Do you think art-work is play? I just finished teaching a 4 week workshop with Winslow Art Center. It amazed me how students mentioned that when they began to ‘play’ around with an idea, they were more successful. I’m always a bit annoyed when people talk about how ‘fun’ it must be to work as an artist.
I don’t consider what I do as fun – but it IS play in a sense. It’s play like you’d decide to ‘play golf. I take it seriously, and I’m trying for specific goals. I may not always know how to make a hole in one, but I can follow general principles to ensure a fairly long and straight shot. Art play is a challenge that obsesses me.
Art-work also requires a lot of experimentation and a fairly casual mind-set. Nothing freezes the creative impulse like pressure to perform. Creativity is a delicate balance between art play and evaluation. I try to separate my art play from the critical process.
The December/January show at Waterstone Gallery is titled “Play.” It will be interesting to see how each artist’s art showcases the theme PLAY.My pieces are titled “Jump” and “Swing Thing.” Both are abstract interpretations of fun activities from my childhood. Jumping off a diving board or riverbank, and swinging from a tree limb were thrilling back then, when everything was about play.
Teaching that workshop made me realize that taking my artwork too seriously probably has a negative effect on my creativity. I consider art to be a vital part of my life: one of the essentials. But it is also one of life’s luxuries and pleasures for many people. I hope you’re one of the folks that see it as essential.
Join me and my fellow Waterstone artists on Thursday, December 2 from 5-8 pm for the opening of “Play.” I love shows like this one because I find it fascinating to see how different artists approach the theme. I hope to see you there!
Waterstone Gallery, 124 NW 9th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
First Thursday, Open til 8:00 pm
Tuesday through Saturday
11 am–5:30 pm
and Sunday 11 am-4 pm