Artists periodically ask me what they can do to get started drawing, and also what they can do to improve the quality of their work. My answer is always the same: find a place (studio, class, group) where you can draw from observation on a frequent and regular basis. Do, and do a lot.
This passage perfectly illustrates why artmaking, of any sort, should be approached with quantity in mind.
“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on thequantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weight the work of the ‘quantity’ group: fifty pounds of pots rated an ‘A,’ forty pounds a ‘B,’ and so on. Those being graded on ‘quality,’ however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an ‘A.’ Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the ‘quantity’ group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the ‘quality’ group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”
From Art and Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
These are Michael Berkley’s story vessels. Berkley pitfires each of his pieces, and includes various other materials like copper, dung, salt, and gold in the pitfire process. I like Berkley’s process because he is telling a story with each piece, in two different ways. One version of the story is told in the way that Berkley controls: with words. The other version is told in a way that no one can control: by the design created by the firing process. I find this to be a beautiful metaphor for how events actually do happen. That which we do not control brings beauty out of the small parts we do control.
I think that storytelling is essential to artmaking, and I am interested in partaking very literally in the storytelling process while I make ceramic pieces.
I have too many chronic physical issues that prevent me from working productively right now in a hectic on my feet environment. One of which is chronic infections that hurt, get worse quickly, and can only be helped by staying off it and compresses.
Tldr I’ve decided to pursue artmaking as a full time job. I’ll be posting more and more commission opportunities and such, as well as maybe make a side blog for more adult themed stuff.
Keep your eyes peeled for lots of opportunities soon!
i totally forgot to share this video from a few weeks ago.
i made a really long artbang process video. if you like to watch artmaking and sometimes talking and possibly some dancing 😂, this is for you.
i love how fans act like there can be no in-between for artists: either you must have had everything planned 100% from the beginning and never deviated at all from that ~master plan~ or else you must have planned 0% of anything because clearly planning nothing is the way an entire animated production can get made
did it ever occur to people that, oh gee, idk…shit could be somewhere in the middle? that in fact a perfect balance in art-making between planning and letting your story lead you forward in unexpected directions you never originally imagined is the key to successful storytelling? crazy thoughts, huh…
Robin Smith-Peck on creating an environment for art making and what she learned from helping build SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists)
Keep the space equipped for possibilities but rugged enough to avoid inhibitions. Young artists have been generally trained by mom not to mess up the house; and we know that sometimes to get to the image you have to mess up the house.
make some art
make some art
make some art
make some art
Work with artists who make art different from yours.
If you don’t know any, go find some and invite them to the studio.
Teach a little but not too much ‘cause then you’re a school and not a studio.
Write about each other’s work… it helps.
And, when you’ve made a bunch of art that you feel strongly about, show it!
Show it in galleries, libraries, or abandoned buildings or on the street…
Your commitment will generate a buzz. The buzz always attracts attention.
I really like driving around finding forgotten roads to abandoned places and buildings, or just ones that end in the woods in the middle of nowhere. And when the road ends I get out and walk. I’ll do art once I’ve gotten to a spot far enough away, and then when I’m done about four hours later I have to try to find my car again, which is always interesting when its parked somewhere off in the woods, and I’m not on a trail myself.
« What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum. »
I think I work backwards. I rarely start out with an idea and execute it. Usually I just shoot what catches my eye or what I think would be a good idea, or I get a certain image in my head and wonder what it would look like if I shot it. Then I go back and look at themes or motifs that keep popping up. Then I edit things together, decide what I need to shoot more of, what I can take out, what, if anything, I need to research. Then I decide how to take those themes and motifs deeper. Then I take notes on what I’m doing, write out quick notes or short vignettes about the photos.
The overarching idea, I suppose, comes later.
I can’t decide if this is good or bad. It’s how I work though.