Once upon a time, I defined myself as an artist. If a random person asked me what I believed myself to be, what the definitive term to describe me was, I'd still say "artist"; I just wouldn't feel it as a truth. Somewhere in transitioning from child to adult, I lost my creative connection. Creating became about productivity instead of about creating.
I honestly can't remember the last time I made something just for the sake of it. I can't remember the last time I had an idea in my head that would not let me sleep until I put it on paper, or built it, or brought it into being somehow. Making art at some point became all about justification: justifying the time, justifying the expense, justifying my ideas. What is my vision? Why am I making this? Do I think this is commercial? Can I make money if I do this instead of that? Oh yeah, and my favorite: what statement am I making?
Gah! I never cared about any of that; at least, I didn't until I got to Art Collage&trade. I just wanted to make the visions in my head reality. I wanted to learn techniques, to learn everything I could about what I felt called to do. Instead, from almost the beginning I was pressed to decided on an artistic point of view, a meaning, to pick some driving force and "greater meaning" behind my work. After the first year course work, there wasn't any structured technique lessons; instead, you said "I want to make this" and the teachers would show you what you needed to know to maybe make that. Or they'd tell you to drop it because it was out of your league, or wasn't "real art."
What's so wrong with wanting to make lovely things? And maybe, just maybe, to make lovely things that people appreciate and want and admire? Why must it always be about "deeper meanings"?
To paraphrase, sometimes a flower is just a flower.
It isn't that I don't admire those artists who do have a Statement to make. If that's what they feel they need to use their gifts to do, then power to them. I don't always get it. I admit, I fail to see the "art" in a lot of Modern Art. I fail to see the beauty in the macabre testaments some artists make for and against whatever social issue they focus on. And while I appreciate the abstract movement, and would certainly be in awe of seeing say, a Pollack or a Picasso in person, I do not find them attractive. Wait, let me amend that- I find some of Picasso's works quite fascinating, but strictly from a technical standpoint. I would not desire to have one of his works handing in my home. Ever. Pollock's works will always just be paint splatters to me, even though I understand the work that went into them.
Nothing and no one will ever convince me that Frida Kahlo's works are beautiful. I see no technical merit in her works. I just don't, and this even after we spent a great deal of time studying her in one of my history classes. Do I understand her place in art history, etc, etc? Yes. I simply don't like her work.
Mondrian and Matisse, now, I like their works. Mondrian, because much of his work speaks to me structurally- it evokes a 3-D connection with a 2-D object. Matisse because of the sheer flow of his drawing style. Then there is Klimt. Oh my god, Klimt. I have this overwhelming and crazy desire to one day turn The Kiss into a 3-D metal sculpture, a master copy in different media. All those little, detailed metal panels...
But I am digressing.
I miss creating. Yes, I work in a crafts store. Yes, I regularly make things for swaps, gifts or whatnot. But...that isn't the same. I like what I make. I enjoy the process. I damn sure enjoy collecting supplies. But it isn't the same. It isn't me really. It's just...stuff. I'm always tempering it down to work within the tastes of the group, or sacrificing an idea because I lack funds or time or space.
Time's the big one. I feel like I'm wasting time when I just sit down and putter with things. There are so many other things that "need" doing. So many people pulling for my attention. It feels like wasting time if I'm focusing on art now. I'm unsure when I adopted that attitude, but I wish I hadn't.
I'm trying to fix it.
Somewhere toward the end of last year, I started getting the Urge again. The urge to actually makes something, to work through it as one would work through a problem. I actually sketched a few things down, which is huge for me. I haven't been able to properly utilize a sketchbook since I started MCA and started getting graded on how much I utilized one.
It excites me, having this urge. It won't be sculpture in the classic sense of the word, but yet, it will be. On top of that, it has a Place and a Purpose and a Person to which it will go. Not because I am forcing it to have those things, but because it is simply part and parcel of the project itself. The Belonging comes hand and hand with the Being, and that is something that has not happened for me in longer than long. I've even started gathering the materials.
It will be quite the undertaking, and I'm expecting some technical snags along the way. I welcome then actually, for it's been far too long since I've truly challenged myself with art. It will take some time, because some aspects are very specific, and I will have to wait and hunt for the parts and baubles that will fit each particular need. But that's okay. I have no deadline.
I can't wait to get started.