Saturday, January 12, 2008

Art Challenges for 2008

I am privileged to be part of a group of artists working in collaboration with friend, Jen W.,a mixed media artist from Nova Scotia, to meet each week of 2008 with a new inspirational art challenge. This week, our assignment is to open a DIY art project book and complete whatever project is there...without leafing through the pages to choose one that we like or particularly want to make. We are to pick the first project that we read about, regardless of what it is,when we randomly open the book. This exercise has the potential to take each artist out of that comfort zone that goes hand-in-hand with creating art using familiar techniques and materials. It is designed to make us address projects that are potentially outside our individual tastes by readjusting, rethinking and examining what the actual POINT of the specific project is.

I have observed that often, when artists choose only one medium with which to identify and focus, and they concentrate solely on that one medium, their scope as inquisitive explorers and illustrators of the human condition narrows along with their single choice. Sometimes their points of view also become less broad and they become limited and stale in other ways. Jen's latest art challenge will help us remove those potential restraints and will, perhaps, instill at the very least, a greater understanding of the perspectives of others.

Sometimes it helps to get out of one's own head and observe what the rest of the world is doing. It is good to reexamine and make our own boundaries more flexible, to open ourselves up to the possibility of learning from others and viewing the world through eyes that belong to someone else. It is for this reason that even after I finish my current program in graduate school, I will continue to take classes and be a student at some level for the rest of my life.

Stacy Alexander