Art is a Verb

Recently I heard a critical response to a fellow artist’s use of some vintage wood in a design. They used 100 year-old wood in their art which was deemed a “waste” by the responder.

lumber4

 

I wish only to explore what “stops the creative process” at this point.

Why was it a waste to use that rare wood?

“If the wood could be used in a more ‘worthy’ application, then it would be a proper use of the material.”  If the wood were made into a fine altar piece or carved doors to a crypt, then it would be something more notable.

Nope.

I wonder in this manner sometimes when I make something new, even one-of-a-kind piece from found objects. Certainly few recycled things I have come a provenance or even an estimation of age. None are any sort of rare things other than they had been “lost”, they piqued my interest, and I re-defined them.

Paint remaining in tubes for fear of waste might deter me if I allowed. The costs of paper, canvas, and brushes do frighten me when I order materials.

But, what if I do not get “it” right?

Do I feel guilty when I fail the materials and decide to start over? Does starting over prove I am un-wise?

Nope and nope.

If every time I failed I stopped the process and cleaned up the materials and placed everything back where it belongs and quit I have only accomplished only an exercise in studio cleaning, and turning off the lights.

Do I fail often?

Yep.

I simply begin again, almost out of reflex. I have yet to understand why starting over is such a “horrid consequence”, a waste. [I’m thinking maybe also stay ahead of deadlines, because missing them qualifies as a “horrid consequence”.]

Why is “waste” such a driving concept?

I think it is rooted in fear of failing. If I mess up this cut, then I’ve ‘ruined’ a piece of 100 year-old wood and the wasting wood cops are sitting in a van outside.

Yep, it is the same with anyone who might mess up vintage lumber or a box of nails.

If the piece of  100 year-old wood rests on the shelf for another hundred years perhaps it will be a buffet for termites.

If and if and if must end. It stops the creative process.

Art is verb, it is about doing.

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Art Maketh the Man

Sometimes a person needs another person to be whole. The sweet life.

One more round of billiards is a cool end to the weekend. Fine good friends.

Run one more mile before calling it a workout. Stick to it.

Nail bent1

That won’t do.

Art requires much of me. On one side,  I am filling my notebook with reminders to correct errors. In that book I record the blunders, the almost-but-not-good-enoughs, all the lessons I am learning are in there. “That’s one for the Notebook” is a common phrase around me.

I started over each time.  Ate the mistakes, went around the breakdowns, and overcame the log-jams.

That is design. The stylish well-pressed clothes and perfect hair under the lights, well, that is glamour. I hope someone else is paying for that.

On the other side, I am stocking my toolbox with tools that will help me to continuously improve over time, every day.

Attitude is part of my tool box, it is a mental process of improvement. Improvement makes me more efficient and less likely to blunder (so much).

The Fundamentals have been banged in to me from first memories:

  • Show up to work
  • Do the Beginning
  • Stick to it through the Middle
  • Be there for the End
  • Turn out the lights, day is done

Marketing is essential, but I must have something to trade on, something to grasp someone’s imagination and I must communicate clearly and simply.

 

Nails Just Right1

Just right, those nails have held well.

Talk is cheap. I must rock my art.

That is why I work every day. Art makes sense that way to me or else it is a hobby. Nothing sideways about that, go for it if that is your gig.

Art is my Fire.

Art makes me whole.

 

If you would like to comment feel free.  I usually respond within 24-hours during the week. 

Achievement and Improvement

Bicyclist

Achievement starts with being pretty good, even producing pretty good Art. In that manner of thinking a person is already a success, a known quantity, being pretty good. But what sort of success?

As I remember learning to ride a bicycle, success lies fundamentally in making allowance for the person in their chosen activity shins and elbows notwithstanding.

From being pretty good the daily practice, hours of effort, the inevitable stops all make new beginnings  more readily undertaken. We must really, really want to ride a bicycle to achieve it.

Before long you’re sailing along, “ready,steady, go”.  The bumps and bruises are what make an interesting person of you.

What a boring endeavor Art would be without stops and new beginnings.

Trial and Try Again

As an art practitioner I think about art and my relationship to my work. Part of that connection to the work is how to love it.

I have a design, a plan, a pattern in mind, sometimes. Often I ‘go’ with a marker or a brush.  Some of my favorite pieces come from this exercise.

I, and bets are you too, will be required to write or to tell about your art. The artist’s statement invites others into your art. People will make up their own minds.

Often the writing or telling is about what remains when I finish.  That does not discourage me. Critics abound. I do not take on that job.

The key is to take encouragement from finishing your work.

It is fine to say, “I really don’t know what I was going for but here it is.” I created a plan and a little way in I changed it.  Starting over is exciting. Re-beginning turns my calendar on its side and presses me and my resources. Pressure is good, but like the air on your lungs—just right.

I like “trial and try again”.

Love your work.

What can be Will Be

My usual method to assemblage starts with some kind of “ground” or what receives all the pieces. Then comes the parts arrangement. Take a picture; then, re-arrange the components, and finally take another picture.

Flow of the Cosmos2

“Star Fountain”, wood, metal, acrylic paint, varnish, April 2016

I’ve  mixed it up a bit.  I take a picture of the parts and cut them out, then arrange those cut-outs on a backdrop.

I thought, “Forget the pictures.”

Designs?

Where am I?

I’m stuck is where I am.

I have to do better. Don’t give up.

Opportunity to re-start.

 

I was jammed. Run hard a-ground.

What I used to make this project was one word: altered.

I altered the plan.

It worked. Same parts different approach. New concept.

I got un-stuck.

New tool for my tool box.

What can be will be.

Eventually.

Stay in the hunt.

Parts Make a Whole

Fuel Filter Lamp 1

I walked passed the collection of automotive parts everyday for several months.  The 1960 Willys Jeep fuel pump was near the top of the heap. I liked the “AC” glass bowl.

I disassembled and cleaned the fuel pump. Then, the un-necessary bits were removed.

 

Then my curiosity was growing. What else was lurking in that scrap?

I found more parts–outside house lights. I began to get a sense of what “the fuel pump” could become.

The assembly process was trial and error. Error gets me going with more determination.

I needed some bits to enhance “the fuel pump”.

I was given a cord coupler. Nice threads.

Bartered for a brass plate for a base. Scrap brass sheet and couplings for contrasting color.

I bought a toggle switch.

 

I call it a “Lamp” from a 1960 Willys Jeep fuel pump.

 

Fuel Filter Lamp 2