Chinese Chairs and a Coffee Table or what has Furniture to do with Art? (part 2)
July 17, 2008
In the last post I already mentioned that creating something “practical” has indeed something to do with art if you want to consider that differentiation between craft and art. I always say, craft is the practical side of the creative process and art is the emotional and philosophical part of creativity. For both parts you need to know your materials, you need to know something about techniques and all that other stuff you either learn at art college or by yourself, studying other work, books, visiting workshops etc. The means are ubiquitous.
Nothing yet can replace your own practice.
I also say that working on materials such as wood f.e. , doing all that physical stuff, keeps your head free of all the pondering and deep emotional process that is involved in art, that is far beyond any practical and/or decorative requirements. I am not saying that working on a craft does not imply any emotions – on the contrary – I felt deep joy and satisfaction creating these chairs and seeing them develop nicely. Anyone who has ever created something in many hours does know that priceless feeling.
And the other side? Who does not know that terrible frustration when you realize that after hours and hours of work there would be no result or the result is not what you expected. That sense of failure can be very de-motivating. But each failure is a further step to your goal and another achievement on your ladder of learning. We never learn through success – we only learn through failures. This applies to anything whether it’s related to art or not.
Practising stuff such as building or constructing something is training for your hands. Try it if you don’t believe me. Use something different than your brush. You will realize that it is a voluptuous and nearly erotic feeling to fondle a wonderful piece of wood or working with cloth or stone. I often touch my sculptures, run my fingers over their faces and just love that feeling of smooth and shiny wood.
There is no need to sniff at these kinds of things, when so called art experts tell you to stay within your range of work and condemn everything that cannot be applied to certain drawers. Famous artists have been accused to jump from one style to another, from one subject to a completely different. Who out there has the right to tell you what you should do and what not. Always challenging you with the argument that you won’t be taken seriously if you don’t sign your work with a recognizable signature (meant in a metaphorical sense).
I sometimes wonder whether “they” would have told this da Vinci too… 😯
(check out the next part…)