3 PERSONAL TRUTHS ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST
Being an artist is not easy. I loathe using this saying because it comes from other people’s subjective opinions in seeing this career path as a cop-out from “real work”. In my opinion, you must be a brave person when choosing this route and taking charge of the responsibility that comes with it: emotionally, mentally and vocationally. So why am I bringing this up?
Thoughts about employment after university have been swimming around my head this week, whilst working on a course module. Even though this currently seems far off (one more year), I’ve put in potential work opportunities by connecting with other creatives, as well as attending networking and audio related events. However, these encounters will only prove
useful if I know my stuff. Laugh away I know it’s obvious, but it’s also scarily nerve-racking.
As Grayson Perry smoothly puts in the Radio 4 podcast Beyond Today (22 Feb. 2019), “making art [or knowing your stuff] is more complicated…after leaving school as you’re not
just making it for you anymore”. There’s more to it. Which brings me to the first truth: feeling vulnerable.
Do you remember as a kid making drawings, sculpturing weird figures from clay, singing and dancing with your friends and not giving a dam? Well the same demeanour is used by artists. For some it comes naturally, and others have to build up this confidence. I sway between the two. When making a piece of work, I am fully absorbed in the process. It excites my curiosity when collecting resources and playing with materials, but then self-doubt creeps in when explaining my decisions.
It is a scary prospect to think that I will be sharing a part of who I am in this current module (and future projects). I hope that many audiences will connect with my mindset, process and inner expression. This brings me to my second truth: making sense of the world through creativity.
In Radio 4’s podcast Beyond Today, Grayson Perry defines art as “doing what you want and trying, to sort of make sense of the world”. Communication is a key component for this. Today contemporary art, according to Grayson, is focused on politics (not my thing), society, social issues, who is making/doing it, for whom, where and what the context is.
Not only do artists have to tackle the ever-changing art culture, but also consider art/creative histories, as well as make a living from their passion. All these revelations made me think about my own work: what is it that I am trying to make sense of in the world today? Unsurprisingly, nothing definitive has appeared yet but several themes jumped out.
Now we come to the context of my current course module: negotiated skills practice. For this I chose to explore skills needed to be employed as an audiovisual artist. One of these was having a recognisable skill and the other was, not surprisingly, improving communication skills through writing.
However, it’s come to my attention that an artistic style is not concrete. We are constantly taking in stimuli which affects our internal perception of the world we live. What chances are there of an artistic style staying absolutely one approach? Unless the artist deliberately chooses to do that. And when looking back over my own work, I could see subtle changes through an increasing intake of other peoples’ work, philosophies and ideas.
What I’m not gripping onto is “having” to be an audiovisual artist after this module. I may feel “nope this is definitely not for me”, or “I really want to carry this on, what’s next?”.
I feel more at ease having confessed my doubts and realisations and can now get excited in digging my teeth into the project (not literally of course, unless that’s a theme….no can’t see that working). So, keep an eye out here and on social media platforms for updates on this project.
Till next time, happy listening!
BBC RADIO 4, Beyond Today, Grayson Perry: what are the liberal elite afraid of?
The Audiovisual Breakthrough. Audio Visual - On Visual Music and Related Media, 2015.
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