I had just finished teaching a fifteen-week class that centered largely on artistic process. Every Monday morning we gathered to learn or unlearn something. From fashion designers, to writers, models and animators, a photographer an illustrator and a graphic designer. The class was the Monday sugar kick day. It was a breath of fresh air to see creative people gather for three hours every Monday morning instead of a weekend.
One of the main things that happened in class is the understanding that the artistic journey is a quest. Repetitive as that may sound the key component of artistic migration is incrementally stumbling on things that clarify who you are before what art do you steward. The reality is that most creative people defined themselves from the art they produced instead of defining their art from who they are. I had been the expert that teaches identity to many but I also hosted the conflict of knowing who I am but at the same time being lame at producing art from this posture.
The blank page is an invitation to deliver things we are full of. I had a blank page before me and I began scribbling what I thought were the expressive trenches of my creative juices.
Facing my own Ghosts
In the event of scribbling away, I literally awakened childhood creative aspirations that had long been spoken abysmally into the grave chambers of me. Music, Writing, Photography and the list went on. I had settled for the idea that my art was making artists. I had a pinch of everything art. Nothing art was boring to me. But was I sincere that making artists was may main art or was I just crafting an alibi and abetting in crime with my inner self against making ‘real’ art?
The Note Book
The pursuit for an exhibitive expression took me to my notebooks. I am a notebook freak. I collect them for a living. Here I was scribbling and planning. I needed a form of art that would gracefully tie me to its discipline. Art is seldom seen because many an artist gloats in the idea of creation – just the idea. Since we have fruitful imagination we can build and deconstruct endlessly albeit in our minds. But it is when action is attached to the jots and scribbles that the risk to be an artist is pursued. The answer seemed to have conveniently popped up. I was going to call my art anything I was ready to disentangle from my notebook and put to action. If the idea I wrote down became the idea I did then I was at the doorstep of art. If the idea I wrote and did became the idea I dared repeat then it meant I had invited the divine muse to stop visiting and instead allowed him to stay.
Repetition and Mastery
Art cannot happen if there is no repetition. When you begin to master a skill or a technique you must first know the underlying principles of the technique at hand. But that knowledge should be followed by practice. No one ever mastered a skill he never repeated. So here I was tied to the lazy mans pursuit of art. What was I willing to learn skillfully. What was I willing to constantly repeat and may be, just maybe waking up one glaring morning and say mmmh I guess I now have it figured out.
I am Teacher
Deep within my conscious self is the teaching bug. I love teaching and yes I guess I am Teacher in the Will.iam way. I love it when I find a hungry artist who gets stuck between ideation and craft. I love being the intervener the mystery breaker of the process of art. I like walking and yes stewarding naivety to maturity in the beings of the artistic kind. I love it because however much I want to hone some form of art to me nurturing a soul is as artistic as one can get to. The intricacy of ephemeral interpretation that hatches prescriptions of wonder in artistic people just does something to me.
I want to be skillful in this pursuit. I want to repeat it again and again and again. I want to midwife and bring out creative beings and adventurously wait to see how they wrestle with their artistic self. I want to be both their waking daymare and nightmare that constructively and in chaos stirs them beyond their ideas.
I am unable to run away from who I am. If art is derived from identity then my art is found. I am the servant of and to freedom. I free locked up artists from the excess of miss-identity to the constricted isolated path of artistic choice. I exorcise them from false apparitions that disguise themselves as notions of light. I station them on the road of exactness. The success or failure of an artist is in being a master of temper. Temper does not mean to be angry it means to manage proportions. The constant temptation in art is the dual extremes of exaggeration or not enough. Mastery is learning to be exact.
My responsibility as Teacher is to draw out of the artistic being the gifts of self management that enable them to resist the temptation to add to or to excessively remove from their art.
Death to the Teacher
That is my path of daily death. I am reduced so that many may live. The teacher dies so that the student may live. If the teacher lives the student dies. We have few artists because we have many living teachers. There is a travail that is accorded to teachers so that the formation of the artist may be manifest. Reputation can be sore. There is a place where it matters and that is in the world of the unseen. For me to live and grow the poets, prophets and the crooners I may have to adopt the excruciating motto – Death to the Teacher. With that I guess I have painfully and gainfully found my Art.
Last modified: March 4, 2022