Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thoughts on Drawing: A Philosophical Perspective: Freedom/Structure - Kelsey Lakowske

Even though drawing has always been a hobby, I hardly took any classes in art after the mandatory elementary school phase. I took maybe one or two in middle school, and one in high school - but they often turned out to be my least favorite part of the day, which probably speaks to the real meaning of art in my life. That is, art has always been "freedom" to me. It was a way to represent myself, to share things I saw or experienced, and to express intangible things like thoughts or feelings in a creative way.  Most importantly, it was something that I couldn't do "wrong." 

Perhaps that is where the structure of classes in the higher tier stages of education became unappealing to me. In younger years, art can be raw and untamed, but (understandably) once you've reached an institution that administers grades as a measure of success, art becomes a tricky subject to incorporate. Art, to me, is inherently subjective - but school is generally meant to be objective. Thus, the classes I took were useful for techniques and learning new perspectives in drawing, but at the core I felt the "freedom" of art - the part that most appealed to me - somewhat removed. The real satisfaction of expression was restrained in institutional art.

There is a place for this type of structured art though - and once I identified why I wasn't wholly satisfied with my art classes, I wasn't so frustrated. I took advantage of the structure to guide my art and instead of being aggravated by lack of freedom, I changed frustration to excitement to try something new, to learn, and to expand my understanding of art. 

While art remains an outlet and a form of expression and freedom, I learned by the end of high school that it could also be an institutional learning experience - in a different way, I could learn to accept art as both structure and freedom. Finding a balance between these allowed me to appreciate art in a more realistic way - because honestly, art in the real world is not about drawing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it and however you feel like it. To make art a profession, you must relinquish a naive attachment to art as "freedom" and realize it can be funneled into a purpose.

This realization was something I brought to this class. I faced a similar discontent drawing static objects and buildings at the beginning of the semester - as a "cartoonist" of sorts,  I wanted to invent things and didn't want to be constrained to the parameters of what was in front of me. While I was uncomfortable with linear constructions, it was great for me to practice something I wouldn't ordinarily choose to draw. Many of the early assignments were frustrating, but it was an excellent exercise in that it forced me to learn how to draw in a way I would never ordinarily opt to - and by the end of the semester, I was jittery with excitement to finally draw something organic and animate. 

A profession in art requires acceptance of parameters - while art still represents "freedom" to me, it is useful to see how it can teach patience and discipline. I think art will always be an important part of me- not only because I love it...but because of its unique opportunity to express freedom and structure in the same vein. It is a great metaphor for much of life - pleasures need to be tempered with hard work, just in the way that freedom is only appreciable in the presence of restraint.

(This was probably more philosophical than this final blog assignment was meant to be, haha! Dont' take me too seriously)

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