Category Archives: outside the box

The Art of BEING A CHILD AGAIN!!

Children make me happy. And they remind me that I once was a child too. Once, before I transmogrified into this adult body which I find myself in now…

I made some of my most amazing artistic discoveries as a child. I loved art because it gave me the opportunity to express myself in a way that nothing else did. Through art, I could let my imagination run free.

Children’s art is amazing because through their eyes we rediscover the world again for the first time. Because we once drew those pictures, too. Even if we’re no longer artists.

All children are artists.

And their artwork, while not always beautiful, is honest: coming straight from the heart. With a little bit of encouragement, children make art without barriers, without being shaped by others’ opinions, without doubting their own ability to make art in the first place.. They just MAKE ART. They just make it. And then they put it up on the wall for the world to see, proud of what they did.

Adult artists struggle to recreate playfulness in their work all the time; to be free to express is not so easy when you’re an adult.

STRUGGLE. The definition of struggle in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition; to proceed with difficulty or with great effort..

When you get in a room full of children making art, their ideas are endless. They have the idea, and they go with it. They are less concerned with the product of their artistic endeavors, and more with the physical action of hitting the brush to the page, of gluing the yarn, of blending the colors, of telling the story…

Is it the development of artistic technique that kills the essence of our work as adult artists? Or is it society that shapes us to slowly lose our childhood touch?

Perhaps it is a combination of both.

No matter where we are as artists (with or without technique), we can’t forget that ART is about PLAY. It really is. It’s not about struggling to make a painstaking diagram that maps the future of humankind. It’s about expressing what we see, in a different way, and sharing it. And it can be FUN. ART can be FUN. That’s a mantra I have to say over and over again to myself. Not just that art CAN be fun, but that art IS fun. ART is FUN. It feels good to say it. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. Isn’t that what you thought as a child? ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN!


LINKS:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/struggle (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

http://fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com/tag/the-fridge/page/3/ (The Fridge)

http://www.mama.org/caa/gallery/ (Museum of Ancient and Modern Art)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/78392448@N00/54641857/ (Marc Portier’s Photostream)

http://modernfolklorists.wordpress.com/category/child-artraw-art/page/3/ (The File Cabinet of Curiosities)

http://www.funkorchildart.com/ChildrenArt.php (Funkor Child Art Center)

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Art That Brings People Together

Unfortunately, 9/11 divided people just as much if not more than it brought them together. On the 10-year anniversary of the tragic event, of course we want to honor those who died and the families who lost them; remembering that sad day when all hell broke loose in New York and across the world. However, as so much of the alternative media is discussing in relation to the ten years that have passed since that day, a lot else has happened. And I’m sure you’ve already heard that it ain’t all good. Rather than try and sound overly smart myself, I’m just going to quote a few articles I’ve read over the day that have struck home for me.

The first is from Al Jazeera English, in an article written by Mark Weisbrott titled “The Decade of 9/11: war without end”:

The most important way that 9/11 changed the world, as tens of millions of Americans understand, is that it provided an over-arching theme and a rationale for the kinds of military adventures, invasions, bombings, interventions and atrocities that our government had previously carried out under other pretexts. For half a century the “war against Communism” served this purpose.

From OpEdNews, in an article written by Abdus-Sattar Ghazali titled “American Muslims ten years after 9/11”:

Alarmingly, the post-911 America has become less friendly to Muslims to the extent that they have probably replaced other minorities – Hispanics, Native Americans and Afro Americans – as targets of discrimination, hate and prejudice. Many American Muslims have a story of discriminative treatment ranging from physical attacks, a nasty gaze, casual comments to work place harassment, burning mosques and the Quran. Muslims have witnessed the ever-growing marginalization of their communities. According to a PEW survey released on August 30, 2011, forty-three percent had personally experienced harassment in the past year. The survey also said that 52 two percent of Muslim Americans complained that their community is singled out by government for surveillance.

And from USA Today in an article by Harriet Baskas titled “How the airport experience has changed since 9/11”:

Outside of sending men and women to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, no aspect of Americans’ way of life has been changed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as much as their travel — especially air travel. Many Americans say government air security requirements intrude in their lives in ways that not only inconvenience them, but also invade their privacy, humiliate them and even change the ways they behave.

Rather than dwelling too far on all the negatives, I’ve decided instead to look at the role of art as a medium to bring people together. Often referred to as participatory art, interactive art, and social practice, this style of art often brings art into public spaces, encouraging participation and interaction between people who might not usually come together in everyday circumstances. Here are a few examples of some of my favorites:

Improv Everywhere’s “Say Something Nice” project. To read more about their project, visit the post on their website at: http://improveverywhere.com/2011/08/22/say-something-nice/

French street artist JR’s “Inside Out” project. Visit his website here: http://jr-art.net/

Spencer Tunick’s crouching nudes in Mexico City (http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/blog/creativity-bytes-a-guide-to-participatory-art)

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (http://www.whatisparticipatoryart.com/)

Nick Tobier’s mobile hot chocolate tent (http://playgallery.org/stories/nick_tobier/)

Rose Petal Pool by Rounder (Joanne Jovinelly/Figment) (http://radioboston.wbur.org/2010/06/04/cambridge-river-fest)

Cardboardia. (http://cardboardia.info/)

Do you have more info or links to art that brings people together? Please share them below!!! Thank you.

Article Links:

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011910151711228528.html (Al Jazeera English, “The Decade of 9/11: war without end”)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/American-Muslims-ten-years-by-Abdus-Sattar-Ghaza-110905-979.html (OpEdNews, “American Muslims ten years after 9/11”)

http://travel.usatoday.com/experts/baskas/story/2011-09-07/How-the-airport-experience-has-changed-since-911/50300998/1 (USA Today, “How the airport has changed since 9/11)

Art Without Art Spaces

A hard part about being an artist is finding the right space to do so in. Rehearsal space, space for making things, space for thinking about making things… all these things are needed but space is limited and to have space you have to have $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Artists have to become increasingly creative in the ways that they find space to make things in. This is why Site-specific art work makes more and more sense. Not only does it bring itself directly into the public sphere, not contained in a traditional art space, but it also saves big coins in the wallet, if you know what I mean. As space is limited, I feel pushed to search for a new means of creating artwork that does, indeed, fit outside the box.

Image Sources: http://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/santorini/ (Galleries and Wineries in Santorini), http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/2009_03_01-15_archives.html (Prague Warehouse), http://www.today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/challenging-the-concepts-of-art-96002.aspx (Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” in the Great Salt Lake), http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2007/apr/26/sitespecificworkneedsmoret (The National Theatre of Scotland and Grid Iron’s production of Roam, performed at Edinburgh airport.)