Something is happening. I am not sure what, but there is something. Sounds crazy I know. But truly I feel that since I have stepped back from things and challenged myself to look at my world in a new way that something is happening. I believe we all get complacent. My students do. We all do. Even if we are reluctant to admit that we are complacent. Complacency stagnates creativity. I am in a unique environment at the company I work for when I am not creating art. The vision of the CEO and being surrounded by all types of art and creative expression is uplifting creatively.
On a personal level I am revisiting the things that help spark creativity, such as reading and gardening. I do not have a green thumb but being connected to nature is so central to me. I can never remember the name of plants but I know how they thrive and I love my herbs. I didn't grow up gardening, except for cultivating my little green bean patch that my mother still talks about to this day, so gardening has been a learning experience. I love learning. That too is a creative spark inducer. That's why I am exploring felt and embroidery stitches right now. Totally not art by art standards but I have always teetered between art and craft. Difficult not to appreciate and merge both when you grow up with a creative father who remodeled an entire house from the ground up and became a master carpenter.
I see art in what most people call craft. So be it. I'm content not being a fine artist or a painter. Give me wood, paper, clay, non-traditional materials any day. After all, Eva Hesse is my favorite artist. She threw out the accepted notion of traditional materials. Though I must give credit to Picasso for giving me permission early in my artistic career to explore all mediums. But he led me to her and I am forever grateful to both to never feel limited by the materials. In college it was the opposite. I was studying ceramics and my ceramics professor talked about pottery as sculpture. Inspired, I took every sculpture class I could. But because I had committed to ceramics, in my finally studies I was only allowed to work in clay. I explored and pushed the limits with the organic forms I wanted to create. Many of my complex creations exploded in the kiln. I felt constricted by the material. I wanted the piece to tell me what it should be made out of not force it to be made of a particular material. In my final independent study class I was allowed to explore a medium outside of clay. By then I knew I didn't want to be a potter or only work in clay. To my father's surprise I turned to wood. I had been studying him working for years, absorbing it like a sponge. I was drawn to Mondrian at the time. Frustrated with the organic forms I had been trying in clay, I turned to geometric forms and explored wood. I created several pieces and then stopped. Sometimes artists just stop for a while. I was searching again.
What finally burst out of me was a combination of my love of wood and my need to explore mixed media in a truly organic and abstract way. I was not ready really for that piece. I had started it and put it away. I revisited the piece and finished it many years later. Still, I was not ready for that piece. The work that followed and has followed since has not been similar. And now, I feel that burst brewing and I am trying not to hold it back.
As I said, I teeter between art and craft. I do like to challenge the notion of craft and ask the question, why. Art history is full of why. I didn't like studying art and having to memorize painting names, dates, etc. But I loved learning about the movement of art. I still get excited when I share a summary of this movement as I lead up to my most favorite period, modern art. Art has lost the "movement". Each decade has already challenged art down to it's essential components and exploded into contemporary art and social art which was a natural and likely result. But now we are here which is where I don't know. I would have enjoyed living in the 60's creating in the modern movement next to artists like Eva Hesse. Chef's today are experiencing a similar creative movement through food. But not art. Though some art historian somewhere will find a name for the art of our decade. In my opinion, we are stagnant. We need an art movement. All I can hope for is that my own personal art movement will happen. That it will not be like the tomato on my poor tomato plant. It is on the verge of blossoming but just sits there, in a holding pattern. Nope! I'm ready for the burst!
#jnicholsart #lifeofanartist #mixedmedia #wallrelief #art #flowers
I'm Jennifer Nichols, a mixed media artist from North Carolina. I enjoy capturing the essence of nature through a variety of materials. I incorporate found objects such as strainers and bottle caps into my work. I am drawn to these items but it is also important to me to do my part to protect our environment by keeping things out of the land fill.