For our graduate program we are asked to write about our individual art practices. This exercise aims to clarify, for ourselves, what our art making is about and to what ends it leads. I definitely struggle with articulating my artistic practice. Besides the fact that I think there's a strong element to art-making that evades articulation in words, I am just not practiced in it. I do find it valuable, and definitely hold to Schopenhauer's maxim:
"An arbitrary playing with the means of art without proper knowledge of the end is in every art the fundamental characteristic of bungling. Such bungling shows itself in the supports that carry nothing, in the purposeless volutes, prominences, and projections of bad architecture, in the meaningless runs and figures together with the aimless noise of bad music, in the jingling rhymes of verses with little or no meaning, and so on." (WaWaR Vol. 2, 408).
Schopenhauer does not mean to say that you need to have a clearly defined way to define every artistic action in words, but that a strong idea must motivate you. You can't just go in there armed with a brush and a strong arm to fling paint and think that the magic will happen. So writing about our practice is a way to shape our artistic pursuits so that we can get to the good ideas that are the launching point for the art-making. With that in mind, here are are two short essays about my practice, one from earlier in the semester and one from this month, to see if I've gained any ground in understanding my practice...
Version 2 (April 2017):
I once watched a short documentary about a young artist who said that she had "Creative Compulsive Disorder" (edit: found it - https://vimeo.com/80973511). It was her way to sum-up her sprawling artistic interests and her desire to take whatever she had around and make it into something beautiful. This phrase always stuck with me. My interests are diverse and sprawling. I compulsively write down new ideas for art pieces and installations in my journal. I pluck things off the street because I see the potential for them to become something new. My pen is always close at hand and I tend to obsessively doodle and sketch if a piece of paper is front of me.
The thread that runs through this inborn creative impulse is my recognizable gestural style, which I can identify in my handwriting all the way through the lines of my drawings, paintings and even sculpture. I admire simplicity and economy in artworks but strongly identify with artist with a strong sense of individual style. My intention, if I have possess such a fundamentally focused attribute, would be to maintain my own gestural style - to maintain "Brick" - in all of my creative pursuits.
One of the primary results of this meandering, gestural impulse is an innate interest in process and perpetual change. Recognizing this over the past year has helped me to begin a series of works I call "The Infinite Canvas". All of these pieces revolve around the idea of un-ending change and perpetual alteration. The pieces vary in their starting points: it may begin with a form which is then altered in the act of drawing, over and over again (such as a painting or drawing that begins with the form of "The Troubadour" above). It may be an unending digital collage or a series of portraits that I alter in a set of stages that can keep going, ad infinitum.
Now I find myself in a research-based graduate program that asks for focus and articulation of a course of work. My first semester really helped me to formulate a line of research. This body of work I call "the digital migration", a term for humanity's collective movement towards and into our devices; a change in our collective activity which makes us "users". Most people spend as much time with their digital identity as they do with their physical reality. How does one communicate this profound, relatively sudden change to people through art? How can I make art pieces that point out the consequences of our dual identities? How do I discover the implications of the digital migration? Those are some of the questions I want to answer in my art-making over the next year.
The first piece to merge these two lines of my practice - process and digital migration - is "The Infinite Canvas No. 3". It's about painting with myself using projection:
I think there are many ways to interpret the idea of "painting with yourself". For me, considering the amount of time spent with my devices and how during that time I am essentially a different person, a digital version of myself, inspired this piece. This digital 'Brick' is different than physical 'Brick'. How do I get these two versions of myself in conversation? This seemed like the best way. From this starting point I want to keep expanding the number of projections and the size of the canvas(es). We will see where it takes me.
Version 1 (February 2017):
On a daily basis I write down ideas and thoughts as they come to me in my journals, I paint and I collage.
My work for DIAP needs to evolve because I'm interested in creating new media works that maintain my gestural style. Specifically, I want to focus on projection and lighting/arduino. For my projection mapping work I want to start by transforming either the DIAP space or a space on campus, while my arduino/lighting pieces I want to evolve my current painting/sculpture making practice that I do with my collaborator, Kyle Dietrich.
I had two focuses last semester: "the infinite canvas" and new iterations of those pieces. Each piece involves a never ending process which continually transforms a piece or pieces of work.
More directed and researched was on the idea of technology and nature and technology and alienation. In that capacity I made my plant light for physical computing and my five proposals for exhibitions in Project Research. I think that my work in projection and painting/sculpture/lighting should focus on these ideas moving forward.