Friday, February 6, 2015

Art is an Intellectual Pursuit

Art doesn't come easy for me. If it has to do with writing, then it’s usually not a problem. I can undertake a project rather quickly and most of the time, my work will get a second or third pair of eyes looking over it. I like the system — I like immediate feedback. But more abstract art, like pulling together images, colors, and textiles — well, that just seems more complicated. Rather than using my words to try to convey an idea or a feeling, I am trying to achieve the same thing but with a physical representation of what’s going on in my mind. My writing is personal, but presenting an art project is personal on an entirely different level. Suddenly I am seeing white because I am so nervous, and I am not particularly sure I actually want any feedback.

Then it struck me — I really only ever create art when it's for a project. When I was in elementary school, I created for the sake of praise. I enjoyed my teachers gushing over what I could draw or how I could manipulate clay into intricate little sculptures. Later on, when I took an art class in high school, as a prerequisite for graduating, I was introduced to the world of collaging. It was a new way to conveying ideas with bits of cut out paper, doodles, and whatever else I could fit on the page. Composition was everything for my high school teacher. We had to balance the page, we could put whatever we wanted in our collage as long as there was a reason behind it. She questioned everything.

Why this cut-out word?
Why this brush stroke of color?
Why this image as opposed to that one?

Though this sounds like an oppressive environment, I think that it was under this teacher that I was really able to develop as an artist. I couldn’t just say I had a “feeling” or that I was following my “gut” — now I had to explain what that meant. It brought my two loves together, art and words.

Why this word? Because it’s what came to mind when I saw red.
Why this color? Because on this particular day I was feeling this particular color.
Why this image? Because that image spoke to me — and this is what it said.

Yes, art is definitely a feeling — if not a full-blown force of nature that we as mere mortals, cannot resist. And while there’s something wild, passionate, and consuming about following our instinct and creating for the sake of creating, I believe that art is first and foremost an intellectual pursuit that urges us to discover our humanity.

But I digress. What I really wanted to share today was a short conversation I had with The Shoppe manager over at Stampington & Company. Jennifer Taylor and I work closely on creative projects, product descriptions, and the composition of Creative Impulse and Post Script. I think we share some similar ideas when it comes to creating art. She mentioned that she had decided to challenge herself with creating one personal, artistic item every day until her birthday, sometime in April. When your main job is to produce creative content—be it writing or actual art projects, it’s easy to experience burnout and moreso to feel a little unattached with your work. As an artist, though I am still a little shy calling myself that, I think Jennifer’s idea is wonderful and I’ve decided to join her. My birthday is in a month, on March 9th, so the task seems somewhat manageable.

I don’t want to force anything. What I really want to do is push myself out of this weird place where I need perfect compositions. My creations will be made in the early hours of the morning, when it’s still misty and magical outside. I’ll give myself half an hour at most. I won’t share everything, but I’ll try to share as much as I can. The point of this project, for me, is not to create masterpieces, but rather to play — to play with art supplies, to play with materials, and simply to experiment and let go of some of my anxiety and perfectionism. 


  1. I love the simplicity and your message. It was interesting to read your why's. I often don't see all my why's until I write and discover a memory is attached-which further intrigues me. Art is a puzzle, where emotion, memories and mood connect- Sometimes letting the art set for a bit-more will be attached to the why's. I love what you have created and love this idea that Jennifer shared with you. Do I dare try this...perhaps. For now, I will enjoy your playful moods and insight~ I loved how you expressed your thoughts-to me, this too is art! Our soul's fingerprints are illuminated when we bravely step out and share~

    1. Oh Ella, I really hope you decide to challenge yourself as well! I am trying to take this as a very "positive" challenge without guilt or remorse if I should happen to wake up one day without the desire to create. Art comes from so many different places of emotion that I think each one has to be respected and appreciated. I too think that words are art, and I am happy to be able to share them now!

  2. I really enjoyed this. "Art seems more complicated than writing"...really,wow,because I feel like it's the other way around.I wish,oh I wish,I could get out what I want to say...and yet here you are,allowing everything on the inside,sing out on the outside.I am inspired. I look forward to your new playful adventure.

    1. You know -- it's like that whole thing with curly vs. straight hair. If you have curly hair, you're dying for straight hair and if you have straight hair, you wish you could get yours to stay in a curl. The grass is always greener on the other side I guess! But honestly, it's because of people like you and Ella, and countless other artists who I've had thee honor of communicating with that I finally decided to "Be Brave" as my manager, Jordan put it. So I am taking baby steps, and the artistic community I've fallen into is just so warm, inviting, and supportive. I couldn't have asked for more.