Monday, August 27, 2012

No Mistakes in Art

Trips for school clothes, lunchboxes, and school supplies are planned or underway.  This is that exciting time when the focus moves from sunny days at the beach to that golden time of reuniting with school friends and the excitement and fear of entering or reentering that schoolhouse door.  It is that great time of self-discovery, adaptation, and survival.  It is a place where you need to find or create your place in a new room, with new students, new teachers, and new expectations.

In the last few years there is a great deal of fear and anxiety tied to school especially for those old enough to do social networking.  The argument with your best friend that used to stay between two or three friends becomes the cruel, anger and gossip driven posts of the 300 BFFs on one side and the 300 BFFs on the other.  Cyber bullying takes a toll -- a huge toll on children and you are children at the most delicate formative time in your lives.  Some are tormented to death and take their lives by their own hands.  There are no do-overs, no apologies, no amount of tears or flowers that will bring those children back.

Art may be a good way to help students find a place, support, and an identity in their world.

There are no mistakes in art.  Art, your art, reflects who you are, how you see the world, how you transfer that world to paper, canvas, clay, or with a camera and computer.  Art opens and encourages you in so many ways to make your own mark on your world.  That first mark you made at the age of two with a fat crayon on a piece of paper or a wall established the fact that you had the power to make something happen and happen with a purposeful action.  That first mark is so important.  From that point on, each and every time you picked up a pen or pencil and made a mark on paper, it was and is your mind making your thoughts visible.  There may be a great fear of making those first marks on a pure white piece of paper.  Make those marks!  Be fearless!

Start with a scribble, look for the parts that are interesting, color them in, add designs to the shapes you find, make some lines heavy, some lines light, some lines become dots, some lines curves, and some lines all angles.  Then turn it around, look at it from all sides, if you are happy with it go on to another piece and do it again or if it still doesn't say what you want it to say… then… tear it up.

Yes, tear it into small pieces, large pieces, geometric shapes, odd abstract shapes, until they fall shredded on to your table.  Now weave longer strips together, glue interesting pieces together, arrange and glue them on another piece of paper, connect them with more lines, more shapes, add some color, paint over parts of it, keep going until it holds your vision, your attention, your thoughts of what you want this piece to say.  Don't throw it away.  Keep working on it.  Like life, art is a work in progress.  Some artists spend years adding new lines, new shapes, and new thoughts to their old works making them visual journals of their life experience. 

Art is one of the best ways to confront fears, your own fears; the fears of making mistakes, fears of failing, fears of being visible or invisible, fears of being alone, fears of fitting in, and fears of being an outsider.  When you make art, you are the artist, and when you are the artist you have the power to make all things possible.  Be passionate about who you are, be passionate about what you love to do, and make it happen.