Many artists spend an inordinate amount of time thinking when, really, they want to change the world. They are something like maniacal world leaders but without all the guns, killing and domination. They are sketching, writing, researching, reading, watching, futzing. As mentioned a few weeks ago, this time alone to brood and develop can be incredibly useful and productive. But, sometimes, at some point, an artist might come to a point where she’s stuck and doesn’t know how to move ahead.
A good, complex work doesn’t usually get there by coming up with an initial idea and immediately executing it. You can’t say you came up with an invention by just talking about it. You have to actually go through the process of making the thing. In order to avoid artwork becoming gimmicky or only concepts that you throw around at a party after a few drinks, a little more work is involved.
There are a lot of these ideas that float around the community—a lot of “what ifs.” But “what if” these ideas and projects began to take form and “what if” there was a source someone could go to get out of a rut, hear some suggestions and be encouraged to move on to the next stage?
Enough Talk, More Action
I’d like to propose a series of discussion/brainstorming sessions for the downtown Phoenix area. It’s been my experience that sometimes, people just need a little push. This could be by sitting back and letting someone talk out an idea or by bombarding them with questions. Call it a selfish act but I like to see interesting things happening around me. I like being part of them. I like to think and help others work out ideas.
Each month topics will rotate from something like text-based works to art using technology to creative computer hacking to new approaches with sculptural materials. People interested in participating will sign up or congregate via a website and then be prepared to talk for five minutes in front of a group about the project. The focus of the meet-up is to talk more about the work and less about ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the area, an undergrad at ASU or an experienced artist with national exposure—the point of the group is to use the collective power of each other’s brains to come up with a solution or suggestion on where to take the work next.
Think of this less as social networking and more as project developing. There are plenty of outlets in Phoenix for social meet-ups of like-mindeds. The art openings on First and Third Fridays end up being a place where artists and other creative people can mix and relax but when can we sit down and discuss the details and the ugly truth of actually making a work possible? Somehow, maybe, we’re holding back.
This can be a venue to voice new work that an artist isn’t so sure about—something that functions outside a comfort zone. Artists who usually work in paint but have been toying around with the idea of a web-based project could come to a meeting and solicit suggestions from others who regularly and fluently work with the web.
Meetings would stay on track with a moderator to make sure that everyone can be heard and no one monopolizes the time (we know how artists like to talk). Guest artists, curators and writers will be invited to participate in the discussion in an effort to bring in an outside voice with a different perspective. The direction of the conversation would be constructive, direct and candid. Be prepared for someone to cry. I’ve seen it happen before… or perhaps I was the one doing the crying.
If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in some time in the near future or if you feel that a meeting like this will help push creation in Phoenix to a new level, please “like” this article, use the comments section here to voice your support or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some name suggestions for the group: Clash of the Artists, What Happens When Brains Collide (WHWBC), P-Art-Y (you decide what the P and Y stand for), We Make Artists Cry, Combustion, ThinkAct.