what you learn at art class

There are things that you can learn at art class besides how to make a pretty picture.

(1) Like how NOT to make a pretty picture.

4 ugly monoprints of my hansem J

Because the monoprint is a one-time thing (it literally means a print you only make once, by applying pressure directly on the paper against ink), and because it doesn't allow for too much fussing or control, it demands a certain spontaneity when you make a picture. In fact, the more you ask of the monoprint a precision and clean-ness of form, chances are the more the image you have in your mind slips from you. It demands, therefore, that you accept the possibility of failure from the start.

(2) Like how obsessed, typical Singaporean that I am, with achievement and success.

How I struggled with the monoprint! Not that it is a complex process, it is not. I told N, the teacher, that even the sketch book I carry around with me is not filled with random casual sketches, but "complete" drawings. Since I draw with a pen, once I discover what I think is a "mistake" and the picture failing to conform to my will, it is considered a failure and abandoned. If I could, I would rip out the page.

(3) Like how learning is about allowing failure.

Yes, however cliched this sounds. Failure is discomforting. It shakes your sense of who you are. It makes you feel good, strangely, like you are learning something.

A self-portrait by Y of a photo by J of a print by Y of J - tis what you would call a serious printmaker!

<4> Like how it's important to know that you are good at something.

I'm stealing J's lesson here! While I'm in a Thursday printmaking class, he's at a Monday/Thursday Visual communications class at the same place. After almost 2 years of being in a job where what you think you are good at is not needed or valued, J told me how he felt alive again at his class, doing what he knew he could - and learning to be even better.

Uncertainty (徬徨)
Self-portrait of the serious J


Unknown said…
ooh lucky J doesn't look so splotchy in real life =P but that's only yr first attempt..

if u keep practicing the sense of achievement u have when u look back on the progress u've made will b greater than being perfect at it the first time arnd !! most probably anyway =D
Anonymous said…
arhhhh... the smell of possibilities...
ampulets said…
wah, so encouraging! but hey, it'll be fine by me if the picture is perfect the first time round too, then i'll look back and think - what a smarty arty fart.

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