The World as a Stage

Of Bodies of Elements: Dancing Earth

All the world’s a stage and all men and women merely players.

Shakespeare philosophically summed up the purpose of life in humankind way back. This quote describes how many of us look upon life in the 21st century. The world is our stage, life is a play and we are the actors filling roles that either we consciously choose to, or by default, end up being a part of.  Not being satisfied with default settings, I definitely yearn for and choose to make my role as fulfilling and rewarding as possible, thats for sure! The current project ‘The World as a Stage’ prompts me to do just that. The teachings and discussions had over the last two months have sparked thoughts about how I desire to play out my future literally and figuratively as a player in work, life, family and within the wider community. Specifically, how I see myself as an artist in the remaining years of my Art Degree, and the years to follow.

The following posts will begin to give a picture of where I see a possible direction for myself as a mixed media artist and healing arts practitioner. They will suggest to you my reflections on my work and influences thus far, to express the clarity of my vision and my intentions before the school year comes to an end.

References:

Image retrieved on 15th November 2103, from http://www.greendiary.com/of-bodies-of-elements-dancing-earth-to-stage-eco-bonanza-at-edison-theater.html

William Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man, Van Voorst, 1848

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Letting go of sentiments

As a requirement of a recent brief students were instructed to deconstruct their most prided upon workbooks throughout the year, by ripping shredding, gluing, or burning them. Many in my class found it difficult to embrace the process, but eventually I myself looked to the purpose for motivating such an illogical act. The purpose was to simply explore the notions of the semantic-poetic and legibility-illegibility. Our approach was to consider intertextuality in preparation for the following exercise. These are the 2D and 3D examples of me letting go of sentimentality of my years work. The 3D outcomes are a series of origami lotus flowers, and the 2D are an assemblage of pieces framed as my attempt to honour the work that I just destroyed. Needless to say, that now I am not so pedantic about the time I spend making my workbooks nice and tidy for referring to in years to come. So long as they portray my creative processes clearly, thats all that matters.  Lesson in sentimentality learnt! It doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it.

IMG_0571 frames

Der Blaue Reiter

A recent discovery of mine has been a group of artists that came together for a brief moment in time between 1911 and 1912 with a shared vision and faith of renewing spirituality within civilisation. When considering the topic of Utopia in my previous posts, I found myself particularly inspired by the ideology that they aspired to. The group was named Der Blaue Reiter, and together Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Bloch, Rousseau, Delaunay and others gathered with a similar vision, and consequently changed the face of 20th Century Art.

Kandinsky had left the New Association of Munich Artists in 1911, because his work was regarded and criticised as being too evolutionary. This is what prompted him to conceive the idea of this new era in art where very different works would both be celebrated alongside each other in the same exhibition. His aim supported by Marc, was to demonstrate that it is the living spirit of the artist that makes art, not the orthodox form.

Although the First World War was nearly upon them, these great artists visualised an art that did not emphasise where people came from or which territory they were defending, but rather the spirituality of humanity as a whole.  Der Blaue Reiter never progressed further than 1912, however once the post-war conservative times had lapsed, many reformists came out of the clockwork to embrace and adopt Kandinsky and Marc’s original revolutionary intentions to reveal and celebrate the diversity in humanity and the spiritual vision in art. The epiphany of a Utopian vision.

Reference:

Vezin, L., & Vezin, A. (1992). Kandinsky and Der Blaue Reiter. (J.-C. Dubost, J.-F. Gonthier, Eds., & F. E. Ltd, Trans.) Paris: Finest S.A./Editions Pierre Terrail.

Survival Skills as a provincial Artist – wise words from Richard Parker

Visit Richard Parkers latest exhibition in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Visit Richard Parkers latest exhibition in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Each week at Ideaschool, where I study Arts and Design, all are welcome to the ‘Friday Lunchbox’. The Friday Lunchbox is an hour of our school day (during lunch) where a speaker from the arts community gives a presentation based on their field of expertise.  This weeks ‘Lunchbox’ featured New Zealand’s acclaimed and influential ceramic artist Richard Parker, and he passed on some very wise words regarding how provincial artists can survive by a list of simple methods that he has developed through his 30 years as a successful practicing artist.

I want to share with you the tips that I felt the strongest response to, and I hope that they also spark something for you in your creative endeavors.

 

 

  • Get your hands straight into it at the beginning of the day to avoid procrastination
  • Set 3 small tasks each day to accomplish, rather than an over ambitious ‘to do’ list
  • Start work early, after having attained quality sleep the night before. It is said that the best restorative sleep one can have is before the clock strikes midnight
  • Use simple daily affirmations – morning and night
  • Support your dealers
  • Care for your customers
  • Have professional images taken of your works, as only good images get published
  • Keep CV up to date and looking good
  • Never give up
  • Make little positive changes every day
  • Develop a healthy relationship with money, and be good at asking for it
  • Money sustains us. Develop a healthy relationship with money. Don’t be afraid to state your worth
  • Consider your artist statement carefully, drawing inspiration from your visual diary and keeping words to three paragraphs maximum
  • Think globally!
  • Avoid spending time with people who have negative and self-destructive attitudes or behaviours
  • Avoid overeating. It dulls the mind and spirit. Avoid sugar. Stay sharp.
  • Avoid fear. Face it head on and watch it disappear
  • Develop a technique for handling rejection

The most significant influence that Richard Parker made for me, was the reminder to put my creative life first and foremost. In doing so, I am able to sustain my own life forces and be a better mother and partner as a result. If I am happy, then the family will be happy also. Richard referred to Art as our ‘life blood’, and making art must be a priority in life, not one to be left until you have enough time. So tonight, I happily leave the dishes in the sink knowing that I will sleep easier once I have taken the time to feed my creative soul.

An Artful Life – Marloes Dukyer

Marloes Dukyer is one of my most admired Indie Designers from Netherlands. I first came upon her work last year in Indie Craft’ by Jo Waterhouse and my limited logic regarding drawing was stretched open, as new possibilities came rushing in. I have sat behind a sewing machine since I was 11 years old, and I am definitely in my element here. Never before had I seen sewing as a craft utilised in this way.  The grin on my face enlarged as I realised how I could put my skill sets to a new way of creating art.

Marloes work is an amalgamation of fashion, art and illustration. By sewing freehand she uses the needlepoint in the same way one would use a pencil. She discusses how she enjoys the process of how the illustration is going to turn out, because rather than a controlled scenario, she relies on improvisation, innovation and serendipity to influence the outcome. A spontaneous, stimulating and also beautifully surprising process.

I find it interesting to note that I perceive her work as being both beautifully elegant at the same time as worn and crude, being the result of the distressed materials and harsh textural stitch-work of the machine.

The tactile experience of working with textiles and fibre is gratifying she says, especially in contrast with our modern digital world we find ourselves in. Marloes herself is the brains and body behind her own design agency, Naked Designs, and creates bodies of work for high-profile clients, numerous magazines and books, and also manages to find the time to exhibit her work widely.

She is certainly an inspiring woman in my path to discovering what type of artist I would like to be. I have an incredible sense of gratitude towards her, as now I have the motivation and passion to explore this media myself. Knowing that it will be an organic and experiential process comforts and excites me.

Reference:

Waterhouse, J. (2010). Indie Craft. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

What ignited my creative spark?

Christmas 1997 - Me and Grandma Russell

Christmas 1997 – Me and Grandma Russell

It was more a case of ‘Who’ than ‘What’ ignited my creative spark? Being the grand-daughter of the late Joan Russell, that’s what! Grandma was a consistent creative role model throughout my entire life, until 7 years ago when she left this world. Aquarian born like myself, she had a flair for design and new ideas. She excelled in poetry, writing stories, painting, drawing, illustration, fashion design and construction and all the craft trades under the sun; specifically silk ribbon embroidery and lace work.  My love of illustration began before I even started school, when she would assign me to the task of drawing or painting the pictures of a story she had written. I remember one of these stories vividly; of the vacumn cleaner that came to life and tidied the house all on it’s own before the family came home that day.  I took on this task very studiously and together we created a book that immortalized one of the most influential factors of my creative upbringing. Since these early days, I have always taken colour to paper and picked up a needle or pen as a natural extension of my own hand. In my teenage years, I spent many hours sitting at Grandma’s dining table. We would share our poems and stories over a couple of pots of tea.  She would ensure that she always had a stash of home baked treats (of which scones were my favourite) awaiting for my after school arrival.  My poems would have a new refreshing light cast upon them.  My heart would be soothed from pains and tribulations of dating boys.  My unsuccessful sewing projects would transform into magnificent creations under her watchful eye. My baking skills improved as I came to learn how therapeutic the smell of home baking was. My love of strong tea was established (even though Grandma would cringe every time she saw me adding milk and sugar). These memories are so deeply etched into my mind, that to this day, I can still hear her voice over my shoulder as I work. I will hear words of encouragement and acceptance or disdain if I failed to unpick that dodgy seam I just made in my sons new trousers.  It just occurred to me that she might be the reason for my needing to be meticulous when it comes to creating things. Ah, I need to let that go in this world of creative exploration. Regardless, I’m sure she would be proud. Here’s to you Grandma – a tribute!