a rather long, random rant about something that may only bother/confuse me….
recently the Interstitial Arts Foundation put out a call for cover art for a book of fiction they are publishing… they wrote :
“Interstitial art is all about breaking rules, ignoring boundaries, and
cross-pollination. Do you have trouble describing your work, or feel
that what you do doesn’t quite fit in anywhere else? Have you been
told you’re too commercial for fine art, too fine art for craft shows,
or too crafty for a fancy gallery? If your art falls between the
cracks of other movements and definitions, it could be just right for
us. Art that transcends boundaries is what the Interstitial Arts
Foundation is all about. Read more about the IAF, sign up for our e-
list, or even become a Friend of the IAF at http://www.interstitialarts.org.”
so of course I submitted pics – boy did that sound familiar…. and it started me thinking (again) about the frustrations of never seeming to quite fit in anywhere.
when i sculpt, I usually start with a feeling. When I started working on Transitions
I was thinking about the feeling of loss left behind when someone dies, the sadness, and some of the fear of moving blindly into that next phase, which evolved into thinking about what it must feel like at the moment you close your eyes on one existence and open your eyes on the next….
Bone Dragon’s Daughter
is all about wondering about how it must feel to truly truly believe in something outside yourself, to be transcendent in the moment and take on the cloak of that belief….
As i worked on the piece it evolved into thinking about how when you have a need to do something – like create art – sometimes that need rides you with no compassion for the other parts of your life….
The end sculpture has more to do with the feelings and thoughts i have while working on it, than any attempt to fit into any particular area of art. And it is something I feel the need to do- not something I do to sell. I wish I could aim my sculpting at a particular market like successful commercial artists do – but the pieces i do when i try that, I think are less successful than the ones that flow out of an idea/feeling…. So i rarely get validation thru sales — but i still want to connect to people, to try to see if other people catch some of the thoughts, the feelings that i’m working with in a sculpt…
So I started taking the pieces to different types of groups. I tried to take some drawing classes in college and was told very firmly that i didn’t have any skill in that area, so i didn’t think of these as fine art …. I was working in polymer at that time, so i took them to polymer clay groups and doll makers groups. In each place I found a small group of friends who connected – but the vast majority thought i should go somewhere else. Eventually I found a wonderful bronze sculptor to learn from, and he was very encouraging – but felt i should be casting them in bronze, while to me the paperclay or polymer was just as important as the shape to the overall feel of the piece. I still don’t feel like i’ve found the place where i fit in — maybe i’m looking for the validation of a label….
Sometimes I wonder if there is a huge quietly seething mass of artists, frustratedly creating their work, wondering where they might fit in… seems like there should be a museum for the outsiders somewhere. Wouldn’t it be glorious to have a place to go and connect with other people making art and not fitting in — (is that self-contradictory – a place for people who don’t fit in, to fit in?) And realistically, probably most of us don’t fit in because its not in our nature – if we had valued fitting in, we could have molded our art to fit the values of the group we wanted to join. (ahem, urm, ok – but i really, really love bjds, really i do —- i don’t just sculpt them because i wanted to fit in —- really i didn’t….. but have to admit, since DOA shut their artists forum, the bjds i’m envisioning are far less mainstream. it probably did me good for them to close)
oh well. its time to head to work. and to try to fit in there for awhile. do other people with day jobs find themselves in the middle of their other job randomly thinking about the piece they are working on, or the piece they wish they were starting?