Friday 15th August 2014Taking Art Classes
One of the staples of night school and weekend classes, art classes for adults can be incredibly rewarding experiences that open up new bodies of technique, new connections, and new realms of creative possibility. They can, on the other hand, also be boring, pointless, and depressing - it all depends on how you go into the experience, who the instructor is, and how you interact with your classmates. Many of us artistic types are fairly introverted, and rarely ready to show off our first attempts at new styles or techniques to total strangers - but at the same time, showing total strangers as opposed to friends and family can be liberating. After all, if you choose, you never have to see any of those classmates again. It really does depend on what you put into the situation.
In order to make sure you don't waste your time (and maybe your money, depending on where the class is and what supplies you might need), take a bit of time to explore the program before you sign up. Naturally, looking at the instructor is essential. See if it's possible to speak with them before class, to get a sense of their teaching style, personality, and general skillset. Do they specialize in a medium you've always wanted to try? Don't just sign up after meeting the instructor, though. See if there are examples of the work the past students have created - if they were able to create something they were pleased with, they would no doubt take it home when the class ended, but the teacher would likely want to keep photographs or copies of digital files in order to showcase the works their students have completed under their tutelage.
If you go into the class with an open mind, ready to experiment and to learn, then you're going to have a much more rewarding experience than you would if you go in afraid of what might happen. Take it as an opportunity for growth, not an opportunity to show off how much you already know. Experiment with media that you otherwise wouldn't get a chance to use. Talk to people with an artistic inclination you otherwise wouldn't meet. Broaden your horizons, and you never know what could come of it. Maybe the person at the next easel over is starting up a gallery!
Posted on August 15th 2014 on 10:06pm
Friday 20th June 2014Automatic Art Projects
Summer can be a great time for creative inspiration. Breaking out of your winter studio habits can have a huge impact on your mind and body, and we all know how useful change can be for getting us into new situations and experiences that spark new creative drives. We've even written a special post about summer inspiration recently! But sometimes, summer alone isn't enough to get the creative juices flowing. Creative blocks can happen to the best of us at almost any time, which is no fun, but a definite reality of living life as a creative individual.
Some of us remember the heady days of art school, when there was a constant source of projects and parameters to work in (and some of you will be thinking with relief that you're not going back to class until the autumn!). There is a kind of creative relief in having at least some of the parameters of a project provided for you. It seems almost paradoxical, but developing creative ways to operate within a framework can sometimes make it easier to generate ideas that simply staring at a blank canvas (which we've all done at one point or another).
Enter the wonderful world of Twitter bots. A Twitter bot is a piece of software that automatically generates tweets (posts on Twitter) from a set of input words, and as you might expect, it's not always 100% grammatically correct, but it almost never fails to be interesting. That's the premise behind @artassignbot, the digital brainchild of Jeff Thompson, an artist and programmer who grew tired of constantly recycled themes being used in art school assignments. So he gathered up a massive collection of assignments, and used software to recombine them in bizarre and sometimes appealing ways, and stuck a due date on the end. These due dates range in time from under a minute for quick flash projects to several days or more, giving you some time to think about what you're doing.
A new assignment is tweeted every hour, and there have been over 30,000 so far, so you're sure to find something that will spark a creative urge in you, even if it's just so you can say that you've collaborated with a piece of online software.
The best part of all, of course, is that you don't have to put up with the interminable critiques from classmates!
Posted on June 20th 2014 on 04:01pm