Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Don't Make Stuff...

My MFA is from Claremont Graduate School...although now, they've fancied up the name a bit and it's Claremont Graduate University. I chose the school because it was not a "photography" oriented program. Instead it was oriented to all the visual disciplines and was heavily into making art. The first year, I completely stopped taking images and explored everything from curation to installation. It was exactly what I needed. 

The off-shoot of this experience is that none of my classmates are photographers. Sometimes that's a drag, but overall I think I made the right choice. A few years ago, I joined a group of 15+ women artists, many of whom I know from grad school, who meet every couple of months and collaborate on a set of artworks. It's got a bit of the exquisite corpse approach to it - a few rules that often get broken and the work passes from individual to individual. 

Our current project started with Mandalas and this Sunday we will be meeting to review the final steps in preparation for an exhibition in June. When I was first invited to join - my response was "I don't make stuff..." which got a laugh and then was promptly ignored. But it is true - I struggle with objects, but have soldiered on, contributing a video, slivers of a photograph, an audio track...and this week, I added rice to a couple of kitschy glasses.  I still don't think I make objects, but I have enjoyed the process. 

Consider starting your own collaborative group. The social part is the best and it's interesting responding to the prompts from a different artist. Also - think about making sure you're working outside of just your own practice...that stretch across disciplines will open you up. 

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