So, on Monday night, I created Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. I think in the Bible, it took 6 days or so to create the Earth, but I made 4 planets, and it only took me about an hour.Of course, my planets are about the size of large buttons.
In this post, I’ll be talking about how emotions and diversions affect my conversations and progress with my mentor.
Especially in art, the following statement is particularly true: “When making choices between options that are basically identical we use our feelings to figure out which feels the best.” One example of this is when I was making decisions about how to place the buttons on my “Earth”. I had chosen two buttons; there was one for each side of the planet, as it was a 2D kind of object. I had chosen the colour blue because Earth is mostly covered by water. I think this is a pretty rational decision I made. However, I then had to decide which side of the button, (front or back) would face outwards. I ended up deciding to keep the front faces of the button facing outwards. This decision wasn’t really based on fact, as the buttons both had mostly flat back faces and were unpatterned on that side. However, I decided that I liked the patterns on the outside of the buttons (one was wood, and had lines from the wood it was cut from, and the other was plastic and had ripples) and kept them facing outwards because I thought it looked prettier, more natural and a bit irregular. So that decision was mostly based off of how the arrangement of the buttons made me feel.
The criteria I use for stating feelings in the beginning of a conversation differs from situation to situation. However, it usually occurs when I already have a strong feeling or idea of how I want the art to turn out. I’m more inclined to state that I really like something rather than I don’t like something, so if I like something the first time around, I’ll state my feelings about it sooner. If I don’t like how something looks, I usually keep it around for a bit and explore other options before stating my feelings, just to give it a chance. For example, when I started creating my learning center display, I told my mentor that I would have a table at about waist height. Since my two main art pieces are hanging, I told my mentor I was struggling with finding a way to display them. I suggested that I had been thinking of hanging them off of a tri-fold display, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to do that. My mentor liked the idea of the tri-fold, because it was easy to transport and added enough height that my pieces wouldn’t be squished on the same level. After a trial and error process, we used bamboo sticks to stabilize the tri-fold and make beams to hang my art off of. In that case, I didn’t have strong feelings/ideas about the tri-fold before we started, so I stated my feelings about it later, after we had discussed the more objective pros and cons of our options. On the other hand, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted the tri-fold to be coloured, so I stated my feelings right up front. I wanted it to fade from black in one corner to blue in the other, in radial gradient. This way, it related to both space junk and jellyfish habitat, with black for space and the deep ocean, and blue for the atmosphere of Earth and shallower ocean. I also tend to state my feelings up front when I have less time, and I certainly had less time for the painting. My mentor and I only got to the point of mixing our paint (using leftover paints from my mentor, of course) by the time I had to leave. We’re using a lot of multi-coloured scrap paint, which makes a gray base, and adding a dark, green-blue and a lighter purple-blue to get a blue/black colour. We also added silver paint to give it a bit of a shine.
I took a diversion in a conversation yesterday that is almost perfectly described in De Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind. When finished with Mars, I took a moment to survey what I had left to do. Although we were still thinking about a different topic (we had been searching for materials, and came up with some stuff we didn’t think of using but looked really cool), I piped up with a provocative question: What can I do to make this wooden circle look weathered, harsh or old?
I was asking to learn about a skill or method, and also describing with both objective and subjective adjectives what message I wanted to convey. Old is a pretty objective adjective, because you can measure how old an object is. Weathered is a bit of both, because we perceive an item as weathered or new, not always depending on something we can measure, like its age. I would say harsh is a subjective adjective, because a situation that may seem harsh to one person may seem normal or pleasant to another. I think the diversion worked really well, because when I asked directly about what I could do to get to my end point, we were able to come up with some options and really quickly decide what we wanted to do. I used pumice gel to form a bumpy, rough surface on the planet, and let it dry with the Mars planet. This led to a conversation about weathered items, and in recycled art, how much you want to show of the original materials. Normally, artists try to hide the origins of their materials as much as possible, so that they can better control the message they convey with their art. However, with recycled art, the point of my project is to make people aware of the origins of my materials, and how junk items become meaningful. Thus, I show a lot more of the origins of my materials – for example, the button holes on Mars’s ice cap could have been covered, but I decided to leave them to let everyone see that yes, they are buttons. So, this diversion made my conversation a lot richer, and introduced me to new things that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought about.
I’m starting to think about writing my Artist’s statement, so keep an an eye out on my blog. I’ll post a draft and a good copy when I’m done.