Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I can't help but think, as I delve into these readings with a Philly Cheese Steak in one hand and aching legs from walking around Philadelphia all day, that I might have actually liked art class, (pause for the two most bitter-filled words of the English language) . . . if only . . .

Painting is scary, because you paint a stroke, and it's just kinda stuck there on the paper, and you're stuck with either painting over it, keeping it, or starting over. Drawing with pencil is scary, because I can't seem to ever recreate the cool ideas I have in my mind, and the amount of erasures I make usually create a rip or hole in the paper. Sitting there is intimidating, because the teacher wants me to stay pretty quiet, so getting help from a friend or socializing is somewhat diallowed. So my options: do it yourself, or bring it to the teacher so she/he can do it for you. I usually brought it the teacher.

I embraced abstract art with the enthusiasm of a kid at a candy store. Unfortunately, we never actually tried our hand at this type in class. Class time was for refining your artistic skills. Painting with a paint brush. Threading strands of paper together. Molding slimy clay. I longed for the safety of being allowed to make a mess on paper, and then be able to use language to BS your way out of the mess into something profound and deep. Sadly, no amount of BS could save my realistic bird blobs and landscape scenes . ..

So the vision of new media art seems promising in a lot of ways. The vision of "visual culture inquiry" (Freedman and Stuhr) could have transformed my art-class-taking-bad-attitude from "this is pointless" to "this is the point." Being encouraged to work collaboratively could have removed the discomfort I felt in the silent, whisper-filled classrooms and the feeling that "I was doing this whole thing on my own." Relying on technology art tools beyond my amazingly-stupid/rebellious hands and fingers seems like a dream come true.

No time machine, yet. But I'm pretty sure, if I happened to have one parked in my garage, I'd throw the key in the ignition and hop right on over to 1993, 6th grade art class, Mr. Hadley. I would hand him these articles, pat him encouragingly on the shoulder, and be on my merry way, with an artistic swagger to my step . . .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trumpets and Paintbrushes

Here's the thing.
I got out my trumpet yesterday.
I'm not claiming to have read all (or any) of the readings on Art for next week.
But I did get out my trumpet yesterday.

So I have a few thoughts about art. Some pre-emptive thoughts . . .

-Art can happen when I play my trumpet.
-Art can totally NOT happen when I play my trumpet.
-For me, it happens best when I don't have any music in front of me.
-For some, it happens best when they do.
-Art involves dynamics.
-Art feels good.
-Art is very linked to originality/improvisation/individual stamp stuff.
-Art is created by being exposed to other art first; it arises from past experience.
-Art can be really satisfying when you are doing it for a huge crowd, and it can be really satisfying when it is just you, your trumpet, and nobody.
-Art happens less when there is a functional purpose to what I am doing. (AKA warming up or warming down)

Anybody have any more pre-thoughts about art??

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Okay, so despite the title, this blog ISN'T in reference to the fabulous gender discussion going on in Jenna's blog. (I just now noticed it, and felt like it was way to late to drop my 2-5 cents in, but wow is it interesting, so if you are reading THIS and you haven't read THAT, I recommend you drop this immediately and go read it.) It is, of course, in reference to the club Stephanie Doll, Laurie Russel, and Tara Black, and I formed on the jungle gym in the third grade. It goes without saying that the club was totally, ridiculously awesome, and we did all sorts of really cool third grade club things (aka created a secret language, gossipped about Abby, the pretty girl, etc).

More than that, though, it's about the world of exclusivity, the gains and losses that we get by sequestering ourselves into groups of common interests, and the fact that, although I KNOW that everyone is equally important and valid, I couldn't help but continually hierarchize IT folks above creative artist folks as I read this week's articles.

Yes, I know this is the wrong answer. I know the POINT of this week was to enlighten us in the amazing innovation that can result from the blend of design and computer technology, and even to point out that, in a very real sense, computer IS mud. (A deliciously messy metaphor.) But all I kept thinking was, yes I love art, and I love looking at cool things, but I love function even more. I want computers to make stuff easier, and more entertaining, and not only by creating crazy-brilliant abstract art.

So the Mitchell et al piece gave some great examples of collaborations that HAVE contributed amazing (dare I say FUNCTIONAL) things: architecture, movies, video games. I certainly see the value in those blending of the lines. But when Mitchell bemoans the evil biases that draw fewer IT folks to art and design than vice versa, I just have to stop and scratch my head. (figuratively of course) When he mentions, significantly, that "there seem to be more resources offering IT skills training and tools than offering arts education," I think, equally significantly, OF COURSE. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE.

I also take issue with the idea that creativity is in no way directly connected to IT, that in order for creativity to be involved, we have to add in art/design people and add a few letters to the acronym . . . ITCP.

My feeling is that we should certainly celebrate collaboration and diverse perspectives, as they can enrich any field, but I'm not so sure that ITCP, in the form Mitchell is purporting, is the most important wave in the future.

(This, from one who got a B- in art class, so, really no surprise.)