What? Why Are You Doing That?

Lately I have not posted much of my own creative work on this blog. Some may wonder why. I have but two answers, graduate work and writing a book. Either, by themselves would be a daunting but with this MFAIA Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Art I can work my research and the book writing into my degree plan.

Many have asked me, “Why would a master sculptor need a Masters Degree?” It is very simple, believe it or not I have been turned down to teach sculpting at the college level because of this lack of paperwork. Do I plan to teach? I’m not sure, but as I enter this stage of my life I thought it would be good to have this document. (Though, I often think that in the future I will probably be paying off my graduate school loans with my social security income.)

My focus in my graduate studies is two fold. Sculpting of course, but here is the clincher, because I was already considered a master sculptor they frowned on me entering the program to study sculpture. That is good because frankly doing that for 3 years might make me puke. (This is a terminal degree that is why it is 3 years.) However, to teach at a college level I must have 15 hours of study, minimum in the area I want to teach. There is a catch 22.

So I put a twist of interest to my degree study in sculpture. The basic premise of one half of my study is “Bridging the gab between new technology and the traditional studio.” That is why I am focusing on digital sculpting, scanning, printing, milling as it pertains to my craft. It began with this article (pdf) that I wrote for Sculpture Review a few years back. The study is fascinating and I believe it will affect my future artwork, though I am still doing traditional portrait and life-size commissions and love doing so. I’ll just utilize these processes to incorporate them in my study and workflow!

Besides looking at the technology and the different aspects of it. I seem to be drawn to individuals who are using data to create artwork. The data depicts what the art will look like. This can be seen in weaving of Nathalie Miebach. Or as simple as David Beck using a GPS system and digital printing to print out a sort of portrait of his friends. I really enjoyed listening to the videos of (MOMA )Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit Design and the Elastic Mind. It was validating when I heard Curator Paola Antonelli discusses the importance of 3Drapid prototype printing. She states, “The most interesting and most important technological innovations in the field of design and the field of manufacturing is 3Dprinting.” I know my study is going in the right direction. I will try to bring these videos to my blog.

This new direction was so not me. To turn my head from figurative realism even for a moment to consider other things is not something I am used to or have ever been drawn to. But there is something about the seeing information visually. Even those in science are saying now that they can print out molecular items they can now see how they relate to each other in ways that were never apparent. Perhaps it is that somehow I feel there is something hidden, a secret that is under the data that can only be known when it is a visual, when it is made as art.

Another artist that I really like is Robert Lazzarini. Remember when you look at these they are not skewed photographs but are actual sculptures created, and often digitally printed in this skewed manner. They must be something to see in person. All of this work is different than the figurative work that I have studied in the past, but that is what school is supposed to do, stretch you, challenge you, cause you to think past what you would normally consider.

Oh yes, there is a second area of my graduate study. It is writing. As you can tell from past articles, columns and books— I like to write. I enjoy writing about art, creativity and other subjects and am presently working on a Mudbox book. I’m thrilled to see my name at Amazon, even though we are not quite done with the book. I stumbled upon the Amazon information when I was trying to do my research, to be honest this area of study is so new that there is little out there about it. But the book that seemed to have everything that I was trying to study- lead me to my own book on Amazon. Mudbox is a program that allows you to sculpt in the computer. I have enjoyed my research and studies and will continue to do so. I feel it is opening up new doors of opportunities as well as enlightenment and inspiration and I enjoy sharing some of my research on this blog.

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