Sunday, November 18, 2007

Drawn to Ambiguous Territory

These days I am finding myself in ambiguous territory. It seems I have treadmill syndrome, running and running and yet not moving very far toward my goals in life. Working at my NotArt Job, I find I make just enough to not quite cover my expenses each month--this is in part because several months ago I cut back to 90% time so I would have more time to work on my art career. However, the art career thing feels somewhat stalled, largely because my current artistic interests involve a certain level of expenditure. I have been working in video for the last couple of years, but am finding I also miss photography and want to go back to it, but film and development and paper and darkroom rentals can add up to pretty hefty expenses. I'd like to explore sound art recording and the notion of definitions of place (and deeper definitions of "locality," but that's a different post) through sound, but ... that requires an initial expense if I do it the way I'd like to. And I'm also very excited about the notion of geocaching as a way to spread art around and create a different culture around "value," but that also requires an initial expense.

But I have to keep creating, so I think I may take up drawing.

There is a lot that is appealing about drawing. One, it can be made extremely portable; a tiny sketch pad and pencils can go almost anywhere with one. Two, one can put as much or as little time into it as one might have or be inclined to invest. The "quick sketch" can be as interesting for both viewer and artist as the "detailed drawing." Three, the expense is minimal. If the backs of napkins and miscellaneous envelopes were good enough for Picasso, I'm pretty sure they're good enough for me.

This is more interesting than it might initially sound for two reasons. One, it would be totally experimental as I have NO formal training in drawing at all. Any work I produced would be, er, blissfully free from the strictures of knowledge of technique.

Two, as far as I know, I have absolutely no talent for drawing, despite the enthusiastic pronouncements of my second-grade teacher over my cardboard-and-crayon rendering of Eeyore for the classroom decoration for Parents' Night some 40 years ago. But at the same time, I'm a doodler--I can do a passable flower, a reasonable starburst, and a cutish cartoony wide-eyed pony. So I'm wondering if I can morph a medium to fit the talent I have (i.e., none).

This kind of thing might happen more than I'm aware. One frequently encounters the old saws about how talent is overrated, success is 80% perspiration and 20% inspiration, etc., but I've never consciously taken on a medium in which I knew I sucked. I wonder, if after proving himself at Glasgow as a meticulous "serious" painter, this is how David Shrigley stumbled upon his hallmark style? Or if Picasso elected to follow an unusual approach to sculpture because he actually found the idea of realism too annoying?

There, it is decided. I shall endeavor to draw. I will start small; one drawing per week. I will, in a gesture of fearlessness, post them here. Look for something shortly.