It's funny, as I've been thinking a lot about this blog post about artist Agnes Martin and how she spent her whole life exploring one artistic theme. The writer of the post says,
"i had a professor once who said if you can come up with one idea that you can run with your entire life as an artist consider yourself lucky"
I'm not sure how I feel about that statement.
And maybe it's this hopping around, from themes and mediums that marks me out as NOT being an artist. I remember thinking at school that one theme would be limiting and I wanted to explore my artistic repertoire using different mediums, different subjects, themes and styles. I still tend to operate like that today. I think at 17 and 18 it's a bit much to expect that we have found our central artistic theme and style as creative people. But maybe by nearly 42 we should have...?
I like to think of artists as having a distinct handwriting. Sometimes they will print, or do fancy cursive, but mostly you can tell it's them. Or like a distinctive author trying out different genres, or musicians trying out a new style of music perhaps? Maybe when we look back at an artists body of work it is reassuring to see that they only worked through one idea, but I'm not sure. Take someone like Picasso for instance.
And I know that sewing pillow covers is not "real art", but I do like to work within my own ideas of what art is, and that does not exclude beautiful every day objects, particularly if they are produced as one off pieces. I suspect that trying to set myself up as a artistic crafter in a place like Asia will be very difficult though, as most things (often very beautiful things) are made dirt cheap by skilled artisans and shipped in to Singapore and sold at a much higher price.
And for me, every time I touch something, make something, there are processes in my brain that want to take what I've learned and move it into something new, something different; to take risks with new materials and see what can come out of it... I don't necessarily want to make the same things for the rest of my life or even for the rest of the year. I want to play around with new ideas, find new ways of expressing the things that I am interested in like using scraps and giving them new life, taking things and making them into something beautiful and unexpected. Perhaps I need to work more at bringing the "craft" into the art, rather than the other way around.