Monday, November 10, 2008

Working hard v. TTH

There was one day around this time last fall when Nathan and I were preparing for Art Basel at Elizabeth Leach Gallery on a Monday when the gallery was closed. Candice was womanning the gallery bulkmail in the front of the gallery and Randi had come in to help her. The greatest part about working on Mondays at the gallery was getting to go to work looking like a total scrub-- that particular day in holey corduroys and an old white t-shirt. Interestingly, I remember getting complements from at least 4 different people that day, including Randi, telling me that I looked GREAT. It made me consider whether I should start every day by rolling out of bed and onto my bicycle.

Sometimes I feel like I could do this with my art practice too. By which I mean, stop trying so hard. It often feels like students who work themselves to the bone are the ones that get pummeled in critiques, while students who show up late to their critique with drool dried on their face to show their mediocre 5-minute paintings get infinite praise. It's totally the romantic idea that a true artist can do just that-- spit on a canvas and sum up all of the worlds problems. I know that I am not this kind of artist, and if I tried to be, it would be HORRIBLE. I think there is an important distinction to be made here-- there's a difference between working hard and trying too hard. If I tried to work less hard you'd be able to see it-- my trying. Some people don't try to be lackadaisical-- it's just how they are, and that's how they make art the most genuinely. I am anxious, hard-bent and nose-to-the-grind-- and my art would probably look horrible if I didn't make this part of how I am part of the process of making things.

This is something I try to remember when my ideas start spinning into complexity-- that maybe I'm making the ideas try too hard (tth). It's usually better to work hard on a simple idea. So after working on a couple of projects with multiple components I'm going back to my roots--drawing the backs of small photos, like the one in this picture. Man! It's so awesome to be making drawings that are, like, 2 inches tall. For now, I'm taking out the words to get rid of the narrative and keep it simple. See that scribbling in the original (on the right)? It covers up the words "My boyfriend" as in "My boyfriend Frank Rose" who is pictured on the front and is probably about 7 years old. Awesome.

No comments: