Friday, January 8, 2010

8. Make Art

The Idea: The act of making art is an act of liberation—it frees the mind and heightens the senses. The art of singing and making music frees our voices and hones our ears; The art of theater and dance frees our senses of touch and kinesthetics, expanding our body and ability to move; the art of cooking frees and sharpens the olfactory senses of taste and smell; And visual art frees our sense of sight and betters our vision—vision being the eyes and the brain working together.

How To:
• Make art every day.
• What's it like making art for the first time after having not made art for a while?
• Notice the eyes—what are they doing? How do they feel?
• What about on the second day? The second week of days?
• Treat your artmaking like a journal, remembering how you feel before, during and after the artmaking process, using your work as a way of remembering this (you can also keep a written journal, if you like).
• If you commit to making art every day for a month, what keeps you from continuing on for another month—and then another?
• What difference does the act of making art make on your vision?

• Around the time I started healing my vision, I started making woodcut prints. Each day I coated a block of wood with black india ink and used chisels to carve out an image. As a person with a retinal eye disease, the act of carving woodcuts was more in line with the way I saw the world than other arts like drawing or painting: I preferred not to try to fill in a white void with line and color, but rather to evoke images out of darkness. Within the year I was designing woodcuts and papercut graphics for organizations and moving into making shadow theater. I also started riding a bicycle—all things I never thought I'd be able to do with my limited visual ability.
• A friend of mine experienced the same thing while making stone mosaic murals. Now she makes illustrations like this one:

More Info: Read Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Then go make some art.

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