I have some things I would like to say which would take me to a few different places. I will try to take these things in the same direction. I can start from any of them.
Let me start here:
This being my last year at SU, I took an Intro to sculpting class hoping it would be an interesting, fun, and relaxing three credits. While I really do appreciate my professor’s attempts at making the class fall into those categories, it has yet to.
Our first assignment was to do an abstract juxtaposition using plaster and wood, one being dominant over the other.
I was not down.
I began work a few weeks ago on my sculpture, heartless. I simply worked on it to get it done so that I could start on my next piece.
I hate plaster.
I love wood.
When it came time for crit last Thursday, I looked at my piece knowing I was going to have to explain the meaning behind it, why it is the way it is.
Though, when starting the piece there was no reason to my design, once I was done I was able to come up with an elaborate expression dealing with the direction of our world’s society that would explain for every inch of my piece, from what I did intentionally to large chunks of plaster that came off accidently.
The crit took longer then expected. I was to be criticized last.
Standing behind my piece, when everyone turned to stare at it, I knew what was being asked of me. Regardless, I still asked, “what’s the question?”
My professor politely told me to explain my piece, what was my meaning behind it.
At that moment I decided to abandon my original cliché explanation.
I looked my teacher in the eyes and said, “I don’t know if you have noticed this, but I am not comfortable answering that question.”
After giving a few seconds to allow the shock of what I had just unexpectedly said to the class set it, I began to explain why.
“For this assignment we were asked to do an abstract piece. If, instead we were told to do something figural, I would have done a sculpture of a puppy, and right now I would be telling you that this is a puppy. With it being an abstract piece, telling you the meaning behind it would negate the purpose of it being abstract.”
I look at the students’ faces to see the same face I would have sculpted for that puppy… I decide to elaborate.
“Being abstract allows each individual viewer to have his or her own personal interpretation, expression, feeling, etc. for the piece. If I were to tell you right now what this piece means it would surly influence their personal view, something I don’t want to do.”
My professor then thanked my for brining up the subject, respecting my decision.
For the rest of my crit, the other students tried to either give advice or find something wrong with my piece, realizing that they couldn’t since they had no clue as to my own personal meaning behind it.
At that point it was fun, they began to express their views on it, looking at my face for clues on whether or not I shared them.
I did not.
Talking about art, I am going to bring up a discussion I had with a friend who has graduated, Emily. Though I doubt you are reading this, if you are, I hope you don’t mind.
In this discussion we spoke of what makes an artist an artist:
Everyone on this planet is an artist. Anyone can make art; one major reason for this is because anything can be art. The difference between everyone and the select few who walk this earth calling themselves artists is an artists will spend their lives rather then trying to understand the world around them, with the need for the world around to understand them.
Thank you, Emily.
Last, buy certainly not least, my Bubbie.
I’m usually not the type that brags. If I am it’s as a joke.
In this case I feel I can brag since it no longer is the case.
When I was younger, much younger, I would say a few years before and after third grade, I was good at art. I was really good at art. Today I would not be able to come close to drawing or painting what I was capable of doing back then.
All the reasons why I no longer have that ability aside, my biggest fan when it came and comes to my art is and was my Bubbie.
I didn’t progress the way you would have expected when it comes to my art, but in her eyes, I feel she genuinely thinks I have. In her mind, those younger days are still here. I have taken three different art classes while at SU, and every time I talk to her about them, she gives me advice on how to make it a career.
I try and tell her it’s just for fun.
She thinks I’m beyond that.
What I am trying to explain through my Bubbie is what art really is. As she always told me, art is about what you feel. She looks at my pieces blinded by what she feels knowing that her grandson created them.
On a side note, my Bubbie has been in the hospital for the past few days, hopefully she gets out tomorrow. I called her yesterday, sitting on the quad as she sat in her hospital bed.
My grandmother, whenever she found out I finished anything she could consider art, even if it was on a post-it, she would ask me if I signed it. She was adamant on me signing everything.
In our conversation, I told her how I had learnt in one of my classes that back in the day, especially during the time of Leonardo da Vinci, artists could be arrested and possibly even killed for signing their artwork. I explained that the reason for this was artists were commissioned to do their work, once their piece was finished it was no longer theirs.
I then asked my Bubbie why she had been trying to have me killed all these years.