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Monday, November 16, 2015

Artists Should Always Experiment

When I create, I enjoy working in a particular area for a time before moving on. When I got very involved in wax art for a time, I experimented continuously until I felt I'd really mastered the technique. Everything around me became about wax work. When I was in my luminescent phase I went as far as to completely retool the studio in order to maximize my experimentation's.

In the past year my shift turned towards smaller sculptural works. I'd spent 3 years focusing on nothing but huge canvas pieces. So of course turning towards smaller sculptures once again everything in the studio had to be retooled. 
But every once in a while when in the midst of one of these phases its important to explore new forms. 

My current fixation with driftwood in sculptures has brought some great insight into form and utilizing natural objects in art. But if I want to explore it fully its important that I develop new forms. 

So this weekend I've been doing exactly that. I've set aside the bigger projects for the weekend in order to explore. 

Its very important for artists to not forget about experimentation. It is good that we master a particular type of artistry. But even if we plan to not deviate from that type, we still need to be able to develop and enhance our skills. 

I often tell students that one of the best ways to strengthen your depth perception as a visual artist is to learn more about photography. The artistry of photography make an artist consider angles and dimensions they might otherwise overlook.

If you think you can only paint pictures, then force yourself to become sculptor. Working in three dimensions is a great way to learn more about one dimension. It doesn't matter whether you have experience in other forms of art, what matters is that you are exercising your abilities.

We can become stagnant as artists if we do the same thing over and over again. No matter how well our art may sell, we ourselves must continue to grow. 

If you look at artists like Picasso and Da Vinci you see that they constantly expanded their range of artistry. There were truly experimental artists in every way and form. You may consider yourself to be an abstract artist, or an impressionist, but take time to explore. 

My explorations this weekend still involved driftwood, which for all my talk about it is only something I've been working with about 5 months now. So there is lots of room for growth yet. Eventually I will grow tired of it and move on but for now I am still finding a lot of value in it. 

I had a dream the other night of trees with faces. Sort of like the grumpy apple trees in the Wizard of Oz, but these were older and darker creatures. Old souls for sure. 

So I had to try and make one. Using a grizzled piece of cypress driftwood, I rooted the piece onto a 6" tile base and then created a rather hideous face with slightly bulging eyes.  Then I drilled a careful hole through the wood and extended a wire through it to create a set of branches that looked like arms. So far I like what I have but its not complete.

The other piece I created was a 6" standing stone again made from cypress with a set of stairs and door on one side. I wanted to create something small that could use single pieces of driftwood that I would be unlikely to use in the larger sculptures. 

The point of both is that neither is really off the mark from what I've previously been doing, but is just enough changed in form to allow me new experimentation and to attempt variations untried before. These prototypes may stand alone or there may be others in each series. 

Without a doubt though the concepts will be used in larger pieces down the line.

Again though the point is experiment, always experiment. Its amazing what we discover when we do so. And remember that failed experiments are just as important. Realizing what won't work can bring insight into what can and will work. And something failed now can yield success later as your skills again evolve.

So if your not experimenting with new forms, get on it! And feel free to share your experimentation's here. I'd love to see them.


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