Friday, 18 June 2010

24 X 7 + more

In the collective studio that I am engaged with, I talk about many things that are often seemingly unrelated to the practice of art. But to connect the dots that make up the actual picture of life for each of them, even the smallest most insignificant things must and have to be reflected upon with consideration, if a genuine journey of knowledge is to be examined.

It takes a while for the specialness of understanding to break through the conditioned factors they carry as mental baggage. And here too, it is through the small and minute that immense lessons of self realisation always occur. Just recently one of my students told me how he could now understand why drawing and observations facilitates his ability to imagine in ways that he could not comprehend before. Today his work possesses the reward of experience that comes not from the instruction of any teachers words alone, but instead from his own inner discipline to find his visual articulation. It is these moments (within a multitude of other times of self -doubt), that still holds my commitment to remain engaged with young art students.

Another student of the collective races with the clock these days. The pressure here is not about the number of paintings that are being targeted, but is really about propelling the self to shed a complacency, and to shed the belief that art must always be "laboured" over. What becomes the touchstone of learning from such an endeavour is that an ability is found to raise the bar of self expectancy; and to deliver. Through this comes a confidence where raw energy and ideas accelerate to define a performance that one would otherwise never discover for oneself.

It is this stamina and will to make time yield beyond what is normally expected, that becomes the entry to a greater space of learning. My students, when they first enter the program, are astonished at the demands and rigour of the studio practice that is mandatory for all. Within weeks the inner resistance slowly fades to give way to the pleasure of self achievement that starts to evidence itself. This trial by fire provides them a space of reflection where they are obliged to examine, question, negotiate and alter aspects of who they are, for themselves.

The energy to create is palpable on most days in the collective studio, when the alertness to learn is kept like a finely tuned string on an instrument, by their self-determined disciple. What is fulfilling for me on such days, where new doors of comprehension open for them, is that the joy is solely their own personal treasure that holds value because it is real.

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