It’s not uncommon for an artist to be asked, “What type of art do you do?” How we answer matters, but does your answer align with your practice? There has been a shift in my own creative practice over the years that has not quite made its way into my personal rhetoric.
I don’t get asked this question as often as I used to, because in art education circles the conversations are different. When I was asked this question recently, however, I realized the answer I gave was no longer relevant. The words coming out of my mouth were my own, but they were the answer I would have given ten years ago.
A similar realization struck me when I was at the Recent Works Show recently and a friend asked me, “Do you get time to paint anymore?”
I have done a lot of painting in my creative life, and I do paint still on occasion, but the way I responded to the question did not align with reality. I answered with some cliche suggesting I have been too busy, but this is just wrong.
I completed a painting project recently and I admit that may have been the only one in more than a year, but while I may not do much painting I continue to spend a great deal of time in my creative pursuits. They just don’t necessarily align with the way I am used to thinking about this — from a traditional “fine arts” perspective.
In an effort to help my words catch up to my practice, allow me to put together answers to these questions here…
So, do I get time to paint?
I spend a lot of time with my creative pursuits, but only occasionally does that mean painting.
What type of art do I do?
My creative practice does not focus on one mode or medium as this question presumes. I consider myself a curious maker. I have a passion for exploring and learning new ways of creating. I do occasionally create drawings, paintings, and sculptures, but my curiosity has led to exploration and practice of a variety of other creative pursuits. In the time since I defined myself as a painter, I have spent more time exploring things like:
- Bow making
- Decorative wood working
- Primitive crafts (like the samples pictured above)
- Glitch art
- Lenticular printing (very recently), and
- Bonsai (which accounts for a great deal of my creative time)
That’s my answer. What’s yours? If you haven’t had to answer these questions recently, I encourage you to consider these questions for yourself. Will you give an answer that aligns with your current practice, or will you, like me, give the answer you are used to giving?