Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Revisiting the first concept of the first year of graduate school.

This is probably only interesting to me, but I finally debunked fully what was bothering me about my diagram about happiness. In a summation of the notes I wrote at 3 in the morning:

The diagram is not in its best form as a token of gratification, but an example of a failure of as a work of art.

I immediately understood something from John Cage's list of Rules:

RULE EIGHT: Don't try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.

Also, the work was a sincere attempt in depicting something that I was interested in, and although the direct route is not always the best, I found out something interesting in the creation of my chart.

Rather than the circles representing different interpretations of where happiness comes from, it is actually describing different facets of being in a good place, or as I titled it "The chart of I'm doing good". Compared to calling a print "Defining Happiness-Meaningfulness" it does reflect how personal of a place this research came from, while at the same time, it can be more universal in a way.

When we are in a good place we are either:
1. Embracing truth and/or nothingness (very existential)
2. Embracing life (based in pleasure and curiosity and challenges)
3. Embracing ourselves (which involves acceptance and giving up on relying on anything external)
4. Embracing responsibility (which I noted has a lot of knowing when to take the good with the bad)

I wouldn't call this an 'answer' to a 'question' I had, but I feel a lot more clear about what I think I was trying to do, and how to even clear up that what I was working on wasn't all for nothing.

Now all I have to do is to prove that I know how to talk about it in an academic way and I'll be ready to figure out how this will figure into doing research for my upcoming dissertation which starts next year! (starts now.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I talked with fellow MFA student Stephen Murray and he mentioned that sometimes he doesn’t get what I’m doing, I know that a month ago I felt distraught about not knowing what I’m trying to accomplish and then a couple of vacations and dinners later, I feel like I’ve got an artist statement that I like better than most. Fuck you “Doubt”, here goes nuthin:

My work is about being excited to see something take shape and gain momentum. If you sit with something for long enough, let’s say a bit of blue paint, you might create a lovely harmonious relationship with it from a distance. But I don’t care about letting things be. I want to know for myself what it’s properties are; what it looks like when you drop it from a certain height, what it can’t it be mixed with, and I like to get to know what the experts would say, ‘this is what blue paint is meant to do’ and ‘this is what we don’t know’. I have to say all that because I think you’d be disappointed if I just said: “My work is about play.”

Back to this idea of generating momentum, this applies to how I work with paint, clay, light, people, sawdust, inks, expectations, and ideas.

I can be a bit vague when I want to say “I do things with a given material put into a particular circumstance.” But that’s just me trying to be sincere and telling you that I’m not trying to put you on. Essentially, the idea is as old as science. How do we know how anything works if we don’t mess with it and see how it responds to different conditions?

(Here’s a recent example: my mural idea, called Brixels. The year I worked with Dan Marchwinski, I found out that he is a genius at coding. So I asked him make me a website (makebrixels.com) that would allow anyone, kids even, the ability to make a tessellating pattern, and here’s the pinch, to make it fit along the rigid structure of alternating brickwork. This is distinctly different from just working with pixels that form a grid, because bricks overlap. He made the whole site in a couple days or something like that. Once you have that pattern the fun really starts. In Detroit, at least, there are plenty of brick walls that have areas that may have been windows or just knocked out that have been filled in with more brick, but it disjoints the brickwork, and laying down this perfect pattern really brings out the hiccups that were previously invisible. Each time a mural goes up it’s such a great surprise to see what it turns out like in the end when you’ve been so focused the whole time on creating a system of counting bricks to make the process more efficient and more precise. By the time the wall is filled, we can imagine it still visually extending on, and on and on. Also you don’t get to enjoy the mess unless you see how boring it all looks in structured order.)

The magic I find in my work is that what you see is exactly what it is, and I will present materials that people know well enough and I’ll still find a way to make us excited about it. The reality is and will always be that originality is renewable resource and that all it takes is to mix two disciplines that have never been mixed in a certain way and it’s a new frontier. I think that that approach is more powerful than spending my life mastering a single technique, or creating work to represent something else an overextended metaphor or perhaps, not realizing/utilizing what you have right in front of you.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if I do have an overall vision, the kind that makes the viewer understand where they’re going even if they don’t know where they’re coming from. But my disparate bits of work all deal with the substance of things. I tend to pick methods that are cyclical in nature. My work also reflects a knack for being attuned to the mood or the existence of multiple perspectives or the subtle actions and intricate things around me that I believe are just asking to be framed. I’m getting a little bit away from myself again, I don't even know what I mean by 'framed'. If I'd have to describe the resolution of framing something I would have to begin by explaining that the best art work is weird, (and a criticism I have of my own work is that it could always be weirder), but I know that you can start with something weird, and make it work. 

I shouldn’t do it, but I want to have a decent one-liner to explain to tie everything up, what I want to do:

I want to have many opportunities to explore something exciting and to even be forced to explore in different ways.