Sunday, August 13, 2006

What keeps you from making art?

I made this box in Inge Infante's Box Art class. I wouldn't say it's the worst experiment I've ever done, by a long shot. But it doesn't fit with the work I usually "publish." (On my web site or in shows.) I like it, but I'm not satisfied with it. I want to make boxes and don't really know where I'm going with the idea.

I made a few boxes, mostly in my student days. I love boxes, almost as much as books. So why don't I just make some now? I have one on my workbench right now that is two-thirds finished. And abandoned.

I struggle with this. Due to lack of time, my cowardice and some other unknown factors, I can't just dive in and do it. I know I need to make some things that will be failures. I know the only way to start something new is to do it, make mistakes and learn from them. But knowing something is not the same as doing it.

How do you give yourself time to experiment and not be serious? Some very interesting discoveries can be made when you're playing. I can't always do it, so I can't give you an easy answer.

What sometimes works for me is to promise myself I will show it to no one. I plan to make absolute garbage, and then destroy it, or hide it. I have plenty of bad art in my studio. But I can't get rid of it, because there are ideas in it that I love, and will use in the future.

After writing this, I think I should go ahead and buy the metal shear I have been longing for. It time to get to work, right?


Marc Snyder said...

That's a great question.

I always return to something Kurt Schwitters said - "In order to achieve insight, one must work". Sounds obvious, but I've had to relearn it so many times over the past 20 years or so. Not giving yourself the time to do work that isn't guaranteed to succeed (or at least goes in a direction that has felt successful in the past) keeps you from making that work that produces the insights - but time constraints and lots of other fears work against investing time in a process that won't have immediate results. I struggle with that one all the time.

You just gotta believe! It's a big leap of faith that has to be made again and again and again.

Great artwork, great blog!!

Fiji Island Mermaid Press

Judith Hoffman said...

Oh yes, Kurt Schwitters. One of my first art heros. And it turns out he's smart, too. Great quote. And the "leap of faith again and again" is all too true. Good advice. Thanks Marc. P.S. I love your little books on ebay. And the Artist's Book of the Month Club looked too fun to pass up.