On Monday I went to a panel where a couple artists talked about the role of narrative and storytelling in art, theirs specifically. The topic isn't something that I'm particularly interested in, since my work isn't really narrative in nature, but one of the speakers was my former printmaking professor who I hadn't seen since 2010, so I was really excited that he was going to be in town. Sitting there listening to my old professor talk made me miss school tremendously, and more so, making art. I'm creative on a daily basis, but I'm rarely making something I would consider "art." Something without practical functionality. Not a website design, not a photograph for a client, not a DIY project for the home. All of those satisfy the creative urge in me, but I'm realizing that it's not quite enough to just create something. There's something about creating a piece of art that is different than creating something beautifully functional.
I invited my professor out for drinks afterward and it was so nice to sit around a dimly lit table with booze in hand, catching up. There are a few teachers that really left an impression on me. Mrs. Heetderks, my 6th grade teacher who encouraged me to write more. Mrs. Congdon, my high school english teacher who is simply one of the best teachers out there. And Scott. One of the few teachers who was immune to my bullshitting or half assing. If I scabbed together a paper or painting the night before, he knew it and would call me out on it. He pushed me to create work that was thought through, meaningful, and carefully constructed. Since I was someone who could easily and quickly throw something together that would get a decent, if not excellent, grade in any other class, it was nice (and a bit unsettling) to have a teacher who graded me against what he knew I was capable of.
One of my 26 before 27 goals was to create new art and submit it to a gallery for exhibition. I haven't even started this one, so I doubt it's going to happen this time around, though I definitely would like to roll-over that goal to my 27 before 28 list. I think something that has been holding me back is that I don't feel like my old way of creating is "me" any more. Since I haven't created in so long, my style has shifted, but to where? I'm not sure yet. I would like to start creating to sort of figure out where exactly I am, in terms of what I want my work to look like and what I want it to be about. I'm definitely not the same person I was when I was creating consistently in college. I don't have the same interests or feel passionate about the same things. I'm not even sure what mediums I'd want to create with. But it's kind of exciting, the not knowing. Perhaps I'll try to start small. I love creating really huge pieces, but that's another thing that holds me back. Size is prohibitive, in terms of having the space to create when you like working big. But since I prefer big, it could be a nice challenge to force myself to work small. God knows I can fit any more big pieces on my walls. Two of my biggest pieces are still sitting on the floor in our bedroom, with no wall available where they could hang. Truth be told, as much as I love my giant Winnebago art, I've had it hung in every place I've lived since junior year of college, so I'm a bit "over" it. I'm ready for something new. Something fresh. Something that is where I am now, not where I was three years ago. I'm not sure what that will look like but I want to find out.
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