Studio Note 4/4

The strategy of working with stencils isn’t to quicken a process, instead, it’s a method of creating structure, an imposed frugality of choices, a set vocabulary of elements with which to freely engage in instinctive play.

Distance Between

The measure of a work of art is the distance between the physical fact and psychological effect,

“Art is revelation instead of information, expression instead of description, creation instead of imitation or repetition. Art is concerned with the HOW, not the WHAT; not with literal content, but with the performance of the factual content. The performance – how it is done – that is the content of art.” Josef Albers

“The aim of art is a constant, and a continuous job to reveal visually the attitude of our mentality. And the less we disturb the influence of our mentality the more I believe we come close to the truth.” Josef Albers

Intentions, Motivations, Goals

Intentions, motivations, goals:

An off the cuff difference between intention and motivation is that intention is a course of action that one intends to follow, while motivation is the arousal of action by the giving of purpose. It’s a willingness to action.

Goals are specific, achievement focused, destinations. Goals aren’t actions, they are descriptive of a situation, a person arrives at their goal, they achieve a situation.

Intentions are lived each day and are independent of achieving the goal. (A person can have an intention without realizing a goal, but they could not realize a goal without the intention to do so.) Goals are external achievements. Intentions are about your relationship with yourself and to the world.
Goals are defined as the “state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve”. Goals are what a person wants to do, achieve, or become. …

Motivation is what arouses and sustains action toward a desired goal. It gives purpose and direction to behavior.

Is a Flower a Flower

A flower is a flower, despite whether or not that it realizes that it’s a flower. It grows, it buds, it blooms, all while never knowing that it’s a flower. Does a flower become any more or less beautiful with its own self-realization of the label it’s been given?

Does an artist need to know that they are an artist to be an artist? Do they need to be called an artist by someone else?


My jealousy is easily one of the most specific and most distinctive of my felt emotions.

It’s a deep body feeling, a somatic state that creates a emotion that’s been attached to sadness, loneliness, petty anger, resentment, and shame.

It’s a feeling that vividly highlights my vulnerability to being emotionally hurt by another person, most often triggered by other’s inadvertent acts of innocent omission, occasionally declarations of denial.

Somehow it’s that aspect, that it’s an inadvertent act, that makes it hurt much more than if it was intentional. It’s the feeling of being so easily forgotten or overlooked that wounds so deeply.

I’m triggered by seeing others appear to receive the attention, acceptance, and sincere connection that I wanted and needed, but continually felt excluded from.

Saying these things out loud helps me recognize a notable aspect of myself that I’m not comfortable with, still, I know fully well that this is an experience that I’m not alone in. 

Withstanding a Need for Meaning

An artists suffering isn’t relating to the stereotype of the pain of hunger, rather it’s the attempting to ascribe meaning and significance to the experience of making Art that is the source for their suffering.

I keep telling myself, what’s being made doesn’t need to infer anything specific, the primary need that needs to be addressed through any given work is for the work to provide itself as an object of focus. An object to slow down an active mind. An object that pulls the participant inward. It doesn’t need to be made any more complicated than that.

What Would You Do If You Knew That You would Fail

If there was the foresight that an endeavor that was being embarked on would most likely miss the intended mark of a prior expectation, would you still take on the challenge?

There’s little argument being put forward to discourage the assertion that transformational growth simply cannot happen in the safety of what has already become known. If growth is a goal, a priority needs to be made to venture beyond what has been experienced, a stake that’s made to gather insight needed to feed a growth-oriented perspective of the world. It’s from the point of view of experience that we develop a strategy of decision making that serves our needs. It’s the body of experience that needs to be fed, often best fed by falling up through failure.

Yes… more can be learned from our mistakes than from our successes, an idea of what actions shouldn’t be repeated provides more insight into future options by keeping a wide range of alternatives open and potentially in play. Reflexively, it’s often that discovering what works and then pitching camp on a single successful method is a trap that, while it may bring economically significant results, could just as easily not. Economic win or not, forward momentum is too often forfeited, allowing the artist to stand still long enough to make use of what’s become known.

… Maybe the more pertinent question should be, what would be worth doing if you knew that you would fail?

Negotiating with an Object

While making an object, there’s a negotiation going on with the object as it’s being made. Tangents of possibilities, humors, and accidents steady nudge work away from the initial course, continually forcing reevaluation and readjustment of expectations.

It’s an attribute that arises from valuing the novel character of a nuanced revelation over the predictability of a predetermined ideal and from steadily working at the periphery of understanding. This is a methodology that quickly becomes uncomfortable with the emerging pattern of settled solutions. There’s a preference for the shift and adjustment of assumptions, testing, and readjusting, moving towards possibilities with the sureness of reasoned faith rather than the familiarity of experience.

Eureka moments are surprises, usually the result of an unforeseen course correction.

Taken to an extreme, when embraced, surprise becomes an ambition. An impulse in itself.

It’s an abpt metaphor for a life being lived. Seldom do any of us end up in life where we origally intended. We steer ourselves through situations towards an optimistic ideal…

There’s an aesthetic appreciation for a range of possibilities that lands us face up.

What Ideas Are You Living?

Are we to be ruled by the maximum of what works is the rule?… or instead, do we find ourselves self destructive to a fault… are we a pleaser?.. a rebel… a colorist… a figurative artist?… do we have a preference for the easy out of the abstract… is it meaningless without meaning… are we a habitual narrator… an explainer… an explorer… solely reliant on the crutch of function for validation…

How each of us shows up is defined essentially by who we are… reflexively, each of us individuates ourselves with our ideas, thoughts, and actions.

We unconsciously succumb to our born temperaments. Of upholding. Of obliging. Of questioning. Of rebellion.

We relax into strategies that engineer a projected image.

We play to our styles of attachment.

We actively individuate our self-identity with what we are doing, and describe our ideas with what’s been done.


Learning to be an unreliable artist is proving to be not as straight forward as refusing to ‘ give a fuck’ about what anyone else expects. Originally, it seemed to be an easy ask, but outright dismissing what’s being socially validated as ‘good’, and instead, feeding one’s own curiosities and exploring one’s own aesthetic tastes, ends up running into areas where the only audience member validating the work being done is the person doing the work.

Brian Eno had referenced the assertion that, as artists, we are defined not as much by what we can do as by instead what we cannot do…

…and I completely agree.

It’s becoming a strategy of veering away from detailed visual description, leaning instead towards a position where detail is subservient to the composition and play of value on the page.

While I have an ability to capture detail, due to my personality, the act of staying focused quickly looses out instead to the action and delight of making marks and laying in value.