“Meaningful”

The one strand of tenuous consistency I had was severed three days ago. A large coach bus drove the three hundred thirty-six miles it took to snap it.

This was the lowest moment in an already low week, and the second Thursday in a row which I spent wallowing in my own self-pity.

I took no solace in friends.

There is a great tendency in the consolation process amongst friends to push the griever in question towards “happy” or “fun” things, usually in an attempt to make said griever “forget” their grievances, if only temporarily.

I have no interest in such things.

I do not want “happy” or “fun”, as these are adjectives used to described short-lived experiences designed to cause one to merely avoid their problems entirely. Evasion is not a solution to such a problem.

I want “meaningful.”

“Meaningful” in this context implies an attempt to construct a new thread to replace the gap caused by the destruction of the previous one. This is precisely what I need at this moment. I need to develop a connection that fills the void of consistency which left with that bus.

So far, things are not working in my favor.

Let’s look at what I have done since Thursday:

Cried

Listened to sad songs

Drawn

Ate

Ate ice cream

Chain smoked

Drank

Danced

Fucked

Talked

Written

Cried

Now, some of those things were “fun”, some were “happy”, and some were neither, but not one of them was “meaningful” according to my previously listed definition. In other words, I am not moving successfully towards anything which I would deem a positive direction.

Perhaps I’m the one at fault here. Maybe I don’t actually know at all what I want. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s been the case.

But suppose that’s not true.

Suppose it’s you (a word which here refers to both “you”, the reader, as well as “you”, the person to whom this ambiguous usage implies I’m directly referring to. I’m leaving it open for interpretation as vagueness is a new hat for me to try on, given my typically direct and frank nature).

Let’s take this as fact and run with it for a moment.

You want me to be happy. That much is obvious, and I’m quite appreciative of this. But wanting does not make it so. My happiness relies too much on your actions at the present moment for that to be the case.

I want you to be happy, as well, but it often seems that my desire for both self-satisfaction and your happiness may be at odds with one another.

If this is true, I’m beginning to hate truth.

With lies I can bury myself in a false sense of comfortability, a realm of fiction more closely related to the books I bury my face in than the world which I exist in.

I’ve been liking those books more and more lately.

With truth, however, I’m forced to confront the possibility that things may not work out precisely how I would like. This is an obvious truth that the universe constantly makes clear, and one which I thought I had grown quite alright with.

This has proven to be false (another lie), however.

I would really like things to work out for me.

Just once would be nice.

That fucking bus just hurt too much to let my greatest hope for “meaningful” fall apart so rapidly.


Metaphor and Simile

I wake up every day with a burning sensation in my throat, a neck that hurts to move, and an insatiable thirst (of both the physical and terrible metaphor varieties).

Physically, I would like water.

I keep a glass on the printer next to my bed, but it’s never quite enough, and I always have the feeling that a slightly larger glass would suffice, but I’m scared of breaking from routine.

Metaphorically (and I apologize for forcing you, my dear reader, into enduring yet another “insatiable thirst” metaphor, but I thought it was funny at the moment, so bear with me), I would like…

…actually, I would just like to know what it is I would like.

That yearning (a word chosen here for its close auditory proximity to “burning”) is for something I can’t readily identify. I don’t know what I want, and that’s why things hurt as much has they do.

This pain is also metaphorical, though occasionally it manifests itself as physical pain in the form of a stabbing sensation in my stomach or flank, or an immense pressure near my sternum.

What hurts is not knowing.

I’m sure I could write a list of things I want but do not need, and it couldn’t be bound and published, not because it wouldn’t be an enticing read (I can assure you, it would be absolutely phenomenal), but because it would weigh significantly more than even the longest of literary classics, and the shipping charges would be exorbitant.

However, I find myself incapable of writing what amounts to the exact opposite of that list: a one bullet-point document of things that I actually need.

I know what I want, and it’s to know what I need.

Maybe I do know, and maybe I’m trying to convince myself that what I know is right is actually wrong, entirely because I know that what I need seems to be so desperately out of reach, like a magnet being forced to its same-pole brethren, getting close through effort, but alas, never connecting.

Or maybe I just like making excuses for myself with shitty similes.

I’m a writer and a liar, so it’s probably the latter.


Killing Weintraub

As is evident from the rest of my work, while I do not much care for the world of people, I do very much care about the power of the individual. For that exact reason, I’ve chosen to focus on two artists who have both worked towards examining what a single human being is capable of but in remarkably different ways.

These two men, Gregory Green (who, coincidentally, makes art which COULD kill Weintraub) and Matthew Barney, have both honed in on the individual as their subject, and for that I applaud each of their work. Their approaches, however, could not be more distant from one another.

Green focuses on the average man. He wants to show the world the potential disruption that just one regular person to cause to any system, structure or government. His work consists largely of the building and instructing on building of various types of bombs and other weaponry so as to “nudge a complacent audience to consider the possibility of joining the ranks of radical protestors.”

His work, clearly anarchist in nature, forgoes traditional media in favor of that which is actually practical. Most of his objects can be found quickly at grocery and hardware stores, and take no advanced knowledge to construct. He wants to make it clear that if you want to, you can build a bomb and fuck something up. He’s taking a side, politically. He’s trying to destroy the whole game.

Barney on the other hand works towards showing a completely different side of man, that of becoming better than what seems possible. He works his body to the very limit in order to perform feats which otherwise would seem impossible. His goal is to test just what can actually be done by one person and a hell of a lot of dedication.

In his films however, he seems more so to explain the side effects of constantly attempting to better oneself. The consumption of one’s life to chasing perfection leads to a number of downsides including the most prevalent in his work, the “withdrawal from sexual relationships.” This manifests itself in his films in the form of a constant examination of human sexuality, both in terms of anatomy and physical intimacy.

Conceptually, these two men are simultaneous incredibly similar and vastly different. My love for the work of both likely stems from this disparity.

Nothing is more important than the individual, and these men know it.


See, Think, Make

During UV1 I was given an abridged version of this presentation. I believed it to be solid, though, as a fine artist with no design-based tendencies, I felt no connection with it at all.

However, this time around there was a slight change. And do I ever feel connected now.

(Do not in any way take that as a positive.)

“Art is a product. Design is a process.”

This may be the most preposterous statement I’ve ever heard.

Seriously, what gives someone the gall to not only say that art is all about the final product, but in the same phrase say that design is entirely about the journey to the final product?

As a counterpoint to this, let’s use my last piece for Drawing Across Disciplines as an example. I was attempting to construct a map of the United States based on the number of days I’d spent in each state as a way of turning mapmaking from its normal worldly self into an introspective medium.

For this, I spent a solid four or five class periods doing nothing but research. I had to determine how many days I had been in each state, the percentage of the United States each state occupied, the percentage of my life each state occupied, the amount by which the square mileage of the state would be multiplied and finally, the proper formula for multiplying something’s square mileage. I had next to no clue what the final product would look like, and I didn’t care. It hardly mattered to me. I was too focused on conveying the information obtained in an accurate manner, and allowing it to speak for itself.

That is what art is about.

Art is the study of a topic and idea, be it universal or personal, and creating a complete understanding of that until a visual representation can be made.

I believe that is what is known as “process.”


“Fuck You, Neil Armstrong”

And he said to himself, or maybe out loud, but certainly to no one in particular, “I will buy a gun, and I will go to the moon, and I will kill every-fucking-thing there.”

And he awoke from a half-daze, concerned not for his own sanity, but for the sanity of those around him, as if the ethereal realm he had entered might plague the minds of those in a close proximity. It wasn’t as though he didn’t love them. He just wasn’t sure they could cope with living there.

So he started on that journey.

And he bought that fucking gun.

But the moon is much closer in telescopes and old photographs of astronauts. Affordability was an issue, and walking wasn’t an option, so he did the only thing he could.

He went back to his bedroom.

And he cried.

Until he fell asleep.

And while he slept, he spoke. Again, he was in his world, and again the moon came back within reach.

But when he finally made it, there was nothing for him to kill. The job had already been done.

“Fuck you, Neil Armstrong,” he said under his breath, as his chest rose and fell beneath his blankets for the last time.

His family loved him.

His friends as well.

They all cried, but they understood. And they had a good sense of humor.

And his gravestone read, “Fuck you, Neil Armstrong.”

 


Artist’s Statement

In making art, I am my own favorite character.

When I produce work I don’t intend to affect anyone. It’s too personal of an experience for me to set out with any intentions other than pleasing myself. Art for me is the epitome of hedonistic experience, doing it purely to make myself happy.

I am a very detached individual, so by doing work in a way which may give off an air of personal disconnect, I’m actually creating a fairly accurate portal into what it means to be me.

This type of honesty in describing my own personal character and self leads directly into the manner of my “artistic attitude”. It’s clearly one of accuracy.

I have a tendency to make drawings focused on the ideas of isolation and self-sustenance. My work tends to be rather intimate and focused on nouns (people, places and things) that are incredibly close to me or have shaped my life in one way or another. Recently though, I’ve found myself doing a significantly greater portion of conceptual work, focusing on planning out a thought-provoking idea prior to executing it visually. I attempt to give a reason for the existence of a piece before I begin any actual work. I don’t like meaninglessness in a situation where I can have complete control over the meaning.

Life is inherently void of meaning. I enjoy finding order anywhere I can.

Younger me probably began its transformation into the person who exists today around the sixth grade, when my Religion teacher (Catholic school from kindergarten through high school) gave me the freedom to question the beliefs which had been ingrained into my head as unquestionable facts for so long. This was my first taste of skepticism.

All my free time began to fill with my own personal journey to understand the world around me, and it was at this point that my life philosophy began to develop into what it is today.

I’ve spent the better part of six years coming to terms with the ideas I study. Existentialism, in particular the principles of absurdism, has governed my life view for a great deal of that time. I am a humanist and agnostic atheist who believes that the world around us does not have an inherent purpose, and that the only way to fill it with meaning is to surround yourself with the nouns you love. These ideas are ones which I tend to feel quite passionate about, and are the main reasons I am an artist.

It does not work the other way around. I am an artist because of who I am. I am not who I am because I am an artist.

Because of the personal nature of my work, my audience tends to be a very personal one as well. I make much of my art inside of journals and sketchbooks, things which people have to ask to view. By keeping the art so close to myself, I (unintentionally) create a real intimate connection between the art I make and the people who get to view it.

My works have the greatest effect on people psychologically. Everything about my work is mental. It’s nothing more than a projection of my current psychological state, which forces people to think about their preexisting concepts of who I am. It’s all in their heads.

Goals:

To surround myself with the people I love, so as to foster creativity and thinking better than I could any other way, including through my typical self-induced isolation.

To live more.


Anastomosis & Between the Cracks

MIAD’s new curriculum has one glaring flaw in my eye’s (and those of quite a few of my closest peer):

Yes, thinking is the basis of becoming a great artist or designer. But drawing is the basis of preparing to become a great artist or designer.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in art or design: YOU. NEED. TO. DRAW. PERIOD.

And before you “photography” majors start bemoaning that you don’t need it, just leave the page. Any good photographer will tell you that there is a vast universe of things you can’t possibly learn about photography without knowing how to draw first. I mean, just look at the word for fuck’s sake. It means “DRAWING WITH LIGHT.”

And THAT, is the one thing I cannot in any way, shape or form begin to forgive MIAD for. Observational Drawing not being a class this semester has been by the far the most detrimental thing to my education, and if you’ve noticed the change in tone from my other blog posts, it’s because this issue legitimately pisses me right the fuck off.

However, with (most of) the negativity out of the way, let’s look at some of the ways in which I’ve found this place beneficial.

For starters, Understanding the Visual 2 has honestly made me feel like I’m actually getting somewhere from being here. Not to sound like I’m hyping it for the grade, but it’s really the only class to truly make me feel like this place is actually gonna help me develop as an artist and not just as a student. I makes me feel confident that there will be a day coming soon in which I may finally make more pieces than projects.

From here, it’s easy to look at the interconnectivity of the rest of the curriculum more objectively. The overarching lessons taught in each class seem to be very well interwoven, so much so that topics commonly come up independently in more than one class. This sort of meshing of (almost) all areas of education seems to be really strongly suited for a stronger connection to what’s being learned.

With that in mind though, I firmly believe that I can’t continue this conversation without beginning to go on an absolute tirade against another very specific part of the curriculum, so it will have to end at this. If you’d like to hear the last piece of the conversation, feel free to ask.

UPDATE: Having just posted and actually looked at this, I’d like to revise it immediately.

I don’t know what the hell I was talking about before.

The interconnectivity of the curriculum is a myth. Maybe it’s occurred once or twice since I’ve been here, but that’s hardly more than would happen simply by pure coincidence.

And given that tying it all together is what this whole foundations year has been about, what are you left with when you take that away? A jumble of classes focused on turning people who are not good artists into pseudo-intellectual “not good” artists.

I have developed almost nowhere from where I was a year ago. My growth over my senior year of high school was vastly greater than this. Any development I made was for something completely unrelated to class.

Case in point: I’ve thrown away the majority of work I’ve made all this year. I have to make a portfolio of work I’ve done for school. I have absolutely no interest in doing so. I would love to update my portfolio with work I’ve done since I got here, but it would hardly serve as the promotion of the Foundations experience that’s no doubt wanted.

Were it not for my getting really, REALLY lucky in a number of cases with regards to the instructors I’ve had, I would have considered this entire year the greatest waste of money I’ve ever made.


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