-They have to break you to make you receptive to change and new ideas. -
Sounds strange and a bit radical... but it is something I have experienced many times since and while I attended Hartford Art School. The best critiques were the "bone-shattering" ones that kept you crying after because it had infused you with complete selfdoubt. Essentially each blow made you stronger. Each time you were bluntly confronted with an eye-opening critical assessment they handed you a new skill that would help you learn to see differently and to translate those observations in the most successful way.
Fiona had mentioned this not too long ago in her blog I think. The time when the two of us spent HOURS upon HOURS huddled together in this storage closet with two stillife set-ups and were drawing what we thought the best work ever. We proudly brought the finished pieces to our drawing class and set ourselves up for one of the most shocking critiques of our lives. A real eye-opener, that day I learned composition.
No matter how often you crumble in selfdoubt, we are so obsessed with art and our passion that we will get up shortly after the storm subsided and will use the critisism as fuel and drive to work even harder.
Now in Graduate school, I have discovered that it is the same principle. They will try very hard to break you with an even fiercer force, the effects are of course very different depending on the person and for how long you were able to figure things out on your own. For instance someone who already has a 25 year long established photography career behind them, they have that as security and safety to hold on to. But when you went from Art School to Grad School without any break in between definitely a very very different experiences. You are forced to reinvent yourself over and over again. But what does that really mean? What if you are not sure about who you are in the first place? I am told from fellow students well just do your thing. But that's easier said then done. I guess I am still naive and very easily influenced because I never had the opportunity to establish my artistic practice outside of school.
Anyways just wanted to share some of those thoughts. I am right in the middle of that current struggle. And what does it do to me? I am barely working on prints right now, my productivity was brought to a hold at least the plans I had for new prints.
I'm currently very preoccupied with trying to figure out "why" i make are and more importantly how can I justify what I make? What is the context? So I got a stack of art theory books from the library. But guess what reading those books is just not my thing. I mean I was not trained in the first place with a focus on art theory, and those books are as complicated and as dry as any other philosophy book. After the first page I tend to give up because I just don't understand at all what they are talking about. Yeah the good old art speak o.O. So then I decided, you know what it's time for my big sketchbook to come out and be used again. So I did a lot of drawing in my sketchbook for the past 4 days. And essentially what they are about is me trying to figure out a way of installing my work in a room, a way of connecting it all, and a way of making it visually work. Since installation is the crucial disconnect between my work.
So I guess all of this is going to eventually come together as a thesis show since making this will be very elaborate, involve a lot of yarn, maybe papier-mache objects and a lot more of my fabric pieces.. etc..
So these sketches are in order of creation, so I guess it's pretty obvious how ideas are being formed, discarded and focused.