The Artist at Work
The mental landscape of an artist is a wonderfully mysterious place to explore. In this blog, we take a light, wistful stroll through the process of various types of artisans to grasp at a better understanding of how the art we love is created.
The artist at work is a curious study. She doesn’t always seem completely cognizant of the social energy around her. She’s not highly confabulatory in this moment, no. She is in a zone — focused, enraptured with a world that only lives in her mind: her soul.
Her hands are speckled with paint from past excursions. Her eyes focus on the clean blank surface. She has become almost oblivious to the aroma of inks and canvas and wood. So many times she has been in this exact same spot — ready, hopeful — anticipating a vibrant figure about to jump out of the nothingness in front of her.
She closes her eyes for just a moment and sees. She can see the flow of the image, the emotion of the memory…. but none of it means anything until the first stroke. It’s time to start — and this is where great artists know the difference between courage and cowardice.
These ideas are very well summed up in Emillions artist, Mara Sfara’s words about her own process. “I love to recreate landscapes and aviation portraits by making use of vivid colors. It allows me to go back in time and recreate a scene from my own perspective.”
“I strive to uncover new areas of interest during the research and production phases of my work. That, in turn, ends up becoming the focus for my next body of work. The whole process is something near and dear to me.”
The Metal Artist
He approaches the bench with an air of curiosity — and trepidation. There on the floor in so many crates are his raw materials. He has his wire, his fasteners, his glue. Taking two inversely proportioned objects — one in each hand — he begins to find fit.
As Donald Van Robinson, metal artist from New Zealand states, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” You can see his work here.
A metalwork or junk artist’s process is very much akin to the way the human brain formulates an idea — raw materials experimentally fitted and set, shape slowly taking form — moving from abstract to figurative as the hours tick by. A shape begins to rise from his assembly surface.
He knows there is always a risk that the whole thing could fall down into a heap of rubble — a monument to the idea that never really took form. But this is no cause for hesitation. He doesn’t proceed because he is assured; he builds because he can’t not.
The wheel sits patient, quiet, still. The dried residue of the last incursion — the war between clay and flesh — still showing as a sign the fight has not been given up. What was simply a formless lump is now a mass of possibility.
A sculptor has a unique perspective, there is a dimension and depth to the planning unlike most other art forms. It’s not only the curve of the figure, but also the weight of the idea, the space that idea will occupy and a clear understanding of its physical displacement. A sculpture imposes on the viewer in dramatic ways.
How can this figure or abstract structure be unapologetically present but still communicate a lightness and ease? These are challenges taken on with vigor and bravery by masters of the craft — and we as appreciators may not give much thought to the nuances — but we are thankful nonetheless.
A wonderful study in the craft of sculpture is Shray. Her work in bronze is both daring and refined. The lines and forms she brings to bear upon the world are truly enlightening. Here is an example her new series, “Soulmate II” (embed photo). See our previous features on Shray here and here.
Function and form dance with one another, giving a delicate and seemingly fragile performance to architecture. As the architect listens to the needs of the client, she feels the pulse of the dream to be built — the heartbeat of those that will occupy this new structure. Keenly aware of the scope and height of the stakes — like standing on the brink of a precipice — the architect knows her process always begins with the human element.
For a space to be occupied and loved by people, it needs to be created to cater to their needs, both perceived and real. There are so many questions to ask, answers to be found. Hours, days, months — even years — of preplanning, conversation and prototypes. The iterative creative process is never more absolutely essential than in architecture.
The trick, great designers know, is to keep the creative vision alive over such a long period of time — and with so many voices and sources of input. This process is very much a curation of structural design, artistic prowess and construction of form.
It takes every ounce of her courage, stamina, tenacity and sensitivity. Architecture as an undertaking is itself an art form beyond the design of the actual building. Building, managing and leveraging the relationships required to bring the plan into reality is one of many skills she will need. And, with finesse and prowess, great architects will fight to bring the design to life.
All of Us
We, as appreciators of the fine arts, are ourselves an influence upon them. When we laud the accomplishments of modern masters, when we tout the discovery of an obscure, raucously talented and ravenously driven contemporary artist, we deliver a dictum of our own to the world of fine art: greatness shall be found and applauded.
We are the guardians against mediocrity. We are responsible to thrust the hard-working visionaries of wonderful works into the public eye so all of humanity may be enriched, our world made better. When work without vision is proliferated, to a small degree, a battle is lost.
When truly inspiring work — work with heart, soul, the gall to challenge the status quo — when this work is made available and visible, the world can rejoice. We all have work to do. We can support the development of the arts, we can share the belief that art can heal and help — for truly great art is always needed. Truly great artists need our encouragement, our praise.
At Emillions Art, we continue on with a commitment to ensure that the working artists can keep working and adding to the cultural landscape!