“The point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art.” Pg.6
“You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn’t very good, and gradually weeding out the parts that aren’t good, the parts that aren’t yours.” p. 26
• What work have you made that seems most yours? Why?
I think my most recent work has definitely been the work that has felt most mine. I’ve struggled a lot the past few years trying to figure out what is that I actually LOVE doing. I always thought I loved drawing- just sitting down with paper and a pencil and drawing. But once I came to school and started actually pursuing art, I realized that there are so many other ways to make marks besides drawing with a pencil on some paper- and that’s when I started to struggle. Every semester I learn more and more and am exposed to more mediums and processes- but last semester was the first time I truly fell in love with a process. I am completely obsessed with printmaking. After years of struggling with content and process and medium, somehow printmaking brought it all together for me. Something just fell into place. I’m normally someone who needs to be instantly gratified- the process of printmaking is extremely long and tedious, which would typically annoy the shit out of me. But for some reason, I absolutely fell in love with it. Something about the idea that the block itself is just as beautiful as the print it makes- something about the uncertainty of what your print will actually look like on a surface. I love the idea of making one really extraordinary block, and being able to use it a million times in a million different ways. I think that the fact that I fell so in love with the process is exactly why, immediately upon learning it, my content fell into place as well. All of the things I’ve loved and been interested in for forever- but never really considered as the subjects for my work- were brought to the forefront and something just clicked. Finally, my love for all things old and nostalgic was perfectly paired with a process that I feel does my aesthetic justice. My recent pinup prints have been my favorite work I have ever made, and I’m excited to keep exploring them.
“Chances are that whatever theme and technique attract you, someone has already experimented in the same direction. This is unavoidable: making any art piece inevitably engages the larger themes and basic techniques that artists have used for centuries. Finding your own work is a process of distilling from each those traces that ring true to your own spirit.” p. 103
• Who are artists that are making work that relates to you? Are there other influences? How are these other influences connected to your work?
This is actually a very appropriate question, because the pinup prints that I mentioned above are actually appropriations of a famous pinup artists’ paintings- Gil Elvgren. All of the pinups that I have done are drawn directly from Elvgren paintings- with a few minor adjustments of my own, whether it’s changes in the clothing, hair color, and ALWAYS graphic quality. I take classic pinup oil paintings and turn them into very graphic, high contrast illustrations. So, naturally, Elvgren is a HUGE influence. Other than that, I’ve done a lot of exploring of photographers who do modern-day pinup work- like the photographer whose work is shown in my inspiration for this week. Obviously the connection with Elvgren is painfully obvious- I have done direct appropriations of his work.
“And while a hundred civilizations have prospered (sometimes for centuries) without computers or windmills or even the wheel, none have survived even a few generations without art.” p. 104
• Discuss, in your own words, why you think this is so.
I think that mark making is the rawest form of expression. Everyone needs to express themselves. Everyone needs to tell stories and record information. Everyone needs some sort of creative outlet, whether they realize they’re doing it or not. We have the luxury of technology now, but we’re doing the same things people have done for thousands of years. Creating and recording information. We wouldn’t be here if people hadn’t been doing so in the first place. Computers just make it easier.
“Art is something you do out in the world, or something you do about the world, or even something you do for the world. The need to make art may not stem solely from the need to express who you are, but from a need to complete a relationship with something outside of yourself.” p. 108
• Which of these ideas resonates most with you? Why? If they all resonate, how do they differ?
I agree fully that art is the need to complete a relationship with something outside of yourself. I feel that making work, at least for me personally, has opened my eyes ALOT about ideas and feelings that I have that I never even REALIZED I had. Sometimes I make things, and I don’t really have a great reason why I did what I did until I’m in front of my teacher, or the class, or a friend, or a stranger, explaining what it’s about- then all of the sudden, I can’t stop talking about why I did what I did. I think there’s something really beautiful about that, and mysterious. I don’t think you always need to know exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing- I think that once it’s done, you’ll know, and it may not be what you expected. That’s something that I don’t know you can get from anything else other than making art. I think that’s definitely a connection that you’re making with something outside yourself- and maybe that thing is just a part of you that you didn’t know you had yet. Who fucking knows. But that’s what’s cool about it.
“Making art depends upon noticing things-things about yourself, your methods, your subject matter.” p. 109
• What do you notice about yourself? What are your methods? Subject matter? The answers do not have to be limited to art related topics.
I notice that I’m picky. That I’m a perfectionist. That I have learned to appreciate the process just as much as the finished product- sometimes even more so. I’ve noticed, especially over the last semester, that I draw a lot of inspiration from memories- whether they’re mine or someone else’s. I’ve noticed that keeping old, nostalgic things relevant is extremely important to me. I’ve noticed that I can be extremely unattached and cold about lots of things, but that my work is NOT one of them.
“The only work really worth doing- the only work you can do convincingly- is the work that focuses on the things you care about.” p. 116
“All this suggests a useful working approach to making art: notice the objects you notice.” Pg.101
• What do you care about? The answers do not have to be limited to art related topics.
I care about family, and memories. Almost ALL of my work is based off of memories- some my own, and some other’s. I’ve been really into old photos for quite some time now- specifically ones that I find on the National Archive flickr. There’s something about looking at photos from years and years ago, decades ago, that make me feel nostalgic- which is weird, because I don’t know the people in the photos. I don’t know the places. I don’t know any sort of backstory. But for some reason, I feel emotional connections to these anonymous people and places and I think that much of my work has to do with attempting to make the viewer feel the same way. Making memories that aren’t ours STILL give us that warm, fuzzy feeling that we get when they ARE ours.