Oh hi there… you may not remember me, I’m Ren and I used to write posts for this blog. I thought maybe I would clear the cobwebs and make a heartfelt promise, that I may not keep despite really wanting too, to start writing regularly.
The semester ended in a good place. The last three weeks of the semester were filled with lessons on how to improve my studio practice and what type of things I would like to be making in the studio. The studio self discovery has continued into the summer, where I have the opportunity to work in a slower and quieter pace.
One of my biggest problems is my outlook on the whole thing. I found myself making for the sole purpose of just getting the assignment done. My mindset revolved around ‘just finishing this assignment so I could move on’ but then there was another assignment, and another assignment after that. The work wasn’t exciting, just a shadow of an idea that I had, and I wasn’t excited about the work because I was already feeling the pressure of meeting the next deadline.
Now don’t start to think, “Oh, why do art schools demand so much from their students?How does burning them out prepare them for anything? No wonder that poor girl is cranky all the time” Because 85% of the weight and the pressure is all self inflicted, and I’m just naturally cranky.
I also let my ideas intimidate me.
I wont physically start working on a project until I spend an unnecessary amount of time doing ‘research’. I’ll start by looking up imagery for key words surrounding my idea, seeing what other artists have done, and editing my idea to portray what I want it to portray. All necessary to the design process but then I begin ‘researching’ whether or not I have the skill to accomplish the task, if I am willing to deal with the aftermath of not finishing on time, and buying time by claiming to be conflicted about a certain detail when in reality I am conflicted about whether the whole thing is good enough. In my un-rational mind, the longer I wait to start, the longer I postpone the impending doom and despair. When in reality my fear of making the first mark ensures that the doom and despair will come. Then in the final hour, as Im gritting my teeth and trying to get something respectable put together for the critique, I wonder why I am not good enough to make quality work.
It’s like spending the whole car ride to your kid’s little league game telling her that she is the worst batter on the team, and then you are both confused when she gets up to the plate and watches every ball go from pitchers hand to the catcher mitt without swinging once.
Oh the lies your brain tells your heart…
Then to top it all off, if something is too easy or doesn’t lead down the long and windy path of self despair and failure, I don’t believe it should be taken seriously or considered art. I took a Surrealism Drawing class this past semester where the underlying agenda to every project was to not over think anything, just create. So I made a painting, a rather large painting that involved applying paint in different ways to textured wood. It was simple, almost therapeutic in its mindlessness, and dare I say it, fun. I finished well before the deadline, happily installed it, and I don’t think I fidgeted or tried to twist my fingers off my hand once during the whole critique. People complimented me on it, and I brushed them off with comments like, “Oh that, it was just a silly project I did. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Cast Iron Halos, the silly project
Instead of the experience being one of those Ah-ha moments, a realization that this is what art making should and can be about for me, I dismissed it as a little break from the seriousness of real art. Somewhere I created all of these rules for how life is supposed to work, what it means to make art. In the making of those rules I left no room for enjoying anything. There will be no fun, no enjoying, no pats on the back for a job well done. If I want to be taken seriously I need to be serious blah blah blah boring boring boring. All of these blah and boring rules were making me a blah and boring person that creates blah and boring stuff.
And I don’t want to be blah or boring.
As always, thanks for reading.