Art Is Easy In 2014

August 5, 2013

In June I began participating in a project led by my friend Emily Gastineau. The project requires the participants to keep hourly totals of the time we put into our artistic work. But 'WORKING' on our art is broadly defined: we can be researching, reading, taking class, rehearsing, thinking about the work while doing something unrelated, or writing. In September there will be a live performance component of the project at The Soap Factory, and we will present some sort of currency to represent the hours put into the art. 

I like this project because it's process-focused. I've enjoyed my art the most when I've stayed present in the moment with it, not fixating on the end result and how it will be received. And I like this project because it causes me to question the idea of 'my art'. Lately my creative energy has fostered a lot of different kinds of projects, many that aren't necessarily dances. Does one kind of project make me a more legitimate 'artist' than another? Are my unpaid personal projects less or more important than the paid ones?

Here are a few things the project has made me think about:
  • Process sharing: It's easy to share a performance with an audience. How do you share your process? I really think that process-sharing is important for audience engagement. What are effective ways of sharing what you're making? How do you talk about your art?
  • Making Art Like A Musician Makes An Album: If it's taking you hours and hours to research and make something, how do you get the most bang for your buck out of it? How do you re-purpose art? 
  • Creativity Is Creativity: Whether I'm making a play with 6-year-olds, writing a blog post, or rehearsing, I'm flexing my creative muscles, and thinking about many of the same things. Some of these activities are more valuable to others-- and they pay me varying amounts of money. It's up to me to illustrate the value of what I make. I'm not inherently valuable because I'm an artist, any more than a lawyer is inherently valuable because he knows the law. 
  • Blur The Art Line: I am happier when I commit myself to the philosophy that EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. I cannot separate work and art and pleasure into separate compartments. I've learned a lot about humans when I'm waiting tables. These lessons work there way into my consulting, into my writing, into my dance making. Artists possess creative thinking and problem-solving skills that are infinitely valuable to society, but it's up to us to create opportunities for these skills to be seen and shared. 
I guess I'm investigating how this 'work' results in more than a dance. What else can I make? How else will these research hours serve me? What else can I share and learn? 

[Emily's project will be presented in some form as part of the Soap Factory's Biennial exhibition.]


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