Well, we are almost at the end of January and the end of the ##sketchjanuary Challenge and I have really enjoyed it. For those of you who don’t know, this is a Twitter challenge where you post a sketch that you have done every day during the month of January. Today I posted a picture of a textile sketch I am working on. This is acrylic paint on linen with stitching on top. I am using the stitching in place of drawing. My idea is to translate this technique once I have got used to it to more figurative work like portraits.
I started back at university last week. A change to visual communications from fine art. The lectures are mentally hard work but exhilarating. Connections are forming. Watch this space.
A good discussion today which will lead to interesting things I am sure. For now, I get the chance to reflect on how easy life can be when you decide to just forget about classification, forget about received wisdom and go with your gut. Slightly terrifying at times granted, but ultimately it is the path of least resistance and this the path that allows me to convert energy most efficiently. So that’s the way to go….
In other news I am thinking about my Art Bridge II piece for their forthcoming exhibition. More information as I get it but here are some initial ideas/images for now. Expect a revision of the Bath ‘stakeholder analysis’ concept but with cooler images more expertly applied. At least that’s the plan.
Do you sketch?
If you do, do you sketch every day? It’s totally addictive. I used to take a paperback with me if I knew I was going somewhere that involved a wait. Nowadays I bring my lovely Venetian Fabriano sketchbook with me everywhere. And I use it. And I find that practice, while not making perfect, makes me looser and more direct in my drawing. I’ve speeded up and that’s helping with my observation skills.
So, if you are interested in drawing, perhaps you are just starting out, go get a sketch book, get some pens and pencils and go and LOOK at something and get it down on paper.
I read somewhere that if you don’t want passers-by to stare you go sit with your back against the wall. Then they can’t hover behind you! I’ve tried it. It works.
To me, classification is, like religion, a purely human construct. An apple doesn’t know it is an artistic item in a still life but a scientific cypher when it falls ont a physicist. It is an apple. So, why do we insist on first classifying areas of knowledge and then waste energy either defending or railing against the division. Why do we creat a country and then go to war? Human nature – we all want to be part of some type of tribe, even if it is a tribe of non conformists. But then forming an allegiance, a common interest will tend to exclude others. And we get tension.
Humans judge. They measure in a relative sense – how do I compare. What if we stripped away that reliance on others to define a thought, an idea, a theory. What if we measured in the absolute. No more ‘how do I compare’. Instead ‘how do I do’.
Defining a thought, boxing it, is to apply a judgement. Classification is a container made to our specifications. It is not tailor made to its contents but to its owner. Therefore, some ideas or approaches will not fit happily. Are they then a failure? Is that a bad thing?
Innovation necessitates failure. You must map a cul de sac to know it is there. The knowledge of its existence helps you find what else is near…possibilities are honed by the exclusion of options. So why even judge a nil result as a failure. It’s not. It’s a piece of data. It is a contribution. As soon as we step away from judgement a pressure is lifted and we can breathe. Innovation needs space, light and freedom to move. Judging places parameters for which read barriers. Barriers impede movement. Practical limits are unavoidable and part of any puzzle. But man made mental constructs are not. They should be eradicated.
So, if you accept that classification is artificial, the concept of failure starts to look less stable. It starts to look as if it could be ignored. And once you accept that, then you are free to look at the apple however you want. And that brings new perpectives and new insight.
So, I’m always making lists and have already done some work on cataloging life points using domestic and mundane items. I am currently reading The Infinity of Lists by Umberto Eco…beautiful book produced with The Louvre. I’m thinking about lists again as a result. Can you use lists, but=isual or otherwise, to distilled archival materials – clearly you can – but what can you do with that idea? I think it’s something I will be exploring….
TI have just finished a most marvellous book, ‘Think like an artist’ by Will Gompertz. I have mentioned him before in the context of his other book about art history. I think its brilliant. Sometimes I tweet him to fawn. I do hope he doesn’t think I’m a stalker.
Anyway, reading this marvellous book has led me to some thoughts. I am going to be working some of them up a little bit more for my MA but here are some outlines. It would be interesting to see what you guys
- I will be Focussing on the importance of rigour and decision-making in the creation of an idea, piece, whatever. I Iam familiar with logical analysis from my scientific days. Gompertz quotes Socrates. I wants to be able to quote Socrates which means I’m going to have to read him!, The principle of logical analysis is highly attractive to me and hopefully will apply some kind of discipline to my ideas. God knows, they need some.
- Tie that in to my existing ideas of classification and data analysis. So, start off with the chaos of collection of data, then ordering using classification techniques and then applying rigour in the choosing of data and of inspiration. The idea being that applying all this to previously chaotic scenes will unleash the creativity/flow.
- Thinking about how this will then translate into my next show at the University. Developing the previous installation : so sticking with the idea of projection, light and movement against traditional surface but I think I could extend to more than one plane.
- Towards the end of the book, there is a discussion around see Notion that all art schools teach you how to think rather than what to think. Isn’t that just the same as physics? When you think about doing a proof or a research point, isn’t that just the same as exploring an idea using Socrates? That’s something to think about a little further but if you accept that life is a process and experience is accumulated to get to your current position, then it makes perfect sense.
- Think about the experience I have had around job interviews and second-guessing bosses and fitting into an existing corporate framework. Compare that with art students and The assumption they will be self-employed. Think about the post modem generation again, one size fits all does not work, everything is personalised. So why can’t you personalise your gallery experience? Why can’t you make your own show, your own point of view, your own experience? That is the idea I would like to expand upon when I do my year end degree show.
Lots to consider. I better make a plan.