Monday, May 5, 2008
Thoughts on May TIF Challenge
Here are my ideas on the new TIF Challenge .
Splitting hairs: That was my first reaction to the distinction between art and craft. A quick trip to the dictionary seemed to confirm this - both definitions use the other word to provide explanation, with the word skill included. It seems to me that art critics have given rise to this so-called distinction. Have you ever heard of anyone called a "craft critic"? I suspect they would feel hurt and disparaged if we started to call them that. 'Nuff said. It's all about using your own feelings and sensibilities when coming to define what you are and what you do, and not using others' definitions. I'm an artist because I say so. My idea of being an artist is that I look at the world with pleasure and wonder and my whole raft of emotions, distill that stimulus and mirror it back into the world through the work of my hands, heart, mind, intellect, social conscience, and means. This gave the idea of a self portrait, looking straight at the camera and enlarging the eyes, while the rest of the pose would show me working on something. Think of Rembrandt at his easel. Maybe I could include a messy hairdo with split ends? An exaggerated parting?
The Outlaw Area: This is an idea from Buckminster Fuller, but I couldn't find the reference in my library. He was explaining about people who go their own way to explore the world and find themselves outside the mainstream social context, where they permit themselves to do the outrageous and frequently come back with extraordinary discoveries. The idea is profoundly appealing to me, and makes me think of pirates, freedom, sailing ships, oceans, both exterior and interior space, solitude, wonder, courage, independence - o, it's very rich and evocative - and I believe this is what artists do - but how to represent all that? Good challenge - I shall have to think about it some more.
Blessings: Yes, I feel blessed to be an artist, and this made me think of one of my favourite poems, Dylan Thomas's "Poem On His Birthday", in which he counts his blessings...
"Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue,
Count my blessings aloud:
"Four elements and five
Senses, and man a spirit in love
Tangling through this spun slime
To his nimbus bell cool kindgom come
And the lost, moonshine domes,
And the sea that hides his secret selves
Deep in its black, base bones,
Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh,
And this last blessing most,
"That the closer I move
To death, one man through his sundered hulks,
The louder the sun blooms
And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults..."
There are plenty of strong images, lots of them related to the ocean, making me think of coral and fish, etc. I read somewhere that Picasso represented himself in some of his paintings as a goat. I guess I think of myself as a fish - a revelation. I wondered why I kept coming back to this as an image in my art.
Spirit: Finally, taking Sharon's challenge question further, "What do you call yourself and why?", I have for a long time pondered questions such as "Who are you?", "Why are you here?", etc. I believe that I am a splinter of the divine, mirroring glory. Yup, that's me, that's what I call myself because that's what I feel at the core. To make this into a design, well, a fish has been a symbol used by the Catholic church. I'm not sure what it represents in that context, but I like it very much, so I guess the beaded fish I just did may count as my May challenge piece. The irridescent beads actually include the colours in this month's pallette, too.
Looks like I've talked myself into working on that fish collage I just started, although I think I'd like to do machine embroidery on it and I'm on a beading streak just now...
On the other hand, the iris are just stunning and maybe I'll do that, but no, I'm trying to stay with the colour pallette...