Friday, March 8, 2013

Art + Craft + Design = Process.

Recently I had a great conversation with a friend about the difference between art, craft, and design- a touchy topic to say the least for anyone that works in those fields. To me- its all one be glob of wibbly wobbly mashed up and overlapping stuff. Really, its all the same. Art, craft, and design are all elements of what makes a piece successful. All the paintings in the Louvre would mean nothing if they weren't painted on well made canvas that hasn't warped over the centuries. Additionally, if the Mona Lisa's face was not a golden rectangle would we still feel the same way about it? I'm inclined to say it is how it was designed that makes it remarkable, not how it was painted.

I have been struggling whether or not I make art or if I craft well designed pieces. I'm leaning towards design. After six years of art school, I still don't know the difference.  In the end it doesn't matter because it is genuinely the process of making my work that drives me to do it.

For the past week I have been working on a piece that I have shown to no one. Its nothing special, just a quick design I drew up after an offhand comment from a friend. However, it gave me focus and an excuse to make something that doesn't directly fit in with my birds of prey and Columbia River Gorge theme.  This piece (not shown) to me is most definitely not art. There was very little thought behind it. For me it was a challenge of process and design. Would it be a successful piece if I applied a spackling of theme to it- but focused mainly on my formula for design and construction? I am super anxious about this one. Especially after what happened to 'Pear Bomb' when I finished it.

'Pear Bomb' in the very beginning.

oh the colors!

  I had such high hopes for it- not that it was a bad piece- but it changed so much when I varnished it. Sometimes, I get deeply attached to what I think a piece should look like that I fail to appreciate it for what it looks like. A week after my initial knee jerk reaction to hate 'Pear Bomb' has done a complete 180. It is rapidly becoming my favorite, but that's probably because I like the design of the thing, the texture, color, and contrast.

In the end I'm not so sure that the finished product matters all that much to me. Its done. The journey is over and hopefully I learned something in the process and have made something that someone will enjoy for years to come. Maybe, one day, a 'Pear Bomb' will end up in your life- and you will grow to love it for what it is.

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