Fine Art. Art has single handedly saved my life. Not once, but twice. First as a teenager often overwhelmed with the emotional drama of friends, love, and school. Later as an adult, when I found myself trying to process what I thought was insurmountable grief. The times that I have needed to disengage from the world around me. Dig deep. Get whole. Art has shown me the way. What I want to say to you now is, you do not need permission to be an artist. You do not need permission to make art. If you feel in your bones that you do, well then, permission granted.
I'll share three different fine art based daily practice ideas with you today, along with a more standard These Three Things prompt related to art. Choose whichever gives you the feels. Just start somewhere.
1. Cut + paste. Collage is a great place to start. It can be a wide focus activity, or you can really get narrow with the parameters. I like collage because there is great freedom in assembling things that you yourself have not had to create. Sometimes to create from scratch, to birth a new idea, is too hard. It's labor, and sometimes we just can't find the strength to push. And that's okay. If you are feeling that way now, that's okay. It's normal. Everyone has their own response. Yours, is yours. There is still great enjoyment and enormous neuropsychological and emotional benefits from just cutting out pretty pictures from magazines and books and glueing them down on paper. You can use glue, tape, even staples if you have to. Get creative with your surface. Cardboard boxes work great, printer paper, paper grocery bags. Cut from magazines, printed photos from your phone, old books, postcards, greeting cards. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box. Decide to work on one collage a day, a week, every few days. Just do a little bit everyday. Work big, work small. You decide. Just start.
2. Copycat. It's a little known secret outside of art school that a lot of art is just knowing how to cheat. I love to trace. I traced a lot and before Photoshop and Procreate I would spend hours tracing parts of drawings or photographs, photocopies, changing the size and scale. To use for models in a painting, a collage or a drawing. For this prompt, you can trace a magazine, book, your own photos, patterns, anything. Get out some colored pencils, markers, writing pencils, pens, sharpie, whatever you have around. Instead of creating a new drawing, trace over an already existing image. I love doing this in magazines and the newspaper. It ends up being a super zen activity for me. I've traced every single image in sharpie in an entire issue of Vogue magazine before! Commit to tracing one image a day, or more. Maybe plan to fill a whole book or magazine. Just put pen to paper and start.
3. Getting to know you. Introduce yourself to a new piece of art each day. This can be similar to listening to a musician's entire catalogue. Love Frida Kahlo? Google a list of all her works and start with a new one each day. If you want to discover new artists, check out some of the incredible online galleries that museums are now offering. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a great one. The Met 360 Project. Search for local museums, or ones is some of your favorite cities. Most museum websites offer glimpses into their permanent collection and exhibitions. The Tate Modern is one of my favorites. Keep track digitally or analog and discover your taste, what surprises you and where it leads you.
Fine Art Related Prompt
Name three pieces of art, can be modern or artifacts that made you feel. Maybe you can't name the feeling, but something in you moved. Think about why. Or don't. Notice any patterns. Or not. Just start. I'll begin.
1. Keith Haring. All of it. I was living in New York for the first incarnation of Keith Haring. I was young and remember my parents bringing me to a subway stop to see what appeared to be simple chalk drawings on black painted advertisements. I knew instantly I loved whatever it was. The space, the line. I got it. I can remember some of his murals in the Bowery and later when I went to Pratt in Soho (not sure they still have a campus there but there used to be a small campus in The Puck Building) right across the street as you would come up from the Broadway/Lafayette subway stop stood a Pop Shop. It was all so magical. Perhaps my emotional connection is combination of time and space, but I still think his work is perfect.
2. Gustav Vigeland. When I was 26, my family visited Norway. I'm Norwegian and a lot of that trip had a feeling of homecoming. The is an area in Frogner Park in Oslo that is filled with the sculpture of Vigeland. His enormous figurative sculptures are both incredibly overwhelming and intimate. The silhouettes of outstretched hands, and rounded forms against a blue sky is still so vivid in my mind. That day gave me all the feels.
3. Jackson Pollock One: Number 31, 1950 at MOMA, NYC. I've had a very special relationship with this painting through the years. I like Pollock, he's not my favorite, yet the placement of this piece at the museum, the special moments I've had standing in front of it. All a part of my history. The painting is hung on the back wall of a gallery. You turn a corner and wow, there it is. I've spent hours in this room with some of my favorite people. Staring. Following drips. Noticing color.
What did you learn today? Join me by using the #thesethreethings and commenting below with your own These Three Things. I want to hear what you are learning, laughing about, and living through.