left off last Blog with the statement that you should question your choices before you make them, for they will follow you through “LIFE”. What I meant, was that you should think and make decisions based off of very calculated thought processes. It is very difficult if not impossible to re-adjust for bad decisions. As an artist, you don’t just look at an object you prepare to draw once and think for one instance you will and could capture that set-up with great detail and accuracy? Do you? I think not. It takes great observation and study. It seems to be the same if “Life”. Hasty decisions often times come back to haunt you. The point being, to adjust before the final decision is made. BEFORE the final decision is made. Calculate your approach. THINK and LOOK hard and long. Once the decision is made, you can still adjust but the adjustments will probably be less monumental to your long-term goals and success. Look, at all angles and from different perspectives not for just the face value. Look for the details, the subtleties, just like in a great work of art, look for the frailties, the lighting, the composition (the HIDDEN STRUCTURAL MAP). That is the ticket, look for the things in life as well as in your art that will help define and guide you to the next level. Never stop learning, for it is the life blood of existence. Education is key!!!! YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK! LITERALLY!