Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Open Studios/Open Process

East Bay Open Studios is coming up on the first two weekends in June, sending thousands of people to studios and exhibition spaces. Viewing and buying original works of art can be exhilarating, but some people think original art is too expensive for their budget. Artists usually try to offer work in varying price ranges to make original art available to everyone. 
A finished piece of art is like a stage play in that all the work and problem solving that went into its creation remain hidden. It’s easy to think that the finished product just fell into place. But the hours of hard work that went into the piece, must also go into the price, though a reasonable hourly wage is never something the artist imagines receiving. 
So I thought I’d dedicate some blog posts to the ongoing creative work happening in my studio to let people see a bit of the artist's process and perspective. 
There are days when the creative process is exciting, and there are days when it is equally difficult and exhausting. There are days when great surprises happen, only to be followed by an experiment that falls flat. 
Yesterday, for example, I did foundational work on a new piece while continuing work on a painting in progress. Laying materials onto a new canvas before I begin working with paint can seem like a boring stage, but at this level I can do imprinting and patterning into a wet surface that add an interesting dimension to the work later on. I never know what the end "product" will look like. So I have to trust that the process and my decisions will eventually lead me to Art (with that capital A).
In the photo detail above (from a painting called Goin' South, 101), I cut a gash into the canvas and slowly filled it with canvas strips, sand, and snakeskin. The gash healed on the canvas as a cut would heal on skin. This type of process, I think, gives my work an organic presence the viewer relates to physically, for the first moments of interaction with the work before thought takes over.
 The coach in me is wondering how this works in your world. If you think about your work, or maybe an avocation or a sport you engage in, is there a foundational element that plays out in the end result? What is an important foundational step you haven’t thought about on a conscious level? It’s possible that bringing that step into consciousness will cause a new leap in achievement or enjoyment.
Don’t forget: Open Studios will begin on Saturday, June 1, 2013. I will be at 401 26th St., (between Broadway and Telegraph) in Oakland, California. There are twenty artists in our Uptown Artists Group, so plan to come and spend some time with us. We have live music and refreshments! Please come by my exhibition, and let me know you are a blog reader.  Hope to see you there!