21 October 2006

art and artiface and a learning curve

in the grass

if you haven't gone already - be sure and check out shari's post on ship of fools . i want to sit and finish this book so badly - but i can't.... sigh

so i didn't get full blown sick, but i have a lovely hacking cough. everything always goes right to my chest.... not what you wanted to know about huh? at least i have a decent amount of energy and don't feel ill....

the title of this post you ask? well.... liesl asked me how i felt about the whole drawing a day experience. how my drawings had changed or what i might have learned. it's hard to verbalize the experience. it became such a part of my daily routine and i have really noticed NOT making the drawings the last 2 weeks. NOT thinking about what color was coming up next... what i feel most grateful for was that it afforded me the opportunity to experiment in a way that i don't normally feel comfortable doing in the studio. i took risks with imagery and ideas. i left things alone. i left my mistakes - i left a lot of empty space - i put down the first or the last thought that popped into my head. i didn't over think things.

in terms of my other work i think it made me open up my visual vocabulary. it definitely sparked the doily installations and the bed/chair drawings. drawing {almost} every day made me realize that as an artist my biggest desire is to work everyday. that i wish i could somehow have the luxury of more time to dedicate to my studio. that discipline can be a big part of your practice.... and hightly motivating. meaning when you really force yourself to do something - even if you are tired, even if it doesn't come out well - you sort of stay on track. i was able to get into studio mode much quicker when i did a full day to be there. that in a way you CAN think of artists like athletes [oh mr. barney] and that the drawing a day was my training.

i am definitely going to figure out another project to do - but i don't think it will be daily. maybe weekly? because the other thing i learned was that as much as i enjoyed doing this - it's nice to have that little bit of time back... i can use it for other things!

i also have been thinking a lot about contemporary art and conceptualism. this was sparked 1. by the panel i was on thurs. evening. and 2. by the BFA critique i went to at school yesterday. thurs night we talked about how in current art practices conceptualism to some degree is key. how we all in essence want a piece of art to MEAN something. two artists on the panel do work that is performative in nature so what we SEE is a residue or a documentation of the work. a question was raised: is this how we KNOW that you've done the piece? is the piece in the residue or is it in the performance itself or both? can you then "fake" the documentation and would that matter? could you lie about a doing a piece and still get "credit" for it? could that add a layer to the work - enhancing it? can any discipline "fake it" [or is it harder to fake a painting??]

speaking of faking - in the critique a very genuine hard working student is in the throws of a dilemma - he's a painter who loves lucien freud but doesn't think that his work is to that level. [it's not - but it's rare that someone's IS]. what does he do as an aritst who loves painting, but is unsure of painting's relavance in the world? and if he wants to get into to grad school what should he use to apply with? how can he engage in a contemporary art practice that is interesting? so he was working on the idea of the diptych trying to express one thought in two ways - and also with his heritage - as a chinese american - he started bringing in propaganda poster imagery. but the painting that was the best in his studio was one the corner of a mother and daughter. [at least myself and 2 other teachers thought it was the best]. and he didn't like it. he said it was borning and not honest. that's when the discussion really got interesting. boring b/c it looks like other paintings? but it was beautiful and arresting and full of emotion. not honest b/c he didn't take the photo or it wasn't about someone/something that he knew. how to convince him that THAT PAINTING was more true and spoke about his love of paint and narrative in a much more honest way than the other works that were derived from his own photographs or had asian people in it ??? .... and because of that it WASN'T boring. i think he also thought it came too easy - that little painting - as if great work has to be a struggle. sometimes... most definitely, but other times - when you are free and in the moment and it is easy - the best things happen. in a way, though, he's at a great point - confused, biting off more than he can chew... floundering through what it means to be a young artist in the world. i really felt as though if he could wade through this muck - his art would be better for it.

and so.... i guess we all need to keep wading through the muck, huh? sorry for such a long art babble post.... i'll leave you with one photo [anyone know what kind of plant this is??]. i'm going outside... it's 85 degrees and breezy and i want to feel the grass in my toes!

secret garden

23 comments:

julie said...

What a GREAT art babble post, loved reading it!! So interesting reading about your student and his work...sometimes its so hard to stand back and be objective about ones work. The art world is so complex, a lot of the time artists think they have to become someone else. I also LOVE LOVE Lucien Freud - a favourite!!!
And of course your drawings - they have given you so much back. Maybe i should think about doing a daily project - this kind of commitment is good..anyway, now im babbling!!! Kisses, Julie

sarah said...

yes a wonderful art babble post lisa :)
and you know i love to hear your thoughts on drawing a day... glad to hear there will be another project of some kind, hope you are feeling completely better soon xxx

Kelly said...

Wow- love this post. It really made me think. Lots of thinking going on in my head lately about, where is art going? Where am I going in art? Oh, this is so exciting. More fodder for thought and digesting. It makes me so happy that this is all going on. More to discover.
And I have to say, just because you suffer for a piece, does not make it good either...this I know all too well, lol.

shari said...

lisa!
wow. i really enjoyed reading your thoughts. juicy stuff. oh and i'm digging your self portrait, too.

i love the whole idea of discipline and what it can bring you...i'm thinking of this as i am longing to return to a consistent yoga practice. thanks for making my brain tick.

xoxo shari

Daphne said...

beautiful dreamy photo!

and thank you for this great post, I really admire you for having done a drawing a day! And I am so happy to read what it ment for you and what you got out of it. I totally like the idea of the training part, not being to serious about it. I know I am when working in my studio...it needs to be perfect. You certainly inspired me to do something on a regular basis :)

I have no idea what kind of flower is but it looks beautiful!

Anonymous said...

i'll add to it - great art babble. i used to deal with these issues on a pretty much daily basis. as an art conservator most interested in contemporary art - what do you save? what is the work of art?? pretty straight forward with a ptg - but installation, video, performance all get a little trickier. and as for your student - i work for a painter - a contemporary of freud - who struggles with all these issues. and he has been at it for over 50 yrs. i am always fascinated by what is "hot" now. and the idea of how history will sift through it all. i look at artnews mags from the 80s and over half the names mean little now. anyway - enough of me. great post!

blair said...

I continue to be inspired by your drawing a day experience. I am terrible at drawing things on paper. Its a definite obstacle for me, one that I would very much like to work on. Its hard to "see" things in my brain, but not be able to translate them on paper. I realize that the times I came closest to feeling as if I could draw where when I was forced to do it a lot. My husband creates sketches in seconds, with perspective, they look great. You, and he, remind me that I have to work at it, stretch myself, over and over again. Thanks Lisa. Oh, and thanks for the oregano oil!

Shell said...

I like a long arty post - should be more of them I say! I could take a leaf out of your book re: a drawing a day - I'm something far less than disciplined and though I've learnt something about sustained practice in the last 12 months I'm still not so good at it. I don't think many people are. That's what makes your whole project so awesome - the dedication, you know?

I've enjoyed seeing your new pics on flickr once a week. Can't wait to see what you do next.

And oh, that boy you were talking about - I hope this is just the storm that he'll sail after.

anne said...

...that plant is a yucca, i believe :) here, they are called palmlily, latin would be yucca aloifolia, belonging to the family of the agaves. they are supposed to be blooming this time of year, so yours is just in time :) what a beautiful bloom btw.

hello, thanks for your 'art babble'. your post leads me to my own experience, that the best things happen when you stop thinking so much and more just do and stop even more thinking how other people perceive what you do. and really it does not have to be a struggle, but really happens easily. The point is to get to this point :) probably that journey is the struggle, not so much the work.

pat said...

My not being an artist means that I enjoy your "babbling" because it allows me an opportunity to peek into the thoughts, and the feelings, that are part of the process of making something. THANK YOU for that.
I hope the warm grass on a sunny "Indian summer" day helped you to feel somewhat better.

wendy said...

the idea in society that you have to be a struggling artist is so strong and carried down, that I think if something comes easy...that it feels fake. like the art should be hard...love these thoughts. I am on the side of the fence that you don't have to suffer for your art, but that is just me.
love your polaroid...and when I don't do my painting a week...I feel like I am missing something. missing the thought process before the painting...the working out the painting.

bugheart said...

how i love
your
art "babble"...
i think it's
very difficult
to see one's
own strengths-
particularly
in
one's artwork.
it's so difficult
to get past
the self-conscious
to
the fully
conscious...
does that
make sense?

Liesl said...

Thanks, Lisa! Very interesting and thoughtful post. And it really would be interesting to see all your drawings together. An interesting opportunity to view the changes and progression. Cool!

sk8ordiehard said...

climbing up on soapbox. . .
Art must simply be enjoyed, some enjoy work on a more primitive level, others are more cerebral, and yet others are touched visually by art.
The true realization of art is about enjoyment, challenges can be enjoyed, but so can more simplistic means. we do, after all, have to have a very basic understanding in order to reach the more complex ways to create art.
We forget that not all art must be a masterpiece or we intimidate ourselves out of "making" enjoyable work, calling it simplistic or boring. The artist is, after all, portrayed as agonizing and suffering, confused and bitter.
We also can 't measure ourselves by these archetypes, by the avant-garde, or modernist movements. Work is self-discovering, but not necessarily in the literal way. Past movements were a measure of time, place, and reactions to the global environment. We are in a different place, a different time, and a much broader path of art history to understand, learn from, and build upon. To duplicate their standards is a. disservice to their work, something like putting a fingerprint on their paint palette.
We can't measure ourselves against those before us, or we will feel vertigo and forget the challenge.

i do think it is nearly impossible to "find our place" in art without a firm ego. we can daydream and believe we know where we belong, but the reality is much different than the dream. every painting he does tells him where his place in painting is, and he decides which place is most satisfying. eventually a "dishonest" piece will become the dull one, but it's all about the journey.

enough long windedness. i think about this a lot, and am realizing this sort of what am i doing/what should i be doing is agreat excuse to just not do anything but create a fear of failure.

abby said...

i hope you are feeling well, lisa...
I don't think that was babble at all-in fact-i found it rather interesting.
I have experienced a somewhat similar experience with writing, sometimes the first words that flow from you are the most human, the most touching, the most beautiful. It can be very hard to leave a work alone-it is often my nature to pick and pick and pick at something until there is nothing good left!
I hope you find a new project to suit you and cannot wait to see what it is!

alyssa said...

Hope you are feeling better and hack-free.

gracia said...

The best works always seem to come about "too easily"... too quickly. And then you remember all the long, unsuccessful days in your studio when nothing went right or to plan, all that extra reading, all those sights and thoughts whirling around your head and then you realise it wasn't too easy it all, it was only because you've been living with an idea for so long... chipping away at all the other elements and other concepts that go into a work that the actual execution feels quick by comparison.
Love your stream of conscious words and ideas.
see you, g

poppy said...

i love your art babble - it's so enjoyable to listen to someone think like that (for me i don't get enough of that in my life)! i'm still in a lot of muck!

Listoria said...

I think we all need to hear the art babble to make us realize that we are not alone in questioning our motives for art. Writers are told to write what they know from, artists - create what you know. but sometimes what you don't know is more resounding and beautiful than all the "what you know" pieces...it just takes a while to realize this on a personal level (on some level we're all really self conscious about what we create - we wouldn't be in love with our mediums if we didn't!)

:^)

Tiffany*

lisa s said...

julie - of course you'd like freud!! thanks for such kind words. i am only going to encourage a daily practice!

hi sarah... thank you!

kelly - would love to hear more about your art and where you think you are headed.... and oh so true on the suffering bit!

hi shari.... :D thank you. you make me tick - it's an honor to do the same for you!

daphne.... thank you so much. i know how you feel about perfection. it's such a hard thing to let go....

tracy - we are going to have to talk more about this... an art conservator? wow!

blair... i think you are probably better than you think in the drawing arena... it does take practice to feel more comfortable....

hello shell.... thanks so much. it's hard to believe i got thru the year really.... and me too about the student [i think he will sail!]

anne.... a yucca ! i'm so glad to know... it's such a beautiful bloom! i love what you say about the point is to get to this point! so true!

hi pat...thanks... i'm glad i make some sense to someone who claims to be a non=artist :)

wendy - so true about society - i think everyone suffers to some degree. to me it's life that fuels art - all the good and the bad.

gwen... if only i was fully conscious! :)

hi liesl - thanks for asking the question

oh renee... climb up on that soap box all you want! all interesting ideas. i do think, though, that as artists - if you want to enter into a larger discourse you have to be knowledgeable about the past movements. it's like one feeds and grows on another... action - reaction - action again.

abby - oh right - the pick pick syndrome. sigh. sometimes it's nice to have "save as" as an option so that we can have multiple copies of something....

thanks alyssa - getting there....

gracia... oh how i love what you say about the planning and reading. all that time in your head is oh so important.... so true so true

jan.... i think we need muck boots. i'm sure you can find some ultra fashionable ones!

tiffany.... lovely! the search for what we know! i really like that!

Marieke said...

Hi Lisa, I wish I could spend all my time working! It annoys me that I have other things to do.

I totally agree with Gracia. Sometimes it comes so easily b/c you forget about all the time spent "inefficiently".

andrea said...

I'm with poppy, keep on with the art babble, I love it. and the photo of you is lovely.

mati rose said...

yes please keep up the art babble. just what i needed to read! i've been sick too-- misery loves company, but i hope you feel better real quick my dear!