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Open 4 Discussion: Content

I just returned from a crazy wonderful trip to Oklahoma and Texas to meet my fiance's family. Having slept very little I bravely attempted to return to class shortly after landing at SFO. Upon walking into the studio however I was overwhelmed with a sense of panic.

Looking around me I saw that my classmates had all made giant leaps in their work while I was gone which made me feel only further and further behind. I stared at my works in progress hoping to get a kick start with them but could find not a single direction in my mind to take it. I wrapped them up carefully and returned them to the damp room.

I then grapped a bag of remaining porcelain and rolled some slabs to begin working on a new project for class, similar to the project I worked on over the summer. But no luck- the slabs began misbehaving immediately and I found myself without the proper tools to head onward with the concept.

But looking at what I have so far a thunder began to roll inside my chest. (This is one way I can describe what panic physically feels like for me.) As I considered my progress so far I began to grow more and more concerned with the lack of content in my work. I feel like my art doesn't say anything. It lacks cohesion, meaning, reference. And this is what turns the roll of thunder into a sinking quake.

My teacher has asked three projects of us this semester: figurative, realism, and choice. I can do the choice one fine, but guidelines like narrative figurative and realism make me choke. I don't know what to sculpt. I'm into abstraction, geometry, pattern, and images... not people and seashells. I'm lost. I don't know where to go with these assignments and I need help. I suppose I should ask my teacher, but one- he provokes my anxiety and two- I don't really want his opinion.

So I ask you reading, how do you deal with content? How do you figure out what to say when you don't want to say much? How do you put yourself into a piece that someone else is requesting when you don't really want to fulfill the request by have to?

I suppose I'm lacking inspiration. But the end of wet clay work deadline is approaching fast and I feel as though I'm falling down the rabbit hole.


(image of work by Jasna Sokolovic)


Kot Kornas said...

i give myself 3 hours (or some other short, immediate timeline) to do it--no ifs, ands, or buts. and then i give myself lots of coffee and a sunny window to look out of.

Toni Bain said...

omething else you might try: Make a list of ten things that are important to you right now. Things you really care/are concerned/ are worried about, etc. Then work with another medium-paint, draw, write a story,etc. Take a nap...then try your project again. Good luck! It will happen. Even nothingness is meaningful in the art world, right?

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