In my last post, I introduced a new feature called Guess the Artist, whereby I intend to post photos of a scarf in progress and let you all guess the painter inspiring the design. My first photo was a pile of yarn. Your first clue was that this painter is late 20th/early 21st century and not American. Your second clue is that this painter is FEMALE. The second photo seen above is just a section of what will be the final piece, and I have no idea how things will go from here, as they have already not gone where I intended, which is a very good feeling indeed.
the horror, the horror
Which brings me to my failed experiments creating wrist warmers for sale at upcoming markets. I should have known this would be a doomed venture when I approached it under the pressure of somehow solving this riddle of weak sales by giving the buyers what I thought they might want. Suddenly, not only did all the joy of the creative process drain out of me, but I found myself creating one botched piece after another, as if I had suddenly forgotten how to crochet. I could call the two pieces above my Wrist Warmers for Special Needs but I might risk offending someone out there who has one thick bear claw for a left hand, and one skinny bird claw for a right. I mean, I made a brick wall out of fiber last week, and now I can’t make a simple 8 by 8 square that folds in half and gets sewn up the side leaving a thumbhole?
unplug the jukebox and do us all a favor
Then I remembered a beautiful rant I read the other day about the evil of artists following too many rules instead of just painting from instinct. Many thanks, Caio, for such a timely post! Yet, here I was doing just what he was entertaining murderous thoughts about – applying formulas to a process that should happen wordlessly, freely, naturally. Like dancing. Like I used to when I was 19, and the parents were out of town, and we rearranged and redecorated the entire apartment to look like a cross between a dorm room and a bordello, including replacing all the light bulbs with red ones.
for no other reason than because I like this photo, damnit!
Anyway… I should have known I was digging myself a hole the more I tried to create something from a set program, on a time schedule, according to specifications and expectations of what the public might consider useful and attractive! But soon I saw the error of my ways, set my project aside and gave myself the treat of starting the mystery scarf, which I don’t plan on selling at any market. I’m making it out of a spirit of pure fun, and passion, and not surprisingly the second I started it, with no preliminary sketches or measurements or notions about what “works,” just a deep feeling of the color palette and spirit of the painter I am using for inspiration, the work just FLOWED. No decisions were made based on any preconceived notions. The only guide for the next move was the move that came before. And I don’t care if anyone likes it, because I’m enjoying making it. Period.
Yesterday, Brian posted about the effects of one man’s ill-tempered and ill-mannered and just plain wrong critique of his work, and how it just made him that much more firm in his sense of who he is and what he does as an artist. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. If someone doesn’t like my work, it's not my problem. The reality of bringing in some income aside, it is never a bad thing to learn this lesson over and over again, that we have to follow our instincts and please ourselves first and foremost. Once you start following other people’s opinions, rules, needs or tastes, you are completely fucked as an artist. Dancing is fine, as long as it is not to anyone else’s tune!
OMG, I just admitted to being a fan of Adam & the Ants in the EIGHTIES. I really must not care what people think!