Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creating Art: A Solitary Pursuit



Do you like creating by yourself or with others? I was thinking about this question today, and was wondering what other people preferred. There are certain arts/crafts I enjoy doing with others, like knitting, or jewelry making. But when it comes to making collages, it is a very solitary process for me.

I found this out the hard way, after taking a collage class a few years ago at a local art center. Although I consider myself primarily self taught, when I first began selling my work, I was concerned about the quality and longevity of what I was selling. I thought a class would be helpful in sorting out the best kind of glue to use, surface to collage on etc.

While the class was full of many talented artists, I was the only one attempting to sell collages professionally (besides the instructor) which I announced the first day when we went around the room to introduce ourselves. Ugh - way to put undue pressure on myself!



Also, the class was extremely fast paced, and we were expected to have a finished work by the end of the 3 hour period. This time frame included learning the new technique we would be incorporating into our collage as well as making new materials to collage with (e.g. hand painted paper etc) Often during the class I thought I could hear the music from that game on the Price is Right when the person runs around and puts prices on everything before the clock runs out! I am by nature a very slow creator, so this was way too fast paced for me to make anything that didn't look like a second grader did it!

In the spirit of creativity and letting go, I decided that this class was just for me to learn the basics and a time to experiment with new techniques and materials. I would not stress out about my finished product! This worked fine, until the teacher decided to have each class member hang our latest collage work up (anonymously of course) and then go around and declare our favorite one. Seriously?! The teacher stated this process was to exhibit how subjective art is - what appeals to one person differs from the next person etc. Great, except guess who was the only one in the class who's collage no one chose as their favorite - ME!!! That's right , the one trying to sell collages professionally. And of course after the exercise it was revealed who's work was who's. Even though I played it down at the time, I felt fairly embarrassed.

Anyway, I did learn some good information in the class and am still glad I took it even though the experience was not completely a positive one. Also, sometimes a bad experience teaches what you don't want or enjoy.  I learned that I really do prefer to create art slowly, in own space and time, with my favorite music blaring. This can be tough too, because I am a social person, and making art, for me, is a solitary process. Oh well, I guess that's what the internet is for.

So, how do you like to create?

11 comments:

  1. I am with you, I prefer to create in my own space, alone, and listening to a book on CD. I have taken and taught many classes over the years, and it can be challenging to create pieces you love in an environment that you are unfamiliar with.
    Valerie
    Everyday Inspired

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  2. I like to create with others, but having a time limit or pressure like that? NO WAY!

    I do enjoy having someone else working on their own art in teh same space with me though. It makes a nice vibe.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog resonanteye - I know - that time crunch was crazy! Glad to hear you have + experiences creating with others :)

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  3. Though I'm not exactly an artist, I love how you describe the pressure of the class, and how you wisely decided to use it for your own purposes. I suppose the "favorite piece" activity could be seen as a way to reaffirm the need to put others' opinions in perspective, creating what you need to create in the moment, no matter what. But I wouldn't have enjoyed it, either! Glad you didn't let it hold you back.

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    1. It was definitely a kind of "picked last for gym class" moment, but I can still appreciate that is was beneficial for me to take the class even though I didn't like it so much at the time. I am very hesitant to ever try another art class again, although I have heard they are usually much slower paced!

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  4. My husband has his studio adjacent to mine and I like working next to each other, but that's as social as I usually get with my art. I too took a collage class, and I was the only one who was doing abstract work. Fortunately, the teacher of the class appreciated abstraction. Watercolor class was the hardest, since again, I was doing abstraction and everyone else was doing landscape and boats and lighthouses.

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    1. That's neat you and your husband are both artists - my husband is in business, so I can't really imagine what it would be like to create in the same space. He's very supportive of my art though :) The collage class I took was *all* abstract, which isn't really my style, but quite challenging!

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    2. I see that Margaret got here way before me. Our studios are next to each other with an adjoining door. So we have our own spaces but can consult with each other at times, which is important since we do collaborative pieces occasionally

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    3. That's great you have an adjoining door -I'm sure it's nice to be able to consult but still maintain your own space :)

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  5. How awful and unfair. But you're a winner - simply beause you'e still creating artwork, despite this experience. And I came along here because at illustration Friday your collage was one which I liked best.

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    1. Hi Katrin - Thanks you :)I try to not let bad experiences hold me back - but I'm still not sure art classes are for me!

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