Friday, January 07, 2011

Studio Practice

Studio Practice is an important piece of the skeleton I work with in terms of my job as an artist.

This is where things get done. It’s where practical work is developed alongside studying art history and theories of art.

It’s a current priority for me - because I’m not very good at it.

These are some of the things that take place in the studio:

* Painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture.

* Developing skills, techniques and good working practices.

* Accumulating a visual vocabulary.

* Developing a substantial portfolio of work.

* Producing and presenting of works of art.

* Experimenting with materials, techniques and processes.

* Compiling backup work – experiments, notebooks, sketches, photographs, photocopies, prints, cuttings and any other related material.

I like the sound of all that. I love the idea of it.

I’ve just never been able to make it work in practice.

I’ve worked in lots of different ‘studio’ spaces – some of which were specially designed, some of which were a bit ad-hoc. Some have been in the room where I live, some require a three-hour drive to get there.

I’ve even produced work on the road – literally.

(I was in Mid Wales parked at the side of the road. I covered a piece of board with No More Nails (a strong glue) and pushed it into the ground to get a piece of nature to work into. The trouble was, I also got glue all over my hands so I couldn’t get back in the car. If I had, my hands would have stuck to the steering wheel. Permanently. So I had to stand there waving my hands around waiting for the glue to dry. Not my most successful mission.)

Perhaps I’ve never ttled into a studio space for long enough to make it work.

Also, I can’t work when other people are around unless they are working too – even if they are elsewhere in the building.

I think, for me, the actual making of a piece of art is an intense and highly personal process. I like to abandon myself to the process and do whatever it takes for however long it takes. To be observed or interrupted makes me highly self-conscious and unable to function.

It’s a mixture of having the external framework and the internal, emotional state working together. I know how it can and should work – I just haven’t yet found a way of making it work consistently.

But that’s my there for the year … “more and better”.

By the way, if you’re interested, take a look at these pictures of Giacometti’s studio (click on the thumbnails in the upper right) … what a mess ... but kind of inspiring!

Post script: I never learn. The other week, before driving to London, I decided to re-attach my rear-view mirror to the windscreen using a strong glue. I ended up with a mess of glue on the windscreen and the mirror stuck to my left hand. I considered driving to London one-handed, with my other hand held up in the air so I could see out of the back. But I was worried the blood would drain from my hands and I would get pins and needles.

I have a distinct feeling you should leave the glue well alone. Made me laugh though.

My most successful workshop was one where I could access all my resources, if they are packed away in boxes I don't use them. Helps if my working station is also in the same room, currently it isn't and I am not successfully doing anything, apart from embroidering and sewing for my daughter's wedding - that is something else I need - a deadline!
I think you need to add napping, loafing and wasting time to your list but that's just me. :)
Joanna ... I need my stuff around me too ... it helps when inspiration strikes!

Andrea ... good advice ... I like where you're coming from!
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