Tag Archives: studying

More or less ‘incognita’?

Well, l cannot avoid this question now -not after almost four years of studying art and over two years of writing the blog with the ‘unknown’ promise in its title… How ‘known’ my land has become – to me and to others who – just due to my appearance within the ‘art-world’ – have been gracing me with their attention and often a friendship in here and in the ‘real’ life?

As l stated introducing the blog, and with some inevitable degree of audacity in all those happy beginnings – this writing of mine has been devoted to an exploration of an ‘unknown’ – ‘Terra lncognita’ of the contemporary art and my own personal expression. So – more or less ‘incognita’? Or – shall l rather ask – have l failed better or worse?

Some of my long-followers may already have an answer and l won’t blame them for that – where has the drive of the ‘old good times’ gone? And – the author’s ability of abandoning the site seems to be the only thing that got ‘better’ with time…

Right – cannot or won’t defend myself here. Not because of my apparently innate self-indulgence which had made this adventure possible at all, but cos – believe it or not – l’ve been trying to display some sort of integrity all the way through. Hence , never this very virtual profile has appeared better (hopefully not ‘worse’) than my actual experience had been-  day to day – enfolding the world as seen by the ‘painter’s’ eyes… Mirroring all the tides of emotions and the intellectual gain, as well as meaningfully keeping silent throughout the toughest bits…

But – to return to the dilemma – is it all more or less known/unknown right now? How do l feel about embarking the ‘professional’ board? These and many other questions need to be  addressed within the next few months in a way that nothing/nobody could have ever been able to teach me to deal with…

Am l afraid? Perhaps more than my sensibility and sentience can admit for the sake of my own well-being. Yet – in all that fear l’m still lucky to have all those beautiful individuals who will stay be me… and l’m still able to write it down in here… how truly and undeservedly lucky one can get…


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fresh ‘art news’ to stimulate you – and what you can find are weeks old reflections taken from dead guys and somehow outdated artistic expressions…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


Studying Art (20) – some loose thoughts…

Being ‘graduate’… I mean, how ridiculous it feels…

Being ‘graduate’ in Fine Art… I mean, one cannot get it more absurd… There is no ‘graduating’ from art, unless one can ‘graduate’ in ‘being a human being’…

Having first show, first chat with a journalist, first reviews from the public – at once one’s is able to see what art is really for – I met with those attentive eyes… hungry for any sort of a thoughtful, emotional expression from another human creature…. ‘C’mon – show me a bit of yourself, prove that there is still that thing called ‘a soul’ in us, let me witness your humanity here and now, whatever’…

Looking back at past months without a shadow of any sentiment – I mean, only my innate stubbornness kept me digging in that hell… Guess, that meant I really had started to ‘study’ and ‘make’ art… Only guessing…

Getting really cross with myself due to my perfect failure to prevent my private life from taking over my studio work during the last year. How it calls to be called – a lack of ‘professionalism’, or rather opposite – daring attempt to ‘master’ human condition despite of all odds, or maybe – just the natural event in one’s life?…

Naturally observing art-life around and having those ‘improper’ yet intense thoughts, that art is not and is never going to be for everyone, just forget all that ‘democratic’ rubbish and populists’ talks… Classical music is not for everyone, hard-rock is not for everyone, learning Chinese is not for everyone and even driving cannot be mastered or even tolerated by some people… Some are driven by irresistible forces, some only let to be guided, sometimes only by one’s vanity or greed. Ethos of an artist needs to be re-established, made clear to all and supported at all costs. Otherwise, we don’t have ‘art’, we don’t have ‘artists’ any more – we have ‘art-world’, ‘occupation’, ‘business’, ‘creativity’; we have ‘professionals’, ‘graduates’, ‘MFAs’ and all sorts of folks having no idea whatsoever, how bl…y serious game they involved themselves in…

One needs a break even, or – especially – from the things one puts no price on, simply cos there can’t be any price… things one would die for, if needed… A step back instead of grabbing and gaining even more control, just letting go… I excelled in making things more complex that they probably are, now – I have to learn, by ‘letting go’, how to make simple choices and obvious statements.

Having tendency to ‘over-intelectualize’ my work, and  that’s surprising considering that I’ve started as a completely intuitive painter. Now, I build an entire elaborated construction of theories in order to touch the canvas with a brush. I guess, it’s a protective mechanism (as a shrink would say) – use your head when using your heart and instincts feels like a torture…

Keeping on exploring links between science and art – funny, how the questions and problems of both echo each other, not to mention that it all seems to generate from the major philosophical systems of the past and present. Everything is so deliciously cross-feeding and inter-depending that it seems crazy to chop up human culture on so many ‘self-sufficient’ institutionally defined parts.

Preparing for a hot summer in the Middle and East-Europe. Wishing you all fruitful escapades for fun, meaning and maybe some inspiration as well!


Studying Art (18) – Getting over it…

What a year it was… I mean – not easy one… In fact – bl…y difficult…

Studying art is a bit like diving in Le Grand Bleu… further down, the less light and more dense matter… Waters around get less inviting, more frightening and yet – strangely captivating, with that pulsating, magnetic force, which commands you to continue, in moments against your self-preservation instincts and despite of all…

It became a sort of my habit to use this web-space to express my gratitude to everyone involved (voluntary or by an accident) into my studying and ‘getting over’ it… It’s been always my ambition to present this site – its research and its ethos as a natural extension of everything, what had happened to preoccupy me in my ‘actual’ studio. I wanted it to be a virtual companion of my ‘real’ studies in ‘real’ life – yet, it came out as a sort of a separate project, fairly independent and inspiring – must say… What I only regret is that a real, stimulating link between ‘Terra Incognita’ online and the ‘unknown land’ in my studio has failed to be established… I mean, my work was either behind or ahead of my writing here, often pulling in directions, I couldn’t find the words for; or (even worse) – trying to ‘show’ the abstract thoughts and complex ideas expressed here. Also, I’ve chosen a low-key profile sharing this site with few… well, not very generous of me…

Generally, in this very moment, when my time as an ‘undergraduate’ is heading quickly to the end, I would strongly recommend to any art student to have his/her ‘grassroots movement’ online – to establish and take time in developing a site, a club, a gallery… a space, which is infinite and incredibly enriching, which gives freedom of expression and a great training in responsibility/persistence… Besides, where else you could tease your tutors publicly or discuss your view on art with visitors from the US, Trinidad/Tobago or Tbilisi at the same time?

Yes, that was a confusing year… I can’t remember the last time, when I was that intensely and unsettlingly aware, that carrying on the way I’d chosen would have cost me much more than the lost appetite or the minor melancholic headache… Omnipresent futility and fragility of life in its countless scenes unfolded with its cruel arbitrariness. An admirer of Shakespeare couldn’t help to tease his master: ‘where – on Earth – did you get your sense of drama from?… You’re a great charmer and a liar, nothing more… There is nothing truly dramatic or spectacular in one’s world going to pieces… Just a quiet surprise, being repeated as a mantra: ‘was it really so frail?… I used to think it will go on for ever…'”

Anyway… getting over it, emerging, transcending…

My traditionally big and sincere THANKS to you all guys – online and offline, accidental and doomed to meet me everyday – for your presence, your patience, your time, your support… it’s been simply priceless and won’t be forgotten, not easily anyway…

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Studying Art (15)- A Fire Runs Through It…


A Fire Runs Through It.

Originally uploaded by ms4jah

I’m becoming obsessed by the fire…
The primordial force of no earthy origin.
Of captivating beauty, forever sublime, even in its ashes and fumes…

The spiritual depth, the emotional fever, the power of human and nature’s genius…

The most mesmerizing epitome of the liminal and the paradoxical – consuming and supporting life, wounding and healing, the master and the servant… Perpetual space of becoming, of an annihilation and re-birth…

The element of gods and monsters, the sublimation of hell, the alien lover…

And as such it’s impossible to paint or to convey in words, and just because of that creative people have always been in love with its challenge…

Everyone around me seems to paint water, sometimes the earth. Well, it’s the islanders’ trait and they are good at it…

But I will face flames in my work. I will challenge them with my imagination, my admiration and ambition; I will abstract them and command them to exist as a spirit and the intent of the work. I will probably abandon them soon, yet it’s interesting to see where they will lead me… What sort of a catharsis and inferno the fire, I’m playing with is going to enrich me with…

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Photo found at Flickr. Click at ms4jah account to access more…


Studying Art – Diary (13) – What now?

Perhaps it’s the more popular question to be asked by an artist than one can imagine – What now? I have got, indeed, a creative, exciting period of discoveries and found solutions – but – what now? I have been praised and supported, despite my oddities – but –  what now? I have been pushing the boundaries and challenging the rules, something of a new quality has begun to emerge – but – what now? What now? Have I learned my lessons, have I been as honest and rigorous with myself and others as it was possible to be, is it my work not a cul-de-sac? …

Studying art is a fantastic privilege and one-in-life adventure, yet – there is a high price-tag to be paid. Apart from the strong sense of competition and generally not very bright prospects for the future career, you are there to perform – and to perform your best not matter what, which requirement makes many to quilt before the finish line. You are expected to progress and to mature all the time, to gain and display the whole set of professional behaviours and skills like the concept and audience-focused thinking, full responsibility for your work and the its development, pursuing the ambitious, personal expression and an unique, visual language, theoretical and technical competency, etc… And there is no more than three years for all of that. Your tutors are ‘somewhere around’ (as they are likely to call their position) – you can seek an individual guidance, yet – the quicker you land on your own feet the better.

Above that, you are very likely to wake up your demons – the questions you would never have asked (or have never been challenged to ask) yourself before starting to study fine art. All your misery and tragic past may be there – awaken and for all to see; all your shallowness and limitations of your inflated ego may be there – exposed as in no other enterprise; all your beauty and strength of your character and talents may also be there – discovered and recognized – yet – what then, what now?

I feel it for the first time, all the gravity and the sublime quality of being a supported art student, who gets possibly more of the mentors’ sympathy and attention, than he/she deserves. Studying fine art is not a private playground for gifted kids, it is not a dreamy land for the real-life-escape-experts, but it is a study like no other study – it is, in a fact, a very serious and risky activity, you can get hurt if you don’t deal with it properly; you can hurt others, who are around you as well…

Starting the new, last semester of this degree year I cannot help to keep asking – what are going to do now? Will you continue your negative, chaos and provocation-based experiments, or will you perhaps choose to ‘calm down’, to densify your formlessness and vagueness into a truly meaningful statement? Will you stay somewhere at the crossroads balancing both of the mentioned options, ignoring the pressure of the ‘results’ (the one of the biggest disadvantages of studying art in an institution – to force oneself to get the ‘results’ on time)? Will you answer to the your work’s calling from yet another, unpredictable now angle? How well/badly will you deal with your audience’s expectations/likes/dislikes? These are not rethoric questions at all, they demand quick, clear answers… Hopefully, some of those will follow in the next post from the series…


Studying Art (10)- The Crisis

Crisis (Oxford Dictionary 2008):

a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger : the current economic crisis | a family in crisis
• a time when a difficult or important decision must be made : [as adj. ] a crisis point of history.
• the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
• the point in a play or story when a crucial conflict takes place, determining the outcome of the plot.

Thesaurus:

critical point, turning point, crossroads, watershed, head, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return, Rubicon, doomsday

Well – you have it all considering the definition alone – you are in a trouble, yet – it’s a fertile ground, even though it may look like a disaster-in-happening. But – in a crisis, in this alter ego of any serious artist – there is always something redeeming… You have your Rubicon to cross – the dice to be thrown, a pathway to be chosen, a truth to be faced/accepted/rejected… New life – out of chaos is to be conceived… It’s a powerful element, which forms/displays the true character of humans; the only time when even ancient, sanctified delusions of ours can be annihilated… Though it may be confusing and/or painful like hell, you’re much better off accepting your struggle the way your child accepts the everyday piece of bread from you – something as natural as the life itself. But don’t be fooled by this apparent heroism of mine… If I had to point out the mistakes I’ve made during the last few months… well, here it goes:  self-indulgence to a point of a narcissism, self-avoidance, lack of a self-imposed, healthy discipline, letting the personal to overwhelm and to command the work, excessive expression, pretense and so on, and so on…

What else? Maybe only this, that it seems to be the tabu-word in today’s career/success-orientated world… the ‘crisis’ – say it out loud in our Western, Anglo-Saxon ‘winners’ ‘club’ –  and you’ll meet with a disapprobation, a distrust, at best – with a pity. It’s OK to weep publicly over the drama of a world-wide recession, yet – to admit – my private recession is not less acute – that would be reckless – just like to plant explosives on your own threshold… O c’mon people – fellow artists – the aristocrats of the spirit… being noble doesn’t necessary mean being flawless…But to say – out loud and out of honesty – ‘I’m just a pretentious, little bastard/ I lost my way/ I have nothing to say/I’m doing this cos I still believe in this exotic, dying flower – the integrity of an artist…’ and so on – that sounds right in the right, critical time, doesn’t it? There is something in the air nowadays that silence the great, the exceptional, the above-average; a man is more afraid of his lightness than his shadows… He is afraid of his own innate nobility, greatness, genius… it looks like the democratic system in its full swing discourages the truthful expression of an individuality the way the communists regimes were designed to do.

Well, it becomes incoherent a bit – I’ll better finish this strange post, the post of a crisis… But – you there – don’t you be afraid to think the nonsense… Was it Wittgenstein who wrote, that if we were too scared to proclaim nonsense, nothing smart would had ever been said?…


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