Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ain't That Something Real

Unfortunately I've been tired and haven't seen any more art this week. No, I should rephrase that. I haven't been to any galleries this week, but I have seen art. Franconia put on two workshops for kids over the weekend. One was making sculpture with recycled book materials and the other one was a wood workshop (all the big tools were handled by the adults, don't worry).

While watching children concoct surprisingly complex objects such as book monsters, a wooden dog named "Princess Fluffy," and a home for a hypothetical cat, I got to thinking about many other things other than what I was supposed to be thinking about, which was kids making sculpture.

At the end of my last term at Lawrence I had a professor tell me I wasn't really an artist because I didn't feel like working on art at the end of the year. I suppose I was sort of irritated at the time, but didn't realize exactly what the accusation meant until later.

If I compare myself to the people I know that are artists, I guess I'm not really an artist at all. I don't work on art all day long, or for months at a time (with the exception of my senior project), I don't sketch out plans of artwork before I make it, and I don't spend tons of money on materials (I bought a vase that I plan to cover today for $1.25).

If I was truly an artist I would be planning to spend my time after graduation working on art. I'd be moving somewhere and renting an apartment and a studio, and making art day and night until I die. I might spend some of the money that I have creating pop-up galleries, or save it for grad school.

Forgive me if I don't want that life.
Give me a break if I can't find inspiration from the insides of studio walls.
Don't judge if I am more comfortable without the debt of grad school.
And seriously, leave me alone because I don't want to spend all of my money on art.

What I think is more necessary at this point is to travel. I am looking for an honest art, a pure art, a completely no-bullshit kind of art. I want to see more art like the wooden Princess Fluffy and the book monsters. I want to see art that wasn't made in a studio. I want to see art that no one cares about. I want to see art that's about something I don't know about. I want to see art that isn't made for a resume. I want to see art that's hidden on the top of a mountain. I want to see art that's covered in algae at the bottom of the ocean. Realizing I'm sounding like Oldenberg, I'll stop. But I want to see art so that I can figure out whether or not you can be an artist without making art day and night. To find out if there is a spectrum. If you can be something other than an artist and still be an artist.

I've decided that if I'm going to travel (and I am), I am going to search for art in every nook and cranny that I can possibly afford to crawl into. There is a world full of art and it's not just sitting around lazily  collecting dust. It is alive and it is dust-free, and it is being made in places that we don't expect. Yes, I want to see art. All of it. Not just some of it.

And then, maybe, (just maybe) I can tell you if I'm really an artist or not. And you can't tell me anything.

Also, if you're interested, here's my first blog post for the Franconia blog.

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