I have a lot of questions I ask myself and so far I wasn't really able to leave them anywhere, so they are all stuck in my head.
I thought and came up with this idea: “Why not make an art diary?”
It would be the perfect place for all my thoughts about art and everything related. A place where for a moment I can feel insecure, confused, happy, sad and frustrated. I am not really looking for answers to my questions but maybe I will find them along the way while I discover my own truth.
Be aware that these thoughts are moments and my mind changes over time, so they do not represent a statement. Merely a documentation of fleeting thoughts and feelings. It is just thinking out loud.
What I have been wondering lately is what makes an artwork art? What are the qualifications to turn an 'object' into Art. I can make something and place it on a pedestal but I don't believe that turns every object into a (art piece) (piece of art). How can you combine different materials so that all together it 'becomes' (and unquestionable) at first sight, artwork. (And) I am not even saying it should be pretty or good.
I thought it might be the skill of the artist that makes it an art piece, work, or object. Because it takes time, effort and knowledge to create something and it's the skill of the artist that defines the quality of the art piece. But than I wondered: “What about ready-mades, found footage and things like outsourcing?” So what exactly is the skill of the artist, is it just the skill of rhyming image? Or is it just different opinions that make or break a piece?
Quality of art?
Before I was already talking a little about the quality of art. You can say a artwork (whatever that is) is well made and the materials used are durable and of high quality. But first I should mention that the quality of something is determined by different aspect (by a different aspect) (different aspects). Or basically everything that makes it an artwork, the material, the concept, the artist. Especially the artist is important, we can even say that we judge the quality of the artist by the works that is made. If the work is of high quality then we expect the next artwork also being high quality. So is there a difference of quality in the artworks or in the artists? Or the quality of the moment the artwork is made. Expectations being met.
Art for babies
I wonder if babies can enjoy art. As tiny human beings, at some point they will be curious, explore, touch and put all their saliva over it. So I thought it would be interesting to think what art for babies would actually look like. They experience the world in an untainted way, maybe with underdeveloped senses but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy it. Moreover, how will it influence the child at a later age?
What is it exactly, is it all three? Mostly I call my art work, it's a artwork. Maybe because there is a very labor intensive aspect to my art. A piece would indicate a single thing, so I guess like a painting? An installation is an installation that is clear not much questions asked. So how about 4 tubes filled with mud and water? Pieces? Works? And the state of process the artwork is in, is it dependent on if it's finished or not?
Giving up or holding on? Chance of luck
From time to time I believe to become a successful artist there are multiple ways. Not everyone gets in that elevator to immediate recognition and appreciation. What if the shows, exhibitions, galleries don't come naturally, of course some effort is expected, but even with effort it just doesn't work out the way I thought. Do I hold on stubbornly, as I am, to my chosen profession? Until I feel like I succeeded? Is it all a chance of luck that will make me fail or win? I feel I already used up all my luck, I found the love which I will be sharing my life with, so there is not much left. I have lots of other plans, and what if that does succeed? Maybe it won't be my first choice but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be happy doing it. So is it what we do that makes us happy or how good we are at what we do? Do I let it depend on that lucky shot? Or never give up on that dream...
Damsel in distress, how to ask for help and if I want to?
As a female artist sometimes life gets a bit heavy, literately. I can't move objects heavier that 20 kg by myself and always will have to ask for help or even beg if, naturally a male, can move it for me. Not only am I not strong, but even as a native to the Netherlands (country with reasonably tall people) I am small. At 1,63 cm I can't even reach the highest shelf in my kitchen without a tiny stool (I blame it on the kitchen). So small and weak, and I haven't even started about my chronicle backpain. I fell of a horse and kind of broke my back while doing so, didn't bother to go to the hospital since I could 'move'. After 3 months it surprisingly still hurt and decided to get a x-ray hence knowing it was kind of broken but already 'healing' itself. Anyway...
Asking for help is sometimes difficult, even though there is almost no other way.
How to start
Is there anyway to start with an artwork, in an organized and ordered structure? Or is that already to much? Starting with art, maybe with the feeling to either tell? But then why not just tell? Does it have to be communicated by an object/image? Or is it the feeling to make? To express the suppressed. I don't have to make art about a personal story, it could also be a research to forms. It seems in my case I mostly start with a personal story, which I connect to an animal that stands symbol for the main thing I want to tell. Sometimes I translate the animal literally like a horse, or a toad that was part of my story. I move on to making this animal, or parts of it. Recognizability is very important for me, a road between figurative and realistic. I choose the details that make you recognize the animal or part of it. Then I have this object. What then? The beginning is easy, like a marathon, but I don't know where the finish is and in the end I am exhausted from the continues running.
One step forward 3 steps back
At the moment it feels like whenever I move forward I just can't travel to my ''destination''. Maybe they are not major setbacks but it does bother me. The train that doesn't show up and I am delayed 30 minutes (almost daily), or even the fact that I biked to a store to get construction-foam and they only have a single can left (at least it was one but I needed more). Just one last complain, when I forgot to take my mp3-player with me on my travels I already know the day will only get better once I finished my second glass of wine (I don't abuse alcohol, really I don't).But the fact that even though I do my best in presenting I just can't figure out how to that tops most of this. As soon as I feel I am close I am back to zero, as soon as I narrow my possibilities I also broaden them.
Communication through image
First we should question if this is even possible, I guess it is but only to some degree. Without any kind of literature an image can be interpreted in various ways. I always thought the most difficult thing about creating art was to get the image across and have the audience interpret the correct message or story you want to tell. I wanted to be able to tell the story as clear as possible. I might have succeeded since some commentary of my teacher in art school was that I was too clear, there was no room for other interpretations. It was exactly as it was. And now... now it is too much, the story is too complete. In a way I succeeded and my communication with image is apparently very clear, it is understandable. But this causes a slight problem, understandable art isn't appreciated, it doesn't give a challenge.
For me this gives me a lot of tension, almost frustration. I am not talking about a work but just the idea. We artist are all making art with a certain intention. Sometimes I think my intensions are very clear and then someone comes and does not see it. So are my intension not strong enough to see. I guess communication stays difficult. I feel like I can't get near the intention that I am seeking. Right now I don't even remember what my intension was. It is muddled by so many things going on in my mind. I can't tell you even now what I intented to say.
I have a deal with two of my dearest friends. When deceased sooner that I am, ones toe and finger and the others ring-finger will become my material. I really felt the need to have access to this unethical and for me new material. Human flesh, muscle, bones, tendons that once moved and was directed by my dear friends brain will be lifeless, a waste, needed to be disposed. But not only the idea of it being human, the same as me, but also the fact that I know who it belonged too is important. I wouldn't want anybody' s else body parts.
My personal artistic research
On the academy I am constantly researching (between the tea breaks and the occasional lose of focus moments) But my teachers are not there. They don't follow my artistic research as closely as I do. I see them once a week and they see an unfinished work or maybe only a starting point. And the next week they come nothing in the space might have changed but that unfinished work became a starting point and the starting point became a finished work for example.
That makes them a very strange public, viewers that had insight in only little parts of the process. Normally viewers don't get to peek in the studio, for them the artwork is always complete, they don't have the influence that the teachers have when they enter the space, literally and mentally. I viewer might say it could have been done in many ways but the artist choose this way. A viewer looking at a developing artwork could influence by just stating it is already beautiful and the artist starting to doubt if it's necessary to continue. Will it really become more? If I don't continue I will never know.
I present you...!
This is a big problem, I have no idea of how to handle this. I keep trying, maybe on a table, should I make a pedestal, will textile make it better or just simply on the ground. Presenting my work in a ''correct'' way is one of my struggle's. (besides the fact that I make things to clear??) Normally when I start making a work I end up with an object. Just that, an object, a piece of art with no place in the world, yet? So then I start thinking where do I leave this, it's like making a simple presentation is more work that the actual crafting. A table, a closet, pedestal, plate, ground. Are these my options?
Opinions, Opinions, Opinions
What do you think? What do you think what I should do. Do you think you like it or is something missing or are you indifferent. What do you think I should think?
Taking risks is appreciated. I am being told I am too careful, not bold enough. But then again how do people know what I think is a risk? My art is not about taking a risk, so why should I work in that way. There is already enough risk in my material I think, fragile ceramics, unbaked clay. There is all the opportunity for breaking, failure, losing. I don't even have to try to take a risk because as soon as someone comes close to my works there is a risk. The risk of things breaking, the unbaked clay that deteriorates. I could use this for a work. The risk of someone walking inside a room with my work.
There is also not only the physical risk, I think the confrontations with the artwork and the human is also a risk for the human. Maybe people shouldn't take the risk looking at art because it might change them. It will change the person after seeing a artwork. But then again I don't think my art should be about taking a risk. I am in a way already showing guts, already exposing my vision.
Follow your heart
I'm being told to follow my heart, my gut feeling or my intuition. How can I follow my intuition? Because haven't I been doing that all along? Was I not following my desire to make and to create the thing that I want to communicate? The riddle that isn't solved. Let's say I follow my heart, make what I want to make and, let it be what I want it to be. Though the price I pay for this is that other people will not follow my heart. So do I change my work and cry silently from the inside or do I continue following my heart that other people say is different. So I am following my heart? Others say I am not and tell me my heart is different. In the end the result are almost the same, my work will be evaluated and judged. Purely the work, of course not the person that made the work since these are totally separated?? right.
Finding that answer
I will not find answers. I find tons of questions and I ask. But is only asking enough. Ask and you will get the answer. I think I might have found my answers but they won't be yours. So did I find answers? Maybe not for everything but for now I have found enough. Asking what I want, what I don't want. But I also don't want to find all the answers, I want to be able to keep asking myself. Not understanding and always researching a question not looking for an answer but just understanding the question. That is maybe more important, what was the question again?
I know what to do
I know what I can do and this I can. I know what i'm capable off, I have confidence in the skills that I practice. I know it so well sometimes that I am not even astonished anymore. Last time I was making a piece, it was a hoof of a horse that I was making for the third time, and I was surprised how fast I made the shape. Even a bit scared. I know what I was doing. Also I finished a piece right on time for an exposition, and I know what I was doing. It is weird that at one side I have confidence and the other is a dark area for me. Dark and unkown.
Up and down
It's quite normal life excites of ups and downs. But when it only feels like it's going down and there is no upward motion anymore it becomes rather difficult. Rights now I am in a lot of downs. My condition is down, my motivation is down, my self-confidence is down because the other two are down. As soon as one thing spirals to the depths all things seem to follow. I want to be up again, but right now even getting up from bed seems like the most difficult thing I have to accomplish everyday. The only thing going up these days seems to be the temperature.
Taking a side path
It would be nice if my path was clear, no obstructions, no distractions. But it isn't, full of side paths and obstacles, some build by myself. Signs pointing me in different directions to different places all seducing me to be better than the other. I'm free to take any path, but I can't walk back, only forward slow or fast.
I followed others navigation and lost my own. I feel like there is no navigation and it already became dark. Maybe I should stop walking, run and then rest and catch my breath. Or just stand still and enjoy the view and scenery. Now I can't stop though, ill have to run and keep up.
A side path isn't maybe the thing I should worry about, but rather the destination it is leading me too, a steep mountain, a dark cavern, or a bottomless pitt, if it is even leading to anything. The path is full with challenges, it tests me to continue my journey. There will be some intersections with other travelers, we'll talk about our way, share shortcuts, maybe even walk together but our paths will separate.