Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Art as Communication

Well, we're on our third week (out of six) of sketch night at Pleasant Hill Mennonite Church and it's going pretty well. I must say I was so proud of my students at the end of the first class that I thought - wow, I must be a good teacher OR the class is too easy.

On the second week(second class), I was a little disappointed. It seemed like I couldn't verbalize my point as well as the first week and so we spent too much time in study mode and not enough time in practice mode. So I thought - wow, I suck as a teacher OR the class is too hard.

You know what they say, "practice what you preach..." but I say it's just as challenging and invigorating to preach what you practice. I learn more about what I do, every time I teach something...about what I do. It's all fine and dandy in you're head but getting it out for others to understand is another story.

And isn't that what we as artists do anyway? Teach? Really, I believe that art is a communication tool and if others can't understand the artwork, then has the artist failed to communicate his or her statement or story?

A man once went to jail because he was being tried for murder and he wouldn't look at the prosecuter. The jury deemed him guilty because he wouldn't look up. In his culture, not looking your elders in the eye is a sign of respect but not all cultures view the same symbols in the same way. I feel that if we want viewers to understand our message we need to be aware of these differences.

So what do you have to teach?

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