Sunday, May 12, 2013

Movement in Mistakes

Children's Drawings from the collection of Jean Dubuffet
I have a confession to make. I am an extreme perfectionist. In a way that has attracted me to blogging because, while everything I write on here is published, it is a very organic form of recording ideas. My way of blogging differs from some montonized blogs that I have discovered on the net. The idea behind my blog is that it is a messy, shot-by-shot look of what it is like to be a young person working their way through the "paying your dues" stage of pursing a career in the arts. It tends to be an instantaneous process. Whenever I am satisfied with what I need to say I click "publish" and it's out there. Blogging is enjoyable to me because it is not something that has to have the APA stylings correct or exactly perfect wording. It allows me not be afraid to make a mistake.

I want to translate this type of letting go into my visual artwork. It takes me a long time to loosen up and create while having a good time doing it. Over the past year, nearly all of my work has been done on either newsprint or in a sketchbook because I am terrified of messing up good paper. As someone who does primarily 2-d works of art on paper I know how ridiculous this is. Paper seems precious and scary to me. It is a large white field that when it has taken in dark marks, they are there. They can be erased, but not completely because they are tied to a trajectory of thought or statement. I set out create a drawing my goal is to form a complete statement-a complete drawing. To me, it is just as difficult to take back and start over a visual statement as it is for a verbal one. We all have drawings we wish we hadn't said.

One week at a figure drawing session I caved in and borrowed a large piece of fairly expensive artist quality paper from my roommate. I used it for one grueling twenty minute figure pose that I worked on that same paper the entire time. It was a challenging, but necessary exercise. It helped me to return to a more childlike mindset in creating. As a kid working on art, you never worried about making a mistake or if a piece was good enough to sell. You only created for the pleasure of it. Mistakes were never truly made because stray marks could always become another part of the story in the drawing. Instead of viewing an unfavorable mark as a "mistake", now I view it as merely a transition towards a different discovery.  One of my favorite artists Richard Diebenkorn has this to say about mistakes: "Mistakes can't be erased, but they move you from your present position." An artist's marks are constant movement in the direction of growth and maturity.

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