- April Gavin
Another World + Craft Dating part 4
For the last few months, I've been subscribing to textile artist Bobbi Baugh and am enjoying her technique and her style. She's also a nice person who responds to email if you have questions on her work. I wanted to try a fabric collage. The substrate is muslin that I gessoed and then added elements and painting on top. The composition was inspired by a T.S. Eliot quote, "Another world exists, but it's inside this one." Hence the title - "Another World".
This fall I committed myself to an artist mentorship with Jane Dunnewold which means I had to get some drawing happening. I promptly enrolled myself in my favorite drawing class with my favorite drawing teacher - Alice Armstrong. It's a small class which is surprising, but I'm having a lot of fun. Good stuff is filtering out and my eyeballs are adjusting to what I see. I wonder if I could ask Alice to teach an imaginary realism class.
Here's one drawing that I'll share. The medium is pan pastel which is super soft, silky smooth medium related to chalk pastel. In class, we apply the medium with what looks like a make-up applicator. (I don't wear make-up so I'm not sure what I'm using.) I like using it though because I feel like I'm drawing with my finger, which feels like magic. Yum - magic!
Craft dating part 4: This is where I feel I'm at so this final segment will sound different from the first three. I will say this though - if you've managed to get this far, call yourself an artist. Don't giggle or squirm and whatever you do don't be ashamed. Art, beauty, and storytelling are just as vital as clean air, water, food, shelter, and friendships. Cherish all of it and don't take any of it for granted.
What will you do with what you make?: I think this could also be called finding your audience or your market. I flopped at the Solano Stroll earlier this month. Well, I didn't necessarily flop, but I didn't get the sales I hoped for. Maybe, it was the wrong market or maybe vending isn't for me. Lots of people seem interested, took my card, but didn't buy. I'm not discouraged,but I'm on the hunt again for what might work. My next stop will be an Etsy shop so watch this space.
My point here is that I/you/everyone making art (or any work for that matter) in the world has to think laterally. It's a journey, don't expect to arrive suddenly or in anyone place. It's ok to give yourself space to re-assess.
Skill development: I have a list that I make every year of new skills that I want to try and a list of skills that I need to develop. Drawing is perpetual development. Shibori dyeing is let's try this again development. Batik is new skill development. Make your own list and get to it. Maybe, you can teach yourself or maybe there's a workshop that will get you started.
Subscribe to work you like: I don't like the word follow as it's used today. It sounds sycophantic and religious. I do though subscribe to a number of blogs. Some of them are a hit with me every time and some of them aren't. I've let go of some of them. Whatever you've chosen, find people who are doing similar work and stay in contact with their work.
Putting it out there: Whatever we create has to be shared with the world. It's part of the reason I started this blog. If we create and never share, I truly believe bad things will happen to our spirits and our creative selves. I recently applied for (and was rejected) for an art show here in Berkeley. I recently applied for (and was rejected) by a magazine where I had submitted a piece. If I keep trying, one day the work will be accepted. In the meantime, I get to torture my friends and subscribers with this blog.
33 rules: I also found this article recently by Jerry Saltz on how to be an artist. He's a professional artist working in New York and he's right on. My favorites are rules #20, #21,and #33. It's an enjoyable read even if you're not making art. I learned this a number of years ago and Jerry Saltz reiterates it differently - 86% of all artists have a day job. Depressing, I know but at least we're all in good company.
In the meantime, I'm back to drawing. Check out my poor pencil!