30 January, 2013

Saturation point

 Today I reached saturation point.  Right as I was in the middle of making this little guy, I thought, "that's it, I'm done! I'm bored with this, time to move on!"

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.
 I know that when I was in high school being examined for my end of year art show I was criticized (and marked down from the top marks I wanted) for not having a consistent body of work; in particular not having a theme as such.  I repeated art  the following year to try and raise this grade (and because I couldn't imagine going to school and not doing art) and came out with the same result (the main reason why I didn't apply to go to art school).

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.
Anyway, all very philosophical food for thought ( And if you've made it this far, well done).  So for now at least, I'll stop making pillows.  I'll clean my house (seriously needs it) and finish preparing everything I need to do for the craft fair (tags and cards etc). 


  1. Well, what is this about knowing where your art is going by 42? And please leave handwriting out of the discussion...A good fun blog, but me thinks you have a while to go just yet...My favourite teacher came into the gallery a couple of days ago and tried to persuade me change my honours theme from millions (near enough anyway) of glass boxes to drawing motorbikes...no I am not...but it does sort of makes one realise just how much art is waiting to be done...
    I look forward with great interest to your next project, and as far as doing art in "asia" for money is concerned I have recently read a few interesting articles on art in the Philippines currently,big time art that is...I suspect eventually you just have to go where your art takes you.
    Mind you there will be a few more bikes done before uni starts.

  2. i know how you feel..that post about getting over your cushion covers could have been about me...i do things for a season and then i find it sssooooo difficult to re visit them...move on...i am going back to revisit all the UFO's this year...well that is the plan Stan...love your work...XXXXX

  3. I think it's an admirable talent to do things 1000% before being inspired by something new and moving on. I hope all those gorgeous cushion covers get snapped up at the fair! love mum xxx


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