Thursday, November 29, 2012

What is an Artist

When I was training as an artist I was taught a wide range of skills. The first was to look, observe, see the world around me from the micro world to the macro. It was about really seeing. The more you see, the more you are inspired. We all took our sketchbooks and headed off to look and often it was the usual drawings of what we thought we were seeing rather actual seeing.

After learning that looking is not as simple as you think it is, for example drawing a tree – everyone can do it but we often draw from a memory of tree rather than what is in front of us. We then look at the tree inform of us but miss the space and physicality of the tree, we don’t see the tree as a three dimensional living plant, supporting extensive colonies of bugs or animals. Looking, really looking enables the artist to see in everyday life aspects and details that many of us walk by and don’t see.

We are visual translators and re interpreters and whilst our work may often not be fully understood, its core aim is communicate something out into the ether of the world.

Now i am an artist who is trapped by disability and pain, who no longer gets out of the house much to see the wider world and in the absence of this source of inspiration i find myself seeking alternatives. I recently discovered TED on the internet and through it have been able to replace some of my inspiration. The internet is an amazing resource full of juxtaposed ideas and views. Each one either a source of irritation or inspiration.

So i take those steps to re establishing myself in a world that has changed since i last walked it and take my fear of rejection and just put it out there. Its a simple formula – i turn up to my table everyday and create something. I don’t question it or judge it – i just do it and then reflect.

Though i would truly love to be able to eek a living from this creative out pouring and i am working on ways to achieve this, I have also realised that sometimes its about doing it for free, its about getting your work out there and to this end I have found 2 projects that I am going to take part in. The first is the eightbyeight Project to raise money for a charity and the second is the Sketchbook Project. Over the coming months I will post up my progress and share my processes.

So what is an artist – well for a start its a label that makes it easy to categorise me and my work. However i feel more inclined to call myself a creative. It is an easier label to live up too as it does not imply a standard to grade my work or an elitism to prevent you from accessing my work. Well that’s my thoughts on the subject – what are yours?

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