Friday, December 02, 2011

Play, grunt, serious play, that's art

In college I loved music. I went into an orchestra room by myself and a few things became apparent. I was not a trained musician, each instrument required it's own attention and listening required much less work than making the music. I played the saxophone by ear, in my imagination I wanted to play jazz like John Coltrane. It was all glory, I didn't really want to put in the basic music lessons. I did join a drum troupe, played conga and made Trane like noises. Most of the crowd ate it up, but they were as clueless of the "art" as I.

In my so-called art training, we surveyed several kinds of art activities, hands on. Macramé and appliqué, wire and clay sculpture, life drawing and creative drawing. Then my study as an architecture student. I had liked drawing houses before, my rendering won me a scholarship, but not having basic engineering math hindered me greatly. I covered a lot of not taught in class study while working at the campus library.

All things added together, be inspired by glory but get the basic work done, the rudiments, the rote, the fundamentals, the ABCs, then hack it, improvise. I improvised it all. That is not the way to go, lol. As fun as that was, it's also hard. In the end, an artist uses what he knows, both training and vision make the artist. Had I.....well I would be a different artist, if not a better one.

On the computer I became a draftsman before an artist. Luckily, that was my basic training. Working on a PC requires a certain level of procedure, how do you get there from here. You need to know so many UN-intuitive things. Sitting there with a drawing program before you, it has all the tools and possibilities. Like being in that room full of instruments. If you have background, there is much you have already dealt with.

I place a lot of value on play, you got to play with it. Roaming, doodling, making a cyber mess and erasing it, doing it again. Play helps get you to know what to expect and builds confidence. The next great step is the tutorial and the project. Tutorials and/or a teacher gets you to follow a path (procedure) to get a project done. There is a lot to think about from expectation, to setup, to executing, to finishing. Doing art is all about playing but new info/experience takes it to a new level each time.

Serious play/performance/production is the goal, the best of my ability, not someone else's. There are better and worst than me, but I'm an original. When all the elements come through me this is what you get, no brag, no shame. It was funny I went to the music institute to borrow a practice room. I made my Coltrane like noise, the students walking by looked in and smiled, waved and thumbed up. I was just making noise like I heard. The music is more than that. Eventually I put the horn down because I didn't have the basics to move beyond the noise I heard. I could fool a few people, I couldn't fool myself. I enjoy the music, without the training I couldn't really play it, just the sound of it. You can fool some, but you know. Can't draw, pick up a camera, but there is an art there too. It's not the tools, it's your eye. Everybody has eyes but photographers see more precisely. You can't escape doing the work. Play becomes work becomes serious, it's an art.

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