Saturday, September 3, 2011

Where is the Beginning

Since my decision to go to grad school I've received information regarding several programs here in Philadelphia. As I read through all of them I find it daunting. Each program is intense, requiring the artist to push themselves beyond their limits, to discover themselves and to create something amazing. I find it somewhat terrifying, as I look back over my own work and my own accomplishments as an artist.

I find it frustrating that when I think on what I have done over the last five years, the whole of it amounts to almost nothing. I have flitted back and forth between having huge dreams of doing something artistically amazing to not wanting to do much of anything at all.

I don't have a concise body of work. I don't have a style or a theme. I don't know what I want to convey, what part of me will be revealed in my work. I don't know how my own art will be created, and I don't know where to begin. The beginning is usually the best place to start, but where is the beginning?

When I would paint I would simply put color on canvas without any sort of thought. I would paint and paint and paint until the shape and colors came together to form something that I liked. However, when I would show these pieces to people they would argue that it is not concise enough. That there is no cohesive thought behind it, that it wasn't quite what it should be. That I should KNOW what it is I am painting before I paint it. Frustrated and uncertain I stopped painting.

Ever since then I've not created anything of myself. Anything I do is an illustration, a design, a pop culture reference. It is not a piece of me, because I no longer know how to express myself in art. My struggle is how do I find that? How do I express who I am? Why can't I not know what my art will be until I make it? Why do I need to have a specific style in which I create? Why can't my art be abstract expressions of myself, and why can't I not know what those expressions are before I start?

It is for those reasons, and others, that I am withholding my graduate applications for at least a year. I want to take the time to find out who I am as an artist, and how it is that I express myself and my vision of the world. I want to create amazing work and build a fantastic portfolio. This is not something I can do in a few months, it might not even be something I can do in a year, but it is something I can begin, and that is the important thing.

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