Audio Version of the Chapters is Here.
I like the ideas behind this chapter. One of the first things that caught my eyes when I read it was Henry James’ questions about an artist’s works: What was the artist trying to achieve? Did he / she succeed? Was it worth it? These are also the questions I am hoping, through the use of the goals we have been working with all year, that you have been able to ask and answer for yourself.
Ideas and Technique
Provocative art challenges not only the viewer, but the also its maker. The work that you have been making… think about it… has it challenged you? Has it challenged you only in the making of it or also in the ideas behind it? Some of the work is impressive in the technique, but it has fallen on its face when it comes to idea. Where are you in that mix?
Remember… art that deals with ideas is far more interesting than art that deals with technique. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that more often than not, much of the audience you are dealing with at the high school level is more interested in the technique, or rather the finished product, than the meaning… although… I could be wrong… and I may very well be.
Art lies embedded in the conceptual leap between pieces, not in the pieces themselves. Simply put, there is a greater conceptual jump from one work of art to the next than from one work of craft to the next. You know I love these ideas… I have used them in conversation. I can see my hands bridging the gap between work to work. Have you felt that happen in your own work yet? I sure have in my drawings and paintings. I also love the way this section ends in that if you do not leave some strand of idea dangling for the next work, there is no reason for your next work to be any different than your last.
Think about the work you did last summer… embarrassing? Maybe not all of it, some of it, maybe. I look back and see embarrassment in some of the works I have done in the past. Remember though that new work is suppose to be better, more mature, more advanced than old work. Sketchbooks – oh the dreaded sketchbook… it is a license to explore. It is acceptable to stand there and examine a tree stump, with sketchpad in hand. Notice the objects you notice and respond to those objects. Style comes not out of the cartoons and images that you see and can “relate” to as being a teenager / young adult. It comes out of practice and making a lot of art. Make making art become the habit you need, like breathing or eating or sleeping… or texting.
Art and Science
“…while the stone tool fashioned by cave dwellers an Ice Age ago are hopelessly primitive by current technological standards, their wall paintings remain as elegant and expressive as any modern art. And while a hundred civilizations have prospered (sometimes for centuries) without computers or windmills or even the wheel, none (NONE) have survived even a few generations without art.” And you can take that one to the bank.
Making art depends upon noticing things – things about yourself, your methods your subject matter. What does your art say about you?