I was talking to someone today, and I was asked that infamous question: “What is your art about?” It’s a question I’ve gotten many times before, but somehow it’s always a tough one to answer no matter how much practice I have answering it. The expectation most of the time is that your answer will be relatively short and succinct, and yet cover and sum up everything you do at the same time; not an easy feat to master. This was a one-on-one conversation which is generally less intimidating and easier. The last time I got asked this question it was at a luncheon for new faculty where at the lunch table I was asked this question in front of all of these academics from different fields. So what was my answer today? “My work is about gesture in the human figure, exploring themes of social isolation and mental illness”.
The other idea that was floating in my mind today has been the possibility of “redoing” some past works from a body of work that I consider to be “finished”. I’ve never done this before, and I’m thinking now that it’s either a really great idea or a terrible one-there’s only one way to find out. As I was wrapping up “Wading”, towards the very end I started doing these monotypes which were layered and printed on interfacing and organza. I was excited about the visual possibilities, but I think at the time I was losing patience with the project overall and didn’t give these monotypes the kind of attention and focus that was necessary. I had just finished the three 10′ x 4′ drawings for the Davis Museum exhibition, and I think at the time I was a little burned out from that experience. Looking back on it, what I really was doing was just experimenting and playing around with the materials. I wasn’t actually finishing anything or bringing the level of attention and focus that I generally strive for. I’m thinking that now that I’ve gone through the experimentation process, it’s time for me to plan some new compositions and try to execute them with the kind of deliberate intent that was missing the first time through.
2 thoughts on “A question and a redo”
Haha, I remember you telling us that the description of our work should run like a movie blurb; able to fit in one sentence. A really great thing to be practicing. I’ve found this summer it has helped me a lot with scaling down how many ideas I want to fit into one piece (and thus scaling down the amount of work I have to do with it).
As far as revisiting old ideas goes, it is a tossup. Personally, I can get really bored of revisiting ideas from early high school easily, though this may be because I have not yet spent enough time and experience as an artist. There are plenty of remixes in music and art that end up better than the original. And I know Gareth would say you should keep experimenting until it starts getting really bad. It sounds like you are in a good place to continue with an old idea, and I’m sure no matter the visual product, you are going to gain something from the experience.
Good luck! :]
Some great points that you bring up, always love hearing snippets of advice from Gareth. (I was talking to him yesterday, about how all I remember is him telling us that he only gave three As last semester. Of course, all I was thinking about at the time was I AM GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE A’s! Also that everything time we forgot about our projects in his class that we were “digging our own graves”. ) Anyway, I figure that the absolute very least I could gain from the experience is satisfying that “what if” itch that exists concerning that project. Then I know that I’ve given it a shot, and that I’m not regretting or missing out on anything.