This semester has been kicking my ass a little. I've been so busy keeping up with my liberal arts classes that my art has been suffering and it's making me feel very frustrated, resentful, and imbalanced. I don't enjoy any of these feelings! I want to get back to whatever emotional space I was in last semester because damn was I on fire.
Thankfully I have 9 full days to get my shit together artistically. The biggest problem I'm having right now is that all my studio visits have focused purely on what's not working, where the problems lie, what I shouldn't do. I'm feeling very discouraged by this. I supposed I'm very gullible that way. It's not that "people don't understand my art!" it's not about that at all. I feel like my work is so personal that you're never really going to be able to grasp everything about it. Mostly I make things for myself and myself alone. I am my audience and the rest of the world really isn't considered. Not that I'm making work thinking that no one will see it or just disregarding the idea that people will see it and interpret it. I'm just not so concerned with that stuff. It's sort of secondary to my experience as an object maker.
So the problem that I'm having is that everything is a problem. I feel like I'm never offered potential solutions like some of the other students. That might be because usually I totally disregard any solutions someone else presents me with because I usually don't feel any connection to "their" way of working. But right now I'm sort of lost and in need of suggestions if only to know what I don't want to do. I feel like anything would be helpful because it could give me a spring board into something else.
I'm gonna get Petterson into my studio to work some shit out. He's very good at helping to facilitate my personal thinking process without trying to force HIS thinking process on the work or me. I really appreciate that ability of his. Bradley always wants me to use his way of thinking and honestly I just can't think like a 50 year old gay man. He forms these opinions about who we are as people from our work and our brief convorsations in the studio and thinks he knows everything about you. He really pushes this model he's built up in his head on you. He expects you to forever act that way. The problem is that the model of you he's built is usually pretty wrong and almost prejudice in a way. He doesn't seem to understand that college is a time of rapid growth and change. Every semester it's almost like I'm a different person and I need a teacher who is willing to take the time to rethink their idea of who I am.
The problem with Bradley thinking he knows everything about is that he'll interperet your work from that angle. He'll force these ideas on the work as if that's really what I was going for. When I was making the rock shaped pillows out of my old clothes, Bradley saw the work as simply being about fat and fatness. He looked at the work and thought "this is work about Cindy being FAT. She's just mad because she's FAT!" While he never said this to my face I could really tell that he was thinking it because it colored every suggestion he had for me. He wanted me to make the stones all about weight and how much I weigh. It wasn't about being fat. Those pieces were about shedding, renewing, and being comfortable with my shape. I don't think I'm fat and it really bothered me that Bradley aproached the work as if it were all about being dissatisfied with my weight. (It's funny that since then I've lost a lot of weight.)
It was really great to have Inka and Steve come in and talk to me about my work and what they see. While I wasn't terribly fond of their work they still are intelligent people with a lot of useful things to say so their artwork isn't too important. It doesn't matter to me if I like the work or not as long as I'm learning from the person. They both had some really interesting reactions to my work and for that I'm thankful.
I'm spending my days trying to keep my feet under me. Sometimes it works and sometimes I fall on my ass.