Monthly Archives: September 2019

Post-it Note 9/16

Neural linguistic programming 

How we talk to ourselves using the language of our minds.

Technical skill is an essential building block, but it can’t be an end result without risking becoming a mere specimen of craft, instead it needs to be part of a system of aesthetics native to each individual artist, a system that’s used to create implied meaning and narrative.

Economy of Information 

I believe that the “economy of information” is a new principal of design in the age of   information saturation.

An amazing amount of work fails because it attempts to carry too much information rather than too little. 
It seems to have become a common assumption that equates the volume of information that’s presented with the complexity of a design.

Once what was looked at and thought tobe “too busy” is now being reconsidered as possibly reflective of modern life. This begins to confuse a statement with an aesthetic, and inadvertently gives permission to unintentionally unskilled design.

I’m not going to give this a blank pass… I believe that too much information can effectively overwhelm the viewer, turning their attention away. It’s counter productive to the intention of connecting with attention.

I repeat… The economy of information, the pairing down to the impactful detail, becomes a Principal of Design in the new era of information.

This isn’t an excuse to dumb down the work that’s being done. Quite the opposite, it’s a challenge to understand one’s own work, it’s motivations, it’s needs, and push at those understandings in the clearest possible way through the work itself. Even work, that at first glance that appears simple, can be full of complexity.

 While there are a vast number of  artists that have this pretty well figured out, I’m still working on it, and honestly, what I come up with often steps over the line and doesn’t work… and other times it finds its target and pops.

Mental note… Economy of information, paired down to the impactful details, a new Principal of Design in an era of information…

To Be or Not To Be

There are days where I’m a bit ashamed to be the kind of person that thinks that entertaining myself by spending time drawing might be time well spent. Drawing is a fairly pointless activity and arguably I probably should be doing something more constructive with my time. I’m not the best at it, nor am I, by most people’s standards, particularly any good at it. It doesn’t help pay any bills, and there’s more crickets in my imaginary audience than people clapping, but I like how drawing makes me feel. It lets me feel hope, hope that a piece of my world will continue to get bigger as I push out my boundaries and I’ll get to grow with it even as I lose my ability to keep up with most of the rest of the world.

The reason that I say that I feel ashamed that I use drawing to entertain myself, is because there are days (like today) when I meet someone who takes making their work very, very seriously, yet has nothing to say with their work, thinks highly of themselves, and still doesn’t give much thought to the others around them. It’s not all that difficult to imagine the parallels between this person and myself. The kicker is when the work doesn’t back up the rhetoric in any meaningful way. Stepping back, it all appears hollow and narcissistic, leaving me feeling like it’s probably best if I just picked up my pile of drawings and quietly dropped them in the trash. There’s a bit about the imposter syndrome that people neglect to speak about out loud, that most of the people that say that they feel like impostors actually are just that, they are people that think and say that they are something that they technically are not… they are imposters. It’s when I run into someone who’s sense of self importance that has seriously short circuited their ability to be self critical that I’m left feeling seriously in doubt as to whether I am more similar to this delusion than I’d like to believe. It’s probably a act of self honesty to accept that it’s a true reflection and take a few moments to decide what I really want from the work. It’s no longer helpful to just show up to blindly practice, I need to make decisions regarding direction before implementing another set of challenges to move the work along towards an ideal.

Sisyphean Home

Sis·y·phe·an      adjective
  1. A pointless labored task that is fated to be eternally repeated.

This is my personal monkey paw. 7 years of holding on to this one. 7 years of pushing this boulder back up the hill every morning. I can’t stop until I can convince someone else to take up the task and hold the paw.

Until then, it’s my home away from home…

(In a very strange way, I kind of enjoy the pride of keeping this field up and ready.) 

The Haptic Choice 

Color is the seducer… Form frames the experience… Representation brings meaning.

The visual artist is individual who comes preloaded with a notable predilection to objective reality, who’s primary rational for their effort is the representation of the world as it is.

The craftsman, an individual who finds their self worth in demonstrations of their ability of unifying skill, utility, and form.

For the haptic artist, the experience of the artist takes precedence over the artist’s devotion to the subject. For these artists, reality is put through their own personal subjective filters.

Generally speaking, artists were believed to be self selective in these matters, drifting towards one end of the spectrum or the other solely at the whim of their own personality. At times, sofisticates would believe that skilled mememic representation trumped the playful massing of line and color, and other times the pendulum of consensus would swing in favor of the other. It was tha just that. It was black or white, one or the other. Craft wasn’t even a noted choice.

Things always change, even when no one in authority has asked for change. Artists have long shed their reluctance to mix their objective realities with their subjective experiences. Even the mixing of fine art and craft has became gentrified.

I’m very aware of where I stand on the issue. I’m easily bored by the skill for skills sake approach of both academic realism and formalized craft. Too often, the adherence to a standard or an ideal results in an object’s creation that is absent of any dither, there’s no looseness or play in the finished object.

I prefer the vocabulary of the haptic artist. A language that gives preference to feeling rather than precision. The feeling created by balance. The feeling created by color. By line. By rhythm. By harmony and discord. I willingly talk about a world that exists, but not as it appears. I dream that it is more than that. I believe the world exists in poetry.

The limits of a person’s language are the limits of a person’s world.

Closing My Eyes

I regularly catch myself making snarky comments about not being an artist. It’s not that I “am” this or that I’m “not” that, rather it’s that as a child, the artist that I wanted to be wasn’t someone who just needed to make things and draw pictures, everyone did that. An artist was someone who invented new ways of seeing what’s familiar. An artist opens up spaces to discover ourselves. An artist slows us down. An artist teaches by sharing.

There was only one example of what an artist looked like in the world in grew up in. It was a ghost of a past woodshop teacher named Grant Wood. He was a craftsman and a teacher. A man of ideas and art. Everything in his paintings and prints was familiar and comfortable. His work permeated the neighborhood I grew up in. Original paintings were left on school walls, his carved benches hidden in hallways, murals tucked away in long forgotten rooms, light filtering through glowing cathedral windows. I knew what an artist was and what an artist did.

I am not an artist… but I do enjoy closing my eyes and pretending. It’s not a tough call.