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There is a different way. In the winter of , Marcel Duchamp, age 29, bought a urinal at J.

How to Be an Artist

Fountain is an aesthetic equivalent of the Word made flesh, an object that is also an idea — that anything can be an artwork. Today it is called the most influential artwork of the 20th century. When we see cave paintings, we are seeing one of the most advanced and complex visual operating systems ever devised by our species. The makers of the work wanted to portray in the real world something they had in their head and make that information readable to others. It has lasted tens of thousands of years. With that in mind …. Exercise: Build a Life Totem Using any material on any surface, make or draw or render a four-foot-tall totem pole of your life.

From this totem, we should be able to know something about you other than what you look like or how many siblings you have. Include anything you want: words, letters, maps, photos, objects, signs. This should take no longer than a week. Now show it to someone who does not know you well. Ask them to tell you what it means about your life. No clues. Listen to what they tell you. Then exaggerate it. Do it again.

Do it times or 1, times. Imagine the horror Philip Guston must have felt when he followed his own voice and went from being a first-string Abstract Expressionist in the s to painting clunky, cartoony figures smoking cigars, driving around in convertibles, and wearing KKK hoods! He was all but shunned for this. He followed his voice anyway.

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This work is now some of the most revered from the entire period. In your downtime …. Exercise: An Archaeology Make an index, family tree, chart, or diagram of your interests. All of them, everything: visual, physical, spiritual, sexual. Leisure time, hobbies, foods, buildings, airports, everything.

Who are you really creating your art for? | Nela Dunato Art & Design

Every book, movie, website, etc. The totality of this self-exposure may be daunting, scary. But your voice is here. This will become a resource and record to return to and add to for the rest of your life. I have my own sort of School of Athens in my head. A team of rivals, friends, famous people, influences dead and alive. All make observations, recommendations, etc. I use music a lot. Like Beethoven. Or the Barbara Kruger in my head says, Make this sentence short, punchy, declarative, aggressive. Led Zeppelin chimes in with, Try a hairy experiment here; let it all show.

Lawrence is pounding on the table, Alexander Pope is making me get a grip, Wallace Stevens listens to my language and recommends words, Whitman pushes me on, my inner Melville gets grandiose, and Proust drives me to make longer and longer sentences till they almost break, and my editor cuts these into eighths or edits them down to one.

Writers need editors. No exceptions.

Make More Art: The Health Benefits of Creativity

These voices will always be there for when things get tough. It is probably you. Exercise: Make a List of Art Make a list of three artists whose work you despise. Make a list of five things about each artist that you do not like; be as specific as possible. Really think about this.

1. Making art may reduce stress and anxiety.

Life is your syllabus: Gather from everywhere. Originality did not conveniently die just in time for you and your generation to insist it no longer exists.

  • Natural Minds (MIT Press).
  • Duke Richard and The Mad King (Bedtime Stories on Real Kings and Queens);
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  • Why You Are Not an Artist.

You just have to find it. You can do this by looking for overlooked periods of art history, disliked and discredited styles, and forgotten ideas, images, and objects. Then work them into your own art times or 1, times. This is the fun part. Okay, this sounds ridiculous, but call your dog and it comes right over to you, placing its head in your lap, slobbering, wagging its tail: a miraculous direct communication with another species. Now call your cat.

It might look up, twitch a bit, perhaps go over to the couch, rub against it, circle once, and lie down again. What am I saying? In seeing how the cat reacted, you are seeing something very close to how artists communicate.

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  7. The cat is not interested in direct communication. The cat places a third thing between you and it and relates to you through this third thing. Cats communicate abstractly, indirectly. Art does something. In the past years or so, art has been reduced to being mainly something we look at in clean, white, well-lit art galleries and museums. Art has been limited this way, made a passive thing: another tourist attraction to see, take a picture in front of, and move on from. But for almost its entire history, art has been a verb, something that does things to or for you, that makes things happen.

    Holy relics in churches all over the world are said to heal. Art has been carried into war; made to protect us, curse a neighbor, kill someone; been an aid in getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy.

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    7. There are huge, beautiful, multicolored, intricately structured Navajo sand paintings used in ceremonies to ask the gods for assistance. The eyes painted on Egyptian sarcophagi are not there for us to see; they are there so the interred person can watch. The paintings inside the tombs were meant to be seen only by beings in the afterlife. Have you ever cried in front of a work of art? Write down six things about it that made you cry.

      The Benefits of Art

      Tack the list to your studio wall. Those are magical abracadabras for you. One of the most crucial lessons there is! The content might be a rebellion or an indictment of religion. It might be claustrophobia or hysteria or the madness of religion or civilization. The content might be grace, beauty — he was just 17, if you know what I mean — pensiveness, physical awareness, timelessness, eternal things, a form of perfection, vulnerability. This content is High Renaissance.

      When you look at art, make subject matter the first thing you see — and then stop seeing it. Try to find the content in a painting by Robert Ryman, who has been making almost-all-white work since the s. What is white to Ryman? Note the date: Why would he make this painting then? Would this have looked like other art at the time?

      How would it have been different?