Billies decent into the level seven, diploma of art and creativity.
What is this? This special category of diploma that is on offer to TLC students?
I asked myself that frequently in the month leading up to my application into the program.
Was I just going with the motion, making sure that I stayed in the arts program – one more year of practice and honing my skills and hopefully being able to pick up more along the way before I face the harsh reality that is that of the working (oppressed) NZ adult?
That was, honestly, a part of the reason to continue studying. It is a relatively safe environment, somewhere to make as many mistakes as possible in a controlled space; people to interact with on your level and bounce ideas around… Being able to study and not work! Whats not to love about that?
I asked many people who are in and are doing level seven and got so many conflicting answers. It is frustrating to think that, despite the nature of Art being subjective that some students were not making it to the end of the program. I heard that you should pick a material and make pieces that respond to a chosen verb. How hard is that? That it is a process, you are not looking for specific outcomes, you have to work the material in so many exploratory ways that you gain a understanding of its properties. But why keep re-inventing the wheel?! 6 Billion people on earth and human kind is over 5 thousand years old. If we are required to research materials almost scientifically like then shouldn’t we be keeping up with the latest developments and developing on what has not been developed?? And giving words to things created that was not the intent of the original artist – OH GAWD – over thinking and analyzing things. It seems like such a waste of brain power.
I have seen some students do the research and putting all their efforts into understanding their chosen medium but are rejected from the program. Why?
What are they doing wrong? Perhaps the school would be better advised to tell potential students what level seven Is Not.
Or at least be brutally honest with students in the program already.
I was told you can get away with this program by doing the bare minimum, only enough to please. Obviously that didn’t happen for the students that got dropped.
I still have no idea, fully, what this program wants me to do in order to pass it.
I have ideas of works I would like to make, and feel that, potentially I should do it without guidance or looking for approval every time. Just get on with it.
I think I’m gonna get angry if I get the poker face of ‘art-is-subjective-but-I-do-not-approve-of-your-work-and-wont-tell-you’ face. I think I rather enjoy the way art is made in the first two years, at least you can get some honest feedback. Especially over techniques! How do you get feedback from anyone when the advanced year pieces are asking for non-advanced year people to think and feel about works in ways that they are not used to! This advanced program art only applies to advanced level students and, well, people who just love corporate art. How do I know if someone likes it or not if they are confused as to how to respond or will feel bad about telling you anything other than nice remarks. If I asked them to be brutally honest about a piece then Im likely to get something that resembles “My five-year-old can make that”. My feed-back is now limited to level seven peers (whom are few on-site) and mentors. And I dont even know where the heck that is going to lead me!! Who do I even look up to?
With this in mind, I feel sad that I may have to make things that are in a way alienating to many of my friends. Family. Strangers. How do I make my work connect with people? (And part with their hard earned cash, lets face it, Im a born cricket singing to the ants to survive).
This week was the first week of level seven. I approached it with some trepidation, and some pissy assumptions.
Sure I knew exactly what we were supposed to do and that discussions were to happen. But, I just couldnt get past my troublesome pre-conceptions. Am I really stupidly stumbling into this program, too scared to face the reality of working while needing to be medicated for anxiety and depression?
That is absolutely true.
I havent been on meds for years and being in this environment is making sure I dont go back there.
So why cant I just get with the program at hand?
During disussions I wrote notes on what could potentially hinder me from progressing.
Being required to over analyse things – giving things meaning when that was not the intention [of the artist] (self interpretation).
Does everything absolutely have to have a fucking meaning?! Is it necessary to know this? Why do you want to know it?
Funny thing, thinking about these things and writing them led me to think about an ASAP Scicene video on slow thinking vs fast thinking and somehow it just made sense that that was what level seven is all about.
Its slow thinking about the work instead of fast. So Fast can be interpreted as … Instant gratification that you know what the picture is and means; for example a poster for a play – it has the necessary wording and characters posing. Or a land-scape painting, or a photo, or real-life. You already know what everything is and dont need to figure it out. Its been done.
Where as advanced is asking for you to slow down your art making and concentrate on the minutiae of the material. From how you apply it to what it is. Singling out aspects.
I then thought about how zen kind of has that approach. Its the appreciation of the process – as in tea ceremonies.
As in kendo kata, which I understand on a level boardering on passionate and fucking spiritual.
So with this understanding coming to me, late on a friday, I started to feel more happier with what Advanced can potentially be.
Perhaps I can go far with my found interests in art materials. I think my vehicle for this journey will be: Zen.
And with that I greeted my mentor (who will now be known as my sensei), with a bow.
Happy 2016 Billie. Do your best.