Tag Archives: college

Change again…

What I’ve noticed, my dear readers is that you keep dropping in this very ungrateful space looking perhaps for fresh ‘art news’ to stimulate you – and what you can find are weeks old reflections taken from dead guys and somehow outdated artistic expressions…

Well – it’s time to cease to mock the expression ‘news’… This art blog is what it has always been – an art blog… not a journal, not a private newspaper, not an ambitious magazine – just a blog. But it’s been over two years adventure and it will always stay as a formative part of my artistic journey. A student’s blog – it’s on its threshold of a transformation – it needs to move on, just like its author is bound to do…

What the change exactly is and how it manifest I cannot pin down yet – but I hope to discover soon… At this stage I would like to direct your attention beyond this space; and this is what the virtual universe becomes – never a place of any destination but a clue, a code, a link to something beyond itself… A never ending story of some sort…

First of all – notice my Twitter’s updates on the right hand side – this micro-blogging service gives that mind-teasing potential to ‘read’ people’s thoughts the moment they are being thought. Furthermore – I enjoy my Facebook activities, which can be compared to meeting like-minded people in clubs and cafe shops once such places existed…

At the continental Europe there was a huge tradition, especially before the wars – to gather in places in order to cultivate the intellectual and cultural exchange. Poets would have their own ‘bunkers’, artists they own, ‘intelligentsia’ will join them or flock in their own ivory towers…There was where the greatest thought and works would spark – from tobacco’s smoke and cutting wit of those nonchalant, yet deeply world-conscious people… The violence and a roller coaster of the cultural change would shatter that world to pieces – if it exists in any substitute form – its thanks to the Net…it’s here where we still can communicate in a way – we choose to believe – is comparatively free and uncorrupted. It’s our 21st century’s blacksmith’s workshop of ideologies and projects; our international, multicultural pot we boil our humanity to soften it, to make it edible…

The virtual status of all that fascinating phenomena seems not to bother us, at least not as much as it should have… It’s like telling a 6-years old mesmerized by the “Star Wars” – ‘It’s just a fairytale, it does not exist’ – He would never get the idea of ‘not existing’ if it’s accessible to his sensory system… Very much the same with the world created in an artwork – a piece of music, a painting, a poem – it’s the matter of believing -and once there is the belief – the Bosch’s creatures exist, Lord Jim might have been closer to meet in flesh than we’d ever thought… And consequently – my fragmented, in moments confused, sometimes exciting online exchange of ideas and feelings DOES matter, because it IS real in some sense – it’s a part of my contemporary identity and I cannot be fully divorced from it not losing my integrity to a certain extent…

Anyway – getting to the point: I cannot support “Art News” any more in the title of this blog – let it stay as it originally was – “Terra Incognita” – the unknown land of human creativity – not a hair width more ‘known’ to me after over three years of studies… Below are the links to other spaces (‘clubs’) you can find me. Thanks for your patience for months to stay with me here, to read and reflect on my shared world…

‘The Crawford ARTicle’ – Crawford’s students first platform of an exchange and share

‘Twitter’ – Katarzyna on Twitter

“Crawford College” – Facebook’s official site

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Crawford College of Art Graduates’ Exhibition (2008)

There is one special week in the whole year, when my college (Crawford College of Art, Cork, Ireland – see photo below) changes beyond any recognition. Cluttered studios are being cleared, stained in all colours of a rainbow (and mud) walls are painted in a laboratory white, all sorts of artistic experiments don’t obstruct corridors any more, the body of students almost disappears to be substituted by the body of their work. This charming, quiet and intimate in a sense environment, where everyone knows everyone, becomes a public venue – the yearly exhibition of the final, 4th (BA Hons) year is being to be open. A crowd of social activists, artists, dealers, ‘civil’ art lovers, common ‘bargain hunters’, ex-students gallops through the newly arranged galleries looking for an ‘Enlightenment’ – this one or these few ‘promising’ enough to have their names remembered and their work bought.

It could be also a good researching ground for a culture/society/ideas theoretician, since these still sincere and young emerging artists echo truthfully whatever bothers, confuses or simply – turns them on in the world around.

I made my own little analysis of themes/thesis popular among my peers/older colleagues:

* Identity : loss, exploring – national (being a foreigner, being Irish), cultural (through meeting with Japan, Hindu and other civilizations), sexual (e.g. exploring ‘gay’ identity, sexual abuse, romantic relationship), personal (what is artist?, who am I specifically?) – this appears to be the most popular and art-provoking concept

* Nature – landscape (seen in more/less traditional way) – often seascapes, animals (relationship with them, appearance), cruelty (‘stronger eats weaker’ law)

* Existential/Modern world – journey, void, chaos/tension, existential/emotional pain, communication (disturbance, loss), city (-scapes, dangers), technology, plastic world (pop-culture), kitsch

* Memory – childhood, meaning of the past

Above that, there appears to be a wild and creative enjoyment of all available media – from very traditional oil/canvas and sculpture, going through acrylic/watercolour and mixed-media, then some sorts of an assemble and installation to the comparatively ‘young’ means of video art and multi-media projects. If there is a place, today, where pluralism, tolerance and freedom exist and co-exist with some interesting results – it happens within and thanks to the contemporary art. It’s here, where one can reach beyond ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘conservative’ or ‘modern’, ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’ – what really matters is the message and how successful, mature and self-aware an artist is in getting it through.

Above: Crawford students, their friends/relatives and teachers giving an applause to an awarded colleague

Above: Visitor of the Crawford Art Graduates’ Exhibition


Studying art – Diary (6)

Second term of the second year is no more… it’s ceased to be, passed away and gave up its ghost. We – majority of students – are emerging from it like from a tough, inequitable battle, some with bruises and scratches only, some with deep wounds, nobody unaffected. The truth is that nothing could have prepared us for weeks and months of a constant spiritual self-vivisection being done under penetrative supervision of people, who visibly enjoy turning upside down our shy, shallow, safe, self-indulging worlds. Nobody had sent any warning in an advance, no red flags appeared before we – a naive bunch of ‘talented’ ones – have entered for good the challenge of art studying and making.

Hardly anyone has ever suspected that it’s going to be so tough, so courage and spirit – demanding, so nerve-wracking. Our gentle, always-confident and intimidatingly knowledgeable tutors have been keeping ‘chats’ with us… smiling and nodding, yet silently requiring the truth of us… The truth of a discovery of whom we are and why do we pretend to be somebody else, why do we run away from what’s really important… And we have been obliged to dare to question everything what has been said and done, but considering all that what I’ve just written, most of us kept on flashing through the corridors and studios like damned spirits, fleeing ourselves.

What did I personally learn during those stormy months? Here are some of the valuable experiences I put into a brief ‘manual’ of how to deal with art studies:

  • do not treat art as a substitute for the lost/dead God (whatever he/it appears to be), as the magic ‘filler’ to load your spirit-less world with transcendence and meaning… do not use it as a replacement for anything and anybody (that you lost/never found) – allow it to be on its own, for its own sake – DO RESPECT IT, do listen to it, do love it – it will (hopefully) reveal itself to you. And take all the responsibility it requires for its constructive development.
  • do care about your viewer, even if s/he reminds you ‘that third one’ in a bedroom of lovers… I’m having an enormous problem with that: why should I care about an anonymous crowd? Those intelligent, sensitive enough will know without me being concerned and having them on my mind… But – it doesn’t work this way and your genuine care about the viewer, his/hers emotions/being just has to be included in the process of art making. Again, respect, com-passion is an answer.
  • do take care about yourself, being too tough/too indulgent for one’s artistic progress is quite popular among art practitioners, keep your goals impossibly high, but your rational sense and playfulness even higher; self-confidence is everything in this business and train yourself to be really brave, as courageous and spirited as you can afford… If you’ve never felt scared to your bones due to your conscious choice to challenge somebody/something that means that you haven’t tried enough…

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