… To distract me from answering the real question: “What will this piece say about me?”
Before I dive into how this question makes me feel, I need to let off a little steam… “🤨😖😩🤬🤬🤯🥶😱” (Mini-Rant: The emojis are lame and just don’t release the feeling the expletives I want to scream out! Since I’ve recently been reprimanded by the chair of the Art History department at my university for writing “F***ing” in an opinion piece on a “Fluxus” art happening that was about shock value and contained The F word. Well, fuddle-duddle that!!!) Ok, I’m way off on a tangent here, so I’ll explain a little.
My Fibres professor asked me to reflect on what my artwork says to an audience that doesn’t know me or understand my art practice. I have to admit that this bothers me and I’m not sure exactly why. I used to want people to understand my work and whenever someone didn’t I built a protective attitude by asking them for what it means to them. I quickly realized that I authentically enjoyed interpretations of what I made. BUT the question of what does my work mean kept being asked and I still get deeply frustrated by this question. Only recently have I started to understand and begin to accept that I make my artwork to please myself. I create what appeals to me. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly value the support and compliments of others, but I don’t set out to please a specific audience. It gets in the way of my creativity. I second guess myself with overthinking about what this one or that one might like and then ignore my gut instincts. I joyfully make for the love of making!
This printmaking challenge was described to be about material explorations: “make your printing tools” the teacher initially said. I was stoked. Then we were instructed with loads of great information on techniques, little of which felt intuitive to me, but I recognize my need for room to practice trial and error learning doesn’t always fit into the evaluation-based curriculum. Anyway, I carved and cut , and glued some printing tools. I made the inks (as indicated by the professors) and I wasn’t inspired (YET) to play with them. I simply enjoyed making the tools more than using them. I just knew they would work, I didn’t need to explore further, but I am obliged to prove I’m working (in a specific) way for these courses, so I did it (half-heartedly).
Am I still ranting? I think this angers me more than I’m letting myself feel!
Where was I? Oh right, the question… What does my work say about me? First and foremost, I’d like to believe it speaks more to like-minded creatives who are fuelled by endless curiosity. Second, that they see me as a fellow explorer wanting to satisfy my curiosities. The real question might be: What am I saying with my work? I follow my instincts over any message. I follow a diverse and often hard to pinpoint melting-pot of inspirations, fuelled by curiosity to see what might happen if… I make without concrete goals in mind; following ideas I like and seeing how I can express them with a touch of my voice in them. I’m dedicated to playing with non-traditional techniques, often preferring home-made solutions and recycled materials. This might be my gift to the next generation… my little contribution to lessening the wasteful practices of my and previous generations. Or, maybe it’s just that I allow my experiences and all the stuff I’ve seen in my daily (and voracious) consumption of art find its own way of expression. I’m just the pot the special sauce is made in.
The aesthetic I feel the greatest authentic connection to is Wabi-Sabi and I’m only starting to fully understand that idea. I’m slowly making the connections to why I enjoy so many Expressionist works. I’m also starting to understand why I am falling in love with The Street Art movement. The amazing artists who practice these aesthetics trust their instincts. They rely on their wit and curiosity. They let their work speak for itself. They are often rebels in the eyes of the establishment and their public seems to love their work without always knowing why. They just like it. I make the art I like, because I like it.