Monday 31 December 2012

Fitting Into Boxes

My first wood working experience surpassed my expectations.  I was quickly aware of how I could use the same elements I use for painting and transfer them to the 3D pieces of wood.  I also further questioned what defines an artist when working with my friends father, Fred, who very adamant that he wasn’t an artist.  I definitely walked away from the experience knowing I would soon be back for more sculptural wood work.

When I mentioned to Fred, that he too was an artist, he was quick to dismiss the notion.  I came to realize that the term artist is similar to the labels we put in children, like autism.  Not everyone fits into a perfect box and Autism can have thousands of variations and like each individual child with it, an artist is a reflection of the self/individual, there are no two alike.  To me I saw Fred as an artist in ways because he was problem solving, creating and experimenting.

Lately I have been telling my primary art students, particularly when they are engrossed in conversations and not focusing on the task at hand, that when you are creating a work of art many things are happening.  I explain that art is like science because you are experimenting and testing different ideas, materials and concepts.  Your results may vary until you find a pattern, like scientist do.  I then tell them that it is like math since you are continuously problems solving with tools and ideas and how you will present them with your intended meaning. Lastly; I explain that they are also incorporating language since their linguistic ideas are being represented in a visual form which they are then communicating to their audience.  Do you think you can do all of that and chat with your friend at the same about recess?

I noticed that Fred followed the same pattern, experimenting and problem solving. Although he may not be communicating an intentional message his work is an extension of himself, which is what I believe an artist is.  Each artist, like Autism, is on a continuum of depth to which they go in regards to these elements. 

I soon realized working on the table was parallel to working on a drawing or painting.  I participated in sculpting the legs and making the table top.  As I began scrapping away at the legs I used the natural curves and contrasting colours to help guide me.  Soon I was introduced to the drummel and went full fledge with it, creating lines that also mimicked the grains in the wood.  My creative process is always a play back and forth from reflecting and creating; I found this to be the same when creating the coffee table.  I am very excited to explore creating more sculptural work as it has been a long time.

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