Wednesday, January 4, 2017

An Introduction

Today I slept through my first class, for the first time... this term. I want it to be the last time. Ever. Maybe now will be different. That's what I want. 

This is an Adobe Photoshop piece I made last June. It's the first thing I thought of when I read this project's description. I don't think it captures the aesthetic I normally strive for, but I think it successfully captured my feelings in that moment. It was a time of transition, and reflection. On the terrible year I had had up to the point. On the people I had lost. On the peace that going home had brought me. On the anxieties that haunted my summer.

I found the piece too sporadic, too loose, to appeal to the shallow sense of beauty that normally guides my process and decides if I like a piece or not. Normally, I just want it to look good. I don't care that much about meaning or anything. That's not what it's about. It's pure vanity. 

This is vanity. This isn't the way I see the world. This isn't who I am, was, or will be. And this isn't how I felt. If you asked me to explain the meaning of this piece, I'd probably come up with some bullshit about motion or wealth or something. I just like the way this looks. Thats why I made it, and that's why I like it. Thats true for most of the things I've made. Sometimes I challenge myself to make something that I think is beautiful, or at least visually appealing, with as few steps as I can. I'm not very good at that. But on occasion I think it works out. 

I've been doing these little individual projects for about a year. Before that I did some photography, but never really did anything with my pictures. Art has never been a goal of mine. I think that why I like it. I'm someone who quits things easily. At the slightest resistance I'll drop whatever hobby I thought would make me a more interesting person. When karate started actually requiring energy and commitment, I took of my orange belt for the last time. When my bass teacher wanted me to learn something a bit more challenging than "Seven Nation Army" I put my bass as deep in my closet as I could reach. Now, I do think I've matured a bit since those days. I started climbing in high school and stuck with it until the wasteland of Central Wisconsin stole it from me. But art has always been different. It's self gratifying. It lets me do something and nothing at the same time.

This isn't about anything, but it makes me feel small.

I don't have an agenda. I barely have any goals at all. I want to be happy, consistently. I want to be comfortable, usually. I want to grow, and I trust that in growing I will find myself a life. So my art doesn't have an agenda either. The closest thing it has to a goal is an emotion. I love that about it. Failure's one of my greatest fears, but there is no failure in my art. Even if a piece goes nowhere it's successful. 

"The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act - the way we perceive the world." (McLuhan 41)

This last piece is from a bad time for me. It can be about a lot of things. One of them is the dichotomy I discovered coming to college, and actually socializing for the first time in my life. I was making friends, real friends, for the first time in a long time. And I thought I fit in. But I didn't feel different. It wasn't the epiphany I had dreamed of. It was the same.


  1. I really like the simplicity of your blog. It makes it seem really ordered and methodical. I think your blog is different from most because you reveal who you are through a pieces of artwork. I like that you chose pieces of art and described what those made you feel. You revealed "who you are as an artist" through your emotions.

  2. Hi Elias,
    I think you're blue piece is great (I think it would make a beautiful postcard!) and I was really intrigued by you're process of trying to make something beautiful in as few steps as possible - I've never thought of art making in those terms and it's a challenge I want to give myself now.

    I relate to feeling like I make things with no reasoning except the aesthetic of it, but I was wondering if you ever worry about that? I get really in my head about the things I make having no purpose and I'm not sure if thats a good thing to worry about or not. I wonder a lot if artist intent even matters in art, because doesn't the experience of the audience say more about the meaning anyways? If you did have a meaning in your art making what do you think it would be?

    Thanks for your post,