Tutorial: Block 2, Week 5

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment


Before this tutorial, some reading: How To Steal Like An Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me).

The Discussion

Goethe said

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.

how do you avoid hoarding and collect instead?

if you agree that hoarding is not as effective as collecting?

The main thoughts to this are: being selective, and being critical in those selections.

It also depends on the perspective. One person’s hoard is another person’s collection.

The intention of the collection is important –— is that the most important element?

Why do we collect? It can trigger memories; sometimes a collection happens by chance and not deliberately… a happy circumstance; setting an starting point, maybe an interest and develop your collection around it.

As Kleon says:

You need a stage and you need a costume and you need a script.

The stage is your workspace. It can be a studio, a desk, or a sketchbook. The costume is your outfit, your painting pants, or your writing slippers, or your funny hat that gives you ideas. The script is just plain old time. An hour here, or an hour there. A script for a play is just time measured out for things to happen.

Here stage, costume and script are metaphorical.

The stage is just a place where the action happens… can be anywhere really (depending on your medium). Do you find that you need a specific place to make work or can you make it anywhere? I’ve done some of my best doodles on the tablecloth in a pizzeria - so almost anywhere is my answer. When you’re not deliberately creating, you may be thinking about creating, which is also important. There is no control over where and when the ideas happen.

What is the connection between physically making and the development of ideas? Can we prepare for those ideas to arrive, can we create spaces where they are more likely to come and develop?

Picasso said

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

There are lots of claims for Picasso quotes bit like Einstein — but they are never referenced! but it does sound like something Picasso would have said.

You can surround yourself with creative people, or a creative environment. But that may not always work out, you may be held back, and it is stale and depressing. As Katerina says:

I guess you reach a point where the certain circumstances cannot give you any more stuff, so you have to find a new “game” to play

Is art worthwhile and an important thing? Art is hard work, play is an important element though. Art is hard work… if its fun too, that’s a bonus. Art is fun… if its hard work, that’s a bonus. All depends on the perspective. Its apparent uselessness is in fact it most useful quality. The angst ridden catharsis: the most common narrative we are sold about what good art is.

As Brian Eno said:

The most attractive thing about the diary form for me is that it gets rid of the idea of separating thought off from the rest of what you do. I kept trying to write a book of [he says disdainfully] ‘my ideas’ and it looked so dull even I couldn’t be bothered to read it. Then I realised that this was because I don’t have a linear argument to offer, just a series of observations and a way of training yourself to notice things

Eno found that documenting what was happening in gritty honesty, lead to a greater understanding of himself and his process.

Has the MA blog process had any effect like this on you?

It has helped some with the do-reflect cycle, and others to think things through. For me it forces me to put my work out there, and to try to produce objects more regularly.

As Kleon says:

One of the things I’ve learned as an artist is that the more open you are about sharing your passions, the more people love your art.

Being generous. Develop relations with people that share your interests. People will reciprocate.

Two points:

  1. about being open with your work itself
  2. and maybe more the focus of the idea — being open about your passions –— that this generosity and integrity is what attracts people?

Its about authenticity but without being a about it

The simplicity of what Kleon says — it disguises a depth that we are exploring but on the surface it is not complicated —– like another of his ideas:

Be nice! The best way to vanquish your enemies on the internet? Ignore them. The best way to make friends on the internet? Say nice things about them.

In the recent lecture by Dave Charlesworth he talks about etiquette: being kind, generous, not full of yourself.

The art world can be terrible but that doesn’t have to stop the dream of an alternative — and that alternative will only happen with small individual actions. Money or at least the love of it causes a lot of problems.

In lots of modern ‘western’ life —– youth is the most important thing, youth as in physical fitness, looks, energy etc —– but in fact age and time are deeply connected to wisdom –— amazingly the art world, despite its strangeness, is one place where time is important, a body of work takes time and usually many years to develop —– great art is often only seen after many years –— those who burn brightest very early often burn out very quickly —– the quality work is developed over the long journey –— I hope we don’t loose that –— it is important for the art world and the world at large to hear that story repeated.

Kleon ends with:

Be boring — Get work done!

Just go and make art.

Focus and selection seem to be strong themes for today.

Next Week

The residency in Camberwell.

Coming Up

On March 15 there will be unit 1’s mid-point review.

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