Friday, April 25, 2014
What makes an artist an artist?
I got interested in hooking rugs, and I designed and made a HUGE rug, still hanging in my home, and after I made a couple of pillows with the leftover cut yarn, I gave up rug hooking. Then I fell madly in love with batik, and while I haven't done authentic batik in several years, I still have all the necessary equipment and I plan to batik again. Yes, another art material with marvelously enticing and toxic fumes...
Am I less of an artist if I don't want to give up all these various pursuits in favor of just one media? Am a photographer? A painter? A jewelry designer? A multimedia artist? Or just a doodler, a dabbler, a crafter (after all, I did recently make a purse of out of a gourd, you may recall)? When someone asks me "what is your medium?", how do I answer? I mean, just about the only artistic pursuits I am NOT real interested in are printmaking, videography, and ceramics (though I'd be happy to dabble with that, too, given the resources).
One additional thought - in my college curriculum, Art Ed was a double major: education and art. And you needed a concentration in art. I had two concentrations: one in painting and one in photography. But knowing I planned to teach, I figured it was important to have experience with as many different mediums as possible to prepare me for the classroom, so I took basic courses in ceramics and pottery, in gold and silversmithing (where I was, sadly, an abysmal failure), in printmaking, and in sculpture (where, ironically, we used NO materials that you would ever ever use teaching elementary art, where I ended up 9 years later). With all my carefully planned experience, I still never used stuff like plaster bandage, tooling foil, tempera paint, cardboard, papier-mache, and so much more. Maybe that says something about the design of my education program. Perhaps that's another blog post, another day?