It was clay that lured me into art school. Enthusiasm for the medium quickly gave way to enchantment, and a full-time course of study ensued. Entrenched in academia, I was compelled to look beyond my intuitive attraction to clay and explore the boundless world of art.
During this period of “enlightenment” I have discovered an inexhaustible range of artists, art works, concepts, skills and controversies. Along the way, I have uncovered many truths about myself, and have struggled with firmly-ingrained beliefs. I have learned how to deal with these conflicts through art. I have learned how to make a beautiful pot.
My education, however, has not been just about making art. It has been about understanding art from historical and contemporary perspectives, and about assimilating this information to carve out my own artistic niche.
At present, my work represents an effort to deal with the plethora of information to which I have been introduced—is it proper to express my personal feelings through art, or am I socially irresponsible for doing so? Can these objectives be integrated, or will the work lose impact if I focus too broadly? Does emphasis on technical skills eliminate the “soul” or significance my work? Do I want to make art work that is “precious," or work that has a place in ordinary life?
In Conversations Before the End of Time, Suzi Gablik dialogs with Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence magazine. Kumar points out the traditional Indian view of art as a living process—not as an end product. He believes we are surrounded by ugliness, with beauty closeted into museums in small corners of the world. He is an advocate of the integration of art and everyday life.
Currently, my unresolved philosophy is that artists have responsibilities in all these areas. In the traditions of David, Goya and Courbet, artists should use their talents to address social and political issues in an attempt to evoke change. There is also value in making objects that allow contemplation and lend beauty to everyday lives. I also believe it is every artist’s right to enrich his or her own life through expression of personal feelings.
The possibilities are limitless. Focus is important as long as growth is uninhibited. Finding my place may be difficult, but it is a path I will follow.