A long time ago a friend once gave me the riot act for bothering with Art School.
His motive was that Art School formally trains you to abandon natural artistic sensibilities. For me going to the Fashion Institute of Technology was more about refining my theory, networking, being able to say, here “I went to school for this I must be an artist”. I was pretty right about half of that. The history, design challenges, personnel, contacts, way of life, critiques and even competition, served me well as an artist. There is this curse though, and we’ll relate it to “trying on too many dresses”. Sometimes what you want to do with your art, and who you want to be gets really muddy when you learn new techniques. It’s also pretty important for an artist and a designer to be AWARE of several things:
-Mediums and Supplies out there
Being aware of yourself is pretty critical and I admit I lost my way sometimes with my identity as an ARTIST as I went through school. School was a slow process, I worked a pretty high stress job during the day and had to pay for every last cent myself. No loans, no credit cards – just me biting off what I could chew financially and sacrificing having a kitchen in my tiny NY apartment for a few years. (Think, Kramer doing dishes in the shower)
Now that I am settled down, a woman of my baby and my time – I have had the chance over the last few years to look back on my work, and think about it collectively. What are the themes present? How do I change them yet keep them the same? These questions had super telling answers. When I work, I work in layers on multiple things at a time. I always have works in rotation, and sometimes theres times when I cannot express myself on something any further, yet I know its not done. I come back. In 100% of my work there are floral, Nature and Sacred Geo motifs and never ever dull sad colors. My colors are so bright you can taste them. (At least I do) The patterns in my jewelry and painted works, are textured, layered and continuous. I work on something, freeing that object from it’s former life, until it tells ME, “I’m done”.
The name of this method, to which my husband coined the moniker for is known to us now as “The Additive Method”.
By his definition, “It’s when you just express yourself on to something, and just keep expressing until you can’t express no mo.”
A few years back I had some health issues that landed me with some speech problems. I saw a speech therapist 3X a week and they actually brought in an Art Therapist to help me as a nontraditional method, on top of their vocal exercises.
The sessions with the art therapist were rocky at first actually. I couldnt abandon my formal training. Aesthetic had become the ruler of everything. Thats not how art therapy works. You are just expressing what is in your mind. No rules, who cares if they are stick figures, there’s no critique just collective visual fragmentation.
I know this was about speech – and it was, I barely have a hint of a stammer anymore, but what this did for me artistically was allow me to tap back into an artistic identity that is about your collective consciousness. This is where genuine, real beauty or pain of the personal heart is allowed to set itself free. If you aren’t artistically inclined, I tell you, that you are.
You have the ability to create something unique and special to YOU, like a fingerprint. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, if you free yourself from the rules that say “I am not creative”, “I am not an artsy person” – they you surely will not be. If you give yourself the chance to ask some probing questions and “create on it”, I think you’d be surprised.
Think about the additive method I described, KEEP GOING with a work if you don’t like it. Do not give up on it. You just haven’t released the work from the medium, yet. Or, start over, and layer away again. Leonardo, Michelangelo; they did this too.
So did these guys, and you can argue their talent. Actually many have, but you know – drive and vision CAN trump talent. Just ask <insert celebs name that we all know got famous on drive and vision alone>.
I’m in no way comparing myself to these guys. I just think we take a similar approach to our work style. It’s pretty critical in my opinion to know also when appropriate to cite your or pay homage or gratuity to the legends and little people before you and with you presently. These two artists had heavy heavy vices, and art actually was one of them. Their vision transcends formal technique. There are awesome movies out about both of these tortured souls, and they are pretty good if you fancy a walk to the library.