Sunday, January 31, 2010

ARTlessons (ch 1-3)

The first three chapters of Art Lessons was largely about what it means to be an artist and how one finds his or her self in this profession. In the first chapter the author talks about art as a vocation and how in that definition, each individual's definition of what it means to be an artist changes. Ultimately, the author says, an artist's life and work are one and the same as they inform one another. The next chapter is called aesthetic education and is not about art school, but one's own journey in discovering an aesthetic philosophy. This begins in childhood explorations and questions, and evolves into adult life as we seek out new information and an understanding of the world. What one creates is bounded only by the knowledge that one has not yet discovered. The third chapter is about the value and place of the institution in an artist's life. The institution is not necessary, but is a resource, and one should not be afraid to leave it or come back to it.

So far, I think that this book is excellent in terms of direction in self reflection. I can't help compare what I am reading to my own life (which I'm sure is the authors intention) and because of this I am able to have a sort of internal conversation with the ideas presented. The predominant idea that I am getting so far is one of hard work and an insatiable want of knowledge. I think that these ideas are good and real. One other theme that may or may not be as strong through the text is one of questioning. As an artist I believe it is important to question what we do. What do we do and why does it matter? Questions are what lead to answers, and knowledge after all. Also, this societal idea of monetary gain as means of motivation is touchy. We don't make art to make money, but we need money in order to make art as often as we can... what a bitch. Finally that chapter on the institution is spot on. I agree that the school should be recognized as resource and point of refuge, but the real world can be just as good of a teacher. School is great for so many things, but at the same time it can be a big bureaucratic mess, and huge waste of time.

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