In case my subject header wasn’t clear, I’m participating in an art show. But instead of submitting my artwork to someone else’s event or adhere to a particular theme, I’m organizing the art show from scratch. Do I know how to organize an art show? No. Do I know what I want to exhibit? No idea. I don’t have a theme or even know what medium I want to showcase. What I do know is that the show date is June 11th, 2011.
I’m completely insane, right? Perhaps, but I’d like to think that I’m doing something outside of my comfort zone and challenging for my artistic development. So, what prompted me to do this? It all began with an afternoon tea date.
A few weeks ago, I visited my friend Julia’s for tea, treats and talks. It was a sunny but still chilly April afternoon and our green teas provided the warmth we needed. We chatted about various topics that afternoon, but we primarily focused on art. It’s a subject that we share in common.
Julia is an artist, a veteran at that though I’ve never heard her refer to herself that way but I think she is. At one point in her career, she has owned her own gallery space. I’m very interested in art and like to talk about it. I sometimes like to call myself an artist but I seldom do it. Most often, I’m hesitant to use that label.
I forget how we got onto this topic but she told me that a method of hers of creating a series or a body of new work, was to organize an impromptu art show. Without a theme or with just a glimmer of an idea, she sets a date for her show, tells everyone about it and then produces the work. Her artistic process is backwards but she is held accountable if she doesn’t make art. It’s challenging, impulsive and daring, but these shows, she says, would become one of the most rewarding experiences in her career.
This impulsive approach appealed to me. I can somewhat identify with it. In my experience, I’ve found that creative juices only start to develop when I’m given a deadline; they really start to bubble like crazy when the deadline inches closer and closer. I get into a ‘healthy’ panic mode where I constantly think about my project and the ideas just naturally flow. This is both a good and bad thing: try as I might, I find it challenging to finish the work early, ahead of schedule. I wish these ideas flowed a month before a deadline but I tend to do my best work under pressure. Similar to Julia’s approach of making art and her suggestion to organize an art show, her idea planted a seed in my head that I couldn’t shake.
I’m hardly an impulsive person but thought that this idea might be good for my career development. I’ve been feeling stagnant as someone who wants to make art but still has difficulty to identify as one. After some analysis – not too much, otherwise I will get scared and not do it – the idea became a reality.
So, now I’ve got an art show coming up and I’m not sure what to do. With Julia’s experience and knowledge, she will guide me along as she will work on her own art work. This is her show as well as mine.
Am I nervous? Not yet. I’m concerned that I might do anything and wait until the very last minute and do something mediocre. I would rather prepare and finish somewhat on time but can I shift the way I work now, after so many years of doing it in a particular way?
There’s only one way to find out. I’m jumping in.